Summer Road Trip – Part 1 (RV Travel – not just for old folks!)

How do I love to travel? Let me count the ways …

planes, trains, automobiles, sailboats, and now … our motorhome!

Lunch in Gunnison

We left San Carlos on Sunday, May 29th, and returned 5 weeks later on Sunday, July 3rd.

Day 1 – San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico, to Buckeye, AZ; 470 miles; Mexico Hwy 15 to US I-19 to I-10

We headed up to Buckeye, AZ, in our Honda CR-V for the first leg of our journey. I stayed at my Uncle’s place while M. flew to Sacramento, CA, to purchase our new (used) motorhome. (Check out this post for more details on what type of RV we bought.) M. then drove back to Buckeye with the RV while I spent the week shopping – no, not for girl stuff, but to outfit the motorhome! We couldn’t believe how much stuff we ‘needed’ for our 37 foot RV. We tried to stick with the basics – sheets, towels, toiletries, trash cans, plates/cups/utensils, one pot and two pans, three mixing/serving bowls, food for basic meals, a couple rugs (to keep the imitation wood floors cleaner and more feet-friendly), cleaning supplies, and a bunch of maintenance stuff that M. bought. (Being the wife, I didn’t keep track of all the ‘guy’ stuff he bought, so I can’t offer more info on that. Maybe M. will blog about the details later.) So, after several hundred dollars and many hours of elbow grease getting the motorhome ready …

… we were off for our summer road trip!

Day 8 – Buckeye, AZ to Flagstaff, AZ; 178 miles ; I-10 to I-17

We got a late start, so we stayed overnight in a WalMart parking lot.  This may sound odd, but if you are taking three nights to travel from location A to B and simply need a place to lay your head during the nights in between, it’s a great place to stay – and it’s free! (Most WalMarts allow RVs, campers, trailers, and semis to stay overnight in their parking lots.)

Imagine this … you are driving down the highway, ready to pull over for the night to get some grub and get out of the chairs you’ve been sitting in all day. It’s just about dark and you want to leave by 7:00 am the next morning to get closer to your next destination. So, you see a sign for an RV park/campground. You exit the highway, drive 4 miles down a small paved road, pull in to the campground and discover that they don’t have any spaces big enough for your 37′ RV pulling your small SUV. So, you drive back to the highway and drive farther down the road. Your stomach is grumbling and your eyes are tired. You see another sign for another campground with RV spaces. You pull off the highway, follow the signs 3 miles down the road, pull in to the campground and its now 8:42 pm. There is no one in the office, but there is a sign with the empty spaces posted. You spend 20 minutes negotiating how to get into the space, unhook the car to park easier, spend another 10 minutes leveling the motorhome, and don’t even bother to hook up to the sewer, power, or water. Now it is 9:18 pm, you haven’t eaten dinner and you’re exhausted. You heat up a cup of soup, then crawl into bed.

Next morning … the alarm wakes you up at 6:00 am. You crawl out of bed, throw some clothes on, eat a bowl of cereal, raise the leveling system, and pull out of the campground. On the way out you pay $35-45 to the office and you’re back on the road by 7:00 am as planned.

Or … you are driving down the highway, ready to pull over for the night to get some grub and get out of the chairs you’ve been sitting in all day. It’s just about dark and you want to leave by 7:00 am the next morning to get closer to your next destination. You see a WalMart sign (or look one up on your GPS), pull off the highway and park in the back of the lot. You spend 10 minutes leveling the motorhome, and don’t need to hook up to the sewer, power, or water because your motorhome is self-contained (generator and a 100 gallon water tank). You need milk and eggs, so you walk over to WalMart for a quick purchase and are back ‘home’ in 20 minutes. It’s now 6:38 pm. You have a yummy stir-fry that the wife prepared while you went in to get the groceries. You pull the shades and spend the next couple hours relaxing – reading a book or watching a movie – then head to bed.

Next morning … the alarm wakes you up at 6:00 am. You spring out of bed feeling refreshed, take a shower, throw some clothes on, eat a bowl of cereal and make some coffee, open the shades, raise the leveling system, and pull out of the parking lot. On the way out you pay $0 and you’re back on the road by 7:00 am as planned.

So, what was the point of paying $35-45 to sleep in a place that might have a parking spot big enough for you, is possibly located near where you are ready to stop, has hook-ups and a dump station that you don’t need, and has some trees?

WalMart definitely offers a great service to travelers. We took advantage of their parking lots and in turn gave them business. We did spend several nights enjoying some beautiful places … but you’ll have to read the rest of the Summer Road Trip posts to find out about them.

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