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Bud in Florida
I know there are plenty of you who have travels cross country, but this was my first time in years. I just thought I might post some random thoughts of things I have learned on this trip.Feel free to add your wisdom. It might help others

1. Don't be afraid of the roads. My motor home has handles all the twists and turns the Rockies has thrown at it. Just go slow, drive ahead and don't worry if there are people behind you

2. The peace of mind of a good road service company is priceless-- I have used Coach Net and they have been very helpful.

3. The concept of cash back when you use your atm card is not a universal one. Found many areas of the country that did not allow cash back. All of Canada is that way.

4. Crossing into Canada with a dog was a snap. Had heard it might not be, but we had no problems either way

5. US health insurance is not always good in Canada. Good Sam offers a cheap daily policy.

6. Gas is over $4.00/gal in Canada

7. If you are traveling to Canada, get a metric to english converter. 100km/hr = 60 mph

8. Put some rest days in your schedule

9. You meet some really nice people while traveling

More to follow
RCDCTN
Thanks for the info. Keep it coming.
Bud in Florida
11. laundry can be a big expense. Some places charge a bunch to wash and dry. Might want to shop around. We saw as much as $4 a load to wash and $2 to dry. down to as little as $1.75 to wash and .75 to dry.

12. Canada is a foreign country. Your ATM and charge cards will charge you a foreign transaction fee. The only card that does not is Capital One.

13. A senior national park pass will save you a ton of $$$
DXSMac
Bud, I'm doing a cross country trip. I'm driving to KENTUCKY! However, I'm going to Shanksville, PA first.

I budgeted in some rest days, haven't needed them yet......

What is your average miles per day? On prior long trips (like, to California, and to Albuquerque), I did 250 a day. Now I'm doing 300 a day.

JJ
Bud in Florida
We have done from low of about 75 miles to a high of over 400. I find I like around 300. Love days when I can get set up and still have time for a swim or a bike ride

14. Invest in a small electric heater. Saves a ton on propane. I have been on the road in some cold areas and have used less than a 1/2 a tank of propane. The Little heater has done great. Just use the furnace to take the chill off in the morning

15. You can do a long trip w/o a toad. We have gotten good prices on rental cars.
Denali
QUOTE(DXSMac @ Jun 24 2009, 07:17 PM) *
What is your average miles per day? On prior long trips (like, to California, and to Albuquerque), I did 250 a day. Now I'm doing 300 a day.

JJ
We follow the "two thirty" rule. Drive either 230 miles or until 2:30 in the afternoon, whichever comes first. smile.gif
DXSMac
QUOTE(Bud in Florida @ Jun 24 2009, 08:06 PM) *

We have done from low of about 75 miles to a high of over 400. I find I like around 300. Love days when I can get set up and still have time for a swim or a bike ride

14. Invest in a small electric heater. Saves a ton on propane. I have been on the road in some cold areas and have used less than a 1/2 a tank of propane. The Little heater has done great. Just use the furnace to take the chill off in the morning

15. You can do a long trip w/o a toad. We have gotten good prices on rental cars.


Electric heater YES! I got the Parabolic Heat Dish, it uses only 13 amps as opposed to 15 amps, and really puts the heat out. I also keep an oil filled plug in radiator for the bedroom.

Toadless can be done! Check out my blog!

JJ
Florida Native
We used Wal-Mart $100 over purchase all over the country. We certainly agree with the ďrest daysĒ. We do it on a very random basis. Seeing things can make you very tired. We for example, we spent 3 days enjoying San Antonio, TX. We had a wonderful time, spent lots of extra money and were very tired when we were through. We spent an extra night at the next stop and chilled out and recharged. We usually do laundry away from the campground. We love to read and it doesnít take that long when you have a bank of washers. At home, my wife does the laundry. On the road it is definately a team thing. We do it about every 10 days and have enough clothes to suit this schedule. We also use the no reservation in advance mode of travel as we never know where we will end up. You never know what is going to be around the next bend in the road. Could be something very interesting. We have never had a problem doing this in hundreds of nights of camping. We do plan to boondock on holiday weekends and stuff.
We made 9,200 miles in 90 days on last trip and averaged a little less for our previous 90 day trip. To me, it isnít a race, itís an adventure. We normally drive a couple of hours in the morning, stop for lunch, and drive a couple of hours in the afternoon and frequently stop for extended trips in the toad to explore. I usually put a lots more miles on the toad than the coach. We once drove from Bangor, Maine to central Florida (1,600 miles) in 4 Ĺ days (due to a family emergency) and it almost killed me. If I would average 300 miles on a long trip, I would feel like I missed so much, Even averaging 100 miles a day, I think we could go back into each state and stay weeks without duplication or getting bored. America is wonderful.
Bud in Florida
A GPS is a good thing to have, but a good set of maps is a necessity. They allow you to plan ahead and see alternate routes much better than a GPS. We could not have made the trip w/o our Good Sam Atlas!

