Thursday, December 14, 2017

How to Drive Carefree

Classic trailer in Silver City NM
I love our new carefree lifestyle, go where we want when we want, fill the fuel tank and go...right? Maybe not so much. We are currently in the middle of our circumnavigation of the US and I thought I would give you a glimpse into the process we use to pick our next destination. To be honest I still don't know where I'll be in a month. We are shooting for Florida, but if we can't find a spot that works for us we'll have to wing it.
Windmill & well at Seminole SP in TX
First, it has to be fun. I don't want to spend a month in a parking lot looking at a Walmart; so a nice view and something fun to do. NO SNOW! Don't mind being in it, don't want to drive in it. We like 70-80 degrees, great temperature for motorcycling and paddling kayaks. OK, now distance, a three hundred mile day is about the end of the world for me more or less, depending on the quality of the road. How far is our next destination? Do we need to break up the trip into smaller bites? If so, where do we stay, and how long? What about Shawna's work schedule? Will she need good quality internet while we are in transit? What about after we arrive, does the park have good WiFi, or do we need to use one of our cellular data plans? Is there a large town or city nearby in case we need to service the RV? Is it likely to be on fire when we get there? All this gets baked into our decision when we move. 
Old timey graffiti in Gila Cave Dwellings

The process looks something like this, open Google Maps for the area we are interested in, search for RV parks in the area. Ask locals for a recommendation if possible. Read the reviews on Google. Switch to satellite view to make sure we aren't booking a spot in an industrial area or a dirt lot. Don't see anything we like, move on to apps, RV parky and the like. Read the reviews, check them out on street view. Find a place we like, now it's time to check Verizon, Sprint, and ATT's coverage maps (these are the carriers we have available on board). We have found that park wifi is usually spotty at best and I like to have two backups. Shawna's work doesn't require a lot of bandwidth but it has to be solid. One of the things we've found to be hard to find while on the road is propane. We have a large tank, but we still need fuel about once a month. Some parks have a mobile truck that comes by, some don't. Put a propane stop in our plans if necessary.
Gratuitous photo 
We are still caravaning, we pull a ten foot utility trailer containing our motorcycles behind the bus and drive our Subaru. So we need to know about parking, in a pull through spot we can usually fit the whole shebang. If not the trailer goes in overflow parking. Are we carefree yet?  We have a place to stay, viable internet, now how do we get there? We bought a RV-specific GPS, basically you enter the size of your rig and it's supposed to route you around low bridges, bad roads etc. In practice it's been a nightmare. It has routed us over dangerous mountain passes when there was a perfectly good road that would have shaved over three hours off our trip. So now before we leave we have to do a reality check using an app called Trucker Path. Why I haven't thrown the GPS in the trash is just a testament to my cheapskatery, I keep hoping the next update will solve all my problems and we will live happily ever after. So that's about it, place to stay, work resources, and a viable route to get there. Fun Travels!


  1. Amazing journey . What a great way to spend time together.

  2. Internet Speed Comparison @ Holiday Trav-L, Del Rio TX
    Sampled 12/5/17, no time noted
    AT&T – 0 down, 0 up
    Calyx (Sprint) – 0 down, 0 up
    Jetpack (Verizon) – 4.78 down, 5.4 up
    Park wifi – 2.94 down, 1.0 up