The Great American Road Trip

On May 13th, we’ll be hooking up our 5th wheel RV to our pickup truck, loading up the 4 dogs, and pulling out of our driveway.

We’re Heading West.

The Great American Road Trip, a 6,000+ mile RV adventure through 18 states, will be officially underway!

4 Dogs, 18 States and 6,000 Miles in an RV. The #GreatAmericanRoadTrip begins! Click To Tweet

RV trip across the USA

The Great American Road Trip

By the end of Day 1, we’ll be an easy 170 miles from home and camping in the State Park on the shores of Lake Guntersville, Alabama. We’re taking it slow on that first day, just to work the kinks out.

We’re be taking it easy for the entire journey West.

We’re following “The 330 Rule”, a self-imposed guideline to limit our mileage to 330 miles maximum per day, and stopping each afternoon by 3:30 pm.  I saw the 330 Rule on RVLifestyle, and decided to adopt it for our Great American Road Trip (imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, right?).

We won’t arrive at our final destination (Tacoma, WA) until June 8th, after taking a month to drive from our home in Blue Ridge, GA to a campground near our daughter and her family.  Then, we’ll sit tight and enjoy June and July with our new granddaughter before heading back home in August.

Isn’t retirement great?

We're taking a month to drive from Georgia to Washington. We're going to enjoy the cross-country adventure. Click To Tweet

Today, I’m sharing our plans for The Great American Road Trip.  Let’s start with what we’ll be sleeping in…


The Rig

Ford F250 & Reflection 5th Wheel at Chilhowee Mountain, TN

Since we knew that camping was something we wanted to do in retirement, we built the purchases into the Steps We Took Before Retirement, and purchased both the truck (Ford F250) and the RV (Reflection 337 RLS) in my final months of work. After we bought it, I took the beast out to a BIG parking lot to practice backing (Note: 5th wheels are harder to back than “bumper pull” trailers due to the physics of the hitch location, but I got it down after some practice).

We spent last summer (our first in retirement) camping around our part of the country and became comfortable with our setup.  We also learned how to effectively camp with 4 dogs, and found it is generally a positive experience.  I wouldn’t suggest attempting a cross-country trip until you’ve had some “local” practice, and learn a few tricks (e.g., walkie-talkies are very helpful to communicate between the “spotter” and the “driver” as you’re backing into your campsite).

You call this camping? Glamping, perhaps…

We made some upgrades based on our test runs, including the installation of a backup camera on the back of the 5th wheel and an automated tire pressure monitoring system to minimize the risk of a tire blowout en route. 

We couldn’t be happier with our rig and are confident that it will be well within our capability to drive the unit 6,000 miles over the summer months. 

The dogs don’t have a clue what’s coming.  Speaking of the dogs, let’s introduce you…


The 4 Dogs

Since you’re going to be getting to know the dogs a bit this summer through my occasional updates from the road, I thought now would be a good time to introduce you.  We’ve camped with the dogs numerous times over the past year, and I’m including pictures of each dog from various camping trips:

Coco (aka “Coco The Loco”)

Coco, lounging in her camping chair.

Coco’s our crazy dog. 

She’s a dog we rescued 6 years ago as a puppy, and she’s schizophrenic.  She’s a Dutch Shephard/Malinois mix, a breed often used for police work.  She typically as loving as they come, but her “Dr. Jekyl” comes out when she meets strange men.  We think that behavioral trait goes back to her abuse as a puppy, and we keep a muzzle close by when there’s a chance she’ll meet a stranger.  She’s lightning fast and loves to run (and, unfortunately, to hunt).  For obvious reasons, she’s now kept on a leash (or in our fenced in yard at the cabin) 100% of the time.  She sounds crazy, but she really is a great dog.  And, she’ll keep us safe if anyone gets any crazy ideas about breaking into our camper!

PS – A Secret?  Coco is sort of “my” dog.  She’s my favorite, and I’m hers.  I hope the other dogs don’t read this post, wouldn’t want any hurt feelings.


Sawyer (aka “Sawyer The Lawyer”)

Sawyer – lounging on his bed by the fireplace in our RV

Sawyer is our only dog that isn’t a rescue.   

