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Old 04-25-2018, 01:12 PM   #1
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Philosophical Guidance Needed, O Wise Ones (Or: Long Trip Planning)

As have many others, I have found this forum to be a tremendous source of information, inspiration, and practical advice, as well as more general (I might even say philosophical) musing about Escape trailers and camping more broadly. I’m hoping this query and topic will prompt a bit of both.

As I approach retirement Denise and I are beginning to plan for some longer (2-4 months) trips and are seeking guidance from those of you experienced in this mode of travel about the proper and desirable pace and rhythm for trips of this length, or even longer.

Seems to me that there are generally two styles of camping: 1) Destination camping, where you head to the lake, river, beach, woods, set up camp and stay there until it’s time to go home, and 2) Road Trip camping, where you move often and try to cover as much ground and see as many new sights as possible in the time available.

Incidentally, for those of you who have not witnessed it firsthand many of those of our camping brethren just to the north of where I live in Tallahassee, in the great camping state of Georgia, have elevated destination camping to a high art. You’ll see sleeping tents, screen rooms, camp kitchens complete with grills, smokers, camp stoves and ovens, (“Breakfast biscuits, anyone?”) under canopies, a trailer of firewood, canoes, kayaks, a couple of motorcycles, bicycles for everyone, and maybe an ATV or two. The whole array is covered against the inevitable inclement weather by a half acre of blue tarp carefully held aloft by an intricate network of suspension ropes, guy ropes, tie outs and tie downs to whatever trees and attachment points are available….But I digress.

Our camping style – and that of many of you forum members – tends more to the road trip style if we have more than a long weekend available. There’s just something ineffably magical about the open highway continuously unspooling before your windshield. The problem in the past has been that even our longest trips have been limited to little more than two weeks. Once in the days when we were still tent camping we managed to cram 11 states and nearly 6,000 miles into 18 days. Those trips are exhilarating, but also exhausting. Had to get back to work just to rest up.

So, when I have more time available, we plan a number of longer trips at a more leisurely pace. Though there might not be a “right” or “best” or “ideal” schedule for such trips, I am interested to hear from those of you that have done it what you have found to work well. I know that many of you have done trips of this length or longer (Jon, of course, and Mike Lewis recently shared a blog and pics from a long Western trip, but there are many others, too). I am interested in your thoughts on what you have found to work well.

I am not looking for recommendations at this point for particular routes, or trips, or points of interest, or campgrounds, though I’ll probably be back for those tips as I get closer to planning specific trips. Right now I’m thinking more generally about pace and timing.

How many miles is a comfortable expectation when you are traveling? How many consecutive days of travel before you want to spend an extended period in one spot? How long should those intermittent stops be? How often do you plan a day for routine chores and for restocking the larder, washing clothes, cleaning up and re-organizing? I welcome these and any other suggestions and thoughts gleaned from your long distance and duration travel experiences.

Thanks in advance,

Paul
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Old 04-25-2018, 02:13 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by a602pmcc View Post
As have many others, I have found this forum to be a tremendous source of information, inspiration, and practical advice, as well as more general (I might even say philosophical) musing about Escape trailers and camping more broadly. I’m hoping this query and topic will prompt a bit of both.

As I approach retirement Denise and I are beginning to plan for some longer (2-4 months) trips and are seeking guidance from those of you experienced in this mode of travel about the proper and desirable pace and rhythm for trips of this length, or even longer.

Seems to me that there are generally two styles of camping: 1) Destination camping, where you head to the lake, river, beach, woods, set up camp and stay there until it’s time to go home, and 2) Road Trip camping, where you move often and try to cover as much ground and see as many new sights as possible in the time available.

Incidentally, for those of you who have not witnessed it firsthand many of those of our camping brethren just to the north of where I live in Tallahassee, in the great camping state of Georgia, have elevated destination camping to a high art. You’ll see sleeping tents, screen rooms, camp kitchens complete with grills, smokers, camp stoves and ovens, (“Breakfast biscuits, anyone?”) under canopies, a trailer of firewood, canoes, kayaks, a couple of motorcycles, bicycles for everyone, and maybe an ATV or two. The whole array is covered against the inevitable inclement weather by a half acre of blue tarp carefully held aloft by an intricate network of suspension ropes, guy ropes, tie outs and tie downs to whatever trees and attachment points are available….But I digress.

