Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 13
  1. Default Family Travel Trailer Trip Ontario Canada to San Diego through the desert?

    Hi folks! Well the time is nearing for our family trip. A trip we've been talking and dreaming about for so long now that its hard to believe its actually fast approaching. In January 2014 my wife and I and our 2 children, aged 4 and infant, will embark on a road trip to remember. While some may say why go with an infant? She wont remember anyways! We have always been firm believers that a good childhood isn't always about what you will remember as an adult but the knowledge that you did everything you possibly could, while you could, together as a family.

    So. We leave January. From Canada. Its cold then and as of right now also cold in pretty much the entire continent. We are planning to head as far south as possible making the best time, responsibly, so that we are able to begin using our travel trailer for our accommodations. The plan is still very much in the works and the route is certainly not set in stone. The goal is to make the best time to california on the way there so that we can get all the Disney Land necessities out of the way first so that we can take our time coming back. We figure we have enough saved for at least 30 days and if we are careful with our spending we can stay longer if we like.

    At this point my main concern is camping or trailer camping temperatures. If we want to camp along the way to California how far south do we need to go before we are able to begin cutting across to push west. The trailer has heat of course so I know we won't freeze but I certainly want to avoid freezing temperatures as much as possible.

    We are thinking for drive destinations: Start in Hamilton Ontario Canada and drive to Louisville Kentucky. Then to West Memphis Arkansas. West Memphis to Amarillo Texas, Amarillo to Flagstaff AZ, Flagstaff to LA. For the most part all of these destinations are really just based on drive times so if it makes more sense to drive another hour more or less to get to a more suitable or scenic locale We are all ears, any advice will not go unappreciated!

    I have the USA lonely planet travel bible and a big ol map of the USA not to mention this site and other internet resources so I guess mainly I'm looking to hear some insight from other seasoned road trip veterans who may have travelled these roads in that time of year before too so that I can do all that I can to keep my family safe on this trip.

    Thanks in advance from my family to you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Welcome aboard! I did a lot of traveling with my parents in a travel trailer while growing up, and you're right -- you remember the fun times with your family. As your children get older, they may not seem to appreciate what you're showing them, but they will remember the good times.

    It looks like you're trying to make your way down to I-40. There's a lot of good routes you could take. Unfortunately, it's somewhat a fallacy to think that the further south you get, the more likely you can avoid the snow and cold. Albuquerque is at 5000' elevation and Flagstaff is almost 7000'. So you're likely to see cold, ice and snow. Once you are in Barstow CA (the end of I-40), you still have a pass to get into the LA area, but it's likely to be okay.

    Check your trailer's books for how long you'll have to keep your rig winterized (i.e. no water in the tanks, no sewer, etc) before you can de=winterize. Then you'll have to re-winterize before you bring it home. You can probably sleep in your trailer and do a little cooking, run the refrigerator. But water for cooking would have to come from jugs until you reach warmer climate, and you'll have to figure out the nighttime potty issue as well. When we traveled in December in our trailer, we always had a camping potty and a jug of water. Dad would leave the trailer winterized until we got to Florida or Texas (wherever we were headed) and then winterize it on the way home.


    Donna

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Time to stay safe.

    To get to Amarillo on night 3 you would have to at least make it to Little Rock AR for night 2 but in all honesty I think you should spend another day getting to LA for an altogether safer and less hectic journey. Remember you are pulling a trailer, the daylight hours are short and you have 2 infants to tend to that can't be done in a moving vehicle. All in all you will do well to average 55mph over the course of a day while taking in lunch and rest breaks and filling with gas etc and that would mean being on the road for 13 hours plus to get from West Memphis to Amarillo. Do not take any notice of mapping program times that do not allow for food, bathroom and rest stops never mind congestion or construction delay or the weather situation. You should also have a 'cushion' of time incase the weather and road conditions turn nasty, in this case the best way to stay safe is to find somewhere safe to pull up [even if it's early for the night] and let the storm pass and the road crews get the highways clear and safe again. It's a waste of time and energy to keep going in the middle of a blizzard where your pace could become a crawl and the roads turn treacherous.

    The real safety concern is just that, time, don't be too focused on just getting out west. You could also shave off about 180 miles by going through St Louis to Oklahoma on I44. There is no point in second guessing what the weather might do in January. You may as well leave your options open and make a decision on your route when you have the up to date weather info prior to leaving.

