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Old 11-08-2015, 08:25 AM   #15
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Well we figure what our final destination is. Or maybe some stops in between. Point out 40' coach & toad in that direction. Very little planning. Just pay attention where you turn into.

Worse case is you will have to unhook to get out. That no big deal either. Anyone you inconvenience will most likely think it is funny and you never see them again anyway.

That much time planning is not our way to travel. We have found many of the neatest attractions on the smaller roads. Ask at your last campground for local attractions.

One of our best friends plans every stop before leaving home. In my opinion they miss some cool attractions.

But no matter how you do it this USA is one beautiful place. Enjoy.


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Old 11-08-2015, 08:28 AM   #16
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Stay on the interstates, unless you are sure of surface roads. Drive in the center lane if possible. I find most state highways when passing thru small towns can have some serious right turns as the routing weaves thru the various surface roads. Avoid rush hour driving thru any city. Avoid snowbird migration dates... end of month driving south, first of month driving north. Make your Florida/Arizona/S Texas winter reservations a year in advance. NEVER program your GPS with a city as a destination or waypoint, use a specific address/location instead. The directions will lead you to the courthouse or to the center of town, when your real intention was merely to pass thru the town remaining on a major highway/interstate. I use Google Earth, rather than Maps, to fly my route ahead of time. Google Earth uses real satellite and surface photographs rather than diagrams. Street view can give you an excellent idea of campground and truck stop entrances/exits. I always scout out my fuel stops and next campground the night before. Remember your fuel range with a DP is at least 5-600 miles, so plan to get fuel at the easily accessible truck stops. You only need to stop for fuel once a day at most. If you must use the auto pumps at a local gas station, NEVER enter the station unless you can visualize your exit. Keep driving. Gas Buddy is great, but don't get suckered into finding the best price... manytimes the best price is several miles off the interstate and not convenient/accessible with a big rig. Exploring is why you drag a toad along, don't try to use your DP to sightsee. Walmarts are very accessible to big rigs for shopping/lunch breaks, etc. Although I love Cracker Barrel, they are NOT accessible to big rigs, don't even try! Beyond all that, enjoy the ride... you're retired now!

Kent & Sue & Pecos
2010 Allegro Bus 43QRP
Formerly 2004 Itasca Horizon 40AD
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Old 11-08-2015, 08:41 AM   #17
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My rule is stay on interstates or major state highways, don't go on back roads touring with the coach use your toad, gas up at truck stops where there is a frequent turn over of gas, not small local gas stations, I also use rvpark reviews and check out what the writer is using for an rv ie: if the guy says its a great place to "camp" and he has a tent or pop up camper maybe I don' t want that place. And if I plan to stay at a place for more than a day or two I try to ask opinions on a rv forum or even see it first if possible.
07 Itasca Ellipse 40fd, 2014 Honda CRV, greyhound lab mix, pit pointer mix(RIP bessie) , shar pei mix, stupid cat, wife
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Old 11-08-2015, 09:38 AM   #18
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When you get your new rig, take it out and drive it locally.
Start in a big (empty) parking lot if you can. Get to know how it handles, turning radius, brakes and visibility through the mirrors. Back it up. Then drive it on local 2-lane highways (that you have driven you car on) and move onto your local streets.
Once you get to "know" your new rig, you won't be so worried about the routes. "visualizing", as stated above, will be easier because you KNOW what you can get/fit through.

We full-time. We plan our basic route on Google Maps and head out. We don't over think it. I think people have gotten too hung up on GPS systems. Used to be the trusty "Rand McNally" and hit the road. Those days are gone. We like side trips, too. We see an exit for an interesting place and take it. You can't "plan" for all the attractions along the way. It is supposed to be an adventure, right?

We take our 42' DP with a toad (dolly) just about any where. Been through some pretty tight places. Tight, windy 2-lanes. Been on gravel and dirt (in Yellowstone - construction). Parked in house driveways that took 4-point turns to get into (and out of). Have had to pull the toad off twice to back out of dead-end drives. We took our old 35' gasser through a residential neighborhood outside of New York City a few years back (oops) - REALLY tight turns - but made it.

Get comfortable and enjoy the ride!
Mike and Carla
1998 42' Overland Larado Diesel Pusher
On the road - here and there - Full Timing
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Old 11-08-2015, 10:06 AM   #19
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"Take it just about anywhere"? Better you than me, no thanks.
07 Itasca Ellipse 40fd, 2014 Honda CRV, greyhound lab mix, pit pointer mix(RIP bessie) , shar pei mix, stupid cat, wife
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Old 11-08-2015, 11:22 AM   #20
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I really never worry about it. We pull a 24 foot Box behind us and go just about anywhere. Sometimes we look at the street or satellite view on google to confirm locations and access. Once I had a bit of trouble in a parking lot that was really tight and had to do several backups to get around the big boulder they put on the ends of each aisle.

I figure that if the delivery truck or garbage truck goes down the road so can I.

