Planning the Next RV Trip – How To!

Quite regularly we are asked how we go about planning a road trip. We have one coming up and thought we might share how we put it together..

Our first tip is to always have a Roadside Assistance plan before you leave your driveway. Help will always be only a phone call away. Believe us when we tell you from experience that a breakdown will usually happen in the worst of places at the wrong time of day and in totally unfamiliar country. Roadside Assistance gives you peace of mind. There are several to choose from and we use AAA.

terre haute trip

Okay let’s plot!
Our goal is always to make the trip as much fun as the destination and the planning as much fun as the trip. This time our destination is Terre Haute, Indiana with a stop off to see a good friend near Louisville, Kentucky.

According to Google Maps (https://www.google.com/maps/) that’s 1,120+ miles from our starting point near Tampa, Florida.

Niki and I made a pact after our first trip 10 years ago (when we covered 1440 miles in 3 days) and that was no more rushing to get anywhere. That was nearly our first and last RV trip! We now try to keep a travel day to 200 to 250 miles. We also spend 2 nights at each stopover and spend that second day to explore a new area.

Using our own rules this next trip turns into six stopovers and ten days.

1. We use Google Maps to plot our course, first choosing a start and finish address.

2. Next we use a simple, free calculator called “Distance Between Cities” (https://www.distance-cities.com/) in conjunction with our Google Map. After awhile, with use, you will be able to guess your distances fairly close and can verify with the calculator. Using our own rule of 200-250 miles we see that our first Stopover would land us in Lake Park, GA at 242 miles. Works for us! We usually call ahead about 48 hours prior to reserve a site for our next stopover.

3. Finding that next stopover. We are lifetime members of Passport America (https://passportamerica.com?rfsn=2873446) so we always check them first for a possible campground near our stopover city choice. We actually use PA 50 to 75% of the time. We also check Harvest Hosts of which we are also members – free is always better than half price! Neither at this first stop. We do end up with three Passport America stops (half price), two Good Sam stops (-10%) and one Harvest Host (free) stopover on this route to Terre Haute!

4. Checking stopovers ahead of time – some free sources we like to use.
First off Google Maps can also give you an actual street view of an address which can tell you a lot. You can see what an entrance looks like, also where the nearest fuel stop is as well which can be important if you have a big rig. Very important to us when we were towing our 38′ “Big Bertha”!

RV Parky (https://www.rvparky.com/search…)
Gives us all kinds of info by State and City about campgrounds, reviews, others in nearby towns, fuel stops. It’s definitely a gem worth learning how to use.

Allstays (https://www.allstays.com/Campgro…/Georgia-campground-map.htm) is another great source you can use to drill down to exactly the type of stopover you like.

Campground Reviews (http://www.campgroundreviews.com/) A great source and you’ll soon learn to read between the lines and rule out the plain sour grapes reviews.

Best restaurants in (Lake Park, GA) (https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurants-g35053-Lake_Park_Ge…) Because we love to find great Mom & Pop restaurants in any new area.

Things to do in (Lake Park, GA) (https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g35053-Activities-L…)

Don’t forget to ask your campground hosts about the “must-see” local attractions as well as the locals favorite restaurant. We’ve found some real gems that way in our travels!

That said we are always only an email away if you have any questions we can help with and we also invite you to hop aboard here on our FB page and travel with us as we post all trips as we go. This one will be quite soon.

Safe travels and enjoy every journey,

Jack and Niki
abcadventuretime@gmail.com
http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/

We invite you to pull up a stump and join us around the campfire at
https://www.facebook.com/OurSnowbirdRVTrails
where your comments are always invited.

Day 18 and 19 – Snowbird RV Trip Florida to Canada

Day 18 and 19 – Snowbird RV Trip Florida to Canada
Mount Jackson, VA to Dover, PA 161 miles
5/18-5/19 Sunday-Monday

We are both readers and love to visit library book sales around the Country as we travel. We also sell out-of-print books that interest us on Amazon and on our other website, northwoodsbookshop.com.

That said, Lancaster, PA just happens to be having their weeklong Spring Super Library Book Sale when we are passing nearby. This sale offers 250,000 “gently used” books for sale in all genres and many are just fifty cents for softcover or $2 for hardcovers. It’s almost always well worth our time for a side trip whenever we know of a library book sale. We’ll attend many up in the Northeast this Summer.

