Long Distance RVing

While RVing is new to me (parents RV'd all over in the 70's) I have only done week long RV trips usually under 100-150 miles from home (Atlanta). I want to plan a RV trip over a 2-3 week time frame long distance, Yellowstone Park for instance. Looking for input on app's, books, etc for planning and scheduling for long trips. Do you plan overnight stops and make reservations? How far do you normally drive in a day if hauling a TT and will need to set up and break down camp the next day. Any suggestions or guidance would be great.

Thanks

B
 

david-steph2018

Well-known member
While RVing is new to me (parents RV'd all over in the 70's) I have only done week long RV trips usually under 100-150 miles from home (Atlanta). I want to plan a RV trip over a 2-3 week time frame long distance, Yellowstone Park for instance. Looking for input on app's, books, etc for planning and scheduling for long trips. Do you plan overnight stops and make reservations? How far do you normally drive in a day if hauling a TT and will need to set up and break down camp the next day. Any suggestions or guidance would be great.

Thanks

B
We use several different ones. One of these is RV Trip Wizard. It will allow you to enter the RV specs of weight, length, height. It also shows campgrounds in the area and on the route to were you are going. Another good one for us is RV Parky. We also have Freeroam, CampUSA, KOA, Passport America, Park Advisor, Truck Smart.
In the truck we have a RV GPS, Garmin 770, it will allow you to enter the RV Specs in there as well. It routes you around bridges, low tunnels. Some people have had issues with their, by taking out of the way to a spot. But if have found if we update once a quarter it usually does good.
Overnight stops we usually plan and make reservations, so we know we have a place to stop. We try to drive around 300 miles a day, sometimes a little more if the need arises, plus we are retired.
During just overnight stops we just set up what we need to have for that night. If opened we will use the park's restroom/showers.
 

danemayer

Moderator
Staff member
You'll find that people take various approaches.

I usually start with Google Maps to pick a route. DW prefers no more than 6 hours in the truck, so I'll look for parks on the route that fit that requirement. If towing mostly on interstate highways, I'll assume an average of 50-55 miles covered per hour (that includes short breaks every 2 hours, one of which will be for refueling). If secondary highways, my assumption is 45-50 miles. So depending on the highway plan, 6 hours is somewhere between 270 and 330 miles per day. Keep in mind that most trailer tires are rated for 65 mph MAX speed and exceeding that can lead to blowouts. Also, at higher speeds, bumper hitch trailers can become unstable and experience excessive sway. So don't plan on going faster than safe towing allows.

Figuring the distance leads to finding cities/towns on the Google map. I then jump over to https://www.campgroundreviews.com/
to find the parks in and around that location. I try to stick with parks fairly close to the highway. Amenities are listed and the listing may have photos. The reviews are from other campers and will give you a pretty good understanding of what you can expect at a given park. I read both good and bad reviews. There's usually a link to the campground website too.

There's some iteration as you plan the trip. After finding the 1st stop, when looking for the 2nd, the distance might be a problem and the 1st selection gets changed.

When you have your stops planned, start contacting the parks to make reservations. Most want a credit card to hold the reservation. Some want payment at the time of reservation. Be sure to understand the change/cancellation policy for each park - they can vary quite a bit.

Anyway, that's what I do. Others take a different approach and use different information sources. Some people look at nearby attractions and spend a couple of days at each stop. Some don't make reservations, but occupancy is higher than ever, so this is getting riskier. Some people stay at Walmarts - but check if the particular Walmart allows RVs overnight - some communities prohibit that practice.

There are more ways than what I've described. I'm sure others will share what they do.
 
RV Trip Wizard. RV GPS, Garmin 770,


Thanks. Ive looked at the RV Trip Wizard on the computer, but didnt find an app for Apple or Droid phones. Does it work on phones as well? I will look into the Garmin 770 as well. Really like that aspect of entering dimensions.

Thanks

B

- - - Updated - - -

https://www.campgroundreviews.com/

Thanks for the help and suggestions. I havent seen the campground review webpage before.

Thanks

B
 

jerryjay11

Well-known member
You might want to look at Boondockers Welcome. It's a cheaper way to camp overnight, or up to 5 days per host rules. For the most part host won't ask for anything other than good company. My wife and 4 dogs used Boondockers to travel across country and found everyone very accommodating and friendly. Rather than me presenting a commercial here go to the site and read about the benefits of membership.
 

david-steph2018

Well-known member
RV Trip Wizard. RV GPS, Garmin 770,


Thanks. Ive looked at the RV Trip Wizard on the computer, but didnt find an app for Apple or Droid phones. Does it work on phones as well? I will look into the Garmin 770 as well. Really like that aspect of entering dimensions.