He’s an Australian Shephard we got before we were involved in dog rescue, and he’s true to his breed’s calling.  He’s a natural herder; when we used to have Pygmy Goats he loved to “round them up” after we let them graze in our yard.  He even herds us when we’re taking hikes, running laps around the rest of us while we’re walking down the trail.  He makes sure we all stay together as a pack, and makes sure we follow the rules (hence the nickname).  

PS – A Secret?  Sawyer is sort of my wife’s dog.  He whimpers like he’s dying whenever she gets her purse and heads for the front door (funny, he doesn’t seem to do that when I’m the one who’s leaving).  He’s one loyal dog, and his loyalty for my wife runs deep.


Nymeria (aka “Nervous Nymie”)

Nymeria, looking nervous on our first night in the RV (in our driveway!)

Nymeria was never intended to be our dog (and we never would have chosen that name!)

Our daughter asked her to “keep her until she’s housebroken” shortly after she adopted Nymeria as a rescue while she was in college.  5 years later, she’s still a part of the family.  She gets nervous about a lot of things, but of the four dogs, she’s the most loving.  Her favorite place in the world is curled up in a lap (either mine, or my wife’s, doesn’t really matter to Nymeria as long as she’s in a lap), and she’s quick to jump up and claim her spot as soon as one of us sits down in our favorite chair.  She’s as sweet as they come and has become a favorite of most of our friends.  She doesn’t mind – she loves everybody!


Chip (aka “Chippy the Hippy”)

Camping with dogs
Chippy on a hike to Hemlock Falls in the Appalachian Mountains.

Chip is a special dog, with a special rescue story.   

My wife and I personally rescued him, along with his Mom and his four litter-mates when he was 6 weeks old.  They were living behind a run down mobile home, in a small fence on a cement pad.  My wife and I raised the litter on our screened in porch, and fell in love with Chip.  We worked to get all of his siblings (and mother) adopted through our charity work with a local dog rescue organization, but experienced “Foster Fail” with Chip and decided to keep him. He’s a free-spirited hippy who loves every minute of life.  Unfortunately, he’s got a defective heart and is expected to live a shorter than average life, but he makes up for it by living every minute to the fullest.

 Oh, if we could all enjoy life as much as Chippy The Hippy.  He is one happy dog.  

I’ve had a reader ask for some tips on camping with dogs, and hope to write a future post on some of the lessons we learn about Camping With Our Canines during the Great American Road Trip.  Stay Tuned…


the route for our great american road trip

The Itinerary

As we started planning for this trip, we had a decision to make.  Should we book our campsites in advance, or should we “wing it” and plan as we go?

As we started researching spots in the Pacific Northwest that we wanted to visit, the answer became obvious.  Since several of the State Parks on the coast of Oregon and Washington are booked solid ~6 months in advance, we had to book ahead in order to get reservations in the places we wanted to stay.  To know the dates we needed for our coastal camping, we had to figure out when we were going to arrive on the coast of Oregon. 

To determine that, we started building our Westbound trip in a spreadsheet, leaving some “Zero Days” (no driving) along the way.  The result is below – our Westbound leg:

travel across America

You’ll see a LOT of State Parks (Yellow Boxes) on that fancy map I created above.  We’ve discovered through our experience that camping in State Parks is our preference with the dogs.  State Parks tend to be “Dog-Friendly”, and typically have numerous hiking trails for us to explore with our canine kids.  Also, they tend to be located at interesting “local” features and provide campground settings that we prefer vs. the “RV Park” environment.

For the observant among you, you’ll notice we’ll be breaching our 330 rule twice during the journey, with two days in excess of 330 miles.  Call it a guideline instead of a rule, but the reality is there are some vast distances in the American West, and a few longer days were required to get to the places we wanted to see.  Call in the RV police.  Our adventure, our rules guidelines.

Hint:  For those of you staying in National Parks this summer, you may want to check out these cost-saving ideas from CouponChief. They were kind to send them to me, and I thought it appropriate to share this good resource.


The Highlight Of The Trip

On November 27, 2018, my wife and I became grandparents when our daughter gave birth to Octavia Rose.  We were fortunate to be in Tacoma, WA on that special day (another benefit of retirement!):

Octavia meeting her Grandad for the first time.

It’s an unfortunate reality that many parents have children who live far away.  We can relate.

