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A familiar spot

Last night while talking with Alice and Tim, a commonly-asked pair of questions came up, which are: How do you set your schedule? and How do you choose where to go?

If, like most people, you work in a fixed location and only travel in the RV during vacations and holidays, you’re accustomed to having limited time to travel. This puts boundaries on your trip, which helps you determine how far you can go and how long you can stay.

It’s really the same for us, only with larger boundaries. For example, having left Fort Wilderness this morning, we are finding ourselves in a situation that is very familiar to us. We have a certain amount of time ahead before we need to be somewhere, and only the vaguest of ideas about what to do on the way there. For some, this would appear to be a problem, but really it’s an opportunity.

In this case, we have decided we want to be in Vermont by the first week of June, and we are currently in Florida. These are our primary boundaries (time and space).   Our secondary boundaries are things like budget and my work schedule. (When I’m busy I usually need high-speed Internet and good mobile voice service, which means we can’t go to off-the-grid spots.)

As we explained to Tim and Alice last night, in these situations I collect bits and pieces of information, and then slowly build a trip out of it. The information will include things like:

  • interesting state or national parks approximately along the route
  • scenic roads
  • courtesy parking opportunities
  • tips we’ve received from people about interesting places or attractions
  • weather or weather-related phenomenae that might induce us to change our route (hurricanes, blossoms, foliage, freezing, humidity)
  • rallies or business obligations (meetings with contributors or advertisers, photographic assignments for the magazine, etc).

When I don’t have information, we wing it. We figure that if we don’t have a plan, we have little to lose by just trying a spot at random. Often this is the way we find the best little-known spots.

That’s what seems to be happening right now.   Today marks the end of the plan that I developed in Tucson over a month ago. I planned to get to Disneyworld and then figure the rest out. Well, here we are, one day out of Disneyworld and I still have no followup.   We’ve talked about it a little, and considered the options, but have no solid conclusions.   I think we’ll just have to take it one day at a time.

We’ve still got another day to consider things.   We’ve moved the trailer over to Haines City, where our friends Bill & Wendimere live.   They are giving us courtesy parking (with power to run the air conditioning, a key factor in Florida this time of year) for a couple of nights.   We used to spend winters here in Haines City, so we are in a familiar spot both situationally and geographically.

Car update: The new-old 1983 Honda is toodling along just fine.   It’s extremely handy to have an efficient car to run around in, especially as we make side trips going up the east coast.   I’m factoring that into our trip plan as well, since it enables us to make long detours using the Airstream as home base.

Longer term, we do have a rough plan.   It looks like this: June-July in New England; August heading west through Ohio and onward to Colorado; late August and September in Colorado and Utah exploring national parks; early October in northern Arizona; back to home base by Halloween.   But keep in mind that life is what happens when you are making other plans.   What actually happens to us this year may be completely different.

4 Responses to “A familiar spot”

  1. Ralph Says:

    But, who is driving the Honda up to vermont? Are you caravanning?

  2. Rich Says:

    Yes, Eleanor and Emma will follow me in the Honda Accord, just as they did when we went west from Vermont last year with the Honda Fit.

  3. Paul Hahn Says:

    “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” I have often shared this observation with high school students; it’s been attributed to John Lennon. True or not?
    Regardless, it certainly applies to us all.

  4. Frank and Krist Stanley Says:

    Hey Rich, Eleanor and Emma!
    Just wanted to say Thank You again for your insight and time. It was great to meet you all, and I do hope our paths cross again sometime this summer. Special thanks to Emma for keeping Maya occupied while we chatted!