Location: Williston, FL (High 75, Low 37)
Anyone who knows me “in real 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.
But there is one area where I freely 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.
I 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 planning 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.
My planning process has evolved over the past couple of years, and my motto is “the more information, the better.” In broad strokes, 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 if 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 take 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.