Location: New Rockdale RV Park; Mansfield, Louisiana
I've been back at my home base for about two weeks and it's time to start doing some preliminary planning for my next trip. Over the years, I've had several people ask me how I plan a trip. Everyone is different and their planning reflects their differences. For me, I think planning out the route, campgrounds and places to see is fun, so I probably do more than most.
The start date of the trip depends on my scheduled visits with my doctors, a little maintenance work/upgrades on Freedom/Liberty2, some visits with my grandbabies and taking care of a few personal financial matters. My monthly rent at this campground is due on the 11th of the month, so the earliest I plan to leave is May 11th and the latest being June 11th. If I want to, I can leave anytime and this campground will give me credit for days that I've already paid. I am also tracking the long range weather forecast to see when the first 90 degree day is forecasted for this area. I would like to avoid anyplace hotter than 90 degrees, if possible. Right now, the first 90 degree day is May 31th. Dang, right in the middle of 5/11 and 6/11. Oh well, I don't have to establish a leave date for another week or so. I want to make campground reservations at least a month or more in advance since it will be summertime.
One of the first things I do when planning a trip is to pick a long range destination. On this trip, it will be Goshen, Indiana. Specifically, Elkhart County Fairgrounds. That is the site of the annual Forest River Owners Group (FROG) rally. I've attended three of them in the past and look forward to attending it this year if,,,, as my mother would have said, "the Lord's willing and the creek don't rise". Registration for the rally begins at noon on 4/26/23. I plan to register as soon as possible due to the large interest in this rally. I think there were over 600 RV's at the last one I attended, so registration slots go fast. The rally is a great learning and visiting event.
The dates of the previous rallys are ,,,Aug 2014, Aug 2016 and Aug 2017,,, you can use those dates to find the posts I wrote about them. Look for those dates over yonder >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>.
One of the main computer programs I use to do trip planning is RV Parky. It used to be a completely free program but they recently started charging $20.00 a year. You can still do it for free but with limited features. The $20 is worth it to me.
If I leave here on June 11th and the rally starts on August 11th, that means I have about 60 days+/- to get there. I plan to stay about 3 to 4 days per campground, so I need to find about 15 to 20 campgrounds. Without going through Arkansas, my only other real choice is to head east on I-20. This is the route I took when I first hit the road full-timing back in April of 2014. So, sentimental old me thinks I'll stay at the campground I stayed in back then. That would be Poverty Point State Park near Delhi, Louisiana. It would be about a 160 mile tow, mainly on interstate highway, which is ideal for me on day one of a trip. It will give me time to comfortably kick back with cruise control while listening to the "song of the road". I will also be listening to see if Freedom/Liberty2 says anything about their traveling condition.
|This is the picture of the route with Noah's Ark at waypoint #2 and Poverty Point State Park as waypoint #1. This is the first general route.|
The general route in the above picture takes me through a large part of Tennessee. One of the trips on my list of places to see is the Tennessee River Valley. The Tennessee River runs from near Knoxville, Tennessee to the southwest and passes through Alabama and Mississippi before re-entering Tennessee and then runs almost north to the point where it empties into the Ohio River near Paducah, Kentucky.
|The crazy route of the Tennessee River.|
One of the few successful programs that President Roosevelt implemented during the "Great Depression" with his "New Deal" was the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). The congressional act creating the TVA was signed 90 years ago in 1933. It's purpose was to make the Tennessee River navigable by creating 9 hydroelectric dams on the main river along with some secondary dams on its tributaries. These dams would help control flooding, create electricity, increase recreation, re-forestation of the valley, economical reasons for businesses to locate in the valley and create a lot of construction jobs. More about the TVA as I explore the valley.
So, the trip to Goshen will go through the Tennessee Valley. I'll visit as many of the dams as I can and camp at TVA campgrounds along with my prefered COE campgrounds.
|This picture is from Google Earth showing the 9 main channel dams plus 2 additional ones. The Kentucky Dam is too far to the north of my route, so I won't be exploring there. But the others are generally in line, so we will see how many I can get to.|
The RV Parky picture above is the backbone of the trip. I will need to find campgrounds in between those waypoints so as to reduce my towing distance to about 100 to 150 miles.
This is enough planning for now. I'll continue to fill in the gaps and begin to make reservations after a couple local events that could determine when the trip begins and if I even go on the trip. I guess that will be part 2.
Ya'll take care of each other. Maybe, I'll Cya down the road.