NAVIGATING THE UNKNOWN – HOW WE FIND OUR WAY IN A NEW CITY

We’ve all been there…

 

 

…a long day on the road after a great adventure, pulling into a new city you’ve never visited before, you’re both hungry and have lost the ability to civilly communicate between yourselves. It’s not pretty. We’ve definitely “been there, done that,” which is why we’re here to try to help you avoid the frustration. We have some quick and easy tips for finding cool stuff to eat, drink, and do in a new place. They’ve worked for us, and we hope they work for you too.

 

Technology is your friend. Use it.

 

 

In the past, we’ve suggested that you put away your smart phone and Google Maps and opt for the navigational tools of generations past — paper maps. However, just to make things interesting, we’re now suggesting that you put aside your paper maps and use all of the tech you have to your advantage. Keep tabs on a few info sites that you really like…restaurant blogs, bar guides, or urban entertainment sites. These can help cut time out of randomly reading through a bunch of junk before you get to info that’s actually helpful.

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TO TOW – OR NO?

Before we purchased our motorhome we had a small expandable travel trailer. Like all camping vehicles, it had its own drawbacks and benefits. For us, the drawback was towing it with our truck, which wasn’t the most comfortable vehicle for long distance drives. The benefit was that, by default, we always had a vehicle available for off-site explorations.

Within days of purchasing our motorhome my husband had made a significant add-on purchase: a Car Tow Dolly. Our tow vehicle is nothing fancy; it’s my husband’s commuter car, a vehicle chosen more for its low cost and fuel efficiency than anything else. Because it is small and light (much more so than my family transporter) it makes a perfect vehicle to tow.

But even with the tow dolly and the small, light car we don’t always tow a vehicle when we head out on trips.

 


TO TOW OR NOT TO TOW – HOW WE ANSWER THE QUESTION

When you’re driving a vehicle that gets 10 miles to the gallon, you begin to pay attention to the decreased gas mileage when you tow another vehicle behind you. So before we hook up the tow dolly we consider a few factors including: distance, location, activities, and our companions.

The example below is the ‘formula’ we use:

 

 

Determine Distance: We see about a 2 MPG decrease in fuel efficiency when we tow our car, so for long trips we really look at rental costs. Our first big RV trip was to Palo Duro Canyon near Amarillo, 818 miles, or a 12 hour drive from our Iowa home. Towing our car would ‘cost’ appx 23 miles of gas, or nearly $70.

 

 

Rental Resources: Sometimes it is just more cost effective to rent. For the trip to Amarillo we found a small car for $14/ day. The 4 day rental, with tax and minus the prepay discount, came in under the $70 cost of towing. That was an easy decision.

Be sure to check your location! We always tow to Eureka Springs, Arkansas as the nearest car rental locations are Branson, MO or Bentonville, AR. Neither of which are terribly handy.

 

 

Analyze Activities: Do we plan to leave our campsite? Is everything we plan to do within walking distance? Can we bike to nearby sites? Is there transportation available? For our Texas trip we knew we wanted to explore a bit in Amarillo, so a car was necessary. But for most of our state park visits (like Iowa’s 9 Eagles) we leave the car at home as those weekends are just about relaxing and enjoying family time.

 

 

Companion Carpooling: We do a lot of RVing with family and friends and we take that into account before heading out. How many vehicles will we need at the campground? Will there be enough transportation for everyone if we don’t bring our car?

Each trip we take is different – distance, location, activities, and accompaniment- so we do our car necessity overview every time we plan an RV getaway.

Do you have a formula to decide to tow or no?

FAMILY NEXT DOOR IN DOOR COUNTY, WISCONSIN

It’s always such a great feeling to pull into a new campsite, but it’s even better when your neighbors for the week are people you love!

 

 

My mom and dad are RVers too. A few months ago we made plans to meet up with them, my sister, and her kids to go RVing in Door County, Wisconsin where we would wrap up our summer Great Lakes tour. We were all excited having never been to Door County and we enjoy RVing together as a family. This past spring we all met up to Go RVing in Mississippi and Louisiana.

 

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“ARE WE THERE YET?” – TIPS AND TRICKS FOR ALL AGES TO PASS TIME IN THE CAR

 

We’ve logged more than 70,000 miles in our truck as a family over the last three and half years. However, our road trips didn’t begin when we hit the road full time in our RV. When the boys were younger we had a folding camping trailer and it wasn’t unusual to take 8 hour drives to camp under the majestic redwoods in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range or head across the desert to visit family in Arizona.

 

It may be faster to travel by air, but there is no doubt that it’s more economical and, certainly, more fun to travel by road especially when you have your home with you! The trick for pleasant road trips is keeping boredom at a minimum. No matter what stage of life your family is in you’ll find ideas here to make the road fun for everyone.

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