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Old 08-19-2011, 07:57 PM   #15
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Good Sam has gone back to their old way of routing trips...which is good.
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Old 08-19-2011, 08:26 PM   #16
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I think planning a trip is almost as much fun as the trip itself. I get out a map, look at the scale of mileage, open calipers to the approximate width and then mark off about how many miles I want to go. I then figure the camp ground I would like to stay in.After I am finished the DW (Darling Wife) looks it over and says "I don't want to go that way" or words to that effect.

Anticipate your driving needs, such as how far do I want to drive in a day, some go 200 and some go 600. Some drive straight to their destination and some stop and sight see. Time and finances must be factored. Main thing is enjoy the ride.

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Old 08-19-2011, 08:58 PM   #17
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We normally use Google maps as a first shot. Put in start and destination and see what it gives you. We usually limit ourselves to no more than 250 miles a day, and prefer less. On Google you can add intermediate stops to see how it works.

The system will usually give you a "preferred" route that seems to be based on minimising either miles or travel time. I haven't researched how to tell it not to use Interstates. Quite often, it will give at least two, sometimes three alternatives and gives total miles and driving time.

Google Earth will give you an idea of the campsite, but if it's heavily wooded you won't see much. My attitude is, if you can see individual camp "slots" on Google Earth, maybe you don't want to stay there, as it means there are no trees or other cover. If it's visible from a satellite, you don't get much shade!

After reserving a spot (just an overnight on our way someplace else) based on Woodall's directory, I looked at Google. There were a lot of tractor trailer rigs close by the "campground". Should've known better - the CG was attached to a motel and right alongside a Flying J truck stop.

We'd stopped at a KOA in that area before, as a first night out layover and found it very noisy, as there was a major highway intersection nearby and truckers were coming down the off-ramp all night with their Jake brakes blasting. After staying at the other one, we decided tha truckers were more acceptable!
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Old 08-20-2011, 07:34 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by comealong View Post
hi everyone, i am a newbie to the board and rving. we are retired and always wanted to travel so in may we purchased a 2001 pace arrow. well we are getting tired of camping out in our driveway. we live in the chicago area and have relatives in arizona.
we are thinking of leaving here on christmas day and head out to phoenix.
how should i go about finding a route that has camp grounds. do i just get a map and go for it?
all suggestions welcome
thanks in advance
If you zoom in on an area in S&T to a 3 mile scale, it will show you most RV parks on the view. It isn't comprehensive but it shows most of the worthy places. We don't pick a CG for elegance. we don't Wal-Mart, we do avoid the $8 thrift parks for obvious reasons but I, using Passport America, have stayed in some very nice spots at $10-12.

We don't have kids OR pets and CG amenities are of no concern. Side note, there is a place in a New Mexico town on I-40 that enjoys an interesting campground. It is just off the main street (road). You have to pull between a building. Yes between a building. It is what was a falrly large building that has been torn out through the center about 10' wide. Then into an open field with barely notable camp sites. Neat, very quiet place.


We also prefer 120-180 miles per day and pick accordingly. As far as routing, I avoid big cities and don't go for the touristy stuff. We have been in 49 states over the last 8 years and nearly 80,000 on the RV and another 20K or so on the toad.

I plot our the trip including stops and print out a map for each day's travel. When we take a side trip I print out the map for that also. And, when we hit forest roads or what ever, I plot it on my Garmin map program. However it is fun to get "lost" every so often.

We then take all the maps and the brochures we pick up and any other information pertenant to our travels and place them in a 3-ring binder.

Take plenty of pictures. And label them appropriately.
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Old 08-20-2011, 12:04 PM   #19
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We have been able to travel around the US & Canada several times. The first thing we do when planning a trip is break out a large US (or Canada) map. We are on the west coast and if planning on a trip to Texas we try to do a route we have not previously traveled. We pick our proposed route and pick out towns that sound interesting to us or have good places to visit. We'll then break out the travel books such as Trailer Life directory to check out RV parks. We tend to esitmate about 250 plus or minus miles a day. We generally do not make reservations because no matter how we plan it we'll change routes or stay longer than we have figuered we would. For us planning is half the fun and doing it and changing along the way the other half.
Safe travels
Bob
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Old 08-20-2011, 12:40 PM   #20
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If you are computer friendly, the combination of Microsoft Streets and Trips (approx $50.00 without the GPS sensor and less than $100 with the GPS sensor) and Trailer Life Directory Campground Navigator are great tools.

I find that entering the start and end points of a trip into Streets and Trips and letting the computer suggest a route is a great way to start planning a trip. After the computer's initial suggested route, you can easily edit the trip to suit your preferences. the Trailer Life Directory software also lets you do trip planning, but I find it somewhat clunky compared to Streets and Trips. It is however, a really good tool for finding campgrounds along the way.

You will still want a paper atlas and paper campground guide. We find Woodals to be more useful that the Trailer Life paper version. If you buy the Woodals directory, buy the separate eastern and western US versions. The combined version is too unwieldy and is a pain to use.

