Freedom and Liberty

Freedom and Liberty
I travel in Freedom but sleep in the security of Liberty (not only on the road, but in this amazing country of ours)

Monday, June 3, 2019

What to Do?, Where to Go? and When????

Location: New Rockdale RV Park; Mansfield, Louisiana

I've been back in Mansfield, for a little over two months. During that time, I've visited with my family, had two new A/C units installed in Liberty (one because it broke and the other just to teach it a lesson) and been sick for about half of those two months. This sickness hung around for almost five weeks which surprised me since any sickness I've had in the past usually ran its course in two weeks at most. Now that I'm just about 100% recovered from my sickness, I have set up an appointment with my General Practitioner for my annual checkup. Like most reasonable people (see what I almost did there,,,, if you don't agree with what I was about to say, I declared you "unreasonable". lol). Now that wasn't fair for me to do that, so I'll start that sentence over. Unless you're crazy like me, you normally go to the doctor when you're sick. My thoughts over the years has been if I have a touch of the cold or flu or sinus or whatever minor thing I may catch, it will run its normal course in a week or two with the help of just a few over the counter meds. If I would happen to go to the doctor, I may get better quicker, but there is a trade off. Some people say, the more antibiotics you use, the less effective they become, so maybe I'm saving up their "effectiveness" for something really big. The sickness this time was a low grade fever for a few days with a ticklish type of cough. After the first week or ten days, one of my sinuses started acting up. But I'm much better now and will see my GP tomorrow. I will probably tell him about my sickness, but maybe not. 

The weather around here is getting hotter and more humid by the day. One of the things I used to say about my plans of retiring and hitting the road was, with an RV, I could follow the 70 degree temperature line on the weather maps. Now-a-days when ever I think of following that line, I'm reminded of my friend, Joe Debusk, who used to laugh each time I mentioned it. He also had plans for his retirement, but a lot of them went unfulfilled when he passed away a little more than a year ago. His passing was one of the many reminders to me of "don't wait too long". 

I figure the weather will be OK through June but somewhere around the first of July, I need to be traveling in search of that 70 degree line. 

So, that means I need to pick a destination, plan a route and find some things to explore along the way. Several readers of this blog are planning to become Full Time RV Travelers in the future, so I thought it might be interesting for them to see how I plan a trip. This will also document my thought process for my grandchildren when they read the blog decades from now. Planning the trip has become necessary only within the last couple of years. With the dramatic increase in RV's on the road, campgrounds are filling up faster than they have in the past. It used to be you could pull into a campground in the middle of the afternoon and have a pick of half the campsites. Not anymore. You better have a reservation unless you plan to dry camp in a Walmart parking lot. 

Picking a destination: The trip will be during July, August and September. Three very hot summer months. This means the cooler temperatures will be north. 

Choices are the northeast which is the more expensive area for RV'ing. I wouldn't mind seeing Washington D.C. again since I certainly didn't see everything during my last trip. Maybe some other time. The northeast is out of the running. 

The north central part of the country would be Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin. I was in that area not long ago, so it is still fresh in my mind and I don't want to re-trace my steps so soon. The north central is out. 

The great plains area is out of the running due to a crazy tornado season this year, plus it would be almost as hot as down here. 

The Rocky Mountains would be a good choice and maybe even a little farther west to the Pacific Coast. Now we're cooking with gas (younger readers may need to ask a seasoned citizen the meaning of that phrase). 

The way I travel is I pick a destination which is basically as far as I plan to travel during that trip. I then plan my trip to that destination by picking exploration stops along the way and on the return trip. As an example, my first destination when I left Louisiana on my first RV trip was Bangor, Maine. It was a crazy route to get there, but I kept heading in that direction. 

I think I'll chose Coeur d'Alene, Idaho as my destination. I know very little about the place except my father was stationed there when he was in the Air Force back in the 40's. He never talked much about his service but he did say Idaho was a pretty state. I've been in parts of Southern Idaho but not as far north as Coeur d'Alene. So, the destination is set. 

Now, a couple preliminary routes to get there. Some of the places I'm interested in stopping at along the way would be the Big Bend area of Texas, Death Valley, Yosemite, Angel Lake in Nevada, revisit parts of the Oregon coast, Shoshone Falls and other waterfalls, Black Canyons of the Gunnison in Colorado and other places yet unknown to me. 

