Search the Community
Showing results for tags 'caravan'.
Found 8 results
Recommendations on Fantasy RV Tour
schmidtjr posted a question in Destinations/AttractionsConsidering the 29 day caravan from Maine through the Canadian Maritimes offered by Fantasy RV. Has anybody taken a caravan like this? Has anybody taken this particular tour or something similar? If so, would you take your toad? Any feedback or recommendations for such a long tour with so many rigs?
SNOW NOW- BOUT 2 FLY
HEAVENBOUND posted a topic in RV Photo GalleryJUST FINISHED PLANNING OUR SUMMER HOPE TO SEE SOME OF YOU THERE. MEMBERS OF THOUSAND TRAILS. 6/14 MICHIGAN 6/18 NIAGARA FALLS 6/25 ORLANDO, FLORIDA 7/2 WISCONSIN DELLS 7/15 NAARVA RALLY, SARASOTA FLORIDA 7/23 FISHING, STURGEON BAY ,WISCONSIN
Whose Idea Was This?
tbutler posted a blog entry in Tom and Louise on Tour in North AmericaWe returned to our winter residence in Edinburg, Texas, in Mid-April after a three-week trip to Tahiti that included a two-week cruise in French Polynesia. Living the high life agrees with me but all that food seems to find a home somewhere around my waist. Nine days after our return we were headed north in the motor home with friends accompanying us on the trip. The motor home had been in the shop for about six weeks during the winter, some repair, some upgrades and some maintenance. We also had the carpeting replaced. The upshot of this was that for the first time in thirteen years we had emptied the motor home almost completely. So we’re like newbees, having completely re-stocked the motor home we’re finding out what we forgot. The list isn’t short. We travel all summer long, visiting relatives, touring and attending conventions. We didn’t have definite plans for this summer, mostly visiting our children and grandchildren. In early March the bucket list came up and our friends suggested the Kentucky Derby. We gave it about 5 minutes thought and decided we were going to sign up. I had just seen an advertisement for Fantasy Tours Kentucky Derby Tour in the e-mail that morning. I thought it was for 2018, but no, it was for this year. Several spots were available and we signed up. From Edinburg to Louisville is about 1100 miles and we decided to make it a four-day trip. Doing about 300 miles a day would get us there on time. We planned to arrive on Sunday, a day before the tour started. At our first fuel stop our friends said their dash air wasn’t working. Consulting with the manufacturer, they checked the fuse and several other causes and then decided to run the generator and the roof air to try to combat the 90+ degree temperatures of south Texas. Our goal for the first day was to get through Houston before stopping for the night. We pulled into the Houston East RV Park about an hour before sunset. Problem two cropped up at this point, the single slide-out on our friend’s motor home wouldn’t slide out. In the morning, they were on the phone with the manufacturer again. After checking several items, it was decided that if they did get it to work, they may not get it back in so they are going to have to live with this until they could get to a repair shop. Our schedule didn’t allow for a day or two in a repair shop so we continued our journey. On the good side, departing Houston put us in lighter traffic on I-10 for the first hour or two. We stopped in Lake Charles, LA to refuel and it became a lunch stop. Departing I-10 to the north we headed for Hattiesburg, MS. That became our overnight stop, now about 800 miles behind us. In the morning, I followed the GPS and led us on an extended short cut on roads barely wide enough to allow two vehicles to pass. We all laughed about it later and it did cut off quite a few miles. Our trip continued through Nashville, TN and on to Louisville, KY. The problems with the slide out were solved by a careful reading of an on-line version of the owner’s manual. When we parked for the tour their slide operated perfectly. The solution was to hold the activating switch for 10 seconds which re-synchronized the motors. Later we learned that the dash air conditioner failure was due to a loose connection. They are on their way to the east coast and we are with my daughter and her family in Missouri. The Kentucky Derby Tour, that is another story…
Crossing @ Algadones
rqpretired posted a topic in Outside the USAWe are new to RVing in Mexico and are looking to join others crossing into Mexico around December 1st (Give or take 2 weeks). We have a 35' Winnebago and a toad. I think we would feel more confident, traveling with others.
