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Old 09-08-2014, 09:01 PM   #1
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Default Going to try a little snowbirding

In about 2 weeks we're off on a little snowbirding experiment to see what that's all about. The plan is to hit WA state by the end of the month and go from there to the east coast about 3 months later. Cant say exactly the route we will travel as the weather will probably dictate the way. I feel the Queen B is as ready as can be, cant say what will happen after we leave the house but we are prepared hopefully. Our back up plan in case we don't fit in with so many people and congested areas will be to leave the rig outside and fly back home (hope not). We will have house sitters here so the place will stay occupied and warm through the winter. The plan is drive "straight through" to about Williams lake area (central B.C.) due to weather conditions and then relax from there southbound. Don't know if we will have the capability to keep up on the forum here but will look into that later. This will be my 20th trip on the highway but my first trip in a class B, what could possibly go wrong. Safe travel boys and we'll see you down the trail.
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Old 09-08-2014, 09:17 PM   #2
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Default Re: Going to try a little snowbirding

By October you might as well plan on dropping down to southern Utah or Arizona and head east through New Mexico, Texas and the rest of the southern states. Campgrounds in the north usually close up by mid October and I doubt you can get east soon enough to enjoy the fall leaf colors in the northern Midwest and New England forests. Glacier, Yellowstone, and Rocky Mountain will be pretty much closed up by October 1. Lower 48 snow birders head for Florida, Arizona and very south Texas.
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Old 09-09-2014, 02:32 AM   #3
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Default Re: Going to try a little snowbirding

If your course will be adjusted according to the weather you'll probably be OK. Common sense will be your guide.
Were you planning on crossing the lower 48 high ( I-94, I-90, I-80) mid (I-70 I-40) or low ( I-20 I-10) ?
They all are passable in September/October but deteriorate based on weather. The NPS places usually stay open until they can't guarantee access to paid facilties but they may stay open even when the typical amenities aren't available. Water system access and freezing are usually the first casualties.
If it were me (as you), I'd head south and hang a left at WA.
Then play it by ear.....you can always head farther south, as required.
Have fun and try to keep in touch.
We're thinking about heading out west along your proposed route east.
Who knows, we may cross paths out there somewhere......
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Old 09-09-2014, 04:43 AM   #4
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Default Re: Going to try a little snowbirding

When we get done visiting family in Wa, the plan is to head to San Fran via High way 101 to see some really big trees. Have to see Vegas so I can lose all my money and return home sooner than expected! After Vegas, depending on the time of year, we may stay on the southern coast and I will start at the Texas border and eat my way east. BBQ, Crawdads, Gumbo, and whatever the southern states are known for that I have never eaten. Since we have never stayed in a full service campground with either motorhome I would like to try that once to say I have! If weather holds after Vegas we will head to Yellowstone and then east to all Northern states, maybe stop in Wisconsin and do a little deer hunting there, there are some big Whitetail deer there. Would be more than happy to have a cocktail with anyone here! Mike, do you have dates and places marked out or are you flipping coins like we're about to?
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Old 09-09-2014, 01:42 PM   #5
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Default Re: Going to try a little snowbirding

We generally tend towards coin flipping once we get out of the driveway. We had planned to check out Sleeping Bear Dunes and Pictured Rocks in MI before heading west towards the Dakotas and beyond. After that, the weather will choose our GPS location north/south. We did most of the major NPS parks along the eastern side of the Rockies 3 years ago, starting at GNP and ending at GCSR. I'd like to do something similar before year's end. Adding some and skipping some probably.
I expect our biggest challenge will be getting out of the driveway. After that, it's most often finding good coffee and free wifi, as we don't do "data" on our phones. We can usually be reached via this forum when we're mobile and have wifi. Only takes a second to check for PMs.
I'd like to get started soon. I do have some odds and ends to resolve before departure. What's your ETA to WA?

Vegas is great for buffets, Yellowstone and the drive south towards Jackson WY is all scenery and bisons, and the PCH 101 can be all about patience if you want to see anything. It was foggy for a good stretch in '09 when we drove it. Started in Pelosi-land (San Fran) and headed south before noon.
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Old 09-09-2014, 03:30 PM   #6
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Default Re: Going to try a little snowbirding

Coffee is just OK and drinkable at McDonalds and the wifi is probably the most consistent across chains. McDonalds are everywhere on the freeways and in almost any size town of 5,000 or more. As much as I am a foodie, I still succumb to McDonalds for that known consistency and reliability in being there.