Another plug for the Toadless RV site
http://rvingtoadless.blogspot.com/
Good stuff there.
We are in the Wisconsin Dells for a couple of nights
DXSMac
QUOTE(Bud in Florida @ Jun 28 2009, 04:10 PM) *

Another plug for the Toadless RV site
http://rvingtoadless.blogspot.com/
Good stuff there.


Aw..... THANKS! That's MY blog! Thank you!

JJ
Florida Native
I saw your blog and we stayed in that same park in Port Townson, WA. that you stayed in. We had two sea otters run thru out site. Amazing. That is about as far as you can get from my house in Florida. America is an amazing country.
Bud in Florida
Come on Lindsay-- in Florida it would have been alligators! The $100 over at Wal-Mart works well if there is a Wal-Mart. I have in the past done that at a grocery store. But in parts of the west, the stores would not do cash back. I was surprised. Also, was surprised at how few Wal-Marts there were in Ak. I mean that is their home! the whole concept of cash back is foreign to Canada. But found a Credit Union that did not charge a fee for atm withdrawals-- just the foreign fee was applied. I remember when the only penalty for using a foreign atm was the fee your home bank charged. Now you might pay a fee for the bank whose ATM you use, a fee to your bank and now the foreign exchange fee if you are out of the country. What a rip off!
Florida Native
The sea otters were in Port Townson, WA where Toadless stayed in the same park, but at different times. We also use Bank of America and can find them or Wal-Mart without too much trouble. I donít think I have ever even used an ATM. We use mainly a debit card from BOA and each carry a couple of hundred in cash on us. That lasts a good while and when it gets low, we both fill up family at Wal-Mart. About the only place I use cash is for tips. I use Quicken to do my banking and do my checking online. It is an easy task to keep current. We keep receipts and it works out real well. You can do over at places like Home Depot, Lowes, or Ace Hardware for no fee also. We have never camping outside the US, but are planning (we think) to go up Newfoundland, PEI, and that area next summer depending on what teh government has saddled us with are going up to Rock Crusher Canyon next weekend for the 4th. You should come up.
Bud in Florida
Would love to Lindsay, but we will still be on the road. I was shocked in places out west that there were no Wal-Marts and no National bank chains-- west Yellowstone was one place and the "super" market would not allow any $$ over when using a debit card. I was shocked. There was also no national bank chain. Just want people to be aware to have some spare cash. You can't always find what we take for granted. Enjoy your trip/
Florida Native
We will hopefully be headed out to Mount Rushmore via MI's UP in several weeks if our daughter's recovery from surgery progresses as we hope.
Cheryl
Target will also allow you money back with a debit card and no fees.
Bud in Florida
Just drove through Cook County Ill on toll roads. Paid over $10 to drive on these roads. My question is this. I thought the money that they collected for tolls was to maintain the road. Well, it isn't happening in Cook County. Now I realize Cook County is an exception to almost all rules and laws, but where does the money go? I would not mind paying tolls if I got to drive on nice roads, but these were among the worst of the trip. Seems to me that toll roads should be better than regular roads. Oh well, we are out of Ill. But I think it is a reasonable question.
Jerry S
Hi Bud,

As a native Chicagoan, I'll give it a try.

For starters, all 300 or so miles of tollroads in IL are owned and operated by the state of IL - Cook County has no control over these roads. Next, only about 50 miles of this 300 mile system are in Cook County. Depending on what route you took, some of those terrible sections you drove on may have been in DuPage, Kane, or Will counties.

