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Author Topic: Suggestions for winter trip from NY south then West??  (Read 536 times)

jymbee

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Suggestions for winter trip from NY south then West??
« on: September 29, 2018, 11:40:51 AM »
Just starting to think about routes to take when we head South sometime in late December from Upstate NY. Only definite stops are around Dallas and Austin, TX. Probably traveling for 2 or 3 months.

Obviously there's zillions of options as to what route(s) to take. As we've spent many past winters in Florida we plan to skip that state this trip. We have friends that are finishing up a 6 week tour of State & Federal park areas right now. Of course they keep sending us their pics to rub it in.  ;)

One of my basic questions is with respect to these kinds of park destinations is, "What's open this time of year?" I'm the type that's inclined to just take off and see what's out there but my partner is more into the planning thing. Perhaps a compromise would be a general idea where we're going (her) combined with it more reckless just start 'er up and go strategy (me).

I'd think that one basic strategy would be determined by the weather come that time. Bitter winter than get as far south as quickly as possible. Milder weather, perhaps angle more southwest. (?)

Arch Hoagland

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Re: Suggestions for winter trip from NY south then West??
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2018, 12:01:00 PM »
""What's open this time of year?"

We've run across I 10 to Florida and back in the Dec, Jan, Feb time frame several times and never encountered any parks closed for the winter.
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muskoka guy

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Re: Suggestions for winter trip from NY south then West??
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2018, 12:41:34 PM »
When we travel south from Ontario in the winter, we try to travel straight south until we are beyond the point of freezing. We do this so that we can add water, and dewinterize the rv. After that, we roll the dice, and go which ever way we feel like going. Travel in the winter can be a matter of checking the weather forecasts, and changing plans as required to stay out of the sub freezing temperatures. We usually can get beyond the freezing point by driving for a long day when we first leave. This usually means a ten or twelve hour run the first day, then we tone it down to normal traveling schedule.

jymbee

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Re: Suggestions for winter trip from NY south then West??
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2018, 01:24:38 PM »
""What's open this time of year?"

Quote
...we head South sometime in late December from Upstate NY. Only definite stops are around Dallas and Austin, TX. Probably traveling for 2 or 3 months.

We've run across I 10 to Florida and back in the Dec, Jan, Feb time frame several times and never encountered any parks closed for the winter.

That's reassuring! I've travelled that route myself years ago but back then camping & exploring sites along the way was not an objective.

jymbee

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Re: Suggestions for winter trip from NY south then West??
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2018, 01:29:28 PM »
When we travel south from Ontario in the winter, we try to travel straight south until we are beyond the point of freezing. We do this so that we can add water, and dewinterize the rv. After that, we roll the dice, and go which ever way we feel like going. Travel in the winter can be a matter of checking the weather forecasts, and changing plans as required to stay out of the sub freezing temperatures. We usually can get beyond the freezing point by driving for a long day when we first leave. This usually means a ten or twelve hour run the first day, then we tone it down to normal traveling schedule.

Yeah, as you point out weather that time of year is likely to be a pretty big determining factor in one's itinerary. I've been suck in Dallas in an ice storm only a short time after milder weather. I like your "roll the dice" approach. Perhaps have a relatively long range objective but pretty much play it by ear in the interim.

Have to start checking maps to see possible park stops along the way...

Isaac-1

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Re: Suggestions for winter trip from NY south then West??
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2018, 02:19:33 PM »
I live about 100 miles inland near the Louisiana / Texas state line, in this region you can expect an January to be the coldest month of the year, with temperatures ranging anywhere from highs in the 70's and lows in the 50's down to highs in the 30's and lows in the low 20's most years.  Dallas is a bit cooler, maybe 5 degrees on average, though as you move west of central Texas the climate becomes dryer and the day/night temperature swing gets greater.  I spent a week on business in Arizona a few years ago in mid January (Phoenix and Tuscon) the highs there were in the 70's to low 80's with lows in the upper 40's at night the entire week.  Altitude also plays a part, keep in mind there are some ski resorts as far south as central New Mexico.
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ArdraF

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Re: Suggestions for winter trip from NY south then West??
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2018, 02:36:04 PM »
My suggestion would be to obtain a copy of the Good Sam RV parks and campground directory because it lists thousands of public and private campgrounds.  If a campground closes for the winter it tells you the dates, such as Oct. 15 to May 15.  That gives you a pretty good idea of what to expect.

The weather is such a huge variable that time of year that it's almost impossible to provide guidelines.  Someone mentioned weather in Texas as being moderate and yet, one year we had to drive from San Francisco to Indiana the last week of January.  Normally we would have taken I-10 because the weather is better south, but after watching the satellite weather patterns we opted for I-80 and were really glad we did because we would have been in blizzards down in Texas.  We had clear weather on I-80 but did one long day toward the end to outrun an approaching storm coming from behind us.  All you can do is watch the weather closely and, if you do misjudge and get caught somewhere, hunker down until it's safe to travel.