Our camping style – and that of many of you forum members – tends more to the road trip style if we have more than a long weekend available. There’s just something ineffably magical about the open highway continuously unspooling before your windshield. The problem in the past has been that even our longest trips have been limited to little more than two weeks. Once in the days when we were still tent camping we managed to cram 11 states and nearly 6,000 miles into 18 days. Those trips are exhilarating, but also exhausting. Had to get back to work just to rest up.

So, when I have more time available, we plan a number of longer trips at a more leisurely pace. Though there might not be a “right” or “best” or “ideal” schedule for such trips, I am interested to hear from those of you that have done it what you have found to work well. I know that many of you have done trips of this length or longer (Jon, of course, and Mike Lewis recently shared a blog and pics from a long Western trip, but there are many others, too). I am interested in your thoughts on what you have found to work well.

I am not looking for recommendations at this point for particular routes, or trips, or points of interest, or campgrounds, though I’ll probably be back for those tips as I get closer to planning specific trips. Right now I’m thinking more generally about pace and timing.

How many miles is a comfortable expectation when you are traveling? How many consecutive days of travel before you want to spend an extended period in one spot? How long should those intermittent stops be? How often do you plan a day for routine chores and for restocking the larder, washing clothes, cleaning up and re-organizing? I welcome these and any other suggestions and thoughts gleaned from your long distance and duration travel experiences.

Thanks in advance,

Paul
About 6 years ago we took off for 6 months. No reservations, no specific route, just a bunch of places we wanted to see where it was warmer than New England in the winter. We ended up covering 22 states and about 14,000 miles. We like to go somewhere and really get to know it....we are not just about checking off the box. Sometimes we would drive for 200mi sometimes 50 mi our longest days was when it was time to get home and even then no more than 6 hrs driving. The only rule was that we would make sure we were in a campsite on a Thursday or Friday for the weekend so we were not stuck searching. Laundry can often be done in state campgrounds as they have machines in many places. You can do chores as you go...don't let stuff pile up. Be flexable, be relaxed, have fun. Remember you are traveling and NOT on Vacation you need to spend money more conservatively and you have plenty of time! Also remember that vehicle maintenance can really eat up time and be a pain to schedule....relax....
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Old 04-25-2018, 02:28 PM   #3
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I have seen videos and/or read about two "rules of thumb" on pacing

1. The 2,2,2 Rule. Drive no more than 200 miles in a day, arrive before 2pm and stay no less than 2 nights. Using this method, it would take at least 10 days to travel 1000 miles. This method was promoted by a full timing couple, so there is no time limit to their travels. They are always traveling.

2. the other was I think the 3x2 rule: travel no more than 200 miles in a day, arrive before 3pm.

Both of these guidelines have the same aim of reducing the stress of travel days. Rather than bang out 500 miles per day, 3 days in a row, to get somewhere all stressed and tired, these rules force you to slow down. Of course, it stretches out the timeframe to "get somewhere", but it also forces you to stop and smell the roses and likely encounter things along the way you would have blown right past.

Of the several blogs and video channels I follow, one common theme is they often their favorite experience is something they encountered along the way, did not know about in advance, just stumbled upon by moving more slowly.
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Old 04-25-2018, 02:43 PM   #4
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When I picked up my Escape in 2014, I got there in 6 days averaging 500 miles per day. On the return trip, I tried to stick with no more than 150 miles per day. Minimal number of reservations and only 1 commercial campground over the 9 week return trip. This was my first experience towing after 50 years as a tent camper. Even now, I limit my towing days to 300 miles maximum. Even with the 300 mile days, I try to stay long enough to keep the average down to 150 miles per day. Budget wise, this keeps the cost down and pleasure high. Enjoy what you come up with for you.
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Old 04-25-2018, 02:44 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by jking1224 View Post
I have seen videos and/or read about two "rules of thumb" on pacing

1. The 2,2,2 Rule. Drive no more than 200 miles in a day, arrive before 2pm and stay no less than 2 nights. Using this method, it would take at least 10 days to travel 1000 miles. This method was promoted by a full timing couple, so there is no time limit to their travels. They are always traveling.

2. the other was I think the 3x2 rule: travel no more than 200 miles in a day, arrive before 3pm.

Both of these guidelines have the same aim of reducing the stress of travel days. Rather than bang out 500 miles per day, 3 days in a row, to get somewhere all stressed and tired, these rules force you to slow down. Of course, it stretches out the timeframe to "get somewhere", but it also forces you to stop and smell the roses and likely encounter things along the way you would have blown right past.