Am I to assume most of your activity will be after mid October? The places in the north you are mentioning will be closed up for camping. The commercial campgrounds shut down in the north, The state parks stay open but not for camping. They lock the bathrooms, shut off the water, shut off electricity, gather up the picnic tables and close off the campgrounds. If they can they may leave a section open for winter primitive camping. Many of the national forests and state forests simply close their gate. Last year we planned to stop in the Black Hills/Mt. Rushmore on October 2 and encountered this. The weather was fine when we arrived but we ended up in a KOA in Rapid City that was closing mid-October. It was the only place open. We left the next morning and missed the two feet of snow that dumped on the Black Hills.

I didn't camp but stayed in an unheated cabin at Yellowstone in early September 1993 the weekend after Labor Day. It snowed and got down to 18 degrees F. That is not unusual. Glacier NP is already shut down for camping (mid September).

Am I to assume mostly boondocking?
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Old 09-09-2014, 09:13 PM   #7
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Default Re: Going to try a little snowbirding

Just a wild guess on ETA in WA will be Sept 25. The more we look at routes, it looks like it will be the southern states that will get all our money! Of course this will depend on the family visit length in Washington state.

David, you are correct. Most of our travels will be starting in Oct., with hwy 101 southbound being first. As far as boondocking goes, we honestly camp that way every time. The way that we do things, our class b motorhome could be called a class b motortent. We seem to use it the way we would if we went back to tent camping, we have always done it this way. I don't comment too much on the discussions of some of the features of the newer B's due to the fact that I have no good input on many of the features of the rigs. As I stated earlier, I wouldn't mind trying one of the full hook up campgrounds, instead of boiling our coffee on the Coleman, we can push the button ( it wont be near as good). BTW... you can camp in a class b in temps below 5 degrees!
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Old 09-09-2014, 11:35 PM   #8
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Default Re: Going to try a little snowbirding

I guess what I am getting at is you might find campgrounds closed of all kinds in the north leaving you with Walmarts and such for overnights even if you boondock or desire where the tent campers go. The Rocky Mountain passes could be iffy after mid-October. We have hit snow in the passed in mid-September in Colorado. I would strongly recommend weaving your way across southern Utah (one of my favorite areas) then dipping down to New Mexico and Texas. The north rim of the Grand Canyon could be closed by the time you get there.

If you want real, local caught shrimp go down to South Padre Island, TX. Anywhere else and you are probably getting imported. There are many inexpensive restaurants there. If you want crawfish and Cajun my favorite area is near Lafayette, LA. Strongly recommend Shuck's in Abbeville, Prejean's in Carencro (north Lafayette) and Gator Cove in Lafayette. You can boondock in the Prejean's parking lot and have a fantastic breakfast there (done it). By true winter you probably would not want to go up the east coast any further than Washington, DC. Even DC has been having some pretty rough and snowy winters lately.

If you want to try full hookups sometimes for a change of pace, convenience and proximity as an excuse, Las Vegas and New Orleans would be my choices.
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Old 09-09-2014, 11:51 PM   #9
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Default Re: Going to try a little snowbirding

Thanks for the great info David. Keep it coming!
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Old 09-10-2014, 06:39 PM   #10
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Default Re: Going to try a little snowbirding

Welp, the north route is coming to pass...

Glacier NP Sun road closed by winter weather - record lows
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Old 09-10-2014, 06:52 PM   #11
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Default Re: Going to try a little snowbirding

Yep! We decided last night that it will be a southern route. After we leave Vegas we will start flipping the coin and watching the weather.
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Old 09-10-2014, 10:13 PM   #12
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Default Re: Going to try a little snowbirding

