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Old 12-02-2022, 10:04 AM   #1
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2016 16' Sport
2022 Interstate 19
Gloucester , Massachusetts
Join Date: Aug 2022
Posts: 22
Planning first road trip in new rig, would love some help

hello all,
I am north of Boston and have 4 nights booked in Marathon Key in mid-January. I am trying to structure the trip around getting from here to there and would love some help. I feel like I may be planning this with a different approach than a more experienced traveling would.

If we were to arrive in Marathon on January 20, I think we should leave 2 or 3 days for hard traveling (i.e.: just driving without too much stopping), and possibly make the first pleasant stop when it is a bit warmer, maybe Savannah Georgia.

We love Delray Beach so then maybe Savannah for a night and Delray for a night or two. And then Delray to Marathon on the 20th.

The camper is a 2022 Airstream Interstate 19 4x4. It does have a heater but I was thinking unless we are staying in a free parking lot along the way (for the hard driving part), maybe staying in a hotel room is cheaper than a campground? I am not sure the northern campgrounds would even be open?

I was thinking, perhaps a night in a hotel somewhere in New Jersey. Then a night in Richmond VA (hotel? campground?), then on to Savannah and from there to Delray. And then Delray to Marathon Key.

Jan. 16 leave Massachusetts
Jan. 16 - stay the night in New Jersey
Jan. 17 - stay the night in Richmond
Jan. 18 - stay the night in Savannah
Jan. 19 - stay the night in Delray Beach
Jan. 20, 21, 22, 23 - Marathon
Jan. 24 - leave Marathon drive up West Coast of Florida for a change and then.

In writing this out, it seems perhaps trying to push through and get from Massachusetts to Richmond might make sense. We can share the driving. We do have a dog with us so will have to stop for occasional breaks. Maybe one of us can rest in the back while the other drives? Maybe if we leave late at night we miss enough traffic to make doing that worth it? Or are you just wrecked the next day?

I've driven sooo many times between Massachusetts and Pennsylvania for work. It is just so many hours of what I have done a million times, wish I could blink and get through Connecticut and NY - it's always so unpredictable on the traffic and you miss it here, you hit it there.

Any thoughts on this? We can be gone for about 10 days with a bit of flexibility.
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Old 12-02-2022, 10:22 AM   #2
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I would watch the weather carefully along your route, as you get closer to time to leave, and plan accordingly.

Some years, I am driving steadily to get below inclement weather and other years I don’t push as hard because weather is more hospitable.

Overnighting in your rig in cold weather can be done, but it really depends on what you feel you must have.

Sometimes you might want to just stay in a rest stop overnight, get some sleep and go on in the morning because you don’t want to have to navigate snow covered side roads to get to a campground.

Don’t overthink it, is my recommendation, but go with the weather and be prepared to stay in your rig on the way down if you want or need to.

A big part of the joy of a ClassB is that you always have your house on your back.

Have a great trip!

Maggie
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Old 12-02-2022, 12:27 PM   #3
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good point about watching the weather. I love your advice to not overthink it! THANKS!
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Old 12-02-2022, 03:55 PM   #4
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We don’t have an interstate, we have a 25’ flying cloud but we very often sleep in it on overnight stops on the long driving days. I understand it’s not for everyone, but I would encourage you to give it a try. We look for cracker barrel along the route, they welcome overnight folks with open arms. We also use Walmart sometimes, or a Lowe’s/Home Depot, or bass pro shop, even some rural small town parks. Lots of options if it sounds appealing. Cannot beat the convenience of driving late, pull up and park, and leaving early, with very little burden. Saving money is a secondary benefit, but it does help the travel budget. One caution is you will want a full propane tank and a fully charged 12v house battery to make it tolerable. Final point is always use good common sense in evaluating your surroundings before you post up for the night. If it doesn’t “feel” right, be prepared to move on to the next option.
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Old 12-02-2022, 04:44 PM   #5
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I'm sure you're comfortable with your itinerary but it seems like it's a lot of driving and very, very little camping and relaxation. That trip would be much longer if it were us, but you may not have that kind of time and if not, I hope you travel safely and don't burn out from driving.
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Old 12-02-2022, 08:49 PM   #6
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I'm sure you're comfortable with your itinerary but it seems like it's a lot of driving and very, very little camping and relaxation. That trip would be much longer if it were us, but you may not have that kind of time and if not, I hope you travel safely and don't burn out from driving.
^1. Lots of driving there and back.

During the rut, we no longer drive at night or near dusk and dawn. Seems we counted 17 dead deer between Atlanta and Richmond one day. That’s 17 deer encounters with a motor vehicle on interstate highways. Probably more encounters because a deer hit head-on by a motor vehicle traveling 60 MPH will explode without enough remaining material to identify its previous embodiment.

