Trip planning - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-31-2019, 10:25 AM   #1
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Trip planning

I am wondering about what others use to plan their trips. We are headed out on our first extended trip circumnavigating the US.
What maps are must haves, is there an application you use to plan the route? We tend to find a spot and stay there a few days hiking and biking. We use Campendium extensively for locating out of the way campsites...but for routes? Things of interest?
We will be traveling in our 19' Escape.
Thanks for any tips!
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Old 10-31-2019, 10:32 AM   #2
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Google plus analog GPS (road atlas). I find a road atlas gives me "the big picture" on routing.
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Old 10-31-2019, 10:48 AM   #3
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I typically research where I am going and what of interest is on the way ahead of time. I then set up the route in Mapfactor on my Android tablet and use that to navigate. I also build in time (if possible) to stop at any "discoveries" on the route. I do this because I take back roads exclusively and you never know what you will find out in the hinterlands. I do this months in advance since I have to book any campgrounds I really want to stay at in advance.
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Old 10-31-2019, 11:18 AM   #4
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Trip planning

[QUOTE=greenbean;759360]I am wondering about what others use to plan their trips.



First remember that many areas of the US and Canada have NO phone or online internet access. On a recent 3500-mile trip to the south east US, I used GOOGLE first. I did a full trip printout, then I did a printout of each day’s travel, then a printout of the campground that I planned to set up at. I like to have a back-up plan, so after that was done a bought a new road atlas and marked the route with a highlighter. I had the address of the end of day stop entered into the Navigation system and set it as a destination at the start of each day. I also run a tracker and printed out an actual trip map after I returned home because I never force my self to stick to the plan. BTW: If you like to overnight at Walmart it is good to have a Walmart directory as they are often not within sight of the major highways, Cracker barrels however were around every corner.
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Old 10-31-2019, 11:41 AM   #5
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Check out https://www.rvtripwizard.com/
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Old 10-31-2019, 01:30 PM   #6
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Atlas books are often bulky or not detailed enough.
GPS and electronic navigation are great but sometimes mistaken or confused.
We use onboard navigation, but for every trip we like to take along a map of each state through which we are going to travel.
Often updated maps can be had at the state's welcome center.
They can be handy when you would like a route change or get on a detour.
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Old 10-31-2019, 01:38 PM   #7
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I've used RVParky. I drop a pin about 250 to 300 miles out (pretty much what I'm willing to do in a day) and look for places in the area.
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Old 10-31-2019, 05:09 PM   #8
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Good Sam and Escapees both have trip planners.
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Old 11-01-2019, 07:53 AM   #9
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I've been using https://freecampsites.net/ for a few years to find camp spots along the way. Verify with Google Earth. Have found a few gems.

I just use Google Maps to figure mileages between stops. Load coordinates into on-board GPS. I always make a paper itinerary so I know what the plan is (what to see and how many days we're going to be there) plus the need for fuel stops.

I also use https://rvdumpsites.net/ to plan where to dump since we try to boonedock as much as possible. I've found some free dump sites
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Old 11-01-2019, 08:14 AM   #10
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I wing it. Sometimes it works out better than others. But I mostly stick to the west half of the country, so public land camping is never far away. I just check out anything that looks interesting then kind of do a little research along the way. Probably wouldn't work for everyone...
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Old 11-01-2019, 11:09 AM   #11
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I do as little planning as possible, but it is nice to have a set of paper maps or an atlas along. GPS is almost as much trouble as it is a help. Sometimes my phone GPS will tell me one thing and the on-board GPS, the opposite. Any new construction since the last GPS upgrade will confuse it, and it is hard to look way ahead on GPS, as you can easily do on a map. We clumsily left Nevada without any maps last year and never bothered to get one until Arkansas. I picked out what looked like a nice place on the map, to stop and get our bearings, in Alabama, called McFarland park, in Florence Alabama. We didn't even know there was camping there until we drove in. It turned out to be one of our favorite places and we stopped there again this year on our way through. Right on the bank of the Tennessee River. Super friendly and very low cost with full hookups and lots of things to see in the area. A real gem. I didn't want to leave, but we had reservations at the next place, and had to!

I make reservations only if required, such as at North Rim, or Yosemite, or Yellowstone. And I build the trip around the big event, or location that prompted the trip, such as a rally, for instance. But I find any reservations start to structure the travel days more than I'd like. Predicting, while still at home, exactly when we will comfortably arrive at the next reservation never works as well as I'd like. How do I know when I'll get tired and need to stop, three weeks in advance? How can I predict when a beautiful or interesting place to stop will show up, having never been to that area before? I don't want to be torn away from having a good time, just to stay on schedule. Some of the greatest value of a trip comes from being able to stay an extra day or two somewhere, or from finding a spot that looks interesting and staying there. Or, just not being in a hurry at all. It's not about efficiency, it's about exploring and being unscheduled. While still working around your planned destination.

There are some very nice rest stops and picnic areas along the way that are perfect for stopping for an evening, the night and part of the next day. They are free and there are enough of them that you can wait until you are tired and hit the next one. I have kept track of some of the excellent ones and make them stops on the trip.

Obviously, some planning is required, but precise scheduling takes away the value of exploring. It's impossible to predict what marvels are ahead when you've never been there. If we were able to see everything ahead, there would be no value in going.