In our case, our son-in-law’s military service requires them to be based at Fort Lewis, in Washington State.  We’re happy for the three of them and have enjoyed watching our grandaughter’s first 6 months of life via video calls.  It’s not the same as being there, however, so the primary purpose for The Great American Road Trip is to enjoy an extended visit with our daughter’s family.  It will, without doubt, be the highlight of our trip.

We’re fortunate that we chose to retire early.  We’re also fortunate that we’d planned to travel in retirement and built the purchase of “the toys” for RV travel into our plans. Having the freedom to spend our summer in the Pacific Northwest with Octavia and her parents is one of the biggest benefits of our early retirement. 


Podcast Version!

I was honored to be on The Retirement Answer Man’s Podcast last week talking about our plans for The Great American Road Trip!  If you’d like to hear Roger and I talking about our adventure, check it out here(Thanks for having me on your show, Roger, it’s always fun chatting with you!). 


Conclusion

The Great American Road Trip is about to begin.  It will be the culmination of a long-time dream my wife and I have had to travel across the USA. 

We have no idea what awaits us on this, the biggest adventure we’ve ever undertaken.  That’s fine with us, we’ll go with the flow and enjoy the ride.  Sometimes, you have to stretch yourself.

To Try New Adventures.

To Live Your Dreams.

Isn’t that what retirement is all about?

Experience Life.  Develop some dream.

Then, Go Live Them.

#LiveLife  

88 comments

  1. Very inspirational. On my bucket list to do a summer road trip in the next few years when my daughter is old enough to enjoy it, but not too old to not want to spend a summer with us. 🙂

    Look me up when passing through northern Utah if you want to stretch your legs and do some hiking or mountain bike riding. Would like to meet. Not sure where you’d park that thing though. It looks bigger (and definitely nicer) than my house!

    1. I lobe this blog! I read many different financial blogs and this one always educates me and is enjoyable to read. Please keep writing!

      1. Glad you love it! Thanks for your kind words! I may take a bit of a sabbatical during our long trip (watch for a post on that topic), but you can rest assured I plan on continuing my writing well into retirement!

  2. Sounds like a fun trip. Definitely a bucket list item. No love for Arizona though…? I guess it will be summer temperatures by the time you start. Still, who doesn’t like to hike when it’s 138 degrees outside?!? It’s a dry heat…

  3. Can’t wait to see your posts during your journey, Fritz. Your planning and organization of your trip is commendable. Love it! Be safe and have fun.

  4. You continue to inspire me and crystalize my thoughts of early retirement. Our bucket list clearly align in many ways. Looking forward to your journey as we follow along through your updates. Safe travels

  5. Your trip sounds like a great time, but that model Reflection is 14,000 lbs meaning your truck is overloaded. You need a 350 Super Duty dually to tow safely.

    1. Theresa, we did our research before buying the rig. Per this article, our F250 (as equipped) is capable of pulling 14,700 lbs. Our Reflection is 10,570 empty, with a GVWR of 13,995 lbs. We’ll be running with empty tanks, so I expect we’ll be below 13,000 lbs for our trip, a nice safety margin below our truck’s capabilities.

      1. Hi Fritz,

        The hitch weight of you RV is less than 2100 lbs. With the towing capacity and the payload of your F250, you should have no trouble towing that beautiful RV.

  6. Great choice on your RV, Fritz……….We’re looking at a Grand Design Momentum 351M. By the way, heard you on Fritz’s podcast. We also listen to RV Lifestyle for good tips. Great job and enjoy the trip!

      1. Haha, I didn’t think I’d started a podcast (yet), but sometimes I do get confused… I enjoyed chatting with Roger on his podcast, glad you heard it! BTW, we love our Grand Design, and think you’d be making a fine choice based on our experience.

  7. 219 days till retirement, and every day seems an eternity right now. Thanks for the inspiration. Makes me feel good to know that retirement can be all that I have dreamed. However, camping for me is Holiday Inn. I’ll do the drive, and stay in a nice hotel. My wife and I have been using TravelZoo.com to get some nice travel deals recently. Keep up the enjoyment!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. I remember like yesterday when I was 219 days away. It’ll fly by. And…nothing wrong with Holiday Inn, YOUR retirement has to be the retirement of YOUR dreams! Thanks for the tip on TravelZoo, I’m not familiar with them but will check it out!