At other non-rut times it’s still a little scary hurtling down the dark road with those pests waiting in the wings to make your day more eventful than you might have hoped.
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Old 12-03-2022, 12:11 AM   #7
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It does seem like a lot of driving crammed into a compact trip. We've done it before, and one recommendation I might make is to do something we did a few years ago...always plan at least one full day without driving after driving for two days.

In other words, we never plan more than two one-night stops in a row. This means that we both get to be out of the driver's seat for a full day before hitting the road again, and it makes the driving days much more bearable. If you enjoy the beaches in Delray and Savannah, maybe make one of those stops a two-night stop. For us these turn into mini-destinations along the way.

It's become much more enjoyable for us to have our shorter trips with multiple mini destinations rather than just one.

Also, please double check how far you can actually drive in a day. We've found that at best we average 50-55mph. Despite all the algorithms in Google Maps and Garmin, they don't yet have a setting for old people needing frequent bathroom breaks. Between that and enjoying taking a brief stroll at each stop, we rarely make time as good as the computers predict.
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Old 12-03-2022, 08:32 AM   #8
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Gloucester , Massachusetts
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Thank you all so much... You don't even know how helpful this is!!

1StreamDream - thanks for the info on places to pull over. Didn't know about Crackerbarrel! So helpful.

Gibson - I am not overly comfortable with the itinerary - i agree it seems like too much driving. I can work from the road so can stay away for longer but DH has to take time off and there's a limit to how much he can take.

Thanks Fungus - good point re: the deer

Richard - I love this idea... it got me thinking of possibly doing a two day trip in Savannah. Maybe on the way back since going home will be harder than going to the keys. it would be nice to have something to look forward to rather than just crushing driving on the way back. I think we could skip Delray and go there by plane without the dog at some point as we will likely not be able to do Delray the way we like to do it with the dog in tow.

The idea on the keys is to get to reliably good weather - there's nothing we like more than being warm.

thank you all again.
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Old 12-03-2022, 10:56 AM   #9
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WALNUT CREEK , California
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Well, that's a big trip. Google says roughly 1,600 miles from Boston to Marathon key, so double that and you are driving 3,200 miles. Doing the math gives between three or 4 full days at the resort, depending on how late you arrive and how early you leave. Best case: 3200 miles / 7 driving days = ~460 miles/day, and worst case is 3200 miles / 6 driving days = 533 miles/day. Doable in my opinion, but I love to drive and even then, those will be long days. I like to limit my trips to 450-500 miles per day, which ends up being 9-10 hours on the road with stops for lunch, gas, etc., and rarely, if ever drive at night. I also steer clear of hotels and prefer to sleep in the trailer - comfortably bed, no odd smells, less hassle with check-in, luggage, etc, cheaper, etc. The caveat is that out west where we live boondocking is much easier and the preferred approach for long distance travel like this. Not sure how well that works in your travel corridor.

After doing many such long trips, I have found the best results by having a solid plan of where I am going and stopping each day. That provides clear goals, and still allows you to make adjustments but also to understand the implications if you hit traffic and are running late or if the location you picked is not a good choice. I always use sites like Campendium to search for and select places to stay, and we are self-sufficient with solar and battery power so don't have to worry about plugging in.

I like to summarize the plan in a simple spreadsheet that we can use as the "road map" for the trip, like this one for a recent 6,000 mile trip from California to Chattanooga, Great Smokey Mountain National Park, and other locations around and in between.

Good luck with your trip!
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Old 12-03-2022, 01:21 PM   #10
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Just go

If you travel with a point by point travel adventure you will be miserable. You made the first decision your pin drop in Florida that’s the goal the rest is enjoy the ride “Life is a Highway “

You have a perfect vehicle to boondock most anywhere.
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Old 12-04-2022, 07:18 AM   #11
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I wanted to start this “advice” with: “3200 miles in 10 days is why God invented airplanes”. ! A couple of days ago we flew home from visiting family at Ft Irwin near Ontario, CA in about 7 hours with a layover in Vegas. Will your trip be a memory of “pushing” your vehicle to the limit for 4 days of relaxed fun? Or be one of WOW we had a terrible time finding places to stop competing with hundreds of other folks from Canada and the NE US, since you are driving during the huge migration (Nov - Mar) of retired folks on the “snowbird” highway to FL?

We have alot of recent experience with long drives, with and without our AS in tow, which is the backstory on this advice.

Last year we drove our car out West to see family and friends in CA, AZ and CO over Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays = 6,000 miles in 60 days. Two drives were impacted by snowfall in Colorado and Branson, MO.

