Category Archives: New England by RV

Details of our trip to New England from Northern California

New England RV Trip 2015

We left for our tour of New England with no travel itinerary. We chose to follow our whims as we went. I highly recommend this approach to RV travel “off season”. Up to Columbus day, we had no trouble finding open campgrounds with available campsites. In fact the campgrounds were practically empty, with some notable exceptions: Normandy Farms Foxboro discounts Columbus day and was booked the weekend we left, the Keene Pumpkin Festival moved to Laconia and campgrounds fill for the festival. On a day we relocated, we would look for campgrounds in the area we expected to stay and called ahead. We had no problem finding a number of possible campsites. All this changed after Columbus day. In New England, Columbus Day marks the end of “the season”. Though some campgrounds close Sept 15th, most close after October 15th and practically all are closed by November 1. We had some trouble finding campsites after November 1. Things close earlier in Maine where we boondocked two days in mid-October.

By having no plans, we could stay as long or as short as we liked. We enjoyed visiting family and friends where we stayed a few days. We used Foxboro Ma as base camp for exploring Boston, Concord, Lexington, Arlington, and Cambridge in a rentall car and Mountain View Campground in Morrisville Vt to explore Stowe. We were not sure how we would do on an extended RV trip. Before we left, friends would ask, “How long will you be gone?” I’d answer, “six to eight weeks” to which Ellen would retort, “we’ll see, four weeks maybe six”. We both agreed as we buzzed home driving 500+ days that we could have been on the road another month. There were so many places we skipped with “limited time”. If we had it to do over, we would have left mid-August. It is great having tourist destinations almost to yourself, as we did on Cape Cod or in Maine. The down side? Practically no shops are open. Those that are open display a huge 10 foot flag stating “OPEN” in huge letters. So much of the charm of small towns on the cape are the people and the seasonal food. Both become scarce off season.

We skipped visiting Yellow Springs and Write Patterson in Ohio, spending more time on The Cape, exploring Moosehead Lake and northern Maine, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, Gloucester, and Salem. We drove past a great number of those brown signs marking points of interest. We simply did not have the time to do “everything”. There were a number of museums we drove past.

We also had three system failures on our trip: 1. hot water running cold with the water heater working fine, 2. central locking crapped out, 3. the refrigerator refused to run on 12 volts. We also had the engine start hard and run very rough with the inverter on. Restarting with the inverter off solved that “problem”. The hot water issue was caused when a campground ran high pressure air thorugh their lines to clear them ahead of a freeze. We were attached. The pressure forced the check valve into the sleeve effectively blocking hot water flow. The check valve is $9 part at camping world. Central Locking and the Fridge are yet to be fixed.

We had a phenominal trip, made more memorable by our daily log. We revisit the blog to relive our trip.

Here is our timeline. I’d say “itinerary”, but that suggests pre-planning, something we assiduously avoided. We had a want list including Stowe, the White Mountains, Cog Railway, Franconia Notch, Smuggler’s Notch, Conway, Hampton and Rye Beach, Martha’s Vineyard, Boston, Arlington and surrounds, the North Shore, Zip Lines, a moose tour, New York City, Long Island, Mystic Ri, Groton, Crowly RV, the Inner Harbor Baltimore, Washington DC; some we skipped, others we did.