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

    Default different goals

    Quote Originally Posted by Ricanada View Post
    We are planning to head as far south as possible making the best time, responsibly, so that we are able to begin using our travel trailer for our accommodations.
    You do have a bit of a contradiction - trying to get south so you can start using your trailer without being too cold and trying to get California as quick as possible are really goals that work against each other. If you go south first, you're adding miles, which means you're going to take longer to get to California.

    It looks like you're trying to find a middle ground between those two goals, but even that doesn't work all that well. As mentioned, you really can't predict the weather more than a few days in advance, and I-40 stays at a high enough elevation where cold temperatures are common across the entire route. I don't know what you consider to be warm enough to use your trailer, but I suspect you'd have to be going all the way down to I-10 before you could reliably expect temperatures to be above freezing overnight - and even that's far from a sure thing, as even I-10 does see winter storms from time to time. Of course, you could hit a warm stretch, where I-40 is warm enough to comfortably camp.

    Just for comparison sake - as you mentioned we are in a cold stretch right now but it could easily be just as cold in January - here's what temperatures would look like if you were camping overnight today on some of your route options.

    The route you mentioned:
    Louisville - 23F, Little Rock - 36F, Amarillo - 37F, Flagstaff - 21F. As Dave mentioned, you'd need to get to at least Little Rock, as Memphis to Amarillo is way too far to attempt in one day. Even Little Rock to Amarillo, and then Amarillo to Flagstaff is really more than I would recommend while pulling a trailer and traveling with small children.

    If you took a more direct route through St. Louis, which would make for some easier driving days, your stops/temps would be:
    Terre Haute, IN - 16F, Tulsa, OK - 36F, Tucumcari NM - 37F, and the Flagstaff again - so your temperatures don't change all that much.

  5. Default

    Thank you all so very much for your responses. Our travel itinerary has changed due to the wisdom of you and I feel more confident as our trip moves closer. We will now plan the terre haute route and on to the i40 but with a close eye on the weather may decide to alter our route to i10. We will be simply taking our time getting there with no stress on arrival date so as not to overdo it between us and the kids.
    We were wondering about fuel. Would it be worth out while to get a costco membership for the fuel savings? Up here in Canada fuel can be significantly cheaper if you have a costco membership and obviously fuel up at costco gas stations. Assuming of course that costco has gas stations all over the USA as well? Are there many of them? Is it a common occurance to park with a travel trailer over night between destinations in a costco parking lot as it is with many Walmarts? Not saying that parking in a lot is our favourite choice but it's nice to know the option is there.

    Rick

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

    Default Truck stops

    By far your best place to overnight with the trailer, is at truck stops. The best thing you could do is invest in the truck stop directory, which lists truck stops and their services, including whether they make RVs welcome. Most of these have areas set aside for RVs. It also gives access to the establishment's services. Pulling a trailer, I would keep focusing on truck stops which are M, L or XL, as these are the ones who are more likely to have room for larger rigs.

    Can't say I have seen many Costco fuel outlets. Sure in the larger cities there are Costcos. But you need to realise that fuel is cheaper in the US, and if you use bonus cards (which are issued free), most chains (Flying J / Pilot, TA / Petro) give a couple of cents off. Shop around, to see if they are the cheapest in that region. On the other hand, I prefer to purchase my fuel at the truck stop, and give them some of my business in appreciation of having their free facilities at hand.... including a microwave oven.

    Lifey
    Last edited by Lifemagician; 12-26-2013 at 12:48 AM.

  7. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ricanada View Post
    We were wondering about fuel. Would it be worth out while to get a costco membership for the fuel savings? Up here in Canada fuel can be significantly cheaper if you have a costco membership and obviously fuel up at costco gas stations. Assuming of course that costco has gas stations all over the USA as well? Are there many of them? Is it a common occurance to park with a travel trailer over night between destinations in a costco parking lot as it is with many Walmarts? Not saying that parking in a lot is our favourite choice but it's nice to know the option is there.

    Rick
    You can check on the Costco website for store with gas stations on your route and then check Gas Buddy http://www.gasbuddy.com/ to see what the price differences is in those places. Gas Buddy is one that does include Costco. When gas prices are down like they are now you would be lucky to save 3 cents a gallon. When the prices are high you can save a whole lot more. The cheapest Costco Membership is $55.00 a year.

    I didn't know that Costco allowed overnight camping like Walmart.

