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  1. Default Routing from Florida to Los Angeles

    Hi RTA,

    Plan: Planning road trip from Florida to Los Anegeles to attend the meeting for 3 weeks.
    by mini van honda odessey 2011.
    Basically two kids aged 13,11 and 1 mid-sized dog.
    Per RTA Map wizard, mainly able to drive along I-10 up to LAX all the way

    Calculated Total 5k miles/$670 gas total
    Daily 10 hours drive 3 nights ( depends kids how much they bear)
    Cooking and Sleeping at Campsite
    Carrying smartphone

    Question: I have some questions as below. appreciate if you can advise. Thanks.

    Overall length, is it too much drivgin?
    re lodging, I am trying to stop at RV/campsite. how to find secured campground?
    re sleeping at the tent, what do you recommend to sleep comfortably (mattress or airbed)
    membership of SAM is good on the way to refill food and stuff needs for the trip.
    Way back from Los Angeles to Florida, what route do you recommend?

    Thanks
    Tommy

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Welcome!

    Where in Florida are you leaving from? From Pensacola to LA, that's a 4 day drive MINIMUM - and from anywhere else you need to add a day. This assumes I-10 all the way and 12 hours a day on the road. If you want to take a different route and/or do any sightseeing, add more time.

  3. Default

    I am departing from Orlando, FL.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    If you're starting from Orlando, then you need to figure a minimum of 5 days. Driving 10 hours a day for 4 days/3 nights will only get you to Arizona!

    Doing this in the shortest recommended time of 5 days would put your stops around:
    Mobile, AL; Houston, TX; Fort Stockton, TX; Tucson, AZ.

    For finding campsites, the first thing I usually do is get out my paper map/atlas (which you'll need anyway) and look for state parks and similar facilities that are marked right on the map. As a next step, you can simply start googling "camping" and the city name.

    For sleeping comfort, that depends on you. A lot of times I've just slept on the ground, but a camping pad or air mattress can be much nicer. The bigger thing is that you should know how you like to camp before heading out on a major roadtrip like this. If you have any questions about what gear you think you'll actually need, you should really spend at least one night camping near your home as a practice run to see what you like and don't like.

  5. Default

    Setting up and tearing down a campsite will take some time. Cooking will take more of your time. This and driving 10 hours a day is going to make for very long days for the kids!

    If you want secure campgrounds, then I suggest checking out the Trailer Life Campground Directory or the Woodall Directory to locate private campgrounds. I'd give yourself a range of 100 or 200 miles each day for a campsite in case things come up. If you get stuck you can always look on your smart phone for a campsite.

    Most of the time the state parks are going to be farther off the main roads and will take longer to get to than the private campgrounds. When we want to make time, we stay at the private campgrounds. You can find the ones that have pools so your kids can let of some steam! The state parks might have showers but the private campgrounds will have showers. We're running into more and more private campgrounds that have free wifi. Private campgrounds will be more expensive and be aware that many charge extra for more than two people.

    I wasn't sure if you have a Good Sam card or if you were asking if you should buy one. You get 10% off at Good Sam participating campgrounds if you have one. Not all campgrounds at the Good Sam website will be Good Sam Parks! You have to stay at the ones that have the big red Good Sam circle and they tend to cost more, but they will be nice campgrounds.

    Utahtea

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default There are only 24 hours in a day

    I'd have to agree with Michael, that you better go out and do some trial camping locally. As for what to sleep on, well, for one thing, with two children and a dog in the Odyssey, plus tents and other camping equipment, there is not going to be any room for mattresses. I suggest that you try self-inflating sleeping mats, such as Thermarest. Not cheap, but very comfortable and compact.

    However, having said that, with camping, and your lack of experience, you are going to need more than five days for this trip. Think of it this way.... Ten hours per day driving with only the basic stops for food, fuel, etc. That is of course, assuming that there are no traffic hold ups along the road. Arrive at your camp ground, check in, find allocated spot and familiarise the family with the facilities, unpack the car, pitch the tent (not done in a jiffy if you and your children don't have the experience), prepare dinner, clean up, if there is anytime left... relax. Get a good night's sleep (~8 hours) to be alert and relaxed for the next long day's drive, prepare breakfast, clean up, break camp and repack the Odyssey. And oh! I almost forgot... take the dog for a (decent) walk. Now back on the road.

