A perhaps crazy idea for "the trip of our life" - Page 8 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-01-2009, 01:31 AM   #99
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CH is Switzerland -- I saw a number of rigs along these lines when I was up in Alaska.
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Old 03-13-2009, 02:17 AM   #100
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Most things have been arranged now.
March 25 Hoegh Autoliner Trubadour will start her sail to Jacksonville, bound to arrive april 22.
By some cause the sail is delayed a week. :-(
April 7 our daughter c.s. will drive us to Southampton to embark the QM II on april 8.
The QM II is scheduled to arrive in NY april 14 in the morning.
We 'll move to Penn Statiion to catch the 15h train to Jacksonville, arrival 10h april 15 at Amtrak station.
(We 'll visit NY before returning home oct 9.)
So we 'll have to spend a week in Florida before we 'll get the rig on US roads.
We 'll hire a car to 'do' Florida for a week.
Any suggestions? (Everglades, Miami, Key Largo, Space center ?)
Probably we 'll head for New Orleans april 23.
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Old 03-13-2009, 03:46 PM   #101
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So we 'll have to spend a week in Florida before we 'll get the rig on US roads.
We 'll hire a car to 'do' Florida for a week.
Any suggestions? (Everglades, Miami, Key Largo, Space center ?)
Congrats on your impending trip being all organized!

Re Florida: What sorts of things do you like?

Sailing, snorkeling, diving, many people (on land): The Keys
Neat historic town that has been somewhat touristized but still has some funk to offer: Key West
More old-timey Florida and away from crowds: Everglades, Panhandle
Big city: Miami
Sandy beaches with more people and warmer weather: SW Florida
Sandy beaches with fewer people and cooler weather: The panhandle (NW)
Interesting old cities: St. Augustine; Pensacola

I'm not a Floridian, but I bet my list will incite more suggestions (or counterpoints) from people more familiar with it.

Raya

PS: I disliked the Space Center intensely (very expensive and I felt the exhibits were a bit shallow, and the food extremely overpriced and like they knew they had me trapped), but I've heard that others love it, so it may just have been me.
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Old 03-14-2009, 02:36 AM   #102
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Had a friend who was returning to the US after service in Germany and came back on a Queen (Had lung healing from cancer surgery, so couldn't fly) and was able to have his automobile shipped right along with him! He disembarked in NYC, they offloaded his automobile and he started driving to Calif -- No waiting and no jet lag!

Lex, one of your first stops should be a Wal*Mart store for their branded version of the Rand-McNalley US/CA Road Atlas -- A book of maps for all the states, provinces and territories -- You may or may not know it, but Wally encourages campers to stay overnight in their parking lots for free (Unless not allowed by local law) -- It's polite to ask at Service Desk if it's alright to stay, especially if there aren't any other RVs in the lot -- Since the Atlas has a listing by state and city of all the Wal*Mart stores, it becomes a Wal*Mart Woodall's (A play on the monster North America Campground Guide).

At some time, you'll want to stop at a Camping World store to buy the Camping World version of either the Woodalls or the Trailer Life campground guides, or you might just 'bite the bullet' and see if Wal*Mart has it (Most likely to be cheaper there). You will likely enjoy browsing around in the CW store.

Since you will be in South Florida, I recommend a visit to the Coral Castle in Homestead FL -- All built at night by a wacko guy using hand tools and his clever set of brains! Aside from manipulating gear to move tons of coral blocks, he built a sundial that automatically compensates for the time the year.

http://www.coralcastle.com/

Go down to Key Largo and the John Pennecamp Park and take a glass-bottom boat tour of the reefs, or sign up for a snorkel dive boat tour on the reef. If you are further down in the Florida Keys, one of the finest reefs for a snorkel tour is Looe Key, named after a British warship which wrecked there.

Also, get a couple of spray cans of insect repellent, Repel is a cheap brand at WalMart in camping section and has enough DEET to do the trick without oversaturation. If you have a camp stove, that's a good place to buy fuel for it.
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Old 03-14-2009, 01:11 PM   #103
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Thanks Raya and Pete for the input. :-)

Quote:
Lex, one of your first stops should be a Wal*Mart store for their branded version of the Rand-McNalley US/CA Road Atlas -- A book of maps for all the states, provinces and territories -- You may or may not know it, but Wally encourages campers to stay overnight in their parking lots for free (Unless not allowed by local law) -- It's polite to ask at Service Desk if it's alright to stay, especially if there aren't any other RVs in the lot -- Since the Atlas has a listing by state and city of all the Wal*Mart stores, it becomes a Wal*Mart Woodall's (A play on the monster North America Campground Guide).
Stay overnight at WalMart, I have to remember that :-)
Somebody told me that it 's only for motorhomes. Is that correct?

