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Old 04-11-2014, 04:09 PM   #1
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Around the US major trip

So, we're still in the planning stages for a major (for us) trip in about a year. The purpose of the trip is to visit our Navy son and his family in Norfolk, Va from our home in San Jose, Ca. Right now we're looking at taking I10 through the southern states to the East Coast, up I95 to Norfolk, and then continuing up to Maine, then taking I70 back toward the West Coast.

I've heard a lot of reports about the poor condition of I10 along the Gulf Coast but I've also heard recently that some work is being done to alleviate that issue. So, if you were going to take such a trip, what are the "must sees" along the entire route, and what are the "avoid at all costs"? I've already set up Streets and Trips to avoid toll roads but other than that we're open to suggestions.

If your recommendation is "Are you crazy?" at least give valid reasons, and suggest alternates - we're still early in the planning stages so it'll be easy to make changes!
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Old 04-11-2014, 04:18 PM   #2
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In 2012 we did 34 states starting in Santa Rosa, CA. We drove I 40 to Albuquerque and then I 25 to El Paso where we picked up I 10 to the top of FL and then up the East Coast to Maine. We returned via I 94. I will work on a list of the highlites (for us) and get back to you.
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Old 04-11-2014, 04:22 PM   #3
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Gosh, there are so many different routes to take other than the interstates. To give you more help, do you have any special interests? Is this a power trip to get there and return ASAP or can you do it leisurely with no timeframe? What time of year are you planning? Are there any special national parks you'd like to work in? Do you like public parks or private parks? Most often to visit different places you're going to have to get off the interstates. Could you give us a little more information?
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Old 04-11-2014, 04:25 PM   #4
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We drove our MH from Florida to Quebec a few years ago. We used I-95 most of the way, but planned detours around Philadelphia, New York City and Washington DC. We have also driven most of I-10. There are bad parts and not so bad parts. Just take your time. After all, that's what RV'ing is all about!
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Old 04-11-2014, 04:49 PM   #5
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I would say it depends on when you are going. I-10 in the summer varies only between being a blazing hot, dry furnace, to being a hot, humid sweat lodge. The number one reason we bought our motorhome was to get as far away from I-10 in the summer as possible.

Keep in mind, it's 98 in Phoenix today, and it's still only early April. Do I need to elaborate on what driving through here is like in the summer?
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Old 04-11-2014, 04:52 PM   #6
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Good questions!

Quote:
Originally Posted by twogypsies View Post
Gosh, there are so many different routes to take other than the interstates. To give you more help, do you have any special interests?
One stop that is almost required is the Airborne Museum at Ft. Bragg, NC - I was in the 82ND ABN back in 1971-73 and we want to stop in there for "old time's sake". We'd also like to get up to Portland, ME and try and find our favorite restaurant - I believe it was called "Yankee Kitchen" and they served an out-of-this-world lobster and ribs dinner that we fell in love with.

Quote:
Is this a power trip to get there and return ASAP or can you do it leisurely with no timeframe?
We're retired so we can take our time, although we provide day care for a grandson so we can't be away for months at a time! We were thinking that 6 or 8 weeks total would be a decent trip.

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What time of year are you planning?
That, too, is open. We'd like to avoid winter weather, and summer heat. We were thinking spring or fall but again, we're open to recommendations.

Quote:
Are there any special national parks you'd like to work in? Do you like public parks or private parks? Most often to visit different places you're going to have to get off the interstates.
No "must-sees" as far as National Parks - again, recommendations graciously accepted! For camping we hope to use Thousand Trails as much as possible. Where they don't cover we usually use the Good Sam website and look for their higher rated parks. Again, we're open to recommendations.

Being retired, we live on Social Security and some IRAs so we don't have unlimited funds - cost savings are always a plus. At 7 mpg we know that gas is going to be our major expense, followed closely by lodging, and we're hoping to keep expenses as low as possible.
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Old 04-11-2014, 05:32 PM   #7
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Good questions!
We're retired so we can take our time, although we provide day care for a grandson so we can't be away for months at a time! We were thinking that 6 or 8 weeks total would be a decent trip.
Good luck! Our trip was 11,000 miles. We took 4 months and 4 days and we were rushed all the way.
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Old 04-11-2014, 07:00 PM   #8
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Good luck! Our trip was 11,000 miles. We took 4 months and 4 days and we were rushed all the way.

