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Old 10-04-2015, 12:32 PM   #1
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Question New comer needs advice

Heading west for six weeks to tour national parks and on to Nappa Valley in mid April thru May 2016. Do I need reservations that time of year in order to have someplace to stay? If so, how do you plan for every stop and what happens if you have a breakdown?
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Old 10-04-2015, 02:18 PM   #2
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I like to keep my daily travel to somewhere between 200 and 300 miles a day. Just talked to a friend that went from Georgia to California and back and said never again will he go more than 250 miles each day. I also like to make reservations for every stop any time of the year. If you are not comfortable with making reservations 6-8 weeks in advance then you can look at as little as 24 hours in advance so if you are turned down you can find a backup to where you want to be. You definitely want to make advance reservations for any stops you make on a Friday or Saturday as the National Parks or any Corps of Engineer campgrounds will fill up fast for the weekends. Commercial RV parks aren't as big of a problem. Depending on the size of your RV you may be limited as to where you can camp so take that into consideration. Many of the National Parks have a limited number of sites for anything over 34' so choices may be few. If you are 62 years old or older be sure to get a "America the Beautiful" lifetime pass for $10 plus any postage if necessary. Good for free entrance to most National Parks and give you a 50% discount on campsites. Many of the National Parks will see an increase in fees next year. As far as breakdowns are concerned you take you chances since you can't plan for that. Check the policy for cancellation for the stops you plan to make and get it by email to save the policy in case of a dispute. Many times there is no mention of cancellation policy on any brochure or advertisement so be sure to ask.
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Old 10-04-2015, 03:04 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by wwobrian View Post
Heading west for six weeks to tour national parks and on to Nappa Valley in mid April thru May 2016. Do I need reservations that time of year in order to have someplace to stay? If so, how do you plan for every stop and what happens if you have a breakdown?
From our personal experience after traveling in our MH cross-country several times over the last 16 years, reservations are way too confining. While I would NOT recommend it, we've even traveled during holidays without prior reservations. Seldom have we been denied a place to park - even if it's been boon-docking in a WalMart or similar lot.

What we've enjoyed THE MOST is while traveling down the road, when we see a sign that says something like "Scenic Route - Turn Right" we simply turn right. Or if we hear on the local radio station "Festival this weekend at..." we pull into the local grocery store for discount tickets and spend a few days at the advertised event. But for us, the road is the experience. The destination is secondary.

One Suggestion: If you are restricting your travels to a relatively specific distance per day and are NOT BOTH the adventurist at heart, look ahead the night before and make a reservation one night in advance.

Happy trails!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 10-05-2015, 07:37 AM   #4
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On our 34 day, 6700 mile loop around the US a few yrs ago, I'd have the wife start calling places sometimes only a couple hours out, figuring I'd be ready to stop driving by then...a few said, "we're still closed for winter BUT I can have a place plowed for you by the time you get here...right beside the bath-house.!"

Me?..I'd wait until I was a few days out from Napa, to start calling. You never know about staying an xtra day here and there or as mentioned, a breakdown.
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Old 10-05-2015, 08:55 AM   #5
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That early in the season, you could still see roads closed in the mountains, so do some research now on any mountain roads that you might use. Early season also will allow you to find vacancy at campgrounds most anywhere.

I don't make any reservations, at most I will call ahead up to one day to verify the next stop. What I don't want is a calendar full of "appointments." Weather, mechanical issues, trip plan adjustments and many other things can throw you off course.

Even restricting each days driving to a set amount of miles will be another restriction. Just do what is comfortable, and burn up miles as needed to give you the best experience.
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Old 10-05-2015, 09:01 AM   #6
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From our personal experience after traveling in our MH cross-country several times over the last 16 years, reservations are way too confining. While I would NOT recommend it, we've even traveled during holidays without prior reservations. Seldom have we been denied a place to park - even if it's been boon-docking in a WalMart or similar lot.

What we've enjoyed THE MOST is while traveling down the road, when we see a sign that says something like "Scenic Route - Turn Right" we simply turn right. Or if we hear on the local radio station "Festival this weekend at..." we pull into the local grocery store for discount tickets and spend a few days at the advertised event. But for us, the road is the experience. The destination is secondary.

One Suggestion: If you are restricting your travels to a relatively specific distance per day and are NOT BOTH the adventurist at heart, look ahead the night before and make a reservation one night in advance.

Happy trails!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
X2 Reservations are way to restrictive. Been doin' it for 18 years. Snowbirding.
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Old 10-05-2015, 04:26 PM   #7
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16 years of full-timing and traveling constantly with no reservations except for absolutely needing to be somewhere on a specific day - like a graduation, etc. If we had to make reservations for every day for 16 years we would never have survived full-timing.

This includes national parks in the summer. There are some campgrounds that don't even accept reservations. Park nearby the previous night and get there early morning and you'll get a site.

Your trip is April/May - you'll have no problems.
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Old 10-05-2015, 05:51 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the great advise. That's takes a lot of pressure off. See you on the road
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