Texas RV Rental

Motorhome Trip - Spring 2009 ...

RV Rental Trip (March 2009) -
We picked up our RV rental from
El Monte RV in McKinney, Texas
on March 10th to enjoy Spring
break and start our RV adventure.

The staff at El Monte was very
friendly and knowledgeable. After
a brief training video that detailed
the operation of the vehicle, we
inspected it and took a tour of the
RV with one of the staff.

rental RV was a 2009, 23ft.
Chateau Sport class C motorhome,
powered by a V10 gasoline engine.
The pictures to the right show the
exterior and interior views of the
motorhome, along with its floorplan.

This RV floorplan worked nicely for
our family of four. My son took the
cab over bunk, my daughter took
the dinette sleeper and my wife and
I took the queen bed in the back.
Rental RV - Outside
Rental RV - Outside
Motorhome  - Dinette Area
Motorhome - Swivel Chair
Rental RV - Kitchen
RV - Bathroom
Motorhome Floorplan
We brought the RV home and quickly got loaded up. The large storage compartment under the unit is
accessible from both a side panel and a panel at the rear of the motorhome. It is equipped with lights
and a fold-out table, hoses, leveling jacks and other gear. There was plenty of room to store camp
chairs, fire wood, outdoor cookstoves and other gear that we planned to use during our five night
camping trip through Oklahoma and Arkansas.

The map to the right shows our overall route during the five night
RV trip. We left the Dallas/Ft. Worth
area on the first leg of our journey. Our first stop was
Robbers Cave State Park, located just north of
Wilburton, Oklahoma in the Sans Bois Mountains. This was an easy three hour drive from Dallas. The
park is located in a beautiful area with great views, hiking trails, lots of interesting rock formations and
caves, and offers a wide variety of outdoor activities.
RV Trip Route
Campfire at Robbers Cave
Robbers Cave State Park
View Near Robbers Cave
RV Rental - Hiking Base Camp
Looking out from Robbers Cave
The Robbers Cave Hiking Trails
is particularly popular, and leads
you to the old outlaw cave that
the park is named for. Legend
has it that Jesse James and
some of his gang used to hold
up here.

The next leg of our RV trip took
us to
Petit Jean State Park
near Morrilton, Arkansas. The
motorhome handled well even on some of the narrower highways, and had plenty of pep going up the
hills. It took us about three hours to make the trip. About half of the trip was along I-40, and was smooth
sailing with the cruise control on and plenty of room to maneuver. This RV had a pretty nice stereo
system with AM/FM radio, CD Player, and a connection for a MP3 player, so we listened to our
favorite tunes as we cruised down the road.

We arrived at Petit Jean State Park at about 6 PM. Upon pulling into the park, the first thing we
noticed was that there was ice up in the tops of the pine trees. This was a beautiful sight, but the
first night was a little colder than we had expected, getting down to around 37 degrees F. However,
the furnace on the rental RV kept us nice and cozy, as we played board games, and slept that night.
This motorhome had a wall thermostat, similar to your house, where you could set it to a comfortable
temperature and it would come on and off as needed.

Both the furnace and stove run on propane, but the water heater and refrigerator could run on either
propane or electric. Even though we were gone five nights, and some of these were pretty cold, we
still had a 2/3 full propane tank when we returned the RV. For anyone familiar with Texas, Oklahoma
or Arkansas, you know that the weather can change rather quickly. The week prior to our trip it was in
the 70's in Dallas, but during our RV trip the high temperatures only ranged between 48 and 55 and
the lows ranged from 37 - 43 degrees F.
Cedar Falls Overlook
Petit Jean State Park - Entrance
Rental RV at park entrance
Natural Bridge - Seven Hollows Trail
RV at our campsite
Petit Jean Scenery
We spent three nights camping at Petit Jean State Park and had a wonderful time hiking many of the
trails. This is a
beautiful park with great trails and scenery. Trailheads are located throughout the park.
The motorhome was great because we could be disconnected from our campsite in about five minutes
and be on our way to a trailhead or area of interest. Once there, we would park the RV and set up kind
of a base camp. This way we had a restroom, food, clothing or any other supplies that we might need
close at hand. We would then hike or explore and come back to the RV for lunch or to rest and get
warm before venturing off again or traveling to a different location. This allowed us to cover much more
of the park than we would have otherwise.

The last leg of our
RV vacation took us to Crater of Diamonds State Park. This is located in
Murfreesboro, Arkansas, as we made a quick stop on our way back to the Dallas area. From Petit
Jean State Park it took us about three hours to get there. I was impressed with the motorhome's ease
in handling and acceleration on some of the hills and curves. The main attraction at Crater of
Diamonds State Park is the diamond field or mine located there, but it also has hiking, fishing, and a
nice campground. Since 1972 over 26,000 diamonds have been found at Crater of Diamonds.

Our time was limited on the way home, so we only stopped in for an hour or so to see the diamond
field first hand. This gave us enough time to watch a video orientation at the information center and
spend a little bit of time exploring the plowed diamond field. On this trip we found some interesting
rocks, but unfortunately no diamonds.

Afterwards, the shower located on the outside of our motorhome came in handy for washing off rocks
and muddy boots. Also, the RV's cargo bay was a great help for storing some of our muddy equipment.
Crater of Diamonds State Park
Diamond Mine Entrance
Diamond Field
Find Diamonds and More
Searching for Diamonds
Along the way, I learned a valuable lesson while dumping the tanks, that I'd like to pass on to you.
Always check and make sure that the valves are completely closed before removing the drain cap and
attaching the dump hose. In our case it turned out that the grey water valve was partially open (thank
God it wasn't the waste water valve), so water started coming out when I removed the drain cap. After
the initial surprise, I quickly regained my senses and closed the valve. I then connected the dump hose
and resumed dumping the tanks without anymore surprises.

All in all it was a great motorhome trip. We covered a little over 800 miles on this RV vacation and
created some great memories with our kids. During the trip we enjoyed some great hiking and scenery,
relaxed by the campfire, and stayed warm and cozy in the RV while eating, playing games and
watching movies. During the cool evenings and the occasional evening rains, we were warm and
comfortable in our 23 ft. Chateau Sport rental RV.

Back in Dallas, the return process went smooth and quick. We found El Monte RV in McKinney,
Texas great to work with, and look forward to renting an RV from them again. Happy RVing!
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