Selecting an Alaska Caravan
rga48 posted a question in Destinations/AttractionsLast year we selected Fantasy Tours for our Alaskan Caravan 2013 because of their affiliation with FMCA. The following is a portion of the feedback I provided to the tour company at the end of the tour on July 28, 2013. As of 3/4/2014, I have not received any feedback from Fantasy Tours. Feedback Questionnaire Questions and answers: 12. What part of the tour did you enjoy the least? We had two mechanical breakdowns while on the tour that impacted our ability to utilize normal tour provided meals and/or campground facilities. Each time we missed campground, meals and entertainment. Each time the Wagon Master (WM) failed to try to compensate us by providing meal vouchers or alternate campground fees; i.e. Fairbanks Salmon Bake or campground fees when we had to return to Valdez Eagles Nest campground. Because one of the tour participants had a flu virus that spread through the group, Patty (my wife) was not able to attend the Gold Dredge #8 tour in Fairbanks, AK. As part of the tour each tour participant received a bag of “pay dirt”. When I asked the WM for a bag of “pay dirt” for Patty, he told me it would cost me $10. I protested saying that we had already paid for her full entry and should not have to pay additional fee. He later gave me a bag of “pay dirt” but admonished me not to tell anyone else on the tour about this “deal”. In our opinion, these actions amounted to either Fantasy and/or WM pocketing addition profits at the expense of their customer’s misfortunes. The Irkutsk, BC campground and meal were terrible. The water coming out of the faucets was black. The voltage was minimal; i.e. 104 VAC. The grass at campsite was so high that automatic RV steps would not fully extend. The meal was canned cream corn and overcooked beef of some type. 14 How do you rate the included side tours? Some of the side tours were too Disney like for our taste; i.e. the River Boat Cruise and Gold Dredge #8 in Fairbanks. Both of these tours were an insult to the intelligence of your customers to pander them for worthless trinkets. 22 Additional comments: Wagon Master Strengths and Weaknesses: · Strengths o Knowledge of tour routs, facilities, and tours. · Weakness o Technical understanding of minimum voltage and water quality requirements for RV’s. o WM failed to establish social interactions within the group by failing to promote gatherings other than those required by tour. The majority of social gatherings were imitated by customers. o Both the WM and his wife lacked genuine empathy for their customers. They went through the minimum requirements to meet Fantasy Tour questionnaire requirements but nothing more. Example: When coffee ran out the response was “It is going to take an hour to make more” and then provided no additional coffee. The same type of attitude was evident on other occasions. So if you were not first in line for any food type of occasion, you were out of luck for coffee or anything else that was provided. Because of this people would show up an hour to half hour before schedule to ensure they got their meal. o Two of the meals required customers to provide essential ingredients; i.e. eggs for omelet in a bag and chili for chili dogs which for the money spent for this tour was insulting. o The “Family Style” meal provided in Fairbanks was just that. If you were at the far end of the table, there was either nothing left or it was the pieces that no one else wanted. We felt like the classic “Redheaded Step Child” with little to no food worth eating. Tail Gunner · Strengths o The TG has strong trouble shooting ability. o The TG has great empathy for customers especially during customer misfortunes; i.e. breakdowns and illness. · Weaknesses o Experience and knowledge of routes, tours, campgrounds, etc. o Leadership skills were not evident but that is part of TG role. Additional comments: We feel that Fantasy Tour placed their customers in extreme risk by not having reliable communication in the remote areas of Alaska. The WM and TG should have been provided with satellite cellphones in order to communicate to emergency service providers in the event of medical or mechanical emergencies. In the two mechanical breakdowns that we experienced, the TG was not able to contact emergency services or WM using their personal cell phone. Because the caravan can be stretched over 50 miles, the use of Walkie-Talkie radio is not adequate due to their short range. Customers should be provided VHF radios for more reliable communication with WM and TG and other customers. The Fantasy Tour Insurance gives a false sense of security for the customer’s investment in that it fails to include mechanical failures incurred. We did not realize this until we encountered two mechanical failures that could have cost us major losses. This travel insurance fails to cover normal losses during this tour; i.e. mechanical breakdowns or illness. This insurance is duplicate of insurance we already have. The Fantasy Tour VEHICLE PREPARATION CHECKLIST fails to provide adequate instructions regarding the preparation for road conditions in Alaska; i.e. protections for vehicles and their radiators of from rocks and stones. Note: Both WM and TG suffered disabling damage from radiator damage to their RV or TOAD. Overall we were terribly disappointed in the services provided by this caravan and will NEVER participate in another tour or caravan of this type again. If you absolutely want a caravan tour of Alaska, I recommend that you take an Alaskan tour with “ALASKAN DISCOVERY RV TOURS" which we hear about from fellow FMCA members after we return and told them our story. This caravan uses satellite phones for external communications and VHF radios for communication between members of the caravan that are not spread out over 40-60 miles like other tour groups. This tour company ensures that vehicles are prepared to prevent as much damage as possible prior to the trip. This company also emphasizes history and cultural elements of Alaska and not the Disney like tourist attractions.
