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Old 11-08-2015, 04:16 AM   #1
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How to plan travel routes for large DP?

Hi Everyone,

I will be purchasing a large 40ft+ DP next year and one thing I have spent some time thinking about is the how to plan routes when traveling to my next destination.

I will certainly have a navigation system but I want to avoid situations where I drive in areas that might force me to pull a U-Turn. Does anyone who owns a large DP have any rules of thumb I can use to avoid going into areas such as these?
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Old 11-08-2015, 04:57 AM   #2
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What kind of destinations are you looking to go to?
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Old 11-08-2015, 05:04 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreyGoose57 View Post
Hi Everyone,

I will be purchasing a large 40ft+ DP next year and one thing I have spent some time thinking about is the how to plan routes when traveling to my next destination.

I will certainly have a navigation system but I want to avoid situations where I drive in areas that might force me to pull a U-Turn. Does anyone who owns a large DP have any rules of thumb I can use to avoid going into areas such as these?
I just Googled "RV Trip Planner" and a fair selection came up.

All appear to be free, the Good Sam Club has a routing service that appears to be free and is a good one, I have used it before and has an option of "RV Warnings" that you can click and customize.

When you purchase your Nav System, you may consider a RV specific model. They too will have a place for you to enter you specific coaches information, height/width etc. I use the Garman model and have been pleased.

Not sure if you are new to motor coaching or RVing but what comes to mind is check, recheck, and check again when planning a route. I have always used this as a rule of thumb, use to coach to get to my destination in style, then use the toad to sight-see. Getting there usually is on Interstates or main highways.

When planning a trip, I heavily use a site called RV Park Reviews RV Park Reviews - Trusted Reviews of Campgrounds & RV Parks. I believe they also have an app for smart phones and tablets. Lots of good info and reviews in regards to camp grounds.

There are also apps to help find Rest Areas, Walmart & Cracker Barrel RV friendly stores, apps to tell you what is available at each Interstate Exit, help to find RV Parks, and so much more.

A couple last thoughts, when needing fuel, make sure you can "maneuver" around the gas station and if you have a toad this is even more important as backing may not be possible. I suggest downloading the Pilot/Flying J and Loves app as they will give you a list of their stations that have RV lanes, which give you easy in and out access.

And trees............not sure what part of the country you are in but here in the Mid-West we have a lot of trees - normally not a problem until you get off the road and start heading for that "Big Rig Friendly" campground.

Good luck and enjoy - big rigs take a little more planning and never be afraid to "Get out and look!" LOL

You are already doing the right thing by performing your "Due Dilligence" by being on irv2! If you would like, don't be afraid to PM me for more info.....

Good luck and enjoy your new coach, 40+ is a big rig!

g
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Old 11-08-2015, 06:47 AM   #4
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I let my Garmin 760 Dezl provide the route. I input length, weight, width, height, etc into the Garmin. For the most part it's been reliable. You still shouldn't just rely on it...use some of the other resources mentioned above.
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Old 11-08-2015, 07:32 AM   #5
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I have a RV specific Garmin and I love using it but do not rely on it.
I use RV Park reviews a lot. When I find a likely campground, I call them and ask them how to safely get to their campground. You will sometimes be told to go a different way if you are in a big rig.
I map out all the truck stops for fuel. I use Flying J's a lot because I have a discount card. The regular Pilot/Flying J's are good but the travel centers can be a problem. I use Google maps to get an overhead view of any fuel stop or any other place that I question. You will see how easy it is to get in and out.
I do not just go somewhere without knowing that I will not have an issue.
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Old 11-08-2015, 07:43 AM   #6
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Don't over think it. We have been doing this for 18 years (snowbirds) and have only had to unhook the toad 3 times because of dead end no turn around place. If you are not pulling a toad you will have no trouble anywhere. If a delivery truck can go there so can you. Providing you know how to back up. ;-)
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Old 11-08-2015, 07:48 AM   #7
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we added a new rule on our last trip. When looking for a fuel station from the interstate, don't rely on the road signs. If you can't see the station keep going. In Ohio last week we got off on an exit because the highway signs (state signs) stated there were 2 stations with diesel. Neither station visible from the exit. Made the mistake of looking for them, after an hour of trying to return to the interstate, we still didn't have fuel (neither station was big rig friendly). Finally ended up at a Loves in Indiana.
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Old 11-08-2015, 07:52 AM   #8
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Check out the Rand McNally rv gps. It kept me from going through tunnels and trying to make low underpasses as well as avoiding U turns. It really makes routing a breeze. You input your rv specs and preferences and it will keep you safe most of the time. The enroute information is really nice. We decide when we need to make a pit stop and can ask the gps for specific locations along the chosen route or leg of the route.
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Old 11-08-2015, 07:55 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Indy Glenn View Post
I just Googled "RV Trip Planner" and a fair selection came up.

