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Old 12-08-2023, 12:48 PM   #1
Boba911
 
2018 19' Tommy Bahama
Warwick , Rhode Island
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To Plan or not to plan stops while traveling out west

I plan to travel to Mantena from Rhode Island this summer to do some fly fishing. Along the way i plan to stop at Harvest Hosts as much as possible for overnight stays. My question is do you plan ahead and register for all stops or decide each day? Also, with campgrounds for longer stays, should I make reservations ahead of time since I plan to have a very open schedule? What are your experiences out west with day planning or scheduling ahead. Thanks.
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Old 12-08-2023, 01:09 PM   #2
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If you arer lanning to stay at a National Park, you need to reserve as soon as possible. Even just visiting some of them will require advanced reservations.
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Old 12-08-2023, 01:27 PM   #3
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I usually book the big stays along the way and final destination(s) ahead of time. For travel days and intermediate stops, I tend to book a few days out but try and remain flexible. For example. I may have planned 3 days to get from Point A to a destination but the travel time is only 2 nights so I would need to stay in one place an extra night. Would it be Stop A or Stop B? I may not know until I get there and see what's up. Or I may want to break it up into 3 stops, going shorter distances each day.
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Old 12-08-2023, 02:31 PM   #4
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The answer very much depends on your style and where you want to stay. National and popular state parks will be full and it requires determination and luck to score sites months in advance. Forest Service sites are likely to be available, but not certainly. I have very little experience with rv parks, and none with Walmarts!
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Old 12-08-2023, 04:13 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boba911 View Post
I plan to travel to Mantena from Rhode Island this summer to do some fly fishing. Along the way i plan to stop at Harvest Hosts as much as possible for overnight stays. My question is do you plan ahead and register for all stops or decide each day? Also, with campgrounds for longer stays, should I make reservations ahead of time since I plan to have a very open schedule? What are your experiences out west with day planning or scheduling ahead. Thanks.
Best advice; plan ahead if you want to stay in any of the parks; National or State...it is very difficult in most places today with their reservations systems, and folks snatching up multiple days, months in advance...frustrating also to see empty sites that have been reserved, but it is a big problem! Anyway, RV Parky app is what we use. We know where we are heading, how far each day we want to travel all planned ahead of time, gauging by miles we want to drive, and route of course. Best to size up your mileage and stops on the map. We know we are heading thru Utah, so where do we want to stop/stay for a couple nights as example...Moab typically very crowded in summer months. There are several RV parks, but they can be pricy if you can't get into the NP sites...still, if it's just for a night or 2, worth spending a little. Glacier, Yellowstone, Teton- June thru Sept; good luck! State parks with no frills can be had in those areas, easier than NP sites. I look up the phone numbers to local ranger stations and call ahead to get an idea of what may be open, when they are filling "if" no reservations needed. They usually can tell you status and recommendations for staying in the area.
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Old 12-08-2023, 04:21 PM   #6
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In general, plan ahead, but be fluid. Weather, having a great time at a location, mechanical issues, stuff happens. But the flip side is that you can't rely on getting a last minute reservation either. Still a lot of demand in peak season.
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Old 12-09-2023, 08:39 AM   #7
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I'm not a planner.
Some people love to sit at the computer and RV Trip wizard and have every night planned.
I always thought I could get anywhere using Allstays and Gas Buddy. Traveling solo has it's own challenges since I have no 'co-pilot' to call, research, map it out. I have to pull into a rest area and make my calls.
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Old 12-09-2023, 10:12 AM   #8
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Combination of Plans/No Plans

We did a 7 week/10k mile trip (from Massachusetts) this past May/June hitting Badlands, Yellowstone, Olympic, Jasper, Banff and Glacier. I reserved all the national parks a good deal in advance. The in-between stuff I booked anywhere from the same day to 3 days in advance, depending on popularity of location, weekday vs weekend, and how close to a holiday weekend. It worked out fine for us.

Enjoy your trip!

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Old 12-09-2023, 10:12 AM   #9
Boba911
 
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[QUOTE=Mollysdad;2712116]I'm not a planner.
Some people love to sit at the computer and RV Trip wizard and have every night planned.
I always thought I could get anywhere using Allstays and Gas Buddy. Traveling solo has it's own challenges since I have no 'co-pilot' to call, research, map it out. I have to pull into a rest area and make my calls.

