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Old 04-17-2019, 02:52 PM   #1
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Newbie trip planning

Hope I have this posted in the right place.
My wife and I just bought our first RV, 2008 2955rl. This year we are planning several short shake down trips but next year we are hoping to do a two or three month trip and hit some national and state parks to include the Grand Canyon, maybe Yosemite, Yellowstone etc. my question is the best way to plan. I know AAA will help, but to what degree...? I am figuring that the planning needs to include things like fuel stops that can accommodate truck and 5er, distance between camp grounds. What kind of issues can we expect when making reservations at the various parks etc? I assume we should be starting now in order find sites for a trip that would start about now this time next year.

Thank you for any help.

2008 2955rl. TV 2016 GMC Duramax Denali HD SRW
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Old 04-17-2019, 03:06 PM   #2
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We hav taken quite a few long trips. I use the Allstays app to find campgrounds, boondocking places, etc. I know our range on a tank of fuel, so I plane fuel stops accordingly. Since we use diesel, we can fuel up where the trucks do. It may cost more, but we know we will fit.

If you go to Yosemite, I recommend the Mariposa Fairgrounds for camping. It’s cheap, well located, and has great wifi.

Also, buy a national park pass. It’s well worth it.

I made all the reservations in February for our trip last year.

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Old 04-17-2019, 04:15 PM   #3
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Well darn. I had a long post for you and the website dumped me before I could post.

Well ... okay ... this one is long too.

In addition to what Loneoak said ... I've used GoodSam Camping, ParkAdvisor, and KOA apps to find campgrounds. You probably don't need KOA, unless you're a member, as the other apps will include the KOA sites.

I'm cheep and hate paying the inflated prices at the truck stops. I use the GasBuddy App to find diesel. During our travels we'll start looking on the app a calculated distance ahead when the tank approaches 1/2. Most stations will have awnings that are higher than your rig, so height typically isn't an issue. The issue becomes your comfort level with navigating tight locations with your rig. We've had some, "We probably shouldn't have stopped here." moments, but we've never damaged our rig or anyone else. ;-) Truck stops are definitely the safest, but come at a cost of higher prices.

We typically plan our trips with 400 mile legs. That typically turns into 7-8 hours when we're towing given a couple extra fuel stops and slower traveling speeds. We love to drive, but don't relish the thought of setting up in the dark in spots we haven't been before.

If you are planning to stay at private/commercial campgrounds and not BLM, national park, or boondocking, you might consider week increments as that will be more economical. e.g. It'll be easy to eat up a week in the Yellowstone area with Jackson Hole, Grand Tetons, etc. And you might want a day or two to relax without driving too. Obviously you can't do that all the time, but consider it if you're planning on more than a few days in any one location.

Longer reservations are tougher to get in popular locations. We didn't have any problems finding places for one night, but several days, a week, or a month get difficult in some locations. Plan several months in advance if you can.

You might find some valuable comments on this thread ... http://www.montanaowners.com/forums/...ad.php?t=77279

Be safe and have fun.
Dave and Deb
Practicing for Retirement
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Old 04-17-2019, 04:37 PM   #4
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I like using RV Trip Wizard ( https://www.rvtripwizard.com/ ) - does cost but find it very useful - we generally do shorter legs, you are on vacation after all.
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Old 04-17-2019, 06:52 PM   #5
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The Goodsam Trip planner.
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Old 04-21-2019, 09:06 AM   #6
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Don't forget holidays. I sit with the wife and look at what towns we want to go to. Then we figure out what we want to see when we get there then how many days to stay. back to holidays. campgrounds fill up quick so you need to get reservations early. Only problem with that is than you are stuck to a schedule. I make a list of campgrounds with address and phone numbers than put that in a binder and put it in the truck. When you get home don't toss it out you will use it again. Also make a note if you would go back or go somewhere else. I have been to many places more than once. I have done 2 3 month trips from coast to coast and seen lots. So much more to see.

Fuel I drive till I need fuel. gas buddy may work but I find that the cheapest fuel isn't always the easiest to get to. I don't use truck stops to busy and to expensive. I have however had my rig in some places you wouldn't believe. I have had to back up more than once. I have towed 30,000 miles so I consider myself a pro. I am very careful when towing.