All appear to be free, the Good Sam Club has a routing service that appears to be free and is a good one, I have used it before and has an option of "RV Warnings" that you can click and customize.

When you purchase your Nav System, you may consider a RV specific model. They too will have a place for you to enter you specific coaches information, height/width etc. I use the Garman model and have been pleased.

Not sure if you are new to motor coaching or RVing but what comes to mind is check, recheck, and check again when planning a route. I have always used this as a rule of thumb, use to coach to get to my destination in style, then use the toad to sight-see. Getting there usually is on Interstates or main highways.

When planning a trip, I heavily use a site called RV Park Reviews RV Park Reviews - Trusted Reviews of Campgrounds & RV Parks. I believe they also have an app for smart phones and tablets. Lots of good info and reviews in regards to camp grounds.

There are also apps to help find Rest Areas, Walmart & Cracker Barrel RV friendly stores, apps to tell you what is available at each Interstate Exit, help to find RV Parks, and so much more.

A couple last thoughts, when needing fuel, make sure you can "maneuver" around the gas station and if you have a toad this is even more important as backing may not be possible. I suggest downloading the Pilot/Flying J and Loves app as they will give you a list of their stations that have RV lanes, which give you easy in and out access.

And trees............not sure what part of the country you are in but here in the Mid-West we have a lot of trees - normally not a problem until you get off the road and start heading for that "Big Rig Friendly" campground.

Good luck and enjoy - big rigs take a little more planning and never be afraid to "Get out and look!" LOL

You are already doing the right thing by performing your "Due Dilligence" by being on irv2! If you would like, don't be afraid to PM me for more info.....

Good luck and enjoy your new coach, 40+ is a big rig!

g
Thanks Indy, those are good suggestions. I will be sure to have the proper navigational system that will allow me to enter the RV dimensions so it can route properly. I plan to use primary roads and avoid big cities wherever possible. I am new to motor coaching so that is why I have these questions. Fo the first few years I plan to go between Florida and Maine but will do cross country when my brothers and sister retires. They are older than me but apparently having difficulty on making the decision to retire. I hope to convince them to stop the rat race.
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Old 11-08-2015, 07:55 AM   #10
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To plan our trips I start with RV Trip Wizard, an on-line subscription service. I use it because I can define "range" rings for establishing RV Parks at specific driving distances. I also like it because I can download the trip into an Excel Spreadsheet format with all campground information including telephone numbers. Now for the actual trip, I use a Garmin DEZL 760... but I don't trust it (NO GPS is infallible)!! Anytime the trip takes me off of major highways or the interstates I "fly the course" using Google Maps! When driving a tall, 45' Coach I HATE surprises! I also pre-fly all fueling stops. Again, using Google Maps I confirm the entry and exits of the planned Truck Stops! This may sound a little anal but it keeps me from doing something STUPID (usually) and it provides a comfort level for the days drive. One other advantage of using Trip Wizard, I keep the Excel Spreadsheets in a note book. I add a column to the sheet for "qualitative campground comments" which becomes a record of our trips and a "go to" source for firsthand campground comments for future trips.
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Old 11-08-2015, 07:58 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ludmilla View Post
I have a RV specific Garmin and I love using it but do not rely on it.
I use RV Park reviews a lot. When I find a likely campground, I call them and ask them how to safely get to their campground. You will sometimes be told to go a different way if you are in a big rig.
I map out all the truck stops for fuel. I use Flying J's a lot because I have a discount card. The regular Pilot/Flying J's are good but the travel centers can be a problem. I use Google maps to get an overhead view of any fuel stop or any other place that I question. You will see how easy it is to get in and out.
I do not just go somewhere without knowing that I will not have an issue.

