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.

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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.

Planning that next RV trip

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Our website averages at least one or two emails a week asking us for help plotting an RV route. Usually it’s either someone with a brand new RV or often an RVer just asking for suggestions as they plan a trip into parts unknown to them.

You may have heard or seen us mention before that the only thing we like better than an RV trip is talking about RVing. The problem is that to plan a trip correctly or at least the way that has proven tried and true for us there are a number of questions that need answering up front to do it right.

That being said we have updated our “Planning Page” (http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/research.htm) on our website and outlined the steps we take in planning each new voyage into uncharted territory. We always chart it beforehand!

A big part of the fun of a trip for us is the planning. On our page you’ll find all kinds of information and resources that we use to keep our RVing about the fun of the trip and not the worry that can accompany tackling the unknown.

Have a look. If it helps you with your trip planning we’re happy. Many people like to fly by the seat of their pants which is fun for them but that’s just not us.

After you try our suggestions for planning and if you have any questions we’ll be happy to try and answer them. We do answer all emails. You’ll find our email address also on the Planning Page.

Safe travels and always enjoy the journey,

Jack and Niki
snowbirdrvtrails.com

Counting down the days

We have thoroughly enjoyed our Summer of 2016 in the Adirondack Mountains exploring new places, meeting new friends and enjoying good times and campfires with family and friends. Now – as the leaves are changing, the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting colder – it’s time to think about warmer destinations for the months ahead.

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Our Southerly course is plotted and we are anxious to be on the road again to see what’s around that next curve and what is just over that next hill – and we invite you to Hop Aboard and “follow” along with us via this Blog.

Our 1,500+ mile journey begins on October 14th with 7 two-day stopovers planned for exploring (and maybe finding a great new “Mom & Pop restaurant” or two). We should land in our Winter home-base in New Port Richey, FL on October 28th.

As usual we will post reports with photos, reviews and the costs. For us it’s not the destination but the adventure and the new discoveries along the way.

Jack, Niki and our Furry Family Crewmen, B.B. and Stanley

P.S. If you have visited any of our planned stops and have any cautions or must-see suggestions we’d love to hear from you. We’re at snowbirdrvtrails@gmail.com.

Ahoy Snowbirds! Winter fun ahead….

Learn to build your own fishing kayak
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Bedard Yacht Design in Tarpon Springs sells DIY boat kits & plans but now also offers Boat-Building Workshops and Build-Along. The workshops are evening classes intended as a leisurely and fun introduction to small-boat building. The students will collectively build a fishing kayak kit for hands-on experience.

The Build-Along is a 40-hour/one-week seminar where each student builds his/her own boat under the guidance of an instructor.

Classes: Oct 16, Dec 16, Jan 17, Feb 17 & Mar 17
Registration: 727-488-4573
or visit us at:
www.bedardyachtdesign.com/boatbuilding-workshops-build-along/

News Release to snowbirdrvtrails.com 8/18/16

Day Trip to Andersonville National Historic Site

Andersonville – The Prison
Niki and I spent Memorial Day 2016 at the Andersonville Historic Site in Georgia. It is composed of three main sections: Andersonville Prison, The National Prisoner of War Museum and the Andersonville National Cemetery.

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For those who may not know, Andersonville Prison was a Confederate Prison in Georgia.
Almost 45,000 Union soldiers were held prisoner at Camp Sumter, known as Andersonville, in 14 months. Nearly 13,000 died there. Conditions were deplorable with little food, a small swampy and contaminated water source and the most unsanitary conditions. Space was such that each individual had only the space of his extended arms.

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The enormity of this cruelty hits home when standing on the site itself. The first photo shows the plot of land looking South. This Northern end of the compound has numerous monuments erected by the States that had many prisoners who were incarcerated there and many who died there. The tree with the fence shows one of several places the inmates tried tunneling out. None ever escaped by tunnels. They either caved in or were turned in by snitches among the prisoners.

The outermost white stake indicates the placement of the main wall while the inside stake marked an approximate 19′ “dead man’s zone” surrounding the camp where any prisoner would be shot without question or warning if he tried to approach the wall. There were 52 guard towers around the wall.
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This second photo shows the camp looking toward the North. The stockade in the upper right corner marks the Northeast corner of the camp while the stone column (lower left) shows the Southwestern corner. The uncut area is the swampy area that was the tainted water source as well as the main lavatory.

Can you picture thousands of men in this small area?

The Northwest corner has several memorials.
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Memorial Day at Andersonville

Memorial Day 2016
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Niki and I were fortunate to spend a few hours at the Andersonville (Georgia) National Historic Site today. The Site’s 516 acres includes the infamous Andersonville Prison from the Civil War, arguably the most inhumane prison this country has ever seen, the National Prisoner of War Museum and the Andersonville National Cemetery with 13,714 graves. Through the efforts of countless volunteers, all graves held an American Flag this Memorial Day. Tomorrow the flags will be removed. This is a most thought provoking site that gives one great cause to reflect on man’s inhumanity to his fellow man. We shall have more photos of the three main sections found at Andersonville in future posts.
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snowbirdrvtrails.com

On the RV Road Again! New Port Richey, Florida to the Northeast

On the Road Again!
New Port Richey, Florida to the Northeast

Part I – Florida to Indiana
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Mapping a route from Florida through Indiana to New England

We have begun our newest Snowbird RV Route North – starting in New Port Richey, Florida to our Summer destination in the Northeast. This time we will be going by way of Indiana to attend an important high school graduation.