Our biggest fun rides are to set the Garmin for shortest route, dirt roads OK and set a weigh point on the map and push go. Now sometimes we meet up with limit signs of 10 or 15 tons or railroad humps or low bridges. All that just adds to the fun of the trip. The we just hit detour and follow a new route.

On one of our cross county experiences, we left "world end state park" in PA and traveled north to Burlington PA to get to rt 6. PA*DCNR*-*Worlds End State Park , Rt 6 is one of the countries most beautiful scenic roads. we picked shortest distance and traveled through back woods dirt roads for over two hours. some place were so tight we wondered if the road was ending. There was no way we could turn around and the signage indicated that the road were not plowed in the winter. I was really glad to finally see a paved road even if it was narrower than my driveway.

It was the most beautiful trip ever and the most challenging. this is not a trip for everyone but if you feel that you can handle you rig why not.
La Dagobago
99 36 FL Winne Chieftain 5.9 ISB Turbo Cummins DP, 24' box with 1972 V12 XKE Jag and HD Sporty Hobby of 1970's Suzuki dirt bike restoration. Visit my blog.
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Old 11-08-2015, 12:32 PM   #21
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Primary non-issue is fuel... gotta have it - non-issue to get it if you work it right.

I imagine you will be able to drive, depending on grades, roads and traffic conditions somewhere between 700 to a 1,000 miles on a tank of diesel.
Unless you are going to be parked for a month or more, there isn't much reason to fill up prior to stopping for a few days or even a couple of weeks. And that's only if you're in a humid area likely to grow algae in your tank.

I usually fuel up when we leave an area. We take the toad out and about and usually find a suitable fuel stop before heading out. One that the MH and toad can easily negotiate. Sometimes we even take advantage of the Subway or whatever food establishment they have on site. Annie goes in and gets breakfast while I fuel up. You can also get the Allstays Truck and Travel app that will let ya know what to expect from a place.

Primary and potential issue -Grades. The Mountain Directories East and West are a great resource where grades are concerned.

As for the GPS - been using the Garmin RV 760 for a year full time now and it's not gotten me into trouble yet. I do have the RV Trip Planner but don't use it very much. I just plug in my destination on Map Quest and begin to find the places along the way that fit my daily driving limit. And then look for RV parks on various apps - RV Parky - Good Sam - Passport America - rvparkreviews.com and Google.

When you make your reservation at a park - ask them if there are any issues getting in and out and if the GPS coordinates are accurate. Some are not! Some rv parks even have that noted on their websites.

The Google Earth flyby can be useful but I don't do it much. Mostly because getting boxed in isn't as big a problem as you might imagine. It's always in the back of your mind, but if you're not sure, don't push it. There are few places you absolutely have to go, and the ones you must go to will most likely be suitable.

Have fun!
Steve & Annie (RVM2)
2008 Fleetwood Bounder 38F ~ 325 ISB Turbo ~ Freightliner XC 2014 CR-V ~ Invisibrake / Sterling All Terrain
Sioux Falls, SD (FullTime Since Nov 5th 2014)
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Old 11-08-2015, 12:32 PM   #22
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As someone transitioning from 4wd truck/camper travelling coast to coast, Canada, Alaska, and many back roads, including many Oregon logging roads, to a 26' A motorhome I would say to take it easy and explore just where you can go and where you cannot. At this point I'm wondering if our 26 footer will go some of the places I like to go and I'm certain that a 40 footer would never fit. We've pulled a toad for the last 15 or so years with the camper, first a Samurai then later a Tracker and Metro, and even with the much shorter camper there have been several places where we have had to either unhook the toad to turn, or back very slowly with my wife steering the toad to keep it straight until we could go forward. Some of these we were lead to by a GPS in the dark, and others were in larger places where I simply made a mistake, but generally also in the dark.

As mentioned, trees are also a significant threat if they are low enough to whack the front of the motorhome or hit something on top, as is anything else you are driving under. Our first camper received a significant dent in the front from a tree while I was learning.

All that being said, I would not trade our travelling experiences for anything and would also eco that there is incredible beauty as well as many places of interest in this country just waiting for you to see them. Enjoy!

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Old 11-08-2015, 12:55 PM   #23
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Question for the posters here, I have a Jensen stereo in my bounder, it has a GPS port. The Jensen equivalent is a NAV 104. I am pretty sure looking at the info on it, it is not a RV GPS. I would like to add one of the mentioned GPS in this thread. The Garmin mentioned here are all stand alone units? Does any one know if they will plug and play into my Jensen port and thus display on its screen? OR DOES anyone know if there is a RV GPS that would plug into another receiver and work with it?
Fleetwood Bounder 35K 2016, Ford V-10, F53(2015 chassis),RayZor HD, Wineguard Dish SAT, Roadmaster -- steering Stabilizer, Front & rear Sway Bars, SCT 5 Star tuner, Tireminder TM66 TPMS, Banks Ram Air intake, EZE Tow Dolly
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Old 11-08-2015, 01:00 PM   #24
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I use my Rand McNally GPS from Good Sams, it will route based on the size of your unit.
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Old 11-08-2015, 01:41 PM   #25
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We've travelled a little less than 25k miles since we purchased our 43ft Mountain Aire DP. In those miles we travelled from Vancouver BC across Canada to Winnipeg, down through Michigan and Indiana, along the entire historic Route 66, and north to Alaska and the Northwest Territories. During that time we've only had to unhook our toad twice. Once was on a side road to an RV park that turned out to be closed and left no turn around room and once in a public campground that did not provide quite enough turn around space at the end of their road.