It's also snowing (atypically) in central Alberta. But you probably knew that.
It won't stick around for very long though, as was suggested in the article Davydd linked.
I thumbed through some official NPS websites last night and most indicated reduced amenities after end of this month. It's all weather dependent based on historical trends at each park.
Coins will be tossed along our route when we get started, for sure.
Should the unusual conditions persist we'd have to consider alternative routes and destinations. I wish our east coast trip hadn't been so late in the season as it's delayed our next one.
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Old 09-11-2014, 01:15 AM   #13
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Default Re: Going to try a little snowbirding

if you have a B. do you go to florida not worried about campsites and play it by ear?
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Old 09-11-2014, 01:25 AM   #14
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Default Re: Going to try a little snowbirding

Quote:
Originally Posted by gerrym51
if you have a B. do you go to florida not worried about campsites and play it by ear?
From what I have heard from others more experienced in wintering in a B, if you want to stay in the state parks you have to be ready at the stroke of midnight I think 6 months ahead of time to make a reservation. Sites go almost immediately especially in south Florida and the Keys. I don't know about other private campgrounds. Also, I understand you cannot boondock in Walmart parking lots. We went to Florida in mid-October. It wasn't bad then and we did wing it without reservations.
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Old 09-11-2014, 01:38 AM   #15
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Default Re: Going to try a little snowbirding

Quote:
Originally Posted by gerrym51
if you have a B. do you go to florida not worried about campsites and play it by ear?
Assuming the question isn't rhetorical and is directed to me, yes. We wing it pretty much everywhere we travel. Boondock wherever convenient. Use whatever facilities we find along the way for showers, can be any of truck stops, or we may stay at NPS or State parks, or other commercial camping places with low cost tent or primitive sites with showers included. It keeps overnight parking costs low by eliminating all the extras included at a full service commercial c/g site that we wouldn't use anyway.
We haven't done Florida in a while. We do the best we can to manage the weather on our routes like others have suggested, to reduce the need for electric hookups, but it isn't always possible. We've recently decided to shorten or eliminate our summer trips, to that end. Too hot to stray too far away from home.
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Old 09-11-2014, 06:51 AM   #16
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I guess this question is for all you that travel many different places and rack up the miles. There are a large group of folks that share their place and hospitality to RVers for free, kind of like a pay it forward concept. The place to find all these spots around North America is called "Boondockers Welcome", has anyone used this service? I understand there is a fee to join but you get a reduced rate if you have a place to share also. For those that have done this, how was your experience? For those that haven't, after looking at the web site, what are your thoughts?
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Old 09-11-2014, 01:49 PM   #17
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Default Re: Going to try a little snowbirding

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike
Quote:
Originally Posted by gerrym51
if you have a B. do you go to florida not worried about campsites and play it by ear?
Assuming the question isn't rhetorical and is directed to me, yes. We wing it pretty much everywhere we travel. Boondock wherever convenient. Use whatever facilities we find along the way for showers, can be any of truck stops, or we may stay at NPS or State parks, or other commercial camping places with low cost tent or primitive sites with showers included. It keeps overnight parking costs low by eliminating all the extras included at a full service commercial c/g site that we wouldn't use anyway.
We haven't done Florida in a while. We do the best we can to manage the weather on our routes like others have suggested, to reduce the need for electric hookups, but it isn't always possible. We've recently decided to shorten or eliminate our summer trips, to that end. Too hot to stray too far away from home.

the question was both
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Old 09-11-2014, 01:54 PM   #18
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I should know better........

Boondockers welcome - haven't tried it but have read mostly positive reports. There's a longish discussion thread on here about it. Things like insurance liability and whether it's really a "free" service because of the membership fee to that end were among the unknowns.
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Old 09-11-2014, 03:45 PM   #19
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Default Re: Going to try a little snowbirding

I know a few RVers that have gone through Boondockers Welcome to make contacts. I tend to want to connect with those I know. We have been attending both the RV.net B Rally for several years and socializing with another group called BEE Social Group often twice a year in the spring and fall. Consequently we have gotten to know people personally around the country and have stayed with a few of them overnight on our travels. We also have family in Michigan, Indiana, Virginia and Wisconsin we often stay with. So not all travel is campgrounds, Walmarts and truckstops.
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Old 09-11-2014, 03:55 PM   #20
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Thanks Mike, I found the thread. We have family in WA and also in VA but nobody in between to stay with. Just looking for many other options along the way that are different. Our plan is to leave 1 week from today, knock on wood!
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