ArdraF
ArdraF
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Robert K

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Re: Suggestions for winter trip from NY south then West??
« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2018, 04:26:31 PM »
We head down to Fl middle of Feb  from WNY.
  We drive first day down below Richmond Va.about 11 hrs.
If you are coming down 81 there is western rv park open yr round near Carlisle Pa.
Gettysburg has at least 1 yr round campground
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AStravelers

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Re: Suggestions for winter trip from NY south then West??
« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2018, 05:00:05 PM »
Just starting to think about routes to take when we head South sometime in late December from Upstate NY. Only definite stops are around Dallas and Austin, TX. Probably traveling for 2 or 3 months.

Obviously there's zillions of options as to what route(s) to take. As we've spent many past winters in Florida we plan to skip that state this trip. We have friends that are finishing up a 6 week tour of State & Federal park areas right now. Of course they keep sending us their pics to rub it in.  ;)

One of my basic questions is with respect to these kinds of park destinations is, "What's open this time of year?" I'm the type that's inclined to just take off and see what's out there but my partner is more into the planning thing. Perhaps a compromise would be a general idea where we're going (her) combined with it more reckless just start 'er up and go strategy (me).

I'd think that one basic strategy would be determined by the weather come that time. Bitter winter than get as far south as quickly as possible. Milder weather, perhaps angle more southwest. (?)
As far as "what's open".  Call and ask.  Also most federal and state parks in MS, LA, TX, NM & AZ are open in the winter.  An excellent source for finding various parks, both private RV Parks and state and federal parks, and some city or county parks is http://www.rvparkreviews.com/

One thing about RV Park Reviews: when you look at the reviews, don't take really good or really bad reviews at face value.  Some times people have a gripe or love something you really don't care about.  Just read back though the last 6-10 reviews to get a feel for the place.

As you wrote in another reply, Dallas can get pretty nasty sometimes in Jan & Feb.  Some winters not at all.  Austin & San Antonio are less likely to have really nasty weather, but it can happen there two.

If you like exploring interesting places, eating different foods, then head to New Orleans and then follow the local roads rather than I-10 to Lafayette and especially Abbyville.  Palmetto Island State Park is a nice place to stay in the area.  There are other SP's in the area too.  Check out RVParkReviews for lots of info.  For a place to stay near New Orleans, we really like http://www.rvparkreviews.com/regions/louisiana/westwego/bayou-segnette-state-park-1245

From Abbyville, take SR-80 along the coastline to Texas.  SR-80 is a 2 lane road, normal highway width, but it doesn't have much for shoulders, but you get to drive through bayou country. 

Just across the LA/TX state line is Sea Rim SP in TX.  Right on the beach.  Nice place to stay a 2-3 nights or more. 

From Sea Rim SP go back up to the southern edge of Port Author, and pick up SR-73 to Winnie where you take SR-124 south to the beach area and then follow SR-87 to the free state operated ferry to Galveston.  Lots to see and do in Galveston.  Also lots of great food in small restaurants.  Galveston SP is a great place to stay. 

From Galveston you can follow good 2 lane hwys to Corpus Christi.  It is easy to spend 1-3 weeks going from Galveston to CC.  Again use RVPark Reviews for info and comments.

You can just wander from here, going down to RGV (Rio Grande Valley) (Brownsville, & etc) or go to San Antonio, and then US-90 west to Big Bend National Park. 

I highly recommend wandering.  Going where you want.  Staying as long as you want.  Yes, you don't always get to stay everywhere you want (it may be full), but you can just find some place else to stay.  Or just go someplace else.  Your RV has wheels, so just go where the mood suits you.
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Journey 36G
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

jymbee

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Re: Suggestions for winter trip from NY south then West??
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2018, 08:38:35 PM »

If you like exploring interesting places, eating different foods, then head to New Orleans and then follow the local roads rather than I-10 to Lafayette and especially Abbyville.  Palmetto Island State Park is a nice place to stay in the area.  There are other SP's in the area too.  Check out RVParkReviews for lots of info.  For a place to stay near New Orleans, we really like http://www.rvparkreviews.com/regions/louisiana/westwego/bayou-segnette-state-park-1245

From Abbyville, take SR-80 along the coastline to Texas.  SR-80 is a 2 lane road, normal highway width, but it doesn't have much for shoulders, but you get to drive through bayou country. 

Just across the LA/TX state line is Sea Rim SP in TX.  Right on the beach.  Nice place to stay a 2-3 nights or more. 

