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Old 10-16-2021, 01:49 PM   #1
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First Cross Country Trip Plan - Am I Crazy?

We have had our coach for 2.5 months, and the furthest we have gone is 380 miles in one day. We have a trip in 2 weeks that will be about 1,000 miles round trip, with the first leg at 420 miles. The 380 was a piece of cake, as my wife and I share the driving.

However, we have not embarked on a trip where we would be driving nearly every day, and I am looking for insights and advice. Rough trip plan for this Spring is below, but we haven't fully planned out our "on the road" stay overs yet.

We do have a bit of flexibility if things arise or we get slowed down - can add up to 3-days to the trip.

Is this too aggressive? Doable? Do most of you try to find campgrounds for the 1-nighters when in transit to your next destination, or do you go with Cracker Barrels, Harvest Hosts, etc.?

Trip Plan
• 412 miles Joshua Tree National Park 1-night
• 499 miles Lordsburg, NM 1-night
• 493 miles Sheffield, TX 1-night
• 442 miles Cypress, TX – 3-nights
• 409 miles Hot Springs, AR 1-night
• 365 miles Dover, TN – 2-nights
• 483 miles Chicago, IL 2-nights
• 571 miles Watertown, SD 1-night
• 422 miles Mt. Rushmore, SD 1-night
• 422 miles Yellowstone NP – 2-nights
• 516 miles Ely, NV 1-night
• 423 miles Home
• Total miles: 5,373
• Total nights: 16

Thanks in advance!
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Old 10-16-2021, 02:01 PM   #2
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My trips are all planned and paid for before I leave.
We don’t do harvest host or boondock.
Wife wants hookups, no matter what.
Last trip to Glacier was 29 days, 5000 miles round trip this past June- July.

Next year another 5000 miles to Yellowstone. ( 10 days at the destination) about 32 -33 days full trip.


We do one park at a time, we have time and never rush.
Destinations are usually 10-12 days depending, we do lots of side trips once there.
We did several side trips from Glacier, lots all around the area that is not just in the park.

One day in Rapid City isn’t enough ( we did 10 days and went to 5 National Parks and Custer State Park ). , 2 days in Yellowstone isn’t enough, probably need about 3-4 days minimum. Looks like you will too busy getting to the next stop and will not enjoy the stops you make.
Just my opinion with 22 yrs of RVing experience
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Old 10-16-2021, 02:06 PM   #3
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I would not do this. Drving an rv is far more tiring than a car (add to that even g set up and morning breakdown). That long series of very long days will absolutely fry you, and probably leave you tired and not really driving safely. I would take each of your daily legs, and do them in two days each instead of one.

Fwiw...
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Old 10-16-2021, 02:25 PM   #4
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That's pretty aggressive. We try to keep travel days to between 350 and 375 miles. Depending on your route that's 6 1/2 to 7 hours including a stop for fuel and food. For example, I live in Houston which is closer to Hot Springs than Cypress. We are going to HS next month, and I'm taking 2 days to get there. It's about a 10 1/2 hour drive.

Also, you have a lot of driving and not much staying. We just got back from a trip of about that distance but took 30 days to do it.

We typically have a primary destination where we will stay 10 days to 2 weeks, and a couple of secondary destinations along the way where we stay 3 to 5 days to break up the driving days. We try not to have more that 3 consecutive driving days. 2 is our target.

With just 16 days, I would scale back the mileage, and the stops and spend some quality time at a primary destination.

On overnights, I prefer a CG, but that's a personal preference.

Sounds like an awesome trip though.
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Old 10-16-2021, 02:26 PM   #5
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I also echo the comment about more time at each destination. Years ago we did yellowstone in two days. You really need more like a week. If you want to make this sane and enjoyable, i would think in terms of joshua tree, then yellowstone, then home, and give enough time at the national parks to enjoy and explore them, and keep the drive days to 250-300 miles so you are not exhausted...
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Old 10-16-2021, 02:33 PM   #6
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Great comments and suggestions. I should have mentioned that we are not yet retired. As much as we would love to make this a 30-day trip, we cannot. We really have 3 key places to hit to see family - Cypress, TX, Dover, TN and Chicago. Coming back by way of the northern route and hitting Yellowstone was a bonus. Maybe we just need to plan stuff around I80 for the return. But, man, I80 is such a boring, un-scenic drive.
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Old 10-16-2021, 02:41 PM   #7
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500 miles days are very doable providing you have good weather and no traffic.

