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Old 12-22-2015, 03:11 PM   #1
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Trip planning

Come spring, DW & I are planning our first extended camping trip. We'd like it to last a couple of months. Leave N. Fla and visit relatives in Tennessee, then head north by north west. like to end up at Yellowstone before we start back. 1985 Alpenlite 25 fifth wheel & 2000 F350 dually diesel, so wife and I, camper and TV are all seniors. I've spent the last several months remodeling the camper. Added a generator, so we can boondock. Don't like interstates or crowded places, so intend to use whatever government facilities we can find.
Thinking seriously about a large wall map, up on the kitchen wall, so we can plan it all out in the large scale, the work on smaller maps for detail. Any one tried this? Any better ideas?
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Old 12-22-2015, 03:49 PM   #2
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My son and family went on a 7 week trip around the US last year. Since they we new to RVng and didn't have time to do a ton of research they employed Plan Your Trip - RV Trip Planning Agency to plan their trip giving them the highlights of places they wanted to see and what type of rig they were driving. (a 2015 Winnebago 30ft and Ford Explorer in flat tow). I saw the print out of the itinerary and it was very complete including travel time per day and pictures of the camp sites. They had no surprises on their trip. I plan on using them as soon as I figure out a rough agenda for our next long trip.
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Old 12-22-2015, 06:23 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOldMan76 View Post
Come spring, DW & I are planning our first extended camping trip. We'd like it to last a couple of months. Leave N. Fla and visit relatives in Tennessee, then head north by north west. like to end up at Yellowstone before we start back. 1985 Alpenlite 25 fifth wheel & 2000 F350 dually diesel, so wife and I, camper and TV are all seniors. I've spent the last several months remodeling the camper. Added a generator, so we can boondock. Don't like interstates or crowded places, so intend to use whatever government facilities we can find.
Thinking seriously about a large wall map, up on the kitchen wall, so we can plan it all out in the large scale, the work on smaller maps for detail. Any one tried this? Any better ideas?
What I've been doing for my month long summer trips is to use Google Maps. If you have a free google logon you can save them. In the beginning I get my ideas on where to go and what to see from articles I have read in RV magazines and online forum posts. I then use Google Maps and search out the area. Sometime using street view to see what type of road I might be traveling on and overhead views of campgrounds, etc. When I have it figured out I go back to Google Maps and I start with my home address and then put in the end address (i.e. Yellowstone NP) then SELECT OPTIONS and check Highways and Tolls to avoid the interstates and the route the that comes up is shown off of the interstates. Next I drag the route to other areas I would like to see (as it will give you the most direct route) and when it moves the road it puts a way point to hold the route. When I have where I want to go then I take note of the total hours it would take to the destination and then break it down into the number of days I have for the trip so I have an idea of how many days I have traveling and how many days I have at each location. I generally look at a 300 mile travel day so I then go about 300 miles from my start point and zoom in on the map. I click the X and search on the map you are viewing for "Rv parks and campgrounds". A bunch of red dots show up of all the campgrounds and then I look for something I like. It will show all campgrounds - state or private. When I find something I go back to my original directions and add a stop using the campground address. You will then get the time and distance from the last stop. If it works keep it and if it is too much look for a closer location. The only downside is Google only allows 10 stops so you might have to save the trip in segments. Good Sam has a excellent trip planner on their website but I find my self going back to Google Maps because i can easily jump on the links to webpages, etc. In the end I enter everything in the Good Sam Trip Planner because I can then download it in my GS GPS. For me half the fun of the trip is the planning where to go and what to see.
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Old 12-22-2015, 07:33 PM   #4
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We still have roadside assistance through AAA and take advantage of their trip planning information. We recently went on a trip to Albuquerque NM so got tour books for all the states we were passing through. We also got the Woodall's Camping Guide. A great resource.
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Old 12-22-2015, 10:21 PM   #5
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We just finished a five month trip out west and we did exactly what your are suggesting. We used a large folding map of the US and put little sticky dots on the places we wanted to visit. Then we used Apple maps, I like it better than Google maps, to figure out approx routes. Used Allstays Camp and RV to find good camp grounds along the way and adjusted initial routes accordingly.
We had more dots than time so we'll go back this next year to visit some of the others. We are slow travelers spending at least a week, sometimes two, at the various National Parks, Memorials, and the like.
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Old 12-22-2015, 11:12 PM   #6
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Hang on to that big wall map if you do it. Our first trip around the country, 11 years ago, we used a big map and recorded our path.

