Thursday, October 28, 2010

Start Date-November 19th

An invitation from niece, Suzie Ryan and her fiancé, for an early family Thanksgiving at their farm in the middle of Oregon was exactly the opportunity to set a start-date.  This should be about a 5 hour drive so I'm planning to leave on November 19th to reach Scio, Oregon for the party on the 20th What a great way to start this off! 

Cautious Friends

During this prep time, friends have had lots of questions: Aren’t you afraid of traveling alone?  What if the van breaks down?  What if you get sick?  What if…what if…

I think those are genuine concerns…but also based on fears they personally would have in taking this trip.  I’ve traveled a lot for business and was able to handle scary situations before…even serious food poisoning and the ensuing hospitalization while in Chicago.  Nothing could be worse than that one!

Any step into the unfamiliar has a bit of fear.  Van breakdown or flat tire?  I have AAA for RV’s along with new tire warranties, so I’ll get a tow to a garage with a phone call.  Getting sick does not worry me but a toothache does.  More likely the latter will be my fate.  In either case, there are doctors and dentists along the route.  

Getting Ready

Preparation for this trip has included not only maping out the locations, getting the vehicle in shape and loaded, but figuring out how to get bills paid and care of my home while I’m gone.

So, you may find these ideas helpful for similar trips you may be planning.  On-line searches, books, and advice from friends have resulted in this list of possibilities:    

ü      “Factory tours” are side trips with little costs.  This idea may be the result of growing up in a large family since the nine of us toured everything from cottage cheese factories to airplane assembly…it was educational as well as cheap.  My sister Nancy and husband recently visited the Airstream factory as well as the Harley Davidson factory during their RV trip to the east coast.  I’m tentatively scheduling the Harry and David factory in Medford, Oregon where it is the season to pack those wonderful fruit boxes and other gifts.

ü      Some casinos provide free places to dry camp (no hook-up for electricity, water or sewer) and appear to have security and some amenities, such as shuttles to the casino, at no charge.  I find that casino restaurants are usually adequate and a free “players card” often provides a discount on food.  I’m not a gambler so you will hear more about the food than any winnings.

ü      Walmart allows free overnight RV parking (again, dry camping) at most locations. I purchased an atlas at their store which includes the addresses of locations country-wide.

ü      I do not generally like to camp in State Parks since security is lax, they are noisy, and they cost nearly the same as an RV park. I also will not be staying overnight at highway rest stops.

ü      I bought a membership in Passport America which will give me half-priced RV park privileges.  With over 1,500 private parks in the system, I expect to be using it often.  

My “Tools”

ü      One well-used GPS that attaches to the windshield.  The British lady has proven herself many times eventhough I may talk back when she sounds a bit too sarcastic. 
ü      A new Iphone which can do everything but scramble eggs.  I have yet to learn its’ full capabilities.
ü      A Dell laptop, full size keyboard and mouse, and Wi-Fi wherever I can find it.
ü      Digital camera
ü Of course, this blog and my contacts with you.

“Google Maps” and “AAA”

Google Maps allows me to route between points, make alternative routes and side-trips, and was very flexible yet easy to use.  I’ll generally be going I-5 south to mid California and primarily I-10 going east.

A trip to my local American Automobile Association (AAA) office resulted in guide books to all the states I’ll be visiting.  Although they focus mainly on hotels and motels, they also include restaurant information and points of interest. Knowing the open hours of a museum can prevent disappointments.  

…And a 3-Ring Binder

I prepared a 3-ring binder with separate sections on these favorites: 

ü      “Golden Corral” is a buffet restaurant found mostly in the southern states. I printed out the list of locations along the route. Best buffet anywhere… yum.

ü      “Drive-ins, Diners and Dives” is a food channel TV show that visits down-home type restaurants.  “Triple D” restaurants are listed on their website and I hope to hit at least one.

ü      A list of cities along the route with Costco stores since they have the cheapest gas.

ü      A list of rest areas along the interstates by mile markers. 


ü      A list of all friends, classmates, and relatives to see along the way.


BJ said...

Mary Beth, We have friends who were told by the Walmart Store manager they could spend the night in their parking lot. It seems there was a CITY ordinance, no overnight RV parking.... Local RV parks were complaining they were loosing revenue because of free parking at Walmart. The police actually made them move on. So you might want to check that out too.

Mary Beth Ryan said...

Thanks for the warning. I see that some Wal-Marts listed in the atlas do not allow overnights. I plan to first check with security at any Wal-Marts or casinos.

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