9/16/2015 Truckee Ca Coachland RV 10873
9/17/2015 Austin, Nv Pony Express RV Park 11083
9/18/2015 Salina, Ut Butch Cassidy RV Park 11452 Cindy recommended Pony Espresso Deli Eureka Nv
9/19/2015 Parachute, Co Battlement Mesa RV Park 11718 Duayne @ Ace; Jenny @ campground; Green River State Park
9/20/2015 Woodland, Co Diamond Campground 11955 Vail; Breckenridge; past Cripple Creek; John and Rona
9/21/2015 Woodland, Co Woodland RV Park & Campground 11958 Visit with Rich, Alea,
9/22/2015 Woodland, Co Woodland RV Park & Campground 11958
9/23/2015 Woodland, Co Woodland RV Park & Campground 11958
9/24/2015 Oakley, Ks High Plains RV Campground 12218 Capt’n Jack’s Pub, Kobe Beef, Crab Cakes, great showers
9/25/2015 Danville, Mo Lazy Day Campground 12743 Lazy Day great campground. Skipped Chrystler Museum, Oz museum, Totoz Taco, Dinosaur Museum
9/26/2015 Mansfield, Oh Walmart Boondock 13298 Skipped Yellow Springs, Dayton Museum, Cincinnati
9/27/2015 Grand Island, Ny Cinderella Motel and Campsite 13598 Niagara Falls
9/28/2015 Syracuse, Ny Visiting Carol, Paul, Dylan, and Jameson 13688 Empire Brewing
9/29/2015 Syracuse, Ny Visiting Carol, Paul, Dylan, and Jameson
9/30/2015 Syracuse, Ny Visiting Carol, Paul, Dylan, and Jameson
10/1/2015 Syracuse, Ny Visiting Carol, Paul, Dylan, and Jameson
10/2/2015 Tivoli, Ny Visiting David,, Chris, Danny, & Erica 13966
10/3/2015 Tivoli, Ny Visiting David,, Chris, Danny, & Erica
10/4/2015 Tivoli, Ny Visiting David,, Chris, Danny, & Erica
10/5/2015 Tivoli, Ny Visiting David,, Chris, Danny, & Erica
10/6/2015 Fort Ann, Ny Moose Hillock Camping Resort 14114 Near Lake George, Adirondack outlet mall most extensive for miles
10/7/2015 Ticonderoga, Ny Brookwood RV Resort 14172 Lake George
10/8/2015 Lake Placid, Ny Cascade Acres Campground 14246 Fort Ticonderoga in the afternoon, Ellen:”There is literally no other RV @camp tonight”
10/9/2015 Winooski Vt North Beach Campground 14342 Mirror lake & Lake Placid in the morning, Ferry to Burlington VT, North Beach is right on the lake.
10/10/2015 Morrisville, Vt Mountain View Campground 14395 Near Stowe Vermont
10/11/2015 Morrisville, Vt Mountain View Campground
10/12/2015 Morrisville, Vt Mountain View Campground
10/13/2015 St Johnsbury, Vt Moose River Campground closed the campground
10/14/2015 Littleton, Nh Crazy Horse Campground 14708 closed the campground, search for Cherry Lake a bust.
10/15/2015 Lincoln, Nh Country Bumpkin Campground White mountains, cog railway, smuggler’s notch, the Flume
10/16/2015 Lincoln, Nh Country Bumpkin Campground Closed the campground
10/17/2015 Woodbury, Nh KOA Woodbury Nh Closed the campground, expensive but very nice campground, drove the Kancamangas Highway
10/18/2015 North Conway, Nh Eastern Slope Campground 14918 No hot water in the AM (they blew out their lines)
10/19/2015 Portland Me Elks Lodge, electric hookup ate at Bea’s Café recommended by gal at camping world, purchased check valve
10/20/2015 Portland Me Walmart Boondock drove Old Orchard Beach & north along the coast. Gave up install of check valve
10/21/2015 Meredith, Nh Meredith Woods Campground 15220 Beast serviced @ Prime Motors Portland Me, Indoor heated pool, Full resort style glamping
10/22/2015 Meredith, Nh Meredith Woods Campground
10/23/2015 Meredith, Nh Meredith Woods Campground 15310 James ordered an electronic switch to fix our hot water problem, Part & Jim never arrived, left late afternoon
10/24/2015 Shelburne Falls, Ma Country Aire Bridge of Flowers, pedestrian bridge Brookline, NH; West End Café; The Best Pizza in New England
10/25/2015 Shelburne Falls, Ma Country Aire
10/26/2015 Hatfield, Ma Ed & Jean Parked The Beast and stayed with Ed and Jean for five days!
10/27/2015 Hatfield, Ma Ed & Jean
10/28/2015 Hatfield, Ma Ed & Jean
10/29/2015 Hatfield, Ma Ed & Jean
10/30/2015 Hatfield, Ma Ed & Jean
10/31/2015 Hatfield, Ma Ed & Jean
11/1/2015 Bourne, Ma Scusset Beach State Park Campground Closed the Campground, Marconi Station & White Cedar Swamp
11/2/2015 Foxboro, Ma Normandy Farms Family Campground Resort
11/3/2015 Foxboro, Ma Normandy Farms Family Campground Resort Enterprise Rental and trips to Boston, Concord, Lexington, Arlington, and Cambridge
11/4/2015 Foxboro, Ma Normandy Farms Family Campground Resort
11/5/2015 Foxboro, Ma Normandy Farms Family Campground Resort Brad’s RV Service fixed our hot water problem
11/6/2015 Foxboro, Ma Normandy Farms Family Campground Resort
11/7/2015 North Stonington, Ct Mystic KOA Campground Mysic Ct, Mystic Old Town, Mystic Seaport
11/8/2015 North Stonington, Ct Mystic KOA Campground steamers on the half shell (errr)
11/9/2015 Clarksboro, Nj Timberline Campground Ferry Monmouth-NYC financial district, world trade center, central locking fail
11/10/2015 Dumfries, Va Prince William Forest RV Campground 16487 Fort Mercer & Valley Forge
11/11/2015 Hilton Head, SC Jessie & Ryan 17016 Savannah, fishing, oyster toad fish,
11/12/2015 Hilton Head, SC Jessie & Ryan
11/13/2015 Hilton Head, SC Jessie & Ryan
11/14/2015 Moton, Ms Roosevelt State Park 17609 surprisingly, we stumbled upon Roosevelt State Park, on of our favorites from our first X-country trip!
11/15/2015 Vidalia, La River View RV Park & Resort 17795 Natchez Trace, Nathez, camping on the Mississippi
11/16/2015 Abilene, Tx Buck Creek RV Park 18353 Tornado watch, high wind, rain, hail, stopped at Buck Eez bbq brisket was forgetable
11/17/2015 Alberquerque, Nm High Desert RV Park 18873 Billy the Kid’s grave, heavy X-winds, Trouble with fridge not running on 12 volts.
11/18/2015 Kingman, Az Sunrise RV Park 19357 warming as we drove through Arizona, T-shirt weather @ petrified forest & painted desert
11/19/2015 home 19999 Total of 9,126 miles driven 66 days on the road.

