American Road Trip Update


 For those of you thinking of following us down this route, a short update on progress and procedure…

The motorhome is n ow booked to depart from Antwerp for Baltimore.    Vessels depart on Wednesdays and arrive in Baltimore 15 days later.   The vehicle must be in Antwerp at least two days before departure (Noon on Monday at the latest).  It will be available to pick up 2 to 3 working days after arrival in Baltimore at which point various formalities need to be completed as you would expect.

Shipping cost is €47 per cubic metre and by all accounts they measure carefully.  This is with Seabridge who specialise in Motorhome shipping around the world.  They also have the advantage of allowing you to ship all your equipment inside the vehicle as long as it is out of sight i.e. in cupboards or the garage etc.  Gas tanks to be empty and diesel less than a quarter full.

Today has been a major form filling exercise plus a visit to the Post Office to acquire two International Driving Permits (£5.50 each) a requirement for the US Insurers.  A short run down of the paperwork:

  • North American Motor Insurance for 6 months(cost as yet unknown)
  • Shipping insurance (0.9% of value of vehicle)
  • EPF form and ISF forms – required for export and import

Seabridge have provided lots of useful information on dropping off and picking up the vehicle.  They have also provided the location of where to get gas and the nearest Walmart after leaving the harbour. I have plotted the various locations into a North American RV version of CoPilot.  I have also booked our first two nights accommodation in the motorhome after pick up at Capitol Koa just outside Washington and around 20 miles from the pick up.

All this has resulted in a slight change in route planning – you can see the route stages under the drop down menu North American Road Trip

Still to do – vehicle service (not habitation, did that recently), fit additional locks on the garage doors and also a lock inside the vehicle for the door separating the living and sleeping areas as we will be using the under bed storage for various items.  Nothing valuable will be in the vehicle in terms of electronics, computers, cameras etc when it is shipped.

18 Responses to American Road Trip Update

  1. Eddie Strong December 30, 2016 at 10:00 am #

    Have a supa dupa trip Chris and Annie. All we can do is trundle orft down to Espana.

    With our brestest wishes. EdLyn

    • ceejayt December 30, 2016 at 12:17 pm #

      Thanks. Great that you are still trundling on. We must catch up some time, we had such a good time in those Moroccan trips

  2. lan GrayA December 30, 2016 at 12:09 pm #

    Hi Chris, just thought I’d drop a line, we have been following your blog for a while, reason being we ordered a new Elysian a while ago and just taken delivery after waiting 14 months! up to now I have a list of 17 items that need looking at, but I’m sure they will sort them out for us, I must say though their handover was dreadful to say the least, and not having a manual on the vehicle I thought ridiculous, Mick says he’s working on it.
    The main reason for me contacting you is to say that we did the US for over 7 years
    we bought and kept our own RV in the US and would put it into storage when we came home for a break, we have traveled to 48 States, so have now seen about all we want to see. It was the best thing we ever did.
    What we did we joined an organisation called Thousand Trails, there are different deals, ours was $3000 up front then $500 per year, they have hundreds of campsites, we could stay for 4 days free and go from site to site for 4 days at a time, if you stayed longer you had to be out for a week before returning to another site, we used to do this then 2 weeks before going home we would stay on a site (free) near to the departing airport and leave the RV in storage on the campsite at say $50 per month including my car, our deal saved us thousands of Dollars. there are different deals but ours suited us. You can actually buy a lifetime deal, if you go on US eBay you will find lifetime memberships for sale at various prices, I would do that if I were you.
    If you would like any tips, just give me a call.
    All the best Alan & Denise

    • ceejayt December 30, 2016 at 12:16 pm #

      Thanks for this. Need to digest it and will get back to you in more detail

    • ceejayt December 30, 2016 at 9:35 pm #

      Hi Alan and Denise

      I wouldn’t hold your breath for a manual. So many variations and so many changes to equipment I think it would be out of date by the time you got it. I guess, like me, you have a couple of big bags of individual manuals. They really should make up for this with an excellent handover process and no excuse for not doing that well – have you fed that back to them?
      17 sounds like a big list, I am guessing none particularly serious but annoying. Funnily enough,. have just dropped mine off at RS because my bathroom radiator sprung a leak and was dumping antifreeze on the bathroom floor when it was on – hence, no Aldi heating and hot water. I put that down to ‘one of those things’ – these are complicated bits of kit and stuff does go wrong.
      Your seven year experience sounds great. We did try a couple of weeks in Canada with a hired RV and hated it – that was what pushed us over the edge to take our own vehicle. Not the cheapest option but easier in many ways – no worries about buying a lame duck in the US and having to sell it at the end plus all our home comforts.


