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jbarringer

First trip across country.

Question

My wife and I are going cross country in May, starting from New Jersey. We have an Itasca Sunova 36 ft gas class A, towing a 2021 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk. Any suggestions or comments? We both just retired and this has been our dream to do it. Should we head south first or northern route? We’re anxious, nervous and excited 😫

Edited by jbarringer

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 Don’t know how long of a trip you are planning, but Arizona, New Mexico, Texas etc will be very hot during the summer. Therefore I would go southern route first and northern route for your return. Just depends on the length of your trip. 

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Southern route is more flat. I did this very trip in July 2008 with our last Motorhome. PA to CA and back. The Mojave Desert was HOT, but it was July. The Motorhome kept us comfortable and we stayed in Williams AZ for a few days on the return which was nice, gave us a break from the heat. 

Here is a link, the train ride to the Grand Canyon was fantastic, they also have a beautiful campground there that is close enough to down town to take a stroll and look around - shop, take in the Route 66 history.

https://www.thetrain.com/

I would do it again in the summer, since we did it already I would consider a northern route on the way home just to explore but there was plenty to do on and off of I-40. 

William AZ;

https://experiencewilliams.com/things-to-do-in-williams-arizona/

 

Edited by jleamont

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4 hours ago, jbarringer said:

My wife and I are going cross country in May, starting from New Jersey. We have an Itasca Sunova 36 ft gas class A, towing a 2021 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk. Any suggestions or comments? We both just retired and this has been our dream to do it. Should we head south first or northern route? We’re anxious, nervous and excited 😫

First welcome to the forum. You said "We both just retired" Ok sit down and repeat after me. I don't have to be in a hurry to get any ware and git back by a certain time. You no longer need to travel in "vacation mode" You are RETIRED. You are not limited to one trip a year.

So you are waiting till May to start, ok. Make a list of things you definitely want to see. You will need to prioritize things based on what rout you are taking. jleamont, Has made a couple exultant recommendations. I will say if you are going to the Grand Canyon I highly recommend trying to get a spot reserved in Trailer Village NOW. It just makes the stay there much better. The bus service will pick you up at the RV park and take you places you can't drive. By the way Williams and the Canyon are off I-40. 

Let me know what route and what you want to see.

Bill

 

 

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Being retired, you do not have to hurry any where.  For us a travel day is typically 200 to 250 miles.  On a long day we may push to 300 miles.  Drive at a reasonable speed.  We top out at 65 mph on the major highways.  We are on the road by 9 AM and off by 3 PM.  This gives us time to relax at the end of the day.  Generally we do not travel two days in a row.  We like to have a day off to sightsee.

Ken

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Congrats on planning your first cross-country trip.

Be aware that if you take the northern route going west in May you will likely encounter places which are still below freezing at night. I'd agree with the others that going west via the southern route and then returning via the northern route makes more sense.

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Agree with others, start at a mid southern route. Try I-40 headed west. Personally I would drive all the way to the coast, then head up the coast from CA to WA. Then head back East on northern routes. Plenty to see and do along the way. We’ve done the West coast several times now and is our favorite area. Our favorite campground is Fildago Bay on Anacortes,WA. We always try to get a beach front site.

enjoy!!

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We have done several "three month cross country trips".  Like others, I sugggest start thru South...Kansas and Texas are dry, long, boring if you just cross them.  Be sure to google each town you will cross and find out what is good to see, so that you don't miss anything. And yes, take your time!  I would only make reservations ahead at very tourist areas, otherwise just reserve one or three days before, when you have seen all you want at towns you are crossing and know you can move on!.  Also, do remember that there are several places where you can boondock (free) overnight stops, such as Walmart, Cracker Barrel etc...

"Life is short, enjoy it to the max!!"

Jocelynn and Quico Power

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On 3/8/2021 at 8:13 PM, wildebill308 said:

First welcome to the forum. You said "We both just retired" Ok sit down and repeat after me. I don't have to be in a hurry to get any ware and git back by a certain time. You no longer need to travel in "vacation mode" You are RETIRED. You are not limited to one trip a year.