tbutler posted a blog entry in Tom and Louise on Tour in North AmericaAdelaide is the largest city in the state of South Australia. It is the smallest of the five cities in Australia with a population over one million. It is located on the southern coast of Australia in the State of South Australia. The Murray River is the largest river in Australia and its mouth is just east of Adelaide. It was the Murray River that we crossed on a Ferry on our way into Adelaide. We have arranged to have some repair work done on the caravan at the Britz office in Adelaide on Monday morning. Somehow that has a familiar ring to it, where have I heard (or written) that before? Since we were arriving on Sunday, we needed to find a place to stay for the night. Louise set the GPS for the Big 4 Holiday Park in Adelaide. This time it didn’t work. There were two choices and neither was exactly correct so she picked the closest. When we couldn’t find the park, we drove on a bit further then pulled over and Louise called Big 4. They told us to put the address in the GPS as 6 Military Highway instead of the 1 Military Highway that is their actual address. Seems this was a common problem as they gave us the solution without hesitation. We were about 10 kilometers away! Sometimes mistakes turn out to be good events and this was the case here. Looking for a place to turn around I came upon a shopping center with a K-Mart. I had a list of things I wanted to get for the caravan that would make life a little better. The heat pump in the camper is working for a source of heat but it runs constantly and then kicks in and out making a bit of noise and vibration each time. It isn’t helping my sleep. Britz rents an electric heater, small floor model, for $7 per week which would be $70 in our case. I found one in K-Mart for $19 so that was a deal. It works great for the small space in the caravan and is not so noisy. Britz also rents bag chairs, for sitting outside. I picked up a pair for much less than they charge. I got some cleaning supplies so I can keep the windows clean and a container to store the gray water hose which they had lying on the floor in a storage compartment with the fresh water hose, a broom and bucket. That compartment is also where we store our duffel suitcases so I wanted to keep it clean and not have gray water leaking out onto all those other things. I couldn’t find a lens cap for my main camera lens. The one I’ve used for years finally broke. A small spring retains the lens cap in place holding it against the threaded inside surface and the plastic support pin that anchors the spring broke. I’ve checked several photo shops, everything is digital, most cameras they sell are compact digital cameras. I’m going to have to find a real camera store that sells to professionals. Personnel in the stores I checked gave me several suggestions, all in downtown Adelaide and I’m not taking the caravan there. The Big 4 Holiday Park in Adelaide is located right by the beach. We were separated from the beach by a row of dunes but could hear the surf in the park. Beach parks are always sandy and there is no way to keep the sand out of the caravan. We sweep several times a day when we are in these parks. I have a small rug for use outside the camper but even that doesn’t do the job to get rid of all the sand on our shoes or feet. It was windy at the park when we pulled in and overnight it rained. This wasn’t just a light rain, it rained and blew hard. There were puddles in the roadways when we left in the morning. I had watched a group of four young people set up a tent in the evening. I wondered how they slept during the night. Their tent was still up and there was no sign of them stirring in the morning so I guess they were finally getting some sleep.
Melbourne and the Great Ocean Road
tbutler posted a blog entry in Tom and Louise on Tour in North AmericaLeaving Melbourne we head southwest toward the coast and a road called the Great Ocean Road. It is a little more than a hundred kilometers to the coast. When we reach the Great Ocean Road we find a curving, hilly, narrow road. Reaching the ocean, we are rewarded with wonderful views of a spectacular coast. We spent three days on the Great Ocean Road. We found so many viewpoints that we were unable to stop at all of them. The coast in this area between Melbourne and Adelaide is rugged limestone which is being eroded away by strong waves. The nature of the limestone is to collapse once undercut by the waves. This produces cliffs all along the seaside. As the erosion proceeds, some areas are stronger than others and this leaves sea stacks, cliffs isolated from the shore. Some of these are small others quite dramatic, large and rugged. A region with many of these sea stacks has been named the Twelve Apostles. This area is quite popular with tour busses visiting along with hundreds of independent travelers. We joined the procession to view this concentration of sea stacks. There are multiple viewpoints as these cover a distance of over a kilometer. From one viewpoint only a few can be seen. Visiting multiple viewpoints allows one to see most if not all of them. We had wonderful weather, clear with a nice breeze. During our visit, helicopters flew a steady parade of sightseers by the cliffs. Their base of operation was right at the parking lot so people could simply walk from their car to the cliffs or to the helicopters. We walked to all the viewpoints and spent time enjoying the show. The waves formed powerful breakers against the rocks. The sound and the fury of the waves on the shore always amaze me and I lingered at each point to absorb all the action going on. By the time we finished this section of the drive, we had traveled only 100 kilometers and it was now time to find a campsite. Our second day we stopped for a rest stop in a small town along the