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Old 05-28-2012, 11:13 AM   #1
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Tips for our first road trip with MH

Hello Everyone.
We recently purchased a 1997 Itasca MH, and we will be taking our first trip in 2 weeks from Florida to Michigan. It will be my wife, myself and our 3 children, and to be honest, I am a little nervous. I purchased the Good Samís roadside service, so I know that if we break down we will be ok.

I could use some tips from those experienced travelers out there. Specifically, can anyone advise:

Is it safe to stop at rest stations to sleep for the night, or do we need to find a campsite?

Do you typically fill up the fresh water tank before the drive, or just fill partially, and top off along the way?

My wife would like to stop along the way to see the sights, does anyone
know of a good trip planner and/or website that lists family friendly activities along a projected path? Alternatively, does anyone have any recommendations for stops in Ga., TN or KY?

Finally, if anyone has any advise/tips for things I should know but probably donít. As I said, this is our first real trip, so any tips and/or advise would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 05-28-2012, 12:14 PM   #2
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I don't know about the other items but I would suggest the following;
Check oil and water levels
Check for proper tire inflation
Only fill enough fresh water as you will need while in transit. Each gallon represents 8 lbs. more of a load on your rig.
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Old 05-28-2012, 03:46 PM   #3
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We stop at Wal Mart, Cracker Barrel & Campers World when we are just traveling to a destination. I prefer not to stop at rest areas for an extended time if I can help it. In my opinion the space we take up at a rest area could be the space a tractor trailer needs & they are on the road earning a living. Not that we can't afford a campground but if we are only stopping to sleep I don't like paying the full cost of the campground when I am not using any of the amenities. But if we are stopping early & don't plan on leaving early in the morning then we do stay in a campground. There is a very long post here about WalMart. Some good info & a lot of repeat info I would suggest you read the first couple of pages & leave it at that. When we are on the road I like to stop at Pilot or Flying J for fuel. They usually have a RV lane & they also have a discount card for Frequent Fuelers. They are not always the cheapest fuel but usually very competitive. And most are easy in & easy out. We also have a Passport America card. You can receive 50% discount on campgrounds, however there are restrictions. The first week we had the card we saved more than double the cost. I think it is $45 for a year.

Not real familiar with sites in TN or GA, but Mamouth Caves National Park in KY is a must see if you haven't been there. We were there 2 years ago & are planning a stop there in August on our way to CO.

My water supply depends on what my travel itinerary is, boon docking on the way I am sure to have enough water for that many days, CG camping along the way I only keep minimal water for the road.
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Old 05-28-2012, 05:16 PM   #4
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I also agree you need to your basic rountie check before leaving your house to get on the road my basic check is the following headlights, taillights, turn signals, back up lights, all spare driving lights, marker lights, tire pressure, wheels and lug nuts tight, air conditioners, holding tanks are empty, when in travel I only keep a quater to half of water while in transport I fill up with fresh water comletely when i get close to my stop, I have stayed over night in rest area's. truck stops and visiters stop I lock my door and sleep never had problems there knock on wood... any amount of liquid means extra weight on board extra weight means strain and poor fuel mileage... strain also means mechanically problems... best of luck
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Old 05-29-2012, 12:22 PM   #5
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I think the most important thing to check on a 1997 motorhome is the DOT date stamp on your tires. It is likely that a 1997 motorhome is built on a chassis that was manufactured in 1996 ... that means the 16 tire years ... this rig should have had the first two sets of tires replaced and should be on the third set of tires

You don't want to have a blow out
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Old 05-31-2012, 11:58 AM   #6
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Hi patpro23,

I use only CGs, none of the other places mentioned. I carry a full water tank when starting out. For fueling the coach, go to the Pilot/Flying J web site and down load their directory of station locations for RVers. Competitive prices and easy in and out. They also have a discount card to save one some $s.

Sights to see along the way are so numerous there is never enough time, in one trip, to see everything. I'm not sure if you are going North on I 75 or I 77 so here are my, high level, suggestions.

