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harrowwoman

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Hi, we are planning a trip from Florida to California, and of January through to beginning of March. We are both retirees coming from the UK. This will be our first road trip in an RV in the USA, it's a bit daunting to say the least, I personally think we are both quite crazy to even think of doing it-but, travel while you can-one day those trips will be just a fond (or otherwise) memory!

As we are both keen amateur photographers I am quite excited about the prospect of taking photos, we like architecture, seascapes, landscapes etc. We are also very social, friendly people and I hope we will make some friends on this trip.) 

I have worked out that the trip will be approximately 2.510 miles, give or take. We have plenty of time to spend sightseeing in the five weeks of our trip. What I am trying to work out is how much the fuel will cost, where we can stay overnight, what are the best sights to fit into out trip-lots of questions and work to be done. My initial cost for fuel of the RV (an Apollo Pioneer 22-25ft, 6.8L engine, petrol, was a whopping $1800. Seems a lot, I would appreciate any tips for this trip. Thanks

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Assuming you can get around 8 mpg, I came up with closer to $900 for fuel for a 2,500 mile trip.  As far as where to stay...that will largely depend on how you like to travel and what you intend to do.  If your RV is fully self-contained you may choose to find some public land (or even WalMart parking lots) to camp overnight while on your way west.  Once you get to the west there are more opportunities to find Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and National Forest land to camp on for low to no cost.  Otherwise you can find campgrounds that range in price from reasonable to very expensive (usually depending on amenities offered).  Not sure where you are ending up in California (Southern or Northern) but if you are going to head North once in CA do NOT miss California 1 up the coast, it is an amazing trip that everyone should do (in my opinion) the views are spectacular and are Ocean on one side and redwoods on the other for a good bit of the trip.  There are also resident populations of elephant seals, hurst castle and many other things to see along that route.  Sounds like a great trip!  Enjoy!

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If you start out on US Highway 90 heading west you will see lots of interesting things along the way. It more or less parallels I-10 but is much more scenic and calmer than freeway driving tends to be. As you drive through Texas make note of the small town courthouse buildings--some beautiful architecture there.

Linda Sand

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I agree that $900 for fuel is closer.  2500 miles at 8 mpg  (should be close, you could do a bit better depending on how you drive) will require 312 gallons of fuel.  The current average price of regular unleaded fuel in the US is $2.57 so the total is a bit over $800.  Depending on how much gasoline you buy in different states (California being much higher than average, Texas considerably lower) you'll find that estimate will vary. 

As far as costs for overnight accommodations, that will also vary widely. If you plan to stay in commercial, full hookup campgrounds you could easily average $45 per night.  State parks are generally less expensive, but often not by a great deal. And many have reservation systems that make them difficult to "drop in" to, especially on Friday/Saturday nights.  If you really want to pinch pennies overnighting at Wal-Mart or other cooperative businesses will save you plenty, but (in my opinion) at the expensive of significantly less relaxing and less scenic overnights. 

It's a big country and you'll be covering a lot of ground!  Five weeks really isn't a huge amount of time to cover that distance and all of the sights offered along the way,  so I would try to prioritize what areas might interest you the most (oceans, mountains, national parks, etc.) and figure out where to spend your free days.  

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You will need to worry about winter weather(snow and ice storms), keep a careful eye on the weather and parks(and campgrounds) may be closed due to snow or, for campgrounds, time of year.

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January through March will limit you to the southern states.  Don't try to drive north with a RV.

I wouldn't even recommend traveling along I-40 highway.  Stay in the vicinity of I-10 for your touring.

Campgrounds are found nearly everywhere.  They can be RV parks, national parks, state parks, county and city parks.  Here is one site for finding campgrounds. There are many more.  Just plug in the state and city and lots of options there or in the nearby vicinity will pop up.

https://www.campgroundreviews.com/

 

Have fun planning the trip!

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You will probably get between 6 and 8 miles per gallon of gasoline which means somewhere between 300 and  450 gallons. Gasoline prices average about $2.55 at present but they vary widely with the highest prices in California and Oregon and lowest in Texas and some other southern states. In California it is around $3.55 and in Texas it is about $2.58. Of course, there is no way to predict if prices will increase while you are here but this should give you some information to work with.

