As full-time nomads, we find it helpful to track the “when”, “where”, and “how” of our travels. Therefore, we name each stay and experience by its full place name, including city and state, and we then categorize each of these by the season of the year, its geographical region, and the route we took to get there.
Seasons are the usual spring, summer, fall, and winter.
For geographic regions, we go by the map above.
For routing, we use RV Trip Wizard.
Becky does most of the planning. In general, we spend the summers up north where it’s cool and the winters down south where it’s warm. And in the spring and fall, we travel back and forth. Below are the route maps RV Trip Wizard produced for each trip/season so far.
Our first major trip in our motorhome was a round trip from Toledo to southern Florida and back, in just six weeks. Our goal was to change our domicile from Ohio to Florida. We weren’t yet fully retired, and so we were under some time constraints. We tended to travel longer distances and have shorter stays than we do now. In a word, it was a bit grueling.
We learned some important lessons on this trip.
- Take your time. Traveling 150 miles in a day is plenty.
- Plan at least one rest stop if driving farther.
- Keep your speed reasonable, between 60 and 65 MPH.
- U.S. Highways are often easier to drive than the Interstate.
- Spend a few days at each, or every other, location.
- Plan your route around cities whenever possible.
- If you have to go through a city, sometimes straight thru is better than the bypass. Avoid rush hours. Sunday mornings are best.
Being from northern Ohio, we knew that Michigan had a lot to offer, and we weren’t disappointed. Once we got past the Detroit Metro area, we found the trip to be very pleasurable.
We started the Fall 2016 season in Toledo and ended in Central Florida. Along the way we weathered Hurricane Matthew, went to the North Carolina State Fair in Raleigh NC, and visited Bobby’s family in Myrtle Beach SC.
We spent the winter 2016-17 in the wonderfully warm state of Florida. Except for a few days trips, all of our time was spent in the interior of the state, which with the exception of Orlando/Kissimmee, isn’t completely spoiled. In fact, there lots to do and see. The Ocala and Clermont areas are actually quite scenic, with rolling hills, horse farms, and wineries. Plus there is the added benefit of being close to The Villages. I guess if you have to have urban sprawl, you could do a lot worse than The Villages. (Looking at you, Kissimmee.)
We stayed in Central Florida the first part of Spring 2017 to take care of some medical needs. Once those were dealt with, we began traveling north from Florida to the Great Lakes area, which is where we plan to spend the Summer.
In fact, we drove up from Florida twice this spring. The first time, we took a lazy two months to drive the motorhome to Indiana in the hopes of having our leveling jacks worked on at the Lippert factory service center in Goshen.
While the rig was in the shop, we flew back down to Florida, and spent three days helping our daughter Jennifer move to Indiana so she could be closer to her adult children.
The months driving the motorhome were pleasant enough. We spent some time in Montgomery AL and Nashville TN, as well as at some fine COE parks.
However, the Lippert experience was a total waste. We gave them a list of the items we wanted checked along with a request to do routine maintenance on the leveling jacks. They got sidetracked by an error light when using the automatic leveling control. We always use the manual controls, which works fine for us. Fixing the automatic control was not on our list.
They called to tell us that the entire control panel had to be replaced and was going to be $1,000. I told them to skip it, since the manual controls worked fine, and to just finish up the list we gave them.
Before returning to Goshen to pick up the rig, I called them to ensure that everything we complete, and was assured it was. But when we got there, it because clear that they had actually not done anything on the list. They planned on charging us for the “diagnostic work”, but didn’t once they realized how screwed up it all was.
So it didn’t cost us any money, just time and disappointment. And our leveling jacks still need servicing. One of our biggest complaints about the RV industry is its lack of quality service.
However, we did enjoy driving from Florida with Jennifer. It was good to spend some extra time with her, and to help her get settled in her new home up north. We finished up the season by traveling around Indiana some more, and eventually ending at the Wilmington Thousand Trails in Ohio. We made a couple of day trips into Cincinnati, which were both interesting.
We started the summer off at Wilmington Thousand Trails just northeast of Cincinnati. We then went through Columbus on our way to Toledo.
We worked as camper hosts at Maumee Bay State Park for four weeks in July, and then stayed another two weeks to visit family. In August we finally headed out for the Finger Lakes Area in Upstate New York, which we enjoyed very much.
The plan is to be in New England for the Fall before heading back to Florida for the Winter. A fairly slow summer for traveling.