What’s at the next exit?

It’s that time of year to start making those summer travel plans. This weekend is Memorial Day which more or less kicks off the summer travel season. Some folks will be traveling by air, some will be traveling by car and then those of us who are fortunate will be traveling by RV. However, if the price of gas/diesel doesn’t stop its upward spiral, we may all be staying at home playing “Mexican Train” on the kitchen table. If you don’t know what Mexican Train Game in Collector’s Tin is, you’re probably not a real RVer.

So where are you going to go and how are you going to get there? Today’s high tech gadgets make planning our trips a little easier than it use to be. Instead of getting out a trusty old road map, I fire up the computer and start my “Trailer Life Directory Campground Navigator”. It is a great way to plan a camping trip! The program has thousand of campgrounds all over the US and then gives a lot of data about the campground and of the area where the campground is located. The program will calculate the route and give distances and times to the points that you insert into the program.

After you have your trip planned, you can use the directions from the computer program or use one of the many GPS devices. I prefer to use the computer program to find where I want to go and then use the GPS to help me get there. The day of the paper map is just about dead, I think. Last year I made a trip to the east coast and never looked at a paper map.

Even with these high tech gadgets, I still find that I need help from a couple of books when I travel in my 5th wheel trailer. Because we travel through the mountains, I use one of two books depending on which coast I’m headed towards. One is Mountain Directory West for Truckers, RV, and Motorhome Drivers
of the West and the other is Mountain Directory East for Truckers, RV, and Motorhome Drivers
of the east. These two books will tell you of the road grades that you might encounter on your route. As I stated in a earlier blog on mountain passes, you don’t want to get caught on a 10 percent grade with your pants down. My limit is 7 percent, although I have done an 8 percent while protesting the fact that I had gotten myself there unknowingly. If you don’t have one of those books, I suggest that you get one. I suppose that very soon someone will make a digital version that will be incorporated into a computer program or maybe your cell phone.

The other book that is good to have is The Next Exit 2011: USA Interstate Exit Directory: the Most Complete Interstate Exit DirectoryBooks on Travel Reference)
. The only caveat is that the book is only good for interstate highways. If you like to take the roads less traveled, the book won’t do you any good. The book is a great reference while traveling the interstate highway system because it lists all of the exits from coast to coast and gives a lot of information about what is available at that intersection. For me, the best piece of information is whether or not diesel is available and whether or not it is suitable for a large camper. As a RVer, the other great piece of information is where the Walmarts are located.  No trip is complete without at least one stop at a Walmart.  Then the book lists all available eating places and hotels and motels.  There is a wealth of information in “The Next Exit”.  We use ours any time we are on the interstate.



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