Avoid Cruise America RV Rental!

Ideas, advice, tips, and tricks regarding shelter, shade, tents, and camping. Yes, this includes RV's too.

Postby neon tetra » Wed Sep 22, 2010 12:14 am

The refrigerators in them are pretty much useless. Last year ours didn't get cold until halfway through, this time it didn't work at all. They took some $ off for that though, which was cool.
I only shower 1-2 times for the week there, b/c that's all I really need. The playa dust keeps me clean & dry. And an RV shower should consist of 5 seconds of water to wet yourself, then lather up, and then <1 minute to rinse off. Done that way, you don't use up much fresh water (you can always add more from jugs anyway), and you won't fill the grey water too fast either. The main water waster seems to be dishes. I'm looking into those bio-degradable plant fiber bowls for next year. I even found a good non-Teflon/non-chemical-based nonstick pan this time & it worked great. Normally I love cast iron, but it's too high maintenance for the playa.

Also, the battery charges more quickly from the engine than from the generator, so you should run it for about 20-30 minutes per day. You can also run the panel a/c while you're doing this.

Lastly, we used Frog Tape this year on the outside & it came off with no problems. A lot of other tapes leave marks behind (and are almost impossible to remove even with Goo-Gone, gasoline, nail polish remover, etc.)
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Postby penrose » Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:20 pm

Seconding Pink on the octahuts! I've visited RVs at BMan but I can't see actually taking one. First two years I slept in the bed of my pickup and was extremely comfortable. BMan in my opinion is more fun if allowed to be a car-camping-like experience and this business of retreating into your own living room / kitchen / bathroom / bedroom puts me off. I'm all on board for charging RVers extra. I am sorry though when people feel ripped off. And ESPECIALLY sorry when mechanical issues beyond your control prevent you getting there at all. That sux.
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Postby Lord Of Ruin » Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:40 pm

penrose wrote:Seconding Pink on the octahuts! I've visited RVs at BMan but I can't see actually taking one. First two years I slept in the bed of my pickup and was extremely comfortable. BMan in my opinion is more fun if allowed to be a car-camping-like experience and this business of retreating into your own living room / kitchen / bathroom / bedroom puts me off. I'm all on board for charging RVers extra. I am sorry though when people feel ripped off. And ESPECIALLY sorry when mechanical issues beyond your control prevent you getting there at all. That sux.


So, it's more fun if people can watch you sleep and go to the bathroom in the open? 'Cause that's what most of us use our RV's for....

Listen, I've said it before: Unless you are literally laying on the playa in nothing more than a loincloth with a stone knife, EVERYTHING humans have done since has been about taming their environment to their will. Some of us are just better at it than others.

The 4 hour/30 mph dust storm that drives away folks is a mere drinking game passtime for someone with an RV.

LoR
The fox provides for himself, but God provides for the lion - W. Blake (attribution corrected)
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Postby penrose » Thu Sep 23, 2010 4:50 pm

[quote="Lord Of Ruin"]Listen, I've said it before: Unless you are literally laying on the playa in nothing more than a loincloth with a stone knife, EVERYTHING humans have done since has been about taming their environment to their will. Some of us are just better at it than others.

The 4 hour/30 mph dust storm that drives away folks is a mere drinking game passtime for someone with an RV.

LoR[/quote]

To each their own. Being "better at it" means what? I like four-star hotels, and I like backpacking. RVs at BMan don't impress me as much of an advantage and I would encourage any new person not to cop out with the overpriced mechanical luxuries but to live the experience. But again, to each their own. I guess we can't all be John Muir.

(Superfluous comments about sleeping and bathrooming in the open deleted.)
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Postby Lassen Forge » Thu Sep 23, 2010 8:54 pm

We hung in the Kantina and had fun during that. True, we couldn't see the other side of the dome at times, but it WAS a respite, and it WAs an opportunity for fun times!!
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Postby AntiM » Fri Sep 24, 2010 2:08 am

RE: dishes as water wasters.

We don't like doing dishes because we don't like evapping the water. We don't cook in our camp except for items which are made with boiling water or can be heated/baked on foil/foil pans which are recycled at home. We bring plastic disposables for mixing/serving bowls, wipe them out and put their lids on them. They go home and are washed later. Everyone else in camp has a coffee mug, a bowl and a plate with their name sharpied on them, and their own carry around drink cups. We have a few utensils, plus personal titanium sporks and stainless chopsticks. There's a few shot glasses lying around too. That's it. You want to eat, you use your set of dishes, and you wash your set of dishes with minimal boiling water or eat dirty.

Paper plates generated more trash than we liked.