We were just rummaging through some of our motorhome stuff and came across the map. Brought back some good memories.
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Old 12-22-2015, 11:24 PM   #7
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You will probably find that you need a combination of paper maps and a computer map. I like Google and Street Atlas on my laptop. Big map for the big picture and hit every welcome center for local maps and suggestions about what to see.
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Old 12-31-2015, 10:45 AM   #8
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I've pretty much gone "paperless" in my old age. I rarely print anything, I rarely use paper versions of anything that I can access electronically.

That said - I use a variety of tools when it comes to trip planning. Typically, we pick a general destination ... then use AllStays to identify all the camping spots in an area (diving down to the individual campground web sites for all the information we can glean (pictures, rates, reviews, etc.). We use common "things to see and do" searches to find things that might interest at/near our destinations as well as along the way. We typically use Google Maps to determine our route - then dive into the Earth view to examine any of the spots we may care to stop at along the way (just to get a feel for maneuvering and parking will be like).

I've taken to using Microsoft's OneNote (which is part of the Microsoft Office Suite) to pull together everything associated with our trip planning. I'm currently putting the finishing touches on our plans for an upcoming 6 week trip to Florida - which is going to have us staying for a week at 5 different campgrounds scattered around the state. I've got a "custom" calendar (created in Excel) that lays out each day of the trip. I've got a section for each campground we're staying at - that includes the address of the campground, a link to the CG's website, the map/driving instructions on how to get there from the previous stop, I "print" any emails (i.e., reservation confirmations, correspondence with the CG staff, etc.) directly onto a page. I even capture the detailed Verizon wireless coverage status map shown on the Verizon web site for the destination (this is important for me since I work from my coach - and want to be able to show my employer that I've done my due diligence in the event I run into connectivity issues).

I create a couple of simple spreadsheets - which also get stored in OneNote. One tallies the miles we expect to drive on each leg of the trip - and calculates anticipated fuel requirements. Another tallies our anticipated campground fees. In short, anything and everything associated with our trip plans get captured and organized in OneNote. I do most of the research and "heavy lifting" in terms of getting everything together on my laptop - then save the OneNote file to the OneDrive cloud - at which point it's fully accessible on my iPhone. During the trip - I make a point of tracking costs (pretty much anything and everything except groceries) which I capture in OneNote as well.

I also detailed "To Do" lists and packing lists for each long trip in the same OneNote file. I've always got the list of stuff I want to get done before we leave on a "To Do" list ... as well as my detailed packing list. I love that I can update the completion status of each task on my list - as well as add / delete tasks - wherever I happen to be by simply calling it up on my iPhone. I can't tell you how many times I've had something that I want to remember to do and/or bring pop into my head while I'm out and about - that I've been able to add to my list by simply grabbing my iPhone.

I've even started adding pictures we take along the way to the OneNote file for each trip. In the end - I've got a living document that contains our "plan" ... our "actuals" ... and a few pictures to document things like the campsites we stayed at. In one easily accessible file that I can access from any electric device.

It's nice to have everything about your trip at your fingertips wherever you happen to be at!
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Old 12-31-2015, 11:03 AM   #9
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I use the Good Sam trip planner for one of the tools I need. It can show campgrounds on my route if I need. Also use the Passport America app to find the 50% off campgrounds on my route, if any. Also in the Good Sam planner it has some thing to do areas. What is nice about the Good Sam app is it can be down load into my Randy McNally GPS.
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Old 01-01-2016, 04:07 PM   #10
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Space Norman - you sound organized. I have gone more paperless as I have approached retirement but not to the extent you have gone. It makes total sense though. We will be traveling with smart phones and at least the Surface tablet. All the software you mention is on board. Thanks for your insight.
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Old 01-01-2016, 05:04 PM   #11
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Space Norman - you sound organized.....
Thanks! As I'm getting older, I'm finding that if I don't write stuff down and stay organized - I'm screwed!

I suspect that the "pulling it together in OneNote" stuff sounds far more complicated and cumbersome than it really is. Once you get the hang of working with OneNote - you'll find it's actually pretty easy.

My wife and I seem to be constantly finding new uses for OneNote these days. We've got a "shared" OneNote file stored out on "OneDrive" - that we use for "Shopping Lists". There's a page for Groceries, a page for household supplies, etc. The "shared" file is accessible from my laptop, her laptop, my iPhone and her iPhone - such that we can each add items to the shopping list ... and have both gotten in the habit of checking the list on our cell phone whenever one of us stops by the store.

We've pretty much eliminated those "darn, I wish I would have known we're out of _____ - I was just at that store!" conversations. Plus, since we're both updating the same list in real time - we've also eliminated the "oh, you bought milk? ... I just bought a gallon too!" conversations as well.
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