That kind of surprised me, you're averaging less than 100 miles a day, was it just the feeling of wanting to linger longer at different places?
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Old 04-11-2014, 07:03 PM   #9
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We live in Oregon, have kids & grandkids in Livermore, CA, Florida and Maine so every couple of years we do an around the US trip. We tend to try to vary the routes. I do remember several years ago I-10 was terrible as was I-95 but we have traveled both after that and repairs had been made (or the air suspension in the newer motorhome made a big difference in ride.) If time allows the Wash. DC area is great with mostly free museums. Also NYC is great but a tad more expensive. There are so very many places to visit. We lay out a large US map and circle things or locations we'd like to see (or see again) and work out a tentative route. A couple of spots going up I-95 that we enjoyed were Cape Canaveral (Kennedy), the Marine Corps Museum in Quantico, but routes west of I-95 were great driving through those mountains. Civil war battle fields seem to run from Mississippi all the way up to the north. On I-10 the battleship near Mobile - USS Alabama was great - includes an air musuem at that site. Crossing back across the northern states Niagara Falls is well worth the time and also Mt. Rushmore. We find Presidential museums or libraries are also worth the time. If you take I-40 the National Cowboy & heritage museum is another good one. I'll stop rambling - I do hope you enjoy your trip.
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Old 04-11-2014, 07:16 PM   #10
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That kind of surprised me, you're averaging less than 100 miles a day, was it just the feeling of wanting to linger longer at different places?
We could have stayed longer in so many places. Our longest stay was in DC (6 days) and we didn't see 50% of what was available. We wish we could have spent 2 or 3 weeks in Lancaster County, PA. Not near enough time exploring the Great Lakes, etc.
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Old 04-11-2014, 07:25 PM   #11
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We could have stayed longer in so many places. Our longest stay was in DC (6 days) and we didn't see 50% of what was available. We wish we could have spent 2 or 3 weeks in Lancaster County, PA. Not near enough time exploring the Great Lakes, etc.

I can certainly relate. Many places we visit we add to our list of places to retire to. I think that's why full timing when I retire sounds so good.
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Old 04-11-2014, 09:24 PM   #12
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I'm a believer that one can definitely do a 'whirlwind' trip with the allotted time they have. No, you won't see everything but you can get a taste of a lot of things and someday come back for more. Your trip is very doable in 8 weeks.

If you take I-10 there's a air museum in Tucson, AZ and in Pensacola, FL that we've been. There are probably more.

We don't have a Thousand Trails membership so can't help you there.

If you're ready for a stop just east of Tucson before Benson at Exit 302 is Kartchner Caverns State Park. It's a nice modern park with beautiful sites and the cave tour is outstanding. (Something cool in temp to do enroute)

I-10 in Texas there's Balmorhea State Park at exit209 and a little further south on Hwy 17 is Davis Mountain State Park at a slight elevation so a little cooler. If you swim, Balmorhea has a unique spring-fed natural area - nice to cool off. At Davis Mtn. State Park is the McDonald Observatory that gives nice nighttime star parties.

If you didn't stop at Kartchner Caverns but might like a cave tour, I-10 Exit 400 is Caverns of Sonora. It also has a RV park.

Fredericksburg, TX, I-10 Exit 477 is a neat German town and nearby is Lyndon Johnson ranch to tour. This whole area & around San Antonio is 'Hill Country' and lots of scenic things to check out, including the River Walk and the Alamo.

If you have a choice, fall would be a nice time for your trip.

Just some things to get your juices flowing! Have a great trip.
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Old 04-11-2014, 10:03 PM   #13
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Don't forget about New Orleans. I went to the National WWII Museum. Awesome! I plan on going back when I head back on I10. I have taken I40 and i80 many times. I have driven all routes all seasons of the year. I would rather drive in mid June. but as with any of the routes the weather and the winds can be unpredictable. Especially in the mid west. I would plan on checking the weather at least 1 month in advance to understand the possible conditions. In some cases I was concerned about tornadoes and flooding. All routes have some something to offer. The heat though New Mexico and especially Texas during the summer caused me to buy my first diesel with better AC and a better ride. My kids and wife at the time were very grateful.

As far as road construction it's hit or miss. Again you need to check road conditions when planning your routes. Some of the truckers web sites give you real up to date road information as will as the state DOT web sites. As a former US Navy submarine sailor it's always nice to have family visits while you stationed far from family. I was in special projects so my family's did not get the opportunity to visit me once I left sub training in Groton. Have at great trip no matter what route you decide to drive. The main thing is to enjoy and be safe.

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Old 04-11-2014, 10:27 PM   #14
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To save money you might want to join Passport America. We joined last year and it paid for itself when we stayed in las Vegas at the Oasis RV Resort.

Passport America The original 50% Discount Camping Club - Passport America Discount Camping Club

Unless there are certain sites you want to see on I-10 you might want to take I-20 when it branches off of I-10. It would save you some miles.

Jon
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