    We traveled when each of our two son's were infants. We never wanted to leave them with anyone, even family and we didn't want to give up our travel either. Children want to be with their parents. They don't care where you go or what you do, they want to be with you. I think starting them traveling at a young age helps in the years to come if you want to continue to travel.

    Utahtea

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    I certainly wouldn't buy a Costco membership just for the fuel discount. If you already have one, or think you would use it for other things after you get home, then take advantage, but it wouldn't be worth the expense just for one roadtrip.

    If Costco saved you 10 cents a gallon, you'd have to buy 550 gallons of fuel just to break even on the membership cost. You might use that much gas on your entire trip, depending upon your mpg while towing, but even there, it seems breaking even would be your best case. As Utahtea mentioned, 10 cents a gallon is pretty optimistic. Even there, if they are that much cheaper, other gas stations nearby are likely going to bring down their prices just to compete.

    It is also very unlikely you'd have a Costco available everywhere on your trip, as they limit themselves to large to mid-sized cities. For example, on your current planned route, the only place you'd see a Costco near the interstate between St. Louis and the Los Angeles suburbs is Albuquerque. Even in cities that have them, its quite possible they won't be directly on your path - and you could easily have to drive an extra 5-10 miles, just to "save" money. And of course, Costcos tend to be around other popular shopping destinations, so it is quite possible that you'd have to be pulling your trailer through pretty heavy traffic to get to the store's gas station.

    I'm not sure on Costco's "camping" policy either. Unlike Walmart, most Costcos are not open 24 hours, so I would think that would make them less likely options. In any case - you really need to check with the individual stores, as even with Walmart it is not always allowed, and there are some areas that have created laws specifically forbidding parking lot "camping."

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    I can speak for the Costco that's in my town. Ordinarily, parking a rig overnight is not allowed; it's city ordinance that governs that. As for the fuel, sometimes it's cheaper than the other stations in town, sometimes it's not.

    Until yesterday, when my husband blew me away with a gift of CostCo membership for the two of us, I had only family "acquaintance" with CostCo. (We were members of Price Club, but that was about 20 years ago.) My mom was a member for a long time. We were in Prince Rupert, BC, so we hit CostCo for groceries for their TT. Then, this past summer, we were traveling with our daughter, who currently has a CostCo membership. She helped us get fuel in Tempe AZ, which WAS cheaper than the local stations by about .05/gal. There, it would have meant about a 1/2 mile trip off the interstate for the fuel, which isn't bad, but I would NOT have wanted to be towing in that station!

    When we had a 5W trailer, we always carried a book called The Next Exit. In there, it lists everything that's on the exit for all of the major interstates and most of the major "belt loops" as well. The ones that can handle longer RV's are marked in red ink, and THAT right there is valuable. For us, another helpful part of the guide was the (D) that told us that the station had Diesel fuel for cars and pickups, too. Grocery stores, Wal-Mart and Target type stores are also listed if they are within a mile of the exit. We carried the 2010 edition on our 2012 trip. It is now time for a new one -- the 2014 edition just came out.

    So I will concur: if you want the CostCo membership for the groceries and other stuff you can buy there, go for it. But don't do it for the gas savings. Get a truck stop directory, or The Next Exit book. As a former 5W owner, I highly recommend them.


    Donna

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default What price savings.

    Michael raises a very valid point. Just to save a few cents per gallon could cost a lot in the sheer frustration of driving through congested areas with a travel trailer. Especially in those places where you plan to just overnight. Not to mention the cost of fuel to get there.

    Parking at Walmart and the like is being restricted in more and more cities. When I have asked, I always ask for permission, I have been refused more often than permitted. City ordinances were always cited as the reason. The thought of being roused in the middle of the night, and asked to move on, was not for me. Truck stops do not have such restrictions. They are there specifically for big rigs to park overnight.

    Lifey

Similar Threads

  1. Need help planning 2 week trip w/ travel trailer
    By larry b in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 01-13-2010, 01:50 PM
  2. Ontario Family Road Trip
    By mrippel in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 07-18-2009, 10:54 AM
  3. Desert Travel Tips
    By RoadTripper Brad in forum Gear-Up!
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 04-21-2009, 09:57 AM
  4. Car & Travel Trailer Purchase
    By Liz&Bill in forum Gear-Up!
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 10-16-2008, 04:21 AM
  5. VT to AZ w/ travel trailer in Jan?!?
    By nograssgrowin in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 11-16-2007, 01:16 PM

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name

    Loading...



  • MORE STORIES