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Jan thru beginning of March will still be cold so I assume you will be taking I-10 most of the way. After seeing the sites in FL when you leave FL, Golf Shores AL would be a good first stop. There is even an Escapees Park there. From there you can make New Orleans. Continuing on I-10 you could stop in Livingston TX, Escapees HQ for a night and then continue on I-10  to San Antonio TX and see the Alamo, staying at the Escapees Co-Op in Hondo TX. Next is New Mexico. Carlsbad and Roswell are great places to stop and Escapees happens to have a Co-Op there too. Next on the route will be AZ. Escapees Co-Op in Benson is right off I-10. Tombstone AZ is just down he road. Then follow I-10 to Tucson and Phoenix. Lots to do at both. You can then stay on I-10 and go to Palm Springs CA and Los Angeles or take I-8 to San Diego (great beaches - I lived there for 35 years before going full time in my RV) and then head north on I-5 to LA. If you want to follow the coast of CA get on Hwy 101 thru Ventura, Santa Barbara, the Central coast of CA, Hearst Castle and head to San Francisco. Good luck, take lots of pictures.

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16 hours ago, harrowwoman said:

I have worked out that the trip will be approximately 2.510 miles, give or take. We have plenty of time to spend sightseeing in the five weeks of our trip. What I am trying to work out is how much the fuel will cost, where we can stay overnight, what are the best sights to fit into out trip-lots of questions and work to be done. My initial cost for fuel of the RV (an Apollo Pioneer 22-25ft, 6.8L engine, petrol, was a whopping $1800. Seems a lot, I would appreciate any tips for this trip. Thanks

That mileage estimate sounds like it is just point to point. How will you get around sightseeing once you arrive at your stopping points? On long trips with lots of stops, we often put close to as many miles on the truck sightseeing as just getting to the destinations. If you do not have another means of transportation that means you will be driving the motorhome. Renting cars may be an option, but not likely to be cheaper than just buying fuel unless you can get really good deals. Fuel prices can vary a lot. Prices at interstate highway travel plazas are almost always higher than a few miles off the interstate. One needs to consider the convenience, additional time and mileage in deciding where to fuel. Prices near big cities and in very remote locations can be high. The difference in the taxes charged by each state also adds to the variation in fuel prices. The Gas Buddy Website can help you find fuel locations and pricing in real time as you travel.

Edited by trailertraveler

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If there is any way for you to travel later in the year, when it is warmer,  and avoid late winter travel, you would be able to venture farther north in the USA and see more interesting and scenic places.

Either way, you might want to sign up over at BoondockersWelcome.com and plan at least some of your overnight stops at locations listed there.

 

Edited by podwerkz

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A few years ago, we had to stay in Duson, LA for a couple days because Interstate 10 was shut down due to ice.  We took advantage of it and explored things we would have missed otherwise.  We saw 17*f  ( -8c) two mornings..........

Five weeks isn't nearly long enough.

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22 hours ago, jpcoll01 said:

Assuming you can get around 8 mpg, I came up with closer to $900 for fuel for a 2,500 mile trip.  As far as where to stay...that will largely depend on how you like to travel and what you intend to do.  If your RV is fully self-contained you may choose to find some public land (or even WalMart parking lots) to camp overnight while on your way west.  Once you get to the west there are more opportunities to find Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and National Forest land to camp on for low to no cost.  Otherwise you can find campgrounds that range in price from reasonable to very expensive (usually depending on amenities offered).  Not sure where you are ending up in California (Southern or Northern) but if you are going to head North once in CA do NOT miss California 1 up the coast, it is an amazing trip that everyone should do (in my opinion) the views are spectacular and are Ocean on one side and redwoods on the other for a good bit of the trip.  There are also resident populations of elephant seals, hurst castle and many other things to see along that route.  Sounds like a great trip!  Enjoy!

 

22 hours ago, sandsys said:

If you start out on US Highway 90 heading west you will see lots of interesting things along the way. It more or less parallels I-10 but is much more scenic and calmer than freeway driving tends to be. As you drive through Texas make note of the small town courthouse buildings--some beautiful architecture there.

Linda Sand

 

21 hours ago, mptjelgin said:

I agree that $900 for fuel is closer.  2500 miles at 8 mpg  (should be close, you could do a bit better depending on how you drive) will require 312 gallons of fuel.  The current average price of regular unleaded fuel in the US is $2.57 so the total is a bit over $800.  Depending on how much gasoline you buy in different states (California being much higher than average, Texas considerably lower) you'll find that estimate will vary. 