Lazy Day Campground, Missouri then Boondocking


Li’l Beast at Lazy Day Campground

Photos taken around Lazy Days Campground on a morning walk about.

DSC03738   DSC03741

DSC03746   DSC03753


Lazy Day Campground was comfortable and we would have stayed a second day if we were not on a mission.

Another long “get there” day.   We were on the road for 9 hours and logged 554 miles.  With Autumn arriving in New England any day now, I graciously agreed to forego Antioch, Yellow Springs, the Glenn, and the Wright Patterson Air Force Museum and “keep on truckin'”.


Crossing into Illinois


Picking Flowers in Illinois


Illinois Farmland


Crossing into Indiana

We’ve pulled off the road and used the inverter to power our “home” opting not to use the generator.  This meant food served up on the stove and the ‘fridge run on LP.

Wineguard HD Antenna and DirecTv In Operation

The Wineguard HD Antenna has worked flawlessly.  Once powered the DirecTV receiver off before the antenna completed setup and I had to reboot the receiver.  Typically the receiver will be powered on while the antenna sets-up and there will be no problem. I am impressed with the simplicity of operation of the antenna.  It does take some time to latch onto the satellites.  I think it goes back to its last setting on the assumption it has not moved, then when there is no signal in that direction it opens up a full sky search which can take some time and whirring and some clicking coming from the Beast’s roof.  I’ve only once not locked onto the signal for three sats.  We were parked with a big pine tree centered to the south of the antenna.  No signal came through the tree trunk.

