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Old 12-03-2022, 04:42 PM   #1
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Planning for a long road trip. Help needed

Hello

We are planning a 1-2 months from Florida to the West ( including Co -Utah- Wy)
Starting around early March

The idea includes boondocking while possible but also longer stays in campsites
Should we plan ahead and reserve the campgrounds with months in advance or just wait till we are on the road within a few days of arrival
Or even on the same day getting the destination

In the pass we had done many long( east and west) road trips however it works very different when going in a car than Rv

My wife is worry we can't find decent places for our 37 rig (Tiffin Allegro open road)
So she rather to plan ahead
On my side I don't want the rush of having to follow a schedule cause I have a reservation thousands of miles away

Btw we been rving for 10 years ( short trips with some long stays ) but just now have the time to spend a few months out on the road
So even we have some experience, things like boondocking or no having a plan is new for us
Thank you for any input in advace
Any other suggestion are also very much appreciated
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Old 12-03-2022, 05:34 PM   #2
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If you have specific campgrounds you want to be at, then I would make reservations as soon as possible. Especially if in a high tourist area during peak season.

If you are ok with "any" campground in a given area then you can probably wait till close to the date you know you want to arrive.
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Old 12-03-2022, 06:55 PM   #3
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If you don't make reservations well in advance you're very likely to be making a long tour of Walmarts.
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Old 12-03-2022, 07:53 PM   #4
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I just planned a trip to the major national parks in the southwest. Its not all inclusive. I figured out the window of time when the winter weather will end and before the miserably hot summer weather sets in.

The youtubes say you have to reserve rv parks a year in advance but I started reserving mine last month and got every park I tried to get. I'm inside the grand canyon at trailer village and Rudy's right outside of Bryce Canyon. I imagine the best RV parks will sell out and you'll have to stay farther away.

Everybody has their own risk aversion and comfort levels. I'm a retired engineer so I'm compelled to plan things. I hate .. hate surprises.

I've attached the plan I've put together.
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Old 12-03-2022, 08:10 PM   #5
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We went oct nov dec last year to CO, UT and AZ, no reservations, boondocked the entire trip, went to all 5 NP, not sure about your timeframe but offseason was fantastic and boondocking is the only way I want to go now.
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Old 12-03-2022, 08:11 PM   #6
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Thank you for the great info

I'm leaned to stick with the no plan but also would keep checking for parks cancelation
That's how we get in the Fl keys state parks very often ( usually full booked for 11 months )

The plan includes high tourism areas such as Moab , Teton , etc
I would be ok with any park however WalMart is almost a Big NO
Ok to spend a night but I would hate to be parked in a Walmart 😁
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Old 12-04-2022, 06:50 AM   #7
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I've read on the forum that Walmart has some of the best boondocking.
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Old 12-04-2022, 07:13 AM   #8
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If you want campsites within the national parks, you are pretty much already too late to get reservations. However there are options for private parks nearby all of them, but get those reservations made now. The times outside of the major attractions are much more flexible. We generally research boondock locations fairly early in our planning, just to know what’s possible. We generally can call a private campground a day or two in advance and get a site, again, assuming it isn’t next to a major park or a national holiday. Just be careful,about the weather. March is still mostly winter in the high elevations west, and spring doesn’t come until June in many areas. Some high country campgrounds don’t even open until then. I would recommend delaying the trip a couple of months, beginning in early May. As a Florida person you are probably not terribly experienced in cold and snow camping.
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Old 12-04-2022, 10:31 AM   #9
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Totally agree with UTTransplant about National Parks.
What worked for us on our 2 month bicoastal trek last year (departed early Feb) was making reservations at places we wanted to stay for a week or more. So, we basically put pegs in spots for a given date, and then free wheeled the rest of the trip. Only had a problem once when going west through Houston to San Antonio. Everything booked for Rodeo. We put a peg in Our California destination. No problems in NV, AZ, NM, most of TX, LA, FL (not south Florida). We mostly boondocked whenever there was opportunity, mostly west of TX.
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Old 12-04-2022, 11:17 AM   #10
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As mentioned above, weather that time of year can be an issue. Last spring we traveled north and west and hit some cold, snow, and wind, even in April. Some parks weren't open, others open but with no water. The up-side? We had a couple small private parks to ourselves, and even some of the larger parks had few campers. It was great being able to explore without the crowds.

