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Old 11-30-2019, 10:00 PM   #1
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1st Time, All In, a Lot Nervous

Hello, we owned a pop-up years ago and used it once. Now we have the Providence 39S that I have driven eight miles and we are 12 days away from a 1200 mile trip from Michigan to Florida for an extended stay. I had the mechanicals gone through and put new tires on it (34,000 on the odometer). A couple of questions I need help with are things like heating while going down the road, filling water tank if it's freezing when we leave, how far is a realistic first day etc. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 11-30-2019, 10:59 PM   #2
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Welcome aboard!

Don't leave the water hose connected in freezing weather. I don't worry about the fresh water freezing if temps go up during the day.

I put on warm boots and use a small blanket on my lap when driving in cold weather.

We like to keep our travel days at about 250 miles or less. And we always plan on getting to our destination at least an hour before dark. Parking after dark can be a problem. I calculate distance using 50 miles an hour as an average speed.

The hardest part of driving at first for me was when I encountered concrete barriers on both sides of the lane that were right on the painted line. Just slow down to where you are comfortable. Especially when the trucks pass you.

Now I can run full speed through barrier areas but I've been at it for 93,000 miles. By the time you get to Florida you'll have some confidence.

Are you going to pull a car?
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Old 12-01-2019, 01:05 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Arch Hoagland View Post
Welcome aboard!

Don't leave the water hose connected in freezing weather. I don't worry about the fresh water freezing if temps go up during the day.

I put on warm boots and use a small blanket on my lap when driving in cold weather.

We like to keep our travel days at about 250 miles or less. And we always plan on getting to our destination at least an hour before dark. Parking after dark can be a problem. I calculate distance using 50 miles an hour as an average speed.

The hardest part of driving at first for me was when I encountered concrete barriers on both sides of the lane that were right on the painted line. Just slow down to where you are comfortable. Especially when the trucks pass you.

Now I can run full speed through barrier areas but I've been at it for 93,000 miles. By the time you get to Florida you'll have some confidence.

Are you going to pull a car?
Thank you for the reply. We decided pulling a car was too much this time around so we have arranged to have a friend bring it down a week ahead of us. Some of the things troubling me are the miles. 250 or five hours seems like nothing. We normally do the trip with a twelve hour day in our car pulling a boat trailer. The other thing is the heat. With two furnaces, propane and a big diesel generator I can't believe the answer is boots and blankets. Am I missing something? Thanks again.
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Old 12-01-2019, 06:20 AM   #4
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Welcome to the forum and congrats on the new rig.

You are joining a good group off folks here with good info to share. Read the various threads here and ask questions as they come up.

All good advice from Arch. We go by the 2.5/2.5 rule when traveling from point A to point B with no sightseeing on the way. This is 250 miles a day and in to camp by 2:30 or so in the afternoon. Traveling in the motor home will be slower than a car or truck. You will find the most comfortable and fuel efficient speed will be 60-65 mph.

Good luck and enjoy the adventure!
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Old 12-01-2019, 06:36 AM   #5
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welcome
i was like you never drove an rv til the day i bought mine also 39ft.
then i also have a 8.5 x 20 trailer in tow.
have done an 800 mile day but try not to do more then 300 in a day. i found that when i was looking at a blue ox tow system for the mini cooper and a hydro lift for the harley new cost was about 9k, i found a car hauler with a wdh and daul anti sway was only around 7k.
the trailer give more protection and give you extra storage i also found it easier to back up rather then having to disconnect before backing up.
the down side my set up is 64ft in length so i mainly use pull though
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Old 12-01-2019, 07:07 AM   #6
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Hello and welcome to the "Our" world!!

So far - - the good advice is already coming your way.

My thoughts......you go with what you are comfortable for you and your family.

I am a planner from h_ll - sorry old occupational habit - - - plan your trip.

There are many apps out there to help you do this - - I caution about using Google Maps - - great program but travel time will be for a car - so if it says your trip will take say, 5 hours, tack on at least another 1 or 2 hours. There is a program called RV Trip Wizard. It is a complete package and can really help you plan a trip - especially when you are new to motor homing. You can see a demo here:https://www.rvtripwizard.com The $40 annual charge is well worth it for me.....

Next - - Consider how many times have you set up camp?? How long will it take you to hook up power, fresh water, sewer? Just asking? Most here can do it with our eyes closed - - but not the first or second, or even the third time. So you may want to consider getting off the road during day during daylight hours with a minimum of 1 to 2 hours of light.

Planning again - - - you and many others are heading south for the winter. Places to stay - up your way and points south are something to consider as many "Up North" are closed and in the warmer weather areas the southbound surge has started and camping slots may be reserved. We too are snow birds - and travel down form the Indianapolis area. I can give you our itinerary and stops we make - we travel to SW Florida in 3 days - 2 nights and have found some nice, inexpensive full hook up camp grounds along the way - but I would suggest reservations - now. So not sure where in MI you are coning from - it may add a night.