Of the several blogs and video channels I follow, one common theme is they often their favorite experience is something they encountered along the way, did not know about in advance, just stumbled upon by moving more slowly.
Yep like the night we spent at a town park in Kansas. Ate dinner, watched a little league game, next day was old home days fair with crafts and demonstrations etc. We just stumbled onto it. Oh and $15 for a water and electric site!
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Old 04-25-2018, 03:06 PM   #6
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I am of the the quicker I arrive, the sooner I can relax, type camper. We get there quickly, relax longer and then head back, quickly.
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Old 04-25-2018, 03:06 PM   #7
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We've taken 4 or 5 3 month trips now, different styles for differing reasons.

Heading south in the winter, we spend long days, at least for us, getting to where it's warm enough to dewinterize. This usually is 2 days of about 500 miles each. After that we slow down to around 300 miles on travel days. 2 or 3 days of travel followed by a couple down days in a spot we want to check out. We're morning people, on the road by 8, pulling in to a state park or similar by 1 or 2. This gives us the afternoon and early evening to relax and check out the campground and surrounding areas if we choose to. Usually I time leaving or stopping to avoid rush hour traffic along the route. I also need to time leaving to get to the next campground around check in time. Doesn't do me any good to leave a spot at 8am, drive 3 hours to the next, only to have to wait till 1 to check in.

We tend to stay at State Parks and such whenever possible, we use Walmart's only in when we're going to stop after 5pm and want to head out early the next day. Who wants to sit in a Walmart parking lot from 2pm. This tends to be on the way home when we're burned out from camping and just want to make tracks.

On the home bound trips we may do 500-600 miles a few times. We do stop for a couple days anywhere that looks interesting, but mostly just want to get home.

Took us 14 days from MA to AZ this winter, then 10 days from AZ to MA.

If we're just traveling to look around, touring an area we don't know, like touring the Utah National Parks, or the Custer/Yellowstone/Teton area, 4 or 5 days at each major stop works out well. Smaller spots could rate 2 or 3 nights. This is what we did last winter in TX, NM, and AZ, looking for spots that we'd like to return to.

If we really want to check out an area and do a lot of hiking, then a week or 2 at a campground is nicer. This being what we this winter in AZ, we knew where we wanted to spend time. 2 weeks worked out well, we could check out areas pretty well in that amount of time.

We try and avoid summer camping. Have done a lot of fall trips, which may or may not include August, they work out well, no bugs and smaller crowds. Winter trips are mainly to get away from the cold and snow.
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Old 04-25-2018, 03:14 PM   #8
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My wife and I just got back from a five month trip to the southwest for the winter. We left November 20th and just returned this last Sunday. We had one six week reservation and the rest was by chance, and we had no trouble finding a spot for the night. We travel for two days and than stay in place for two days. If we really like an area we stay longer. We never travel more than 200 miles on traveling days. Our aim is to not just travel through areas and see them, but to experience them. We have done a lot of traveling over the years, both domestic and abroad and my advice is to take your time and experience the places that you visit. We are never going to see everything. And when our time comes, the inbox will still be full. So strive to experience not just see, the areas that we do pass through.
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Old 04-25-2018, 05:16 PM   #9
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Well Hey Neighbor, and I thought I had the only Escape in Tallahassee. I've got a 2015 5.0 TA up near Lake Jackson off 27N.
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Old 04-25-2018, 10:30 PM   #10
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I typed in a whole bunch of stuff then somehow lost it, so I'll condense my blather on my second attempt:

- Driving: I budget for driving 200-300 miles, then staying a week or so, then repeating. My bad habit is to occasionally make a 1000+ mile dash and overnighting at KOAs (because you know what you're getting when you pull in after dark). Sometimes my schedule compels me to do this but I need to plan better.

- Laundry: I do laundry every other Wednesday, mainly because two weeks' worth is all I can carry in my big duffel and laundromats are less busy midweek. I follow the same schedule at home.

- Provisioning: Some Escape 21 owners have turned their big closet into a pantry. I think this is a good idea, and if a trailer is so equipped it wouldn't make much difference buying and storing food whether at home or on the road, imho.

- Cleaning: Um, I'm a sloppy bachelor, so I clean when I can't stand it anymore. You have to keep in mind the status of your gray water tank when cleaning so you don't fill it up with wash water. Many campgrounds prohibit washing RVs, so you have to find a car wash with those long wands to do it. As for repairs, I try to fix things when they break, and I take along enough tools for this.
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Old 04-25-2018, 11:41 PM   #11
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Principles of Traveling

First principle: Never, ever have a schedule. When you do, bad things will happen because things that should not be done, are and you will miss the magic moments.

