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gayle b

Routes

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Hello!

New RV people have so many questions. I feel fortunate to receive great knowledge from experienced travelers. My main question is this. We are planning our first long adventure next year and plan on traveling from AZ back to VT. How does one plan a route since we have never been to many of the states in between? I know how to find places of interest,RV parks and boon docking locations, and we know how many miles we are willing to drive per day.  We have  no idea on best roads, cities to avoid, etc. Is there a specific plan that helps to get started? Looking forward to hearing any thoughts and ideas as we are excited for the next adventure. Thanks all.

Gayle

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It's just like running errands . What you need first then the wants , if the wants are along the way to the needs , fine . 

Of course , you already know that you have to stay away from congestion if you want a pleasurable run / trip . 

That means going around known busy locations , like almost any city of more than 30 - 40K and even those can be a pain , but sometimes they get in the way .

Anyway , if you need to make time , use the freeways . Otherwise the US and state highways are usually pretty decent . 

Remember that there is always more than one way around ... Be flexible and adaptive . You'll do fine .

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Garmin routes me to avoid issues like height and weight.  Then we just look at the route and see if there is something to stop at along the way.  There is no magic website that does this for you.  As we all like to see different things.  It takes time to research where you want to go and what to see.  There are a lot of websites that will show you all sorts of things to see.  We try not to have to double back, but sometimes you miss things.  It is all about the journey.  Travel safe and have fun.

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If your otherwise best route takes you through a big city, we find Sunday morning to be the best time to do that with Sunday afternoon being second best. Avoid Sunday evening, if possible, when all those who went away for the weekend are heading home.

Linda Sand

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You will quickly establish what you like and don't like and a routine when you are traveling. You need to decide if you like to "wing it" or prefer reservations. We kind of do it half ways. At night we look at our maps etc. and decide where we would like to stop, preferred campground or boondock spot etc. The next morning we take off, usually by 8:30 or so. Around 11 we call our preferred campground and make a reservation(if they take one). This gives us time to change our plans if need be.   We are usually in camp no later than 2. We like to drive 200-250 per day when in full travel mode.

We only map out and plan one day at a time and put that route in the GPS.

If we are in wandering mode we like to base camp and then travel up to 50-75 miles away from base camp and move as we see fit.

After 3-4 travel days we take a day off to do laundry, shop, clean the rig etc.

How much time are you planning for the trip?

 

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Weather is an important part of our planning. Stay South in the Winter/ early Spring. Head North and or to higher elevations as the temperatures rise. Head South and or to lower elevations in the Fall and Winter.

We pick a few places that we want to visit in the general direction that we plan on heading. We then connect the dots using the Blue Highways as much as we possibly can.

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If you don't already have one, get a good road atlas.  We recommend the Rand McNally Motor carriers atlas.  It shows "designated highways" for motor carriers(tractor-trailers).  I figure if a tractor-trailer can get down the road maybe I can too!  Know what if any limiting factors there are for your rig and your driving skills.  We are 13'-6" tall and 65' long and I hate tight right turns and can't back up or do u-turns worth a darn. Never blindly trust a route from a GPS if at all possible.  We always look at the route in advance looking for any potential problems.  We once were detoured off our route because of an accident and went miles down a narrow two lane road with no center line or shoulder.  It was a nerve racking experience.  I once had a GPS give a route on a dirt road through a farmer's pasture!  Because we are a 65' big rig we tend to call ahead and ask for a 70' pull through site.  Many CGs, especially older ones and in the east can't handle bigger, longer rigs so know what your size requirements are.  State and local roads in the west can usually be good roads but back east can be dicey so check them out in advance on at least the atlas.  Google maps is also another good resource and we like RV Park reviews to check out CGs in advance, Best Wishes, Jay

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2 hours ago, sandsys said:

If your otherwise best route takes you through a big city, we find Sunday morning to be the best time to do that with Sunday afternoon being second best. Avoid Sunday evening, if possible, when all those who went away for the weekend are heading home.

Linda Sand

Interesting.  We try not to travel over the weekends, including Friday as most people are off work and venture out.  Early to mid afternoon is our target time.  This way we miss morning, lunch and evening rush hour.  Plus then we set up our new camp in the day light.

