YOUR DESTINATION ‘WISH LIST’
By Barry Zander, Edited by Monique Zander, the Never-Bored RVers
Where to your want to point your RV in 2012?
For many of us, the holidays are an excellent time to plan for the days ahead when the weather warms up. Have you thought about where you want to go and how to get there?
Those of you who use your RV to hop between the homes of parents or to impose on your kids and grandkids in distant states, you have an obvious starting point on your planning.
Over the years we have crossed paths with lots of people who travel with a checklist at their side – “We want to visit all state capitals … visit the highest peak in each state … go to a different music festival every weekend … etc.” Snowbirds will be packing up in two to four months to head north, ready to resume their alter-personalities on solid ground. The point is, you may soon be on the move, heading for destinations.
Here’s our recommendation: Don’t just look at Point A (where you are now) and Point B (what you want to get to). Think outside the box – or more appropriately off the ribbon of interstate that can get you to Point B the fastest. We suggest that you route yourself through at least one state park or national park on your way to your ultimate destination.
Monique and I are journey folks. We set our sights on destinations, but we always look at optional paths to get there. It’s important for us to factor in flexibility.
For instance, we were driving through the most uninteresting parts of Texas when we pulled into the Texas State Park at Balmorhea [http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/findadest/parks/balmorhea/]. We were on our way to Arizona, but as soon as we hopped out of the truck in Balmorhea, we both knew that this was far too interesting to just stay one night. The McDonald Observatory is nearby and we found more unexpected attractions in the park. We decided to stay five days … until three days later unexpected cold winds blowing sand drove us to hitch up and move on.
Since we hadn’t made reservations in Arizona, stopping there and then deciding to head west again was no problem. But even if we had reservations, there is usually some way to changing them, although it might involve an additional fee.
Over the years, we heard from many RVers that the Black Hills of South Dakota were worth visiting, so we set that as a destination. It definitely was a glorious experience, but adding to the uniqueness of the trip were stopping-off points along the way, some tourist meccas; others, natural.
On another cross-country jaunt we set our sites on staying along the Atchafalaya River in the heart of Louisiana’s Cajun Country. Beautiful, interesting and Lake Fausse Pointe Campground was all that we hoped for, plus we were immersed in the bayou country for several days before and after.
You don’t read a John Grisham novel just to marvel at how he won his case; it’s the intricate paths he weaves that keep you from putting the book down until well after midnight. The same principle applies to getting to destinations. Adding twists and turns with unexpected experiences keeps the journey exciting.
Now let me share a few of the destinations on our 2012-2014 lists, beginning with visiting my hometown, New Orleans, for Mardi Gras next February. Monique has been to New Orleans but never encountered the revelry of Mardi Gras, despite the “You’ve got to go” advice from many friends. That’s our destination, the stopping point, after 2,000 miles of being on the road.
I certainly look forward to showing her Mardi Gras – and, as a matter of fact, we’ve signed up with an RV caravan company to assure her a safe, good time with a wide variety of experiences. However, I look forward almost as much to taking two-lane roads through several states, including Oklahoma and Arkansas, to get there.
Back to the list at the beginning of this article: No. 1 for us is Mardi Gras in New Orleans. A few more places on our three-year list: The National Parks of North America are fantastic, always awe-inspiring. We have been to 46 of them so far, with three more on our “wish list”: Acadia in Maine, Shenandoah in Virginia and Big Bend in Texas.
Add to our list Washington, D.C. We have both been there, but as incidental tourists, and we both love the Smithsonian and monuments in our Nation’s Capital. Since we haven’t been there as RVers with time to explore and savor the beauty, that’s very high on our list.
In Wyoming, there’s the Devil’s Tower National Monument that we have somehow missed to the north and the south. Arizona’s “must-see” sight is the Antelope Canyon area in northwestern Arizona, which may be the first stop on our way to New Orleans.
When we were headed toward Chaco Canyon in New Mexico on one trip, we changed course, diverted by warnings of the many miles of washboard dirt road. Many people have told us it’s not that bad and the historic sight is worth the effort; it’s on our destinations list.
As you look through Trailer Life or Motorhome Magazine or other travel-related journals, be open to the destinations that appeal to you. Once you’ve put them on your list, begin the creative task of making
your journey the best part of the trip. That’s the key to being “never-bored RVers.” We’ll see you on down the road.
© All photos by Barry Zander. All rights reserved