Long trips: plans vs. spontaneous? - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-30-2012, 10:52 AM   #15
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If I am heading out for only a week-end trip or just a week then I do tend to make reservations especially in the summer months. But on longer trips I am with the others - trips seem less stressful when you don’t have set dates that you need to be at a certain place along the way. On longer trips I only make reservations ahead of time if attending a FG meet or going into an area such as Yellow Stone during peak season and you know its going to be very busy, especially week-ends. Did two trips last year that were fairly lengthily with only a couple of reservations made ahead of time. Prior to leaving I do spend time making notes of places others here have suggested staying at & what I wanted to see for sure on the trip and a general outline of how far I want to go and what I wanted to see based on the time I have. But as others have said once you get to a certain place someone will tell you about another must see spot or the spot your at may be a place you wish to spend more time than you thought. Which is why not having to be anywhere on a set date works so well. It helps to have a few books with you or a computer to look up where your next stop over spot options may be based on how far you wish to travel the next day. You may find yourself camped in a not so great spot every once in awhile but that more often than not happens on one nighters while moving from point A to B & your moving on the next morning anyways. You also may not get to everyplace you thought you would but that just means you have a good reason to return to the area on a future trip.

Having solar panels and being welling and able to dry camp is a big bonus - so if you do find yourself at a park late in the day that you really want to stay at that is very busy many of them will find a spot to slip you into but it will not have services. I made the mistake last November of arriving late in the day in Death Valley on the eve of the American Thanksgiving – one of Death Valley’s busiest week-ends. LOL Totally forgot Thanksgiving as we had already had ours. Busy place but not so busy you couldn’t dry camp. Did the same at Grand Tetons last summer as well - arrived during peak season no reservations but ended up with one of the most memorable camp spots I had that whole trip much nicer than the reserved spot that was waiting for me in Yellow Stone a few days later.
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Old 09-30-2012, 10:54 AM   #16
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Unhappy If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium

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Originally Posted by Alf S. View Post
We usually have a deadline for vacation weeks.
If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium (1969) - Plot Summary

I have planned out trips with the goal of getting the most out of my limited "vacation" allotment. This usually turns the trip into more work than my job has. In 2005 Robert and I set off from San Diego, California on an epic cross-country gauntlet to attend both my family reunion at Oneida Lake, New York and The Oregon Gathering in Bandon, Oregon... 6,800 miles round trip within 16 days! Included in that trip were planned stops in Williams, Arizona; Bartlesville, Oklahoma; Springfield, Illinois; Tipton, Iowa; and Portland, Oregon. (Plus one unplanned stop in Medford, Oregon) We ended the trip with a 23 hour sprint from Bandon, Oregon straight through back to San Diego, California. Now I know how Zombie Movies became popular.
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Old 09-30-2012, 11:02 AM   #17
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I might add how could one even begin to plan for 315 days???????????
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Old 09-30-2012, 11:21 AM   #18
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My last two trips (111 days & 138 days) had very little scheduled plans. I usually make a list of places I want to see or photograph complied from books, comments by others on blogs & websites, etc. I guess you could call that "planning" but without a schedule.

About the only time I make reservations are for rallies, or holiday weekends. If I'm in an area with few camping opportunities & I know where I'll end up that day I will sometimes call for reservations in the morning. One thing that helps is I plan to stop by 1:00 - 2:00 in the afternoon so I avoid the evening rush. I've rarely had problems finding a site, although during July the state parks on the Oregon coast had their "Campground Full" signs up round the clock. I still managed to find sites in commercial campgrounds.

I know people that are more comfortable knowing where they are going to be every night, even on long trips, but that would drive me crazy. I've discovered too many interesting stops that would kill any schedule. I've always found something - yet to spend an overnight at Walmart!
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Old 09-30-2012, 11:31 AM   #19
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. I wonder, since she is a chemist, if that has any bearing on planning everything.
Uh oh, that's me, and it probably does!

I guess I'm concerned about finding campsites when and where I want them. I suppose a good compromise would be making reservations if I knew I would be in a certain place for awhile, and playing it by ear otherwise.
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Old 09-30-2012, 11:39 AM   #20
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We ended the trip with a 23 hour sprint from Bandon, Oregon straight through back to San Diego, California. Now I know how Zombie Movies became popular.
LOL I recall to many of those types of trips from my days of over planning! Yup Zombie would be a great way of describing it - not at all coming home all relaxed as they say your suppose to be after a vacation!

