RV life would be so much simpler if ...

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MN Blue Skies

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RV life would be so much simpler if we could hire Diane (of Diane and Sarge) to plan our two month trip from Minnesota to the coasts of Oregon and Washington and back to Minnesota.  What a dream.
 

SargeW

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MN Blue Skies said:
RV life would be so much simpler if we could hire Diane (of Diane and Sarge) to plan our two month trip from Minnesota to the coasts of Oregon and Washington and back to Minnesota.  What a dream.

OMG Max!  I had no idea what this thread was about until I clicked it.  Diane loves it! Yes she tends to be a bit OCD, but we both love knowing where we are going to be and what to expect.  She has 2019 figured out and plans to start making reservations in the next week or so.  The summer is particularly important.
 

garyb1st

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Oldgator73 said:
We don?t plan much. Usually pack and go. Wife just walked in the bedroom told me to pack. I asked where we were going and for how long. She said that?s way too many questions.

Sounds like the way we do things. 
 

cadee2c

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She has 2019 figured out and plans to start making reservations in the next week or so.  The summer is particularly important.

I always have trouble figuring out how long I want to stay somewhere. Or what happens if Im on the way somewhere and find something else I want to go see? Or I find out the place I want isnt what I thought and want to move on sooner. Or, like last summer, it was too hot in Roseburg Oregon, so we headed straight for Coos Bay without stopping.
Most campgrounds require more than a week or so notice to cancel, so that wouldnt work well for me.

That said, Max, if you want, I can help you plan out your trip. We could meet somewhere in between us where they have wifi and we can go over different options you have.
 

SargeW

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Her process is pretty simple. Start with the important events or places you want to be at. Rallys, family events, or holidays. That gives you an outline of the areas you want to be in. Then you fill in around those events with interesting places.

And the last rule is "everything is flexible".  I sometimes throw in a wrench into the whole thing and cause a change of plans. Kind of like hurricane Irma did last year when we were on the gulf in Florida. Yep, Irma came right through where we were camped. Talk about a change of plans.
 

RVMommaTo6

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SargeW said:
Her process is pretty simple. Start with the important events or places you want to be at. Rallys, family events, or holidays. That gives you an outline of the areas you want to be in. Then you fill in around those events with interesting places.

And the last rule is "everything is flexible".  I sometimes throw in a wrench into the whole thing and cause a change of plans. Kind of like hurricane Irma did last year when we were on the gulf in Florida. Yep, Irma came right through where we were camped. Talk about a change of plans.
That's how I do it too. Every time :)
 

UTTransplant

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SargeW said:
Her process is pretty simple. Start with the important events or places you want to be at. Rallys, family events, or holidays. That gives you an outline of the areas you want to be in. Then you fill in around those events with interesting places.

And the last rule is "everything is flexible".  I sometimes throw in a wrench into the whole thing and cause a change of plans. Kind of like hurricane Irma did last year when we were on the gulf in Florida. Yep, Irma came right through where we were camped. Talk about a change of plans.
We don?t do as much forward planning as Diane seems to do, but we have the same approach. We are planned through March right now, but some of those are pretty loose such as ?Southern Arizona or New Mexico for 4 weeks?. We don?t need the amenities so we have more flexibility. Still thinking about when/if we want to do the northwest next year. If so we will probably pick a few prime spots like the coast or near big parks and get those reserved. The rest will be loose. With competition for prime sites and reservation windows opening up, we better get deciding!

Oh, and I have found the site outdoorproject.com to have great trip plans. They are mostly defined for road trips or tent campers, and they are a bit fast paced for me, but if you take one of their 5 day trips and turn it into 3 weeks, it seems about right. I also look at the commercial caravan trips to see where they stop. Umm. Better start that decision and planning soon!
 

John Stephens

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SargeW said:
Her process is pretty simple. Start with the important events or places you want to be at. Rallys, family events, or holidays. That gives you an outline of the areas you want to be in. Then you fill in around those events with interesting places.

And the last rule is "everything is flexible".  I sometimes throw in a wrench into the whole thing and cause a change of plans. Kind of like hurricane Irma did last year when we were on the gulf in Florida. Yep, Irma came right through where we were camped. Talk about a change of plans.

Marty - I usually plan everything out because it gives me something to occupy my mind in the off months. On our last trip, I even plotted out where we could take our breaks every 100 miles or so. But I'm having a problem for our next trip that I would like your advice on to determine the best way to plan it out because our next trip needs to be relaxing.

Next summer, we are planning our retirement trip, a three month long vacation hitting all the national parks we can think of in S. Dakota, Wyoming, Montana and Alberta. Normally, on a trip like this, covering this much ground, I would like to plan where we want to go but not plan on when we're going to get there since we may find a lot more to do on the way that we haven't thought of yet. But if you want to get a spot for a week or two in Yellowstone, Glacier, Banff and Jasper, you're going to have to make reservations, sometimes at the beginning of the year, meaning we're going to have to be at certain locations at certain times. We're going to have to begin the trip by driving straight from SW Florida to Moscow, IA and have HWH work on our slides and jacks, so we have to make an appointment for that. That will be the easy planning, but after that, I'm not sure what to do. I can determine how long it will take me to get to any particular destination on the itinerary and make reservations for the parks that have to have them, but what happens if we find something else we want to see, something that someone told us you just can't miss, or something we saw on a road sign that looked interesting? If we're going on a retirement vacation and saying to heck with the world, we really don't want to be tied down to having to be somewhere at a particular time.

