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Old 01-28-2015, 08:29 AM   #1
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summer vacation planning

Hello all,

Ive been reading this forum for quite some time and am now planning a summer trip. We plan to rent a diesel class a for about a 2 week trip. THis trip will depart from home near Houston and take 2 days to get to "Amish Country" My wife would like to go to some authentic places and for some reason wants a quilt. From there we will go to Port Huron and Lansing Michigan for a few days. Once that leg is complete, I would like to go to Ashville NC area with an eye to tour the Biltmore. From there we are looking to be in Amarillo for a family reunion. one day from there and back at home to unload and return the coach. The entire trip is looking to be about 14 or 15 days, with 2 days allowed for each of the cross country legs, about 6-8 hours from Amish area to Michigan and a full day from Michigan to NC.

We are a family of 5 with a 17 yr D, 5 yr S and 2yr D.

I am looking for input on routes, stopping points, and suggestions on where to stay. Boon docking wont be an issue but will obviously need a park or campground in MI and NC

We are looking to leave TX on July 20 and return home Aug 2.

On a side note if anyone has a diesel bunkhouse they would like to rent- let me know!



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Old 01-28-2015, 08:47 AM   #2
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That's somewhere around 4500 miles of driving. Doing that in 14 days will require over 300 miles of driving EVERY day.

I really don't think the trip you laid out is feasible in the amount of time you have.

You might want to invest in a good mapping program such as Microsoft Streets and Trips, or make use of Google Maps to help with trip planning.

Good luck!

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Old 01-28-2015, 08:53 AM   #3
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Just an FYI, diesel pushers normally weight over 26100 lbs.... that means you legally need a Class B NON-CDL to drive it and I doubt anyone will rent to you without the proper driver License.

I also believe you need more than 2 weeks to make the trip a good one. Driving a diesel pusher for over 300 miles a day is going to be tiring for everyone and not leave much time for sightseeing!
Ronnie (WD5GIC) & Jan (WD5IHU)
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Old 01-28-2015, 08:59 AM   #4
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The kids won't have the patience for day in and out traveling, especially when you go by something at 50 mph and tell them to look quick.

With their ages, you don't want to ruin them for RVing. They will want to be in a campground early enough to enjoy the pool, playground, etc. My teenage boys knew the sites of every teenage girl in the campground before we were set up. I don't think things have changed that much in the 20 years since they were teenagers.

Plan shorter trips and enjoy them more.
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Old 01-28-2015, 10:32 AM   #5
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Wow... All I can say is... quite the little trip you have planned..

I'm guessing you're a working stiff like myself and vacation time is a premium.. A lot on here will say the trip isn't doable.. they'll say you need to slow down and enjoy the trip.. well, that's all good and well if you're retired and have all the time in the world, but for us working stiff's, it's just not an option..

I travel with three kids.. 15yr B, 13yr G & 12yr G... plus the GF and sometimes my brother.. I did a quick mapquest of your trip and it is ambitious.. but with some careful planning and some big drive days, you'll be able to get everything accomplished..

I wish you the best of luck.. and will offer the following advice that works for me..
  • #1 - If you can.. leave the night before you intended.. what I mean, we usually leave Friday night after work.. I like to get going.. only if its for a few hours.. it makes our Saturday drive that much less
  • #2 - If you like to save a bit of money.. plan campground arrivals.. what I mean, if you are going to drive all day on Saturday to get to your destination, boondock the night you arrive.. why pay a campground $30-$70 in fee's when you arrive at the campground at 11:00 at night.. makes no sense, just boondock close and arrive fresh in the morning to set up camp..
Here is my routing suggestion... I'm sure others will chime in with different options..
  • Day 1 (19th) - Sunday Night - if you can get moving the night before, hopefully you can get 3-5 hours done, that would put you in the Texarkana, TX area
  • Day 2 (20th) - Leaving from the Texarkana area, 10 hours worth of driving (hopefully your wife is comfortable enough to help you drive) would put you in the Indianapolis area.. this will be a long day's worth of driving.
  • Day 3 (21st) - You would be able to make it to Port Huron in about 5 hours.. You mentioned your wife was looking for "Amish country", well, driving thru the northeastern part of Indiana should get you there.. This means you would arrive in Port Huron on Tuesday.
  • Day 4-7 (22nd-26th) - You didn't say how long you wanted to stay in the Port Huron/Lansing area.. But, for this example, I'm going to assume 5 days.. The drive time between the two is only 2 hours.. shouldn't be that much of an issue to plan accordingly
  • Day 11 (27th) - From Lansing - After spending the week vacationing, I'm guessing your batteries should be a bit charged.. its about 11 hours to Asheville, NC... I would plan on driving till about Knoxville, TN... that is about 8 hours and shouldn't be a bad drive.. If you feel you can go the entire way.. just plan to boondock somewhere and make your campground reservation for Day 12 (Tuesday).. no sense in paying full price to the campground when you're only going to park and fall asleep..
  • Day 12 (28th) - Assuming you stopped in the Knoxville area, you would have about a 2 hour drive to Asheville.. Again, not sure how long you want to be in the area.. but you could see about driving right to Biltmore and do the tour.. however, I would suggest getting to the campground and make it a lazy day.. hopefully the campground you chose has a pool and the kids can relax swimming and hanging out near the campground...
  • Day 13 (29th) - Biltmore and sightseeing in the area..
  • Day 14 (30th) - From Asheville to Amarillo is 18 hour, splitting the difference would be Little Rock, AR
  • Day 15 (31st) - From Little Rock to Amarillo wold be another 9 hours.. That gets you in on Friday night, late...
  • Day 16 (1st) - Family Reunion Day
  • Day 17 (2nd) - From Amarillo to Houston is 9 hours... I would think, since you have family in Amarillo, this is a familiar trip and you are aware of the travel time..
This is what I could come up with.. It gets you home on the 2nd as you stated, I'm assuming you would return the coach on the 3rd (Monday).. I would suggest a Blue Beacon to have it washed..

