The Plan

North to Alaska. The rush is on . . .

Thanks to friend and neighbor George Hardy I’m going to answer the questions a lot of you might have.  If you think of others, please drop me a note or better yet sign up under the contact page and follow along!

What is your travel plan?  We are headed to South Dakota to become residents and pay no taxes – ever again. Then a week or so in Glacier National Park because it might not be there much longer. After that, we head to Alaska because everyone asks us if we’ve been and I can’t take the pressure. Continuing on, we’ll head down to Seattle to re-educate our Grandsons and annoy their parents. Next, we’ll slide down the left coast to see our parents in Southern California. This should take us until mid-October, and I can’t think much beyond that.  (L)  We plan to roam for 4-5 years.  Our roaming will be defined in legs and the directions by the location of family and friends as well as the weather.  Along the way we plan to see the more out of the way and secluded places that our marvelous country has to offer.  Gary is the architect and has the first leg planned out and I am in charge of domestic tranquility.

Your travel routine?  A decent shower and remembering to eat plenty of fiber helps my daily routine but that’s not really what you wanted to know.  I like to leave early but the pre-flight checklist is a bit long.  I handle all the outside chores while Lillian battens down the hatches.  Basically, the inside of the trailer undergoes a mini earthquake as we travel down the road.  I’m in charge of fixing anything that breaks or rattles out of place.   If I haven’t already, I make reservations a few days out because this RVing thing is “a thing” and everyone wants to be where we are when we want to be there.  (L)  We like to stay in more remote areas and have the Airstream backed up to trees.  That way we can open all the windows but retain privacy.  My preferred routine is to wake Gary up early so he can take Sam for a walk while I read in bed.  I love to get reading recommendations from all the people we meet and add those to my reading list.  I like to continue reading while Gary makes the coffee!  Then we do whatever Gary has planned for the day.

Are you going to stress test the Airstream by going through tornado country?  Yes, but only because we can’t avoid it.  When we started and the tornado belt was heading through Oklahoma and south.  We were heading north to Ohio and South Dakota.  The storms then moved through Dayton Ohio.  Tonight, it’s our turn “in the barrel.”  We watch the weather closely and are prepared to stop and seek shelter.  We’ve actually seen a few tornadoes and hurricanes.  They are not fun.  (L) Since Gary is in charge of fixing things, I let him do the stress testing.  My goal is NO stress!

Or maybe float in the midwestern flood zone?  The State Park in Sioux Falls where we plan to stay, was flooded out last year so we pay attention to that as well.

Do you stay on the Interstate, or wander backroads?  Interstates if we want to get somewhere and back roads if we want to see America.  Getting gas (diesel) is a bit of a problem since we are 52 feet long.  We need a gas station with pumps that parallel the building or a truck stop.  (L)  The main reason we chose the Airstream is the windows and our goal, especially in the west is to “boondock.”  Remote places usually managed by the Bureau of Land Management, National Forests, Army Core of Engineers, or State Parks and Recreation. Some of the most beautiful and memorable stays have been in the boondocks.  We veer onto state and city roads whenever we can.  In every instance, it has been memorable, and we were glad we did.

Do you spend more than one night when you stop somewhere?  My goal is to drive for a few days then spend a week exploring.  Things change and the destinations modify that goal.  We used to drive all day, spend an afternoon or morning seeing something, then move on.  Those days are over. Now, slowing down is the plan.  (L) Some of the most memorable moments of all our travels have been meeting new people.  It always renews our faith in people.  It tells me that people are good, and the world will be ok.  In some cases, they are people we still keep in touch with and plan to see again.  We stayed in Lake Fairfax Virginia City Park as our first Week long stop in our current adventure.  It was Memorial Day weekend and the park became overfull with “Rolling Thunder” riders from all over the country.  There were also some regular RVrs like us that we met, and our dogs chased each other by the lake.  Even though the park was filled with relative strangers, I was warmed by the assurance that if anyone of us was in trouble, that everyone would offer support.  People are good and do take care of each other.

How many miles a day?  Back in the days of our Airstream Van it was no problem doing 450 to 500 miles in a day.  75 MPH on the interstate and you can make some miles.  Pulling the trailer, I try and keep it under 65 MPH.  Usually only 60.  I would have never believed it but there is a lot less stress when you drive 60 than when you drive 80.  Unless you are Lillian.  Now days we average between 250-300 miles.

Are you off at the crack of dawn, or do you make a more leisurely departure? Usually we are on the road by 9:30 or so. (L) Not really! What’s the hurry?

Are we having fun yet? So far so good.