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Author Topic: First big trip planning and preparedness  (Read 462 times)

Captain Morgan

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First big trip planning and preparedness
« on: October 11, 2020, 06:21:26 PM »
Hi folks,

At the end of the month I'm embarking on my first big trek in my rig, some 2700 miles and 41 hours according to google maps. I currently don't have any apps on my phone, or yet own a Garmin. I have a 10" Asus Android tablet I can use for google GPS though, instead of the onboard system.

It occurs to me that I should know where to buy gas at places I can get in and out of, rest stops along the way and maybe belong to some fuel discount programs or additional travel insurance and so on.

If anyone could assist in letting me know what I need to look into, much appreciated. Thanks in advance!


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Isaac-1

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Re: First big trip planning and preparedness
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2020, 07:16:46 PM »
First off either get a real GPS unit like a Garmin, or get an App with downloaded maps that will work when there is no data connection.  I used google maps in 2016 driving from Florida to Louisiana when I bought my coach (I forgot to pack my garmin in my bag for the flight down).  It worked sort of ok, but sent me down county roads,etc to round the corner on 2 highways.

Second buy a roadside assistance plan

Third I use google maps / street view to check out potential gas stations along my daily route
2002 Safari Trek 2830

ArdraF

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Re: First big trip planning and preparedness
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2020, 07:17:52 PM »
There's a wonderful book called "Next Exit" that helps you find out the businesses within a half mile of the next freeway exit.  It doesn't help for non-interstate highways, but on interstates lists restaurants, fuel stops, auto repair, retailers, and even some campgrounds.  It also tells you which side (north, south, east, west) of the freeway the businesses are on so you can find them more easily.  We carry it whether we're in the motorhome or the car when traveling out of our area.

There's also a National Truck Stop Directory "The Trucker's Friend" that lists fuel stops (diesel and gas) on major highways.  It's arranged by state then city and has useful information such as how big the parking area is (20 spaces vs. 120 spaces) and other facilities at that location such as restaurants and repair shops.

ArdraF
ArdraF
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Rene T

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Re: First big trip planning and preparedness
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2020, 08:04:43 PM »
Do you need gas or deisel fuel. If itís deisel, just go to any truck stop and use the truckers pumps. Just get in and out as soon as youíre done pumping so someone else can pull in behind you.
Rene, Lucille & co-pilot Buddy
AKA  Pep N Mem
2011 Chevy Duramax 2500 HD 4X4
2011 Montana High Country 343RL
From the Granite State of NH
& Florida Snowbird in Lakeland FL

Kevin Means

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Re: First big trip planning and preparedness
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2020, 09:10:12 PM »
You didn't say what kind of RV you have, so I don't know your fuel needs, but I have a few apps to help me find fuel. Truck & Travel, Gas Buddy, EFS (for diesel only) Pilot/Flying J and Loves. If you're driving a motorhome, I highly recommend getting a good roadside service plan, like Coachnet.

Kev
« Last Edit: October 11, 2020, 09:15:19 PM by Kevin Means »
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Lakeside, California

HappyWanderer

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Re: First big trip planning and preparedness
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2020, 09:48:25 PM »
No way youíre going to do 2,700 miles in 41 hours. Thatís an average of 65 MPH, which isnít going to happen in an RV.

Plan on 50 MPH average, which will put you at 54 hours on the road. A very real number.
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Isaac-1

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Re: First big trip planning and preparedness
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2020, 10:33:40 PM »
I agree, it is very hard to average more than 50 mph over the coarse of a day in an RV.  Occasionally I think I might manage better than 50 mph out west on open interstate highway, but it never seems to actually happen with cross winds, fuel stops, etc. as everything goes slower in an RV, fueling takes more than when you get 8 mpg, pulling into and out of the gas station takes more time, waiting for clearing in traffic at the off ramp takes more time, ...  Add in driver fatigue and more frequent required breaks, and 65 mph average is simply not going to happen.
2002 Safari Trek 2830

Captain Morgan

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Re: First big trip planning and preparedness
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2020, 01:33:47 AM »
Thanks, I didn't say I WAS able to do the trip in 41 hours, i said GOOGLE says it's 41 hours. I don't care how long it takes, I'm not in a race and I'll stop and pee as long as I want to :D Secondly anyone my age that's been from one side of this country to other already knows you can't average 60mph on trip this long, esp in an RV.