Hope the routing helped... not sure if it meets all your needs.. but it works..

I truly hope your wife will help you with the driving.. I cannot imagine doing this by myself... IF your wife will not help you.. I would suggest taking the Asheville leg out and leave that for another time.. I am lucky.. my GF probably drives more than I do.. she LOVES to drive the RV..

Good Luck !!!
Eric & Denise
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Old 01-28-2015, 10:52 AM   #6
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oakcreekerie: glad I read the whole thing I thought GF was grand father lol. Kidding aside I think it was great planning on your part. Plan a 35 day trip to Fairbanks Ak, from Saxton, Pa. no help on the driving though. Please....
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Old 01-28-2015, 11:35 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by texnet View Post
Just an FYI, diesel pushers normally weight over 26100 lbs.... that means you legally need a Class B NON-CDL to drive it and I doubt anyone will rent to you without the proper driver License.
I bet they will rent it to him. I had this conversation with a local place that rents DP's, before we bought ours. I told him I had the correct license and he told me that I don't need one, and that a Class C was sufficient for his 40' Fleetwood Discovery. He gave me the "RV's are exempt from CDL requirements" statement. I didn't argue any further.

Aaron, that looks like a nice looking trip. Just wish you had more time. Not only is the driving going to be tiring, the set up and break down time adds up too. In my previous 5th wheel, it really whipped me when we moved around frequently. Not as much so now with the DP, but still. It wouldn't be quiet as bad if everyone pitched in and assumed some of the duties. If you try to do it all yourself, you will be exhausted.

We are not retired and full time yet and have limited time for travel. We have learned that it is more pleasurable to reduce the number of stops, and stay longer at a couple places, on one trip. We also try to avoid the 500+ mile days, but it still happens occasionally.
Scotty and Kristen, Airedales Dagny and Wyatt
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Old 01-29-2015, 08:37 AM   #8
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Thanks to all with suggestions. based on Erics detailed plan and others advice we have cut out the North Carolina leg. THe wife is looking for Amish stuff in Indiana and maybe we will do a day or two on Lake Huron. I was born in Port Huron and raised just south of Lansing but havent lived there in over 20 yrs. I think we will be able to scoot out of Houston Sunday evening to avoid most traffic. I noticed Mark Twain national forest for maybe an overnight plus a day on our way back to Amarillo. Any other suggestions for stops while traveling to and from Michigan area as well as lake front camping north of Port Huron? Just over a year ago we rented a 2004 bounder gas unit for a trip known as the Tour of Texas. we took a week to visit family around the state but as you can imagine it was a very bouncy trip and a terrible mattress and drivers seat. Hopefully the rental i just secured will be more comfortable. I believe it to be a 2004 Fleetwood 40x.
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Old 06-16-2015, 06:56 PM   #9
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trip planning update

We pick up a 2011 Berkshire bunkhouse on July 17 and head out for Little Rock. I need to get from there to Lansing MI and am looking for route suggestions and over night spots. We will bounce around Michigan for a few days then head to Amarillo TX- we may have a day to kill inbetween so looking for something fun to do or see along that route

any suggestions from the experts?
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Old 06-17-2015, 07:40 AM   #10
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You got the Smoky's , Mammoth Caves ( try Nolan Lake State Park if you want electric service 15 minutes north of the caves), Kings Island Amusement Park (NE of Cincinnati), the (Free) Air Force Museum in Dayton Ohio ( all indoors in 5 or 6 huge air conditioned hangers). One could spend days there. Cedar Point amusement park, Mohican State Park Ohio ( canoeing and Amish area).
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Old 06-17-2015, 03:12 PM   #11
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From Little Rock you could head to southern Missouri. Lots of antique stores for the wife to poke around. Then head into Indiana and around Elkhart is a major Amish community. Lots to buy and good food. Then into Michigan and spend what remaining time you have left. I personally think this is enough for a 2-week period, especially with lots of shopping and looking.

You'll have a more relaxing vacation if you don't try to do so much and drive so far. Have fun!
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Old 06-17-2015, 03:20 PM   #12
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I largely make a similar trip every year. Central TX to Traverse City, MI. I'm not sure of what the Amish country stop is, you'll have to tell me.

14 days is pretty tight for that trip. I've done the one-way legs in a variety of fashions, including straight through and breaking it into 3-4 day stops. Either way, you're going to burn a week traveling if you do 8 hour days or you're going to basically spend 1/2 the day every day traveling...

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