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Adelaide Shores, Avon Park, FL

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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Planning Ahead

Location: Williston, FL (High 75, Low 37)

Anyone who knows me “in reIMG_0424al life” will tell you that I am a pretty laid-back person. If we were to get some unexpected company, they would more than likely see a couple dishes in the sink. I am more likely than Harry to leave my sweatshirt draped over the back of a chair, or forget to hang my hat on the hook where it belongs. Flirt male

But there is one area where I IMG_0480freely admit that I am pretty anal, and that is when it comes to planning our traveling route, and the places where we will stay along the way. I really admire those people who just hop in the truck and drive down the road in whatever direction they feel like going, and just figure out where they will stay when they feel like stopping. But it’s just not me.

IMG_0446I have actually gotten more careful, not less, as we have experienced life along the road. When we bought our fiver, those who have been following along for awhile may remember that we traveled down to Tennessee to pick the rig up and bring it home to NY. I was a newbie at trip IMG_0449planning then, and after coming up with our route, we looked for places to stay along the way. I thought I was being pretty discerning, as I looked at the campground websites checking out their descriptions and pictures. Well, yeah…now I know better. I do not rely on the campground’s own website anymore. To be charitable, let’s just say that sometimes they are looking at their access roads and sites with different colored glasses than I am.

IMG_0622So anyway, that’s a really long-winded way of saying that I have started planning our trip north to Lancaster, PA and then over to Sioux Falls, SD in April.

 

My planning process has evolved over the past couple of years, and my motto is “the more information, the better.” In broad IMG_0461strokes, it goes like this. We have not yet been at the point where we are traveling without a destination….so, since we have a fixed endpoint in mind, the first step for me is to figure out the route. Harry and I prefer to travel on highways whenever possible, and we like to stick to somewhere between three and four hours of traveling time per day. I’ve gotten pretty good at knowing what that looks like on a map, so I just pick a spot and start looking at campgrounds in that area.

We like campgrounds that are easy to get to from the highway, and IMG_0497if they have pull thrus, that’s a bonus. Whatever highways we are traveling on, Harry checks them out in our Motor Carriers Road Atlas, where they have a whole section dedicated to low clearance areas for every state. I check out any reviews I can find for the campground – google reviews, rv park reviews, and any others that are out there. I know you have to IMG_0507take reviews with a grain of salt, but if I see stuff like “low hanging trees”, “tight turns”, “sites that are hard to get in or out of”, we are more likely to give it a pass. Reviews that say “noisy”, “someone was rude”, “a lot of seasonal campers”…we don’t tend to worry about those so much. Those are so subjective, and anyway, we are moving on soon. I’m more concerned about “can we get in and out safely in one piece.” To that end, we also put the address in Google Earth and check out the route between the highway and the campground.

So anyway, as you can probably tell, we spend a little time doing advance planning, but to us it’s worth it. As Benjamin Franklin said, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

It won’t be long now, and we’ll be heading on down that (checked out) road. Smile

11 comments:

  1. I tend to be like you and like to "have a plan" when we travel.
    We are also heading for South Dakota in April. We will be leaving Indiana sometime towards the end of the month. We have to be at Mt. Rushmore on May 2nd to start work but don't want to rush it. :-)
    When are you guys planning on heading there?

    Phil

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    1. We will be leaving Lancaster PA and heading toward SD on April 15th. So probably will arrive in Sioux Falls around the 23rd or thereabouts. I think we are going to stay at the Tower Campground.

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  2. Kathy does all the planning for our trips because not all campgrounds are big rig friendly. So until you decide on settling down and downsizing your rig keep up the good work. Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

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  3. I agree. I like to have some reservations for stays at popular places or near the National Parks. Not that we have made very many trips yet. )) I find that we pay higher rates when we look for a place to stay while on the road that day.

    For our April trip, I am not going to make reservations for the first three nights because we will be just doing some hard driving and are going to try some Walmart Boondocking. Once the blinds are down and the door is locked it doesn't much matter to me what the area around the RV is like as long as it is level and legal.

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    1. Yeah, if we didn't have the cats we might try some Walmart overnighting. It just doesn't work for us with them along. (But they're worth it. :) )

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  4. Planning is good. We have to write our plans in jello though...they often get squished and we end up editing the plans on the road. We just need to see how much John can tolerate each day.

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  5. I plan out our route and stopovers before hitting the road, and we stick to main highways where possible. I even go so far as to write out our route on a piece of paper for each day - highway connections, etc. - all the way to our destination. Do you use rvparkreviews.com? That's a good site to see what a park is really like as opposed to their own Web site. You won't be that far from us when you're in Lancaster. Where are you staying there?

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    1. We are going to be staying at Old Mill Stream Campground in Lancaster. :) Yes, I use rvparkreviews.com all the time. I love that site!

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  6. Ditto :) I can spend hours planning the next stay. Have done all of the above, George isn't interested in the research, he just says 'point me in the right direction'. :) So far we haven't been too far off in our choices!

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  7. planning is a lot of work but half the fun too!
    those easy in and easy out campsites are the best ones, especially on travel days!

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  8. Travel planning is one of my new-found hobbies since we hit the road. Like Laurie and George, I do all the research and Paul just asks for directions. Our plans are always written in chalk, of course. We love rvparkreviews.com, but have found fellow travelers to be the best sources of recommendations for places to stay and things to do along the way. Happy planning!!

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