Country Women : You are more likely to have advice to offer than most of the others who post here... so, I am asking you to give some advice.
My daughter, her husband, and their two teen aged kids will be traveling across country this summer, beginning here in Tampa, and going all the way to San Francisco, then back east to New York until finally arriving back in Tampa in the course of a little over 6 weeks. They will be traveling in a Honda Van, pulling a pop up camper, which they have been using for years, camping between here and Northern Georgia, but never going as fas as this trip. Of course, they will be staying at as many National or State Parks as they can along the way, but they asked me to ask you if you have any advice for them.... About anything and everything that would make their trip more enjoyable, less costly, and safe.
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Oh, I forgot to mention that they plan to prepare all their own meals, except for some lunches. If they are going to be going thru long distances of nothing, they will prepare lunches that morning, but will likely stop at fast food places when they will be going through cities...
So, what suggestions do you have for me to pass along to them?
Beema, sounds like a WONDERFUL trip. This may be more generic advice than you're looking for -- but I'd suggest they make sure that they reserve campsites well in advance, especially for weekend nights.
In some parks, all weekend night reservations sell out the first day of the new year, and it's tough to know which when you don't live in a state and you're covering as many states as they're going through. Plus, you sometimes get surprised by regional music or heritage fests that draw even more campers.
Lori, that's great advice. I know that in Door County Wisconsin, state parks fill up on the first of January so it's best to book popular spots early. That reminds me of a road trip I did with my husband and daughter in Germany. It was a great adventure in that each day we drove to a town we liked and after a day of sightseeing, looked for lodging. The down side was that by the time we looked for lodging each night we were starving and like clockwork, cranky too. We were all happier when we did a little advance planning and kept a normal eating schedule.
As for food, I find that sandwiches are easily squashed in a cooler. Instead of sandwich bread, I usually make them on Italian or hard rolls. Alternately, I make wraps which also seem to hold up well. Lots of time in the car can be pretty boring and people tend to eat out of boredom. As long as you have a captive audience, offer healthy foods to munch on and few sweet and salty sancks. Fruit, yogurt, granola, raw veggies and hummus are good options to start with.
Oh Beema you have to tell them on their drive down from New York to stop near my home town in Hershey Pennsylvania! As soon as you get to the town you can smell chocolate and there is a big amusement park and a camp ground and even a spa with chocolate treatments if they just want to relax while the kids ride the roller coasters. It is such a wonderful family place I have so many "sweet", pun intended, memories of this wonderful chocolate town. talk about a kid in a candy store! :) Plus its right near route 81 which is what I took to come down to Tampa myself from PA when i got my orders to MacDill. Which I might also recommed because if they take 95 down, well they don't call it the "sure kill" instead of Schuylkill express way for nothing. It misses Washington DC but its worth not hitting all the traffic. Up to them though our Nations Capital is a sight to behold as well.
Either way I pray they have fun and stay safe on such a long journey....not to mention sane ;)
You say that they will be visiting state & national parks. Look for road side fruit and vegetable stands. It is a way to try some different foods. Some times you can get the food cheaper than in a store. Also remember adequate medicine. You will be going through many different climates, so allergy meds. Eye glass perscription. (In case glasses get broken) This trip will be in the summer, but we are having screwy weather, so take at least one warmer set of clothes. I remember one year in Iowa on 4th of July. It got down to 45. We all about froze. Remember lots of film or what ever you are using to record your trip.
Oh, these are all such good suggestions.... Thanks, guys.... She asked me today if anyone had any pointers on where NOT to go... any place that has been hyped too much, or just isn't worth the time and effort. Or, some places are simply MUST SEE. The Grand Canyon, of course, is on their list, but every time they sit down to study more, they add and eliminate.... Maybe your suggestions would make that easier.
In TX. the Alamo. We loved the Carlsbad Caverns. Our legs screamed for a couple of days afterwards, but was well worth it. You don't say how far north they are going after leaving San Franscio. Yellowstone, and Zion Nat. Park. I lived in Calif. a long time but never seen Death Valley. Have heard a lot of good comments. Hope that this helps.
Keep Walmarts in mind if you are in need of a place to park overnight. They allow you to park for free. It is best to set up on the outskirts of the lot. It isn't the most scenic spot, but will do in a pinch if there are no campsites available at the time. A fun game is to keep an eye on license plates. There are many fun games involving the alphabet etc, but the one I enjoyed the most was to try to find all the states and provinces. Covering that much area will make the success rate very high! You say they will by staying in National or State Parks. I don't know about the United States, but in Canada these parks have much higher fees for overnight, plus the fee to get into the park. Don't forget many towns have camping areas that are cheaper, or even free. And it is such fun to snoop around smaller towns to check out local museums, pawn shops etc. A good place to see what is happening locally is to check out bulletin boards in stores, restaraunts etc.
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We (DH and I) just got back from a week long road trip to the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, and Bryce Canyon National Park. Although it was early in the season, we had to take the shuttle through the Grand Canyon. My advice would be to try to catch the earliest shuttle available because as the day progresses, the lines get longer and longer at the shuttle points. And remember, you get your best photos in the morning and evening. There is a one mile trek at Zion National Park which is absolutely beautiful. I highly recommend walking this trail and it does not take long.
We camped out two nights at Grand Canyon National Park and we did make our reservations in advance. Although early in the season, the park was full each night.
If they plan to go to Yellowstone, it will more than likely be cold. We were there over the 4th of July one year and there was snow on the way and in West Yellowstone, where we spent the night, it was below freezing in the morning. Definitely take some warm clothes.
Bryce Canyon is beautiful and totally different than the other parks. There is no shuttle so you can drive to each view point. Absolutely gorgeous.
There are so many places in Colorado but not sure where their route will take them. The Royal Gorge Bridge is definitely worth going to see. Also, Pike's Peak, and Rocky Mountain National Park. We loved Estes Park, too. Lots of beautiful country in Colorado.
Hope they have a wonderful time. Sounds like lots of fun.
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So much good information, all good advice, I'm sure. They leave June 12th, just a few days after school lets out, so if you think of any other advice between now and then, they are eager to listen. Or course, they have done a lot of research, and camping is not new to them, but the new destinations and that much travel are new to them, so tips from those who have "been there, done that" is priceless. Thanks again....
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