So you are waiting till May to start, ok. Make a list of things you definitely want to see. You will need to prioritize things based on what rout you are taking. jleamont, Has made a couple exultant recommendations. I will say if you are going to the Grand Canyon I highly recommend trying to get a spot reserved in Trailer Village NOW. It just makes the stay there much better. The bus service will pick you up at the RV park and take you places you can't drive. By the way Williams and the Canyon are off I-40. 

Let me know what route and what you want to see.

Bill

 

 

Thanks Bill, and I’ll let you know what route we’re going to take. 

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23 hours ago, oscarpower said:

We have done several "three month cross country trips".  Like others, I sugggest start thru South...Kansas and Texas are dry, long, boring if you just cross them.  Be sure to google each town you will cross and find out what is good to see, so that you don't miss anything. And yes, take your time!  I would only make reservations ahead at very tourist areas, otherwise just reserve one or three days before, when you have seen all you want at towns you are crossing and know you can move on!.  Also, do remember that there are several places where you can boondock (free) overnight stops, such as Walmart, Cracker Barrel etc...

"Life is short, enjoy it to the max!!"

Jocelynn and Quico Power

Awesome! Thank you!

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On 3/9/2021 at 10:50 AM, campcop said:

Agree with others, start at a mid southern route. Try I-40 headed west. Personally I would drive all the way to the coast, then head up the coast from CA to WA. Then head back East on northern routes. Plenty to see and do along the way. We’ve done the West coast several times now and is our favorite area. Our favorite campground is Fildago Bay on Anacortes,WA. We always try to get a beach front site.

enjoy!!

Great! How’s the mountains on the northern route? Any suggestions?

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On 3/9/2021 at 10:19 AM, richard5933 said:

Congrats on planning your first cross-country trip.

Be aware that if you take the northern route going west in May you will likely encounter places which are still below freezing at night. I'd agree with the others that going west via the southern route and then returning via the northern route makes more sense.

👍 may meet up with my cousin in Illinois and take 66 south. That sounds good. 

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On 3/9/2021 at 9:54 AM, txiceman said:

Being retired, you do not have to hurry any where.  For us a travel day is typically 200 to 250 miles.  On a long day we may push to 300 miles.  Drive at a reasonable speed.  We top out at 65 mph on the major highways.  We are on the road by 9 AM and off by 3 PM.  This gives us time to relax at the end of the day.  Generally we do not travel two days in a row.  We like to have a day off to sightsee.

Ken

Great advice! Thanks. When you stop at the end of the day, do you stay at rest stops, camp grounds, or Walmart’s etc? Because 3pm is a little early to pull over?

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1 hour ago, jbarringer said:

Great advice! Thanks. When you stop at the end of the day, do you stay at rest stops, camp grounds, or Walmart’s etc? Because 3pm is a little early to pull over?

We prefer camp grounds, and my wife likes to have a reservation so we arn't driving around/calling around trying to find some place. Makes it one less stressful thing to do.

"Because 3pm is a little early to pull over?" You say that now but how maney full days have you driven the RV? In bad/rainy wet weather? With a strong cross wind? It will probably be more like 5:00 when you add in the rest stops( I stop at least every 2 hours to stretchy and walk around ) and lunch stops. I use 50 miles an hour as a guide it comes out realey close. It will depend on where you are stopping. I never like  looking for my spot in the dark. That and setting up in the dark.

Bill

 

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10 minutes ago, wildebill308 said:

We prefer camp grounds, and my wife likes to have a reservation so we arn't driving around/calling around trying to find some place. Makes it one less stressful thing to do.

"Because 3pm is a little early to pull over?" You say that now but how maney full days have you driven the RV? In bad/rainy wet weather? With a strong cross wind? It will probably be more like 5:00 when you add in the rest stops( I stop at least every 2 hours to stretchy and walk around ) and lunch stops. I use 50 miles an hour as a guide it comes out realey close. It will depend on where you are stopping. I never like  looking for my spot in the dark. That and setting up in the dark.