From Sea Rim SP go back up to the southern edge of Port Author, and pick up SR-73 to Winnie where you take SR-124 south to the beach area and then follow SR-87 to the free state operated ferry to Galveston.  Lots to see and do in Galveston.  Also lots of great food in small restaurants.  Galveston SP is a great place to stay. 

From Galveston you can follow good 2 lane hwys to Corpus Christi.  It is easy to spend 1-3 weeks going from Galveston to CC.  Again use RVPark Reviews for info and comments.

You can just wander from here, going down to RGV (Rio Grande Valley) (Brownsville, & etc) or go to San Antonio, and then US-90 west to Big Bend National Park. 

I highly recommend wandering.  Going where you want.  Staying as long as you want.  Yes, you don't always get to stay everywhere you want (it may be full), but you can just find some place else to stay.  Or just go someplace else.  Your RV has wheels, so just go where the mood suits you.

GREAT info-- thanks much for the insights. "Wandering" is also my preferred method of travel typically.  8)

My wife is already plotting out potential routes based on your suggestions.  :))

AStravelers

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Re: Suggestions for winter trip from NY south then West??
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2018, 06:25:21 PM »
GREAT info-- thanks much for the insights. "Wandering" is also my preferred method of travel typically.  8)

My wife is already plotting out potential routes based on your suggestions.  :))
You are welcome.

If you are in the Abbyville, Lafayette area and have a day or two of nice sunny weather (not unusual) check out the swamp tour given by: https://champagnesswamptours.com/  We took this tour in March 2010 and loved it.  The tour wanders through a swamp in an open 20' boat at about 1-2mph looking at wildlife, trees & plants, etc.

In Abbyville there are two restaurants we enjoyed. In 2010 it was Shucks and in 2014 it was Dupuy’s (pronounced Du-pwees).
Here are our notes for the restaurants from our personal journal:
--  Shucks:  lunch at Shucks restaurant here in Abbeville.  Decent restaurant, but no ambiance.  We both had fish platters, Sharon had fried and I had grilled.  My platter was delicious.  The fish was nicely spiced with a hot Cajun powder and the oysters & shrimp were nicely done in a sauce. 
--  Dupuy's:   http://www.dupuys.com/home.html We ate at Shucks in 2010 so decided to try Dupuy’s. Sharon had the crawfish platter, fried crawfish and crawfish etouffee, and I had Acadian Stuffed Shrimp with a shrimp or crawfish alfredo sauce over angle hair pasta.  The shrimp was OK, but the alfredo sauce was very good.  Both entrées were $20.  Not an inexpensive meal, but it was good.

In New Orleans if you stay at Bayou Segnette SP, you can visit the French Quarter by an easy drive to Algier's Point and take the passenger ferry across the Mississippi river to the French Quarter.  Do a Google Maps search for "Algiers Point Ferry Terminal, New Orleans" for directions.   Parking inside the French Quarter can be difficult and expensive.
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Journey 36G
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

Arch Hoagland

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Re: Suggestions for winter trip from NY south then West??
« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2018, 08:17:48 PM »
Our license plate frame says:

"Some who Wander are not lost"
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Isaac-1

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Re: Suggestions for winter trip from NY south then West??
« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2018, 08:25:19 PM »
I just wanted to second Palmetto Island State park, my wife and I went there for a weekend last year  and Sea Rim State Park, I have camped at both of them, though Sea Rim was a number of years ago, camping on the beach for a holiday weekend not in the campground.  Both are easy driving distance for a weekend from where I live.

A couple of more suggestions if you do end up around Abbeville:

Rip Van Winkle Gardens (nice bistro on site, with fancy contemporary cajun food)  https://www.ripvanwinklegardens.com/
Also for food in the area, try Landrys  (not the national chain of fake cajun food with a similar name)  try http://landryscajunrestaurant.com/
And for hole in the wall authentic cajun food go to Suries grocery south of Kaplan  http://suires.yolasite.com/  A great bonus here is they sell frozen individual portion servings in ready to heat containers, so eat in, then take some home to fix later.  This place has some of the best home style cajun food I have ever eaten (note I live in south Louisiana), on top of that the prices are reasonable.


p.s. most of that stuff they serve in New Orleans is not cajun food, it is mostly creole, or maybe creole/cajun mashup.  There is a big difference, for one thing very few actual cajun dishes contain tomatoes.  see https://www.louisianatravel.com/articles/cajun-vs-creole-food-what-difference
« Last Edit: September 30, 2018, 08:29:00 PM by Isaac-1 »
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AStravelers

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Re: Suggestions for winter trip from NY south then West??
« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2018, 07:02:51 AM »
Issaac,
Great info, thanks.