A STRONG word of caution - even if you head south to I-20/I-10, keep an eye on the weather. These highways can be treacherous across TX and NM in the winter. There is the very real possibility of strong winds and potentially ice storms across parts of that route during the winter months. If you stay north on I-40, this warning must be headed. Winter along I-40, until after you get west of Williams, AZ can be as bad a highway in inclement weather as anywhere in the country. If the weather is clear, no problem. If it isn't, hole up until it clears!

Have a great time, take your time and enjoy seeing this amazing country
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Old 08-22-2011, 07:45 AM   #21
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Many people use interstate highways. I prefer US highways or state highways for the more scenic aspect of them. I also do not like the speeds that must be maintained on interstate highways. I have also used county roads for a shortcut and they were somewhat narrow but mostly well maintained.

Get a campground directory by Trailer Life or Woodalls.

Get Passport America for a 50% discount on CG fees. The cost will be recouped in 4 nights.
Sounds good my hubby said that he would like to stay off interstate also, cause they are fast and boring. we do want to do the scenic route also. that is why we got the RV. and we will be traveling with 2 dogs so that will make it easier to stop.

i will look into that Passport American thing. Thanks
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Old 08-22-2011, 09:33 AM   #22
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Delorme makes a product called Street Atlas which is similar to MS Streets and Trips. We've been using it since 2004.

First, I'd admit that Street Atlas(SA) takes a little getting used to. But at $39, is is less expensive than many of the Garmin type GPSs and for planning, it is a lot easier to use.

Some advantages:
1. There are route preferences. You can tell SA to avoid Interstates and it will plan around them.
2. In GPS software, things like campgrounds (CGs) are considered to be Points of Interest (POIs). The Discovery Owners website, in a category called "map overlays" has and extensive list of POIs. SA has a feature where you can download the POI files and then turn them on or off as you prefer. For example, suppose that you are looking for a Cracker Barrel or A Passport America campground. You simply turn off all of the POIs except either of those and they will show up as little icons on the SA screen.
3. SA plans each day's travel according to parameters that you provide. You tell it how many hours you want to drive, what your typical MPG is and SA will provide fuel stops and end of day markers on your route. Sometimes, there isn't a CG where the end of day marker is put so you have to handle that as an alternative. The good news is that you can build a multi-day trip in the same file and SA simply picks it up where you left off the day before.

The most extensive trip that we've ever done was a 22 day, 4,400 mile tour through the North East. I planned each day out in advance and knew where the fuel stops were, which campgrounds we wanted to stay in (and alternatives in case of bad weather or traffic delays). No other planning method would have given us such a detailed view and the capability of tracking against it each day of travel.

Like anything else, SA has its quirks. It isn't perfect, especially in big cities where multiple roads are side by side. But it doesn't sound like that is the kind of travel you want to do anyway.
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Old 08-22-2011, 09:50 AM   #23
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Best route to Calistoga CA with 5th wheel

Can anyone suggest a better way to Calistoga from the NW ie say Geyserville than thru that twisty winding road. Am I better to go south to Santa Rosa, over to Napa then north?

bryana
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Old 08-22-2011, 12:55 PM   #24
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You could use a g.p.s. And pray a lot! The one we have is nuts and loves dirt roads. The voices sound like gerbils with laringitus or how ever you spell it? Sammy&cord
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Old 08-22-2011, 02:35 PM   #25
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Can anyone suggest a better way to Calistoga from the NW ie say Geyserville than thru that twisty winding road. Am I better to go south to Santa Rosa, over to Napa then north?

bryana
This is one of the strengths of Street Atlas. You can draw a box (rectangle) over the area that you don't want to use and then label it as a "route avoid." The software will work around that route. I've had to put those boxes over several alternatives as I examined routes to places like West Jefferson, NC. There a lots of ways to get there and only a couple of them are reasonable for RVs.
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Old 08-22-2011, 04:25 PM   #26
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You could use a g.p.s. And pray a lot! The one we have is nuts and loves dirt roads. The voices sound like gerbils with laringitus or how ever you spell it? Sammy&cord

LOL Check and see how your GPS is set up. 2nd trip through Eastern Oregon with my Tom Tom and could not understand why it was directing me where it was. Wife found it was set for Bicycle trips, not automobile, good thing I was in a jeep at the time.... But we saw some lovely country and dirt roads.
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Old 08-23-2011, 08:31 AM   #27
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These are great suggestions. never gave it a thought that there would be ice in texas or nm.
do rver's usually have wi-fi on board or do you do your planning before leaving home?
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Old 08-24-2011, 05:58 AM   #28
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These are great suggestions. never gave it a thought that there would be ice in texas or nm.
do rver's usually have wi-fi on board or do you do your planning before leaving home?
Most private campgrounds provide free wifi. Computers and the like receive/transmit wifi. If you have a computer, you likely have wifi.
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