  8. Thanks for sharing. I’m going to add this blog in to my first year of retirement and enjoy vicariously through your Great Adventure. I am a hiker, so my first shot out of the gate is Peru, but I want to start exploring the National Parks, and an RV sure sounds like a lot of fun. LOVE THE DOGS. Have fun!

  9. Hello Fritz, I’d be curious about the truck pull during your trip with that size trailer. I am retired, just getting out of the house shortly and have a diesel Excursion I’ve had for a while and with it’s 7.3L motor, I am still going back and forth of the size of a trailer and weight I want to comfortably pull. With your trailer at 13,000 GVW and I assume the F250 has a sizable diesel motor, that will be interesting to drive. I have been reading your blog for a while and know you thought all this out but look forward to reading along. Be safe out there.

    1. Dale, we spent several years thinking about our rig before we settled on our setup. We’re very pleased with how our Ford pulls the trailer (for the record, we have the 6.7 liter Power Stroke Diesel, and made sure we would be within it’s specified tow limits with our trailer). With 950 lbs of torque, it pulls the trailer with ease, even up some pretty steep grades near our cabin in the mountains.

  10. Have a great trip! It looks awesome. We’ll try to drive out and meet up when you’re in Oregon.
    Usually, we go camping at the beach once per year, but it’s been busy this year. I didn’t book a campsite so it’ll be tough. We’ll just do a day trip or something. Enjoy!

    1. I hope you’re able to make it out, Joe, it’d be great to finally meet you! I was surprised to see that all of the coastal state parks in Oregon book up so early, glad we made the decision to plan the entire trip to ensure we could get some high quality time on “your” gorgeous coast! Hope to see you this summer!

  11. Fritz,
    Your train trip got me all excited and have reservations to ride the train from Orlando to New Haven in May when my grandson will be awarded his doctorate. Have a private bedroom reserved to New York. Your trip to the Northwest sure sounds interesting and I remember the wonderful days from 1997 to 2009 working cows on two dude ranches, one in Wyoming and the other in Idaho. Have also flown trips out of McChord Air Force Base at Tacoma. Enjoy your drive.

    1. The Colonel!!! Great to see that you’re still reading my blog, Don, and pleased beyond words that my train post inspired you to take the train up to New Haven. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did! Also fun to know we have McChord in common. A beautiful base, love seeing Mount Rainier from the base! Thanks for stopping by.

  12. I hope you have a wonderful trip. I spent some time on the Oregon coast last year and was amazed at how relaxing and addicting it was to whale watch from shore. Looking forward to hearing more about your adventure.

  13. Wow Fritz, what a journey. I like that you are taking your time about it, and have built in a few ‘no travel’ days, to spend a day or two in some places.
    I look forward to reading your updates as you go along.
    I agree with your philosophy – Try New Adventures and Live Your Dreams.

    Have Fun

  14. Hi Fritz,

    Enjoy your trip. I am sure it will be lots of fun!!!

    What software did you use to make your map?

  15. We fell in love at the park in Wall Doxey. Still married 41 years later!!
    Grandchildren are the best – What a wonderful trip you will have!! 🙂

  16. Just Do It!
    Wait, I think someone’s already using that. Sounds like a great adventure.

    Supposedly, it’s not the destination, but the journey that brings joy. In your case it will be both!

  17. Fritz, the trip sounds fantastic and well planned (I wouldn’t expect anything less:) ). This is the first time I’ve heard of the 330 rule but it’s a good way to make sure you keep everyday balanced between driving and activities. One saving tip when RVing is to use GasBuddy app (GasGuru is similar) as fuel prices vary significantly and the lowest price is rarely near the exit but typically less than 1 mile from it. Given that we typically put 30 gallons of diesel at fill-up the savings certainly add-up (we’ve seen over $1.00/gallon difference in CA!). Enjoy the adventure.

  18. Fritz, sounds like a great trip and glad you are taking your dogs along. They will love it…However, please tell me you are Not taking Hwy 550 between Durango and Ridgeway, Co. That road especially between Silverton and Ouray is the most hair raising highway I have ever driven. Curves, drop-offs on the left side going North, so it least you won’t be on the outside where there are no guard rails…Yikes …..I asked a local in Ouray why it didn’t have guard rails and the reply was “It would give a false sense of security”….