Unfortunatly it can still happen when on the no set plan vacation as well last winter I did one of those on my trip home from Southern Arizona as I had decided to stay in the sunny south longer than I should have and then had to outrun a snow storm on the way back home and no one was willing to be flexable in regards to the date Christmas would happen
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Old 09-30-2012, 11:45 AM   #21
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With respect to reservations, we noticed this year due to the economy many campgrounds were not full or even nearly so..

We were at Myrtle Beach State Park on Thanksgiving weekend without reservations, normally an impossible situation. The park hostess said they had plenty of space, a story repeated every where we went this year.

I believe the price of fuel and the general uncertainty has kept people home or at least stationary.
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Old 09-30-2012, 11:47 AM   #22
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I don't have solar panels but can easily spend a night or two off the grid- but I don't want all of them that way. I do want to plan in the sense that I know how much time to allow between visits and to give people at least approximate arrival dates, plus I'll probably want to hit one to three dog events which of course will have set times.

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Old 09-30-2012, 12:27 PM   #23
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What I have learned about Reservations:
They are only absolutely necessary if all 4 conditions exist:
  • a Destination (a place you have to be at)
  • over a weekend
  • in an extremely popular place
  • for longer than 1 night
Remove any one condition, and a Reservation becomes reassuring, but not necessary.
Remove two conditions and a Reservation is irrelevant.
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Old 09-30-2012, 12:30 PM   #24
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Bobbie, I probable do 50/50 in regards to being off grid or on grid when on long trips but it has a lot to do with the area/state in - some states have lots of great off grid popular camping spots (many of them free) others not so much. If you want to stay on the grid you should have little problem doing that no matter where you head but as you travel across the country you will see why you might rather be off it in some areas and even within some State parks that offer sites with or without power.

If your using google or your gps to determine estimated driving times you need to take a few things into consideration. One is that they calculate the time it will take to do your trip based on no traffic hold ups - thats not going to happen if your going through a large city or heading into a popular area or over a mountain pass. Its also not going to happen if you are running ST tires on your trailer which prevent you from going over 65 mph and the area you are going through has a higher speed limit that that. So while doing a rough plan of your trip take a look carefully at the speed limits it is suggesting you will be doing. Even when only doing what the GPS says is only a 3 or 4 hour drive and I know I will be doing the speed limit, I still add another hour or more to the time to cover me for gas stops and lunch stops or just stops at look outs to enjoy the area going through.
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Old 09-30-2012, 12:46 PM   #25
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Off the grid isn't a problem- when I am I use an LED lantern although I think I'm going to replace my Coleman lamp with one of these and then I won't even need batteries. Heat could be a problem in some places but during the day I'm not averse to using a propane heater and at night I just bundle up.

I might get wired for 12v before I get around to this... I won't go until I have no more than two dogs and one of my three is 12 1/2 so no telling when that might be. The oldster hates car travel so it is really a kindness to him to wait but he's in great health so I hope we're talking 3-4 years down the road.
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Old 09-30-2012, 01:19 PM   #26
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Bobbie,

Your future lamp looks cozy. I would not forfeit my LED lantern for anything else. Mine has the night light and two stronger light levels. If I could only have one light source it would be my lantern. Would be a bit difficult to walk around the campsite with your cosy camp light. Or, walk through a dark lava tube. I'm glad we have the 12 volt lights. we use them more than the 110, since we often use parks without electricity. If we plan on being without electricity for several nights the portable lattern gets used more to save on the battery.

Mostly we are spontaneous. Often I do try to have reservations at popular places (Arches for one). We never know for sure how far we might drive each day. Would hate to feel pressure to keep driving if we want to stop.

Nancy
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Old 09-30-2012, 01:31 PM   #27
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I don't use flashlights outside, much. The LED lantern is used mainly in the trailer (or with groups, sometimes at our cooking area.) I don't think I'd leave it behind even if I do get the new light installed. The camp light is to replace the existing, malfunctioning Coleman lamp that came with the trailer so all the plumbing is already there. The Campster has self-ventilation so no worries about that with propane (but I won't sleep with it turned on.)

The problem in summer around here is you can't plan two days in advance, it has to be nine months for summer weekends at popular places. But I think September-October should be good.
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Old 09-30-2012, 01:38 PM   #28
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I map out potential camp sites before leaving, so I have an idea of what is out there. Then I wing it, with no reservations. Except if wanting to stay in a place that is usually booked up, like Yosemite...for some special spots a reservation is the only way.
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