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daveandcarol 11-19-2019 09:23 PM

My copy of Next Exit shows a Cracker Barrel at Exit 7 (Terre Haute) as being RV-friendly. A quick Google Maps search would confirm approaches and access. They usually tend to be OK with overnight stays, some have dedicated RV/bus parking areas. And the food is usually OK too. I agree that 500 miles is too long for one day's drive (specially in an unfamiliar vehicle) without a really pressing reason.
Don't forget Neimerg's in Effingham when you are at Camp Lakewood (although I'm not sure about getting an RV in their parking lot). Are you pulling a car?

daveandcarol 11-19-2019 10:06 PM

Mid-Michigan to Terre Haute is still quite a trip. Another possibility: there are 2 Pilot gas stations at Exit 234 and a KOA not too far away. From the KOA to Effingham is about 200 miles.
I wish I could recommend a campground in the Indianapolis area but some I've stayed in just aren't that nice...

Vibeman 11-20-2019 04:47 AM

Thanks Jerrilyn, our RV has a built in GPS but I am not sure about how good it is, I will be doing more research before we leave. We are familiar with this route so GPS is not as critical this time, but for future trips I definitely want a good GPS designed with RV's in mind.

Vibeman 11-20-2019 04:50 AM


Originally Posted by jacwjames (Post 5044167)
We have stayed at Walmarts, Sam's Clubs, Cracker Barrel's, Truck Stops, Casinos, rest stops. In most cases we'll try and find a Walmart since there is usually plenty of parking and if needed a quick in/out for shopping.

Here is a website where you can find the NO Park Walmarts.
Walmart allows overnight parking unless the city has ordinances against it.

We will also stop at truck stops but they tend to be busier and louder.

Thanks jacwjames, we like Cracker Barrel and would make them a high priority. I will check out the walmart website.

Vibeman 11-20-2019 04:55 AM


Originally Posted by RichnSue (Post 5044192)
Vibeman, hello from the west side of Michigan! We also are leaving in early January for Florida. Our coach has heated basement with our Oasis, before leaving the storage lot, I will blow out the pink stuff using the air from the coach, fill the fresh water tank and head out.

Never a heat issue while stopping at Walmart's along the way south. I pick a distance for the day, find an allowed overnight parking Walmart using Rvparky, then use google satellite to look at the parking lot find an away from the entrance spot, usually around the auto service area is good for us.

Instead of calling, we park go in fill our cart with supplies then find a store manager before checking out to ask permission to stay over night, always has worked, the full cart helps!

We enjoy coming your way staying at Caseville, safe travels

Thanks RichnSue. I need to do more checking but I think almost all of our plumbing is in the heated area of the coach, the possible exception is the outdoor kitchen. If there is a way to shut off that water from inside I may start out with fresh water in the tank. It would be a lot more convenient. I will check out "Rvparky"

Vibeman 11-20-2019 05:08 AM


Originally Posted by MN_Traveler (Post 5044208)
500 miles might well be pushing it for a first trip ... but then again, a number of years ago, that is exactly what i did! If you want to try the longer day, and are willing to take a little detour (small in the scheme of things), there is a very nice campground just north of champaign. Called D and W lake campground. They are open, but no water (electric and a bath house). Also, somewhat west of indianapolis off of I74 in crawfordsville is KOA that is open year round.(you can hop on US231 in the morning and go south to I70. For quick overnight stops, i have grown to really like the Flying J truck stops, many of which (but not all) have dedicated RV parking in the front (NOT back with the trucks). There I have felt welcome and safe (and they have coffee!). I have not felt that way at walmart (though i have used them). There happens to be one of those Flying J stops in Effingham!

Best app i use to locate places is the Allstays Camp &RV app for smart phones. I use it every single trip.

This time of year my main concern is daylight. I prefer not to drive at night: it is harder to navigate, and the DEER are out. You dont want to hit a deer. If you have the time to take it slower, consider shorter days.

Also, depending on your unit, if you keep the heat on and the water heater running, you can dewinterize and have water! Its much nicer having water.

Thanks MN_Traveler. I am an early riser by nature so always try to leave quite early, especially the first day. We are only a few miles from I-69 so it is easy to get on right away and usually not much traffic at our end. I find the first day it is easier to drive further than subsequent days, but admit long distance driving of a class A motorhome will be a new experience for me. I will probably leave before daylight that first day since roads are familiar, definitely not on subsequent days. I want to get around Indianapolis before the afternoon rush. I will look into the "Allstays" app. Flying J sounds good too. You are right about the deer, I hit one once with my Bronco. I would like to dewinterize before leaving and keep heat on, is there anyone out there with a 29M who has done that in sub freezing temps?

Vibeman 11-20-2019 05:23 AM


Originally Posted by photraveller (Post 5044227)
Agree with other poster that you might find that 500 mile days in the RV is a totally different from a drive in a car. We try to limit our RV driving days to around 300 or less.

Good news is, winter has released here in central Indiana, so even if you find yourself camping around Indy, you should be able to de-winterize if you want.

Further good news, I-69 is much improved from Mich state line to Indy. Only serious construction is around Anderson about 30 miles north of Indy.

Finally we take the same route twice a year. Pretty easily with choices for CG's. For us we usually prefer a CG so we can at least plug into power.

So our first stop is either the Benton, il KOA along I-57, or Hilton RV Park in Miner, MO which is just north of the I-57 & I-55 interchange.

