It's official! We finally decided what direction to head out and what destination to pick for a visit from Eldy's grandkids, Cate, 12, and Trevor, 8. You wouldn't believe the planning that Eldy has been doing the last four days! Out come the maps, the iphone, Mapquest....endless calculations, guessing how far cities are from one stop to the next, how much fuel costs will be, calling campgrounds to check availability for the July 4th week, which made planning a little harder with TWO weekends to deal with a holiday in the middle of the week, etc.
First, we were going to Rocky Mountain National Park...but after phone calls checking on the status of the air quality in the back country, and the progress of the forest fires being fought, we decided against a visit at this time. Rangers were reporting haze and smoke in some areas. Nix that idea. Out came the maps again, and next decision was to head to Custer and Mount Rushmore. We found out that Mount Rushmore is NOT doing fireworks this year for the July 4th celebration. We were having difficulties finding campgrounds with availability AND activities to help keep rambunctious grandkids entertained in the area. No fireworks at Rushmore? Phooey! Let's try something else...How about....and off we were on a R & D (research and development) trip plan again.
Back to the drawing board. This week we are trying out the RV Trip Wizard program. We saw this at the Tampa RV show and thought it looked interesting. It has some features that are really dandy, but the program appears to be in its growing stages. It's a program that was designed by RVers for RVers. Here's what it offers:
They have a new feature where you can enter specific data like how many miles you want to drive a day and how fast you drive. It puts a definitive mile radius on the map according to what you specified in the "trip preferences" so you can zero in on some specific places to stay within your daily travel plan. We are still trying to figure out how to use this feature, but it appears very useful. We just can't figure out some more things about it, like how to get the radius to shift as you travel each day. The developers have been very prompt with getting back to us when we have questions. The little green triangles are campgrounds, but the map expands more to show ALL the many campground memberships you belong to that you checked in the trip preferences section--many, many campground choices to pick from, from Passport America to COE parks to a ton of others. They welcome suggestions and are improving and adding stuff often. Check it out and see what you think!
Using this program along with Eldy's fantastic researching skills, we have mapped out our travels from Spring, TX all the way to Sevierville, TN-our final destination that works all the way around--not too far for Eldy's kids to drive to meet us to drop off the grandkids, not too far for us to drive to get to the destination, saving on fuel. We are going to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee! Yippee! Time to give our eyes a rest from all the computer work and paper work. Same place, same time tomorrow.....Until then.....