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Friday, October 27, 2017

How we travel plan



Our travel plans get pretty convoluted. One of the problems is that we aren't planing for a week's vacation but for a trip that takes months. It's not so much a vacation as it is a lifestyle. We plan on traveling with our ambulance/mini motorhome conversion towing a sailboat.

Economy is a factor. We can't afford high end RV resorts. In fact, our rig is too Bohemian for most of them. They have restrictions on how old your RV can be. It keeps the riff raff like me out.

Florida has some really nice state parks. While not the bargain they were years ago, they are still reasonably priced. They also tend to be very popular so getting in is hard to do on a spur of a moment basis.

By the way, most campgrounds now use Reserve America for their booking. You are going to need an account with them if you are going to do much camping at all.

Since the state parks are popular we tend to make our reservations with them first. Many of these parks are booked up months in advance, especially the parks in the Keys. So how do you get in at all? You are going to need a good Internet connection and be able to check it regularly. Because so many people book far in advance, often they have to cancel their bookings. Life happens. The key is to check Reserve America often so you can snap up those suddenly free sites. They will only be open for a very short time. He who hesitates is lost.

Another trick is to spread your trip over a number of nearby campgrounds. Sometimes we've booked into three nearby campsites and used a private campground to fill in any gaps. We are also not opposed to spending a night or two in a Walmart or a truck stop.

There are passes available that can greatly reduce the cost of Federal campgrounds. My lovely wife qualifies for the the Access Pass so we can camp for half price. Federal campgrounds are some of the best bargains out there, even before discounts. They tend to be fairly Spartan, but are set in beautiful natural areas. Generally they are clean with good bathhouses. Some have other facilities like camp stores, snack shacks, canoe rentals, and other things.

There are free camping areas, but they are much more common in the western states. We haven't stayed at any of the free ones in the southeast so I can't recommend any from personal experience.

Launching the trailer sailor can be a bit more tricky. There are a lot of boat launches in Florida, but very few allow overnight parking. Those that do often have a limit of a few days. To find suitable boat launches I recommend Active Captain. I'm willing to pay a few dollars to be able to leave the van and trailer in a more secure boat launch.

One place we are thinking of launching from is Flamingo in the Everglades Park. We could leave the van and trailer there then sail across Florida Bay to the Keys. We've sailed the bay before and are familiar with the anchorages all the way down to Bahia Honda.

Finding places to stay can get a little crazy. Just to make things interesting, we've been known to change our minds on where we want to go at the last minute. Then we've got to cancel appointments and try and make new ones. You've got to be flexible.

-Sixbears

8 comments:

  1. I couldn't have written a better description of places to stay or camp. I could add one additional option, that is if your retired military. Just about every military base, in the country have reasonably priced campgrounds.
    Unfortunately, for us, we're unable to go to Key West this winter due to hurricane Irma's wrath. So, we are heading to Arizona on November 1st. A new adventure awaits!

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    1. That's a good point. There are some wonderful campgrounds for current and former military people.

      We pushed out departure date to January to allow more time for repairs. To make up for the later departure, we are staying south later.

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  2. Aren't you worried about what you'll find when you get to the Keys? After the hurricane damage. IMHO

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    1. I'm keeping a close watch on how the reconstruction is going. We pushed out departure date back a month, plus we are going to stop at places further north first that were not hit nearly as bad.

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  3. Hopefully you will be able to find places in the Keys that aren't too damaged from Irma.

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    1. We are keeping up on conditions down there. When they are ready, one of the ways to help is to go down there and spend money.

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  4. When you get to southern Florida, give us a report on any damage left by the hurricane.

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    1. I shall do so. The MSM will have forgotten all about southern FL by then.

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