Home on the Ranch Planning 2019

Sunset on T bar L Ranch

We have been on the ranch for exactly two months, and it’s been a busy couple of months. Bob is working on his consulting business, I’ve been working on scouting out good photography locations and have been able to snag some great sunsets and sunrises, and we have visited friends and family. Visiting my favorite grocery stores, health food stores, restaurants, and retails stores, has also been fun.

We are already excited to get back out there, but due to family obligations, we won’t leave till May 29th. We have been asked, ‘why not go and come back’? For one thing, getting less than 10 mpg, it is very expensive to be on the move, and second, once we go we like to stay gone, because that’s why we are living in a RV, right? We just decided it is simpler to stick around and boondock on the ranch. We do have a few short trips planned while being home, but nothing major.

I am starting to plan our 2019 adventure and while we thought we would go one way, we have decided to go another. We only have one place to be at a certain time this year, an Xscaper RV HOP in Oshkosh Wisconsin for the big annual Fly-In July 21-28. We will be in the heart of things with other RV’ers and it should be exciting, so I will be arranging our route accordingly.

My planning begins…

People have asked many times how we start to plan a trip, so this looks like a good place to explain my way of planning.

FIRST: When I have a place where we need to be at a certain time, such as Oshkosh, I start looking at routes on the map. I may have one way in my mind, but when I study the map (yes, an old fashion map), I usually find a better one. We have to decide if we are in a hurry, or if we want to take our time. It’s a lot less expensive to arrive at a park and plant for a few days, rather then do a bunch of stop and go’s, that’s hard on everything and everyone. I will cover that topic in another BLOG. I also research ‘must sees’ that might be along the way.

SECOND: Once a few routes are considered, I start using google maps to find out how long it takes to get to different places along the route. We only like to travel 4 hours tops, but sometimes it has to be more.

Boondocking in the Tetons

THIRD: When we decide on the towns we want to stop in, I start looking for RV parks. There are several options out there. We are members of Good Sam, and KOA, but we have also experienced Thousand Trails, boondocking (no hook-ups), and State Parks. We did not have a good experience with Thousand Trails, very expensive, lousy park, and to make reservations you call a central calling service and I was holding for a long time. Boondocking is hard to find for a rig our size, so we don’t end up doing as much of that as we would like. We LOVE State Parks, if they can accommodate us. We find them to be more roomy, and convenient to hiking trails. Oregon knows how to do it right, they have great State Parks with full hook ups at a very reasonable price; however, with a 40′ rig, it’s hard to find a spot that we will fit. We also enjoy KOA’s, and have found them to be very nice parks. They are on the upper end of the price range but you get your money’s worth. Our favorite park was a KOA outside of the west entrance of Glacier National Park. They had two pools, one adult pool, a restaurant on site, and an ice-cream parlor on site. It was a beautiful park. Since we don’t usually spend a lot of time in the park because we are exploring the area, we prefer a middle of the road kind of park, such as Good Sam parks. They have to meet a certain standard to qualify for Good Sam. They are usually clean and friendly parks, you can make reservations with the park directly, and they are usually reasonably priced. They may not always have concrete pads, but most are good and level. Main thing you are looking for is a safe, friendly, accommodating park. Being a member of any of them gives you a small discount. If you stay a week or more, there are bigger discounts.

KOA at West Glacier MT

FOURTH: When I find a park I may want to reserve, I go to their website to read reviews, look at the pictures, and rates. If they have an online reservation service, I check for availability, then I like to call the park and ask questions. I don’t pay too much attention to a park that doesn’t have a website. I like to get my info upfront and I am checking several at the same time. I will get into this more in another BLOG.

Time frames can be tricky. When we started out on our 2018 adventure I was planning two weeks in advance. The more we got into summer, it was a good four weeks in advance. Also, for holidays, you have to plan WWAAYY in advance. RV’g/camping is becoming a very popular sport. A lot of campers just like to fly by the seat of their pants, but I have stood behind enough people looking for a place to stay, only to find out that the park is full, to know that we will continue to plan ahead.

That is my workflow. There is a lot of thought that goes into it, but good planning insures a good trip. We had the piece of mind knowing we had a place to stop for the night and only once did I regret my choice of RV parks.

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