Thanks for the resource suggestions. I have internet access the whole time so that's not an issue. I've been burned by Garmin in the past too, so I don't think it's a holy grail and it doesn't have the "right the hell now" boots on the ground travel advisories that google or Waze has. Bottom line is I want more than one resource to depend on.

Since I'm WFH I'll probably do most of the driving on the weekends and a little in the evenings as I can. I'm pretty sure I can meander and mozey and make it in two weeks.

I drive a gasoline Jayco Greyhawk 29MV and I've made it in and out of some smallish stations, but I would prefer bigger along the interstate where I can.

I have Geico but was looking into the FMCA and their FMCA RVinsurance. Anyone already used this?

I'll look into Coachnet too, thx!


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HappyWanderer

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Re: First big trip planning and preparedness
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2020, 06:21:35 AM »
FMCA couldnít come anywhere near our Geico insurance rate, due to our long history and multi-vehicle discounts.
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Isaac-1

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Re: First big trip planning and preparedness
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2020, 06:45:41 AM »
You say you have internet access the whole time, just wondering how you manage that, last October we took a month long trip from Louisiana to the Grand Canyon, we carried wifi hotspots from 2 different networks (AT&T and T-Mobile), and still had service drop outs for 30-40 miles at a time in places.  Such drop outs can be very annoying if you are using a cell phone for GPS routing as some of the apps will not let you calculate or make changes to your route if you are in a service dead zone, or if you drive outside your buffered map region.  Though here both the apps and data coverage is getting better.
2002 Safari Trek 2830

UTTransplant

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Re: First big trip planning and preparedness
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2020, 08:22:01 AM »
No GPS is perfect because the base maps (supplied by state and local governments) arenít always correct. There are continuous changes in the base maps data too, so GPS units need to be updated frequently. However the Garmin RV series is the best out there these days for big rigs. I use Waze and Apple maps in my car, but for my motorhome, I want something that understands height and weight restrictions. You can pick up a Truckerís Atlas at any truck stop, so look the next time you are at a spot that sells both gas and truckers diesel. It will show the approved truck routes which are pretty much what motorhomes should be using too. It comes in a western and eastern edition, so it sounds like you will need both eventually. As for apps, we use Gas Buddy for fuel in our car. We definitely have Coachnet, though I never have had to use it, and I hope we donít! It is still good insurance for roadside breakdowns.
Pam and Kevin plus Lily the cat
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2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk toad
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: First big trip planning and preparedness
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2020, 08:57:12 AM »
Quote
First off either get a real GPS unit like a Garmin, or get an App with downloaded maps that will work when there is no data connect...

Any Android tablet can download maps for offline use, so constant internet access should not be a requirement.  I told Google download the maps for the region I'm in, "just in case" and it updates them periodically.

I developed an "eye" for fuel station layouts that were friendly to larger rigs, so never felt the need to pre-plan stops (and that was with 35-40 ft RVs).  We always stopped for fuel well before Empty, so simply bypassed stations that looked problematic.    Apps like Gas Buddy can help.
Most larger fuel stops, aka truck stops, have plenty of room at the pumps but congestion can be a problem.  Particularly when the pump lanes are perpendicular to a convenience store, so that you have to drive toward the store front to move out. I try to avoid those, but its becoming hard to find the parallel lane type of layout.   If the area you will have to move thru is congested, you may want to skip that stop and try somewhere else.  Getting trapped in a pump lane because some inconsiderate drivers are jamming the access paths is frustrating.
Gary
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Mark_K5LXP

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Re: First big trip planning and preparedness
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2020, 09:57:19 AM »
I have internet access the whole time so that's not an issue.