Last and certainty not least - - I left the best for last.......driving your RV.....!

Not knowing your expertise in driving something longer than 10 or 12 feet - some prep in this area may want to be considered.

First off if you have experience with large vehicles - I do not mean to be rude - but then I think you would agree driving a 40" motor home needs some, at least, small knowledge.

My suggestion at this late date would be to watch You Tube videos. Things to watch for are turning, backing, setting up mirrors, stopping. Turning and stopping being important in my view. Oh - - and most important "Drive Defensively".

All the best to you and safe travels - -

g
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Old 12-01-2019, 09:17 AM   #7
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My first long trip was not quite a year ago so it's still pretty fresh in my mind. I too had only driven it a dozen miles here and there so getting on the freeway was intimidating. Like you I'm pretty good with 12+ hours in the family car and covering some ground. In an RV you can pretty much forget about that. You can't maintain that pace, nor will you want to. Driving these things takes attention and awareness that will fatigue you faster than driving a car. Getting gas or stopping anywhere for any reason takes longer and is more involved. Stopping for the night just starts with turning off the engine, there are numerous tasks to accomplish before you call it a night. All that being said my maiden voyage was 450 miles the first day which took us from after breakfast to dinner time, including stops and traffic. I wasn't "beat" but I was certainly glad to be stopping for the night. The good news - your home is where you stop. So unlike a hotel you don't have to haul bags or head out again to find a place for dinner. All your stuff is right there and you can go from driving to putting on something comfy and enjoying a home cooked dinner. Even a rest stop on the highway or a gas stop parking lot can be a nice break where you can hang out, have a nice lunch, freshen up and go. So point of all this is don't box yourself in that you "have to" make a certain destination by a specific time. Pick a route and along that route think about places at various distances along the way that would work as a soft landing spot, "just in case". Maybe your first day just plan on not doing a marathon just so you get your sea legs. You may find it's a piece of cake and do twice as much the next day. But the last thing you want is to be "behind", hurried and frazzled. If that means pushing the schedule out, or leaving a day or two early then that's how it works out. This isn't FedEx where you absolutely positively have to be there, it's also the journey and you can't rush it. The regimen and familiarity will come soon enough, enjoy the experience and learn as you go.

Mark B.
Albuquerque, NM
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Old 12-01-2019, 10:40 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Mark_K5LXP View Post
My first long trip was not quite a year ago so it's still pretty fresh in my mind. I too had only driven it a dozen miles here and there so getting on the freeway was intimidating. Like you I'm pretty good with 12+ hours in the family car and covering some ground. In an RV you can pretty much forget about that. You can't maintain that pace, nor will you want to. Driving these things takes attention and awareness that will fatigue you faster than driving a car. Getting gas or stopping anywhere for any reason takes longer and is more involved. Stopping for the night just starts with turning off the engine, there are numerous tasks to accomplish before you call it a night. All that being said my maiden voyage was 450 miles the first day which took us from after breakfast to dinner time, including stops and traffic. I wasn't "beat" but I was certainly glad to be stopping for the night. The good news - your home is where you stop. So unlike a hotel you don't have to haul bags or head out again to find a place for dinner. All your stuff is right there and you can go from driving to putting on something comfy and enjoying a home cooked dinner. Even a rest stop on the highway or a gas stop parking lot can be a nice break where you can hang out, have a nice lunch, freshen up and go. So point of all this is don't box yourself in that you "have to" make a certain destination by a specific time. Pick a route and along that route think about places at various distances along the way that would work as a soft landing spot, "just in case". Maybe your first day just plan on not doing a marathon just so you get your sea legs. You may find it's a piece of cake and do twice as much the next day. But the last thing you want is to be "behind", hurried and frazzled. If that means pushing the schedule out, or leaving a day or two early then that's how it works out. This isn't FedEx where you absolutely positively have to be there, it's also the journey and you can't rush it. The regimen and familiarity will come soon enough, enjoy the experience and learn as you go.

Mark B.
Albuquerque, NM
Thank you Mark and everyone else. The forum seems like it is going to be a great resource for support. So I think I am ok with the actual driving part of the coach. I was planning on setting the cruise at 62 and staying in my lane as much as possible. I have done all I can in preparation such as new windshield wipers, adjusting the headlamps, belts, hoses, tires, brakes etc. What I really need help with is the actual process of how to make this as enjoyable as i can. Maybe the best way to start is to share my vision and have any of you willing to help, share your advice or corrections.
Day 1: The coach comes out of heated storage, the fuel, propane and water tanks are full. Slides in, items secured, roof vents closed, jacks up and then set the furnace to desired temp (assuming this is on propane). I was planning on only stopping at truck stops or rest areas. The final stop of the night was going to be a rest area. My thought was we would put the jacks down (not sure about this) but leave the slides in. Just basically eat, relax and get some sleep.
Day 2: Same with the exception of maybe following some advice on places to stay just off the hwy where it would allow us to level, slides out and enjoy some quiet. (would I hook the sewer up here or just wait until I get to Florida).
I hope this helps shed some light on where I am need the most guidance. By the way, are Walmarts, Cracker Barrels etc safe in smaller towns with low crime or have RV's become targets. Thanks again.
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Old 12-01-2019, 10:41 AM   #9
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Hi ! Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined the gang!