In June, we drove to Key West, FL in our car, we stopped at Land Yacht Harbor in Melbourne, FL to spend a night in our 1989 34” AS, and then drove to KW the next day. South of Miami, it can be very slow going since a lot of the route is only two lane and some slow vehicles can make the drive tedious, dangerous, and long!

In October we were on an AS Caravan, “Show me the Ozarks” and put 2000 miles on our tow vehicle in 30 days. Plus, on the return home, on I-65 S, just North of Birmingham, we incurred about $1,000 in damage when debris from a semi-truck bounced up and hit our drivers door!

“Life is a highway” has it right. 3200 miles in 10 days in any vehicle can be challenging, particularly in the winter and your hi profile vehicle can be impacted by wind and weather. In past years, we have driven (@65MPH) to Colorado and Seattle, establishing enroute stops along the way was a job of the navigator, None were on a pre-established schedule. Sunup to sundown driving should be the plan. Too many shredded semi-truck retreads that are hard to see, + deers, potholes, etc., plus if it is raining or snowing, visibility is reduced, even during the day.

Has anyone mentioned checking AS Courtesy Camping list for free stops along the way? We have had some folks park in our driveway to/from FL. We are 2 miles from Buccees on I-75, near Warner Robins, GA. Harvest Host may also be an option?

Jekyll Island is a great stop with a CG on the island that is a great stop, but you would be tempted to spend more than one night! Plus, you would not want to park your rig after dark at the CG, since there are a lot of trees to maneuver around.
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Old 12-04-2022, 08:46 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Fungus View Post
^1. Lots of driving there and back.

During the rut, we no longer drive at night or near dusk and dawn. Seems we counted 17 dead deer between Atlanta and Richmond one day. That’s 17 deer encounters with a motor vehicle on interstate highways. Probably more encounters because a deer hit head-on by a motor vehicle traveling 60 MPH will explode without enough remaining material to identify its previous embodiment.

At other non-rut times it’s still a little scary hurtling down the dark road with those pests waiting in the wings to make your day more eventful than you might have hoped.
They are not “pests”. WE have built roads and introduced vehicles to THEIR environment. I’m amazed that drivers seem to be convinced the roadway is THEIR OWN and become oblivious to wild-life which comes onto MY ROAD! (I once observed a driver deliberately run over a dog which was confused and stopped, frozen in fear on the road. It was heartbreaking to see the child calling their pet from the sidewalk and that azzhole deliberately hit the gas.)

I live waay out in dark country. We have struck ten deer over thirty-plus years driving reasonable speeds (30-40 mph) on paved roads. I have a personal airplane and have killed two more deer with it while landing at night on our turf, lighted runway. (Fortunately for me, they were struck by the landing gear and nothing more than a “bump” was suffered by the airplane. Deer are fragile creatures however and they both died instantly.)

I believe I have discovered a useful defensive avoidance technique. Since using this technique over the last ten years …we have had no more deer-strikes.

I used to make a “low pass” down my runway with landing lights ON to frighten the grazing deer off the runway. I’d fly down it at about 10 feet…fly the length of the runway…then pull-up and circle-back to a landing. In those landings whcih involved hitting a deer…..EVERY CASE was after that maneuver. (I imagined they concluded that the airplane was not much threat since it passed-over instead of landing. Each of the deer-strikes which occurred followed that maneuver.)

Then one night it occurred to me that if I were a deer….and if some scarey machine was heading my way…that I too would RUN to the area I could SEE…. which is the area illuminated by headlights.

Next time I wanted to land at night…. while flying down the runway on the “scare-run” with deer heading straight into my path… I switched OFF my landing LIGHTS…for only about 2 or 3 seconds…..and THEN….THE DEER REVERSED COURSE!
Instead of continuing their run into the center of my lights….they stopped and turned around and headed BACK ….AWAY from in front of me!

Since then I’ve quit making a “scare run” down the runway and simply flown the arrival …and if I see deer heading toward the center of the runway… simply SWITCHED OFF…then back ON …my landing lights.

I have NEVER HIT A DEER since….and it’s been over ten years now.

Same thing with the car on the back country roads where we live. Driving down the road….if a deer appears to want to dash out onto the road….I momentarily switch OFF…then back ON my headlights….and the deer either STOP entering the roadway or reverse and dash off into the woods rather than onto the roadway.

It makes sense to me… If I were a deer I would not run out into the DARK when firghtened…I’d run to WHERE I COULD SEE! I believe switching the lights OFF then ON demonstrates to them that the lighted area is only temporary …or it allows them to see equally-well into the dark to change their path.

Since we’ve begun this practice we’ve stopped hitting deer.

