Friday, May 27, 2011

Trip Planning

I've often wondered how everyone plans their long trips.  Not having the luxury of a long time RV'er living down the street, I've set off on my own to plan a trip to the Grand Canyon.  MUCH easier said than done.  At least with the internet access we have nowadays, information is available if you have 3 or 4 days to sit at your desk!!  But really, how hard can it be.  There is relatively nothing between here and there but sand, right?  However, after 12 hours on the computer, I have found that not to be quite true.  The questions that arise, besides what can I see, are where do I get fuel .. how far can I go on a tank .. what roads can I travel with a 30' RV attached to me .. what roads are safe for a single woman traveler .. where can I spend the night in a safe environment??

The answers so far:

Friends have told me Flying J (and Pilot) have discounts for frequent users and are all across the U.S.  Not only do they provide fuel, but a place to park and rest.  If you follow the big trucks, you can't miss.

Never trust your GPS altogether seems to be the word of the day.  This said, I purchased a Truckers GPS so I can track my time driving and fuel useage.  A little overkill, but at least I won't go down any roads with low overpasses or dead ends where I can't turn around.  It will also show me where all the nearest diesel stations are.

On my last trip to Yuma, I discovered I can go 250-300 miles on a tank of fuel, assuming it's not all uphill.

I joined the Escapees group and Passport America for one year.  They both have a travel guide that lists all the parks where you can spend the night at discounted rates, some even free.  I am aware that you can spend the night at any Walmart for free, which is great for just driving through.  My plan however, is to stop at a couple places for 2 or 3 nights in order to investigate the historic surroundings for photo ops.  Unfortunately the Escapees group does not have a sub-group interested in steam trains or railroad adventures!!

So with maps and notebooks scattered all over, I'm spending a couple hours a day on the computer finding interesting places to stop and mapping out my course.  So far I have Boron (who stops in Boron?) but they do have a museum there that I have never seen.  Since the highway follows old Route 66, I plan on taking a couple side trips along the way.  Fort Mojave above Needles sounds interesting .. then I'm up to Kingman where I will spend two nights at Blake Ranch RV, however that depends on the temperature since I have two small dogs.

That's it for now ... it's a long process.  I figure once I have traveled that direction, I'll know all the places NOT to stop.  This will be a learning by doing trip!!

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