Last week I drove from Vegas to NJ in 4 days - no big deal.

Before retirement I was like you as you have to jamb as much as you can in a limited number of days. I've done NJ to St. Louis in one day and still pull long days on regular trips between houses in NJ and the FL Keys.

It's even easier if you staying at Walmarts. Leave early, pull over and power nap if you're tired, drive some more, pull into Walmart as late as you want.
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Old 10-16-2021, 02:43 PM   #8
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Way too aggressive for me. I don't want to drive more than 5 hours. Nor do we like one nighters. The only time we stay one night is if we mis judged and the campground is dump. Did 10,000 miles coast to coast earlier this year but it took 4 1/2 months. Only made reservations more that a day ahead for two places, was disappointed wouldn't go back to either one. Did find some great spots though.
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Old 10-16-2021, 02:57 PM   #9
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Other then trying to set a record in how many miles you can drive in 16 days, I don't think you will enjoy the trip. Settle for what you want to visit and add additional things to see in the area. How about returning home from Chicago taking the Great River road along the Mississippi river. And all the history and places to visit along the way St. Louis and the Gate Way Arch, Memphis, New Orleans, to name but a few. Make it a vacation.
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Old 10-16-2021, 03:04 PM   #10
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Can't say if it's aggressive or not because everyone's driving habits are different. I enjoy driving our DS because after 20+ years driving a police car, driving has become relaxing to me. We are members of Harvest Host and enjoy visiting different businesses and shopping (wife).

Enjoy the ride!
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Old 10-16-2021, 03:09 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomato View Post
Great comments and suggestions. I should have mentioned that we are not yet retired. As much as we would love to make this a 30-day trip, we cannot. We really have 3 key places to hit to see family - Cypress, TX, Dover, TN and Chicago. Coming back by way of the northern route and hitting Yellowstone was a bonus. Maybe we just need to plan stuff around I80 for the return. But, man, I80 is such a boring, un-scenic drive.
Don’t do it.
Take a shorter trip to a nice destination with 2-3 days stopovers.
You will get home after the trip happy, if you do the one you originally posted you will get home tired and unhappy.

We did 16 day trips to Maine 1250 round trip when we were working full time. We did 2 days up and 3 days back home. 11 days at Acadia National Park.
Did that for 10 yrs. it was all fantastic memorable trips. Got home happy and ready for more trips.
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Old 10-16-2021, 05:01 PM   #12
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Like others have said, in this day and age, I will try and book most nights before leaving home. It can be a challenge finding pull-throughs for my 45 footer. You mentioned hitting the road in the spring. Depending how early, I80 across Wyoming and up to Yellowstone, could still be in winter. Regarding your optimistic daily mileage goals, I personally have no problem driving my rig 500/day, but my wife, kids and dogs would have a mutiny. They want and need to get out, explore, and experience all that each stop has to offer. My daily goal is about 300 miles, off the road by 3 or 4 pm and out in the morning before 10am. Plus, as you are planning, mix in a few stops with multi night stays. If my schedule is tight, like yours, I will mix in one or two days where we really max out the miles (600+), then take it easy on all the other days. Bottom line, just get out there, its why you purchased and RV in the first place, to enjoy the open road.
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Old 10-16-2021, 05:25 PM   #13
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That trip plan looks like what I used to do, driving a semi. Days like you have listed, was drive, stop, sleep, drive some more. One day of 500 miles is one thing, but 3 days in a row is a killer.

That said, I do Mazatlan Mexico each year. 2400 miles, seven days. And I’m beat when I get there. That’s 5 days from Minnesota to the border. Two days to do the last 700 miles in Mexico.

I understand the limitations of time when your still working. Personally I would make that 2 trips. It’s the journey, not the destination.
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Old 10-16-2021, 05:27 PM   #14
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I have taken several 1500 mile one way trips and find if I drive about 200 miles, plan a stop for lunch (in the coach) then about 200 miles to a planned overnight gets us in around 4:30 to 5 (just in time for dinner). I have done 500-550 in a day but it seems to make for a long day and I don't like to do the longer runs unless we are staying a couple of nights or so.
I always plan where stops will be including fuel. I have driven 750 miles once in a day but no thanks.
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