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Old 06-23-2012, 11:03 AM   #1
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Want to plan a trip from rhode island to south Dakota

Wondering how you guys plan out a Trip like that? Pick a route and plan on campgrounds along the way? I remember someone told me that koa would plan a trip like that out for you, Not wanting to go to koa's every stop though....just never took. Long road trip before...any help, suggestions, warnings...would be appreciated
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Old 06-23-2012, 11:33 AM   #2
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We are Good Sam Club members and for what we saved on gas prices, campground discounts and road mapping service it has paid for the membership fee hands down. I would look into it if you are not members. We also bought the Trailer Life Directory book and used it for all the campgrounds along the way. It came in handy while we were traveling. Hope this helps.
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Old 06-24-2012, 08:13 AM   #3
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If you have a smartphone, look for an app called RV Park finder put out by Trailer Life Directory. Woodall's also has an app which you can use. Both are free and list state parks as well as other options not in the KOA or Good Sam systems. If you have a broadband modem, you can check the KOA or Good Sam websites for places to stay while traveling.

When we travel, we usually only book a place to stay at our final destination. We usually stop for lunch between 12 and 1 pm and fire up the laptop or smart phone. We figure out about where we will be by our preferred 4pm stopping time and look for available campgrounds in that area. We make reservations by the computer if its a KOA, through Reserve America for state parks, or Rec Gov Camp for national parks. If its another type, you often need to call them. Some Good Sam's take on-line reservations and some do not.

So far, we have never been stuck without a camp site using this method. In the worst case we have to drive a bit longer or stop a bit sooner. If we see a place that we want to explore, we can do that and not be locked into a reservation down the road. That said, we had a 21 ft class C and now have a 28 ft. trailer. Once you pass that 30 ft length, you have fewer options and need more advanced planning.
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Old 06-24-2012, 09:58 PM   #4
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road trips

I love planning road trips--we usually try to go one way and have a different route home. Pick the places you want to stop and approximate time spent in each area. I usually over plan and we don't get to do everything but there's always another trip. We try not to move on weekends when campsites will be more in demand. If you are going to the Black Hills, you will need reservations. Also avoid Sturgis the week of August 5-11 as that's when the bike rally is. Hope you stop in MN as we have some great places to camp. Have a good trip. Kathy
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Old 06-25-2012, 07:27 AM   #5
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I planned a trip from Texas to Maine using Google Maps. What I did was picked out places I'd like to visit always taking care to limit my miles per day to around 350. Then picking out specific POIs (points of interest), I searched for state parks, campground, etc. that were nearby. Once I'd find a spot, I'd search on campground reviews for that particular spot. It worked great on the way up and the only night we ended up in a crummy spot was when I played it by ear. Hey, it wasn't a bad place but it just didn't meet up with our expectations.

Plus with Google Maps, you can have multiple stops along the way and you can save your route. This allowed me to circumvent routes like going through NYC (thanks 3'senough!) and to take alternate roads avoiding the big freeways.

Did the same thing on the way back and we really found some nice places... and a couple I won't try again -- no matter how much the locals "love this place". :hihi:
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Old 06-25-2012, 10:20 AM   #6
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I'm currently in the process of planning our 2nd "big" trip, NJ to CO/UT after the successful one in 2010 from NJ to SD (Custer), Wyoming and Colorado.

Here's the rule of thumb that seems to work well for us on multi-day driving.
Figure out the distance to your first "real" stop, and figure out how many hours it is really going to take. I figure 50 MPH on average, and this will take into account the stops for gas/food/bathroom. I also tried to time it so that we weren't hitting major city areas during morning/evening rush hours. This meant we left NJ at 2:30 am

Once the hours are figured out, I think about realistically how much time I want to drive, remembering that the first day I'll have the most energy. When we made the trip last time it was a total of 32 hrs driving. I broke it up to Day 1- 14 hrs, Day 2 - 12, Day 3 - 6 hrs. We also plan on stopping every 2-4 hours to gas up, stretch our legs, switch drivers. I would have loved it if we could have limited our driving to 350 miles/day (great suggestion BTW Quahog), but we were "time limited" with our vacation .

Once I got the number of hours/miles per day figured out, then came the "fun" of finding a decent campground. For this I used http://http://www.epgsoft.com/CampgroundMap/ and http://www.rvparkreviews.com/.

Enjoy the planning - because sometimes that can be just as much fun as the actual trip.
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Old 06-26-2012, 12:45 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the good suggestions. I think I am too old fashioned though. I was on google maps last night and just got frustrated so I gave up. I got the correct route but just got all mixed around when trying to plan where to stop and figure miles to that stop etc.... It seems like it would be easier using a old paper folding type of map...or using good sam or AAA trip tix services....
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Old 06-26-2012, 02:18 PM   #8
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Use "Directions" between route points and it will calculate the miles and time enroute.

Here's an example: https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid...e09ee167b9498b

Click on that link, then click on the stairstep icon in the left menu and it pops up a window. Scroll to the bottom of that window and you will see the distance and time.
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Old 06-26-2012, 11:23 PM   #9
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No left side icons, but I am on an iPad right now, I will have to go on my desktop computer and try it
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Old 06-27-2012, 08:19 PM   #10
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We took our daughter on a long trip to the West for her high school graduation present back in 2002, to show her a lot of the western national parks, like Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Rocky Mtns., Tetons, Mesa Verde, and many other places she was interested in. We started in Virginia with only a Trailer Life campground book, a Rand-McNally atlas, and cellphones. We picked out the places we wanted to visit on a US map, then picked out scenic routes that would take us from one to the other in a large circle running first through the South and Southwest, then north to Montana, then back East through the northern and mid-western states and back to Virginia. We figured out how long to stay at each place of interest, then mileage between points, and came up with a driving schedule that would get us between 250 and 350 miles per day. Then consulted the atlas and TL directory for the nearest campgrounds to our route and schedule.

We called ahead for reservations for the first two nights, and then called ahead one more stop each day for reservations. That way we stayed two nights ahead, but had the option of changing our route if a new place of interest suddenly presented itself, without having to cancel/change a bunch of reservations if our plans changed.

This system worked very well for us, and we did make a few changes enroute. I'm sure a computer would be faster, but we would rather do the legwork ourselves, the old fashioned way.

To us, planning the trip with the family around the kitchen table was almost as much fun as actually getting there. Good luck on your trip, and have a ball !
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