Suhail likes to hike with his buddy 'K2' and travel to less known destinations for tourism. He writes pictorial reports on both interests.
Returning to the Hubpages after a long time and to answer several questions regarding our recent RV experience, I would start from a short answer to those two questions straight-away: Yes, you should rent out a motorized RV and we fared very well indeed.
Please read on for our full experience and the reasons behind this conclusion.
We rented out a motorized RV from a well known RV dealer for an 8-day whirlwind trip to four national parks in Quebec maintained either by Parks Canada or by Société des Établissements de Plein Air du Québec (or Society of outdoor recreation establishments of Quebec - Sepaq for short) and to a provincial park in Ontario from August 28 to September 04, 2020.
The parks we visited were as follows:
1. La Mauricie National Park between Montreal and Quebec City, maintained by Parks Canada
2. Parc national des Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie, maintained by Sepaq
3. Saguenay – St. Lawrence National Marine Park, maintained by Parks Canada
4. Parc national du Fjord-du-Saguenay maintained by Sepaq
5. Darlington Provincial Park, maintained by Ontario Parks. We stayed here only for the overnight as we could not have parked the vehicle at our home only 2 hours away for overnight due to city by-laws. Still, we were able to enjoy the park in the wee hours of morning before returning the RV to the dealer.
Why an RV?
There were three options available to us for covering great distances, the farthest point of interest being 1100 km away, for enjoying the great parks of Quebec.
1. Since our two cars are mid-sized SUVs and neither was suitable for a family of 5, we could have rent out a family van or a family size SUV, stayed in operating hotels or inns near the parks (not all were operational during the pandemic), driven every single day into the park for the day use, and used public utilities there if and when needed.
2. We could have rented out a family van or a family size SUV, but instead of staying in hotels or inns, we could have reserved campsites in each park, which was one of our major interests, and used the public utilities in the campsites. This would have required that we carried maximum luggage in the vehicle, including items of personal use and of an all-out camping.
3. We could rent out a motorized RV, reserved RV campsites in the park, and used the RV as a base to put up a campsite and to explore.
We opted for the third option, primarily because during the period of the pandemic, we did not want to stay in hotels, motels, inns, etc. and use public utilities and also because we wanted to set up our tents within the RV campsite
There were 4 adults and a 4-year-old in the entourage and we rented out a 34 feet long RV for spaciousness.
1. During the period of COVID 19, we were sure that we were living under hygienic conditions with almost no interaction with other people, except when at the tourist attractions.
2. We had our home with us with almost all the facilities that you have in your home. This could not be packed in any family van or a family SUV, except by making hard compromises.
Please see the picture below.
3. We used the kitchen, showers, washroom, electricity, refrigerator, etc. just like we would at our home.
4. We easily returned to the RV if we forgot to take anything with us during a hike or while visiting an attraction, for lunch or tea whenever we wanted, and even when the weather became adverse during an adventure.
5. We were able to put up our tents and hammocks on sites where our RV was parked with built-in fire pits and barbeque grills. It was like having a camping experience in the backyard of your home with an added attraction of it being located at a prime outdoors location.
1. 34 feet long RV was a bit handful in the beginning. Needless to mention, we had trouble on first day reversing the big vehicle after making a turn on to a wrong track. My two children acting as spotters to help me reverse the vehicle and I seemed inexperienced for the task. It turned out to be a very stressful exercise. However, this was our only mishap. From there onward, my son as a spotter and I as a driver mastered the art of correct parking, three-point turn, reversing, and all other aspects of driving a large size RV.
2. We were able to take our long vehicle to every major attraction in the four parks, but we could easily see that not all parks and points of interest may be able to offer camping or parking for such a long vehicle (see the picture below). We were indeed saved by free public bus in Tadoussac, a quaint little village, when we wanted to visit some beautiful attractions within its limits. There was always that fear factor that we may not find parking at our next tourist attraction.
3. Compared to our normal vehicles, the vehicle was heavy, the drive was not smooth, it was noisy due to all the stuff it carried, and the passengers (not the driver) got a tad exhausted having to bear all those. This problem can be overcome by driving slowly in the extreme right lane and by taking frequent intervals.
