September 11, 2012

Planning Our Trip East

Our last day in Minneapolis we sat down to plan our visit to New England. We had decided that after Chicago we would head all the way east to Maine and then drive down the coast hopefully chasing the fall leaf colors. Since New England is so heavily packed with big cities, most of which we want to visit, we decided that we would probably have to give up our cheap/free living and opt for mostly staying at RV parks. We hoped that paying the extra price would give us A) piece of mind that the dogs are OK while we're gone for extended amounts of time and B) closer location to the cities so that we could spend less time driving around and more time exploring.

WELL...three hours or so into our research we'd gotten no closer to making any progress on our itinerary, AND we were thoroughly frustrated.

Everything started with Chicago. We meant to book a week there since Sky had never been and the last time I had visited I had been just the right age to enjoy the FAO Schwarz store. We went to Google Maps, typed in Chicago, and then typed in RV park. We expected 20 or so results to pop up, with varying prices depending on their proximity to city center. This is the generally how its worked on this trip so far. When the nearest legitimate RV park came up as being an hour away from Chicago, we laughed it off and went to our second research option, an RV Park Finder app that Sky has on his IPhone. Again, we typed in Chicago....and only one option came up...an option that was 41 miles away. WTF? This was Chicago, not the middle of nowhere! Don't people visit Chicago with their RVs?

Since Chicago was proving itself to be frustrating we tabled it and moved on. What we quickly discovered is that pretty much every city we had on our tentative itinerary was going to be just as difficult as Chicago, if not more so. We had gotten spoiled by the multitude of RV park options we'd found on the West Coast, and had expected the East Coast to be the same. I'm not really sure what the deal is, but its looking like New England is not big on RV parks (huge business opportunity here guys! who wants to build some RV parks near big cities on the East Coast?!?). Not only were we not going to be in the cities, we were going to be an hour away in most cases. Ouch.

This was a huge disappointment. We had had big hopes for New England, and after we'd come to terms with paying the extra price, we'd envisioned ourselves staying right in the city, just blocks away from the entertainment. When this didn't come to fruition search after search, we got pretty demoralized about the trip.  All of a sudden we were considering other options: what if we quit right now and went home? what if we went home and sold the truck and trailer and then went abroad? what if we went back to the West Coast? Right about then we just gave up on the planning and went and took a nap. Ha! We were wiped out.

Thankfully we woke up with clearer heads. We went for a walk and started throwing more feasible ideas around and I think we found a good one: we will find a centrally located RV park in New England, one that doesn't necessarily have the best location, but is well in the middle of most of the places we want to visit, we will park there for a month, and then leave the trailer and travel to the destinations with just the truck. Paying the monthly rate an one place will save us loads of money over paying the daily rate at multiple parks, and we could use that difference to pay for boarding for the dogs when we go on trips that are longer than a day. This way we will be able to visit the cities, stay with friends, and not worry about Chloe and Sammy needing to be fed or walked. Also, this way we won't be dragging the trailer around the congested highways of the East.

So now that's our plan, we just need to find that great central location. In the mean time, we'll be migrating east, starting with Chicago. Speaking of, we ended up booking that RV park that's 41 miles away, in Indiana. That's where we'll be for the next few days or so.

Happy travel planning (hopefully!)

M.

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