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Our rule of thumb is 2-2-2.  200 miles a day, in the park by 2:00 pm, stay 2 days.   Yes, we do sometimes stay only overnight, or we might stay 3 days, but the first part is sort of in grained with us.   So we target or end point (in your case Vermont) then we look at when we are leaving.    Be aware that you have multiple was to go to your destination, so do some research of different areas that you could visit on your trip northward.   We also never go UP the east coast in the Spring - that is when the West Coast is best to do and we AVOID tornado alley from March until mid-May.    Again, so many things will depend upon your leaving dates, how much time you have to get there (for us it would be probably 3 months to get to Vermont) how long you are going to stay, where else you want to go, when are you leaving to return, etc.

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Have you ever been to AZ or any of the states in between? Most states have tourist guides or travel guides that are free if you ask for them. What sort of things do you enjoy doing and seeing? Pick your route based on the locations of such things as historic sites, national parks, or tourist attractions that interest you. Consider how long you plan to take on the trip. If you really try to see everything and not just rush in to get a few pictures and then move on it could take several months to make the trip. Once you know how long you plan to be traveling, pick several of the most important things/places that you wish to see and then start locating other things of interest between the various points. Internet searches are a good way to find things. The National Park Service has a pretty good website as do most states. 

If you were to share with us some thoughts of the sort of things you enjoy doing or seeing, we could probably make suggestions of specific places to visit along the route. 

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I also recommend getting a road atlas.  That said almost all of my travel assistance comes from my cellphone navigator app.  Before a major road trip, I lay out my general route taking into account places or parts of the country I want to see.  After that my planning is minimal.  I do not make reservations, nor do I stop in RV parks.  If convenient I might stop at a campground of some sort, but for Interstate driving I rarely bother.  Typically I check my cellphone an hour or two before I want to stop.  I will look for rest stops, truck stops, or Walmart supercenters.  Typically I pick Walmart as the most convenient.  Truck stops can be a good choice but some are crowded or noisy.  Rest stops vary greatly.  Some are wonderful places to spend the night; others don't seem safe.  Planning a couple of hours in advance gives me multiple choices. 

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Do have a 5th wheel or a TT.

If a 5th then be sure to buy a copy of the truckers atlas . Its very helpful to avoid low bridges and the east has an abundance of them. The west and Midwest not as much but its still helpful.

I just made a trip to Maine this last summer by way of the upper peninsula of Michigan.

If you Have the time to route through there PM me and ill help ya as much as I can. 

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Thank you all for the great information and suggestions. We will take into account the advice from you seasoned travelers! It’s nice getting different perspectives on traveling and I know we will use ideas from each of you. Happy holidays 

 

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I find myself relying on the TruckerPath app more and more. I have a Rand McNally RV  GPS, which contains mapping errors(nearly all GPS maps are from the same company). I have advised Rand McNally of one particular map error for 3 years running, which has never been corrected (part of a state highway listed as a dirt road). Trucker Path is designed for OTR trucking industry, is updated almost daily, and contains all the information I depend on, except RV parks. Trucker Path cannot afford to display incorrect information or they will quickly be out of business.

Edited by Ray,IN

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5 hours ago, Barbaraok said:

Our rule of thumb is 2-2-2.  200 miles a day, in the park by 2:00 pm, stay 2 days.   Yes, we do sometimes stay only overnight, or we might stay 3 days, but the first part is sort of in grained with us.   So we target or end point (in your case Vermont) then we look at when we are leaving.    Be aware that you have multiple was to go to your destination, so do some research of different areas that you could visit on your trip northward.   We also never go UP the east coast in the Spring - that is when the West Coast is best to do and we AVOID tornado alley from March until mid-May.    Again, so many things will depend upon your leaving dates, how much time you have to get there (for us it would be probably 3 months to get to Vermont) how long you are going to stay, where else you want to go, when are you leaving to return, etc.

We follow the same 2-2-2 rule.  And if it is going to rain or raining we will stay longer.  We try to make traveling as safe as posiable.

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Just curious, where in AZ are you? Also, where in Vermont are you headed? My wife and I are full timers going on 3 years now and we  are former Vermonters and have made the trip from AZ to VT twice. We are currently in AZ in Yuma. If we could get together, we would be glad to share our travel routes including places that we stayed.

