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Old 02-17-2019, 09:56 PM   #1
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Our first long trip

So, my wife and I and of course Waldo, our road beast, are trying to plan a trip to Chicago, from Phoenix in September, in our 2017 Coachmen Pursuit 27kb, for our daughters wedding.
This will be our first longer trip in the motor home. We're thinking no more than 400 miles a day, taking our time and just enjoying the journey.
My question is, do you plan your itinerary in advance or just find some place to stop each day along the way ? I can see benefits of doing it either way. Any advice or thoughts would be great.
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Old 02-17-2019, 10:50 PM   #2
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We always have reservations on Friday and Saturday night. If we have a destination in mind, we get reservations. We typically have reservations for the outbound leg but are more flexible on the return trip. Hope that helps.
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Old 02-18-2019, 07:32 AM   #3
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If you go without a reservation, the key to getting your miles in is start early and plan to get off the road early, like late afternoon.Many people like to arrive at their campsite before supper and plan supper there. If you plan on getting off the road after supper, in the evening sometime that is when you may show up somewhere and not be able to get a spot. Also, travelling in Sept as you mention makes things much quieter, far less likely to encounter parks that are full, especially during the week. Weekends in early Sept will still be drawing decent amount of travellers. Enjoy the drive!
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Old 02-18-2019, 08:17 AM   #4
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400 miles per day for multiple days in a row may be pushing it. we try to go around 300 miles and we need a down day after no more than 3 travel days. but that's just us and what we have become accustomed to. you may be fine with 400. but since it appears that you haven't taken a long multi day driving journey give yourself plenty of time so that you are not forced to drive if you don't feel like it.
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Old 02-18-2019, 02:33 PM   #5
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On a long trip I try to keep Millage to 300 miles per leg and stop for two nights every other or every third leg.
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Old 02-18-2019, 02:58 PM   #6
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I don't know what part of September you are leaving but keep in mind that campgrounds close for the season earlier the further North you go.
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Old 02-18-2019, 03:31 PM   #7
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I thought there was an old saying when traveling. Never travel after 3:00 PM & never exceed 300 miles per day. Reason - gets crowded and busy at most locations after 3:00 PM but can't remember why the 300 mile limit.

I always make reservations and pre-plan my trips. It is time consuming but well worth it. You will be surprised at the number of campgrounds now, if you try to book a site that are full. Lots more camper out there now than spaces available.

Good Luck!
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Old 02-18-2019, 03:49 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by KEN9XL View Post
I thought there was an old saying when traveling. Never travel after 3:00 PM & never exceed 300 miles per day. Reason - gets crowded and busy at most locations after 3:00 PM but can't remember why the 300 mile limit.

I always make reservations and pre-plan my trips. It is time consuming but well worth it. You will be surprised at the number of campgrounds now, if you try to book a site that are full. Lots more camper out there now than spaces available.

Good Luck!
Just guessing here, but......

The 300 mile limit is usually suggested because when itís all said and done.....that would mean 6 hours of ACTUAL TRAVEL TIME.

So.....throw in a stop because of your bladder, a sightseeing stop, maybe coffee or lunch or fuel.......makes for a very long day.

Just sayiní

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Old 02-18-2019, 04:02 PM   #9
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x3 on 300 miles per day.

Some trips are in our 35' Georgetown.

Some trips are in our Tacoma pulling a 20' Lance single axle.

300 miles per day makes it fun. 400 miles per day makes it exhausting.

I've been known to do 600 miles in a day, when that took us to our destination. I certainly could not have repeated that on day 2 and certainly could not do it with ANY cross wind. If you have any crosswind, and you are likely to in September heading to Chicago, 300 miles per day may be traveled at 45 miles per hour (9+ hours with stops included).
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Old 02-18-2019, 04:13 PM   #10
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We usually don't make reservations in advance for one-nighters unless it is a Friday or Saturday evening. We'll see where we're at a few hours out and call then.

Reservations are necessary for longer stays and if staying at/nearby popular attractions.

Good rule of thumb on longer trips is 50 miles per hour average. That takes into consideration refueling if necessary, a potty break and a quick lunch.
So if you plan on 300 miles, expect it to take you six hours. We like to get on the road about 9:00 AM and be pulling in somewhere between 3:00-4:00 PM.

There are those who drive non-stop for 10-12 hours because of time constraints. We used to do that too but you won't be doing that as you get closer to retirement age.
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Old 02-18-2019, 04:25 PM   #11
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Reservations are a MUST if you planning on going to the more popular tourist areas, national parks, Disney, beaches etc. If you stay off the beaten path and go to more out of the way locations, you'd probably be ok with just going and figuring it out along the way.

I like destinations and since I have a limited vacation window, I plan on 700 miles per day of travel to maximize my time there.