Georgia = Stone Mountain just outside Atlanta. They have a CG on site.
North Carolina (western) = Charlotte Motor Speedway in Charlotte. All things NASCAR. There is a CG at the Speedway)
Tennessee (eastern) = Great Smoky Mountain NP, Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, Sevierville. A "G" rated area with more things to do than you can think about. More CGs than one can count.
Kentucky = Kentucky Horse Park just North of Lexington (along I 75)There is a CG at the horse park. Also, there is the Creation Museum in Northern Kentucky just south west of Cincinnati.

Google the above mentioned entertainment areas. I think you'll be pleased.
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Old 06-01-2012, 10:18 AM   #7
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patpro23:

Say, we just gotta reinforce GaryKD's recommendation regarding a stay at the Kentucky Horse Park just North of Lexington. At least, stay two nights (ie., 1st night in, 1day touring the museum and seeing all the sights, 2nd night, then out). Don't know how old your children are, but they won't be bored. And.....it's beautiful!!

Steve & Lynette
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Old 06-01-2012, 12:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patpro23 View Post
Hello Everyone.
We recently purchased a 1997 Itasca MH, and we will be taking our first trip in 2 weeks from Florida to Michigan. It will be my wife, myself and our 3 children, and to be honest, I am a little nervous. I purchased the Good Samís roadside service, so I know that if we break down we will be ok.

I could use some tips from those experienced travelers out there. Specifically, can anyone advise:

Is it safe to stop at rest stations to sleep for the night, or do we need to find a campsite?

Do you typically fill up the fresh water tank before the drive, or just fill partially, and top off along the way?

My wife would like to stop along the way to see the sights, does anyone
know of a good trip planner and/or website that lists family friendly activities along a projected path? Alternatively, does anyone have any recommendations for stops in Ga., TN or KY?

Finally, if anyone has any advise/tips for things I should know but probably donít. As I said, this is our first real trip, so any tips and/or advise would be greatly appreciated.
It looks like you got alot of good advise. Skigramp told you to check the DOT numbers on the tires. Great advise, but he failed to tell you how to read them. There will be 4 numbers. Example 1207; this tire was manufactured in the 12th week of 2007. first two numbers are the week, the last two are year.
I would not reccomend any tire over 7 years old. Forget the amount of tread or weather the side wall is weather checked.

I am a retired cross country truck owner and have seen the damage a truck tire can do. 6 weeks ago we are traveling towards home, our 2000 Malibu blew a tire while being towed behind our diesel pusher. The tire caused $2936. damage on a car. Can you imagine a truck tire coming up through the floor of your RV???????

If you like old cars, the Auburn Cord Dusenburg museum at Auburn In is great. There is also another auto and truck museum on the Same property that is good also. RV Museum at South Bend In. Ford Museum in Wyoming (Detroit) Mich.

Hope you enjoy your travels, good wishes, old trucker

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Old 06-04-2012, 09:40 AM   #9
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Thanks for the great advise everyone.

We just pruchased new tires, as the ones on the unit were definately older. Also, we had new air bags installed in the suspension to try and make the ride better.

Thanks again!
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Old 06-04-2012, 02:17 PM   #10
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First - in all the years we have had a real RV, we have stopped for the night at a campground maybe - Maybe- an half dozen times and that was more to get water and dump and hot-too long showers and wash clothes......

Next, you have to decide on a route and then find out what is along it.
There is Clingman's Dome and Pigeon Forge (a tourist trap). The USAF Museum in Dayton, The ACD and NATMU next door (literally). In Michigan there are the Kalamazoo Air Zoo, The Gilmore classic and historic car collection and the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village.
And I have just scratched the surface.

As to what else to see along the route, there is no single good source. AAA's trip planner is pretty good, but it can only present points close to your route. If you don't have AAA, you might get the RV plan while you are at it.

You don't say much about the kids and what might be interesting to them. Do they even like museums?

When we traveled with kids, we always set up to hold up close to the next day's point of interest. Then we would start the day with the attraction and wear the kids out. That way they were quiet while we traveled.

Matt
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Old 06-09-2012, 11:00 PM   #11
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To amplify Old Truckers comments. The Auburn Cord museum is in Auburn IN and the
RV one is in Elkhart IN.

Al Sawyer
'05 MADP
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