Gettysburg Farm RV Resort in Dover Pennsylvania
Gettysburg Farm RV Resort in Dover Pennsylvania

In researching for a Passport America or Good Sam campground nearby, we narrowed it down through reviews, photos, and websites to the Gettysburg Farm RV Resort. It’s our first time dealing with a Thousand Trails “Club Resort” though we have talked with their representatives at RV Shows in the past.
We did receive an invitation to a no-obligation orientation to hear about the Thousand Trails program. In essence a “Zone Park Pass” would entitle us to 30 nights of free camping a year and additional nights would cost only $3 each. The cost of membership is $545 per year but at this time we could join for $425 for the year. I believe this can be used at other member campgrounds in whatever “Zone” we would choose. We looked and there don’t seem to be many members where we want to go. We will pass but would really like to hear from anyone who has joined and has had good experience with the Club.

Farm animals at Gettysburg Farm RV Resort
Farm animals at Gettysburg Farm RV Resort

This is actually a working farm and it is probably great for families. There are ducks and turkeys running loose, donkeys and llamas to watch, as well as a petting zoo. They have miniature golf, a playground, and an activity center.

We started having concerns about the place when we phoned to make a reservation. They do accept Passport America but if you are not a Thousand Trails or Encore member you are considered a “Retail” and listed as such. I found the lady on the desk curt on the phone and even more so in person. Now I definitely know what it feels like to be a second class “Retail” citizen.

They take your reservation and your money but all sites are on a first come – first served basis. You arrive and drive around to find an open site and then you tell the desk which one you picked. We asked if there was a pull-thru and were told, “Well there might be. Not sure. You’ll have to look.” They really don’t seem to know “who’s on first” or any other site for that matter! Do they really care? Now we are talking $45/night campsites here (soon to be $52 with Memorial Day and the start of “The Season”). Does anyone else get the feeling that customer service has become a lost art?

So we drove around the farm for about 30 minutes, towing, looking for what was available. The only pull-thrus were if 2 back-to-back sites were open then you could pull into one. Most of the sites are very close together. We ended up on site #123 which is a 30Amp, FHU, back-in, but with plenty of space and an open field on one side. Should you happen to stop here we do recommend #123 though we doubt if we will come back to this or any other Thousand Trails campground in the future. It was not the fun experience we look for when we are paying for the privilege.

On Monday we drove to the book sale and found it quite uncrowded, which is unusual but enjoyable. We ended up with 2 large bags of books for under $20.

Silver Spring Family Restaurant in Lancaster. Pennsylvania
Silver Spring Family Restaurant in Lancaster. Pennsylvania

The day got even better when we took a chance on a Trip Advisor recommendation for dinner at the Silver Spring Family Restaurant at 3653 Marietta Avenue in Lancaster on our way back from the book sale. Very good food and great service from happy, smiling young ladies who took and served our orders. Try the “Grilled Sticky Bun Sundae”. That’s a large, warm, sticky bun, your flavor choice, topped with ice cream and whipped cream. Suggestion: Order only one but with 2 spoons. It’s just that big, as Jack soon found out.

The local price we paid

 

for gas was $3.699 at the local Sheetz. Average is $3.739 in the area.

Next stop: Oswego, New York

More info about:
Gettysburg Farm Rv, A Thousand Trails & Encore Resort PA/$24.18, Sun-Thurs only.
6200 Big Mount Rd, Dover PA, 17315
Reservations: (888) 318-1243
30/50Amp, water. Some FHU sites w/sewer. WiFi available. Pool, laundry, propane.

Nearby: American Civil War Museum, Antique Auto Museum, Battlefield Tours, Dutch Wonderland Family Amusement Park, Hershey’s Chocolate World, Utz Potato Chip Factory, Harley-Davidson Vehicle Operations Plant, and Sturgis Pretzel House.

Gettysburg Farm RV Website:
http://www.thousandtrails.com/pennsylvania/gettysburg-farm-rv-campground/

Passport America information:
http://www.passportamerica.com/campgrounds/pa/gettysburgfarmrvanencoreresort3060
http://www.rvparkreviews.com/regions/Pennsylvania/Dover.html

Trip Advisor and Things To Do & Restaurants:
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g52508-Dover_Pennsylvania-Vacations.html

Day 14 and 15 – Snowbird RV Trip Florida to Canada

Day 14 and 15 – Snowbird RV Trip Florida to Canada
Asheboro, NC to Mount Airy, NC 93 miles
5/14-5/15/2014 Wednesday-Thursday

Mayberry Campground in Mount Airy, NC
Mayberry Campground in Mount Airy, NC

Mayberry Campground is on the outskirts of the small City of Mountt Airy, North Carolina. It’s a nicely laid out campground though the sites are a little close together. There are both back-in and pull-thru sites and most have FHU. It’s located near land once was owned and farmed by Eng and Chang Bunker, the famous Siamese twins of the 19th Century.