route. Beside the public restrooms, there was a viewpoint of the wetlands and a small river. There were birds everywhere so we decided to take some time to identify a few new birds. But first we fixed a lunch and ate. Then it was off to walk the trail down to the river. A young lady next to us was arriving at the same time we started out and she noticed the bird book I was carrying. We struck up a conversation, she was from Quebec and was very interested in birds. We shared conversation at the viewpoint then she went on her way. A couple that was eating lunch on the deck at the viewpoint struck up a conversation and we spent another 15 minutes visiting with them. They were native Australians from near Adelaide. He was a mine safety advisor and we discussed our mining museum experience in Beaconsfield several days before. He remembered the details of the incident with the two trapped miners and we learned a great deal from him about mining in Australia. He has worked mines in many areas we will be visiting and his suggestions gave us ideas of where we could see more of the mines in Australia. Now we began our walk down to the river. By the time we had completed the walk we had identified five new birds and had a good look at our first Crimson Rosella, a spectacular red parrot. Half our day gone, we resumed our trip along the coast. This day there were arches and shipwreck sites and stories. At one point we walked down steps along the cliff to an inlet where we set our shoes aside and walked barefoot on the sand. Then it was off to another campground. Our campgrounds have been good places to stay but the internet access leaves much to be desired. At Apollo Bay, a change in the internet altered the password shortly after we checked in and we were not informed. With the office closed for the evening, there was no way to use the internet service. In Port Campbell the service worked occasionally and then would log of and we could not get back on until the next morning. Mount Gambier had a subscription internet service that cost $7 per hour or $20 for 24 hours. There were longer term options at better rates but I needed to know how widespread the service would be before committing to a long term contract. As a result, my postings have been delayed repeatedly and I remain posting our travel information with a time delay.
We’re Back in the Camper Again
tbutler posted a blog entry in Tom and Louise on Tour in North AmericaArriving at Britz at 7:45 a.m. we found the place locked up. It was not only locked up, the parking lot was gated and there was no place to leave the luggage when we got out of the cab. The driver suggested that we go to a shopping center a block north of the Britz office. We found a bench near the mall entrance and piled our luggage there. Here we were homeless, we just needed to find a shopping cart for our possessions! I waited while Louise went inside to find a cup of coffee. When she returned I set off for the Britz office. There were two agents working the desk and I was the third customer in the office. It took about ten minutes to get to the desk. After that, things went pretty smoothly. I selected a strong insurance policy as I had in New Zealand. The rental will last almost 80 days and involves traveling great distance on the left side of the road. Given these factors, I prefer to limit my liability rather than risk a large loss as a result of an accident. I discussed some of the problems we had with our campervan in New Zealand and they checked to make sure those things were addressed with this van. Then I got an orientation to the van. This one was similar but different in a number of ways. First, it was longer. There was a bench seat behind the driver’s seat and there were additional cabinets in the kitchen area as well as the rear. There is an air conditioner/heat pump unit in the roof, a higher ceiling and a TV! This caravan has dual tires and is geared much lower than the one we had in New Zealand. After the orientation I went to the shopping center to pick up Louise and our luggage. I parked the van at the outer part of the parking lot and retrieved the luggage one or two bags at a time. When I got to the last bag Louise came with me to see our new home. She looked it over and approved so I guess we’ll keep it. Now we are ready to stock this van with groceries and other supplies. There was a Coles Supermarket in the mall so we went in to get our groceries. I checked at the desk and picked up a prepaid phone for $19 Australian. Later I would activate it but not on the internet. The Telstra web site is for Australian residents, it doesn’t work for international travelers. Fifteen minutes on a pay phone (yes they still have pay phones here) and we have a working phone in Australia. Louise took her time and picked up the needed food items to get us started on our way. The cart was full to overflowing and the register tape could be used as a tail for a large kite! $220 Australian later we were ready to take on Australia in our caravan. We put an address in the GPS and we were on our way. Our first destination is the home of a couple that we met in New Zealand. Ian and Debbie shared many interests with us and they invited us to come visit them in Melbourne when we got to Australia. We kept in touch by e-mail and everything was set. We were about ten minutes from their house and drove there to meet Ian. We parked the caravan in their driveway and plugged in. Debbie was working and we wouldn’t see her until the evening. Ian fixed lunch for us and brought out his maps to talk about our coming travels. Debbie came home from work and we all settled around a table on the patio for more conversation. Debbie prepared a delicious dinner, a rack of lamb better than anything I’d ever had. After dinner we sat and talked for several hours before retiring for the night.