(There may be a problem with this technique however with newer cars. I can switch my pickup lights off/on…but my wifes’ car has driving lights and automatic night-time sensors and turn the lights ON…making the “off/on” manuever difficult.) But our other cars’ headlights will turn off/on….with lower-level driving lights remaining ON.
Here’s hoping our newest car doesn’t end up in the body shop.

Hope this helps.
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Old 12-04-2022, 08:56 AM   #13
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There's so much that factors in to a travel itinerary.

We've driven our F250 1,050 miles in 16 hours, straight through. About one tank full per person, the passenger resting and/or sleeping, all food and drink prepared ahead of time, only quick stops for gas and bathroom breaks.

I wouldn't recommend trying that two days in a row

If I were leaving the Northeast and heading south in January, I'd want to make the run to above freezing temperatures as quickly as possible.

A class B van with two drivers can surely make 500 or 600 miles in a day, barring lane closures, traffic issues, etc.

So, I'd run on day one to Richmond, day 2 to Savannah and hang out for a day, then to Del Ray, then on down. Then again, I don't mind drivin'.
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Old 12-04-2022, 08:59 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Life is a Highway View Post
If you travel with a point by point travel adventure you will be miserable. You made the first decision your pin drop in Florida that’s the goal the rest is enjoy the ride “Life is a Highway “

You have a perfect vehicle to boondock most anywhere.
This is excellent advice. Trying to plan too tightly, or to find the perfect place to overnight just builds in frustration.

Some nights you just find a place to sleep.

Have drinking water, propane and a charged battery, and you can stop almost anywhere.

Food will be available everywhere on your route, or carry your own.

I often put a couple of frozen MRE’s in my frig for drive days, that can be heated in a pan on the stove or microwaved if I have electricity.

You’re going to have a great time.

Maggie
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Old 12-04-2022, 08:11 PM   #15
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Thank you all . JMickow, so impressed! I love the idea of your trip log.

I am starting to understand why so few people in Massachusetts are into the RV lifestyle. It’s nice here for such a short period during the summer that I’d be reluctant to leave. During the winter, so damn long to get anywhere warm. I hope in time, there will be more possibilities for longer trips.

Plane travel has its perks..
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Old 12-04-2022, 10:03 PM   #16
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They are not “pests”. WE have built roads and introduced vehicles to THEIR environment.
Facts matter...

"Population sizes and mean deer densities were 304,000 and 0.22 deer/km2 by 1940, 476,000 and 0.35 deer/km2 by 1950, 2.9 million to 4.1 million and 2.2 to 3.1 deer/km2 by approximately 1970, 6.2 million and 4.6 deer/km2 by 1982, and 10.8 million to 12 million and 8 to 9 deer/km2 by about 2003". USDA

In other words, deer densities have increased by 4000% since 1940.

There was a time when white tail deer populations were so low that state wildlife bureaus worked to increase their numbers.
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Old 12-04-2022, 11:05 PM   #17
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You are north of Boston . We are north of Atlanta. Our biggest obstacle, probably like yours is with Boston, is getting past the high traffic times in Atlanta when heading south. For leaving, our departure time is 05:00 at the latest. After that, travel is relatively easy.
Returning home is a similar problem. We have tried leaving the night before to head back north from Florida. In the late evening/early morning hours it is easy going with little traffic. If you have the fortitude, try setting up your schedule to drive through the Boston area during the early morning hours.
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Old 12-06-2022, 06:10 AM   #18
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New idea…. I drive, take my time getting to Florida. Stop to visit a relative in South Carolina. Make my way to Florida and pick DH up at the airport (Mia or FLL) morning of the 20th. He’s more time sensitive than I am. When we drive back, we can visit another stop, Savannah? If he needs to get back I can drop him at an airport on the way home. I can use the time alone driving to listen to my audio books that he wouldn’t like. Just a thought of how to make this a better trip.
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Old 12-06-2022, 07:51 AM   #19
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Those are great ideas, and if you’ve not been to Savannah it is beautiful, full of history and worth a stop.

With our very first RV, in 2001, I think it was, I drove it by myself to Colorado while hubby flew in.

It seems that when we are really pressed for time, that is when things go wrong that can delay you.

Watching your weather will be the biggie, imo, as is always the case that time of year.

Maggie
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Old 12-07-2022, 10:54 AM   #20
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I have worked with multiple RV travel schedule tools over the years and have found that RV Trip Wizard is hands down the best tool for planning. There is a definite learning curve, but it is worth it.


The ONLY thing I don't like about it is that RVTW really wants you to use their navigation software and I prefer google. You can get there, but it takes a little effort.


The BEST part is that you can define the trip by number of hours to drive that day or by number of miles, or by average speed.


Overall, my recommendation is to enjoy the journey as much as the destination. Drive hard no more than 2 days, then take a day to smell the roses. It is all about the journey!
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