Sigh, all that a a newer camp member showed up with pans, oil and big bags of sugar and cornmeal. Proceeded to cook us a treat which got oil and stuff all over our kitchen and common area and was a pita to clean up after. Gave me the runs too, can't eat oily foods in the desert. I came home with more cornmeal than I use in a year. So we have to instruct and educate about how "we" do things. And I have to make some cornbread I guess.
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Postby Rilopie » Fri Sep 24, 2010 9:23 am

I really liked how some former campmates handled their dish situation. They had two spray bottles - one with soapy water and one with clean water. Squirt squirt soapy, wipe, squirt squirt water, wipe. minimal trash and water used.
:)
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Postby MistressSybs » Fri Sep 24, 2010 10:38 am

Rilopie wrote:I really liked how some former campmates handled their dish situation. They had two spray bottles - one with soapy water and one with clean water. Squirt squirt soapy, wipe, squirt squirt water, wipe. minimal trash and water used.
:)


oh now that's a good plan...
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Postby C.f.M. » Fri Sep 24, 2010 10:48 am

baconqurlyq wrote:I'll miss having an RV when the line starts in Gerlach again and there's nary a bathroom in sight.


Anybody else :roll: this yet?

Pee jug. Pee funnel.

http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywor ... io8yncxl_e

Radical self-reliance. Lord knows I wasn't prepared to sit at fucking gate for 5 hours, when they closed it on Monday, but we managed just fine without a bathroom and without MOOPing piss on the playa.

It's just one of those things you come prepared for, when you go to Burning Man.
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Postby Lord Of Ruin » Fri Sep 24, 2010 11:35 am

penrose wrote:
To each their own. Being "better at it" means what? I like four-star hotels, and I like backpacking. RVs at BMan don't impress me as much of an advantage and I would encourage any new person not to cop out with the overpriced mechanical luxuries but to live the experience. But again, to each their own. I guess we can't all be John Muir.

(Superfluous comments about sleeping and bathrooming in the open deleted.)



Just an FYI....I've done tenting 1/2 my time and travel trailers the other half. What I'm saying is that having the ability to bathroom and sleep in coolness/cleanness ENABLES the experience, rather than detract from it.

So you use no electrical items when there? You don't use the portas?

My point is that it's not "roughing it" (and I too am happy to backpack and go fully off the land, when it's appropriate...as in a method to enable the trip). I'm just not going to do it as some sort of ridiculous badge of honor.

And again, I'm saying unless you are lying naked on the playa when you are there, you're doing the same thing with a tent, just less effectively. My first year I was given all that "being in contact with the playa and not cut off from the event" mumbo jumbo by my experienced burner campmates. Guess what? All have converted to some sort of more permanent structure over time...

I agree that experiencing the event from a more rustic standpoint can be an interesting experience, if yuo are prepared for that. But generally my advice to people attending first or second time is to make their lodgings as comfy as possible. The event is enough of an overload on its own without having the environment keep kicking your ass while you are prone.

LoR
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Postby baconqurlyq » Fri Sep 24, 2010 3:21 pm

My campmate/friend heard from Cruise America. They're offering us $300 credit towards our next rental. My friend is sending a follow-up email, presumably to offer them various choices on where to shove the credit. It's a really lame offer considering the condition that RV was in, and how much we paid for the thing.
Popped the playa cherry!
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Postby peachandpapa » Fri Sep 24, 2010 4:49 pm

Keep up the fight! You are just at the beginning, and remember, the place you rented it from will not help you at all. Find a lawyer friend with nice letterhead and send a missive stating exactly how much you want and then take them to small claims when they don't reply. The summons from small claims got it rolling.

Good luck!
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Postby neon tetra » Sat Sep 25, 2010 10:34 am

Lord Of Ruin wrote:
penrose wrote:
To each their own. Being "better at it" means what? I like four-star hotels, and I like backpacking. RVs at BMan don't impress me as much of an advantage and I would encourage any new person not to cop out with the overpriced mechanical luxuries but to live the experience. But again, to each their own. I guess we can't all be John Muir.

(Superfluous comments about sleeping and bathrooming in the open deleted.)



Just an FYI....I've done tenting 1/2 my time and travel trailers the other half. What I'm saying is that having the ability to bathroom and sleep in coolness/cleanness ENABLES the experience, rather than detract from it.

So you use no electrical items when there? You don't use the portas?

My point is that it's not "roughing it" (and I too am happy to backpack and go fully off the land, when it's appropriate...as in a method to enable the trip). I'm just not going to do it as some sort of ridiculous badge of honor.

And again, I'm saying unless you are lying naked on the playa when you are there, you're doing the same thing with a tent, just less effectively. My first year I was given all that "being in contact with the playa and not cut off from the event" mumbo jumbo by my experienced burner campmates. Guess what? All have converted to some sort of more permanent structure over time...

