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  1. #1
    nebound Guest

    Default LA to NE - First timer

    Lots of question....

    My wife, 9 month old son, 3 year old chololate lab, and I are planning a late September 3-5 week RV road trip from LA where we currently live to the Boston area which will be our new home. We could really use insight on any number of topics from those of you whom have experience. A few of our current questions are below but any tips are welcome. We appriciate any and all help.....

    1. Looking at a 26' TrailManor to pull behind our Pathfinder. Does anyone have any good or bad input about this brand?

    1a. Another option is renting an RV but I am concerned about reliability.

    2. We will need information on pet freindly camping sites. I have done quite a bid of research here but my method includes researching each stop on the route separately...very time consuming. Does anyone know of a travel site that caters to dog freindly planning? Would like some stops where we can let the dog really get some exercise.

    3. My ideal route would be US RT 2 or 20 but with an infant I am worried about weather through the mountains and northern states. Time is not an issue as far as LA up the coast. Has anyone taken either of those routes this time of year?

    4. Best way to stay in touch with emergency services?

    I could go on and on as I have way more questions than answers but these are some of our early concerns. Thanks again for your help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula


    I can't answer most of your questions but I'll try to help with a few of them.

    TrailManor: I seen these and they look like great trailers. However, really make sure your Pathfinder can easily handle their weight. You're probably OK but you need to remember that the weight of the trailer is unloaded. By the time you load supplies, water, food, and put the people in your vehicle, this adds quite a few pounds. You don't want to have sluggish performance up hills and to strain your vehicle's brakes too much going downhill.

    Renting an RV: I don't know how much a TrailManor costs but RV rentals are very expensive and you might be able to pay for quite a large portion of the cost of buying the trailer with what you'd pay toward a rental. And then you have it to keep. I wouldn't worry about reliability. The major RV rentals like CruiseAmerica look like they take quite good care of their rentals and will have checked them over before you rent from them.

    If you have never hauled a trailer or driven an RV, make sure you get your trailer well ahead of time to practice driving with it before you leave. If you decide to rent an RV, I would urge you to rent one for a weekend first to get used to it when you're not under as much pressure as you'll feel once you hit the road.

    There are quite a few dog-friendly travel sites.,, are just a few that come to mind. However, most of these focus on hotels that take pets. But they are still full of other useful hints on traveling with pets. There may be a few out there that I'm not aware of but I've never been to a campground yet that doesn't allow dogs. Most campgrounds, unless they're in a city, are in areas where you can probably find areas to walk your dog and give him exercise. I've never seen one yet that didn't have a beach, trails, or some setting close by for dog play. Some campgrounds may have areas like this adjacent to their sites and some may require a short drive but I wouldn't think it would be too much problem. Of course, some towns have leash laws. National parks have leash laws. National forests require that you have your pet under control but that doesn't necesssarily mean he needs to be on a leash. Anyway, maybe those pet travel sites will give you more info on that.

    I've never driven that any of that route at that time of year so I'll leave that to others.

    Best way to stay in touch is via a good cellphone service and CB radio.

    I highly recommend AAA but I don't know if it covers rentals. I would imagine that, if you rent, the rental company will have their own emergency services. You might check on that. If you buy a trailer, you will need to either get the RV type of AAA membership or many people say that Good Sam's RV coverage is actually better. AAA is mainly for regular vehicles. Both AAA and Good Sam give you discounts. AAA has limited discounts at campgrounds as it focuses on hotels and attractions. Good Sam has better discounts for campgrounds. We used to have a Good Sam membership when we used to have a camper, then a trailer, and we used those discounts quite a bit.

    Hope this helps!!

  3. #3
    nebound Guest

    Default Good ideas


    Thanks for the ideas. Now that you mention it I can picture taking out the new trailer for the first time and running it into a pole. I think practicing is a good suggestions.

    Most of the parks that I have looked at so far only allow dogs on paved roads, not trails. If you have ever been around labs you know that they love to run and play. I will check those sites you mention for stops that allow her to do so.

