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Cross Country Road Trip for RV Virgins

Started by Kerri 4/7/2012 6:46:48 PM

Long story short, we are moving from upstate NY to south-eastern AK!  We are buying a 1983 diesel 28ft Pace Arrow.  This will be our first experience EVER with RVing.

 

I have a route mapped out and have us stopping at RV parks and campgrounds along the way.  Do I need to call ahead to these places and make a reservation?

 

Is there anything that I should know before we start this adventure?

 

Thanks for everyone's help, we really need it!indecision

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Reply by Tonya

author of The Traveling Praters — 4/8/2012 8:21:27 AM

If this is the first time EVER that you've camped in an RV, or this particular RV, I'd suggest that you start by heading to a campground near where you live just to test it out- like a trial run. You can practice dumping the holding tanks, etc.

Not all campgrounds accept reservations, but if your plans are set, I'd call ahead and make as many reservations as possible. You don't want to travel only to find that there is a special event going on in the area and that all RV parks/campgrounds are full- ask me how I know. :(  If you make all your reservations in advance make sure you know the campgrounds cancellation policy- you never know when you may get sidetracked and decide to stay an extra day here and there. Also, find out if you will be charged when you make the reservation or if they just hold your credit card info until you arrive.

Have you practiced driving your RV? If you've never driven one and you're just getting started, you may want to ask about pull-through sites. If you're camper doesn't have automatic leveling jacks, you'll want to purchase a few to make sure your camper is level.   

I'd also ask about bathroom/laundry facilities. My family found it more comfortable to use the bath houses at the campgrounds rather than shower, etc. in the tiny camper bathroom. Though most campgrounds (especially KOA's) offer clean facilities, we still packed flip flops (or water shoes) for the shower and a small can of disinfectant. :)     

Do you know that you can also stay overnight in the parking lot of many Walmarts? This was helpful to us when we were just traveling through an area and didn't plan on sticking around to see anything.

Have fun! It sounds like you're going to have an incredible adventure!


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Reply by Debra

4/8/2012 1:34:28 PM

Hi Kerri,

If you haven't bought one yet, get 'The Milepost' for the best information about traveling in Alaska. The book has maps, campgrounds, tips & hints, sightseeing, AK Marine Highway and AK Railroad info. It isn't called 'the bible' for nothing!!


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Reply by Laurie

author of Guessing all the Way 4/8/2012 10:44:12 PM

 You gave some great advice.  Sounds like you are quite the experienced traveler.  I need to keep your information handy the next time we head out on the road.

@Kerri, I have always wanted to see Alaska.  It does sound like you have a very exciting trip ahead of you.  I love people with that adventurous spirit.

As for advice, Tonya gave you some great stuff.  I would say to definitely call ahead and try to get reservations when you can.  It sounds like you have done your homework and mapped things out which is great.  Just remember that if things don't go exactly as you have planned, it's okay.  Camping is all about the adventure:)

You guys will have a great time.  Stop in and let us know how things are going. 

Tonya's profile picture
Tonya said ...
If this is the first time EVER that you've camped in an RV, or this particular RV, I'd suggest that you start by heading to a campground near where you live just to test it out- like a trial run. You can practice dumping the holding tanks, etc.


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Reply by Karen

author of FabGrandma 4/9/2012 6:23:58 PM

Are yu taking the ferry or traveling the Alaska Highway? If you are taking the highway, make sure you have a couple of spare tires with you.

And if you are planning to stay overnight in a Wal-Mart parking lot, ALWAYS go inside and ask if it is ok to do it. Some let you and some don't.

We rarely get reservations very far ahead unless it is a holiday weekend coming up. We do call ahead in the morning to make sure we have a site for the night though.

Make sure you don't plan every stop. You may come across something really neat you want to see that you never knew existed. We went to a Wizard of Oz museum in Kansas on the spur of the moment and really enjoyed it.

 


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Reply by Kerri

4/9/2012 11:00:50 PM

Wow!  Awesome advice!  We are gonna be taking the ferry to ketchikan from bellingham, wa.  We are gonna be on a fairly tight schedule so we are not planning on a whole lot of stops.  I did however plan a few extra days just in case.  We  tend to be cursed with long trips.  (Had an SUV overheat and almost seize the engine in the poconos) Depending on where we are and what we see that sounds interesting (and if we have the time), then we may stop, otherwise we are gonna keep on going!  I do have a couple cute spots picked out (Jellystone park for nostalgia).  My husband and I were talking today about using the walmart parking lots.  We figure we will only use the camp sites when we need to fill up with fresh water or use the pump out station.

 

I'm hoping this is a lot like boating!  I grew up being a boat rat.  Weekends out on it and such.  If its like that, I know I will be ok adjusting to living in it for almost 2 weeks.  If not, I will learn!  smiley

 

My husband trailers boats a lot with his job (United States Coast Guard), so he should be ok driving.  Me on the other hand...as long as we are going straight I think I'll be fine.  I have never driven something this big and trailer-ed a car on the back (just a small pick up with an empty boat trailer on the back and only ever that one time).

 

I'm still trying to figure my way out with all this and I'm crossing my fingers (toes and eyes) that all goes well!


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Reply by Dani

4/10/2012 1:07:22 PM

Wow!  What a trip!  KOA's definitely take reservations and you can go to http://koa.com/find-a-koa/ and find the KOA's along your route.  Click on their website and you can either reserve a spot online or call to make a reservation.  I hope you have a very safe trip and a wonderful adventure! 


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