Funny how the DirecTv system works.  Here we are in the central time zone and our DirecTv guide shows Pacific Time.  This is not a bad thing.  We have a two hour grace period between local time and DirecTv broadcast time.  If we setup “the Beast” at 8Pm after a long day, the DirecTv Guild shows current time as 6Pm.  We will have three hours difference when we hit the Eastern Time Zone.  For tomorrow’s Jets game, We can drive until noon (1 Pm if we cross into EST) and still record the jets game broadcast at 10 AM PST.  I think this would create issues for folks whose home system was EST and they headed west.   They would have to stop early to record or watch programming.  In the best of all worlds, the Guide would show local time.   I’ll have to call DirecTv and sort this out.

We passed a sign for Yellow Springs and Antioch College shortly after passing Springfield Oh.  It felt like coming home, probably because it was. A sign for Xenia zipped by and another for the Mad River which runs close by Yellow Springs.  It was not easy for me to drive by, but we will have more time to explore on our way back home without an incipient deadline (trees wait for no man  err Trees Wait for NoMads)

We plan to get an early start and log some miles before stopping for the Jets/Eagles game.  Watch out Shawn, the JETS are looking healthy and strong.  Then we’ll find a campsite with a view of the coming eclipse.  We’re a long day’s drive away from Syracuse, NY, our next stopover.

The Worst Road Ever

A word about I-70 Indiana.  I don’t know what’s up with this state but the eastern half of I-70 through Indiana is the worst bumpy pot-holed piece of crap highway I’ve; driven in the past decade.  I-70 in Illinois and in Ohio is great.   There are some long single lane stretches in Illinois, but with light traffic that’s OK.   In Ohio, the road is new and near perfect in most places.


Crossing into Ohio Today’s Final Destination


Where In The World Are We?

I worked for Trimble Navigation on hand held GPS receivers as the GPS satellite constellation was going up.  I contributed to the development of a number of GPS receivers used in aviation, marine, and land based applications.  One of the receivers, the Pathfinder Basic, was used in quantities in the first Gulf War.  I am very pleased with the way GPS has become commonplace in our smart phones and computers.  It is an amazing technology that has saved lives.

Tracking Our Travels with GPS

We’ve only been retired for a few months.  We’re enjoying the freedom not having to work provides.  Over the years we’ve saved enough to have an annual travel budget.  This fall we’ll be visiting family on our photography trip to New England.  I would like to have our location published to have family members track our progress across the U.S. This way they will know how close we are and when we might drop by.  Ideally we would publish a record of where we’ve been.

I-70 vs I-80

We will be driving I-70 rather than I-80 through Nevada and Colorado.   I’ve read many Q&A about driving I-70 in an RV.  I-70 has many more steep grades and twisties than does I-80.  I-80 is the preferred truck route and it is said to be boring.  By geo-tagging our route we can reference specific locations on a map as we describe our experiences driving through Nevada, Colorado, and all the way to the east coast.  We may be able to share a map with tags that reference photos taken along the route.

We are not alone in choosing between I-70 and I-80.  Others may find that our description and dash cam footage influences their route decision.


I’ve added GeoLocation to our blog on the header menu.  Clicking on Our Current GeoLocation transfers you to Glympse and displays our last tagged location on a map.

This was easily accomplished by installing Glympse on my iPhone; adding the tag Gps, and linking a menu item to the Glympse URL the tag generated.  I have to remember to update our GPS location on Glympse regularly and only the our most recent location will display.  This is “ok”.

What Next?

Ideally we’ll store a track over time of our geolocations.  Glympse does not seem adequate to this task.  Once I’m happy with our solution, I’ll update our blog with the info.


We have had very good experiences finding campgrounds as we travel.  Before we left to purchase “Li’l Beast”, I loaded eight campground applications into my iPhone in the hopes that one or two would be useful as we drove from Connecticut to California.  It was mid-winter when we drove back to Ca, and many campgrounds in the north east close for the winter.  One application quickly became our “go to” app for choosing a campground for the night.  AllStays was invaluable to us on that trip and has not let us down since.  It provides filtering to narrow campground searches to exactly what you want or need.  Need 50 amps, water, but sewer hookup?  No problem.  It has an extensive list of amenities to search over.

