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Old 11-21-2020, 10:10 AM   #1
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To Reserve or Not?

In Oct. we did a short(1500 mile) 2 week trip to Shenandoa, Prince William, and Assategue NP's. We made reservations every moring over coffee for that night. If we only traveled M thru Thurs. there were no problems. We are planing on a 4 or 5 week trip out west, and would prefer to not be locked into an air tight schedule. Our plan is for early May. I was warned it could be difficult traveling west that way?
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Old 11-21-2020, 10:58 AM   #2
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Keep in mind that the world of 2019 is not the world of 2020 and beyond! As the virus has finally reached the more remote areas, things are changing daily, so be aware of the dangers involved.
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Old 11-21-2020, 11:17 AM   #3
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Certainly traveling to nearly all of the popular National Parks in the west will require either reservations made months in advance (even 6-months advance is not a sure thing) or the luck of a lottery winner to find a First Come site available.

Utah's 5 NPs fill up in May as folks want to get in to beat the heat. Grand Canyon is full all the time. And, Yellowstone is far enough north that camping may not be possible in May.

We used to live in Wyoming and would take our RV to Yellowstone many years on opening weekend in June and on closing weekend in Oct, too. We saw 2" to 6" of new snow on each of those visits.

I can't find the 2021 Campground opening dates for Yellowstone NP yet, but last year the earliest campground openings there were in Mid-June.
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Old 11-21-2020, 12:18 PM   #4
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I think by May all the popular NPs in the West will be booked very heavily.

Like you, I don't like being pinned down in advance. I'd much rather wing it based on the moment. So, I rely on boondocking when there's nothing available. I'm beginning to like boondocking better than regular camping just for the spontaneity of it. But, the downside is that we don't carry a toad, so getting into Big Popular Tour Sites, like NPs, is much more difficult. Some in Utah have limited RV access apart from their camp sites.

Let's face it, in the nice weather the NPs are overrun.
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Old 11-21-2020, 12:38 PM   #5
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In the northeast you cannot secure a walk up campsite in any state park in NY, NJ, Conn, Mass or Vt. Don't know about USNF sites. And reservations have to be made the day before. There is no spontaneity at all. I expect that policy will stay in place for most of 2021.

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Old 11-21-2020, 01:10 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Greg Morrow View Post
In Oct. we did a short(1500 mile) 2 week trip to Shenandoa, Prince William, and Assategue NP's. We made reservations every moring over coffee for that night. If we only traveled M thru Thurs. there were no problems. We are planing on a 4 or 5 week trip out west, and would prefer to not be locked into an air tight schedule. Our plan is for early May. I was warned it could be difficult traveling west that way?
It will be difficult to find places to stay over weekends. Not sure about where you're heading but here in CA, State and Federal reservations can be cancelled for $8. Having to cancel a few reservations to take advantage of some spontaneous opportunities is cheap and easy. Private campgrounds are a different kettle of fish, and you can decide if your flexibility is worth the cancellation fee. Trying to get "first come first served" spots can be easy or near impossible depending on the location. Some parks we have seen hold ADA Accessible sites until early afternoon, then release them to anyone.

Of course, if you don't find a site, there is boondocking...
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Old 11-21-2020, 01:22 PM   #7
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As time goes on and with any form of vaccine taking at least a year to trickle down to most people, the odds of more and more travel restrictions would seem to be an obvious thing to consider in planning any trips. To try to avoid the world of politics, I like to try looking at sites where things seem to be more basic info without lots of spin.
This site by AARP seems to list much of the basic info on how each state is trying to control the spread. With fines ranging from $25 in Kansas to 25,000 in Alaska, I would certainly recommend checking the status of the states where you will be passing through or staying, as it is certain to change as things are constantly evolving.

https://www.aarp.org/travel/travel-t...B&gclsrc=aw.ds
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Old 11-21-2020, 02:49 PM   #8
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Something to consider during this COVID19 time are school children. Many of the schools are still on-line learning. This means that parents have the opportunity to park their RV wherever they can get a reservation, thus limiting the availability. Ten or more years ago, especially in 2008 with the "crash," we could wing it anytime, and we did. Now, 12 years later there has been an influx of RV sales of over 130 percent or higher. That means less and less RV spots available.