Great points. It seems you have a similar frame of mind as myself. I don't like going into unknown areas without properly scoping it out ahead of time. Thanks.
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Old 11-08-2015, 07:58 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stealth01 View Post
To plan our trips I start with RV Trip Wizard, an on-line subscription service. I use it because I can define "range" rings for establishing RV Parks at specific driving distances. I also like it because I can download the trip into an Excel Spreadsheet format with all campground information including telephone numbers. Now for the actual trip, I use a Garmin DEZL 760... but I don't trust it (NO GPS is infallible)!! Anytime the trip takes me off of major highways or the interstates I "fly the course" using Google Maps! When driving a tall, 45' Coach I HATE surprises! I also pre-fly all fueling stops. Again, using Google Maps I confirm the entry and exits of the planned Truck Stops! This may sound a little anal but it keeps me from doing something STUPID (usually) and it provides a comfort level for the days drive. One other advantage of using Trip Wizard, I keep the Excel Spreadsheets in a note book. I add a column to the sheet for "qualitative campground comments" which becomes a record of our trips and a "go to" source for firsthand campground comments for future trips.
A little anal? That was a joke, right?
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Old 11-08-2015, 07:59 AM   #13
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unless we are in a get there mode we avoid interstate at all cost. Crazy drivers abound. And one never sees anything from an interstste.
Our first go to is our Rand McNally Motor Carrier Atlas. If its a red road for trucks then we can, in general, go there too! We double check low clearance and low weight bridges in front of the atlas. We use Allstay Truck& Travel app for low clearance and grade info as well. In 9 years we have only encountered one low clearance and one road that turned into a country mile of gravel. Both were due to me relying on the GPS and not my "truck drivers daughter" instincts
We like the US highways. Many are 4 lane and give an option to bybass or go thru small towns. 2 lane secondary are fine as well.
Going around metropolitan areas (DC, Atlanta type) are no big deal if one times it accordingly.

I usually set our regular non RV Garmin and my IPhone mapping (which gives us optional routing) and away we go. Google maps are helpfull in locating interesting things to see along the way.

I do usually do a satellite view of destination for fuel stops, parking areas etc just to make sure we fit.
As you can tell we pretty flexible about how, where and when we arrive.
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Old 11-08-2015, 08:01 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stealth01 View Post
To plan our trips I start with RV Trip Wizard, an on-line subscription service. I use it because I can define "range" rings for establishing RV Parks at specific driving distances. I also like it because I can download the trip into an Excel Spreadsheet format with all campground information including telephone numbers. Now for the actual trip, I use a Garmin DEZL 760... but I don't trust it (NO GPS is infallible)!! Anytime the trip takes me off of major highways or the interstates I "fly the course" using Google Maps! When driving a tall, 45' Coach I HATE surprises! I also pre-fly all fueling stops. Again, using Google Maps I confirm the entry and exits of the planned Truck Stops! This may sound a little anal but it keeps me from doing something STUPID (usually) and it provides a comfort level for the days drive. One other advantage of using Trip Wizard, I keep the Excel Spreadsheets in a note book. I add a column to the sheet for "qualitative campground comments" which becomes a record of our trips and a "go to" source for firsthand campground comments for future trips.
I like the idea of flying the route beforehand to know what to expect. I understand your point also about even scoping the rest stops, etc. When you are pulling a toad vehicle, you can't be guessing wrong.
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