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Old 02-17-2015, 11:49 AM   #1
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Need advice for Newbe's first RV trip

Good morning all. We took possession of our 2015 Winnebago View Dec ’14 We made approx a dozen trips back and forth to the dealer/MBZ to fix stupid crap. I spent probably 100 or more hours on youtube learning about RV’ing (first time owning or even being inside a motorhome is when we ordered/took possession of this) and twice that time on IRV2, reading/communicating with a bunch of “know it alls”...and that is NOT meant sarcastically...the knowledge level on this forum is amazing!
I’m pretty handy so with the help of this forum, I’ve install a permanent EMS and a water pressure regulator and I ordered the coach with the built in Garmin GPS.

We took a maiden trip to Pt Mugu Naval Base and spent 5 days learning about RV life while enjoying 80 degree weather right on the beach. I also learned a toad wasn’t necessary with a 25 footer, but, after renting a car while up at Pt. Mugu, it certainly is an incredible convenience soooooo.....We sold my wife’s non-towable Prius, picked up a towable 2013 Chevy Sonic and next week, I’m having installed a base plate, tow bar, Stay-In-Play brake system and all the electrical conveniences that go along with the whole setup, including a fuse by-pass switch and a hardwired dashboard toad brake indicator light.

So, here’s where I need input from you folks. This Spring, Lori and I and our two dogs are planning the obligatory Mother In Law visit in Atlanta Ga. We’ll leave San Diego Ca on Sunday, April 12th and plan for only one, one-day stopover/visit in Phoenix AZ, then just head straight to Atlanta with no planned sightseeing stopovers along the way. We would like to be in Atlanta by early afternoon of Friday, April 17th. and leave again on Monday April 21st or no later than Tues the 22nd. We want to be back in San Diego by approximately May 9th.

On the way back, my wife made it clear, she doesn’t want to stop “EVERYWHERE” and see “EVERYTHING”, but she wants to stop a lot and see plenty...know what I mean?
The scenic landscape along the way back is equally important, especially when you consider much of the early part of our outgoing (desert portion) trip will probably be as exciting as watching paint dry.

She’s not gonna be much for stopping for 2-3 days at an RV camp sitting around reading and yawning, she wants to move. By the same token, I don’t relish the thought of pulling in setting up and breaking things down to head out right away the next morning...I would like someplace that at least a two day stop over can be relaxing and enjoyable. She loves (the thought of) stopping in small memorable/charming towns along the way...hopefully with somewhat cooperative weather. We’ll have the toad and two bikes. We joined Good Sam and Passport and I am retired Navy so I also have access to Military RV camps along the way (I can pull the info up on line along the way)

I know most of you folks can do a trip like this with one hand tied behind your back, blindfolded and barefoot, but for us, with no extended RV driving experience, is this too lofty a goal? We’re both healthy with no restrictions, but I don’t know what is realistic as far as extended driving an RV goes. My wife probably will not be driving so it’ll be on me. Taking into consideration periodic stops/stretches/dog breaks, is it realistic to drive 6 to 8 hours per day? Also, what’s the school of thought about driving all day just to check in to an RV park or State park in the late afternoon/evening just to check out again in the morning without getting a chance to at least try to appreciate the stopover vs driving at night to be able to pull in during the day?

I’m a realist...after 22 years in the Navy and 20 years in law enforcement, I know things don’t always go as planned and if something can happen...it will happen. All we can hope for is for it not to happen to us. But, I too want this trip to be a memorable one...being the first big one.

Lastly, I know on the way back, I want to stop in Albuquerque for a one day visit...before and after that, it’s wide open as am I ...for suggestions/advice. Thanks ahead of time folks.
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Old 02-17-2015, 12:03 PM   #2
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A trip like that really doesn't lend itself to a hard schedule. You'd have to have stops fairly well planned to make a particular date back in San Diego.

However, it can be done. I suggest that you don't "set up" for a quick overnight stop. Just water and electricity and dump only when 3/4 full. Don't pull out the rug and camping chairs. That makes getting underway easier. If you have levelers, don't bother unless you can tell the site isn't level.

Don't put too much pressure on making the trip "memorable". If you don't push things, you will remember your first big trip.
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Old 02-17-2015, 12:58 PM   #3
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I too am retired Navy and law enforcement. I assume that you will be taking I-20 and then connecting with I-40 on the way back. If so, Memphis, TN has a lot of sightseeing to offer. There is an excellent campground at Little Rock AFB in Arkansas and also visit the Hot Springs area. Your trip back will take you through Oklahoma City where there is a very solemn memorial site for the victims of the Oklahoma City Bombing. Of course then you have your stop over in Albuquerque. The next area to explore would be Flagstaff and the Grand Canyons. While there, take a ride down to Sedona, AZ where most western movies were filmed. Remember the red rock formations? Then head for home. This route puts you near military campgrounds. Since you have nearly 2-1/2 weeks to get back, enjoy the time on the road. Part of the enjoyment of rving is spending time at a campground sitting around relaxing and talking to other folks. You will have a memorable experience if you don't push yourself too hard. After all, you have all of the comforts of home with you and if there are no campgrounds near you when you want to call it quits for the day, remember that most Walmart and truck stops will let you spend the night for free.
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Old 02-17-2015, 01:32 PM   #4
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While your outbound trip is doable it won't be fun, relaxing or very enjoyable. Speed runs are sometimes needed but by adding an extra day going out you can turn what will sure to be a painful memory into a fun adventure. To me the point of the RV is to enjoy life and our great country but you have to stop to do that. Next exit is a good app to have with you.
You will be passing lots of state and national parks which are for the most part stunning so check them out. Get yourself a famcamp app for the military recreation sites. There are a lot more that most know about and some are amazing. New Mexico and Arizona are really fun places to explore with lots to see and do. Great food, interesting small towns, lots of history and great scenery! The Sedona area is really nice area to explore. Have fun!