I agree that experiencing the event from a more rustic standpoint can be an interesting experience, if yuo are prepared for that. But generally my advice to people attending first or second time is to make their lodgings as comfy as possible. The event is enough of an overload on its own without having the environment keep kicking your ass while you are prone.

LoR


I hear you. Personally, I feel a bit weird about the RV, mainly because it *is* a bit of an eyesore. But then again, so are a lot of the things out there (trucks, huge generators, shipping boxes). I won't camp on A-E, and I also cover up the logos & decorate it as much as possible. But I also don't see how having an RV is any worse than building a structure out of styrofoam, shipping tons of stuff out there on trains & trucks, using a portable generator, building a shower & evap pond, kitchen, etc.
The RV really doesn't take up all that much room when you take into consideration everything it has within its footprint.

That said, I still can't wait to not have one. If I do rent one next year, I think it's going to be the last time. A good hexayurt with an additional shade structure is what I think I'm going for next.
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Postby baconqurlyq » Sat Sep 25, 2010 12:30 pm

We camped way out on I and I'm glad we did. We were across the street from the portos (camp leader has a teeny bladder) and it was mostly quiet during the night. Got a lot more great sleep that week than I thought I would!

Thanks for the kind words, we're definitely going to keep fighting CA.
Popped the playa cherry!
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Postby dragonpilot » Sat Sep 25, 2010 1:06 pm

I just ran some figures. We drove our 30' Class C RV 1,317 miles to BM and back. We averaged 10 mpg....that's 131.7 gallons of gas. We had 9 people aboard the rig with all their gear, food, water, and bikes. That comes to about 15 gallons per person.

Say two folks share a car that gets 20 mpg over the same distance. That's 33 gallons per person X 9 = 297 gallons.

I'd say we did our part in keeping America green!
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Re: Avoid Cruise America RV Rental!

Postby bradtem » Mon Sep 27, 2010 1:26 am

baconqurlyq wrote:
* Solar panel was dead, so we had to run the generator a lot more just so we could turn on the lights or the water pump for the bathroom, and that's time we have to pay for.
* Lighter outlet was busted, so no go on charging anything.
* We knew we could say good-bye to the $500 damage deposit for cleaning the thing, but there were, and I kid you not, an onion and a potato hidden in a kitchen compartment. We didn't find it until we were cleaning out the RV. We didn't buy an onion or a potato.
* Level lights were broken. Thirty minutes after getting grey/black water removed on the playa, they were showing 2/3rds full. We never had any idea how well we were stocked with water, or how much black or grey water was in the RV.
* Refrigerator was flat-out broken. It kept stuff cold maybe for two days and then it was warm. We had plenty of propane too.

My campmate called up corporate, and they were shocked by how much was wrong with the RV. They said the vehicle didn't represent their fleet, and that they would write up a report to send to the Los Angeles office so they could handle the case properly. However, when we returned the vehicle, they said they couldn't do anything for us, that we'd have to email customer relations. My campmate did that, but then got an automatic form email back that it'll take 30 days for a response.



Cruise America is a sucky company indeed. My rental from them a decade ago (my last and only) had a number of problems, ranging from the unit not even having a 12v jack (I had to install one) to the standard lack of ladder on cruise america units -- not to get to the roof but to hold bikes.

However, some of your issues are not odd in any RV. If an RV has a solar panel, it is almost always just there to stop the batteries from draining during long storage. It's a rare RV with a solar panel that would give you real power to do things like run lights and night or the furnace fan etc. Unless your RV had large panels on it and was advertised as being able to get a decent charge from them, it was normal. Most RVs use highly inefficient automotive interior lights instead of LEDs or fluorescents and they can't even run those that long on the battery. A decent sized single solar panel of about 40 watts would probably deliver about 200 watt-hours lying flat on your roof depending on dust, which is enough to run only a few of those bulbs. Most RV panels are in a much smaller range unless they are designed for recharge.

You were lucky to get a lighter outlet, some CA RVs do not have them.

Tank level lights: I have never seen any rv, from any company, where these were accurate. They get stuff on them quickly and always report something unrelated to what's in the tank. For black tank you have to open the toilet (turn water pump off) and look down with a flashlight. For gray tank you just have to wing it, or look at your fresh water level. That's the only one that usually remains accurate.

Dunno about your fridge but failure there is unusual and worthy of some refund.
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Postby Magpie Sparkles » Tue Sep 28, 2010 2:20 pm

Im from the UK and have rented RVs two years in a row now.

Last year we rented from Cruise America and we had a tire blow-out and a bed that broke. We returned it probably cleaner than we picked it up (4 people scrubbing the shit out of it for 3 hours) and we got all of our deposit back plus a refund of one night's use.