Personally I would opt to have reservations. It's nice to be spontaneous, but it is nicer to have a place to stay.
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Old 11-22-2020, 05:12 PM   #9
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No one has mentioned that many National Parks in the US (and I assume also in Canada) have some campgrounds that are either partially or fully FCFS (First Come, First Served). The North Campground at Bryce Canyon National Park is completely FCFS while the Sunset Campground is completely Reservation. You might want to check to see if there are campgrounds at your destinations (or at suitable alternatives) that fit into that category.
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Old 11-23-2020, 10:12 AM   #10
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reserve or not

for various reasons, my wife and I couldn't leave Ohio, or be more than 2 hours away from home. Thing change. Oct. was our first oportunity to go anywhere of duration. As a result, we are inexperienced, unknowledgeable travelers. Any tips will be appreciated. Travel planner apps/sites, what to take or leave at home, even the best time year to travel. For example some responces say May is to early for Yellowstone, but the N.P.'s in Utah are already crowded or full by then. Perhaps this to big of a trip, and we should go smaller. Impatience is getting the best of us I fear.
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Old 11-23-2020, 11:06 AM   #11
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You should definitely take a number of small close by trips. In doing so you'll:

1. Gain experience and confidence
2. Find out what works and doesn't work on your RV
3. Learn what to take and not to take
4. Learn how to plan your trip
5. Make a bunch of really silly mistakes that are easy to recover from and learn from

Greg, you live in Akron, OH (I was born and raised in Akron on the west side near Highland Square in the Merriman Rd area). So, this time of year is getting late for going camping. But you are near some great State Parks - Geneva on the Lake SP, Hocking Hills SP and dozens of others and many are still open for camping through the winter.

So, getting out for 2-days right now and maybe one more time before the big snows come would be a terrific plan. Certainly, go out in April and May before your BIG trip. The weather may be bad but the learning process will be massive.

Experience is your very best teacher because right now you don't even know what you don't know.

As to May being too early for Yellowstone but Utah being full up in May - it's the difference in temperatures and altitudes of both places. Utah's National Parks are all in Southern Utah and much lower altitudes.

PS. Small world! I looked up your address - your house is maybe a mile at most from the last house I lived in when in High School. I lived west of Revere Rd, just south of Smith Road.
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Old 11-23-2020, 12:21 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creativepart View Post
You should definitely take a number of small close by trips. In doing so you'll:

1. Gain experience and confidence
2. Find out what works and doesn't work on your RV
3. Learn what to take and not to take
4. Learn how to plan your trip
5. Make a bunch of really silly mistakes that are easy to recover from and learn from

[...]

Gregg,


Absolutely agree but #3 needs some clarification.

Husband:

Tools to fill one bay
Shaving gear
Two pair of jeans, one for each week
One pair of good walking/working shoes


Wife:

30 sets of clothes
15 to 20 pair of shoes, mostly matching clothes.
15 to 20 handbags to match shoes

2 large suitcases of beauty supplies
The rest of the bays filled with accessories and supplies.

Sorry if I missed any, I'm just a pack mule and not the decider of what to take.
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Old 11-23-2020, 12:21 PM   #13
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p.s., set it up in the driveway for a few days and figure how things work.
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Old 11-23-2020, 12:37 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Morrow View Post
for various reasons, my wife and I couldn't leave Ohio, or be more than 2 hours away from home. Thing change. Oct. was our first oportunity to go anywhere of duration. As a result, we are inexperienced, unknowledgeable travelers. Any tips will be appreciated. Travel planner apps/sites, what to take or leave at home, even the best time year to travel. For example some responces say May is to early for Yellowstone, but the N.P.'s in Utah are already crowded or full by then. Perhaps this to big of a trip, and we should go smaller. Impatience is getting the best of us I fear.
You can spend 30 days and even longer in any one state/location and not see all that you want to see. So, plan on returning so while there scout the area out for better/cheaper and more suited for you needs.

When traveling from point A to B to C To D and doing it in 4 to 6 days you have used up about a tank of fuel, or more. If you can travel to A, spend a week, B, spend a week, C, spend a week, D, spend a week, you have used up the same amount of fuel as the for A to D but a month has gone by and retirement or other income has caught up with you.

Know what your limits are for your black and grey tanks, and also how much fresh water you are going to carry. While on the road, your on-board water will be used for different activities until you can hook up to city water. Using fresh water to flush or wash items is going to be the same weight as when the fresh water was added. Using city water is going to add weight as it is used.

