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Old 04-17-2019, 09:42 AM   #1
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2018 25' International
Decatur , Georgia
Join Date: May 2017
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Random questions for our first big-big trip

We've had our 25RB for 15 months now. Retirement is just a couple of days away (Yesssss!! ) and we're finalizing preparation for our first long trip in the AS - 10+ weeks of wandering around the upper midwest. I'll spare you all the minutiae but let's just say the project plan is long and detailed. We're now moving from the planning list to the packing list for an early May departure. AF has been critical to the planning process; we've learned so much here!


Only a few reservations have been made for important dates: Memorial Day and the 4th weekends as well as a stay in Duluth during Grandma's Marathon (that was a tough rez to get!). We're hoping to wing it for most nights. Looking forward to boondocking in SD/ND as well as staying in small-town city campgrounds. We hope we'll have time to venture into Canada. We've got our America the Beautiful pass, HH and Boondocker's Welcome memberships. Campendium and Allstays, too. And paper maps...lots and lots of them...for entertainment as well as offline nav.


While we have a general plan of where we're going, there's no route. We'll be chasing cool temps, trying to avoid the flooding that looks inevitable this year and keeping an eye open for surprise opportunities. A few questions that I don't think I've seen addressed here, in no particular order:
1. Should we expect that the "big bugs" will be out in force this early in the season? Opinions on Thermacells? Do they work? We've prepped the dogs for bugs but it's not that easy for us.
2. Any tips for interesting out-of-the-way places to visit? We bike, hike and run and have no limitations. Send us somewhere FUN!
3. What do you wish you knew before your first long trip?
All thoughts and opinions welcome!
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Old 04-17-2019, 05:58 PM   #2
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2018 30' Classic
Thousand Oaks , California
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I havenít been to the area so canít recommend places. We are full timers in an 18 classic, in our 30s, and always looking for an adventure so we actually are in NY jumping to Maine and Nova Scotia this season.

We have been warned about black flies aka blood sucking helicopters. We have big repellent but not sure what we are going to do overall with these things. Playing it by ear.

We do travel with a dog as well, not doing anything special for her.

As far as what we wish we knew before our big trip ó we knew this but didnít realize it until after our first big trip. Itís about the journey, not about the destination. Be okay stopping. Enjoy lunch in a comfortable place. We limit our driving to about 200 miles/5 hours (which ever comes first). This allows us time to enjoy life a bit more, walk our dog, and just be less stressed. As a result, we actually make very little reservations (I think our next reservation is in August for Disney world).

Enjoy the journey! Find your purpose once retirement is official. Youíll be surprised how much it feels like vacation for the first few months, then you find yourself wondering through life. Have fun. Hope we can cross paths eventually.
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Old 04-17-2019, 07:11 PM   #3
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Kansas City , Missouri
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How Exciting!!

Here are some travel tips you may find useful.

1-Always clean up before bed. If you need to bug out early morning to get ahead of bad weather you will be glad you did.

2-If you must have your coffee (like me) and know you have to get up and get on the road early, make coffee right before bed, put into a thermos, and put it in the tow vehicle.

3-Geeky headlight lamp thing is awesome for walking the dog at night. A must have.

4-Shout Color Catcher Sheets. If you don't know what these are-you put them in the washing machine with your clothes and they absorb excess dye/color in the water. Allows you to mix loads and not have pink socks.

Here are some places to stop by if you are in the area:
Beaver Lake in Northwest Arkansas. There are corps of engineer campgrounds.
Make sure to do a day trip into Bentonville (45 minute drive) and visit the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Tallgrass National Wildlife Preserve near Storm City KS. Hike and see the buffalo.
Convenient corps of engineer campgrounds about 45 minutes away at Cottonwood Falls or Melvern Lake.