    1. “The most hair raising highway I have ever driven”? Sounds awesome…Fritz goes to dig out his map. Haha. I can’t say that I know exactly how we’re going at this point, I’ll make a note on our itinerary to avoid Hwy 550 if possible, thanks for the tip! BTW, who needs guardrails? Smiles.

      1. Check out “Colorado’s Million Dollar Highway”. You will find some photos and advisory about the curves and no guardrails…. Several hairpin curves. I drove it up and back Ouray to Silverton in a Jeep Cherokee : That was enough for me, Have been back to Silverton several times but would not drive to Ouray…, can’t imagine how it would be pulling that big rig behind you…..

      2. Hwy 550 is one of the greatest drives in America. By all means, do it!

        If I could make one other suggestion, consider going from Ouachita straight to Palo Duro. Get through Oklahoma as quickly as possible so you can get on to the Mnts, and the West Coast.
        North Texas is flat as a pancake, nothing at all to see. Unless there’s a special reason to go to Cedar Hill, then there’s really no reason at all (IMO) to drive all the way South to an out of the way suburb on the far Southwest side of Dallas only to leave again the next day.

        Go West Young Man (as quickly as you can)!!

        1. Todd, thanks for the tips! Ironically, I watched a few Hwy 550 YouTube videos this week to determine “if we could make it”. Seems we’ll be ok, especially since we’ll be Northbound. I’m leaning toward giving it a go, my wife is less convinced. Wink. I read her your comment, thanks for helping in the marital negotiations!

          As for Cedar Hill, we’re intentionally making the slight detour for a quick visit with my sister, who lives nearby. Seems a shame to get so close and not stop by to say “hi”. Agree it’s a deadhead drive, but family is worth it!

    2. I live in Crested Butte and visit Ouray frequently. I also drive a 40’ diesel pusher motorhome. I would definitely NOT take highway 550 between Durango and Ouray!! Regardless of which direction you are traveling. As a long time RV owner/driver, the best advice I ever got was take the easy route not the shortest. For that leg the best route for a big rig is to drive from Durango to Cortez on 160, then turn north on 145 through Dolores and Rico to Placerville. Make a right onto 62 which will take you right into Ridgeway. Once in Ridgeway, you can drive on 550 south to Ouray if you want to visit it (that section is flat). The sketchy part is between Durango-Silverton-Ouray. I have driven this route in my motorhome and can vouch for it. Again DO NOT attempt 550 between Durango and Ouray – you will be sorry, especially if you are relatively new to big rig driving.

  19. Hi Fritz!
    You are doing this year what our plan is to do next. We have the truck and have budgeted for the rv (we will do a pull-behind as our truck has a cap and we prefer this). Our route will be a bit different than yours as we will start in NH and go across the northern tier before heading south along the Pacific coast. I love the 330 rule – we will go a step further and insist that we stay at least 3 days in each location. I want to smell the roses and not have it be a mad dash across the country.
    Good tip about the State Parks. As campers from way back we have had similar experiences about their facilities and dog-friendliness.
    I will be reading with GREAT interest as you head off on your adventure…please pass on important bits that you learn along the way!

    1. Nancy, Glad to hear our trip will be a good briefing for you before you head out! I’m thinking I’ll likely post some “lessons learned” or “tips for RV’ing Cross-Country with Dogs”, I’ll keep you in mind!

  20. Happy travels!

    I look forward to the follow up post detailing all the things you plan to do differently the second time around. I hear there’s a bit of a learning curve with RVs. And yes, we’re in the market for one, as well.

    Cheers!
    -PoF

    1. Doc!! Great to see you on my site! I’ll trade you a month in our RV for a month in your new Northern Michigan home, looks like a great place where you’re building your retirement home! Looking forward to seeing you at FinCon!

  21. Good choice on the south route first. It looks like you’re coming back on I-80 and then down I-29 to KC which is currently closed by the flooding in Iowa/Nebraska/Missouri between Glenwood, IA and St. Joseph, MO. Hopefully it’ll reopen before fall or you’ll have to reroute.