Congrats on the new rig! Have fun and keep her between the ditches!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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Old 12-01-2019, 11:00 AM   #10
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Truck stops are crowded and are noisy all night long. Rest areas, some good, most not so good. We much prefer Walmarts, but you have to check and call ahead because some allow overnighting and some do not. I use and recommend a paid service called Overnightrvparking.com. It shows you places to stay, with reviews by other RVers. The first night you stay in one of the listed spots instead of a campground will more than pay your annual fee.

Leaving from Michigan on the way to Florida one place you might stop is a casino just north of Indianapolis. It is Harrah's Hoosier Park . Free RV parking, level and quiet. Park in the lot on the west side of the Casino building. Whenever you park at a Walmart, Casino, or other place like that, park near the outer edge of the parking lot so you are not impeding or affected by the traffic that is entering or leaving the building itself.
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Old 12-01-2019, 11:20 AM   #11
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Truck stops are crowded and are noisy all night long. Rest areas, some good, most not so good. We much prefer Walmarts, but you have to check and call ahead because some allow overnighting and some do not. I use and recommend a paid service called Overnightrvparking.com. It shows you places to stay, with reviews by other RVers. The first night you stay in one of the listed spots instead of a campground will more than pay your annual fee.

Leaving from Michigan on the way to Florida one place you might stop is a casino just north of Indianapolis. It is Harrah's Hoosier Park . Free RV parking, level and quiet. Park in the lot on the west side of the Casino building. Whenever you park at a Walmart, Casino, or other place like that, park near the outer edge of the parking lot so you are not impeding or affected by the traffic that is entering or leaving the building itself.
Mark,
Thank you for the tip, it is about the perfect distance. We are headed very close to Wellington. Hopefully it will be good winter.
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Old 12-01-2019, 12:57 PM   #12
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Great advice

Lots of good advice here. I can add a little.

We travel from central Wisconsin to sunny places during winter months. Many northern campgrounds are still open. Some have water available but may require a long hose to fill tanks. There will be no water or sewer at the individual sites and no sewer dump stations open.

I found two of the thousands of waste dump sites open in the winter in WI. I assume MI and IN will be the same. We plan to be well south of St. Louis before water and sewer are available. Campgrounds in mountainous areas will likely have closed water and sewer dump sites.

Two of us using serious water conservation methods can go 5 days on stored water and waste tank. Showers are out. Sponge baths are in. You may have larger tanks. You won't know how long you can go until you try.

We usually start early and end early. It is easier to pull up stakes before dawn than to put them down after dark. You won't have a towed vehicle, so it will be much easier for you to find a place and settle in.

We often leave WI with the water system still winterize and drive a long way similar to when not towing. We stay in a hotel the first night and park in the hotel lot. Many hotels on interstate routes have large vehicle parking lots a little further away than car parking lots. I like less populated areas because I feel safer there than in big cities and rates are often lower.

When we reach an area that still has water and sewer dump stations open we flush the plumbing and begin enjoying the trip.
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Old 12-01-2019, 01:30 PM   #13
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OP said :

"The other thing is the heat. With two furnaces, propane and a big diesel generator I can't believe the answer is boots and blankets. Am I missing something?"


LOL...yes. My wife. She likes it cold in the front when we're on the road.

Happy wife, happy life.
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Old 12-01-2019, 02:00 PM   #14
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Lots of good advice here. I can add a little.

We travel from central Wisconsin to sunny places during winter months. Many northern campgrounds are still open. Some have water available but may require a long hose to fill tanks. There will be no water or sewer at the individual sites and no sewer dump stations open.

I found two of the thousands of waste dump sites open in the winter in WI. I assume MI and IN will be the same. We plan to be well south of St. Louis before water and sewer are available. Campgrounds in mountainous areas will likely have closed water and sewer dump sites.

Two of us using serious water conservation methods can go 5 days on stored water and waste tank. Showers are out. Sponge baths are in. You may have larger tanks. You won't know how long you can go until you try.

We usually start early and end early. It is easier to pull up stakes before dawn than to put them down after dark. You won't have a towed vehicle, so it will be much easier for you to find a place and settle in.

We often leave WI with the water system still winterize and drive a long way similar to when not towing. We stay in a hotel the first night and park in the hotel lot. Many hotels on interstate routes have large vehicle parking lots a little further away than car parking lots. I like less populated areas because I feel safer there than in big cities and rates are often lower.

When we reach an area that still has water and sewer dump stations open we flush the plumbing and begin enjoying the trip.
I have 90 gallon tanks so not sure either. The hotel sounds like a great idea. if it is a cold as I suspect. Thank you, Paul.
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