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Old 08-08-2014, 12:49 PM   #1
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Our first trip . . .

My wife two Labradoodles and myself are traveling for the FIRST time for a whole month in January 2015.

We have a burgeoning Family wine tour business in Napa Valley and we have been trapped by our own success!!

We leave our home in Napa, CA and intend to take the Southern route Interstate 10 to Florida and back.

We would LOVE suggestions on campgrounds that you Love which are not like living in Calcutta as we value our privacy . . .

Any side trips one could take for a Novice towing guy?

Basically, we haven't a clue. When my parents and I had a 17' caravan in the UK we would simply pull into a farm that had a great setting and ask the Farmer if we could stay for a day or more. We would buy fresh butter and milk . . it was idyllic. We Never stayed in ANY campgrounds

Does this exist in this vast country? . . . please advise.

Thanking you in anticipation for any pointers.

Safe travels,

David Rasmussen
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Old 08-08-2014, 02:53 PM   #2
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First - welcome here. Free styling in the trailer has many ups and downs. It is always wise to do some advance planning and look at websites for small towns. You can get a lot of the flavor of the place before you visit. I would even suggest that knowing wineries, you consider them as an alternative to small farms. Won't find many of those in Arizona though. Winslow Arizona... not the end of the world, but close. Dry dusty desert, but more than one pawn store selling Native American jewelry. Some of it really nice.

"pull into a farm --- fresh milk & butter"

Well 50 years ago that would have been easy, but now "agri-biz" has made the family farm a vanishing species. 20,000 acres and massive machines.... 2000 dairy cattle which never leave the barn or one field that is used when the cement floor of the barn is cleaned with a bulldozer... That is too much a reality in today's world. Looking down from an airplane anywhere over the great plains... just sterile and mechanical and desolate.

But small towns full with friendly people do still exist. Many are not prosperous, but the people still welcome visitors. I've found four fairly locally that have nice municipal parks with spaces to camp. One has 20 spaces widely spread out, another has only six, but it's right next to a really great little lunch counter where all the locals hang out.

Keep us informed on the quest. Paula
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Old 08-08-2014, 03:14 PM   #3
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Napa to Florida, about 6,200 miles round trip. And all in one month?!? Works out to 207 miles a day for 30 days straight. Does not sound fun to me.
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Old 08-08-2014, 03:16 PM   #4
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Funny, I just sold my house in Napa, and my first trip from the east coast will be to Acadia, ME. I would also welcome suggestions....
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Old 08-08-2014, 03:20 PM   #5
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Assuming you drive about six hours a day, 15+ days will be spent behind the wheel. If you really enjoy highway cruising, that will leave about 15 days for camping and sightseeing. Personally, I would drive a little less and camp more; especially, if you are looking for a relaxing time away from your business.

Without a specific destination and/or travel schedule in mind, we prefer to drive a day; then, camp and sightsee until we get bored with that location, usually 2-5 days. We don't cover much ground, but we get to see a lot of things that others find out about back home, when reviewing the tourist brochures they pick up along the way. For example, on a recent roadtrip to the Pacific northwest, it took us seven weeks to get from San Francisco to Seattle on the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway).

There's lots to see and do in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and perhaps Louisiana, that would free up another week for sightseeing.

Regarding places to stay, we prefer National and State Parks, and also like to boondock on National Forest and Bureau of Land Management areas. These campsites usually have picnic tables and fire rings, and often have toilets and dump stations. Less frequently, they have hookups and showers; but this is usually not a problem, since you will be camping in your Airstream.

If you are 62 or older, the National Parks "Senior Pass" can save you 50% on camping fees in most "National" campgrounds. Otherwise, if you are under 62 and plan to visit many National Parks, the Annual Pass will save you money on park admission fees. For details, see link below:

America the Beautiful - National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass

If you would like Google Earth markers and personal comments regarding campgrounds and tourist attractions in southern California, Arizona and New Mexico, please send me a PM (Private Message).
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Old 08-08-2014, 04:08 PM   #6
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Have fun!

When crossing Texas, it is like driving from Napa to El Paso.. Loong stretch.

In January expect snow. Keep sharp eye on the WX(weather)

Make sure your camper heater works on Propane when not plugged in at campground. Presuming you are new to this stuff?
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Old 08-09-2014, 09:16 AM   #7
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Foiled Again obviously isn't familiar with Arizona. We have all kinds of wineries in different parts of the state as does New Mexico.
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Old 08-09-2014, 12:01 PM   #8
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And Utah!!!!
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Old 08-09-2014, 03:03 PM   #9
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Hi Phoenix just a note to let you know I tried to send you a PM but some how I think it went as an email. Actually could not see that a PM is even possible as I'm working off my iPhone with the module app.
Anyway, sure hope you get it
Cheers
Doug


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Old 08-09-2014, 03:40 PM   #10
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Our first trip . . .

Hello David, family & pups!

We are newbies with only two weekends airstreaming thus far with upcoming two week trip planned. Since we traveled for many years & former primitive campers, we really enjoy state & national parks, as well as "roads less travelled". We hope to begin month or months long trips in the years to come. It certainly seems somewhat overwhelming but planning is half the fun.

I've taken to keeping a log in my iPad storing all the great suggestions & tips gathered reading
forum, full timer blogs, travel journals. Since you mentioned your are California wine aficionados looking for non-typical campground settings, thought I would share a website we are going to eventually explore.....Harvest Hosts. As you can see on the US map they certainly have lots of potential locations for rather unique overnights. Since the membership options are 12 months, 3 yrs. or lifetime.. we plan to give it a whirl. Here is the link- http://harvesthosts.com/
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Happy Airstreaming.....will be watching for your posts sharing your adventures!


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Old 08-09-2014, 03:53 PM   #11
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Sounds like a super adventure to me. So does touring family wineries in the Napa Valley.

I don't know about the farm stay, but there are several threads here on free or low-cost places to stay. A big one if you're 63 or older is the seniors pass for federal lands campgrounds, notable the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and US Forest service. Their CGs are half-price for seniors, and actually pretty reasonably priced if you're not, though most require boondocking. In many parts of BLM lands and National Forests you can pull off and camp for free, so long as it's not posted "no camping." Then Walmart and truck stops appeal to many.

If we don't have time to explore off the Interstate, we rely on the Good Sam guide (formerly Woodall's guide) to commercial RV parks. We prefer the small-town and rural ones. The settings are generally a lot nicer than for the urban ones. The guide rates them (though often according to amenities that we wouldn't use.) With cell phone service you can even phone ahead to make sure they have space for you.

With your southern route, hopefully you will find everything open in January. The southern RV parks may be packed with snowbirds, though. But a lot of parks seem to reserve a few sites for the overnight travellers.
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Old 08-10-2014, 09:52 AM   #12
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Thank you one and all. We so clearly haven't a clue and we so appreciate your Friendship & expertise. Wow, so much to consider and No, we will not be doing a 6K plus round trip ... sheer madness as one can clearly see from your sage advice.

We spend our years planning memorable days for others, we have got lost in our small World of Napa & Sonoma regions ...
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Old 08-10-2014, 11:02 AM   #13
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You could easily spend a month just traveling down the coast and spending time in southern CA & AZ. Lot's to see and do there. Take your time and relax, 300 miles a day is a good average.
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Old 08-10-2014, 11:14 AM   #14
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Being lost is not a condition but a destination.. Enjoy. Also, yeah, Texas has some unique vineyards...you may have fun!
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