Regardless of my attempt at humor for what a wife or husband takes, figure out your daily needs. If you have a washer/dryer on-board and hook up to city water and can open the greay tank, you don't have to carry as much clothing. However, in any regard always carry a little more than what you think you will need and always, always pack items that you can layer for when you run into the cold climate area.

Okay, I have rambled along so let me close by saying, ask questions. The worse you can get for asking is a "No," or "I don't know." Many on here will give their opinions on what to do ar not to do. Or, PM me with a question and remember that there are no stupid questions, only some not so correct answers.
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Old 11-23-2020, 06:49 PM   #15
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We traded our much much larger jayco for a winnie drop, mostly for travel convienance. We camp at hocking hills, alum creek, maumee bay and east harbor regularly. My semi invalid mother in law lived with us the last 10 years. We couldn't go far for fear of having to return on a moments notice, and we could only arange for someone to be with her for 3 or 4 days at a time. She past in late August at 101 years old. In Oct we went for a 2 week spur of the moment trip. Starting in shenandoah np. That was our only reservation, and it was for only 1 night. They switched us to a first come site, and we spent five days there. We need a generator! From there we went to Prince William NP for 3 days, and then to Assetegue(sp) SP/NP. PW had hookups, and solar power worked well at Assategue. We took a bunch of stuf we didn't need, and left some things we wish we had. Overall an enjoyable trip, but realized I could benefit from experience.
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Old 11-23-2020, 06:54 PM   #16
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In a Winnie Drop with a wet bath. So no laundry. We prefer NP/SP, but are more than willing to KOA or similar. Planing on getting a generator so hookups while prefered are not nessessary.
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Old 11-24-2020, 12:47 AM   #17
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As others said restrictions change all the time. Presently in NM you have a two week quarantine upon entry. Other states are the same. Fines vary state by state. State parks may be open to residents but closed to out-of-staters. Most NPs are or will be booked by now, some first-first-served spaces.

Smaller rigs will have an easier time finding a space. That's why we bought a Minnie Winnie 22R to compliment the 32ft 5th wheeler, we have both. Some western RVs campgrounds don't open until Memorial Day. So check in advance. Many summer boondock areas are closed until late May for muddy roads and wildlife needs. Don't even think about crossing into those closed areas. If caught the LEOs may hire mule teams to drag your vehicle out, giving you the bill and remaining parts.

This year will be different than any before in ways no one really knows.
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Old 11-24-2020, 08:20 AM   #18
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Quote:
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Gregg,


Absolutely agree but #3 needs some clarification.

Husband:

Tools to fill one bay
Shaving gear
Two pair of jeans, one for each week
One pair of good walking/working shoes


Wife:

30 sets of clothes
15 to 20 pair of shoes, mostly matching clothes.
15 to 20 handbags to match shoes

2 large suitcases of beauty supplies
The rest of the bays filled with accessories and supplies.

Sorry if I missed any, I'm just a pack mule and not the decider of what to take.
Hilarious!

My wife insists on a full week to prepare and pack for any trip. Me? I can be ready in 15 minutes.

My wife packs clothes for ALL climates, even when we are just going to the desert in July. Then, when we are at the destination, I hear this every morning: "Why did I bring this?"
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Old 11-24-2020, 09:02 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by DesertRatt View Post
Then, when we are at the destination, I hear this every morning: "Why did I bring this?"
While my wife packs for a 2 day trip as though we were going to be gone for a week, and for a week trip as though we were going to be gone for a month, what I always hear is "How did I forget that".
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Old 11-24-2020, 12:28 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Morrow View Post
We traded our much much larger jayco for a winnie drop, mostly for travel convienance. We camp at hocking hills, alum creek, maumee bay and east harbor regularly. My semi invalid mother in law lived with us the last 10 years. We couldn't go far for fear of having to return on a moments notice, and we could only arange for someone to be with her for 3 or 4 days at a time. She past in late August at 101 years old. In Oct we went for a 2 week spur of the moment trip. Starting in shenandoah np. That was our only reservation, and it was for only 1 night. They switched us to a first come site, and we spent five days there. We need a generator! From there we went to Prince William NP for 3 days, and then to Assetegue(sp) SP/NP. PW had hookups, and solar power worked well at Assategue. We took a bunch of stuf we didn't need, and left some things we wish we had. Overall an enjoyable trip, but realized I could benefit from experience.
Sorry for the loss of your mother. 101, sounds like she had a good life...
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