No, you don't.  And you won't in places you need navigation help the most.  I too don't trust any one device implicitly but I would trust that I'd have cell/internet at any given time even less.   I have at least three navaids with me, two silicon based and one cellulose.  If you're 100% interstate you will likely have no issues but even just navigating a simple interchange to get off the beaten path for a while can get exciting without some form of heads up on what's around you, whether it's "live" data or stored.

Mark B.
Albuquerque, NM

Isaac-1

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Re: First big trip planning and preparedness
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2020, 10:55:23 AM »
Gary, my experience using google maps bringing my current coach home from Florida in 2016, showed that the regional map download only covers about a 50 mile wide swath of the route, so that on a 1,000 mile long trip, one would cross through at least 20 such regional map downloads.  All it takes is to be without cell signal / fast internet cell service when one crosses out of one downloaded region for it to stop working.  Of course they may have improved this feature since 2016.
2002 Safari Trek 2830

PopPop51

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Re: First big trip planning and preparedness
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2020, 10:59:17 AM »
I totally understand the anxiety and the desire to make sure that everything goes perfectly. It feels intimidating until you actually get on the road. Then the concerns you've expressed will melt to insignificance.
2700 miles in two weeks, driving weekends. That's six driving days if you count the weekends at both ends and the one in the middle, which averages out to 450 miles per driving day. It can be done if you're in your 20s or 30s, but for me (69) the second day of those long weekend drives wouldn't be enjoyable. At least you'll have the weekdays to rest up.
Take the advice already given about using a dedicated GPS. If your rig has an onboard system, you've paid for it so why not use it? Just update the map database.
Your rig is 32.5 feet bumper to bumper. You won't have any trouble getting into and out of just about any gas station, especially those located near Interstates. Just be picky about the pump island you choose as you pull in, and be willing to wait for it occasionally. I tow a 30 foot trailer with a 19 foot SUV and only once in ten years did I even have to back up a bit to get out of an island, and that was entirely my fault.
Distance to the next rest area is well marked on most Interstates. You can always just grab an exit and stop at a local business as the need arises. Remember that you have kitchen, bath, and bedroom right behind you, and pulling into a parking lot for an hour or two is no big deal.
I'm not sure what additional "travel" insurance you'd need beyond a roadside assistance plan, but I'm sure that there are insurers who would love to sell you something.
I gave up on fuel discount programs because they saved me so little while adding to the aggravation of limiting me to certain brands.
Paul--
2004 Ford Excursion V-10 ("Moose")
2010 Keystone Outback 270BH ("Squirrel")
2016 Mazda MX5 Miata ("Roadster")
##40 States So Far...##

ArdraF

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Re: First big trip planning and preparedness
« Reply #15 on: October 12, 2020, 07:11:06 PM »
As others have said, no mapping system is perfect for a wide variety of reasons.  That said, we've had Garmins for many years and are happy with them.  You can't compare the older versions with the newer because they're like apples and oranges.  The old versions were much harder to use.  The newer ones are significantly better with better directions and mapping.  We use them but I also am a big believer in paper maps with AAA being the best.  Their regional maps are great for planning in a larger area.  They also show mountain pass elevations which is not often shown on other maps.

ArdraF
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ziplock

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Re: First big trip planning and preparedness
« Reply #16 on: October 16, 2020, 06:05:50 PM »
following
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Maryland

jackiemac

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Re: First big trip planning and preparedness
« Reply #17 on: October 17, 2020, 03:18:54 AM »
Where are you going to and from?

We usually carry extra fuel and have only had to use it once. Having the extra can would mean being able to refill that even if we can't fit into gas station too, although we usually find one but we aren't as tall as some.

Jackie n Steve - Happy Scottish Travellers

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Back in the UK til who knows....