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Old 03-14-2009, 02:21 PM   #104
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It's not only for motorhomes. I often travel with just my station wagon and "camp" in the back (if it's just a "get there" trip). I'll stop at Wal-Mart sometimes and just pull up near the big motorhomes. Never had a problem and I've seen trailers there too.

Of all the times I've camped this way (at numerous types of places), I've only had a "rap on the window" once. It was at a Wal-mart. I'd pulled in at about 2:30 a.m., put on my jammies, and settled into the back when I heard the knock and saw a flashlight. "Uh-oh" I thought.

Rolled the window down a crack and said "Hello?"

Saw a badge and the voice came back "Welcome to Wal-Mart #xxxx. I'm Mr. xxxx the security guard, and we want you to have a pleasant stay. Please let me know if there's anything I can do for you."

Me: "Um... okay, thanks!"

Actually Wal-Marts are about my last choice. Not because they are not convenient and safe, but because they seem noisy to me. It seems that they always have to "Zamboni" the parking lot at 4 a.m. or clean the light poles or something. Still, it's really nice to have them as an option (and maybe if you have an insulated camper and don't open your windows it's less noisy - the big rigs run their generators and AC so probably never notice.

I'd also recommend another atlas (at least to supplement the Wal-Mart one). It's good to know where the Wal-Marts are, but I don't find the atlas to be of the best quality, detail-wise. I have one I bought at Barnes and Noble (large bookstore) that I really love. Spiral binding and very good detail, including topography.

Raya
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Old 03-14-2009, 09:25 PM   #105
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Raya, give us the name of the Atlas please.

I supplement my atlas with more detailed state road maps from visitor centers and also get any freecamping guides they may have. BTW, the provincial Tourist Guides have excellent sections on the campgrounds, including what they have, when they are open and how much they cost.
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Old 03-14-2009, 10:49 PM   #106
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Florida's not a wide state, except in the Panhandle, but it sure is long. In a week's time, I'd probably explore the east coast by car, as you'll be traveling west soon anyway.
St. Augustine, the oldest city, is very interesting, with lots of history. Walk the fort downtown and old town, and visit the state park with the free ferry out to an old fort (Matanzas) that once guarded the mouth of the river. http://www.jacksonville.com/tu-online/stor...309391075.shtml The architecture of little Flagler College, just up from Old Town, is interesting, and there are lots of little local restaurants to enjoy.
Near Jacksonville is Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach. Fernandina is a cute little town, but the smell of the paper plants is sometimes overpowering. Amelia Island is a big, more expensive resort area.
Daytona Beach is a big spring break town for the college kids, but most of them should be gone by the time you arrive. Unless you're a speedway fan, I'd skip it, or just drive through to say you've been there.
On the way south are a number of pretty communities on the Atlantic Beach, Vero Beach, Palm Beach, etc.
Miami/Ft. Lauderdale is very interesting, but very crowded, expensive, and not my favorite area, although South Beach in Miami is a huge draw, and the waters off Miami are some of the prettiest in Florida.
Driving to the Keys in a car will be far easier than towing a trailer, though staying there is more expensive than most places in Florida. Key West is odd and interesting, full of historical sites. I'd probably plan to do as we used to do, and stay in the Key Largo or somewhere in the middle keys, and drive down to Key West on day trips. A day trip on one of the ferries to the Dry Tortugas and Ft. Jefferson would be very interesting. My husband and his friend have sailed there (I stayed home with our daughter, so I haven't seen it.) Sunset at Mallory Square is a tradition, and a visit to Sloppy Joe's is almost a tourist mandate.
I've never visited the Everglades, but there are many tours available.

Cape Canaveral, and the space center would definitely be on my list. We took our daughter there years ago and found it to be a fascinating experience.