This route is the quickest route north. It also passes through North Dakota which is one of the states I haven't been to. Some of my cousins are working in North Dakota so it would be a combined family visit. I would be retracing an old route of mine between here and South Dakota which is the route I took after being notified that my youngest son had a stroke. I've been in Montana and there isn't anything I really want to re-see. The return route looks really good and hits many of the places on my list. I'll think about this route some more, but initially, I think I'll pass on this one. 


This is a figure eight route and is about 6,200 miles in length. It stays out of California except for exploration trips. That means lower prices on everything. Although it would be nice to pass through the California central valley when all the fruit would be getting ripe. But, not sure it's worth it. This route works in both direction, either Colorado leg going or returning. The weather would dictate which way would be first. There is a campground I want to stay at located in Colorado with no vacancies until mid-August. It may be too hot in the Big Bend part of Texas for a July stopover, so that may have to be on the return trip. Otherwise, this route hits most of the places that interest me, so it is Very Possibly the route. 

This route is similar to the one above but is 500 miles shorter, goes through parts of California but sadly skips parts of the Columbia River area. This one has the same beginning and ending legs as the trip above. This one is definitely in the running as well. 
Those are three preliminary routes and will definitely be modified before I hit the road and will be modified more while traveling. The main part to take away from those two routes is the distance. It will be about a 6,000 mile round trip. That is 6,000 miles of towing and based on past experience, that means another 6,000 miles of exploring. 12,000 miles of total travel. Those mileages help give me some more information. With a distance between campground of about 200 miles, this means about 30 campgrounds. If I stay, on average, 3 days per campground, then the trip will be about 90 days long. That means if I leave the first week of July, sometime after the 4th, I should be back in Louisiana about the first week of October.

The next post will firm up some of the preliminary routes, look at some campgrounds and find things to explore along the route. 

A couple of pictures to round out the post.

Grandson Nathan asleep in his Pa's arms while attending Olivia's T-ball game.

Olivia returning my wink while she was on stage with the rest of her Pre-Kindergarten graduating class. She not only knew all of the words to her part, which was several sentences long, but also all of the other speaking parts. She calmly winked without causing a distraction or losing her place within the program. Very nice. 
Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.  

12 comments:

  1. All Right! Can't wait to get started.

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    1. Hello John, Are you getting close to hitting the road?

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    2. Funny you should ask....I was all set too but a funny thing happened on the way...The City Manager got retired and now I'm the Interim City Manager waiting for the council to decide on what they want to do. So I have put off retiring at least one more year.

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    3. Congratulations John. That just gives you an extra year of planning. Good job.

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  2. it's great to here you'll be on the road soon, it'll be entertaining to read your stories again.

    Tom

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    1. We'll see where the road calls for me to go. It feels different this time. I'm waiting to see how your truck camper works out. I think it's a great idea for short hops.

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  3. My friend I feel the need to say something I feel is important as a Texan who has been in the Big Bend country off and on for over 40 years. Big Bend season starts about November 1 at earliest and ends by March 15 due to near triple digit daytime temps. Contact me privately for campground REAL information in the Bibe area. I definitely love it out there at the right time of the year.

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    1. I'll definitely be checking the weather before I head anywhere. If I can scoot in there with highs in mid 90's, I'll be fine for a few days of exploring. My plan, if I go, is to camp at Stillwell Store and drive into the park. I think they have 50 amp hookups for my two A/C units. If the weather is too hot, I'll go a different direction, not a big deal for me, I'll see it another time. I hope you're still enjoying Alabama.

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    2. I always enjoy Stillwell. Peyton is a neat lady. They have little in supplies and Alpine is the close store at 90 miles one way. Your fuel will have to be purchased inside the park or at Study Butte on the other side of the park. Stillwell does not have diesel. Don't forget Black Gap and Elephant Mountain have their own style of charm also. No electric for Elephant mountain. Access Black Gap from Stillwell going south. The 50 amp sites are right outside the store and a bit cramped to each other.

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    3. I hope I enjoy Stillwell too, if I get there, Barney. Lack of diesel is not a problem for me, that is one of the reasons I chose a gasoline truck. Possible breakdowns was another reason. I figure if my truck broke down in a small town, the chances were greater to find a gasoline engine mechanic than a diesel mechanic. Supplies also won't be a problem, I'll bring what I need. I noticed they have a nice weekly rate. I'll have to think about that though,,, a week in one place for me while traveling is a long time. Go Bama!!!

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  4. Look up the Saint Joe River near Coeur D'Alene. The campgrounds along the river and some of my all time favorites. Go now!

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  5. Enjoy your travels. Northern Idaho is stunningly beautiful. We loved our time in Big Bend. It offered us some great adventures. Looking forward to your travel posts.

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