Generation Z. Cruising in an RV.: WOW: Planning and Mapping Itineraries

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

WOW: Planning and Mapping Itineraries

OUR CURRENT ITINERARY
18 months, Phase 2 from Seattle to Las Vegas, May 2011 to Nov 2012

OUR PREVIOUS ITINERARY
16 months, Phase 1 from Seattle to Seattle, June 2009 to Sept 2010

Now that we are staying for a while in Florida, we will not be writing a lot about Our Lifestyle Adventures (OLA). We have covered the state extensively the last time we were here from January to March 2010. So I now write about some thought pieces on this cruising lifestyle in Wonderings on Wanderings (WOW). This particular post is about how we dream, plan, and schedule our cruising, including the attractions we will cover and where we will stay. 

Actually deciding on those things entails many areas for consideration. But, really, after almost 3 years, it has become almost second nature to us!  But Bill says it’s easy for him because I do all the research and planning; he just does all the driving. As for me, I would not want it the other way around. My driving the RV is definitely out of the question…if we both want to live long! Kidding aside, below are the factors we consider in planning and scheduling the trips that fulfill our dreams.
Climate

The number 1 thing to consider is climate. At our ‘young’ (67, 62) age, we have to follow the sun; cold no longer agrees with us (never did with me!)! Winter finds us either in Florida, Arizona, southern California, the Philippines and other parts of Southeast Asia, or later, Australia/New Zealand. Summer, spring and fall will catch us in the Northwest, Northeast, Canada, Europe or northern Asia.  Hopefully, the white Thanksgiving we experienced in Seattle in 2010 when I had to wait for my naturalization will be the last!
Family
The next thing to consider is visits and reunions with family. At least once a year we have to see each child and his/her family. If we or they really cannot make the visit, then we plan a family reunion at a mutually convenient place and time. My children and I have had reunions in Mazatlan, Mexico, Spokane, Washington, Glacier National Park, and this New Year in Orlando, Florida. We had one reunion with Bill’s children in Yellowstone National Park. 
Friends
We also have to consider visits or reunions with friends. At this time in our lives, relationships are truly number 1! We take particular care in considering reunions with Bill’s beloved high school group, the DUs. First was in Sunriver, Oregon in 2009, then Crested Butte in 2010 and next, Nova Scotia in July 2012. Their 50th year high school reunion in Pittsburg, Kansas is also in September 2012. However, 2013 or 2014 it will most probably be in Provence.  So we will have to time our European cruise then!
Every time I visit the Philippines, reunions are a matter of course. This year WIT, our Women in Information Technology group, had our first out of the country meeting in Las Vegas with Ann and Jingjing. Next year it will be in April in Atlantic City, NJ. My other group, the Institute of Advanced Computer Technology (I/ACT) had a reunion in Chicago, Illinois near where Loy, Lea, and Watet live. The next one will probably be next year in Toronto where Marissa and Mon live.
Attractions and Fuel Expense
Those three areas pretty much decide which states (or countries) to visit. Now the route we take usually depends on what states or attractions we have not yet visited. And then the final area we consider, given equal alternatives, is which will give us the lowest expenditure in fuel.  Please see our Phase 1 (Seattle to Seattle) when we started up to the time we left for the Philippines last February and Phase 2 (Seattle to Las Vegas)  when we came back last May until next year when we get to Las Vegas  which will be our springboard for foreign travels in the future.
Campground
Now for the final detail, that is, where should we stay?  We are Elite members of Thousand Trails and Resorts of Distinction, giving us 81 and 92 campgrounds, respectively, to choose from for our campground at absolutely no charge! If there are no campgrounds available within those two systems in the areas we will be going to, we choose from Resort Parks International or Enjoy America systems which are much larger but charge $10 a night or 50 % off the first night. As you might have guessed, rarely do we use those! 
Given equal alternatives, we decide the campground based on: 1) how far the attractions we want to visit are relative to its location, 2) which one has a hot tub or sauna, heated pool, fitness room, table tennis, billiards, mini-golf, 3) what activities are held, preferably Texas Hold ‘Em, karaoke, dancing, water aerobics, potlucks, 4) how well the campsites are laid out, preferably pull-thrus with 50 amp electricity, cable TV and wi-fi, with a deck, patio, or nice grass, and lastly,  5) whether our friend RVers will stay there, too.
Vacation Internationale
There are also times when we have used Bill’s Vacation International membership when we want to spoil ourselves a bit or there is no suitable place for a good reunion. Once we stayed at Clock Tower in Whistler, British Columbia. My family had a reunion at Torres Mazatlan in Mexico. This year Bill and I are spending Christmas in Sand Pebble in Tampa, Florida and Valentines at the Newport Resort in South Beach, Miami. When this happens, we use a storage facility for M’A!
Not really a rocket science but there are definitely many things to consider in making sure our trips are comfortable, affordable and loads of fun!