Thanks for the input. I am a solo traveler as well. I am thinking that I will plan the major stops for a week or so but the one-night stays will be planned on the road. I will be using Harvest Host as much as possible and some boondocking sights as well; no parking lots for me!
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Old 12-09-2023, 10:18 AM   #10
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I try to avoid travel during peak season, especially to popular destinations. I prefer to stay off Interstate highways. I try to avoid campgrounds. I follow the weather. Iím not on a schedule. I often donít know where Iím going until around noon when Iím awake and ready to leave. If you try my way of thinking, youíll end up in some pretty cool places.
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Old 12-09-2023, 10:19 AM   #11
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I typically plan our 'long' trips in detail, reserving campsites 7+ months in advance of a Summer trip. The reason? Because (a) the 'best' campgrounds fill up quickly, and (b) only by booking far in advance can you secure the 'best' sites within any campground.

In my mind, 'best' are campgrounds and sites are those right along lakes and rivers, or with beautiful views/terrain. Every campground has sites with extra width or next to open space. Far better than getting the last site which is quite narrow, across from the trash dumpsters, or without shade trees. Campgrounds for overnight stays during long driving trips often have qualitative differences just depending on how close they are to nearby highways or roads (traffic noise).

I'll not only research the best campground at any stopping or stay location, but will spend time reading reviews on TripAdvisor, Yelp, etc. Also, with the campground site map open in one window, I'll open GoogleMaps or GoogleEarth in another window and switch from map view to earth view. CampgroundViews.com actually has photos of individual campsites at many RV campgrounds. Then (in many cases) I can see actual sites, trees, surrounding roads, etc that absolutely aren't seen in the campground's marketing-driven website.

Your plan to stay at HarvestHost campgrounds is generally good, but there can be vast quality differences between individual campgrounds and massive differences between individual sites within a campground.

Yes, you can travel randomly and find locations along the way. Sometimes there are nice surprises. But generally during Summer times, just pulling into a campground and asking for an available site will (at best) get you stuffed into the space no one else wanted. And you'll have little chance to get any spot at the best campsites in the best campgrounds, IMHO.
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Old 12-09-2023, 10:23 AM   #12
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2022 Interstate 24X
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
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Hi

As noted above, staying *in* the big National Parks (Yellowstone ....) is very much a reserve way ahead sort of thing. Less popular parks ... maybe less so.

Another factor is just how crazy a season next year will be. Going out RV-ing is just as cyclical as selling RV's. If it is a crazy season, even Harvest Hosts may be fun to get into. If it's a more normal season, reserving a day or three ahead should be plenty.

Doing a plan on a map is always a good idea. Take a look at what your options are along the way. If there is one and only one Harvest Host along a 300 mile stretch of road .... hmmm .... that might be one that fills up quickly.

Even when traveling in a group, we have had a lot of luck doing it all on the fly. Having a bunch of reservations weeks out becomes a massive issue when you hit a delay ( or zoom along ). Yes, this *assumes* your goal is to get to a destination rather than see everything along the way.

Often our process is to look at the next couple of days after we've had dinner. Based on what we see, a list gets made up. The next day, the "navigator" gets on the phone and calls here / calls there. In some cases the built in reservation system on the Harvest Host site gets used. It can be a bit slow so phone calls are often part of the process.

Fun !!

