Everyone is well aware that any kind of trip requires preparation whether it be a quick weekend trip or an around the world tour.
Our trip, although not around the world probably takes almost as much preparation maybe even more. Traveling in an RV for 7 months takes a great deal of preparation and planning especially when 6 individuals are involved.
Of course, the RVs need attention to avoid or eliminate breakdowns. Fortunately, our group’s RVs are travel trailers which require less maintenance than a motorhome or similar motorized RV.
Apart from the interior systems, tires and bearings are the most vital components. Ralph’s trailer is almost new so he will have little to do before our departure. My trailer and Henry’s are a few years older so bearings and tires may need work or replacing.
Our tow vehicles also need attention, regular maintenance and a thorough safety check are important. My truck is new so an oil change should be all that is necessary.
Henry and Ralph’s trucks are older so they will probably n need more service. Along with regular maintenance, Ralph’s truck tires need replacing.
Henry’s truck, a Ram 3500, is a pig on fuel, he decided to tweak his engine and exhaust to help with fuel economy. I’m not sure the cost, but his mechanic believes he should recoup the cost by the end of this trip.
This is the easy stuff.
An RV tour of this distance and duration takes hours of planning. Myself and the rest of the group have spent 100’s of hours researching attractions, campgrounds, boondocker hosts, free camping overnight stops, venues, routes, destination weather, and average temperatures along the route.
Fuel stop options are a concern when the length of our rigs restricts us to large fuel lots like truck stops.
The entire group contributed, Lynda took on fuel stops and attractions, Lois and Ralph researched attractions and venues, Henry checked out the logistics, was our route possible was the driving days too aggressive? Allyson and I researched and planned the overall route.
If my memory serves the idea of the tour spawned a couple of years ago when the group gathered for a social happy hour.
Exploring the east coast of Canada and the US has always intrigued me. When the idea was presented most of the group had the same thoughts.
At the time everyone was on board but as the departure date neared things began to change.
Henry and Allyson were seriously concerned about many issues, a long time away from their family was top of the list. As our departure date got closure many of their issues were worked out.
We’ve traveled together several times as a group, north to the Yukon and Alaska and a couple of trips south from Canada to the southwest deserts. All the trips have been fun.
This tour was to be a marathon, covering Canada and the US and possibly a foray into Mexico.
The plan was to head across Canada covering all ten provinces including the island of Newfoundland, then south along the Atlantic coast through the original 13 colonies to Florida and the Florida Keys.
After Florida, our route takes us west through the southern states to the west coast and then north back home to southwestern BC, Canada.
During group discussions weather and climate along the route were important. The idea of enduring freezing temperatures or stifling heat in an RV was not acceptable.
Especially considering boondocking at free venues would be our preferred overnight stops, possibly without hookups. RVs are equipped with furnaces, air conditioners and are insulated but not built for extremes. Plugged into electricity helps but is not a perfect solution.
Besides, sightseeing and visiting historical attractions during pleasant weather is preferable
Canada is north of the US and despite misconceptions, summer temperatures can be hot to the point of unbearable. Spring and summer insects are also a problem in parts of Canada. The eastern summer heat and humidity both in Canada and the US can be unpleasant as well.
Beginning the tour too late in the year can also present weather issues albeit the opposite. In some parts of Canada like Newfoundland fall and winter begin earlier than other parts of the country.
Careful planning to avoid unpleasant weather was a prime concern.
Departing late summer probably the end of August or the beginning of September was concluded as the best time.
The members of our group were born and live in western Canada which provides opportunities to explore our home province of BC and neighboring provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.
No one was particularly interested in spending time sightseeing or touring the west so a quick drive across western Canada was decided. Except for a couple of stops in Saskatchewan and Manitoba to visit Henry and Ralph’s birth towns.
Most of the group has never seen eastern Canada save for quick family or business trips, so to begin sightseeing in the east was good for everyone.
Traveling with a group has many advantages, safety in numbers, helping hands if a problem occurs and different insights on ideas. Of course, there are disadvantages, different driving styles, different expectations and sometimes conflicting personalities.
Fortunately, with our group, the advantages generally outweigh the disadvantages. Probably the fact we have traveled together on several trips, have become good friends and most of us are seniors and don’t sweat the small stuff.
I guess the bottom line we are all willing to yield to whoever has a need to see an attraction, take in an activity or take the group in a different direction.
A trip of this scope has many other aspects to consider. Communication with family, destinations, such as boondocking stops, campgrounds and attractions, and with each other while traveling is important.
We learned quickly while traveling as a group it’s vital we are able to communicate easily when on the road. If one rig has a problem and needs to stop or the leader makes a wrong turn or one of us falls behind the others need to know. Communicating with the rest of the group falls to the navigator, co-pilot or wife.
We’ve tried various methods including CB radios and walkie-talkies. The latter seems to be the solution as long as not more than a mile or two separates the group.
An updated GPS is also essential for navigating the route especially through cities where highways split and lanes disappear.
Cell service and internet service are important also, my truck and Ralph’s have built-in cell phones and internet hotspots allowing us to make phone calls and use the internet while traveling.
Henry and Allyson have cell phones and i-pads with data packages for their communication needs. As I am writing this Canada is beginning to provide universal cell phone packages that can be used in the US at reasonable rates.
Verizon in the US seems to have the best coverage particularly outside city limits and their hotspot devices are reasonable.
Depending on your needs research into cell phone and internet providers and choosing the right plan can save plenty.
The most important consideration for our group while traveling is communicating with family. We are all blessed with great children and adorable grandchildren. Some of our grandchildren are pre-school age, our worry is they will forget us.
Facetiming often is a godsend, even though the young ones have limited attention span. Seeing them and talking with them is priceless.
For our group being apart from friends and family was an issue from the start. There is no perfect solution, but there are alternatives. One solution, Henry, Allyson, Ralph, and Lois came up with was a trip back home.
Our trip spans seven or eight months from the end of August through to March or April a huge amount of time to be away from family.
Henry and Allyson decided to fly home for two months during the middle of the trip, mid-November to mid-January. Ralph and Lois opted for one month, the first week of December to the first week of January.
Lynda and I will not return home and spend the middle of winter in Florida, we will miss our family, but spending the winter in warm weather somewhat compensates.
Our departure date is set, our itinerary although decided, will, I’m sure evolve as time passes.
Gord and Lynda, Ralph and Lois, Henry and Allyson are on the cusp of a great adventure, a tour of a lifetime, lookout North America here come “The Traveling Shooters”!!
Please check back, my intention is to post frequently as our travels take us across North America.
For more ideas on preparation for an extended tour such as home preparations, prescriptions, and travel insurance click the link below.
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