Thanks

B

- - - Updated - - -

https://www.campgroundreviews.com/

Thanks for the help and suggestions. I havent seen the campground review webpage before.

Thanks

B

Look at RV Life, it is tied to RV Trip Wizard. I don't know if it available on a phone but I know RV Life is.
 

wdk450

Well-known member
If you have a diesel tow vehicle, make sure you have a device or app (Gas Buddy) that will help you find DIESEL FUEL. Apps and devices that find gas stations are everywhere, but ones that just find diesel fuel are rarer. I learned this on my 1 cross country trip. Fortunately I was able to make it another 10 miles down I-80 with the low fuel warning light on from a gasoline-only station, to one with diesel fuel.
 

JohnDar

Prolifically Gabby Member
If you haven’t already, determine your miles per gallon while towing your rig, especially if all you have is the OEM fuel tank. That can throw another variable into your planning.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

CoveredWagon

Well-known member
For what it's worth, I use Good Sam travel planner. I also just Google campgrounds near city X .
If you haven't started planning and making reservations start soon. I already found popular places that are already filled in October.
 

Nhnoels

Member
I have driven across the country with camper 4 times. New Hampshire to Wyoming twice, New Hampshire to Colorado and New Hampshire to Utah. Each time we had all of our plans at the final destination state, nothing along the way. This is mostly because I only have two weeks for vacations. Here is my approach, and yes it is a bit aggressive but just offering a wild alternative:

1. We map out the route on google maps and print each day as a separate route so we have miles and time figured.
2. Drive 12 hour days and only stop to sleep at walmart or rest area. I do not bother with a campground if all I want to do is rest and sleep. We like to get an early start and we come in late so why waste money and bother campsite neighbors.
3. I always carry 10 extra gallons of fuel in the back of my truck because sometimes it is scary desolate in places like Wyoming and there may be 80 miles without Diesel and towing you use fuel very fast
4. If you get so tire you need to stop, simply stop. Safety is key.
5. Be aware of massive festivals like the 50th anniversary of Sturgis...we had to drive 4 hours longer than planned because everywhere was slammed with traffic a couple of years ago.

Since RVing is new I will also share a lesson learned the hard way. If you go to Yellowstone in the summer, do not assume your heater will work and that it can't get cold in July. We were experience 32 degree nights and had no blankets and our heater stopped. Now we keep a space heater and make sure we have extra sleeping bags/blankets.

We also stopped driving 75 MPH with a trailer. We had a blowout once and a tire fall off another time because aluminum rims shrink and lugs can come off. Yep...65 or less is our plan now. Oh and Good Sam's towing service is TERRIBLE so buy something different. When I lost my tire on a Saturday morning at 9am, Good Sams said they would have to tow me 60 miles away for service and the service could begin on MONDAY. I used google maps and found my own repair 10 miles away and was back on the road in 90 minutes. I would not recommend driving a TT on three wheels but when you have not choice, it works but the pucker factor is lasting.
 

Flick

Well-known member
I have driven across the country with camper 4 times. New Hampshire to Wyoming twice, New Hampshire to Colorado and New Hampshire to Utah. Each time we had all of our plans at the final destination state, nothing along the way. This is mostly because I only have two weeks for vacations. Here is my approach, and yes it is a bit aggressive but just offering a wild alternative:

1. We map out the route on google maps and print each day as a separate route so we have miles and time figured.
2. Drive 12 hour days and only stop to sleep at walmart or rest area. I do not bother with a campground if all I want to do is rest and sleep. We like to get an early start and we come in late so why waste money and bother campsite neighbors.
3. I always carry 10 extra gallons of fuel in the back of my truck because sometimes it is scary desolate in places like Wyoming and there may be 80 miles without Diesel and towing you use fuel very fast
4. If you get so tire you need to stop, simply stop. Safety is key.
5. Be aware of massive festivals like the 50th anniversary of Sturgis...we had to drive 4 hours longer than planned because everywhere was slammed with traffic a couple of years ago.

Since RVing is new I will also share a lesson learned the hard way. If you go to Yellowstone in the summer, do not assume your heater will work and that it can't get cold in July. We were experience 32 degree nights and had no blankets and our heater stopped. Now we keep a space heater and make sure we have extra sleeping bags/blankets.