Weston State Park north of Kansas City MO. On the river, shady, has a dog park and nice hiking trails. Convenient to the KC metro or to the town of Weston. Lewis and Clark route went through here.
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Old 04-17-2019, 08:59 PM   #4
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Medora ND. See the Medora Musial eat the Pitch Fork Fondue Then see the Ted Roosevelt NP.
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Old 04-17-2019, 09:18 PM   #5
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Thermacells are reported to be great. A set now sits in our loadout box for trial this year. Have seen bug nets that fit over your hat. In Minnesota such may be mandatory.

Places to go - everywhere - do try Corp of Engineering campgrounds (ATB gets half price) - Wallace State park is near Hammilton Missouri (quilting theme small town) - the SAC base in Omaha Nebraska did have a nice museum (B36, Vulcan ... ) - always thought the Upper Michigan Penninsula was worth a look - you have to get some Wisconsin cheese (maybe a foam hat from Green Bay) - Eisenhower, Truman and Clinton Presidential Libraries are worth a visit. There is the Seelye Mansion in Abilene KS with original furnishings (unusual to see) - The Stroud's restaurants in Wichita and Kansas City serve pan fried chicken (not deep fried, the real deal) - the Lincoln House in Springfield Illinois is a chance to see that part of our history - the Russel knife factory is in Rogers Arkansas, not too far from Beaver Lake mentioned above ------ yes, see it all!

You can buy it as you go. No need to carry it all. A 1000 lumen flashlight is a good walking companion - buy two. The inexpensive LED lanterns make good secondary lighting and save main battery bank power. DVDs can be good entertainment for dull nights. A case of wine can help with those too. Canada, Missouri and Arkansas produce wine too.

A trip up the Parkway through the Blue Ridge mountains and a drive through West Virginia can be a great tour if that route is near your path.

Good luck with the trip. Chase those smiles. Pat
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Old 04-18-2019, 12:23 PM   #6
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Reseda , California
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Very excited for you. I am still 20yrs away from doing what you are doing.

But the most important tip I can give you:

Don't forget the wife.
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Old 04-18-2019, 03:38 PM   #7
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2014 25' FB International
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Thermacell

Great product, we have 2 hand held and a couple of lanterns. Camping World has them in the store near us. Stock up on the cartridges and wick type repellent. And yes, you need about 20 minutes for it to start sending out the wisps of repellent. Hope you have a safe and adventurous trip.
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Old 04-18-2019, 05:51 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by cazual6 View Post
ÖÖ...Don't forget the wife.
Strangely enough many KOAs have that on a sign at the exit to the park.
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Old 04-18-2019, 06:07 PM   #9
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camp at county fair grounds

county fairgrounds usually have RV hook ups and places to park and not too expensive.
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Old 04-18-2019, 06:22 PM   #10
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Omaha Zoo - the cheetah exhibit is a must see.
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Old 04-18-2019, 06:34 PM   #11
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I have hunted with a Thermacell for quite a few years, and can say it's the real deal. As mentioned, the lantern version would suit camping very well. Safe travels.
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Old 04-19-2019, 04:52 AM   #12
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Thermocell.......it didn't work in the back country last weekend in the Okefenokee Swamp. Skeeters we're just too relentless and numerous. Sun goes down, frogs start singing, skeeters invade. Hide in the tent.

In their defense there was a breeze.
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Old 04-19-2019, 08:14 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by runswithdogs View Post

2. Any tips for interesting out-of-the-way places to visit? We bike, hike and run and have no limitations. Send us somewhere
3. What do you wish you knew before your first long trip?
2. By sheer accident we were in Red Lodge, MT, when the state fiddling championship was being held at the H.S. Auditorium. I felt like I time traveled to 1965, and it restored my faith in real America! One of my fondest memories. Totally unplanned.

3. I wish I'd have gone sooner.
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Old 04-19-2019, 08:34 AM   #14
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Red Lodge is the gateway to the Beartooth Pass into the NE door of Yellowstone. Beautiful drive and a jewels in the area. The pass is towable, but solo is advised. Pat
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