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Old 11-19-2019, 06:04 AM   #1
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Overnight along I-70 in Indiana

Hi everyone,
My wife and I just got our first motor home, a class A, and will be driving it to south Texas in January, we live in Michigan's "thumb". Due to our late season purchase and cold and snow here in Michigan we have so far been unable to take a practice overnight run so this may end up being our maiden voyage!
The first day we plan to take I-69 to Indianapolis then west on I-70 toward Effingham IL. The next day we will go south on I-57 and I-55 headed toward Little Rock AK. We have driven this route many times in our car so we are familiar with it but would like to hear from other RV'ers who are also familiar with this route and could suggest overnight parking locations along the way. We do not plan to de-winterize the rig when we leave, so for at least the first two nights we will be 'dry camping".
Effingham IL is 500 miles from our home and would probably be the absolute furthest we would want to drive the first day. Ideally we would want to stop a little sooner, somewhere around Terre Haute IN. We just want a spot to stop and put out the slide, fire up the furnace and get some sleep and hit the road early again the next morning. Then repeat this for a couple more days until we get far enough south to stop in a park, de-winterize, and fill up the fresh water tank. I am thinking rest areas, Walmarts, Cracker Barrels, etc. Any and all thoughts/suggestions would be appreciated, thank you.
-Ken
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Old 11-19-2019, 06:31 AM   #2
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Overnight along I-70 in Indiana

Welcome to the RV experience! We are still newbies, we purchased our class A in spring of last year. Here are some things I have learned:
1. I set a limit of 300 miles per day. I had never driven an RV, and found it very tiring to drive. DH is legally blind. He helps as navigator.
2. We purchased an GPS specifically for RVís. You enter the size of your RV, and it will direct you around low bridges, or other obstacles. We purchased Garmin 770 RV.
3. We have used several apps on our iPhones that help us plan our route and find overnights stops.
RVParky
IExit
Rest Stops
OvernightRVParking
HighwayWeather
RV Trip Wizard. This is actually a website, and does cost about 40.00 per year. I found it well worth the cost. I use it to plan our route, and find RV Parks. I make reservations in advance of our trip.
Wishing you safe travel and a lovely winter in South Texas.
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Old 11-19-2019, 07:25 AM   #3
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We have stayed at Walmarts, Sam's Clubs, Cracker Barrel's, Truck Stops, Casinos, rest stops. In most cases we'll try and find a Walmart since there is usually plenty of parking and if needed a quick in/out for shopping.

Here is a website where you can find the NO Park Walmarts.
https://www.walmartlocator.com/no-park-walmarts/
Walmart allows overnight parking unless the city has ordinances against it.

We will also stop at truck stops but they tend to be busier and louder.
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Old 11-19-2019, 07:48 AM   #4
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Vibeman, hello from the west side of Michigan! We also are leaving in early January for Florida. Our coach has heated basement with our Oasis, before leaving the storage lot, I will blow out the pink stuff using the air from the coach, fill the fresh water tank and head out.

Never a heat issue while stopping at Walmart's along the way south. I pick a distance for the day, find an allowed overnight parking Walmart using Rvparky, then use google satellite to look at the parking lot find an away from the entrance spot, usually around the auto service area is good for us.

Instead of calling, we park go in fill our cart with supplies then find a store manager before checking out to ask permission to stay over night, always has worked, the full cart helps!

We enjoy coming your way staying at Caseville, safe travels
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Old 11-19-2019, 08:02 AM   #5
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500 miles might well be pushing it for a first trip ... but then again, a number of years ago, that is exactly what i did! If you want to try the longer day, and are willing to take a little detour (small in the scheme of things), there is a very nice campground just north of champaign. Called D and W lake campground. They are open, but no water (electric and a bath house). Also, somewhat west of indianapolis off of I74 in crawfordsville is KOA that is open year round.(you can hop on US231 in the morning and go south to I70. For quick overnight stops, i have grown to really like the Flying J truck stops, many of which (but not all) have dedicated RV parking in the front (NOT back with the trucks). There I have felt welcome and safe (and they have coffee!). I have not felt that way at walmart (though i have used them). There happens to be one of those Flying J stops in Effingham!

Best app i use to locate places is the Allstays Camp &RV app for smart phones. I use it every single trip.

This time of year my main concern is daylight. I prefer not to drive at night: it is harder to navigate, and the DEER are out. You dont want to hit a deer. If you have the time to take it slower, consider shorter days.

Also, depending on your unit, if you keep the heat on and the water heater running, you can dewinterize and have water! Its much nicer having water.
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Old 11-19-2019, 08:17 AM   #6
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Agree with other poster that you might find that 500 mile days in the RV is a totally different from a drive in a car. We try to limit our RV driving days to around 300 or less.

Good news is, winter has released here in central Indiana, so even if you find yourself camping around Indy, you should be able to de-winterize if you want.