      • Alan Gray December 31, 2016 at 10:36 am #

        Hi Chris, have a look at this site, this is a 50% discount for camping in the US, we joined this club as a back up and it turned out well for us.
        I will be taking ours over to RS next week, there are quite a few serious things that need looking at, we were supposed to have a gas generator, and we got a petrol one, and to top it off the petrol tank was cracked and all the petrol leaked out, so for our first trip we had no generator, we have the macerator toilet, to be honest it’s useless. The grey tanks had no way to empty them, turned out the plumber had forgot to fit the drain valves! lucky we had the pump away system and we had to pump the grey over to the black tank, Solar panels not working, fitted the wrong size satellite dish, wrong size awning, plus lots of little things, so we are not impressed with RS, Mick has been keeping his head down and Alison has been taking the flack, well I’m sure we’ll get it right in the end.
        Sorry to bore you with our troubles.
        Hope your trip goes well for you, you are going to love it, there is such a lot to see over there, one tip, don’t try to do to much at once, take it nice and easy and enjoy it. also if your stuck for a campsite, Wall-marts will let you stay overnight at most of their stores, if you buy a Wall-marts US map you will get a list of all their stores nation wide, we stayed at loads of them with no problems, they have 24 hour security, so you are save, all they ask is you park at the perimeter, out of the way, but there’s always loads of room.

        • ceejayt December 31, 2016 at 11:14 am #

          Wow, that’s quite a list. We have a gas generator – it is excellent and saves having three file types to worry about. Note for you – we have two gas tanks – we had a problem with gas pressure valves on ours – it was pumping too much gas because of the pressure – this stopped our Alde heating working. In the end we decided to separate the gas usage so we have our smaller tank for the generator only and the larger tank for fridge/cooking etc
          We have the macerator toilet – we don’t have the ‘pump away’ system – didn’t know that was available – would like to have that as we have to clean out our big grey black waste pipe by opening the grey water and running it through it – all a bit manual. Is the pump away system expensive?
          Awning – we got an electric one when we didn’t ask for it – but it didn’t work and actually I asked them to put a manual one on – too much hassle if the electric one broke. I hope they sort all these problems out for you – I am sure they will. We have an ongoing issue with our sensors which indicate the state of the grey and black tanks poorly – doesn’t bother me too much but am asking them to have a look at this next week.
          Thanks for the tip about passport America – will have a look at that now – sounds like a good thing to do and will take your advice – we have lots of things planned but have agreed we will do what we can and not try to do everything!

          • Alan Gray December 31, 2016 at 12:43 pm #

            The pump away system is only another £300 but it may be a bit more for you now as there will be a bit more plumbing to do, but all it does is let you pump the grey over into the black tanks, but there is a flaw in the system, say for instance you have just primed your black tank with chemicals, you then have a few showers, as in my case I do a lot of serious cycling and use the shower a lot, you then have to pump over the grey to the black hence filling up the black tank, you then have to empty it, so you then loose all your chemicals you have just put in!! that is why you need to be able to empty your grey tanks separately, if I were you I would just ask them to put emptying vales on the 2 grey tanks, thats what I’m doing, you can still drain over to the black if you want, basically its just to clean the black tank, but you can do this buy throwing a bucket of clean water down the toilet, job done.
            My macerator toilet is a waste of time, at times it will not flush the solids, it just stays there looking at you! at times I have had to poke it down with a stick, not good, so something is wrong, also when I come to empty the black tank, as when I open the valve it seems that there has been a build up of pressure as it explodes out, so maybe thats why the toilet does not work properly, I think it needs a vent fitting, who knows, well enough of that, they will just have to sort it.

            Another tip, when you get to your first National Park you need to but an annual pass for $85 this is a lot cheaper than paying at every park you visit 🙂 also the best State for scenery by far is Utah, Bryce canyon, Zion NP, canyon lands, The Arches NP, also views of the north rim of the Grand canyon, and lots more.

          • ceejayt December 31, 2016 at 12:52 pm #

            Another good tip, thanks.