    And do that day after day after day!

    From my experience you are going to need more than 24 hours in each of those days... and then there is the issue of keeping up the momentum for five (or more) days. You will need the co-operation of the children each and every day - and 11 and 13 year olds do not necessarily see the same priorities as you will. They're only kids, and will be easily distracted when it comes to pitching tents, breaking camp and packing the car.

    If you cannot add much more time, may I suggest you forget about the camping and stick to pet friendly, budget hotels or motels.

    Lifey

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default A very different perspective

    I've got to say as someone who has made tent camping a backbone of hundreds of roadtrips, I have a very different perspective on where to stay than Utahtea.

    Quote Originally Posted by Utahtea View Post
    Most of the time the state parks are going to be farther off the main roads and will take longer to get to than the private campgrounds. When we want to make time, we stay at the private campgrounds.
    There are a whole lot of times where state parks are an easy drive off the freeway.

    As an example for this trip, Meaher State Park is located just outside of Mobile and would be an easy detour from I-10. Just west of Houston is Stephen F Austin State park that's only 2-3 miles off I-10, but there are also a couple more options on the east side of Houston.

    That's just the first two stops, and you'd likely find similar options as you continue west.

    Plus another huge bonus of public parks, you'll almost always have clear marked (brown background) signs telling you exactly where to go, where to turn, etc. A private campground, you'll have to hope the directions or address you get (even if using a GPS) are accurate. Plus, being a couple miles from a freeway is a good thing when tent camping, as the places that are right next to the road can be quite loud.

    You can find the ones that have pools so your kids can let of some steam! The state parks might have showers but the private campgrounds will have showers. We're running into more and more private campgrounds that have free wifi. Private campgrounds will be more expensive and be aware that many charge extra for more than two people.
    I actually find that comfort level for tent camping is almost always much higher at a state park or similar facility.

    First of all, I'd say the majority of state parks I've stayed at have had showers. It's certainly not 100%, but they are pretty common. However, I've also stayed at several private campgrounds that did not have showers.

    My bigger issue is that many Private Campgrounds put their focus almost exclusively into RVs, which makes sense because that's where they can make the most money. More often than not, tent sites at private campgrounds are spaced very close together, and are often basically an open field where there is little to no break between neighbors.

    A private campground is more likely to have a pool (although I've seen a few state parks that have them, and I've stayed at a lot of state parks that have had a beach with swimming), however those resort style campgrounds tend to be the worst for tent camping sites because again, they focus on the RV traveler and frequently, these campgrounds tend to cost just as much, if not more, than a low to mid-level motel.

    Of course, there are always exceptions. I have stayed at some private campgrounds that were quite nice for tenting, and at a few state parks where tenters were clearly an afterthought. Probably the worst thing about state parks in recent years is that prices have been jumping up due to state budget cuts, but still from my experience of hundreds of camping roadtrips is that for tenting, public campgrounds (including state parks, county parks, national forests and parks, etc) are almost always the best bet.
    Setting up and tearing down a campsite will take some time. Cooking will take more of your time. This and driving 10 hours a day is going to make for very long days for the kids!
    This is true, and something you do need to keep in mind. The suggestions I've listed are each about 500 miles apart, which will actually take about 9 hours a day + stops, and they are very much the maximum I would try to do for this trip. If you can take another day or two, your opportunities to enjoy yourself that much more.

  8. Default

    Hi Michael,

    Thanks. will try local camping out near home area defanatly. I have one friend who has experienced for camping. will also check out as well. THanks

    Tommy.

  9. Default

    Hi Utahtea,

    Thanks. I will check camp site NP and PC as well.
    I don't have SAM card now but just checked the price 1 year cost $19.00.
    Considering 5 nights I am thinking to buy one year and then find the campground site where can apply discount on this.

    Tommy

  10. Default

    Hi Lifey,

    Agree. Kids are not cooperating all the time on that ages. One initiative I am trying to is to have them face to that experience.

    also I will prepare plan B to stay at hotel in case weather or campsite issue.

    Thanks.

    Tommy.

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