Bob

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Old 12-09-2023, 10:25 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boba911 View Post
I plan to travel to Mantena from Rhode Island this summer to do some fly fishing. Along the way i plan to stop at Harvest Hosts as much as possible for overnight stays. My question is do you plan ahead and register for all stops or decide each day? Also, with campgrounds for longer stays, should I make reservations ahead of time since I plan to have a very open schedule? What are your experiences out west with day planning or scheduling ahead. Thanks.
we have made several cross country trips using Harvest Host(HH) and Boondocks Welcome (BW). The last was out west to Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Wyoming and both the Dakotas. What I found is a lot of HH only have an online schedule that may be for 1 - 3 months in advance and fill up quickly. Some do not take same day reservations and then it's only for 1 night. What have done is contacted them directly via their webpage (usually an establishment and asked for reservations). 95% of the time, they will accommodate you. With BW, they tend to be more open to same day and also are open to longer stays. I would say that you read the BW info closely - some BW are in the driveways, back yards, ....etc. I looked at one that basically said that as long as you don't break the law, you can stay with us. I thought hmmmmm. I also use HipCamp - (no membership fee - but you can pay upfront) and Recreation dot gov as well. good luck have fun
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Old 12-09-2023, 10:38 AM   #14
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I'm currently on an 8 week trip from NC to Utah, AZ, up to WA and now working our way back home (in the snow country). We reserved a KOA in Utah to see my son in SLC. Other than that, no advanced reservations. Some same day Harvest Host, but mostly boondocking. We use iOverlander app to find spots. For us, driving extra hours into the dark in order to reach out reservation site is stressful. I'd rather plan one day at a time. Some places need an extra day more than what was reserved. If I stay here an extra day, then all my future reservations are now a day off and need to be changed.
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Old 12-09-2023, 10:40 AM   #15
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Haslet , Texas
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Originally Posted by Boba911 View Post
I plan to travel to Mantena from Rhode Island this summer to do some fly fishing. Along the way i plan to stop at Harvest Hosts as much as possible for overnight stays. My question is do you plan ahead and register for all stops or decide each day? Also, with campgrounds for longer stays, should I make reservations ahead of time since I plan to have a very open schedule? What are your experiences out west with day planning or scheduling ahead. Thanks.
We like to remain as flexible as possible so we usually don't make HH reservations until the night before, sometimes the day of, but some Hosts don't take same day reservations, so be aware of that. My advance planning usually consists of searching the HH app for hosts along our route and flagging those that look like good prospects by tapping the heart button. That way it's easy to spot and contact the ones we decide to stay at when we're in route. We like to boondock. Finding a place without hookups to spend the night while traveling out west is usually pretty straightforward. In addition to Harvest Hosts, we rely on the FreeRoam and Campendium apps to help us find good, safe places to stay for one or more nights. The Recreation.gov app is a must for federal campground reservations and has pointed us to lots of US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management campgrounds that might not show up on other apps or maps. Many of the USFS and BLM campgrounds are free, and all are half price if you have an America the Beautiful or Senior Pass. Enjoy your trip to Montana!
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Old 12-09-2023, 10:46 AM   #16
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Holmen , Wisconsin
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This is to comment on parking "enroute". We typically park at Cracker Barrel or Walmart enroute. But we have had INCREDIBLE experiences parking at AIRSTREAM COURTESY PARKING places and at AIRSTREAM RV PARKS. On COURTESY PARKING we have always tried to follow the golden rule as guests, and the HOSTS have always done the same. Approximately 11 years ago we had an incredible experience with COURTESY Parking hosts on the west side of Boston, enroute to Newfoundland. Some years ago we found ourselves at the Airstream Park in NW PA. on a Labor Day week end. They found us a place to stay in overflow parking ( as I recall) and we were invited to join the Rally that was planned for the Labor Day week end -- we were treated as welcomed guests. ( However, if you one uses Courtesy parking as a "guest", in my opinion one needs to , if at all possible, list themselves as a " Courtesy Parker"). I recognize that this comment does not apply to the specific route mentioned. I am just suggesting that one not overlook the INCREDIBLY rich experiences at COURTESY PARKERS and AIRSTREAM PARKS ( and ,as an SKP member, similarly rich experiences at nearly all SKP parks)
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Old 12-09-2023, 11:21 AM   #17
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I plan out where to stop every day and length of stay, dependng on area attractions. I recommend you intersperse your Harvest Host stays every 3 days or so with a KOA or other full-service camp site to empty / clean / replenish tanks and to plug in to other amenities. I also recommend you make appointments for your tow vehicle for oil/filter changes at the recommended mileage points. Last summer, it took a lot of phone calls and googling to find ANY auto maintenance shop (especially Ford) to do oil/filter changes.
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Old 12-09-2023, 08:49 PM   #18
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Yep!

Get in Truck point it West hope for the best!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mollysdad View Post
I'm not a planner.
Some people love to sit at the computer and RV Trip wizard and have every night planned.
I always thought I could get anywhere using Allstays and Gas Buddy. Traveling solo has it's own challenges since I have no 'co-pilot' to call, research, map it out. I have to pull into a rest area and make my calls.
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Old 12-13-2023, 10:10 AM   #19
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West Sacramento , California
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Summer crowds

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boba911 View Post
I plan to travel to Mantena from Rhode Island this summer to do some fly fishing. Along the way i plan to stop at Harvest Hosts as much as possible for overnight stays. My question is do you plan ahead and register for all stops or decide each day? Also, with campgrounds for longer stays, should I make reservations ahead of time since I plan to have a very open schedule? What are your experiences out west with day planning or scheduling ahead. Thanks.
Summers are very crowded/hectic. We plan 2-3 months ahead and consistently hear its the last site for that night at the campground.

Harvest Hosts count on guests for revenue, so imho itís important to give them as much notice as possible.

While there is always Walmart and Cabelas, we find them quite noisy all night.

There is great software out there that can help plan your trip. RV Life Trip Wizard is what I use.
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Old 12-13-2023, 11:00 AM   #20
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I also recommend you make appointments for your tow vehicle for oil/filter changes at the recommended mileage points. Last summer, it took a lot of phone calls and googling to find ANY auto maintenance shop (especially Ford) to do oil/filter changes.
Good point. If possible, I get the oil changed before I start, even if premature, if I know the trip will pass the mileage recommendation to minimize the panic of needing an in-trip service.
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