            Our set up is slightly different to yours. We have one grey tank and that has an emptying point – all works fine. Our black tank has a three inch hose connection and that empties fine too. Currently we disconnect the black hose after emptying and then place it under the grey tank waste outlet to flush it out. As a system it works fine but a little more messy than I would like. The American system we had was ONE hose and two emptying handles. Pull one and it emptied the black and pull another and it emptied the grey through the same pipe then disconnect and put away – much more efficient.

            Macerator toilet – unfortunately I don’t think it was a fitting problem as ours works the same i.e. not always great at emptying the solids (what a fun conversation we are having!). I find best result is to put plenty of water in first (use the fill water but not flush button) before assuming the position. They are just not perfect. The thing that made us laugh is that the toilet manual says it is “practically silent” – that must be for a deaf person!

          • Alan Gray December 31, 2016 at 1:24 pm #

            Yes, our American RV was the same, very simple system and worked great, and yes the toilet is a bit noisy, we will try that tip and put more water in it before flushing, but I’m not a fan of it.

            As yours, our sensors do not work either, and haven’t from day one, thats on the list.

            We have 3 switches on the side panel, one to operate the front blind, but I do not know what the other 2 are, one shows a fan with two positions, the other is an on or off with blue and red, do you know what there for?

          • ceejayt December 31, 2016 at 1:35 pm #

            I don’t mind the toilet, other half definitely not a fan – will end that topic there!

            Sensors – they changed our black tank sensors to three prongs (instead of the screws in the side of the tank) but is still poor – have asked them to look at this again as it should be improved now.

            Switches – you did have a poor hand over. The fan is to help you clear the side windows – it is quiet in operation but when turned on you should feel some air coming out of the vents by each of the seats. I believe the Alde system is fed through to this area. In my old Elysian those vents used to get hot when we were driving whether the heating was on or not. The red and blue switch I believe isolates this bit of the heating – to be honest I can’t remember as it is a year since they told me and I haven’t used them. That is where a manual would help on stuff like that.

  3. Alan Gray December 30, 2016 at 12:23 pm #


    Alan Gray here again, just a point, when you sort out your insurance in the States you may need a US address, I know we did, but ours was registered in the US, but if you do, there is an address in Florida that you can use, they are, RVMCA mail service, 413, Walnut Street, Green Cove Springs, Florida, the Guys name is Scott
    All the best

    • ceejayt December 30, 2016 at 1:42 pm #

      Thanks but this is all sorted by Seabridge as part of the package. Yet to find out the cost but hoping it won’t be outrageous

    • ceejayt May 5, 2017 at 4:47 pm #

      Thanks. Seabridge organised us but very expensive. Dare not tell you how much for 6 months. Based on value of vehicle is the problem

  4. Alan Gray December 31, 2016 at 1:54 pm #

    Thanks, I wondered what they were for. and yes the side vents do get hot when driving plus the hot tap water gets heated at the same time, I’ll keep you posted on the outcome at RS.
    well I’ll leave you in peace now, all the best for the new year, hope we can meet up sometime on our travels.

    • ceejayt December 31, 2016 at 1:56 pm #

      Meet ups would be good. Hot water should get hot when driving – stick the switch to blue if you don’t want a hot vent.

      Happy New Year!!

  5. RS Motorhomes January 3, 2017 at 10:54 am #

    Hi Chris & Alan,

    Hope you both are well!

    Firstly it’s so great to see two customers so passionate about their RS motorhomes and we are very excited to find out how each of your travels unfold.

    Firstly we’d like to apologise for anything that may have prevented your handover from being less than perfect, as you can imagine it is an extremely busy time for us at RS Motorhomes however this is never an excuse for a poor handover to any customer. As a handover is something we take great pride in doing.

    We are sorry to hear about these issues Alan and we will do all we can to correct these issues once the vehicle is returned to us. In regards to any other technical issues you may have, it’s very difficult to diagnose a problem without looking at them which is something our service bay will deal with accordingly.

    Moving forward with your vehicle Chris the Elysian was originally booked into our service bay for February. To get your Elysian turned around as fast as possible for you the motorhome has now gone into the service bay as of this morning for the issues stated.

    We wish you both the very best of luck with your adventures (please keep us updated) and we hope to see you both soon.

    Safe travels

    RS Motorhomes

    • ceejayt January 3, 2017 at 8:35 pm #

      Thanks Callum, much appreciated

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