Wineguard HD DirecTv antenna

We well be leaving on our months long road trip on Sept 16th, 2015; next week.  Ellen will be at a “girl’s retreat” in Tahoe City.  I’ll be staying overnight in Truckee on the 16th and picking her up the next afternoon.  AllStays lists seven campgrounds in the vicinity two of which have electric hookups.   Both are near the freeway and have good reviews (8+).  I need an electric hookup too test; our new Wineguard DirecTv antenna, load the guide, and record a program or two.  Both campgrounds have tall trees and unless I can find a clear view of the southern sky my plans for that evening may be dashed.  We had the antenna installed just before leaving for a friend’s wedding in San Diego.  I have not had the opportunity to play with our HD TV setup.  We’ll ring it out on our New England trip and hopefully not have any issues.

No photos this blog.  We’re counting the days ’till we leave on our next adventure.






RV New England

RV time once again! This time we’re headed east to New England.


         Massachusetts Off-Shore

In a week’s time, we’re off to a friend’s wedding. We’ll leave for New York a few days later.

We’ll stop first in Colorado Springs to visit with family Ellen has not seen in far too long. Rather than take I80, well go I70 running a bit more south. We might avoid some wind in Wyoming, more truckers on I80, and have a much more scenic drive. It will be slower going through the Rockies. I’m sure Li’l Beast will be up to the challenge. We’ll use our trusty AllStays iPhone App to guide us to campgrounds along the way.

We’ll drive to Colorado Springs from Truckee stopping in Ely, Nevada; Green River, Utah; and Frisco, Colorado on the way. Both Ely and Green River have a few good campsites nearby: Cave Lakes State Park and Ely KOA in Ely and Goblin Valley State park and Green River State Park near Green River. Frisco has one campground nearby, Heaton Bay, White River National Forest. We may stay in Frisco or push on that day.

I expect we’ll dally a few days in Colorado Springs before continuing on to New York. My plan is to stop in Ogallala, Nebraska; Lincoln Nebraska; Davenport, Illinois; Fremont, Indiana; Dunkirk, New York; and on to Rhinebeck, New York. I have campsites penciled in for each stop. Realistically, I doubt we will execute the plan. We’ll be making unexpected stops for fresh fruit, a scenic view, or just to relax along the way. Unlike our other RV trips, this one is open-ended. We do not have to be home in September or October or even in November. We are free to follow our whims. At this time of year, we should have no problem finding campgrounds without making reservations ahead.


    Franconia Notch Ariel Tramway

As I might have mentioned in an earlier post, I have lists of “all” the covered bridges in New England and hope to visit a number of them. Also on my list is Brown’s Seafood in Hampton New Hampshire. Our family would stop here on our way to and from Rye Beach. I remember diving into a huge bucket of fried lobster with glee or walking the beach munching fried or steamed clams. With the memory of wonderfully prepared fresh crab and clam in Coupeville, Brown’s may be a tough go.


  Covered Bridge, The Flume, New Hamshire

I do not have much pre-planned for this trip once we reach New York. I expect we will visit Conway New Hampshire and the Presidential Rang, Franconia Notch in the White Mountain and Lake Winnipesaukee both in New Hampshire, and should we get that far north, there’s Moose Lake Maine. We may extend our tentacles into Quebec. Massachusetts holds so many memories for me. Bicycling the towns of Concord, Lexington, and Arlington. I took frequent trips to Cambridge Boston. The family often visited Nahant Beach, Salem, Gloucester; sometimes the Cape, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. Negotiating rotaries with an RV in Boston traffic will be: a) exciting, b) nerve wracking, c) lunacy, you choose.


      Mt. Washington, New Hampshire


       Vineyard Haven, Martha’s Vineyard


           The Flume, New Hampshire

If you do tomorrow what you did today, you will get tomorrow what you got today.