So what do you and Diane do about something like this if you already have reservations made that cannot be changed in a particular park? Like you said, we want to be as flexible as possible, but when you're dealing with parks as popular as those around Yellowstone, you don't have that ability. I know that before you began full timing, you took long trips that covered a lot of ground, so I'm thinking you have probably run into the same situation.

BTW, where were you during Irma? We had just returned to Cape Coral from a 3 week vacation in the Smoky Mountains and I spent four days getting the coach ready to put back in storage when we heard that Irma was going to hit the west coast instead of the east coast. So I told my wife to repack the coach and we took off for another week, trying to outrun the storm. It made landfall only a few miles from our house but by that time, we were in the panhandle.
 

SeilerBird

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But if you want to get a spot for a week or two in Yellowstone, Glacier, Banff and Jasper, you're going to have to make reservations, sometimes at the beginning of the year, meaning we're going to have to be at certain locations at certain times.
That is not correct. In Yellowstone there are seven campgrounds that are first come first serve. Being in the campground before noon and drive around until a space opens up. There is one at Glacier that is first come also. I don't know about Banff or Jasper but I camped for years in the NP campgrounds and never did I have reservations or problems finding a spot.

https://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/campgrounds.htm
 

UTTransplant

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SeilerBird said:
That is not correct. In Yellowstone there are seven campgrounds that are first come first serve. Being in the campground before noon and drive around until a space opens up. There is one at Glacier that is first come also. I don't know about Banff or Jasper but I camped for years in the NP campgrounds and never did I have reservations or problems finding a spot.

https://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/campgrounds.htm
I know you haven?t been mobile for a while, but the issue with FCFS campgrounds is that many of them won?t accommodate anything over 30? and only a very few sites accommodate 35?. Anything bigger and you are out of luck. For example, see the Yellowstone camping page at https://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/campgrounds.htm. It also shows that some campgrounds fill at 7:30 am, and I am guessing that last site wasn?t for a 35? unit. Years ago when there were literally millions fewer RVs on the road and we had a smaller unit, we would take chances on campgrounds. Not anymore with our previous 30? rig or our current 40?. The possible exception is during shoulder seasons. The guy you replied to has a rig bigger than 35? so he pretty much is forced into concessionaire or private campgrounds. 
 

SargeW

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You are correct in a lot of your assumptions. But the truth is, if you want to have the option to look around a bit between reservations, build in a little extra time from one reservation to the other. For instance if you left one reservation on a Monday, give yourself 2-3 days before having to be at the next one, on say a Thursday.  That would open up a window of "look around time" between reservations. Now that does create some other issues, like where you will spend those extra days, and you may wind up in small out of the way parks, truck stops, or Walmarts if you don't mind doing that kind of thing. 

I asked Diane about it, and her response is "there will always be stuff you want to come back to an area and see". And really that is how we have crisscrossed the country for the last 10+ years and have yet to see it all.  Take notes about stuff and file them away for the future.

Our other technique is to stay a week in an area and do day trips to the surrounding attractions. You can easily travel 50-75 miles from your camp, spend 4-6 hours looking around, an be back in time for afternoon cocktails.
 

blw2

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I used to be a big time planner.  DW on the other hand.....

My experience is very different, not being a full timer, or even a "long timer"...is that even a thing?  instead just a vacation week and weekend warrior
but planning is planning
I've come around to liking to plan more of a potential outline.... with several points of interest along the way.  If our timing passes us by when a planned place isn't open , well no big deal...just move on to the next.

I have found though, that after about maybe 2-3 days of "winging it" I really need a planned CG stop where I can plug in and recharge ...the MH and the driver.  So I think extra time Sarge speaks of between destinations is spot on for me. 

In a big way, i think that is because I'm ok winging it to a point, but I prefer to have a general plan for the day and know pretty much where I'll be parking for the night...or at least a couple options to take the stress off.  My DW isn't a navigator either so I basically can't lean on her to do very much looking forward on the map for me while I'm driving...she'll do a little bit but I usually catch grief when I ask...and her preference is, if we're at an activity just stay there till whenever, even if it makes it late to be finding a place...  all very stressful for me but adventure I guess, for her....

Anyway, I guess my point is that i agree with the OP that it would be awesome to have Dianne the super planner...but some folks like my wife, maybe not so much...
 

RVMommaTo6

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jackiemac said:
Note that Fishing Bridge campground in Yellowstone will be closed next year for upgrades!!
Noooooooooo!!!! Do you know when? I was planning on being there the first week of September, 2019.
 
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