I have always stayed at campgrounds however if you boondock it may be smart to pack some heat You never know if a wild animal will wonder into camp.
Have a good time hug your wife everyday and you will have fun!!!
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Old 04-21-2019, 08:28 PM   #7
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We use campground reviews.com. Then road maps and google maps. Beware of online mapping since they tend to show you things that you may not want especially routes. For those popular locations reserve early as possible.
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Old 04-22-2019, 05:48 AM   #8
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all great information just want to add a couple gotchas. when traveling around holidays remember that most campgrounds want you to stay 2 or 3 nights. also i limit my travel to around 6 hours a day. you get to set up in the daylight and you can find fuel without 40 foot of 5er behind you.

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Old 04-22-2019, 07:36 AM   #9
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Dealing with tight fuel stations is the last thing I want to deal with.
Yes fuel at truck stops is more expensive it’s also fresh.
On 1000 gal of fuel based on prices on this weeks 700 mile trip it would cost an extra $350 : Pilot / FJ $3.09 Mom & Pop $2.74
Yes I do fuel at less expensive places when not traveling.
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Old 04-22-2019, 07:41 AM   #10
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If possible, I fuel after dropping 5er - other wise, it's the easy/safest to get into. Usually nice after dropping to go tour the area and let DW do her thing and stretch the dog's legs
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Old 05-01-2019, 01:22 PM   #11
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Check out RVTripWizard - it's aimed at RVers, where AAA is for auto drivers.
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Old 05-01-2019, 02:29 PM   #12
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Old 05-01-2019, 03:18 PM   #13
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DW makes all of our plans and she is excellent at planning. She goes as far as using Google Maps to actually "see" the roads, intersections, turns, gas stations, construction areas, RV parks/campgrounds. So we know exactly where to pull-in and pull-out. She uses Campground/RV park reviews, Military Campgrounds, and then Google maps to look at the area to choose a site. She is excellent and very detailed, but she puts a great deal of time into each leg of the trip. We only drive 300 miles per leg - or no more that 4-5 hours. This usually eliminates needing to stop for fuel until after we stop and setup. When we have needed to stop for fuel, she knows exactly where to pull into the fuel stop and how to pull out. DW does the driving and she plans so there are no surprises.
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Old 05-01-2019, 03:29 PM   #14
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one thing for sure is for you to know how far you can go in your truck when pulling your trailer. probably somewhere around 8-10mpg. We have a small fuel tank--fill up every 200 miles or so. On Interstate you will find many stops that are easy...use the truck lines.

I don't think most people 'plan' on fuel stops but figure every 2 hours or so for a break at least.

as for a route, google and gps maps are a great way to figure it out.
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Old 05-01-2019, 03:35 PM   #15
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Since our traveling days in our fivers (Montana models) to our current set up we plan and travel basically the same.

Depending on what part of the country and what time of year is what guides us on how far in advance we need to seek out reservations. A winter spot in Florida.....12 months in advance, a popular attraction out west in the summer.....3 or 4 months in advance.

Between my phone mapping, a trucker's Atlas, and Pocket Truck Stop Guide I determine my routes. Then I use several apps to locate campground/parks and overnight stops. RVParky, PassportAmerica, GoodSams, RVParkReviews are some I turn to. As far as fuel stops I have always leaned toward Pilot and Flying J. I want fresh fuel and I don't really care about paying a few cents more. When we had our fiver sometimes I would fuel up after setting up camp but it had to be a busy station that sold a lot of diesel.

Lastly, I ask a lot of questions when I call a campground for reservations. I also turn to my computer and use google earth to see exactly what the campground looks like and also the surrounding areas, including any suspect intersections or roads leading into it.

Safe traveling.
Previous: 2008 Montana 3400RL & 2014 3725RL
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Old 05-01-2019, 03:39 PM   #16
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Good sam just changed their trip planner as of April, and NOW IT SUCKS!!!!

RV Parky is good. I downloaded the app on my phone and their web page on my lap top
I Just used it to plan my summer trip to Alaska, starting May 13th and returning in September
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