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Old 06-13-2016, 06:42 AM   #1
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1st Long Road Trip-Tips for "Getting There"

We are getting ready for our first "long" road trip. Will be traveling from Missouri to Yellowstone. Due to schedules (which are not subject to change), we find ourselves with a couple of long days of travel for "getting there".

We are not interested on advice on slowing down, seeing sights, taking it easy. This thread is asking for tips and tricks and advice on cutting to the chase.

I have booked a reservation for the first night in an RV park with full hookups and pull thru sites right off the highway. Second night en route has us at the end of a super-long day of travel.

I anticipate no cooking until we get there. Will do pre-made cold coffee drinks and granola bars for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, and cheese/crackers/fruit/smoked salmon for dinner.

So do you like to eat out while traveling, or eat in the AS or car?

Aside from the meal thing which I have covered, what tips do you all have for saving time and making the trip easier and more enjoyable while "getting there"?

Specifically, do you hook up water and sewer, or just use the campground bathrooms to save time breaking camp? Do you get things out or just use the cooler and the dinette and paper plates? Do you dump every day, or only when full? How much water do you travel with en route so you can use the bathroom and wash your hands for potty stops. How often is optimal to stop for a rest break if we are on good roads and have cruise control set at 60 mph?

And please, any advice you have that I have not considered would be welcome. Our goal is to arrive at YNP somewhat rested, but mostly to get there and THEN slow down and take it easy.

Thanks,
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Old 06-13-2016, 06:48 AM   #2
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Following, because we have the same type of trip planned for later this summer. Two very long days planned, followed by an easier one the day we arrive at Glacier! Appreciate the advice to slow down and see sights, but that's the "coming home" plan.
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Old 06-13-2016, 06:57 AM   #3
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Excited for you!

Without knowing more details, my basic advice for using the trailer is . . .

Less Is More.

Use the campground facilities as much as possible for showering. If needed, you can run a garden hose from your grey discharge to the CG sewer (full hookups right?), if you have that adaptor. Black tank should hold a few days of solid human waste easily. Best to let that tank get 1/2 full anyway before dumping, and the road agitation is good for it to macerate things. Use single-ply RV TP.

If showering in the CG bathroom, you may be able to wait to dump the grey tanks as well.

How many drivers? Hopefully 2 or more. Pull over and rest every hour or two, unless the drivers are really experienced road warriors. Even a 10-minute walk or power nap can help! Once on an Interstate, less experienced drivers can take the wheel for 30-60 minutes to the next rest area. Each little break helps, if the switch is done efficiently.

Eating in restaurants and rest areas (not cooking in the trailer) saves a huge amount of time, water, and waste water.

You will find a balance to all things . . .

Have a plan and monitor it. AND -- don't be hesitant to change if circumstances do.

If you need to, you can change the plan. That is the beauty of the RV lifestyle.

"To Everything There Is A Season . . . "

Have fun!

Peter

PS trust in yourselves and The Universe . . .

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Old 06-13-2016, 07:08 AM   #4
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Combine food and fuel breaks.
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Old 06-13-2016, 09:13 AM   #5
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Having done a number of "let's make miles" segments on cross country trips, here's how we do it.