It is not a huge problem as long as you look before you leap. Most times, if you go slow, you can survey an area before you enter to determine if their is a convenient way out.

For planning routes ahead of time I suggest getting an RV specific GPS that enables off-line route planning. If you rely upon a system that requires an internet connection you might be disappointed when a connection is not readily available. I use a Garmin RV760LM and Garmin Basecamp, their free route planning software. It's not ideal but it is the best I have been able to find so far and if I find something better, I'll switch.
Retired and livin' the RV dream!
2005 Newmar 43 ft. MADP, Cummins ISL 400HP, 2008 Honda CR-V toad
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Old 11-08-2015, 01:55 PM   #26
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A man's got to know his limitations

Ours is a 41' DP.

Many good suggestions in the preceding posts.

Never maneuver your "big rig" into space that your mind hasn't gone first. Before you make a turn into some place, have an idea of how you'll get out of that place. If you tow a car, depending on who you listen to, it's either IMPOSSIBLE or very difficult to back up, at all, with the car attached.

Even with all the prior planning, stuff will happen. Be flexible. Do the best you can to extricate yourself without bending metal.

Last winter, we were looking forward to a nice campground on the beach near Pensacola, FL. Lots of preplanning, looking at routes, Google maps street view, etc. As we approached the exit off the interstate spur, we found it blocked by police activity (later found out that someone had snagged an overhead power line and it was down across a street; utility services were on scene, but the road was blocked). We took a short tour through downtown Pensacola without difficulty, but couldn't easily find a detour around the blocked street. We found a place to stop, briefly, to chat with the officer manning the roadblock and asked for his recommendation for a routing around the blocked street. He was VERY helpful. He saw what we were driving. He gave me clear, concise directions for a detour and we were on our way. After the third turn on his suggested route (through a residential area), we started noticing some low hanging branches (we're 12' 6" tall). A couple blocks further along his suggested route, I saw the sign advising of the upcoming 10' 4" underpass. Even I'm smart enough to recognize that wouldn't work.

Our GPS, that has low underpass data programmed, was so busy recalculating it's idea of routing (always trying to get us back on to the closed street) that it never warned us of the low underpass.

We were able to find, using our own resources a route around the challenge and enjoyed a nice (rather chilly) week on the beach.

So, just always do some pre-planning. Always know that, even though you've made your plans well, stuff can happen.

Take care,
"A superior pilot is one who uses his superior judgement to avoid situations which might require the demonstration of his superior skills."
Anthem 42DEQ in production
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Old 11-08-2015, 03:04 PM   #27
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Yikes, Stu! Just like a discontinuity inserted in the RNAV approach.....
Jim and Jennie, Cats=Bittles and Potter, 2000 Dynasty 350 ISC
2013 Silverado 4x4 Towed with R1200GS in bed.
PROV23:4 Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint.
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Old 11-08-2015, 03:42 PM   #28
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Rules of Thumb:

1) Check maps before the trip (I have 3 Android apps, Google Maps online, and Streets and Trips)...does it look all curvy-wurvy? Then go to Google Earth and fly the route.

2) If it's a long route, go online and visit RV forums and ask if people have taken the route and "what's it like for a big RV"?

3) When taking a new route or a detour, I stop off the side of the road and watch traffic. If I don't see a large semi or a bus or any RV's taking the route, neither do I. I've never had to wait more than 1/2 hour.

4) In large towns, (where you don't have much time to make a decision), I scan the road quickly. If I can't see a bus or large delivery truck on the street, I pass by that road. Find a place to park, and ask any delivery truck guys that happen by if I can take that route. Usually there is an alternative route I already know about so don't often have to do that.

5) Speaking of alternate routes, I often print a zoomed in version of the map (I always use online or on computer maps) near the areas I guess might be dicey. That way I can quickly find an alternate route if the primary is blocked or too difficult.

6) Print out as many maps as you feel you need.

7) Carry an ol' timey printed map in case the GPS fails or if the maps I've printed out don't cover an unexpected situation (rare that something like that happens...though the last trip my inverter failed so my GPS on the Android died...needed a charge from a 120V source).

That should cover everything...

'02 Winnebago Journey DL, DSDP, 36' of fun.

Visit my RV Travel & Repair Blog at : http://chaos.goblinbox.com
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