Optimal Route Mapping, update

With minimal gaffing around, I am able to run Randal S. Olson’s route optimization program. There were a few “gotcha’s”: 1) the program is written for Python 2.7, I loaded 3.4, and syntax differences when writing to a file required the string field be enclosed in bytes( somestring,’UTF-8′)      2) Google limits the number of gmaps.distance_matrix calls for non paying subscribers to 100 000 in a 24 hour period and that limit is quite easy to exhaust; 3) the Python extension “numpy” fails to load with pip, use Christopher Gohlke’s binaries to load it from I used numpy-1.9.2+unoptimized-cp34-none-win_amd64.whl but had to install python’s “wheel” extension (python easy_install wheel).

If the program does not run, cut back the number of waypoints in the list to avoid exhausting google’s access limit. If the limit is exceeded, the program will report that the distance calculation failed, but you won’t have a clue why. It’s reported in the exception handler.

It is very cool that Randal included the map html as part of the program’s output. What is none too cool: google does not include low clearance, one lane, or narrow bridges as points of interest/concern. Be sure to check that a route from A to B does not run through a bridge whose clearance is lower than your rig’s height.

Next Up, defining the points of interest in our RV trip to New England and seeing how this maps out.


New England Fall 2015

An update on resources for planning an RV trip to New England.

Round Barns and Covered Bridges

Dale J Travis has compiled exhaustive lists of covered bridges and round barns by state. Each list includes the county in which the bridge resides, the bridge name, water the bridge is built over, the bridge’s length and year built, GPS location, and a photo. Not all bridges have complete entries; most do.

I hope to visit a number of covered bridges in New England. Dale’s lists make this easier for me and for you. He also provides reading material recommendations.

New England Foliage

There are a number of website to help tourists visit during peak foliage. I had thought the foliage developed first in Maine and moved south through the states. This is an incomplete picture. The foliage moves from the north-west toward the coast, running from Canada to the sea. I’m now thinking a loop heading north through Quebec, Northern Vermont and Maine; then swinging south along the sea-shore through Maine, and New Hampshire; turning inland toward central New Hampshire; then south and east through Massachusetts, visiting Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket along the way before dropping down through Rhode Island and Connecticut is “optimal”. This will be a rather long haul and will take some time if we keep our daily mileage minimal. New England is not Alaska, there are no vast expanses to be driven in a day.

I have no idea how long this will take. Optimal foliage started in late September last year and worked it way to the coast and into Rhode Island by mid October. That gives us about four weeks to tour the region with time before and after to visit friends and family along the way.

Foliage Resources

New England 2015 projection: yankee foliage
Maine past foliage:
2014 “Best of”; www.wildcenter,org
A Vermont Drive: drive vermont
Main Resource Guide: visit Maine

I’ll be adding more resources as our plan develops. We use the iPhone app, AllStays, to research state and national parks and RV campgrounds. The app can search near your GPS location or around a city or town. I’ll publish our route once we have one!


Travel to Canada and Mexico

These days US citizens traveling to Mexico or Canada must have a valid passport. Because both Mexico and Canada allow a visitor to stay in country for six months, the visitor’s passport must be valid for six months at the time of entry. This is why there is a “six month rule” for passports. It is to avoid passport issues on an extended stay.

Our trip planning includes an excursion into Canada this fall and a trip to South America next spring. While setting up to renew my passport for our spring trip, I noticed that the passport would go invalid within six months of our trip to Canada. Ooops. I have to renew my passport NOW to avoid entry issues into Canada this fall. I’ll head out to get passport photos this afternoon!

It is quite easy to forget that a passport is required for both Canada and Mexico. This is a relatively new requirement. In the past a simple driver’s license was all that was necessary.

When traveling, do not forget to check the expiration date of your passport and remember the six month rule. There is lots of conflicting information on the internet, some stating you can travel with a passport that expires in four months, others say it doesn’t matter if you are not going by plane. Don’t gamble with something as simple as passport renewal. Renew well ahead of time save yourself some grief.


Road Trip planning for this fall

Have you ever started planning a simple thing and found yourself thinking, “but while we’re here we can do XYZ”, often? In engineering we called this creeping featurism. It is the bane of engineering projects in that a well defined series of tasks and their schedule can be severely compromised by what appear to be simple add-ons. I found myself falling into this trap while planning our road trip to New England.