Please read on.
If you want an experience with least troubles then try doing this:
1. Keep the first excursion to only one or two parks for gaining experience of an RV. Keeping the RV parked for an extended period of time in one park while one explores all the features and attractions of that park makes better sense to me.
2. Although a 34 feet long RV offers lot of space, for the first time, take a smaller RV, especially if you have a family that can be managed in that space. Apparently, a friend of mine had three adults and two teen-aged children in his entourage and he managed them well in a 24 feet long RV. However, when we surveyed a 24 feet long RV, it felt very claustrophobic.
3. If at all you want to explore and travel to a long distance attraction, camp at an RV site after following what we call a “4-hour rule”. This basically means that the maximum distance to the next attraction or RV park should be around 4 hours. This will save you (driver and passengers) from fatigue.
4. Keep a track of your (i) water supply, (ii) water use in kitchen, sinks, and showers (called grey water), and (iii) washroom waste discharge (called black water). Of these three, we found managing grey water to be most bothering. Since the use was high or perhaps it was small, grey water storage tank always got filled quickly and the water had to be dumped in the dumping stations every day. The dumping stations are centralized for the RV campsites and the RV has to be driven there, usually a short distance, for dumping both grey and black water. This is not a big issue, is easily manageable, but is still a hassle. By comparison, fresh water intake is provided at almost every RV camp site. Also note that fresh water and black water tanks have greater holding capacity.
In view of our out of this world experience of visiting Quebec in a motorized RV and considering both advantage and disadvantages, we fully recommend renting out an RV to explore the great outdoors.
Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent (author) from Mississauga, ON on September 22, 2020:
Great tips, Ifrah! Thank you for reading and leaving this comment.
Ifrah Zubaid on September 22, 2020:
I wholeheartedly agree with your tips! And I'd like to add - limit all the driving to day time, especially your first few days. That means arriving at your campsite well before sunset. Budget to arrive 1.5 hours before sunset so that in case your drive takes longer, you have ample time to arrive before dark. The winding roads and backing into campsites (if it's not a pull through campsite) can be tricky in the dark if you're a new RV driver.
That being said - this is definitely one experience everyone should try at least once in their life time :)
Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent (author) from Mississauga, ON on September 20, 2020:
Hi Peggy, Flourish, Heidi, and Linda,
It seems things have changed during my absence. I am unable to respond to each individual message. So here I am trying to respond to all of you.
Thank you for reading my hub! I was very nervous before the drive, but as soon as I took its possession from the dealer, I felt like real pro haha.
We did not take a tow car. We only used bus in Tadoussac on one day as the inclines and sloped were too much to negotiate and they were taking toll on our knees. For all other destinations, sufficient space was available for parking a long RV.
Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on September 20, 2020:
It's nice to read one of your articles again. I love the idea of staying in an RV during a trip, but I wouldn't want to drive one. The interior of the one that you rented looks very nice.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on September 20, 2020:
My parents used to own several different types of RVs. I have never driven one. That would be the most challenging aspect, I would think. It would be a great way to get around during a pandemic, however. Glad that you had a great time.
FlourishAnyway from USA on September 20, 2020:
Glad you are back. It sounds like quite an adventure. I’ve never gone on vacation in an RV, but my husband tells of a family vacation when he was a child that involved a rented RV. His parents misjudged the height of the vehicle and and underpass and scraped the thing up real good, nearly getting it stuck under the underpass. Their vacations were filled with moments like that and there was always frantic yelling back and forth as it was happening. It didn’t help that my husband’s dad insisted on driving yet could only do so with one arm due to a stroke. Crazy.
Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on September 20, 2020:
These days with the pandemic, I agree that RV-ing will make a bit of a comeback. It's a cool thing. But I have to admit that I'd be a wreck driving the darn thing. I'm reminded of the movie, "The Long, Long Trailer," with Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.
You mentioned you were able to use bus transport. Did you also rent or tow a car to avoid having to move the beast too many times? I'd probably do that.
Thanks for taking us along on your adventure! Have a great day!