I copied the info for the next time we get to southern LA.  May not be for 2-3 years, but we will be back sometime.
Al & Sharon
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Old_Crow

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Re: Suggestions for winter trip from NY south then West??
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2018, 08:29:27 AM »
I want to second ASTravelers swamp tour recommendation.  I thought it was going to be kinda hokey, but I ended  up really enjoying myself.
Also if you're going to be in the area, take the Tabasco factory tour on Avery Island.  There's also a botanical garden and a bird sanctuary you can tour on the island.  That's good for most of a day.  Then try Bon Creole restaurant in New Iberia.  It looks like a total hole in the wall, but the food is outstanding.
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jymbee

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Re: Suggestions for winter trip from NY south then West??
« Reply #15 on: October 01, 2018, 10:49:54 AM »
Great suggestions-- thanks much. I'll make some additions to our "possible destinations" pre-log.  :)

Good tip re. cajun cuisine. Might make us look less like tourists-- or at least more informed tourists.  :))

I just wanted to second Palmetto Island State park, my wife and I went there for a weekend last year  and Sea Rim State Park, I have camped at both of them, though Sea Rim was a number of years ago, camping on the beach for a holiday weekend not in the campground.  Both are easy driving distance for a weekend from where I live.

A couple of more suggestions if you do end up around Abbeville:

Rip Van Winkle Gardens (nice bistro on site, with fancy contemporary cajun food)  https://www.ripvanwinklegardens.com/
Also for food in the area, try Landrys  (not the national chain of fake cajun food with a similar name)  try http://landryscajunrestaurant.com/
And for hole in the wall authentic cajun food go to Suries grocery south of Kaplan  http://suires.yolasite.com/  A great bonus here is they sell frozen individual portion servings in ready to heat containers, so eat in, then take some home to fix later.  This place has some of the best home style cajun food I have ever eaten (note I live in south Louisiana), on top of that the prices are reasonable.


p.s. most of that stuff they serve in New Orleans is not cajun food, it is mostly creole, or maybe creole/cajun mashup.  There is a big difference, for one thing very few actual cajun dishes contain tomatoes.  see https://www.louisianatravel.com/articles/cajun-vs-creole-food-what-difference

Isaac-1

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Re: Suggestions for winter trip from NY south then West??
« Reply #16 on: October 01, 2018, 12:54:44 PM »
Issaac,
Great info, thanks.

I copied the info for the next time we get to southern LA.  May not be for 2-3 years, but we will be back sometime.

If passing through south west Louisiana on I-10 and want good cajun food where there is room to park an RV I would also suggest trying Holiers in Sulphur Louisiana, they are a working class cajun restaurant with an all you can eat buffet, though the items off the menu are generally better.   They have 2 location, both just a couple of blocks north of I-10 the original location on Ruth Street has a gravel parking lot larger enough for most RV's, and the second location on City Services highway is in front of an ex-K-mart building (next door to Lowes) now converted to self storage.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2018, 12:58:00 PM by Isaac-1 »
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AStravelers

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Re: Suggestions for winter trip from NY south then West??
« Reply #17 on: October 04, 2018, 05:38:15 AM »
If passing through south west Louisiana on I-10 and want good cajun food where there is room to park an RV I would also suggest trying Holiers in Sulphur Louisiana, they are a working class cajun restaurant with an all you can eat buffet, though the items off the menu are generally better.   They have 2 location, both just a couple of blocks north of I-10 the original location on Ruth Street has a gravel parking lot larger enough for most RV's, and the second location on City Services highway is in front of an ex-K-mart building (next door to Lowes) now converted to self storage.
"Working Class" restaurants are what we look for places to eat.  We look for construction/trade type truck, police cars, etc parked in the lot.  We figure if the workers eat here the food must be good and reasonably priced. 

We never eat at the national chain restaurants.  Prices are out of line with what the locals charge.  Also many times they try to fancy up the menu items to cater to fancy or hip folks. 
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Journey 36G
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

Arch Hoagland

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Re: Suggestions for winter trip from NY south then West??
« Reply #18 on: October 04, 2018, 01:14:43 PM »
AStravelers said:  "We never eat at the national chain restaurants." 

We have a similar rule that says we eat at local places only. We do eat at Cracker Barrel and Smashburger because we don't have those where we live and like both of them.   
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OBX

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Re: Suggestions for winter trip from NY south then West??
« Reply #19 on: October 04, 2018, 09:23:26 PM »
Thread hijack....Smashburger may have the best vanilla milkshakes of any chain out there.

jymbee

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Re: Suggestions for winter trip from NY south then West??
« Reply #20 on: October 05, 2018, 10:50:30 AM »
We never eat at the national chain restaurants.  Prices are out of line with what the locals charge.

Can't go as far as to say "never" but yes, we also prefer eating local. Of course there has been times when we've some truly dreadful meals with that strategy, but hey-- that's all a part of it. The predictability of chain restaurants flies in the face of the unpredictability we enjoy while traveling.