The Gulf Coast, where we live, is very different from the east coast of Florida. When you pick up your trailer, you may want to spend a day or two around Jacksonville at Anastasia State Park or Jetty Park, and swing down into the Gulf Coast area. Ft. DeSoto Park here in our county is a beautiful camp ground, with many sites on the water and beautiful facilities. From there, a day trip in the car to Sarasota, across the amazing Sunshine Skyway Bridge, a very artsy community and home of the Ringling Museum and Ringling Home/Art Museum is worthwhile. Or, just tour the galleries and enjoy lunch at the marina. Some of the most beautiful beaches in Florida are in our county, including the beach at Ft. Desoto and Sand Key Beach in the north end. Caladesi Island is also an interesting way to spend the day, with another highly rated beach. There are many day trips for deep sea fishing, or sightseeing tours in a "pirate boat" at Clearwater Marina. For reference, we're about four hours or so from Jacksonville, towing a trailer.

On your way to Ft. Lauderdale, the smaller town of Appalachicola, and old fishing village, is a nice, relaxing and friendly place to visit. (Air conditioning, I understand, was invented there.) St. Georges island nearby is also beautiful, and further up the road, Destin also has beautiful sand beaches. The panhandle area will be more or less out of season as you pass through, so you'll find it less crowded than other areas of Florida, and usually cooler in the winter and spring. It's actually busiest at spring break, and through the summers.

Lex, we envy you and your wife your adventurous trip. Welcome to the US, Florida, and have a wonderful time. Please feel free to PM if I can help in any way in Florida. I've lived here about thirty years.

PS Are you planning to visit Washington DC and the Smithsonian? If so, you might want to take a day or two break in your train ride, if it's still possible, and visit our nation's capitol on the way down to Florida. The whole DC to NY corridor is a bit challenging to drive with a trailer in tow, in my opinion.






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Old 03-15-2009, 02:10 AM   #107
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Pete,

I think my atlas was re-branded by Barnes and Noble. I'll have to take a look at it later (it's in the car and we have pouring rain). It wasn't super special, but I did like it better than the Wal-Mart one I picked up. It has extra maps for national parks and shows the lie of the land (it's not a precision topo map, does show some relief).

One thing that surprised me about the Wal-Mart atlas, was that the Wal-Marts are not shown on the maps - just listed in the back. I guess if you have a mapping device that works, but I don't. I would have loved a star or something in the atlas. I guess they've just re-branded an atlas and added a list of WMs to the back. Luckily they're not too hard to sniff out, once you get the idea of where they like to put them.

I often carry a pair of atlases; I actually found that a different one (forget that brand) had better city maps. This way I can have two open to adjacent states, too.

One thing I miss with an atlas - but really only in the NE where the states are small - is a regional map showing a half dozen states together. With that atlas you only have one state or the whole US. So for that I sometimes pick up a folding, regional map. Can't have too much information

Raya
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Old 03-18-2009, 03:01 PM   #108
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We passed the point of no return: the rig is on his way :-)
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Old 03-18-2009, 03:34 PM   #109
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HOORAY!!!!!!!!!

Good for YOU


Lex - I have a question for YOU.
We have a full size Ford pickup and a Scamp 5th wheel.
I know that some of the roads in some villiages in Europe are small (there is one place near where my daughter lives in Germany where the road gets so narrow it is really "one direction at a time" -

my question is... Have you ever had a REALLY bad time towing in any small villages?



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We passed the point of no return: the rig is on his way :-)
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Old 03-18-2009, 05:01 PM   #110
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Lex - I have a question for YOU.
We have a full size Ford pickup and a Scamp 5th wheel.
I know that some of the roads in some villiages in Europe are small (there is one place near where my daughter lives in Germany where the road gets so narrow it is really "one direction at a time" -

my question is... Have you ever had a REALLY bad time towing in any small villages?
Not really. I avoid driving through small villages.
What are the dimensions of your combination?
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Old 03-18-2009, 05:17 PM   #111
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Avoid the Normandy, etc., areas of Coastal France -- We were touring with another couple in his four-door Audi and had to park in municipal lots and walk around because the Audi was a BOAT in those cramped streets -- Never have seen so many tiny cars!
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Old 03-18-2009, 05:26 PM   #112
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Avoid the Normandy, etc., areas of Coastal France -- We were touring with another couple in his four-door Audi and had to park in municipal lots and walk around because the Audi was a BOAT in those cramped streets -- Never have seen so many tiny cars!
Many villages are medieval and not suitable for cars.
But generally speaking there is no need to drive through.
The advantage of a car and trailer is that you can leave the trailer on the campsite while sightseeing by car. If necessary you may (must) park the car on the edge of the village.
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