  22. What a planned trek Fritz! My wife and I did the trails at Glacier NP last July. Such beauty and awesome trails. Hope you are ready for some serious hiking and spectacular vistas. Word of advice from someone who sustained bursitis in both knees, don’t push one last hike on old shoes just because you want to add one more spec of trail dust from another wonderful work of nature. I made that mistake wanting to add on to dust collected from the Inca Trail, Cappadocia Turkey, Montserrat, the Big Island Hawaii and Alaska. I learned my lesson the hard, painful way. I got me a new pair for the Romanian Carpathians this summer.

    1. Good advice, Eduardo. Everything in moderation, right!? I have the same challenge with my running shoes, “experts” say to replace them at 500 miles, I’m always tempted to push them further to save the $$. Sometimes it’s worth spending the money to get the right equipment!

  23. This is soooo cool, Fritz! I’m excited for y’all and can’t wait to live vicariously through your posts and photos!

  24. Sounds so wonderful, Y’all will have the time of your lives… We are blessed to be part of it.. Can’t wait to see and hear about all your adventures.. May God be with you every mile of this journey..

  25. Enjoy your time at Palo Duro! My wife and I visited that State Park last summer and loved it! The views are great, but take your time pulling that trailer down into the canyon, the road is… well… fun. Enjoy the trip!

  26. Hey Fritz. If you’d like a free lunch/dinner when you visit Cedar Hill on May 19th, I’d be happy to take/meet you and your wife to dinner. On me of course. I live north of there in McKinney.

    1. I’d love to, Hobo, but afraid we’re only going to be there one night to visit my sister. We couldn’t afford to “go slow” the entire trip out, and decided to move quickly through the Dallas area since we lived there for a while and wanted to spend more time elsewhere along our route. Sorry it won’t work out, I appreciate the offer. Hope to meet you at FinCon?

  27. This looks awesome. Wow, you are taking a pack of dogs with you! 😉 It looks like you will at least be driving through my neck of the woods up in MT. Glacier National Park is awesome. By far the most scenic place I have seen! You may want to spend some time enjoying the sites up there, it will be worth it!

    1. Hey Chris – GNP’s our favorite park in the lower 48 (we once considered retiring to Kalispell/Flathead Lake), and we’re planning on spending a few days there. Unfortunately, the National Parks aren’t as “dog friendly” as the State Parks, but no way we’d miss Glacier!

  28. I love that rig. And I love the planning that went into the trip. You will probably see more places in those couple of months than many will see in their lifetime. It is truly inspirational. I’m forwarding this to my parents!

  29. Would love to hear how you planned out your trip (i.e. route/places to visit). I have a growing list of towns that I want to visit but don’t know how to best put together an efficient road trip. We don’t own an RV yet but this is one of our retirement goals. I hope you have an awesome adventure!

    1. Judy, thanks for the idea for a future post! 🙂 We took a fairly simple approach, we looked at Google Maps, “looked out” ~200-300 miles for the first day, and searched for State Parks in the area. Repeat, repeat, repeat all the way to the West Coast! It worked well for us, we’ll see how it works out when we’re actually making the trip!

  30. Hey there!
    This looks like a great trip! I am always in awe of people who map out their itineraries for months in advance!! We totally wing it depending on weather and what we feel like. And we move slooooow- once every 1 to 2 weeks.
    My husband and I have been in our 28′ fifthwheel full-time for 1.5 years while working full time jobs (we’re 32), and we hear a lot of RVers using the 200 rule. We always add 25% to the drive time for going slow and frequent gas stops.
    I would echo what those above said about NOT driving Hwy 550 between Ouray and Silverton. It doesn’t matter how experienced you are, the turns are too tight (also the case near Sedona, AZ where you will see paint on the rocks from all of the oversized RV’s). It is dangerous for you, and everybody else on the road. Continuing southish to Cortez, Co and heading east from there is a much more manageable route.

    Have fun and be safe!