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Old 02-18-2019, 04:29 PM   #12
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We almost never use reservations. They are way too restricting. It means you can't change plans or run into any delays. Of course, we do use reservations when the site is near a favorite tourist area like Mt Rushmore or Grand Canyon. But, with my DW co-piot on the phone, we've always been able to find something. Concerning reservations, some sites may return your payment if you change plans and cancel, but that is often limited to cancellations at least 24 hours in advance. On cross country trips, where we're not intending to stop for sightseeing, we stay at WalMarts. I was very skeptical too when I first heard of that. But, WM actually has an app that tells you if you can part there (which most allow) and where they prefer you to park. Of course, we always stop in to buy something and always talk to the manager to make sure he/she is OK with us parking there. Many of their lots are patrolled by security.
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Old 02-18-2019, 04:44 PM   #13
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Attendance at your daughters wedding is optional?! Better confirm with your daughter. My money is on she wants you there and on time.

1800 mile in a motor home to a wedding with no reservations assumes too much for me. As does the assumption the trip will be accident and break-down free. "Murphy's Law of Driving a Motor Home 1800 Miles to a Wedding" virtually assures there will be a breakdown or accident that takes several days to fix. Especially your daughter's weeding.

Save your "first long trip" for a non-mandatory event. Fly and rent a car. Or get more adventurous and take an Amtrack roomette which is a mere 40 hours looking out the windows at better scenery than just the view out the windshield at the Interstate.

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Old 02-18-2019, 04:51 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Telstar View Post
On a long trip I try to keep Millage to 300 miles per leg and stop for two nights every other or every third leg.
Great idea for those longer trips. But, when in a hurry to get there we have exceeded 400 miles, but took it much easier with a day or two stop on return trip.
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Old 02-18-2019, 05:18 PM   #15
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Most miles with least stress

In September I usually don't make reservations unless its Labor Day weekend or a very popular place I definitely want to stay. For miles its anywhere between 300 and 650 miles.

Typically on a long trip of +1000 miles I want to make time and decide early to late afternoon how much longer I feel like driving. Then I call and make a reservation to a campground. After arriving at each campground I check the internet/map/campground directory for the next day's target campgrounds at about the distance I think I may want to go +/-50 miles. This way if things go well, early start, good weather, no traffic, and I feel like driving until dark I make good time with little stress. If bad weather, traffic, etc, I end up making the best of it and not have to drive late to get somewhere.
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Old 02-18-2019, 05:37 PM   #16
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my view on your situation might be different from others, or even yours, but 400 miles in a day is a long day, but, some do it, and others of us tend to understand the logistics of 'traveling' in an RV, which is not typically at the same 'speed' you might normally think of with other vehicles. Fueling takes longer, takes planning, and stops along the way are the norm. Not getting in a 'hurry' is also part of it.

400 miles is certainly doable, though, especially if you are content to just overnight at a W*mt or Lowes or HomeDepot type large parking lot... we do it fairly frequently - I just wouldn't want to do it everyday, or make it a 'norm'.

250 miles is a lot more doable, and when you know you have a 'reservation' at a campground or rv park, making sure you can arrive and get comfortable before dark - it gives you a lot more comfort along the way - no big deadlines or 'miles' to meet.

If we are doing a cross country type trip, we usually overnight every other night, and do a campground or rv park the others, so that we can dump, get water, relax with full shore power versus the generator, use the laundry when needed, and maybe get to use some amenities, like a pool. Keeps the costs down, let's you drive more or some days, and less on other, and less worries on others.

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Old 02-18-2019, 07:57 PM   #17
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As many others have said I don't like to drive more than 300 miles a day either. With various stops for one reason or another, that would get us to the Park around dinner time and hopefully before dark. I like getting to our spot and get all the hookups done and slides out while there is still daylight. Doing that all by flashlight is never fun for me especially in an unfamiliar park when it is pitch black out.

The other aspect is when you arrive late at some parks there is no one there in the office and they leave a package for you in the mailbox which is fine but sometimes things at the site aren't working and there is no one to consult with until they open up the following morning.

Bottom line for us..300 miles at 60 mph and arrive at the park at a decent hour!

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Old 02-18-2019, 08:32 PM   #18
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Don't know how old you are, or what kind of shape all the travelers and equipment are in. When we were younger 400 mi a day was a quick day. Now the DW sez that is her limit. We usually map out a trip, but do not make reservations until an hour or so before arrival, depending on location and day of the week(end). Only times we've had problems with that are along the OR coast in the summer. After 4 or 5 days we plan on spending two nights in a nice place to kick back b4 heading out again. A couple days flexibility on either end make things more enjoyable. Happy travels!
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Old 02-18-2019, 11:36 PM   #19
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Since you have a wedding to get to.... make reservations and plan for a 300 mile day unless you've got great stamina.

When you start to plan your route and look for rv parks, you might find that some days will be a longer drive. Plan at least a couple 'unexpected problems/terrible driving weather/illness day' to your total trip length. Most rv parks will allow you to reschedule if you've have unexpected problems. Unless, of course, it's a Friday or Saturday when they are booked solid.

Since you're going north, as someone else suggested, many rv parks will be closing and you may have difficulty finding a place to camp. Usually rv parks near cities will be open, but many public campgrounds shut down on Sept. 1 in the north.

On the way back you can try free wheeling it without reservations.
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Old 02-19-2019, 09:21 AM   #20
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We've been traveling during the summer for 2-3 months at a time. We generally map out the trip with reservations ahead of time. That way, we average 300 miles a day and have a relaxing trip.
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