    Thanks again.

  4. Default Weather in the north country

    In September, the odds are great that you'll have good weather. I have encountered early snows up there in years past -- but TYPICALLY those early snows are not long-lived or massive. Usually, they just add some interest and excitement to the trip. Buen Viaje!


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula


    I have a Belgian Shepherd who needs to play fast and hard every day. I have never had a problem taking her camping as long as I'm not camping in a town or city. Yes, most campgrounds do have restrictions because they have to ensure safety for other campers and even other dogs. However, most campgrounds are near an area of some kind. It might be a relatively open field, a beach, a lake front or river where you can walk away from where other people are and run your dog.

    However, I have never seen a campground that actually provides such a space. If that's what you're looking for, I doubt you're going to find it. Liability issues with dog bites are too great.

    What I do is just ask the campground hosts where to go. Often they will be able to point you to a park, beach, field, whatever where you can go with your dog. For example, my town has a leash law. There is nowhere in town besides your own fenced backyard where you can legally run your dog without a leash. However, our high school track and field area which is also adjacent to city-owned baseball fields is at the edge of town and as long as there are no events going on, you can take your dog there and run it without a leash and no one will bother you. Our town is also on a harbor and there are beach areas, most with fairly large fields alongside, where everybody in town goes with their dogs to let them run free, swim, etc.

    So, this is the type of things you'll have to ask for. But the campground won't have them on-site.

  6. #6

    Default What a great adventure!

    You are in for the time of your life! A couple of tips:

    1) Don't plan too rigidly -- things happen along the way that will either delay you or you'll want to stop and enjoy

    2) Don't make reservations more than a day or two in advance (if you must!) due to #1 above

    3) Talk to the locals and get a local paper along the way -- coupons, events, and the "local flavor" will make it worth the price!

    4) Consider using a service like to record your adventures along the way and easily stay in touch with family and friends who can track your progress.

    5) Whatever type of vehicle you decide on -- DO Practice -- you don't want to be learning as you go!

    6) Pick one brand of maps and stay with them -- reading different types is like learning a new foreign language on the fly!

    We like AAA -- even if you don't belong now, it would more than pay for itself on a trip like yours. Yes, they do have a +RV policy that is an add-on and not very expensive -- and they service everywhere and have many locations in every state. Also get their Tour Guides for the states you will travel through.

    As to your route - consider I-84 through the Columbia River Gorge between Oregon and Washington, down through Idaho and into Utah. At Salina, catch the connecting road to I-70 clear into Denver -- truly one of the most beautiful stretches of Interstate any where. Breathtaking all the way.

    Carol White
    Live Your Road Trip Dream
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 06-28-2005 at 12:08 PM. Reason: URL for the book review of her book!

  7. #7
    nebound Guest

    Default Dogs

    Thanks Judy. That makes me feel a lot better that we will likely be able to find places for her to run.

    In the process of reading about trips other families have made it is becoming evident that we may not be able to see a lot of the sights that we visit because we can't bring the dog and we don't want to, or in most cases can't, leave her alone by the cap site. I need to think that one through. Have you come accross any workarounds? I thought maybe use the local kennel or hire someone to sit with the dog for the day.

    Thanks again

  8. #8
    nebound Guest

    Default Weather


    Do you carry some sort of generator for times when the unexpected weather stalls your trip? I am looking at the Honda super quite models.

  9. #9
    nebound Guest

    Default Hi Carol

    Lots of good tips, thanks. I looked at, it looks pretty like a fun way to share the trip with family.

    I will definitely look into the route you suggested. Any "must sees" that we shouldn't miss.


  10. Default


    No, most of my winter-time driving was in big rigs -- we just left 'em run as it didn't hurt them and they didn't chew up much diesel anyway (at idle). I've never been stranded in the car. These days if it looks that bad, I don't chance it. That said, there's very few times I ever get "stuck" waiting. I live in Arizona and road closures here are rare except at the height of a storm, then for just a few hours at the most. Bob

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