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Old 04-30-2009, 10:58 PM   #1
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DIY Caravan

Wife and I thought we might be interested in a tour similar to that offered under the name of Grand Circle, starting and ending in Utah. However, at a 2010 price for the 29 day caravan trip close to $4,500 there is no way we can afford the trip.

We began to wonder if RVers, independently, ever get together to form a 10+ vehicle caravan and plan, via forums, email, etc a trip with what I'll call DIY planning and organization? If so, where can one find out about others with similar caravan interest and get more info?

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Old 05-01-2009, 06:48 AM   #2
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G'morning from Tampa. Sittin here as the sun rises just scanning the iRV2 forums and saw your post re: the DIY Caravan. It's an interesting idea alright, and it might be something a few folks might want to undertake although I'm not so sure.

We've been living in our rig and full timing since 05 and have a little idea about how folks elect to travel around the country. While we are visiting our son's family here in Florida now, we are pretty well convinced that we enjoy the Western regions quite a bit more than the East. We've been to Alaska and covered alot of the Western states, and I think that most of the folks we've run into, who do use the caravan idea, do so for a few primary reasons.

It appears (at least to us) that caravan users elect to use caravans primarily for the comfort offered by traveling with a familiar group who will kind of watch out for and help each other during the caravan tour. So it's kind of the SECURITY thing.

Additionally, it seems that caravaners like the idea of having someone plan their route and reserve all the campground stopovers for them. So it's kind of the WORRY FREE PLANNING thing. Just get in your rig and stay with the group.

Now, there are the other benefits caravans provide such as group campfires, group tours of local attractions, etc. but ALL of these things require a whole lot of familiarity with locations and routes the caravan will travel to, and a whole lot of hard work making reservations, assuring caravan communications, planning fuel stops, and, on and on. It's not easy setting up, planning for, and traveling with a caravan. That's likely why many of the caravans are so costly....at least from our persepective.

I was wondering....what are your main reasons for wanting to travel with a caravan, as opposed to doing the same tour on your own?? I'm NOT challenging your idea, cause it might be a good one, but curious as to why you like the caravan approach. Steve & Lynette
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Old 05-01-2009, 07:05 AM   #3
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Everything you say Chickadee makes sense. It does seem as though a caravan tour might be like lots of rallies hooked together. Maybe the work could be divided so each rig makes the reservations and does the research for one leg. I know at our NE rallies, the wagon master usually scouts out the campground, makes the call to reserve sites, researches the area for entertainment and restaurants. Now some do more than others but that's the basic format and I could see using the same format for a caravan. I think the most important part would not to have any one person involved with money if possible and to have the members pay directly.
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Old 05-01-2009, 07:54 AM   #4
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It would be interesting to have a business that just sells the itinerary with instructions for directions, fuel, attractions along with reservations for campgrounds and the attractions in one package. No Wagon Master, Tail Gunner or Tour Director. It could be sold as a single or group package. Cost would be significantly less. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm...... Maybe a new business for me!
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Old 05-02-2009, 02:05 PM   #5
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DIY response

I think Jim and LynnVT are on the same wavelength as we are. Our thought was to have a few people that want to do a trip share responsibilities for making arrangements at CGs, identifying fuel availability, making a list of things to see, etc as required. If we went by ourselves, we would have to make the same arrangements anyway. No money would would change hands between the caravaners (is there such a word?) as every one would just pay their own way.

It's like one RVer decides to take a solo-caravan trip - - -only 9 or more other like-minded solo-caravaners just happen to be in your windshield or rear view mirror going to the same CGs and sights/events. It might be easiest to think of it as a pseudo- impromptu gaggle of solo-caravaners all starting out on an identical itinerary at the same time.

Also, if for some reason someone wants out of the caravan (i.e. no one likes me because, as my wifes says, "you think like an engineer", or maybe there's is an emergency they have to attend to out of state), they can leave without losing any money.


For Chickadee - sure, we can do the trip by ourselves, and probably will if no interest is shown in a DIY caravan. However, all our past trips as well as future planned trips have been or will be solo and we thought that traveling with a group with similar RV interests would add substantially to the fun factor.

I don't see this DIY discussion taking money out of anyone's pockets, since the only way we can afford to caravan is either DIY, as discussed or simply to go alone.

In our relatively short RV experience (<2 yrs and 10k miles) we have really enjoyed meeting other campers, especially while doing our summer work-kamping jobs where we met people that we would have enjoyed meeting up with for a caravan trip.

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Old 05-02-2009, 07:09 PM   #6
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Big communication problem

As I see it, you will have a large communication problem getting the campsites organized.

I am familiar with a group that holds a rally at various parts of the US once a year. Each attendee is responsible for making their own reservation before a certain date or the pool of sites will be released. This is the only way to have the campsite reservations on the attendees credit card!