Second principle: enjoy the trip first, then the destination. If a rest stop or a fuel stop is extended because a stranger is met and there is great conversation - all is good! If the trip is an hour - great but it can also be 8 hours and still be great.

Laundry: we carry only enough clothes for a week. Who needs more? When laundry is done - it is often one big load. Then, on our way.

Bottom line: Keep it simple, be open to the magic, and live in the moment. The rest will figure itself out.
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Old 04-26-2018, 02:23 AM   #12
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Travel styles vary widely and they often depend upon how much travelling the parties have done before, their ages, physical condition, and general purpose. To me, people trying to get to as many places as they can, as fast as possible, must be young. (But, of course, many are not.) We have already covered a great deal of ground and we also do not set up a village at our campsite because we are rarely there much of the time. (I assure you that every state has such village campers.) So I guess that we are in neither of those groups you mention.

We may have a destination or several but hopefully will see something along the way and will take a good amount of time getting around. We will probably be even more conservative than the 2-2-2 folks.

Some full-timers take 3-4 weeks in a spot where they see all they want within 100 miles, for instance. The general advice from full-timers is that you are not on vacation, so take your time, or you will wear yourself out.

Wherever you go, you simply have to be prepared for the weekends which can book up just like hotels, at least in peak season or at popular destinations. And if you do want a long stay somewhere, may have to get that arranged. Most of the time and most places though, you should be able to do what you want with no schedule and stay where you need with no problem. From your remarks, it seems that you will be able to slow down quite a bit and enjoy leisurely travel this time around.
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Old 04-26-2018, 10:02 AM   #13
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In California, many "public" campgrounds have a 14 day stay limit--in some it's 14 days *in a calendar year*. And they use license plates to keep track.

There are usually a lot of choices within 50 or 100 miles, though, so moving might not be a problem, even in the same general area.
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Old 04-26-2018, 10:44 AM   #14
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We are just getting into this travel mode and we use the rule of two's:
Drive less than 200 miles
Stop by 2 so you can find a spot, set up, relax
Stay at least 2 days

Great things are found when you slow down
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Old 04-26-2018, 12:00 PM   #15
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Hi: a602pmcc... Time to slo down and smell the roses. Spend some money on a sheet of philo pastry and fill with your fav fruit filling and bake. Yummm!!! Alf
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Old 04-26-2018, 04:38 PM   #16
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Sounds like an invite for some rhubarb pastries to be baked
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Old 05-16-2018, 11:41 PM   #17
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2 on, 1 off.

I haven’t done any long trips, but I do recall a post by a couple who said on long trips, they would do a 2 on 1 off approach. When starting a trip, 2 hard long days, 1 rest day, then from there on out 2 on 1 off, but then traveling days were shorter, so they could prepare a good diner and relax.
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Old 05-17-2018, 12:31 AM   #18
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So I'm in the same boat as the OP.....newly retired and looking at trips of two to four months duration. I mostly boondock so I like to get to a place in the daylight to scout a campsite. Once I'm there I tend to stay for several days and enjoy the area. One thing that is special to my traveling situation is I have a dog with me that is a Pitbull. So any stops I make have to be in areas free of restrictions. And that does create a few logistical problems. Especially with respect to fuel, water, groceries, etc where I might need to be in a town for a bit of time. We'll see how it goes.
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Old 05-17-2018, 08:04 AM   #19
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It took me a year or so to get out of the "Vacation" travel mode to the "Retired" mode. I keep records of all my travels, and the early trips tend to be long drives & one night stops, while the later ones done with 2 or 3 night stays.

Now, when on the move, I shoot for 150 - 200 miles per day (often less), again trying to do at least two 2-3 night stays per week, and longer stays trying to stay out of winter. I've stayed as long as 91 days dry camping in the Long Term Visitor Area at Quartzsite, AZ.
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Old 05-17-2018, 10:21 AM   #20
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Can't add much to this discussion except to note that my wife and I do not do detailed schedules. We like the freedom to stay longer or leave in response to what we find that is interesting. We also tend to move when the weather is not good for biking or hiking. As others do, we try to arrive early, and watch out for weekend busyness.

The one other observation I will share is that spending more time in an area, or repeatedly coming back to it, very often reveals excellent local opportunities that would otherwise be missed. Whatever your interests are, it takes time to learn what an area has to offer. We have for example been back to the Winthrop WA area in spring and fall more times than I can count, and we continue to find locally accessible opportunities that are new to us.

Enjoy your retirement and your travels.
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