Road Trip

Travel Days … how do you plan your drives? What do you think about “one night stands”?

So, we left Colorado Springs, CO on Sunday to go to Moab, UT … and one of our goals is to always be done driving by 3:00 in the afternoon.  Other items we’ve considered is how far do we need to go, how many days do we want to take to get there, is there anything interesting to see along the way, is it interstate or highway, what kinds of mountains will we cross, etc.

We initially decided we would try to travel up to 6 hours or 300 miles per day and be done by 3:00 in the afternoon.  Well, that works when you’re driving on the interstate and don’t have too many mountain passes to go through (we’ve crossed the Continental Divide twice on this trip).  But when you have two lane highways, mountain passes, and a tow vehicle, that doesn’t always work.

Because of the mountain passes and the continental divide, going 175-200 miles a day is a more difficult drive than driving straight across a prairie and it takes us longer than going 300 miles straight across the prairies.   Of course, that doesn’t count stopping for gas, hitting the restroom, taking the dogs out and making lunch.  So, I’ve found that some of the camping reservations I made need to be changed so Thom isn’t so worn out at the end of a day of driving.

I mean, there are some RV parks that really aren’t in an area with much to do or see and some of them are just down right awful to stay in.  So, we only like to spend one night there.  If there are some interesting things to do, then we’ll usually plan on a minimum of two nights and maybe more.  But it’s those “one night stands” (excuse the pun) that give us what I call “travel days” because we’re trying to get somewhere, and it may not be feasible getting there in one day.  We may have to do a “one night stand”.

It’s taken us two travel days to get to Moab … about 175-200 miles each day, stopping one night at Ancient Cedars at Mesa Verde RV Park (don’t confuse it with the Mesa Verde RV Park).  The spaces are pretty nice and spaced out, both back in and pull through with some tent spaces and some cabins.  A swimming pool (which was closed for the season), two hot tubs (one of which one is adult only), a mini-golf course and a huge off leash area for the dogs.  The Mesa Verde State Park is just across the street and has more Anasazi Cliff Dwellings and a lot of hikes and trails.  I didn’t find out about it until after we had reservations made in Moab or we probably would have stayed a couple of nights.

This was our view from our campsite at Ancient Cedars, overlooking the RV camp and into Mesa Verde State Park.

I have got to learn to be more flexible and spontaneous.  I’ve always been a planner (not all of my plans always work out though).  Thom doesn’t really care and is fine with letting me do the planning. That works most of the time but I have been known to take us through some rough roads and long days driving.

When we find we have to spend only one night in a place, we usually don’t set up as fully.  We don’t pull out the lawn chairs, preferring to use the picnic table, we don’t put up the pet fence for the dogs but keep them on a leash instead and we usually cook inside instead of outside, electricity and water are enough and we don’t require a sewer hook up.  So set up is easier and takes less time, but it’s not really about the journey then, it’s about getting there quicker.

We’re trying to be more about the journey and in the moment.  It’s tough, we’re used to having a schedule and being somewhere at a certain time.  And since I’m a planner, it’s not easy to leave one morning and not know where we are planning on staying and whether or not there will be space for us.

We have two full days planned in Moab to see some of the National Parks.  From here, we’ll have a one night stand near Salt Lake City on the way up to Logan and Bear Lake, UT.   I’ve already figured out that isn’t enough time and we could easily stay up to a month exploring Utah’s “big five” National Parks and additional State Parks.  Guess that means we’ll need to plan more trips to this area. (Yippee!)

So, what do you do to avoid those “one night stands”? Or maybe you don’t even try to avoid them.  We’re interested in knowing how you handle your travel days.

Stay safe and keep making those memories.