One advantage of Miner, Mo is Lambert's Cafe just down the road. After a day of driving, a big meal there will set you up for a nice night's sleep. Or not depending on how you handle their excellent but heavy fried food. :)


Thanks Photraveller. I will make a note of those campgrounds. When travelling south I always love to watch the snow slowly disappear, usually all gone by the time we get around Indy. We will not be locked in to a daily mileage, just go with what seems good at the time. We are retired after all!:dance:

Vibeman 11-20-2019 05:29 AM


Originally Posted by grindstone01 (Post 5044293)
There are many options to dry camp on the way down South. When we leave from the thumb, IC area, Cairo, IL is about 650 miles and 1/2 way to Houston for us. There is a Reeves Boomland store on I-57, Exit 10 that has a decent parking lot and is always empty for late night stops.
With your MH, you can probably just drive until you get tired, then punch in the location for the nearest Walmart/truckstop.

Thanks grindstone01. We plan to only have a basic plan and let conditions dictate the rest. Judging from your signature, you must be from around Grindstone City. We rode the Harley up there a couple of times. Less than two hours from us.

Vibeman 11-20-2019 05:33 AM


Originally Posted by Solo_RV_Guy (Post 5044373)
Congratulations on the new rig, I hope you have many fun and memory-building miles in your Hurricane. :)

I'd suggest you find an alternate, closer stopping point in your 500 mile travel days in case you decide that 2 or 3 more hours of driving isn't gonna work out. Having a Plan C isn't a bad idea, either.

Driver fatigue is like driving drunk in terms of impairment. You owe yourself, your family and others on the highways the best of treatment regarding sleep and fatigue. Getting to your destination later is better than getting to your Final Destination in a pine box.

Post back and let us know how your first trip goes... and if things turn to excrement, we're here to help out. There are thousands of iRV2 members and hundreds of us are on the forums every day. Whatever you encounter has been seen before (most likely) and chances are good that someone who had the same issues is here to assist.

Safe travels and good luck as you begin your adventures!

Thanks for the good advice, Solo_RV_Guy. I agree the forums are a great resource, especially for the inexperienced like us.

Vibeman 11-20-2019 05:41 AM


Originally Posted by mike625 (Post 5044401)
When heading south - I pick how far I want to go, then used the Allstay for walmarts location / reviews for being able to overnight & google maps to get the layout of the parking lot "parking place to put out the bedroom slide over a grassy area "then call that store during the day to confirm". Not sure how you feel about driving at night because this is your maiden voyage - I like to leave between 2 to 8 pm and drive until midnight "200 to 400 miles", leave early the next morning so around 3pm the next day I'm somewhere 800 to 900 miles south for a nice campground stay "so it limits the time needed to dry camp".

One other note - make sure you turn off the water heater bypass or have a check list - made that mistake my first trip south.

Safe travels :thumb:

Thanks Mike625, putting our slide out over a grassy area seems like good advice, I assume mainly for protection from other vehicles. I do not like to drive anything at night. As I mentioned in a previous post I am an early riser and tend to get sleepy toward evening. I would much rather leave early and stop early. I am a big believer in checklists, I am developing my own RV checklists now, there is a LOT of info on this online and many useful ones available. "Allstays" seems to be popular, I will look into it.

Vibeman 11-20-2019 05:45 AM


Originally Posted by JerryP (Post 5044424)
Seems like that if your coach is still "dry" you might want to stay at RV parks that have showers and bathrooms. Here are places that we have stayed before and would return too....

If you make it to Effingham, we like.
Camp Lakewood Campground & RV Park
1217 W Rickelman, Effingham, Illinois 62401

If you make it south of Effingham.
Whittington Woods Campground
at Benton, 14297 State Hwy 37
Whittington, IL 62897

Farther south...
KOA Memphis on I55 is also a good place.

When you make it to Little Rock....
Little Rock North KOA

We use to fine good places to stay.

Good Luck,


Thanks for the good info JerryP. I will check out We might be spending one night in the little Rock area so I will make a note of the KOA there. Also the Illinois parks you mention.

Vibeman 11-20-2019 05:49 AM


Originally Posted by iowaone (Post 5044536)
When we lived in North Eastern Iowa and headed south in January we always tried to go directly south to get to warmer weather then East or west. We also tried to have a couple of possible routes and dates in mind to avoid incoming storms or cold fronts. Anymore you can get a fair idea of incoming storms starting a week or two in advance of their arrival to central US. You then can start fine tuning final driving plans. You do not want to be driving during a winter storm.

Thanks iowaone, I agree the weather info available nowadays is very good, I watch it all the time. I am a former farmer so the weather has been very important to me my entire life. Your signature suggests you are from Iowa, maybe you have a farm background too.

Vibeman 11-20-2019 05:57 AM


Originally Posted by Crasher (Post 5044616)
Being your first MH, consider planning for 350 miles the first day and a little longer after that. Daylight hours are short in January and it would be wise to avoid night time driving until you get used to your new ride. We left central WI in January several times and know the drill. We had/have a basement heater and always left with full fresh water. With proper precautions, it is easily done. You said you would fire up the furnace after you stopped. Why not fire it up the day before you leave and leave it on for comfort? We would warm up the coach and add water a day or two before we left. Never had a frozen pipe, even leaving in -17* weather. Traveling in comfort with water is a lot nicer than what you have planned.

Thanks Crasher, 350 miles seems to be a popular distance for one day. I have been using that as a general limit in my planning. I hadn't really considered warming up the coach for a day before we left and then travelling with the furnace running and water available, but I like that suggestion! (I'm sure my wife will too) Do most truck stops also fill propane tanks?

Vibeman 11-20-2019 05:59 AM


Originally Posted by Lt Dan (Post 5044674)
You can go to the User CP, then under Settings and Options select Edit Signature. You can then enter your information there and it will show up in every one of your posts. Unless you are an IRV2 supporter, you are limited to three lines.

Thanks Lt Dan, mission accomplished! :thumb:

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