We did visit Utah in March and didn't have any problems. Did experience some wind that could make for a chilly day and evening, but otherwise it was great.

Because of the weather, be ready to modify your plans on the fly. In a couple cases, we ended up leaving one park early to go to the next park before the snow arrived, and we ended up staying a couple days longer in others until the snow melted. Thankfully, because of the low demand, we were able to call to modify our arrival dates. Knowing ahead of time this might happen, we were ok if we lost a day's fee, which oddly enough didn't happen.

While you aren't going there, we ended up camping out in the parking lot of Wall Drug in SD for a couple days while a snowstorm blew through with high winds shutting down parts of I90. After the storm cleared and we hit the road, sections of the highway looked like a war zone with semis and RVs on their sides and off in the median and way off the shoulder. Staying put was the smart thing to do even if it messed up our reservation dates. We made a point of calling and letting the campsite know of our situation as soon as we could, and they were all very understanding. After all, they live there and know just what the weather can do to travel plans.

Our intention was to travel North following the beginning of spring as it progressed Northward, but what we ended up doing, was following the remains of winter. Still, it all worked out and was a great adventure. We made sure our fuel and propane were kept topped off and kept our water tank mostly full. Because of that were were always in good shape, even when one night temps got down to 7 degrees. Burrr....
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Old 12-04-2022, 01:29 PM   #11
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I'd recommend you start your trip at least April 1 or later rather than March which is too early for the states you're choosing. We got snowed in one May in southern Idaho. Also plan for two months; not one.

Make reservations at the big national park areas you plan to be and then wing it the rest of the trip. There are always places to stay away from major locales.
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Old 12-04-2022, 01:55 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Intsell View Post
Thank you for the great info

I'm leaned to stick with the no plan but also would keep checking for parks cancelation
That's how we get in the Fl keys state parks very often ( usually full booked for 11 months )

The plan includes high tourism areas such as Moab , Teton , etc
I would be ok with any park however WalMart is almost a Big NO
Ok to spend a night but I would hate to be parked in a Walmart 😁
If you are going to the Grand Tetons, are you planning on hitting Yellowstone while up there? The 2 NP are connected with the John D Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway.
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You head out the north entrance of Tetons, up the Parkway and into the South entrance of Yellowstone. If I remember it was an hour's drive, maybe a little longer, on the Parkway.

https://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/maps.htm
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Old 12-04-2022, 02:17 PM   #13
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some states have 3 seasons to them, like Missouri, Kentucky and Nebraska. Summer, winter and pothole!
The roads themselves are mostly ok, but the approach and exit to any bridge over another road, is likely to be broken up right at the joint from main road to bridge. Some of them are hard to see until you're just about to drop in the hole!
We traveled the opposite direction, from SW Idaho to Key West, and found that having reservations ALMOST unnecessary, that is, this is what I found out after we used the reservations we had made. Some campgrounds, like just east of Rock Springs WY, were full, but in Kentucky, and Illinois had plenty of spaces.
Cabela's in Sydney, Nebraska is an OK place to boondock, BUT the parking lot is on a slant so some shoring is require to get it level side to side and front to back, and you may end up with a cattle truck parked close by. The parks along the east coast of Florida were a mixed bag. Some had lots of spaces after the snowbird flew off, and some, more southern, were stuffed to overflow.
I used RV Wizard to get a rough idea of distance / time from one place to another and then used Campendium or ALL Stays to find campgrounds to spend the night when we needed full hookups.
If you're military (DAV service connected) don't miss the Fam Camps available near many NP!
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Old 12-04-2022, 02:35 PM   #14
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If you are going to the Grand Tetons, are you planning on hitting Yellowstone while up there? The 2 NP are connected with the John D Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway.
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You head out the north entrance of Tetons, up the Parkway and into the South entrance of Yellowstone. If I remember it was an hour's drive, maybe a little longer, on the Parkway.

https://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/maps.htm

If you plan on visiting Yellowstone, do some research on road openings. I recently re-learned that many of the main roads in the park are closed during winter and some don't open back up until April or mid-April.


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