This year we switched to El Monte and found then to be much friendlier - the RVs are more modern and we were each given a "burner" check sheet in the office of things not to do on the playa that would damage the vehicle.

Again we got all our deposit back after cleaning it well and returning it as we found it.

I hear that Apollo are a great company to rent from too but i think I'll be returning to El Monte next year.
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Postby Dr. Pyro » Tue Sep 28, 2010 7:30 pm

I always sort of thought that "breaking a bed" (or as you said Magpie "...a bed that broke...") is part of the fun. I mean, if you can't trash a bed screwing at Burning Man, then when would it be appropriate?
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Glad I'm not the only one!

Postby DancesWithElves » Fri Oct 01, 2010 12:51 pm

Aerialmonster, thanks for letting me know I'm not the only one whose rv met with a gas station pylon! I too turned the wheel too tightly on our last gas stop - guess I thought I was back in my tiny little car instead of something with SUCH a big butt! ;-) But hey, that's what insurance is for... we rented the rv from a private individual, and I would recommend doing so again in a heartbeat. He too said he would rent again to us, so all systems go for next year!

(I've done seven years in a big military tent, and two in rvs. I sure do like being able to pull up and be pretty much set-up! Although I STILL find myself setting up and taking down that good old tent, since it has now become the camp lounge!)
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Postby bud buddah » Wed Oct 06, 2010 10:26 am

Since everyone is talking about RV's, let me ask, how much (roughly) do these things run for a week? Say I'm driving from SF. Are we talking $1k, $2k? Just a ballpark figure. My wife wants to come next year, and she might want an RV. I just need to get some idea how much money to put away.
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Postby lucky420 » Wed Oct 06, 2010 3:12 pm

When I was checking our RVs earlier this year, in REno the rv places were renting for anywhere between 4-6000. Reno craigslist had cheaper deals by private owners. Those were still to high for me so I went hexayurt.
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Postby Sic Pup » Wed Oct 06, 2010 3:53 pm

Wow, thar's......





















.....wait for it.......























.........highway robbery.
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Postby Rilopie » Wed Oct 06, 2010 4:46 pm

bud buddah wrote:Since everyone is talking about RV's, let me ask, how much (roughly) do these things run for a week? Say I'm driving from SF. Are we talking $1k, $2k? Just a ballpark figure. My wife wants to come next year, and she might want an RV. I just need to get some idea how much money to put away.
Bud


I was looking at Apollo RV yesterday: http://www.apollorv.com/
They had some pretty good deals imo $1,900-$2,000 for 10 days.
It looks like they charge $0.35 per mile you drive though...so thats an extra like $250 when you return it if you drive from SF-BM.

Does anyone have any experience with them?
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Postby lucky420 » Thu Oct 07, 2010 9:31 am

you might want to make sure that those prices are good for the week of BM. Around Reno the prices are jacked up higher during that time...
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Postby DancesWithElves » Thu Oct 07, 2010 10:35 am

We went with a private owner, had a super-nice 31'. For nine days the rental cost us $1525 (and that's with the extra mileage over 100 per day). Really. The only other costs were the insurance rider through my insurance ($37), and the $250 deductible from hitting the gas pylon, plus gas, propane fill, water dump & fill, and we paid to get it thoroughly cleaned.
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Postby baconqurlyq » Thu Oct 07, 2010 11:56 am

Another update. My friend got a reply from CA Corporate. It was, by far, the douchiest email I had ever heard in my life. It was chock-full of marketing speak and just insulting. We were offered a $300 refund - not even the cost of the cleaning fee.

My friend is replying, but I don't expect much to come of this. I think in the end we'll have to chalk it up as a learning experience and just go with El Monte RV next year.
Popped the playa cherry!
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Postby Just_Joe » Thu Oct 07, 2010 12:52 pm

baconqurlyq wrote:We were offered a $300 refund - not even the cost of the cleaning fee.


I thought you said you didn't get charged a cleaning fee?

Just for fun... how much more than $300 do you think is fair??
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Postby ¡Niers! » Thu Oct 07, 2010 5:37 pm

First off, trusting corporate Cruise America was a mistake.
Corporations don't give a fuck about little ol you, they just want your money.
Any time you rent ANYTHING, squeeze your ass cheeks as hard as you can and check everything that could be wrong.
If you don't, you are a fool....their fool.

Second, enough with the freaking RVs already. Be creative, find someone creative, and spend the whole year in preperation.......or just don't fucking go!
I'm tired of seeing Cruise America logos all over BRC.

I will avoid them, and I wish everyone else would too. If you MUST have an RV, save up and buy one.
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