Putting aside the possibility that greed, corruption, graft, etc. plays a role, there are a number of reasons that it is difficult to keep these roads in good condition. Among them are the havoc wrought upon the roads by the weather and traffic volume. Our weather extremes in northern IL cause constant damage to any road surface man has yet to devise. With the exception of the NYC and LA areas, nowhere else in the country get more traffic than the Chicago area. In many northern areas, there is a saying that we have 2 seasons - winter and construction -when it comes to driving. Every year there are significant stretches of roadway that are being repaired/rebuilt. Additionally, many of these roadways were originall built 30-40 years ago when nobody had the foresight to realize that traffic volume would quadruple. The original roads were supposed to last 30 years but most of them have beeen rebuilt more than once and are in a constant state of reconstruction/repair. 4 and 6 lane roads were not built to handle today's traffic volume and there is not room to widen these roads. Cost and logistics keep them in this situation. The tollway comission should do a better job, but I am not certain that they can do much better in our imperfect world.
Butch
One answer to some of the highway problems in the USA is to put the over the road trailers, of tractor/trailers, on rail cars. This would relieve traffic and weight damage to our highways......just a thought.....
Bud in Florida
Jerry-- thanks for the thoughts. I was mostly kidding about the Cook County part. But the roads are terrible in that part of Ill. As a matter of fact the roads in the midwest were much worse than the roads out west. I think the problem is that we have neglected our road system for so long that we are reaping the results. If we want to have first class roads we have to maintain what we have before we build more. But that is not as attractive as getting a new road built. Hopefully, we'll start a big push for repair under the economic receovery act. Saw a lot of signs advertising that repairs were to begin under that plan.
Jerry S
Bud,

You're welcome. The philosophical gist of my post was that we, as travelers, are too often critical of something in an area we are visiting because we don't have the same situation at home. On of my favorite examples is folks from the south who come north between September and May and complain about closed pools, water shut off, in-season facilities and/or amenities not being available, etc. Unfortunately, our society can't seem to stop being overly provincial.

Butch,

While I agree that "truck" traffic is a major contributor to the poor condition of our roads and it would be great if trains could replace all those trucks, I don't think your "thought" is workable. I am certainly no expert is the area of transporting freight, but it seems to me that most freight trains carry their load (coal, cars, whatever) either long distances from point A to point B for disemination (cars) or processing (coal). How many more rail beds and freight cars would have to be built to take even a fraction of the trucks off the highways? The cost of new trains, freight cars, rail lines, rail centers, etc. would probably be astronomical. Then there are the logistical nightmares of providing this train delivery service throughout the country. Is is efficient for a train to stop every 50 or 100 miles to drop off a load or two? Even if it was possible to do this, I am not certain that it would be economical or practical. Just my "thought".

Jerry S.

pianotuna
Hi Jerry,

Trains used to stop about every 7 miles in the days of steam to take on more water. Stopping every 50 miles would be easy and efficient, particularly with modern technology where a single carriage could be disconnected without stopping the whole train.
Bud in Florida
Seems like there are a ton of trains carry trailers in Canada-- some are even stacked two high on a flat bed train car.
Florida Native
QUOTE(pianotuna @ Jul 2 2009, 02:45 PM) *

Hi Jerry,

Trains used to stop about every 7 miles in the days of steam to take on more water.



That's strange. My wife stops every 7 miles to let off water.

HappiestCamper
QUOTE(Lindsay Richards @ Jul 2 2009, 07:26 PM) *

That's strange. My wife stops every 7 miles to let off water.

laugh.gif laugh.gif laugh.gif
DXSMac
Hey, I just realized, I'm on a cross country, too!

Here is my contribution:

Power surges and fluctuations are more prevalent in the eastern states than western states. I have had to turn on my battery to support the fluctuations more in eastern states.

If I'm wrong about this, let me know!

JJ
pianotuna
Hi JJ,

Do you usually turn off the battery when you are on shore power? I think that is a poor idea as the system is designed to use the batteries as a capacitor to "smooth" the 12 volt side of life, and the shore power will, oh so slowly, charge the batteries up to *full*.

Or do you mean you have an inverter that you turn on? Inquiring minds want to know!

400 miles in two days should be a piece of cake for a seasoned traveler such as you!

QUOTE(DXSMac @ Jul 3 2009, 08:15 AM) *


Here is my contribution:

Power surges and fluctuations are more prevalent in the eastern states than western states. I have had to turn on my battery to support the fluctuations more in eastern states.

If I'm wrong about this, let me know!

JJ

DXSMac
I usually turn the battery off when I'm on shore power. Ok, now I see why I should leave it on. I didn't realize shore power would charge the batteries.

JJ
Bud in Florida
We learn something every day! Got home Saturday and already wish I was back out west. Enjoy People-- we have to make the most of the time God gives us!
beemerchef
We take rest days... many... about a 1000 of them by now!
Lately through WY and MT I noticed that the bank is charging an extra 1$ when using a debit card... I am looking into it now. We tow a motorcycle with a sidecar for Spirit, we tent camp a lot when the RV (White Elephant) is secure so the bike only holding 5G we stop a lot for gas...
Maybe other's have been charged that $1 also?

Be well... Ara & Spirit

The Oasis of my Soul
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