What should be (will be) a quick trip to the north east followed by a long meander through Quebec, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, was becoming a cross country extravaganza that promised to consume two or three weeks before crossing the Mississippi! I mentioned taking I-90 to Ellen earlier today and she said, “We’ll see.” That made me think, what are our goals in this road trip? Answer: to see New England in the fall. What does driving to Seattle and seeing national monuments, state and national parks in the north west have to do with seeing New England? Answer: nothing.

Road trips through the North West, the West, and the South West will be exciting when the time comes. These will be separate, planned, long excursions in their own right. There is no need to “see it all” just because we are driving across the U.S. We will strike a direct path to the North East on I-80, stopping at scenic campgrounds along the way, but not going out of our way to find them. This will be a “mad dash” to New York followed by our trip through the North East states. We may well drive directly back home on I-80 without driving down the eastern seaboard. I will plan for a scenic drive back. We can always change the plan.

Creeping Featurism in road trip planning!?! Plan the execution and execute the plan, so the saying goes. We’ll keep the plan simple, but will feel free to improvise as we go. The plan in this case is a guide.

There are many road trip planners available on the web. One,, is reasonably useful but lacks a state and national parks and monuments data base. Another interesting find, there is a road trip planner based on a “where’s waldo” algorithm created by post doctoral researcher Randal S. Olson. It is written in python and the source is available as BSD share-ware. I may tinker with this code set since I have the tools and ability to do so. Most likely, I’ll contact Randal before starting on the project.

Randal was the creator of this map, which may be familiar to you:

OptimalRoadTrip US

RV New England, fall 2016

IMG 2656

In just two short months (2.5 ?) we will be taking a two month “recation” (retirement vacation) to the North East. It is never too soon to begin planning the route “back east” and a list of places to visit once we arrive there. I prefer to keep our itinerary open as much as possible. This avoids being rushed or having to move on from a place we love. This runs counter to the need to reserve space at popular RV sites. There are two schools of thought here: 1. Make reservations at the popular sites and 2. avoid the popular and find your own ‘best of”. I am new to RV trip planning which makes this adventure more challenging and intellectually stimulating.

If you follow this blog, you know Ellen and I have literally “just returned” from a one month sojourn in Italy and Greece with a stop-over in Istanbul and Ephesus. There, trip planning was 100% spot on. Every connection, every apartment, all transportation clicked. We left all days in the cities open for “own plans” to do what we wanted when we wanted with no itinerary. The cruise excursions were the only pre-planned pieces of that entire trip aside from where to stay and connections between.
An RV trip is quite different and comes in four distinct parts: 1. getting to the North East, 2. visiting family and friends once there, 3. driving New England for the foliage, covered bridges, and points of interest, and 4. driving back to California.
Over the next few weeks I will flesh out and/or modify the skeletal outline below as the details of our pending adventure come into focus.

Getting to the North East.
Which friends/family to visit on the way
Which route to take (time of year is #1 consideration)
What to see and do along the way
How long to spend “in transit”
How many miles to drive on average each day
Likely state or national parks or RV parks to stay at
Make reservations ahead or wing it.

Visiting Family or Friends
How much time to allocate for visits
How to divide our time.
An optimal route between destinations
Stay in the driveway/street or at a nearby park

Seeing New England
Create a list of must see spots.
How far to drive per day on average
Allow “down time” days? How many.
Car rental along the way, if so where.
tow setup for rental car?
Trip planning considering RV weight and dimensions and bridge restrictions.
State visitation order and route
How much time to schedule between reservations for new discoveries
Make reservations ahead or wing it, and where.
Tours and/or side trips (e.g. fishing trips, Martha’s Vineyard, the cape, the Presidential range)

Driving back to California
See family/friends
which route returning to California (time of year is #1 consideration)
List of “must see” along that route
how many miles to drive per day on average.
Make reservations or wing it, where, when

General Considerations
How often to stop at an RV park that provides laundry.
How often should we plan to eat out vs cook in.
(Shopping lists and the like are best left unplanned)

There you have it, my “off the top of my head” first draft for extended trip planning.
First up: Which Route to take getting to New England.