As far as cost goes, if that is important to you. And it is to me. Beautiful rest stops and picnic areas cost zero. National Parks offer half price camping and free admission to seniors, with the senior card. BLM lands, and undeveloped National Forest lands are free. So, once in a while I don't mind paying a higher price for a nice RV park with showers, water and power. We are in one right now, Oasis RV park in Las Vegas, for about $49. per night. At Rallies, where there might be a fixed price for the event, it can cost a bit, but stopping a free areas, on the spur of the moment, or just when tired, can average out the cost to a very low overall amount, while giving you the freedom to stop when you want.

Also, when stopped somewhere and chatting with someone local, they are likely to share a great place to go in the area, that you would probably never find on your own. Take advantage of those recommendations.

If you are thinking of stopping at an RV park that might be full, plan to hit it during the week. So many places fill up starting on Thursday and are easy to get into on Monday, for instance. If you are at Yosemite before 8 AM and in line at the office, you are likely to get a spot even if they are full. If not, just five miles out of the park, you can camp for free on National Forest land, and it has unlimited area. On your way, you can stop at Cracker Barrel for the night and have a fine breakfast in the morning before heading out.
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Old 11-01-2019, 01:59 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenbean View Post
I am wondering about what others use to plan their trips. We are headed out on our first extended trip circumnavigating the US.
What maps are must haves, is there an application you use to plan the route? We tend to find a spot and stay there a few days hiking and biking. We use Campendium extensively for locating out of the way campsites...but for routes? Things of interest?
We will be traveling in our 19' Escape.
Thanks for any tips!



Don't Plan, just go.
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Old 11-04-2019, 12:12 AM   #13
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Thanks everyone!
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Old 11-06-2019, 11:52 AM   #14
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I have found the Good Sam Club Trip Planner an excellent tool for planning a trip.
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Old 11-06-2019, 12:51 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve L. View Post
I've used RVParky. I drop a pin about 250 to 300 miles out (pretty much what I'm willing to do in a day) and look for places in the area.
I use RV Parky as well. Nice to be able to drag the pointer to an area you plan to pass through and see what's available in a determined radius. You can save the map and come back later to edit it, either on your home computer or their App.
We also keep one book Atlas, plus try to pick up a state map at welcome centers as we pass through each state.
Here's the RV Parky map from our trip from GA, to OR and WA, then over to the Boler 50th anniversary in Canada, to NH, and back to GA.
Attached Thumbnails
route image.PNG  
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Old 11-06-2019, 09:48 PM   #16
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Sygic: Free GPS System

Sygic is a free GPS app for iphone/Android/Ipad. There is a "premium" version available for about $13 but it is not needed. You download a map for each state. I prefer having a separate device for my GPS so I installed Sygic on an old Android phone that I no longer use. If fact the phone does not even have a sim installed. I downloaded Sygic and the maps for the states where I would be traveling using my home wifi. Once the app and maps are installed, no cell connection is needed to use the maps. They way, the system works even in the most remote areas where you have no hope of getting a cell connection.

I just got back from a two week trip exploring forest back-roads in New Mexico and Colorado. Sygic worked like a charm showing every jeep trail and track even far from the pavement!

I still like to carry paper maps to get an overall view of the area. I always have a state roadmap handy and pick up National Forest and topo maps whenever possible.
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Old 11-08-2019, 10:17 AM   #17
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Thanks for the recommendation!
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Old 11-08-2019, 11:09 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by jim_ivy View Post
Sygic is a free GPS app for iphone/Android/Ipad. There is a "premium" version available for about $13 but it is not needed. ...
You reminded me I had this app on my old phone.. never used it because it took too much memory space on that old phone, and the phone's GPS was flaky.

So I downloaded it to my new phone with plenty of space on a SD card. A few early observations:

Internet access is not needed for basic trip planning and GPS functions. It IS required for live traffic info, fuel prices, parking, info, etc.

Live traffic showed a major road closed for construction near me, but in fact it was an entire intersection closed. The app thought that the intersecting street was open and routed me through it, which would have led me straight into a dead end.

What is not clear to me is this.. instead of buying a license for map updates can you just delete the map and download a new one every few months or so? There are other features of the basic Premium licence that make it worth $14 (or $21.49 with traffic) I think. I'll have to try it after app reverts to basic status after the seven day premium free trial.

Looks like each state map only takes a little more than 100 megabytes.

Prices shown to me on the app:

North America lifetime premium with maps: $13.99
Same with traffic: $21.49
Optional add ons...
Real View Navigation, Cockpit, Heads Up display, Dash cam.. all $7.49 each, per add on.
All of the above: $37.49.
All prices look to be sale prices for a new user.
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Old 11-08-2019, 01:57 PM   #19
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Like others, I carry an atlas (Rand McNally from Walmart) for rough information, use my GPS to find routes to specific locations, and, if I am planning to spend some time in a specific area, purchase a Benchmark Map for the state.

Since I'm an AAA member, I sometimes pick up individual state maps since they are more detailed than the atlas. They also have a great map for the southwest - Indian Country. While my AAA chapter gives them out free, some charge.
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Old 11-08-2019, 05:18 PM   #20
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Lots of great info above! We just finished a 19,000, 5-month meandering journey from Florida to Alaska & back. We used a lot of what was mentioned above. (We traveled like Raspy, few hard plans, winged it in between.) I have two things to add.
If you have a Ford, do not rely on the nav system. Ours sent us down some horrible roads & told us the wrong exit much too often.
Check out the Polarsteps app. It is simple to use & is a great way to track and share your journeys with family & friends.
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