Bill

 

Got it! We’ve been RVing for the last 5 years but never this far. We are usually at our destination the same day or the next. If it’s two days we pull in a rest stop (or pilot) by sundown and leave at sunrise.  But I have to get it in my head there is no reason to rush now that we are both retired and to slow down and enjoy the ride. Thank you for helping me slow down 😊

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We retired last year and did Illinois to west coast. By the time we got to Oregon we booked all campgrounds for the rest of the trip. With the increase in Rv sales things were pretty much full everywhere from Colorado west. We didn’t stay anywhere that wasn’t full by dark even on weekdays. Takes some of the adventure out of it but that’s the way it is. Redwoods we’re definitely worth seeing but 200 miles is more than enough for a day drive there. Pagosa Springs in Colorado was our favorite place, easy to fill a week at least and still not see everything in the area. Enjoy the trip! Breaking the vacation mode is a harder adjustment then it would seem. FYI steer clear of Teton pass!

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robh, we do West view RV Resort in Cortez, Co for 6 weeks each summer....If you like off roading, it takes a long time to cover the San Juan mountains. :)

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13 hours ago, robh said:

We retired last year and did Illinois to west coast. By the time we got to Oregon we booked all campgrounds for the rest of the trip. With the increase in Rv sales things were pretty much full everywhere from Colorado west. We didn’t stay anywhere that wasn’t full by dark even on weekdays. Takes some of the adventure out of it but that’s the way it is. Redwoods we’re definitely worth seeing but 200 miles is more than enough for a day drive there. Pagosa Springs in Colorado was our favorite place, easy to fill a week at least and still not see everything in the area. Enjoy the trip! Breaking the vacation mode is a harder adjustment then it would seem. FYI steer clear of Teton pass!

Thanks robh. I know, we really have to plan our stops, that seems like the most important. “Steer clear of Teton pass?” 

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10% grade and 20 mph curves for about eight miles. Our GPS sent us that way and was too late to turn around by the time we figured it out. I don’t think we would have made it down without losing brakes  if we didn’t have the Jake brake . Only time I was truly concerned behind the wheel! The entire area is amazing and a must go just stay on Hwy 26. Here’s Wyoming’s warning 

 

https://www.wyoroad.info/Highway/Teton.pdf

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3 minutes ago, robh said:

10% grade and 20 mph curves for about eight miles. Our GPS sent us that way and was too late to turn around by the time we figured it out. I don’t think we would have made it down without losing brakes  if we didn’t have the Jake brake . Only time I was truly concerned behind the wheel! The entire area is amazing and a must go just stay on Hwy 26. Here’s Wyoming’s warning 

 

https://www.wyoroad.info/Highway/Teton.pdf

Curious if you checked out the route before following the GPS? There are a few good resources for finding out about the grades before heading into the hill/mountains.

I've been on a thread over on iRV2 recently discussing GPS units, and I was reminded over there that a lot of people just plop the destination into the GPS and follow. Not always a good plan unless you do a bit of further research, as you seem to have discovered.

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Richard

I did look at the route however the GPS I had at the time didn’t allow you to fix your route. For some reason it rerouted coming out of Jackson and by the time I figured it out it was too late. Clearly user error! We have upgraded to a unit that is geared to RV and allows for fixing the route. 
 

Got comfortable and end of the day all on me!

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Which GPS did you end up with? I've got a newer Garmin, but I'm not sure that it has a route lock feature.

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garmin RV 890.  Use the trip planner app and route your trip. You can shape or customize the route then save the route. Once saved it supposedly will not reroute unless you initiate a reroute. 
 

 

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That's (I believe) built similar to the one I have, the dezl 785. I think I have 'avoid traffic' enabled, and maybe that's why mine keeps wanting to change things on my while on the road. I'll look into if further to confirm.

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Well you got me second guessing so I called Garmin. They say using the trip planning app will save your route and will not reroute. Only exception is if there is construction or accident etc. that would not allow for the vehicle dimensions you set for your Rv.

 

 

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