I just received my Good Sam RV Travel Guide for 2014. About the size of the New York City Yellow pages, this massive resource is from one of the major RV organizations in the country. Besides the listings of over 13,000 campgrounds all across the U.S. and Canada, it has whole sections devoted to RV trips of a lifetime, maps, rules of the road, maintenance hints, and hundreds of dollars in coupons. Just flipping through it gets my travel juices flowing.
I will admit that the reviews of some the RV campgrounds, and especially the photos used in the display ads, are not always representative. The Good Sam rating system is prone to higher scores than I would agree with for some facilities, too. I make it a point to check review sites and the campground's own web site before booking space for a trip. But, even with those limitations, this directory is where I start every trip's planning.
With a major RV adventure on the books for this summer, I had been anxiously awaiting the new directory. Betty, Bailey (the dog), and I are sketching out a trip from our home base in Arizona, northeast through Utah, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, and ending in Wisconsin. After three full weeks exploring the Badger state, we return by way of South Dakota, Wyoming, and back through Utah, and crossing the Arizona border south of Las Vegas before arriving home in Scottsdale about 4,000 miles and a little over two months later.
Why Wisconsin as our major exploration stop? Over twenty years ago Betty went on a solo vacation there. She spend two weeks driving all over the state, filming waterfalls, lovely state parks, and cute small towns. A few months ago she dug out those old VHS tapes and we watched them together. Wisconsin is beautiful, green, and welcoming. While I had occasional business trips to Milwaukee and Madison I had never spent any time exploring. After seeing those old tapes, we knew what our destination should be for this summer.
As my post of a few weeks ago noted, the concept of a Gap Year has sort of captured my imagination. It isn't practical for us to be gone for a full year, but several long trips broken up with a few months at home, sounds doable. We are itching to shake up our lives and routines.
Both Betty and I came to the solution of one major problem almost at the same moment: how to get home for the break period without having to drive the RV back 1,000 or 2,000 miles, and then driving those same miles again to pick up where we left off. The answer was obvious: put the RV and towed vehicle in storage when we are ready to take a break and fly home. When that time off the road is over, fly back to where the RV is, and begin the next phase of the adventure. A simple solution to a perplexing dilemma. Not so fast.
What about Bailey? We will not ship her in the cargo hold, nor buy her a seat in coach. So, we compromised. We will leave the RV in storage and drive the towed vehicle back home (and then again back to the RV). That just means more time to explore the back roads of our country.
So, the question we are wrestling with at the start of this new year is do we see how we like being away for a good chunk of this summer and then build "gap" trips into future years? Or, do we decide to roll the dice and add a few more long trips to this year?
I preach the need to take risks and step out of the box. I think it is time I began to listen to my own words and see what happens.
Note: I have learned this blog has been picked as one of the Top 50 RV blogs by Florida Outdoors RV, one of the major dealers in the Sunshine State. I appreciate the honor and invite you to check out the whole list. There are enough blogs listed here dedicated to RVing and travel to keep you busy for months!