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Old 08-05-2016, 09:42 AM   #1
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Winter traveling

We live in Missouri which has unpredictable winter weather and we are wondering if it's possible to use our (new to us) motorhome in the winter months. Ideally, we would take a week off to drive to the gulf shores or someplace.

I'm not so much troubled by the winterizing/unwinterizing hassle as I am the fear that the weather wouldn't cooperate and we would be faced with driving in a snowstorm. The only way I can see around the weather issue is to take a last minute approach to planning and grab a week when the weather was expected to cooperate. But, I'm assuming this is high season for places like gulf shores, and I'm not sure we could get reservations anywhere.

I'm curious how others in the Midwest have worked around this dilemma. Or do you just put the MH in storage and forget about it until spring?

Charlie
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Old 08-05-2016, 11:28 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bloodyhell View Post
We live in Missouri which has unpredictable winter weather and we are wondering if it's possible to use our (new to us) motorhome in the winter months. Ideally, we would take a week off to drive to the gulf shores or someplace.

I'm not so much troubled by the winterizing/unwinterizing hassle as I am the fear that the weather wouldn't cooperate and we would be faced with driving in a snowstorm. The only way I can see around the weather issue is to take a last minute approach to planning and grab a week when the weather was expected to cooperate. But, I'm assuming this is high season for places like gulf shores, and I'm not sure we could get reservations anywhere.
I'm curious how others in the Midwest have worked around this dilemma. Or do you just put the MH in storage and forget about it until spring?
Charlie
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We travel in the winter... sometimes in and around in Missouri which has far better winter weather than our home state, (Wisconsin).
The only thing we "plan" is to GO when snow isn't in the forecast and NOT GO when it is.
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Old 08-05-2016, 11:44 AM   #3
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Snow is not the critical weather factor in the winter. Ice will be your nemesis.

Having lived in Alaska for 8 years I've made many trips in snow. Drove the ALCAN in November through continuous snow.

The weight of the coach over your drive wheels will keep you moving.

Use common sense when driving in snow just like you would in your car; don't overdrive your vision, slow down, don't make abrupt movements, etc...

Obviously, if you can avoid snow then do it but don't let it stop you unnecessarily.

I think the worst part of driving in snow in the lower 48 is the use of salt on the road, so damaging to your rig.
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Old 08-05-2016, 06:34 PM   #4
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You would watch the forecast closely and make a run for it the first day or two heading south. It's hard to plan the exact day of leaving far in advance but if you have a leeway of days it can definitely be done. Many snowbirders do it and many leave right after Christmas at probably the worst time, weatherwise.

Don't worry about reservations. Pull into the parks in the morning when folks leave and you'll get a site. All sites in all parks are not reservable. Some parks leave sites for real travelers.

We rarely made reservations during our 16 years of full-timing and traveling constantly - even with our 40' motorhome and in the popular national parks.

Are you retired? If so, definitely plan on leaving for more than a week which really isn't much time to enjoy the area if driving all the way to the Gulf.
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Old 08-06-2016, 09:12 AM   #5
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I would check a few places along the gulf coast to see how busy they are in the winter and I'm guessing they are not like the places further south, We went to Cajun Palms in Lafayette, LA last Jan and pretty much had the place to ourselves. If you know spots are available it will allow you to travel when the weather is favorable.
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Old 08-06-2016, 10:21 AM   #6
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sdennislee makes some good points. Ice would be the biggest concern. Driving in Snow is not that difficult. Drove for years on ski trips, sometimes needed chains but they are a hazard to your wheel wells and fiberglass. Look into "Auto Socks" as they are light weight, easy to install and not likely to do damage. May not need them but nice to have and sometimes required to carry in the winter.
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Old 08-06-2016, 07:06 PM   #7
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Only drove n the snow once, and not very far. As to reservations on the coast, last year the usual high numbers from Canada was significantly lower. Due to,the terrible differential in Canadian dollars to US dollars. We had neighbors who did come south, and it killed them. They aren't coming back this year.
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Old 08-06-2016, 10:50 PM   #8
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You would watch the forecast closely and make a run for it the first day or two heading south. It's hard to plan the exact day of leaving far in advance but if you have a leeway of days it can definitely be done. Many snowbirders do it and many leave right after Christmas at probably the worst time, weatherwise.

Don't worry about reservations. Pull into the parks in the morning when folks leave and you'll get a site. All sites in all parks are not reservable. Some parks leave sites for real travelers.

We rarely made reservations during our 16 years of full-timing and traveling constantly - even with our 40' motorhome and in the popular national parks.

Are you retired? If so, definitely plan on leaving for more than a week which really isn't much time to enjoy the area if driving all the way to the Gulf.

Thanks for this insight. I like the the no reservations approach, at least in concept. Gulf shores is an area I've never been to, so I'm unfamiliar with what's likely to be available, and I'm kind of a planner by nature so this would be a stretch of me. It solves a problem, though.

I'm not retired so I'm juggling time off with weather. Likely the way it would go is I'd plan for a week off, then cancel if the weather didn't look good and reschedule for another shot.
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Old 08-07-2016, 08:07 PM   #9
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There are many RV parks in Gulf Shores, including an awesome state park. There are also parks a half-hour north at the Foley area.

I'd suggest not reservations when you first leave Missouri so you can work around the weather. When you get a good opening for weather, head out and a day or two later when you're out of possible bad weather, make a reservation for the Gulf Shores area. Have a list ready of parks to call in order of choices. RVParksReview.com will help.

(We lived in Missouri so I know your concern on getting out of the area)
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Old 08-08-2016, 07:21 PM   #10
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You are missing the obvious point here. When the weather gets bad, stay home. Home is right behind the driver. When the roads turn to 5h1t, find someplace to hunker down and let all the asshats that are rushing places have their accidents and go home.

Your coach is cable of being self contained for at least a day and that is usually all it takes to get the highways clear. Only once were we told that we could not say where we had stopped. I looked at the guy and shrugged and told him that we will leave when we can. And then asked where he thought we should be right now?

This has worked for us for years. We used to have to go from Michigan to the east coast to take kids to the family Christmas.

Frank
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