Since the beginning of our full time adventures, we have established some guidelines for our travels based on personal choice, research and now after almost 5 years on the road, experience. This list is not all inclusive, nor is it written in stone but rather just our preference. What we have since discovered, is how varied the full time lifestyle really is and what it means to other people. There is quite a bit of compromise that comes into play when traveling with friends and fellow RVers. We have a friend that we frequently have traveled with during the migration north and south and our styles tend to be quite the opposite. She tends to be more of a true camper and we are more in the glamper category. It makes things fun and interesting.
We had stayed in Florida for the summer to care for a family member, so in October, I was able to fly up and meet our friend who was making the trip south. I was in desperate need of a change in scenery and she needed a partner for the trip. Why travel alone when you can travel together? This is when I realized just how different our traveling styles were. Before I get too far into the details, let me first summarize some of our guidelines for traveling. These are just our preferred rules and while we can’t always stick to them, we try.
– Never travel on the weekend. Most families are camping and traffic tends to be heavier.
– Never travel more than 300 miles or approximately 6-8 hours and pull into the campground before dark.
– Always make reservations, particularly in a big rig.
– Research the campgrounds prior to arrival, particularly in a big rig.
– For overnight stays, we try to book pull thru sites (bonus if you don’t have to unhook).
– Get gas before you need it. When we get around 1/2 tank, we start looking to fill up.
– Stop every 2 hours for potty breaks, snacks and to walk the dogs (and ourselves).
I flew into Ohio on a Tuesday, spent a few days in the campground with my friends, packed up the rig and we headed out on a Friday morning. Our first day, we had no reservations for anywhere, we are in a 45′ toy hauler fifth wheel and after about 400 miles we finally found and rolled into a raggedy campground behind a hotel and the “host” asked if us girls were traveling alone. Can you say “red flag”? So we continued on for another 50 miles or so and found a campground with a site available.
The next day was much of the same, no reservations and to top it off, it’s Saturday. In addition, we were traveling through Tennessee and the big rival Tennessee vs Alabama game was in town, so once again there were no sites available in any of the campgrounds in the area. We ran into a gas problem late in the day, thinking we had enough to get to our next destination, but we did not, so we had to drop the trailer in a grocery store parking lot and take the truck to a gas station. Another long day of driving and we finally came across a campground that had a site available.
For the third day of travel, we were able to secure a site at an RV resort in Cedar Key Florida, which was a destination spot for us. It wasn’t the first choice, but since the other campgrounds were full, it turned out to be a great choice in the end. Roughly 20 miles from the campground, we blew a trailer tire. This was a first for me. But we were fortunate, no major damage, we changed the tire and was back on the road in about 30 minutes.
So as you can see, her style is quite different than ours. The lessons learned on this trip for me was this: Everyone has different ideas on how to travel. It is very much a personal choice and what may stress out one person is a non issue for someone else. The beauty of traveling through the eyes of someone else is that you will experience something you may not normally get to experience. We had an amazing time, full of laughs and great memories.
This was a unique trip on so many levels and it was exciting and an eye opener (and admittedly a little stressful) to travel based on someone else’s criteria. I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.
The RV lifestyle is full of flexibility and compromise. That’s what makes it work so well and why it is so appealing to us. Never say never and try everything once, this will make for some of the most exciting adventures.