Further good news, I-69 is much improved from Mich state line to Indy. Only serious construction is around Anderson about 30 miles north of Indy.

Finally we take the same route twice a year. Pretty easily with choices for CG's. For us we usually prefer a CG so we can at least plug into power.

So our first stop is either the Benton, il KOA along I-57, or Hilton RV Park in Miner, MO which is just north of the I-57 & I-55 interchange.

One advantage of Miner, Mo is Lambert's Cafe just down the road. After a day of driving, a big meal there will set you up for a nice night's sleep. Or not depending on how you handle their excellent but heavy fried food.

Steve
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Old 11-19-2019, 08:56 AM   #7
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Thanks

Thank you all for the informative replies.

I thought my RV info would be displayed in my post but it wasn't, so here it is:
2020 Thor Hurricane 29M

-Ken
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Old 11-19-2019, 09:17 AM   #8
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There are many options to dry camp on the way down South. When we leave from the thumb, IC area, Cairo, IL is about 650 miles and 1/2 way to Houston for us. There is a Reeves Boomland store on I-57, Exit 10 that has a decent parking lot and is always empty for late night stops.
With your MH, you can probably just drive until you get tired, then punch in the location for the nearest Walmart/truckstop.
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Old 11-19-2019, 10:17 AM   #9
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Congratulations on the new rig, I hope you have many fun and memory-building miles in your Hurricane.

I'd suggest you find an alternate, closer stopping point in your 500 mile travel days in case you decide that 2 or 3 more hours of driving isn't gonna work out. Having a Plan C isn't a bad idea, either.

Driver fatigue is like driving drunk in terms of impairment. You owe yourself, your family and others on the highways the best of treatment regarding sleep and fatigue. Getting to your destination later is better than getting to your Final Destination in a pine box.

Post back and let us know how your first trip goes... and if things turn to excrement, we're here to help out. There are thousands of iRV2 members and hundreds of us are on the forums every day. Whatever you encounter has been seen before (most likely) and chances are good that someone who had the same issues is here to assist.

Safe travels and good luck as you begin your adventures!
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Old 11-19-2019, 10:43 AM   #10
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When heading south - I pick how far I want to go, then used the Allstay for walmarts location / reviews for being able to overnight & google maps to get the layout of the parking lot "parking place to put out the bedroom slide over a grassy area "then call that store during the day to confirm". Not sure how you feel about driving at night because this is your maiden voyage - I like to leave between 2 to 8 pm and drive until midnight "200 to 400 miles", leave early the next morning so around 3pm the next day I'm somewhere 800 to 900 miles south for a nice campground stay "so it limits the time needed to dry camp".

One other note - make sure you turn off the water heater bypass or have a check list - made that mistake my first trip south.

Safe travels

https://www.allstays.com/c/wal-mart-locations.htm
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Old 11-19-2019, 11:11 AM   #11
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Where to stay going south on I57, I55 and west on I40

Seems like that if your coach is still "dry" you might want to stay at RV parks that have showers and bathrooms. Here are places that we have stayed before and would return too....

If you make it to Effingham, we like.
Camp Lakewood Campground & RV Park
1217 W Rickelman, Effingham, Illinois 62401


If you make it south of Effingham.
Whittington Woods Campground
at Benton, 14297 State Hwy 37
Whittington, IL 62897
618-435-3401

Farther south...
KOA Memphis on I55 is also a good place.

When you make it to Little Rock....
Little Rock North KOA


We use campgroundreviews.com to fine good places to stay.

Good Luck,

Jerry
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Old 11-19-2019, 01:10 PM   #12
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When we lived in North Eastern Iowa and headed south in January we always tried to go directly south to get to warmer weather then East or west. We also tried to have a couple of possible routes and dates in mind to avoid incoming storms or cold fronts. Anymore you can get a fair idea of incoming storms starting a week or two in advance of their arrival to central US. You then can start fine tuning final driving plans. You do not want to be driving during a winter storm.
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Old 11-19-2019, 02:53 PM   #13
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Being your first MH, consider planning for 350 miles the first day and a little longer after that. Daylight hours are short in January and it would be wise to avoid night time driving until you get used to your new ride. We left central WI in January several times and know the drill. We had/have a basement heater and always left with full fresh water. With proper precautions, it is easily done. You said you would fire up the furnace after you stopped. Why not fire it up the day before you leave and leave it on for comfort? We would warm up the coach and add water a day or two before we left. Never had a frozen pipe, even leaving in -17* weather. Traveling in comfort with water is a lot nicer than what you have planned.
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Old 11-19-2019, 03:46 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vibeman View Post
Thank you all for the informative replies.
I thought my RV info would be displayed in my post but it wasn't, so here it is:
2020 Thor Hurricane 29M-Ken
You can go to the User CP, then under Settings and Options select Edit Signature. You can then enter your information there and it will show up in every one of your posts. Unless you are an IRV2 supporter, you are limited to three lines.
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