1) Combine fuel & food stops where possible, one pumps & the other prepares sandwiches/drinks/fruit salad/etc (mid-day). Eat once rolling again. Avoid foods with sugar as much as possible/snack on energy bars/yogurt/etc. No cooking during run. Grab cold snacks from frig when stopped.
2) Stop every 90 minutes or so for few minutes, walk around and check rig out, stretch legs, refresh drinks, change visual focus, water/exercise dogs.
3) Despite the mileage goal, set cruise for 62-63 & avoid feelings of urgency.
4) Carry tank of water (nearly or full), adds stability & TV mpg doesn't care.
5) Never do more than two "make miles" (dawn to dusk) in a row. Almost always the midlands.
6) On mileage runs stay at rest stops/Walmart/etc., stay self contained and minimize stop time by not setting up camp. If necessary, navy shower in rig. Black & Grey can last days so no need for dumping or connections.
7) Before or after run, normal travel days & campgrounds, dump tanks, always stop & setup well before dusk to lounge and make a gourmet meal (reward).
8) Limit run days to 500 miles. Typically we do ~250-275 in a day or less.
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Old 06-13-2016, 09:30 AM   #6
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We've done this, often. Great advice so far. The less you use in the trailer at stopovers, the quicker you are on the road in the morning. We do make sure that we have lunch food and snacks in the trailer and paper plates. I will make a large quinoa or pasta salad before we leave home and make sure we have plenty of fruit and sandwich fixings. We don't have to deal with finding a place to eat and parking depending on where we are. Also allows us to combine fuel and food and, having a dog, we combine the exercise time also.

Sometimes we choose a longer day and take more breaks for refreshing. We have two children - teens, now - who enjoy scouting "swimming holes". The dog likes this, too. we've found some great places that are not far off the beaten path and offer great location to stop for lunch, exercise dog, refresh and get back on the road. A great one was along an unplanned route through the Smith River National Rec Area near the California/Oregon border. We needed a place to stop for lunch and a dog walk and this route along US 199 is a bit remote. We pulled into one of the campgrounds along 199 (Grassy Flat) and found a terrific host who showed us a place to park and told us about some beautiful access to the Smith River. Not running heavily in August of last summer, it was perfect for swimming and eating lunch. Refreshed, dried off and on the road again, we were able to make it to our destination with a sleepy, herding dog who didn't need another walk until we parked for the night.
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Old 06-13-2016, 09:33 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piggy Bank View Post
We are not interested on advice on slowing down, seeing sights, taking it easy. This thread is asking for tips and tricks and advice on cutting to the chase.
Safety first. Stop and take a break every two hours or so. Doesn't have to be a long break, but even five or ten minutes of getting out and walking around will help. Thrombosis due to restricted blood flow to the legs while your butt is planted in the seat is not good. You may add an hour to the amount of time you're on the road each day, but you will be able to drive farther by taking several short breaks during the day.
Quote:
So do you like to eat out while traveling, or eat in the AS or car?
I never eat while behind the wheel (safety again), though I do stay hydrated by keeping a street-legal beverage close at hand and taking sips when traffic allows. Munching on a handful of trail mix or some other snack while stopped on a "get out and walk" break keeps the body fueled without unduly delaying the drive.
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Old 06-13-2016, 09:44 AM   #8
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First, if new to the camper, buy duplicates of all the frequently used kitchen utensils (knives,pots,peelers, cork screw, etc) that you use at home and put a set in the trailer. Makes things so much easier. Rachel used to get so frustrated until we got duplicates of all the little kitchen items. We always bring lots of "planned overs" when we camp and or travel. Usually one pot meals that you can put on a plate and micowave like spaghetti. Also,I'll grill chicken, pork chops,hamburgers,etc. the day before a trip and carry them. Put a pouch of redi-rice in the microwave and then heat the main dish, it is good food and fast. A good home cooked entree and a salad makes for a good supper.
We always use paper/plastic plates saves time. Micowave the food and then toss the trash in plastic grocery store bags. If the campsite is level, I don't unhook the truck.
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Old 06-13-2016, 10:11 AM   #9
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Call or email the campground and let them know you may be arriving late, this takes some of the stress off of trying to make a deadline. Only once did we have a problem with a campground that closed the gate at 9pm. I would have been ok with camping in their parking lot if I got there late and no one would let us in. Since all i'm need is a good nights sleep, I don't care if I get there in the dark.

Minimal set up on big travel days, eyeball level the trailer side to side with blocks and front to back with the tongue jack, unless the site is crazy slopped don't unhook from the tow vehicle for only one night. I always unplug the umbilical, no need to hook up sewer and water for one night, we've always got enough tank capacity.