Welcome to Downtown Mayberry USA
Welcome to Downtown Mayberry USA

Visit Andy Griffith’s “homeplace” at 711 East Haymore Street. Less than a mile away you’ll find “The Snappy Lunch” still making the “famous pork chop sandwiches”. It’s next door to “Floyd’s Barbershop” and “Opie’s Candy Store”. Just a little farther down Main Street you’ll find “Wally’s Garage” and “The Courthouse” with a recreation of the jail set, office and cells, we remember from The Andy Griffith Show. That’s also the place to sign up for a “Squad Car Tour” of the Town in a vintage Mayberry Police Car just like Barney and Andy drove.

The Andy Griffith Museum in Mount Airy
The Andy Griffith Museum in Mount Airy

Not far away you’ll find the “Andy Griffith Theatre” housed in the building where Andy attended school assemblies in grade school (and the stage where he made his first public appearance in 3rd Grade). Beside the Theatre is the Andy Griffith Museum, where they have hundreds (perhaps thousands) of artifacts and memorabilia from Andy’s career on stage, TV and in the movies and as a singer and comedian. The Museum’s lower level has an exhibition of material from Eng and Chang’s life as well. All very interesting and a great value for the admission price of $3.21.

Andy & Opie Taylor heading for the old fishin' hole
Andy & Opie heading for the old fishin’ hole

Outside of the Theatre and Museum you’ll see the life-sized statues of Andy and Opie Taylor headed for the Old Fishin’ Hole. The statue was donated to the Town by the TV Land Network in recognition of Andy’s body of work. Andy was on hand, as well as many others from the show when it was dedicated in 2004.

We were fortunate to find 2 really good restaurants over this 2 night stop in “Mayberry”.

The Copper Pot Restaurant in Mount Airy, NC
The Copper Pot Restaurant in Mount Airy, NC

The first was The Copper Pot located at 123 Scenic Outlet Lane, located just a few miles from the campground. They have daily specials and the entire menu is priced reasonably. Jack had baked spaghetti, green salad, and Texas toast. Niki had a vegetable plate with fried okra, corn fritters, pinto beans, mac & cheese and a cornbread muffin. The dessert special was warm homemade blackberry cobbler with ice cream. The bill for all with drinks (iced tea y’all!), tax, and tip came to $22.51.

Our second day we had a late lunch at Tlaquepaque Mexican Restaurant & Grill (we can’t pronounce it either!). Their address is 2123 Rockford Street, which is on the main highway going into town. It’s a small restaurant with a talented chef. Both of our meals, traditional Mexican combos, were really delicious, as were the warm tortilla chips and homemade salsa brought to our table when we sat down. The total bill including coffee, a cerveza, and tip was $22.99.

Conclusion: If you are a diehard Andy Griffith fan this is the place to come to immerse yourself. You might also consider a visit the last weekend of September when they will be having the “25th Annual Mayberry Days”. Mount Airy is a fun, lighthearted place with friendly people.

The gas price at the local Sheetz station near Interstate Exit 11 is $3.599.

Our next stop will be Mt Jackson, Virginia.

More info about:
Mayberry Campground PA/$16.75 2 nights max, Mon – Thurs only.
114 Bunker Rd., Mount Airy, NC 27030 (336) 789-6199
PT, 20/30/50 Amp, FHU, Free WiFi & Cable, Fishing ponds, and a mile long Hiking Trail that ends near Eng and Chang’s gravesite.

Mayberry Campground website:
http://www.mayberrycampground.com/

Passport America information:
http://www.passportamerica.com/campgrounds/nc/mayberrycampground2691

Things to see & do in Mount Airy:
Floyd’s Barber Shop, Snappy Lunch, Old Mayberry Jail, Barney’s Cafe, Mount Airy Museum, Leon’s Burger Express, Main Oak Emporium, Bluebird Diner, Squad Car Tours, Andy Griffith Playhouse, Downtown Cinema, Opie’s Candy Store, Andy’s Home place, Wally’s Service Station, Mayberry Square, and Pandowdy’s.

Free Sources for Workamping Jobs

Free sources for a ton of Workamping jobs
Free sources for a ton of Workamping jobs

Where To Find Workamper Jobs!
Temporary – Seasonal – Permanent
“Workamping” (work camping): Stay at a great campground, with full hook ups, at no charge, in return for 10 to 30 hours of work per week for the campground owner. The work can be as hosts, office or store work, maintenance, security, groundskeeper, etc. Whatever a campground owner needs a hand with. It’s a perfect match when the campground owner, needing economical help, meets the RVer that enjoys people, the lifestyle, and staying active. If you have experience, it’s a plus, but it’s often not a requirement!
We have workamped for 4 years and can help you find the perfect job for you. Visit the Workamping page on our website to find a ton of free sources for campground jobs. http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/workkamping.htm