This is a guest post from one of our most prolific contributors: joannb. She offers her perspective on how they RV. Let us know what you think in the comments.
We have a 07 Navion, a 24 foot, class C powered by a Mercedes engine and get 17 to 18 mpg when we drive at a reasonable 60 to 65 miles an hour. We have put over 60,000 miles on it in the 5 years we have owned it and have spent more than 400 nights in it. Choosing a destination is always fun for us. Our first step in planning a trip is to set aside a month or two on our calendar; we like to get out in the winter (February and March seem to suit us best) and the fall (usually September and October).
Needless to say, the destination is frequently dictated in some way by the weather, not because of the RV but because of us! If it’s winter in Illinois, we don’t really mind 50 or 60 degree weather. In fact, we seldom head for the really warm regions in the winter. And in the fall we tend to stay north in September and only head more southerly come October or November. We have folders on all 48 continental states and as we read articles about interesting things in the various states, we drop them into the folders. My husband can’t pass up a welcome center, so as we enter every state we get new materials to add to our files. Once we have decided on a general destination, I request information on the state’s attractions, state map, etc. from the travel bureau in the state, using the internet. We also check out park reviews on RVParking.com for ‘destination’ camping.
Sometimes the destination is dictated by an event we want to attend. We were going to a family reunion in Denver in August, 2010, so we drove the RV to Boulder, went to the four-day party, left the RV at a friend’s ranch, flew home, and then flew back out after Labor Day. We continued the RV trip up into the northwest, looping west to Washington State, down to Oregon, and back to southern Utah. We did have a single planned event, a date with friends for lunch at Yellowstone, so that controlled some of the pre-date travel plans. In general, though, our planning consisted of pulling the folders for the states that were likely candidates for our travels.
Last fall we went to the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, so that dictated another westerly trip, this time to Sedona, the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Las Vegas and points west. On that trip we picked up a friend in Santa Fe before the Balloon Fiesta and she flew home from Las Vegas. So we planned the trip from start to Las Vegas, but after that we decided day by day where we would be that day, never planning more than a day or so ahead.
This February we took what I have called the Stream of Consciousness Tour. Asked by our friends where we were going, my husband replied, “We’ll head south and turn left when it gets warm enough.” We ended up spending a night along the Ohio River, where we had watched it in flood last spring. We wanted to see it out of flood! We wandered south and as far west as Lake Charles, LA, then ‘turned left’ and headed relatively straight across to Jacksonville, FL (taking more than 2 weeks to get there) before heading north again.
Because we are so loose in our planning we find very little concern about getting to the next destination ‘on time’. We use rvparking.com on the iPhone all the time to look forward to potential parks along our way. There have been a few times when our circumstances limited our options. We were in the Florida panhandle right at spring break time and the parks were getting full, so we did make some reservations. We had a real challenge when we were in upstate New York over Labor Day one year. We reserved what was probably the last campsite at a state park, and you know that means it was probably the worst as well. There was no way that we were going to be able to level the RV front to back, so we eventually found that by pulling into the space sideways we could get level enough that glasses didn’t slide off the counter. But, in general, because we do most of our travel at the off seasons, we find that we are often one of a very few RVs camped for the night.
Travel planning? Yes and no. We plan by gathering information and then we head out. Works for us. Try it; you might like it.