If I understand what you are proposing you would have one person acquire a pool of 10 sites at a campground ... then each of the ten would need to make their reservations at that campground ... now multiply that by two weeks (10 campgrounds probably) ... that seems to me to be a really large communication / coordination problem ...

I have only been on one caravan ... there is a lot of coordination required in the day to day operation of the caravan ... from efficiently parking the caravan, making sure everyone has the correct route to the next campsite ... transportation and tickets for tours / attractions ... CBs so that you can communicate ... etc ...

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Old 05-03-2009, 06:34 AM   #7
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Navl AV8R:

It DOES sound kinda fun alright!!

So, what are the dates you're thinking of and where do we meet and where does it go? We have seen various references in magazines and, I guess on-line, to different outfits offering a "Grand Circle" tour, but can't recall their itinerary.

Steve & Lynette
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Old 05-03-2009, 01:24 PM   #8
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Dates, etc

Steve & Lynette

At this point we are just looking into the feasibility of the trip, identifying pros and cons, etc. Our personal plan would be to probably spend the most of the month of Sep 2010 on the trip, starting out as a group just after labor day and ending 20-25 days later.

As for itinerary, we have a friend who went on such a trip many years ago, had a great time with the other RVers, and saw some great sights. I believe her trip started in St George, UT and included stops (in no particular order) at places such as Lake Powell, Bryce Canyon, Moab Canyon, Goblin Valley, etc. and the trip ended somewhere in NM (think it was Gallup but not sure). My friend recommended such a tour and since these are places we have never been to before, we will probably go with her recommendation.

Remember, we are not even in the planning stages yet, but rather in the conceptual stage of whether to take this trip solo or to try the DIY caravan idea. We are very serious about a trip such as this at the time mentioned, but the details are so far so loose that they cannot even be called "sketchy" yet.

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Old 05-03-2009, 02:56 PM   #9
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Qoick thoughts to add: since some of my trips are mc related...

1) publish a route and dates
2) let those who wish to join, join wherever on the route (not all may get same cg tho)
3) set specific time to leave ea day and (figure 40mph x # of hrs to travel - maybe 6-8) times expected at next cg - some may see an attraction on the way and they may be the only ones to stop for it and also plan to stay in one spot for 2 or 3 days every now and then.
4) singles and kids and etc welcome or is this going to be an adult only type adventure (does not leave out Disney type attractions) but might not be what a couple want to do if the rest is planned around kids
5) no matter what - NO COMPLAINING - there is no-one in-charge so who you going to complain to.....


Just my 0.000002.5 - for what it worth
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Old 05-03-2009, 07:34 PM   #10
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Doing your own Caravan should be less expensive, because you do not have to pay anyone to set it up or lead the caravan. But getting it coordinated could be a bear. A couple of folks need to decide on the dates and where you want to go. Check for camp site availability (ask them to hold them for a couple of weeks) and publish the schedule to those interested.

You just became a Wagon Master.

Ken
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Old 05-04-2009, 09:17 PM   #11
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I think such a caravan would be a lot of fun and a real challenge to pull off. It'd be more complex to pull off than planning and organizing one of our national rallies due to the amount of time traveling, numerous overnight stops, venues along the routes, etc.

Having made two trips to Alaska, the last one in 2001, I've often pondered attempting to organize a caravan back there; I think one to Alaska and back would be fun. When we did the last AK trip we didn't plan too far in advance, each evening we'd decide how far we'd go the following day and pick a place to spend the following night.

Some folks wouldn't be able to cope with not having a complete itinerary planned out for every day before starting the trip. To me that's too confining, we like to take whatever time we need to savor the day.
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Old 05-04-2009, 09:24 PM   #12
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When you did your Alaska trip, was there ever a problem getting a campsite for the night without advance reservations?
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Old 05-05-2009, 08:00 AM   #13
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Jim Stewart:

Don't mean to butt in, but FWIW, we took 40' pusher w. toad to Alaska in summer of 07 (June-Sept.), and did not ONCE have any difficulty getting into campgrounds along the way. Once and awhile when heading toward an unkown area, we'd call ahead to determine feasibility for a space that night, but generally just arrived and got a spot. Oh, calling ahead up in the Yukon area usually best done on land line, since cell svc. is iffy. Steve
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Old 05-05-2009, 08:46 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Stewart View Post
When you did your Alaska trip, was there ever a problem getting a campsite for the night without advance reservations?
Jim,

We had no problems whatsoever. There's adequate campsite availability along the various routes through Canada and Alaska. We didn't even call ahead, we just pulled in and stayed however long we wanted.

The only reservation I made for the entire 5 month trip was on the Alaska Ferry to haul our truck and trailer from Skagway to Haines. Due to our length I thought it'd be prudent to book that one ahead of time.

Nice trip, I'm thinking about doing it again before I get too old to pull it off again.
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