  31. Hi! I’m new here and just happen to work on JBLM (same as your family members you are visiting)
    I hope you visit Cannon beach (dog friendly) in Oregon but even better (and within 10 miles) is Ecola state park and Indian head beach (might be tricky to drive your rig into but you could drop it in town and visit). I also recommend Ruby beach (3 hrs from Tacoma) and Deception pass state park while in the area. Tacoma glass museum a must and Seattle Pikes Place market (less crowded during the week) and of course day trips to Mount Rainier!!! Soooo much to see and do here and summer weather is perfect!!! Safe travels let me know if I can help. Anne

    1. Now THAT’S a small world, Anne!! Thanks for the tips from a “local”, I’m adding your suggestions into my notes for our trip! We are doing some smaller loops in the area over the summer, and have made reservations at Deception Pass (I think I read that’s the most popular State Park in Washington). We’re also spending some time on the Olympic Peninsula and in The Cascades. Can’t wait to spend our summer in your neck of the woods!

  32. Congrats! It sounds like a fun adventure. I’m bummed to see that you won’t be making your way up to Michigan. We have some beautiful parks and summer is just great around here. Looking at your map, that probably would have completely changed your journey, so I understand. Maybe next time!

    We have camped for a few years now. We just upgraded our camper at the end of last season. So late that we haven’t had a chance to use it. We picked it up, brought it home for a couple of days, and then put it in the storage lot for the season. I’m itching to get it out. I have ten extra feet of camper to deal with compared to the old one, so I’m definitely going to have to take some extra practice time on making sure I can back it in and such.

    Best of luck on your adventures.

    1. Hey Money Dog! We’ll likely be heading up to MI sometime this Fall to visit my Dad and Sister, doubt we’ll take our RV and the dogs since it’ll be a quicker trip to spend some time with family in the Southern part of the state. Be careful with that extra 10’…haha.

  33. So excited for y’all! It sounds like a wonderful trip. I’m counting down the days (5YRs, 9MTHs, 15 DYs) and saving, saving and saving some more. Your rig is beautiful. The hubs and I haven’t decided on a 5er or RV, but either way, we’re going to spend a few years work camping. Enjoy your trip and that beautiful baby!

  34. Would love to make a map of our cross country trip like you did. How did you make it ? Your trip looks amazing

    1. Wilma, I used Google maps to lay out the route, then I used “Snip It” to capture a picture of the map. I pasted it into Powerpoint to add the custom legend in the article. Took a bit of work, but we’re pleased with the result.

  35. OK Fritz,
    So you know that I am watching this all with great interest to see “How it is done.” Dan and I just rolled into NH at the end of our trip to bring our new trailer home (still yet-to-be-named, LOL). I wished we had followed the 330 rule (guideline). We broke our trip into 4 driving segments that were each 400-425 miles per day. Too long. We were wiped. It was, however, a great way to learn the systems and quirks of the new trailer and overall we are quite pleased with how she behaves. Lots more room than the boat!
    When we do our big trip starting next summer, we will be taking a slightly more northern route, but also have decided that State Parks and Army Corps of Engineer campgrounds will be our stops whenever possible, along with Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome sites along the route. Your map with route is a great idea/asset as we have already discovered that to get a site at the iconic National Parks we want to visit out west we need to reserve a year in advance. (By the way, it is the same in Florida in the winter if anyone is planning a stop there.) That requires planning as to how to get somewhere by a certain date.
    Dan agrees with the backup camera and is already planning that purchase. And, we are looking a a cell booster to keep us connected with both phone and internet (using phone as wireless hot spot) as well as at least 100 w solar to keep the batteries charged during dry camping. We already have a 2200 Honda generator.
    Can’t wait to read your posts along your Great American Road Trip.

    1. On your way home, think about bypassing Riverside/Spokane (my home town) and going up to Sandpoint ID. It’s within the 330, in the mountains, at the end of a beautiful (deep) lake, and is an artistic fun town. You can stay at the Fairgrounds (it was fairly cheap and included water & electricity) or at Riley Creek using the America the beautiful pass.

      The drive from Sandpoint to Glacier wouldn’t be on the freeway but is on good highway (we pull a 34’ fifth wheel) and very scenic. There is even a few great spots to boondocks for 1-2 days along the way.

      Glacier is to die for but you can’t drive your 5th wheel very far (certainly not over the going to the sun highway. There is a RV Park right outside the west gate called SanSuzEd we highly recommend- family operation with good pies.

      Retiring in 8 months and have found your information very beneficial.

  36. I’d planning to follow your foot steps and really like the 330 Rule. It sounds very reasonable.

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