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+2 on the Rand McNally Motor Carriers Road Atlas. We just did our first week long road trip. I looked over Map Quest first - I wanted the most direct route. I then looked over the TexasDOT road conditions on the web looking for road construction areas. Finally looked at Google Earth for possible low hanging trees in some of the small towns we would pass through. Turns out it was 233 miles each way pulling the 5r to Canyon of the Eagles. All on State and US highways, and a few Farm to Market roads. We stopped south of Austin going on a Monday morning to meet up with Trey and Susan Selman to get the rig fully weighed. http://rvsafety.com/ They are one of the teams with the Recreation Vehicle Safety & Education Foundation. Not including that stop, we averaged 47mph and 9.3mpg on those non interstate roads - lots of hills and twisty roads.

We did spend a lot of days crawling around Austins north side visiting winerys and some relatives. One of the scary things I discovered is finding a site to fit a 41 foot 5r with little experience and learning to avoid trees. That especially in a place where they are protected so you cannot get out the extending trimmer and snip away.


Originally we had planned to travel 1200 miles to Elkhart to purchase our 5r but then discovered many parks close end of October up there. Planning a long trip will be a bit more detailed, I think.


You've asked the question I've wanted to see feedback on and with lots of good pointers by the experienced group here.

Edited by masterdrago

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On 12/21/2017 at 7:23 AM, vt3fan said:

Just curious, where in AZ are you? Also, where in Vermont are you headed? My wife and I are full timers going on 3 years now and we  are former Vermonters and have made the trip from AZ to VT twice. We are currently in AZ in Yuma. If we could get together, we would be glad to share our travel routes including places that we stayed.

Hello!

We are in Mesa AZ. Heading to Windsor VT to visit family. Decided to leave AZ in June and go through CO, SD, MN and visit my family in WI. After that undecided on remaining route to VT. Do you ever come up to Mesa or Chandler area? I would be great to meet up and share some stories and get advice. Thanks for the response.

 

Gayle

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We have considered doing that, but we travel with usually a case of wine on board and since you can only take a couple of bottles in, we ended up going around the lakes.   Going to the Maritimes we drank up wine before we went in and had our friends take some with them, those were our drink while together bottles. ;)

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1 hour ago, Barbaraok said:

We have considered doing that, but we travel with usually a case of wine on board and since you can only take a couple of bottles in, we ended up going around the lakes.   Going to the Maritimes we drank up wine before we went in and had our friends take some with them, those were our drink while together bottles. ;)

That must have been some very expensive wine ...

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Our wine purchases are usually in the $30/bottle range, actually going up because of the draught/fire problems.  Import tax into Canada can be 50% or more of the purchase price.  One reason Canadians don't stop at all of the wineries on their way north each spring.;)

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On 12/18/2017 at 12:12 PM, rynosback said:

Garmin routes me to avoid issues like height and weight.  Then we just look at the route and see if there is something to stop at along the way.  There is no magic website that does this for you.  As we all like to see different things.  It takes time to research where you want to go and what to see.  There are a lot of websites that will show you all sorts of things to see.  We try not to have to double back, but sometimes you miss things.  It is all about the journey.  Travel safe and have fun.

You can tell the Garmin to keep you off freeways if you like, I hadn't thought about that and since I'm also in the planning stage, all this is really good information. One thing we plan to do is boondock near a city after we rent a car. If we need to see a doctor or something, fill prescriptions (we have a LOT of those) and maybe get a burrito. ATM, we're so burned out on city life, I think Quartzite, RTR and a winter and early spring in the Arizona desert (Coyote Howls or maybe Slab City in California) might be what we need to get over our sadness about the US. I can perform at Slab City. Do a Tom Petty song and an original.

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On 12/18/2017 at 11:18 AM, gayle b said:

Hello!

New RV people have so many questions. I feel fortunate to receive great knowledge from experienced travelers. My main question is this. We are planning our first long adventure next year and plan on traveling from AZ back to VT. How does one plan a route since we have never been to many of the states in between? I know how to find places of interest,RV parks and boon docking locations, and we know how many miles we are willing to drive per day.  We have  no idea on best roads, cities to avoid, etc. Is there a specific plan that helps to get started? Looking forward to hearing any thoughts and ideas as we are excited for the next adventure. Thanks all.

Gayle

Gayle, you might try Road Trippers I just found it myself and am going to plan a few trips in it and then save the files

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