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Old 04-05-2013, 08:22 AM   #1
Join Date: Nov 2012
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Planned overnight stops or wing it?

The DW and I are leaving on our first cross country trip from Florida to California in three weeks. Well be heading west on I-10, I-20' or I-40 depending on weather. (We don't like being cold or too hot). We're in no hurry and have no schedule and I'm inclined to not make plans for overnight stays until the evening before or on the road each day. Never having made such a trip before, I'm curious what recommendations my fellow RV'ers have to offer on this plan. Will we have a problem finding nice RV parks on a days notice? What do you do?
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Old 04-05-2013, 08:38 AM   #2
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I never make plans when leaving one long term destination and traveling to another. I always wing-it and stop overnight at many different types of 'free' places along the way.

The only time I will make a reservation is for a place that I plan to stay at for longer than one night such as places that I want to sight-see, rest and do laundry, etc. and then sometimes I just pull into a place that looks decent.

Why should I pay the steep RV park fees just to hookup to for a quick sleepover and gone the next morning?

Then there are others that absolutely NEED to have all of the services every time they stop. To me that's a lot of work, hooking up electric, water and sewer only to have to put it all away the next morning before getting back on the road.

When I stop, I put out the slides, the front door is already locked, and settle down for a cocktail or two to relax, have a snack or two and head to bed for a good nights sleep. In the morning, shower up, eat breakfast, roll in the slides and off we go.

Of course that is not so easy if you have a 5ver or a TT.

We have been across the country twice and up to Alaska and back twice, we never use scheduled places for our stop-overs.

Just sayn'.

Dr4Film ----- Richard
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Old 04-05-2013, 08:42 AM   #3
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We plan one, maybe two stops at a time. Has worked well!
We use to choose the right camp in the right place. Real reviews. Has never failed us.

Happy trails!
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Old 04-05-2013, 08:44 AM   #4
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That's basically the way we travel. You should not have any problems finding RV parks along your route. We usually only run about 6 hours a day so we can pretty much tell where we will end up that night. We use map books from Good Sam and FMCA to spot CG's along our route and then check them with . A copy of the Next Exit and you're all set. Have a great trip.
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Old 04-05-2013, 08:47 AM   #5
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I never make reservation while traveling. I make them at my final destination which is usually at some attraction that make reservations a necessity. If you are traveling interstates, you will find many campgrounds that usually have a spot for the night (even pull throughs) without needing reservation. If all else fails, there are Walmarts, truck stops and rest areas if you are so inclined. I drive until I am tired and then start looking for a spot.
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Old 04-05-2013, 08:56 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by CampDaven View Post
We plan one, maybe two stops at a time. Has worked well!
We use to choose the right camp in the right place. Real reviews. Has never failed us.

Happy trails!
Same here!
Clay & Pebble
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Old 04-05-2013, 09:12 AM   #7
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I think Walmart is great for overnight,usually always have rv company and never have to make special trip for shopping.It is also much easier than getting in many campgrounds.
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Old 04-05-2013, 09:41 AM   #8
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overnight stops

We tend to look for a place about 3:00pm while traveling. Now we use our "smart phone" more than anything else when looking for a spot. It has reviews built in too, so you can kind of kill two birds with one stone. Walmart is not the cheapest place to park as I can't seem to get out of there for less than $50. If we are planning on exploring an area we also use Elks clubs quite a bit and just good looking level spots. OUt west you have more choices of free places to spend the night then you do on the east coast (where we were last year), so have a blast. We tend to not take the interstates, and find many places in small towns that are fun to stay at. We stopped one place where this woman was selling strawberrys, bought a flat of them, stopped at Walmart, bought canning jars and canned strawberrys in the parking lot. What fun! Steve
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Old 04-05-2013, 10:29 AM   #9
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About the only time I make reservations is if we are planning on being in a specific location for several days and have reviewed the nearby camp sites or if it is a holiday weekend in a tourist area.
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Old 04-05-2013, 11:07 AM   #10
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I like others, only reserve for extended stays. Walmarts, Flying J/Pilot are generally safe places to stay for several hours. Until you become more comfortable with the security of your rig, don't overnight in rest areas.

If weather is your deciding factor when planning your route, so be it. The three that you mentioned all have vast expanses of highway with nothing to see of any interest. Having traveled coast to coast several hundred times as both a long haul independent trucker (25 years) and an RVer for over 15 years, I always enjoy getting off of the freeway and taking those routes that the interstate has replaced. Depending on my mood or whim, I'll often go north or south when my original plan was to head east or west. What ever you do, have fun, this is a great country to enjoy so try and see as much of it as you can. Remember, its not the destination but the journey.
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Old 04-05-2013, 11:37 AM   #11
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We do not use any of the review sites. We do not make reservations. We have made the trip from CA to FL last year. I will tell you that Texas rest areas have free wi-fi. Most states welcome centers also have free wi-fi. If you need just a place to crash to grab some quick sleep those are the 2 spots we choose first. We did drive mostly I-10 and I will tell you it is boring .... lol.
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Old 04-05-2013, 12:30 PM   #12
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This early in the season, I agree it is more fun just winging it. The only exception that I can think of is the National Parks and some state parks on the weekends. Here in Colorado, the camping sites in all of the front range state parks are already reserved for the weekends in the summer and filling up through May. So if you are planning at stopping at any state or national parks over any weekends, I would check on them as far in advance as possible.
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Old 04-05-2013, 12:33 PM   #13
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We have traveled out west three different times. We traveled two months and eleven thousand miles on one trip. We almost never made a reservation. The only time we make reservations is on major holidays or If we are going to a specific destination for several days. Then we make reservations at the final destination only.
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Old 04-05-2013, 12:45 PM   #14
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I'm in the "Wing It" camp.
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