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Old 06-23-2005, 08:21 PM
sixto's Avatar
smoke gets in your eyes
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 20,793
driving an RV

We're thinking of driving an RV for an long-distance trip, SF Bay Area to Vancouver, BC and back. Not that we need an RV here, there or in between but it should be more comfortable than a van.


- what class/weight vehicles can we drive with California class C licenses?

- are RVs subject to truck speed limits or car speed limits? There's a 15mph difference in some parts of California. I don't know about the rest of the route.

- what mpg can I expect on a 1000 mile route including the Cascades for Diesel? For a gasser?

- is the maximum passenger capacity of an RV limited to the number of seats with seatbelts? Can we travel with more than 4 people in an RV that sleeps 4?

- is it mandatory for rear cabin passengers to wear seat belts when on the road? Does it vary by state? I see through the rear window of RVs kids seated around a table playing board games, etc. They don't seem to be wearing seatbelts. I assume law enforcement sees the same thing I see.

- is it legal to lie in bed during the trip? Are there seatbelts (bedbelts?) like on airline bunks?

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Old 06-23-2005, 08:26 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Houston, TX
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Sounds cool, are you gonna get a 40-footer with a Detriot Diesel? That's the kind of RV I hope to drive one day.
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Old 06-23-2005, 08:49 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Seattle, WA
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Our neighbor used to have a Ford 6.8 L V-10 30+ foot pusher and he had only a class C license. I think the class C restricts you to 2 axles and so you're technically a car and can drive in the left lane if you have the HP and the credit limit to do it. Anything more than 2 axles is class B or A...I can't remember which. Most of the RV's are built around regulations so that vacationers don't have to sit with aspiring truckers at the DMV for 6 hours. Regardless of how you get to BC, RV's are easy radar targets

It's a nice drive from SF to the Border. Are you taking highway 1 or 5?
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Old 06-23-2005, 10:00 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: North Dakota
Posts: 14
As far as I know you can drive any RV with your current license. I drive my 40 foot Prevost with air brakes and tandem rear axles all over the place without trouble, at the posted car speed limit as well! It is governed to 75 mph so speeding is not much of an option on the interstate. I have talked with a few police about it and I am quite legal even when I have the trailer on the back. It's not nearly as bad to drive as it would seem.
Fuel milege is terrible, 4-6 mpg in the gasser if you are lucky, a diesel will do better, mine with a 450hp detroit does 8-9 mpg.
I don't know the legality issues on seatbelts, I know that if I am not driving I definitely will not be just sitting there, I'll be napping in the back, fixing a sandwich or cleaning up etc. The best way to travel there is in my opinion.
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Old 06-23-2005, 10:42 PM
Diesel Power
Posts: n/a
I concur. The Class A, B anc C thing was dropped in favor of the CDL. All R.V.'s are covered under your standard license. I purchased a retired Texas A&M transit bus a couple of weeks ago, and drove it home, all seats in place, without any concerns. The seats are out now, and I officially have private bus plates on it as of yesterday. While I do have a CDL, anybody with a drivers license can now drive my bus - if I were to let them. Mine is a 37 foot diesel pusher - powered by the "mighty Cummins 555 V8 turbodiesel engine." 3800 RPM at it's top speed of 60 mph!!!

I do advise that you find a place that will "show you the ropes" if you are looking at a larger vehicle. They do require different driving technique, so that you don't run over every curb when you are making turns. It took me about 10 minutes to get driving my bus down pat.
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Old 06-23-2005, 11:08 PM
Wodnek's Avatar
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Southeast Wisconsin
Posts: 1,661
Technicly all passengers are to be buckeled in while RV is in motion. If you drive in a safe manner though I doubt you would get messed with. My 28' Barth with a 454 Chevy in it gets 7-8, or 6-7 towing. It is as aerodynamic as a brick.
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Old 06-23-2005, 11:22 PM
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Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Sarasota, Fl.
Posts: 3,112
Your mileage will depend on the size (for the most part).

Once we squeezed almost 10mpg on a 33.75' Holiday Rambler.

Years ago the Vixen (powered by a BMW Diesel) got around 21 mpg, but you had to walk around hunched over inside. Neat looking RV though.

Some of the C class motorhomes can see over 10mpg.

Figure out what size RV you will be using, and the guesses will be little closer to the truth.

Have Fun! (and don't forget to learn where all the plumbing fixtures are - nothin worse than being out in the middle of nowhere and have a full potty)

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