As far as costs for overnight accommodations, that will also vary widely. If you plan to stay in commercial, full hookup campgrounds you could easily average $45 per night.  State parks are generally less expensive, but often not by a great deal. And many have reservation systems that make them difficult to "drop in" to, especially on Friday/Saturday nights.  If you really want to pinch pennies overnighting at Wal-Mart or other cooperative businesses will save you plenty, but (in my opinion) at the expensive of significantly less relaxing and less scenic overnights. 

It's a big country and you'll be covering a lot of ground!  Five weeks really isn't a huge amount of time to cover that distance and all of the sights offered along the way,  so I would try to prioritize what areas might interest you the most (oceans, mountains, national parks, etc.) and figure out where to spend your free days.  

 

21 hours ago, SWharton said:

You will need to worry about winter weather(snow and ice storms), keep a careful eye on the weather and parks(and campgrounds) may be closed due to snow or, for campgrounds, time of year.

 

18 hours ago, Kirk W said:

You will probably get between 6 and 8 miles per gallon of gasoline which means somewhere between 300 and  450 gallons. Gasoline prices average about $2.55 at present but they vary widely with the highest prices in California and Oregon and lowest in Texas and some other southern states. In California it is around $3.55 and in Texas it is about $2.58. Of course, there is no way to predict if prices will increase while you are here but this should give you some information to work with.

 

8 hours ago, Twotoes said:

Jan thru beginning of March will still be cold so I assume you will be taking I-10 most of the way. After seeing the sites in FL when you leave FL, Golf Shores AL would be a good first stop. There is even an Escapees Park there. From there you can make New Orleans. Continuing on I-10 you could stop in Livingston TX, Escapees HQ for a night and then continue on I-10  to San Antonio TX and see the Alamo, staying at the Escapees Co-Op in Hondo TX. Next is New Mexico. Carlsbad and Roswell are great places to stop and Escapees happens to have a Co-Op there too. Next on the route will be AZ. Escapees Co-Op in Benson is right off I-10. Tombstone AZ is just down he road. Then follow I-10 to Tucson and Phoenix. Lots to do at both. You can then stay on I-10 and go to Palm Springs CA and Los Angeles or take I-8 to San Diego (great beaches - I lived there for 35 years before going full time in my RV) and then head north on I-5 to LA. If you want to follow the coast of CA get on Hwy 101 thru Ventura, Santa Barbara, the Central coast of CA, Hearst Castle and head to San Francisco. Good luck, take lots of pictures.

 

6 hours ago, trailertraveler said:

That mileage estimate sounds like it is just point to point. How will you get around sightseeing once you arrive at your stopping points? On long trips with lots of stops, we often put close to as many miles on the truck sightseeing as just getting to the destinations. If you do not have another means of transportation that means you will be driving the motorhome. Renting cars may be an option, but not likely to be cheaper than just buying fuel unless you can get really good deals. Fuel prices can vary a lot. Prices at interstate highway travel plazas are almost always higher than a few miles off the interstate. One needs to consider the convenience, additional time and mileage in deciding where to fuel. Prices near big cities and in very remote locations can be high. The difference in the taxes charged by each state also adds to the variation in fuel prices. The Gas Buddy Website can help you find fuel locations and pricing in real time as you travel.

 

4 hours ago, podwerkz said:

If there is any way for you to travel later in the year, when it is warmer,  and avoid late winter travel, you would be able to venture farther north in the USA and see more interesting and scenic places.

Either way, you might want to sign up over at BoondockersWelcome.com and plan at least some of your overnight stops at locations listed there.

 

 

27 minutes ago, rickeieio said:

A few years ago, we had to stay in Duson, LA for a couple days because Interstate 10 was shut down due to ice.  We took advantage of it and explored things we would have missed otherwise.  We saw 17*f  ( -8c) two mornings..........

Five weeks isn't nearly long enough.

Thank you all for your input, it has given me lots of information for the trip. We have booked our flight into Orlando for 26th Jan, I hope the weather is good. 

I'm not sure what the Escapees Co-op is, but I'll look on the website. 

I have butterflies now (tummy wise) that the idea is becoming a reality! 

Once again guys, thank you so much for your help 😊😊😊

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2500 miles sounds like the one way distance from Florida to Southern California.  Will you be leaving the RV there or returning to Florida, which will double the mileage and fuel costs?

Edited by Lou Schneider

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It's quite common for travelers from Europe and that side of the planet to spend some time on Old Route 66 when over here in the states...maybe the weather will cooperate and you will be able to detour a bit north to enjoy some of it. 

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