Plan ahead for fuel stops and meals, this takes a lot of the stress out of trying to make miles. When we travel my wife and I plan the route together ahead of time. I do all the driving and she navigates, looks for gas stops and plans all the meals. I get to concentrate on keeping us between the ditches and I don't have to worry if we'll have something to eat when we get hungry or if we'll run out of gas.

Use the whole day. Start early, end late, take long breaks. I like to break the day in to sections, a very long day would have 5 driving sessions, similar to how I work at the office with scheduled breaks.
example:
Breakfast
Drive 2 hours
20min morning Coffee break
Drive 2 hours
Lunch hour
Drive 2 hours
20min coffee break
Drive 2 hours
Dinner time
Drive 2 hours (overtime)
Stop for the night,
Have a beer
That makes 10 hours of travel but nothing more than 2 hours at a time. at 60mph that's 600 miles. Counting a generous hour for both breaking camp and setting up that's a total of 14.6 hours. Ask any hard working farmer and they'll tell you a 14 hour day is nothing just don't try to do this many days in a row.

If you get tired, STOP! i find a 15min rest out of the truck is lots to get me recharged. pulling in to a rest area and making a cup of instant coffee in the trailer, or getting a coffee and muffin at a gas station 'resets' me and i can get back behind the wheel ready to go again. much better to loose 15min stopping than to burn yourself out. Make these breaks in addition to fuel stops, they're work, you don't work on your coffee break, says my dad who was in a union for 35 years

If you don't have satellite radio, get the adapter to listen to your MP3 player or at least bring some CD's or something. when we drove to Key West several years ago every hour we'd have to change the radio station and we heard Taylor Swift sing we are never ever getting back together, at least 14 times a day or 3 days
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Old 06-13-2016, 10:14 AM   #10
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Two days travel to a destination. Pack only what you will use (it's probably half what you think you'll need), fill the water tank for towing stability and supply. Stop overnight at Walmart or such, don't unhook anything, eat simple, do a walk-around the rig in the morning to look it over, back on the road. Truck stops for fuel usually have a cafe for breakfast and lunch, nice break.
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Old 06-13-2016, 10:27 AM   #11
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I looked at a map program and calculated from center city Kansas city to Yellowstone is about 1,100 miles direct. Not really all that bad, something we usually no longer do but have.

The longest single run we've made is 1,695 miles. We stop every two hours regardless of where we are going or how far we intend to travel. As other have said this is key to a successful trip. As to campgrounds, pull in, level, unplug and use the campground stuff, do not unhook or use the stabilizers. Then plug back in and move on.

Speed is not something you want to fool with, extend the time. Try to average about 60-65 max especially if running ST tires.

Prepare meals ahead of time OR make up wraps and sandwiches ahead of time. Stopping and eating in a restaurant even fast food will destroy your goal.

Our 1,695 trip took us a little over 30 hours, simply had no choice and would do it again under the circumstances, but not unless and emergency.

Bud
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Old 06-13-2016, 11:13 AM   #12
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We also take a Thermos of coffee with us in the truck. Fill it at a convenience store, pretty inexpensive, saves time. Sandwiches made ahead, stored in fridge. Fuel stop every 2-3 hours, one person pumps gas, second person hits the bathroom in the Airstream. Pull away from pumps, first person hits Airstream bathroom, second person walks dog. Grab sandwiches from fridge, and go. 10-15 minutes tops.
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Old 06-13-2016, 12:04 PM   #13
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I like to stay at truck stops (park away from big rigs if possible). I always have success by asking. Don't unhitch so park in a level place. Most truck stops have showers for about $10. Cheaper than staying at a campground and usually you can save time as you are beside the highway.
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Old 06-13-2016, 12:34 PM   #14
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Great advice here.

We frequently drive 12 go 16 hour trips.

We keep a cooler in car also for snacks. Eat meals at a stop but snack enroute

Stop every two hours or so and switch drivers if possible. Walk around, hop, stretch, swing arms.

All stops are potty stops.

No need to unhook.
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