Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Planning Phase

Things are progressing with the house and the packing, and I'm into the "Planning" phase.  We still don't have a closing date so I can't make any reservations, but we really don't want to be on a schedule, so we may not even make reservations!  At least for the time being.

It's been a little frustrating trying to find campgrounds.  There doesn't seem to be one "all inclusive" place to find a list of campgrounds.  Good Sam and Woodalls have books, but they only list their approved campgrounds.  Even AAA has some campground books, but that leaves me looking through several books as I scour the atlas.

Adding to that, its hard to believe that in this day and age, so many campgrounds have such outdated (and I have found some that have none) websites.  Some don't list their rates, and others cost as much as a house payment just to camp there for a month!  I did find a site, www.rvparkreviews.com, that has been helpful.  It lists actual reviews by campers and gives good insight into issues that the park's website might not mention.  Issues like narrow roads, dirty bathrooms, low water pressure, or poor wifi reception.  Kind of like a Yelp for campers.

I used the atlas and www.mapquest.com to route out distance and travel times as I start to plan our route.  Our first stop is going to be in Cumberland, Maryland to visit a good friend of ours.  While there we will camp at Rocky Gap State Park, and plan to take the Amtrak train into Washington, DC, a 3 hour train ride away.  We want to visit the Holocaust Museum, and the train ride will be a bonus.

Since we are heading to Florida to spend some time with our son, we figured we would take the "scenic" route and head down the east coast.  Leaving Maryland, we will go through the Shenandoah Valley and then head over to the Norfolk / Virginia Beach area.  We will skim the east coast going through the Carolinas (Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head) to Savannah, Georgia (and Tybee Island), before getting to Florida.

We plan to stay in Florida through the holidays, and then trekking along the Gulf Coast, stopping to see friends along the way.  We might as well see the sights in New Orleans (although neither of us are much on the party scene), before heading to Dallas to see my friend of 50 years.  After a few days with them, we will spend the rest of the winter in Mesa, Arizona.  There just so happens to be two HUGE gem and jewelry shows in Arizona in January and February.  How convenient.

Noel's last day of work is Friday, and we've already begun having "goodbye" lunches and dinners as we prepare to leave our friends and family in order to meet new ones along the way.

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