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Old 02-17-2015, 05:28 PM   #5
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We took a trip from Colorado to just E of Atlanta last spring in our moho. We took a week to get there, then spent a month with relatives and friends, before taking another week to get home. We are retired, but still in our mid-50's and enjoy taking our time now. If it were me, a mad dash like you are planning is never enjoyable, so simply fly there, get it over with, then return and take the new moho where ever your hearts desire. You will save money flying, and can spend it all taking a relaxing RV trip instead.

One of our family members recently flew from Atlanta to DFW round-trip for a total price of just under $100! SW Airlines has some crazy good deals.

If you decide to take the moho instead, we took I-40 to Nashville, then I-24 to Chattanooga, and finally I-75 into Atlanta. We took the I-20 route the last time, both ways are very long from Colorado, so if you are in a hurry, go to the airport instead. Don't get me wrong, we have done the same thing before. A trip in the moho is STILL a trip! But, if the occasion ever arises that requires us to visit Atlanta for less than a week, I am fairly certain we would simply fly.

BTW, we left in mid-April and were involved in several horrible tornadoes in Arkansas and Texas! 16 people were killed in Mayflower, Arkansas while we were one exit away. In the Dumas, Texas tornado, we saw the funnel and made a detour into a WM parking lot, and just made it into the store before part of the roof was damaged, and several houses were destroyed behind the store. I pay attention to the weather usually, but the storms hit so suddenly, we were simply unprepared. So be careful out there!

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Old 02-17-2015, 05:44 PM   #6
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Charles Kuralt said


"Thanks to the interstate highway system, it is possible to travel from coast to coast and not see a thing."


I love the back roads and by looking on the internet can find some unusual places and things to see. Or, talk to the local people. But, we all have a different way to travel.
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Old 02-17-2015, 06:14 PM   #7
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On way back from Alaska in 2009 we drove down the west coast to Napa for wine country & tasting. We had been on the road + 3 months but my wife wanted to take advantage of being that far west.

She had planned a lunch with a friend near there and after we ate and said our goodbye's my wife turned to me and said "I want to get home as fast as possible, I'm home sick". We drove to Reno the first night, then to Price Utah the second night, across Colorado and the Rockies and into Kansas the 3rd night (did +800 miles that day), to St Louis MO the 4th night and then home to Knoxville TN in a little over 4 days.

We usually won't make specific plans and/or reservations and if we are only stopping to sleep will park at Walmart's, Cabela's, Sam's Club or truck stops. We can get up and get going quick.

Yes you can do the trip you are considering but I would be flexible on how far you drive and what you stop and see.
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Old 02-17-2015, 06:52 PM   #8
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Hi Donut lover,
For me, I'd stay south until the last possible exit to get to Albuquerque. I'm going to suggest more than you can do. Think of this a a menu of possibilities.
1. Carlsbad Caverns National Park (NP), New Mexico. Cavern tour + watch the bats leave the cavern at sunset.
2. Roswell, New Mexico - Where the UFO crashed
3. White Sands National Monument - If you climb a dune more than once, you'll be doing better than me.
4. Gila Cliff Dwellings, New Mexico
5. Albuquerque
6. Petrified Forest National Park (Painted Desert inside park), I-40 Exit 311 in Arizona.
7. Winslow, Arizona (town stuck in the 60's) Remember the song "Take It Easy, sung by the Eagles? Go to
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Old 02-17-2015, 10:02 PM   #9
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Great advice from gary on sightseeing , we generally have a long day driving , stop at walmart no set up just walk dog and sleep . Get to place you want to see and have easy relaxing day and campsite .
Just go with how you feel
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Old 02-17-2015, 11:31 PM   #10
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Thanks so much for all the good feedback: JPlante4, Patrol65...great advice, especially on NOT trying too hard to make it memorable. Memphis, Nashville, OK City and the Grand Cyn is a must...thanks.

Chiefly1...Great advice on the Next Exit and FamCamp apps...gonna download both right after this.

Firebug5...Tks for the response and the info on cheap flights, but flying is something I'm trying to get away from...even when visiting my Mo. In Law. I will also keep a close eye out for bad weather brewing in that neck of the country. I never gave that much thought before...I will now, thanks.

halfwright...I too like back roads (just not too far back) Lori is all about those unusual places to visit.

Jimmyjnr and Jacwjames...thanks for the reponse and the advice.

GaryKD...My wife's eyes lit way up when she read your suggested itinerary. It looks very do-able and very fun.

Again, thanks so much everyone for all your input.
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Old 02-18-2015, 07:32 AM   #11
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I didn't see New Orleans mentioned. On the way back that would definately be a stop for me. Also since you'll be in the Atlanta area, maybe a short trip to Stone Mountain.
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Old 02-18-2015, 09:30 PM   #12
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Rv parky Is a great app
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Old 02-18-2015, 11:21 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ramets View Post
I didn't see New Orleans mentioned. On the way back that would definately be a stop for me. Also since you'll be in the Atlanta area, maybe a short trip to Stone Mountain.
Any city that has cockroaches so big the locals caution you if you step on one, you do so at your own risk...I stay clear of...but I thank you for that suggestion.
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Old 02-19-2015, 12:26 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmyjnr View Post
Rv parky Is a great app
Thank you Jimmy...that certainly IS a great app. I can't get my wife to turn off the light and go to sleep...she's lovin' it!
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