scouts-l Mail Archive for July of 2000: Trip planning and 15 passenger vans
William N. Dilla (wdilla@IASTATE.EDU
Thu Jul 13 2000 - 17:16:36 CDT
Seeing Roman's predicament and Barry's response re: 15 passenger vans made
me want to chime in.
First, with respect to Roman's case, I'd strongly urge trying to stay with
2 vehicles. If you can't get extra drivers, then work on the schedule for
your trip so you don't have to drive as much on the first and last days.
Perhaps you can talk the Scouts into an intermediate stop or two to break
things up for the drivers.
Why do I suggest this? It's because if you consolidate into one vehicle and
it breaks down, or worse, you get in an accident, you may find your trip
considerably delayed or even cancelled. This happened to us a couple of
years ago when the fairly new 12 passenger van we had rented broke down on
the road. I won't go into all the details here, but it was another 6 hours
and 40 miles of backtracking before we were on the road again, this time in
2 rental cars, which were all we could find. Depending on the time of day
this might have happened, it could have been much, much worse. If you do go
the single vehicle route, make sure it's in very good shape or if you can
afford it, rent from one of the national outfits. You will pay more than
from a local outfit (we had rented from a local car dealer), but the
advantage of the national chains is that they can come rescue you just
about any time, any place and get you on your way.
Now, about 15 passenger vans. I guess I'd beg to differ with my friend
Barry on the advantages of these. I'd only recommend renting them if you've
got people going along with experience driving them. We occasionally get
reminders from the safety people on campus about how driving a 15 passenger
van is different than an 8 or 12 passenger one, along with notices
encouraging us to sign up for a special class if we plan to be using the 15
passenger vans a lot. I've only driven a 15 passenger van once, from here
to Des Moines for a student group on a windy spring day, and found that
those safety people were right. Driving that thing was not a lot of fun.
I'd certainly think twice before heading on the road in one of these with a
bunch of Scouts (or anyone else for that matter), without taking the safety
class and doing some practice driving to get a better feel for the vehicle.
Finally, before writing this I took a look at the G2SS re: vans. There
aren't any specific restrictions on these, except in California where a CDL
is required to drive anything designed to carry more than 10 passengers.
Still, I'd be careful before loading up those 15 passenger vans.