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  1. Default Florida to San Francisco to Reno and then to New Jersey

    I am planning a road trip possibly from Florida(visiting family) to San Francisco(conference), then on the way back east I would like to visit family in Reno, then head back to the East Coast (New Jersey). I would like to stay in State and visit National Parks along the way. I will most likely be pulling a 25 foot travel trailer with a F250 SuperDuty. I will be traveling with my dog. I will need to be in San Francisco by the 24th of July. I am fairly flexibly with my leave and return dates. Any suggestions/advice etc. ! Thank you

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
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    5,653

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    I'm not sure what you're specifically asking for. It seems a nice plan -- how long are you planning for the trip from Florida to San Francisco? On which legs of the trip did you plan to sightsee?

    As far as staying in state parks along the way, we have two threads about this type of RV'ing. One is the Camping Along the Great US Highways thread, which currently has US-101, US-395, US-54, US-61 on it, with more to come. The other is the Interstate Camping Guide thread, which has most of the main interstates. These camping guides include state parks, national forests, and a few county/city parks that are within 20 miles of the highway. I will say that 25' is at the very top length that some of the older parks can accommodate.

    Visiting National Parks -- if you want to camp at them, you might have to call and get a reservation as soon as you have a date/some dates in mind. The more popular parks book very quickly. Don't give up if you don't succeed the first time, however, as you can keep trying and perhaps get in on someone else's cancellation. Just be flexible! Bear in mind that all national parks have pet regulations, such as LEASH Mr. Pup!

    It would help us help you, though, if we have a little more information.


    Donna
    Last edited by DonnaR57; 06-16-2019 at 03:58 PM. Reason: added information

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    10,097

    Default Open Questions

    As Donna pointed out, the simple fact is that 'Florida' to San Francisco could be anywhere from 2,415 miles (starting from Pensacola) to 3,270 miles (starting from Key West) or anywhere in between. Then there's the fact that you're going to be pulling a significant load that will be hard to find parking for each evening, so your daily mileage could be anywhere from 400 to 550 miles per day, roughly. That means you might be able to make your west-bound drive in four-and-a-half days, OR it could take as long as eight. We simply can't tell from the info you've given us. So we certainly can't tell you when you'd need to leave in order to be in SF by July 24th.

    What I can tell you is that if "visit[ing] national parks" is high on your agenda, then you'll need to add even more miles as some of the best are somewhat off the most direct route. Ideally, you'd take I-10 to Tucson AZ and Saguaro NP, head up I-17 to Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon, then continue into southern Utah for a few of the 'Mighty 5', before finally going through Las Vegas and Death Valley as you swing around the southern end of the Sierra Nevadas to the Central Valley and San Francisco. Yosemite is also a possibility, but I personally would not try to cross Tioga Pass with your rig.

    From Frisco to 'New Jersey' via Reno, you're looking at roughly 2,900 miles, again depending on exactly where in Jersey you're headed, so anywhere from five-and-a-half to seven days just for the driving. There are fewer well-known national parks on this leg, but Great Salt Lake while not a national park is nonetheless amazing; I-80 follows the basic route of the old Oregon Trail through much of Nebraska; you will possibly (see below) pass close to a rather unique NP in an urban area; and near NJ you'll be near Delaware Water Gap NRA.

    On the SF to NJ leg, I'd recommend that you avoid the toll roads between Chicago and NJ (I-90 and I-76 in different places) and instead drive just 100 extra miles, more or less, by leaving I-80 at the Quad Cities and taking I-74 to Indianapolis, I-70 to Columbus, I-71 to the Youngstown area and I-80 east from there into northern NJ. Both Indianapolis and Columbus have beltways and strait-thru options, your choice.

    AZBuck

  4. Default

    I am hoping to sightsee on both legs of the trip. I can leave any time after the 6th of July. Mind you, I am not the greatest planner, really just more spur of the moment/wing it type. I do not need a campground all the time as I have no issues staying at a walmart along the way. I guess, I am looking for places to avoid for safety reasons (solo female), routes to avoid like AZBuck Said to avoid Tioga Pass. Also, wouldn't mind your "MUST SEE" places. I will be coming from Daytona Beach Area in Florida and returning to southern NJ. OR I can leave from NJ and return to Florida? I am really pretty flexible. Also, my dog is always safely on a leash and cleaned up after. (side-note camperwise I am downsizing from a 32 ft. to a yet to purchase 25 ft or less, I had gotten pretty good with handling the old camper (pulled by a suburban) so hoping no problems with new one and a stronger truck)
    Thanks for sharing your experience! I just started traveling and loving it. This will be my first time in most of the states I will be passing through!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    5,653

    Default

    OK, thanks for more information, as it helps us to help you.

    For planning purposes, when my husband and I had a rig similar to yours (we had a diesel pick up towing a 27' 5W), we had an unwritten rule for ourselves that we would not try to travel more than 450 miles per day, and less than that was better. If we had any plans to stop and sightsee along the way, we would ensure that we had less mileage to drive.

    Staying in Walmart and the like ... well, these days, don't count on being able to do that. Too many now have signs against overnight parking of any type. You are actually better off staying in a truck stop/travel center, but ask in the store where you should park. Then it's polite to give them some sort of business, by filling your fuel tank, eating in their restaurant, or similar. As a solo female, the truck stops are probably a little safer anyway since they are used to people being there at all hours of day or night!.


    Donna

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    7,169

    Default You have all the facilities and security at truck stops.

    As a senior solo female traveller, I have to agree that truck stops are the most welcoming and safest places to stay. On the odd occasion that I have stayed at Walmarts (where it was allowed) I have never felt quite as comfortable. I always go into the service desk and ask a person who looks like they may have some authority if it is permissable to park overnight. When the answer is in the affirmative, I ask where the best place is for me to park. Of course I can see all that for myself, but I would rather be told, and then they are aware that I will be staying overnight.

    For me the bonus is that they have showers for a small charge - FJ are the best for this - they have toilets, most have restaurants, and in the case of Pilot/FJ, if you have a reward card three cents a gallon off fuel. Invariably I have found them to be among the cheapest around, especially when you take the 3c in account. Many also have free wifi, albeit mostly inside the buildings.

    Be aware though, that not all truck stops have facilities for overnight parking. This website will guide you to the ones which do.

    I wouldn't worry about being a non-planner. I have covered some quarter million miles in the last two decades without ever making a fast plan - basically just planning on the fly. For me it's the best way to travel. And if at times it takes you to a place where you do not feel comfortable, get back in that truck and move on. Trust your instincts, and be assured that there are many more solo female drivers on the road than males.

    Lifey

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    5,653

    Default

    Invariably I have found them to be among the cheapest around, especially when you take the 3c in account.
    If your truck is diesel, this is not particularly true any more. It used to be, but Flying J and Pilots have raised their diesel fuel prices so they are on the middle road. As always with fuel, though, use Gas Buddy to find reasonable fuel. Of course, if you are staying at FJ/P overnight, then the slightly higher price may be considered reasonable, as you are not paying an overnight fee elsewhere.

    Donna

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    10,104

    Default

    Also note that most truck stops give a cash discount on diesel fuel.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    7,169

    Default But be alert!

    As always with fuel, though, use Gas Buddy to find reasonable fuel.
    I gave up on that after finding on two occasions that the advertised price was not the price on the pump.

    Lifey

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    10,104

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lifemagician View Post
    I gave up on that after finding on two occasions that the advertised price was not the price on the pump.

    Lifey
    You have to look and see how old the reported price is. If it's 15 hours old, it can be suspect. This happened to me a few times on my recent trip.

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