We also stopped driving 75 MPH with a trailer. We had a blowout once and a tire fall off another time because aluminum rims shrink and lugs can come off. Yep...65 or less is our plan now. Oh and Good Sam's towing service is TERRIBLE so buy something different. When I lost my tire on a Saturday morning at 9am, Good Sams said they would have to tow me 60 miles away for service and the service could begin on MONDAY. I used google maps and found my own repair 10 miles away and was back on the road in 90 minutes. I would not recommend driving a TT on three wheels but when you have not choice, it works but the pucker factor is lasting.

Once you learn to use RVParky, it is all you need from setting up a future trip to making the last turn to get home. But you’ve got to fully understand what it can and does do. Play around with it by setting up practice trips. It’s free and you will lose nothing if you don’t like it.
And to Nhnoels, we’ve all done that gig before of driving long hours. Some learn the hard way, some learn with age it’s not safe and some never learn. Good luck to you and your family. Even if you can do it yet, I hope the other guy pushing his luck is as on his toes as you are.
 

wdk450

Well-known member
12 hours a day is nuts

12 hours a day is what Nonhoels had to do to fit a long trip into a 2 week work vacation. Thank goodness most of us here are retired.

When I pulled the Bighorn cross country, I planned 8 hours of driving in all states at the California legal maximum towing speed of 55 mph. That gave me about 440 miles, a full tank of diesel on the truck, with just short pullovers for potty breaks and lunch in the trailer. I planned ,out overnight stays in RV parks about 440 miles apart, and was able to unhitch the truck nightly for refueling. Thank goodness for cruise control, satellite radio with daily baseball games and old time radio programs, and long nearly straight I-80 from Northern California to Elkhart. I was, and still am, retired, and on my own clock.

BTW, you might want to notify your credit card providers that you will be making fuel and other charges out of your home area, as one of my cards was initially declined only because I was far away from home.
 
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Nhnoels

Member
First off, I agree it is a little too much to go 12 hours but my wife and I share the driving. Those days are likely behind us and we have a bigger rig now. If I was retired I would reduce the hours to 4-6 per day.

Thank you all for the replies, Ken
 

Flick

Well-known member
First off, I agree it is a little too much to go 12 hours but my wife and I share the driving. Those days are likely behind us and we have a bigger rig now. If I was retired I would reduce the hours to 4-6 per day.

Thank you all for the replies, Ken

Ken, with 2 drivers, 12 hrs is doable. You are very fortunate to be able to tag team and take care of business safely. Speaking only for myself, I know there are those of us out there that have done the straight thru gig with only one driver, and it’s tough. Good deal for you and yours.
By the way, we’ll be doing similar to the 12hr thing in April. We’ll be driving straight thru from just north of Houston to Key West, Fl. in April and barring any troubles, we hope to go 1400 miles in less than 1 1/2 days. But we are carrying 130 gals fuel and have 3 drivers that will change off.
 

Nhnoels

Member
Ken, with 2 drivers, 12 hrs is doable. You are very fortunate to be able to tag team and take care of business safely. Speaking only for myself, I know there are those of us out there that have done the straight thru gig with only one driver, and it’s tough. Good deal for you and yours.
By the way, we’ll be doing similar to the 12hr thing in April. We’ll be driving straight thru from just north of Houston to Key West, Fl. in April and barring any troubles, we hope to go 1400 miles in less than 1 1/2 days. But we are carrying 130 gals fuel and have 3 drivers that will change off.

Good luck with your drive in April. It should go well with three drivers.
 

brianlajoie

Well-known member
I have used road tripper, but since they changed, I haven't used it. t was good for main route with campgrounds within a given range. Like Dan, I also added RVparkreviews to get an idea of what the traveling public thought.
 

cowolter

Member
I've made some long trips from Houston to Montana, and Houston to Washington state etc... Most of the nights were at rest stops next to big rigs. A few nights I've stayed at truck stops due to severe weather/rest stops being closed. I've also utilized the road side parking where big rigs park without services.


Apps used are RV Parky, iOverlander, Free campsites.net, Park Advisor, UC Public CG, Travel planner and Google maps by typing "truck stops" and "rest areas." Also pulling up the states road conditions and closures is helpful.


One thing to also remember is to ask the truck stops if you can park for the night. Sometimes they have spots and are always kind enough to explain or simply say no.


Also, camping at the coast and popular national parks books up in advance. Like June is filling in Yosemite. That may influence where they want to go. And note the RV rentals can be expensive for longer routes since they charge mileage, unlike some rental cars. And they can nickel and dime you for like generator use too.
 
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