Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Go West Old Man – Headed Home – The Final Day – 2012

The last day of our RV trip west was a long driving day of over 400 miles and mostly on I-40 across TN.  I didn’t realize how nice it was to drive the light traffic roads of the West until we got on the very crowded I-40, making the drive long and tense.  But we got home safe and sound around 5:30pm on Sep. 28, for a 29 day trip.

Here’s a few of the things we learned.

1.    Roads and traffic are generally much better in the less populated western states.  South Dakota’s roads were the best and Iowa’s were the worst (but still not as bad as we found in Arkansas last year) – going thru Missouri and Kansas will be our preferred route.

2.    Avoid large cities like the plague as the road surfaces are terrible, there is always construction going on, and there are lots of drivers in a big hurry.

3.    Make a long driving day 300 miles and the normal more like 200-250 miles, so a nice evening and afternoon can be spent exploring the area – especially for one night stays.  We did a 75 - 100 miles/day longer on this trip.

4.    Rather than trying to see so much area, with only 2-3 days allotted per stop, go less places and spend 4-5 days, or more, to be able to really see an area.

5.    Try not to be on the road on Sundays and holidays as road service is much less available.

6.    September is a good time to travel where we did as the weather had cooled and there were no crowds - we had some places nearly to ourselves.

7.    If we plan to continue RVing, we must get a car that can easily be towed without the dolly as it is a pain to fool with.

8.    Get the RV in as good a condition as possible before hitting the road.

9.    It’s hard to imagine the vast mid west’s food producing ability until you’ve seen some of it.

10. Over 3826 miles, the RV got 8.5 MPG or about 47.7 cents/mile in fuel cost.

11. Thoroughly research the area to be visited to maximize our time there.

12. Get a Truck Route Atlas and know where the fuel stops are on the non-interstate roads.

I'm now responding to your comments and hoping you will stop back by - photos best if enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.

One Year Ago: Eggplant Parmesan

Two years Ago: My Last Day In Marco


9/28/12 event date


  1. Wow, there's a lot more to RVing than taking the comforts of home with you. I agree on spending more time at each stop. I would think you miss a lot, including some much needed rest & down time, when you're always on the road. My father called it "getting the car out from under him."

    Glad you guys are home safely. I had no idea how much gas an RV uses. We have a friend who had a 5th wheel and the big truck it takes to pull those things doesn't get good mileage either.

    1. It's good to go but always good to come home - I don't think full time RVing is in our future. I like your dad's expression.

  2. That's a good list Larry. The only time we've been RV'ing was a trip to Tetons/Yellowstone. We went in September and I agree, a great time to travel. I'm glad you hadn't discovered "avoid big cities like the plague" until after this trip. Sure was a treat to have you visit.

    1. I'm still willing to drive into cities to see special friends :-)

  3. Larry, We love shoulder season traveling w/light crowds and mild weather...and as you know, we love road trips! However, we've never been gone for anything close to 29 days... That would be a real adventure. We tend to be a bit more frentic with our road trips...more than 2 days in the same spot would be unusual and of course, Motels 'R Us. It was nice that you could take your 'babies' with you on this adventure. I haven't seen any blogs from Sweetie or Coco re: their perspective of this adventure. Take Care, Big Daddy Dave & Laurie

  4. I'm still trying to teach them to type, but I'd say you can get their main perspective from my header shot :-)

  5. Actually, I don't think 8.5MPG is bad at all for an RV. Plus, you don't have to deal with moving in and out of hotels or with people wandering into your room to clean it. I'd prefer an RV to travel (but my dearly beloved hates to travel), and that price seems good to me. A month on the road with the pups must have been fun. Oh, and I agree with the ease of driving in the rural western states. Makes you want to scream when you get back to the eastern circus!

    1. After spending time in Laramie, I knew would appreciate what I was talking about. The fuel mileage was actually a half MPG better than I expected.

  6. It sounds as though you learned a LOT on this journey, Larry. I hope to do a similar route to yours one day after retiring. I've always wanted to see the West by road.


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