We will spend 25 days on the road and travel through Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and New York. This route will take us along I-75, I-64, I-65, I-71, I-90, I-86, I-88 and I-87. We’ll visit 10 campgrounds along nearly 2,000 miles.

If you’d like to follow along with us we will be posting on this our “Trip Blog” every couple of days to talk about the campgrounds, restaurants and other interesting places we find along the route with photos, prices and other insights.

Days 1 and 2 – Lake Park, Georgia
221 miles from our starting point of New Port Richey near Tampa on Florida’s West Coast.

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Eagles Roost RV Resort in Lake Park, Georgia

Lake Park is off GA Exit 5 on I-75. There are 3 campgrounds to choose from near the Exit. We had not stopped here before and chose Eagles Roost RV Resort from the good reviews we had read on line. The pull-throughs, full-hookups, paved pads and shady, Spanish moss draped oaks made it an easy choice.

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The Farmhouse Restaurant in Lake Park, Georgia

We spent 2 nights to explore the area and were not disappointed. First off we found a really nice restaurant for each evening. The first night we tried The Farmhouse Restaurant at 5123 Mill Store Road. Niki had the breaded Grouper with fried okra and cheesy grits. I had the homemade spaghetti with meat sauce, cole slaw and garlic toast. We both had the peach cobbler for dessert. Both entrees were very good and the sides were well prepared and in large portions (4 Stars for each!). The cobbler, however, was not what we expected. It was more like a “cinnamon cake topped with peaches in syrup” as Niki describes it. They offer daily specials and a decent salad bar (but $5.50/one trip?). With a coffee and an iced tea the bill came to $29.98. Service was very good.

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Rodeo Mexican Restaurant in Lake Park, Georgia

The second afternoon we followed a local’s suggestion and tried the Rodeo Mexican Restaurant, 1219 Lakes Blvd. Once again we were not diappointed. Niki chose the Fajita Bowl and I tried a nice sampler plate. We shared a pitcher of tasty lime margaritas and both came away stuffed but quite happy! The tab came to $35.87 with tip.

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It’s 5 o’clock in Lake Park, Georgia

We decided to visit the other two local campgrounds to see what we might have missed and to do a dash cam video tour of all three which we will add to our website (snowbirdrvtrails.com) and our You Tube page in the future.

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Grassy Pond Family Campground

Grassy Pond Family Camp is actually a Moody Air Force Base Recreation Area but it is open to the public. It has picnic facilities, boat rentals, cabins and a nice waterfront recreation area. The campground has 58 well maintained sites for RV’s.

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Camping World Campground Valdosta

We were surprised when we visited the Camping World Campground! We expected perhaps some RV overnight parking spaces around the store but it is a separate yet adjacent complex with a large number of nicely maintained sites near a small pond.

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For more pictures, prices and much more info about the three campgrounds, visit the write-ups on our website at http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/2016rvtripnorthday1and2.htm.

Next stop Perry, Georgia – jumping off point for the infamous Andersonville as well as Plains, Georgia

SIX DAYS AND COUNTING….

ONLY 6 DAYS until we are on the road again! This newest trip will take us from Tampa and Florida through Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and the Adirondack Mountains of way Upstate New York. We’ll be on the road 25 days and visit 10 campgrounds (for at least 2 nights each to explore the area). We’d love to have you ride along with us as for a few miles as we post maps, photos, dining reviews and campground pics & videos as well as costs and other interesting finds. To hop aboard just choose to “Follow”” us here as we will post Trip Reports daily from the road. -Jack, Niki, K.C. & B.B.
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2014 Fall Snowbird RV Trip South – Day 6

Cardinal Center Campground - Marengo, Ohio Located in central Ohio at I-71/Exit 140

 

Conneaut, OH to Marengo, OH 
Day 6 – Sept 25 – Thurs – 175 Miles

Cardinal Center Campground - Marengo, Ohio Located in central Ohio at I-71/Exit 140
Cardinal Center Campground – Marengo, Ohio

Cardinal Center Campground, 616 Ohio 61, Marengo, Ohio
(419) 253-0800

$31/Night (Senior Discount), Full Hook-Up (50 Amp, water, sewer), Pull-thru, WiFi,
level gravel sites with grass, picnic table, and fire ring.

Deck and pond view at Cardinal Center Campground - Marengo, Ohio
Deck and pond view – Cardinal Center Campground

Located in Central Ohio at I-71/Exit 140, just 30 miles north of Columbus.
This is a great facility for family camping surrounded by miles of open farmland.
They have an indoor heated pool, a lake for fishing, lots of outdoor activities, over 400
camp sites, with 9 standard cabins and 20 deluxe cabins available to rent. It is also
home for the Ohio State Trapshooters Association.

Large sites at Cardinal Center Campground - Marengo, Ohio
Large sites at Cardinal Center Campground

This is a convenient stopover for us and for anyone traveling I-71 North or South.
We stay only one night mainly because there is not much in the immediate area to
visit. It does offer close proximity for anyone wanting to visit Columbus, OH only 30
miles away. With all of the amenities and beautiful country setting this campground
is also a destination for many RVers.

There is a Pilot Truckstop at this Exit (currently $3.299/Gal).

For our photo essay on our stop here last Fall click on our page at 
https://snowbirdrvtrails.wordpress.com/2013/10/02/2013-fall-trip-south-days-6-7-marengo-ohio/

Website: http://cardinalcentercamp.com/

RV Park Review: http://www.rvparkreviews.com/view_campground_review_details.php?cgid=10750®ion=Ohio&city=Marengo&park=Cardinal-Center-Campground