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Day Vs Night Driving

On The Road Again


Since going full time in 2016 we have traveled many different ways. Each way has its pros and cons and I will share with you my thoughts on each one. At the end of this post I will tell you which is our favorite and why.

Method 1

When we left Long Island back in 2016, even though we were already RV’ers, we were a little nervous that we would not be able to find campgrounds along the way. We were heading for the workamping rendezvous in Heber Springs Arkansas and did not want to be stuck with no where to park for the night.

Based on that we meticulously planned for our entire route, we located a campground approximately every 250-300 miles. This guaranteed us a place to park each day along the way. While you think this is the most stress-free way to travel (and probably the most expensive way too) it did not alleviate all stress. In some ways, it brought more stress.

Let me explain. While we had a guaranteed place to stay for the night, we did not take things like traffic, roadside emergencies, or bad weather into account. You see, we do not like pulling into campgrounds after dark. So as soon as we hit traffic or weather (thankfully we had no roadside emergencies) we would start to panic. We actually gave ourselves more stress by preplanning our stops. Now we would have to get to our location or risk loosing our deposit. We were such rookies… lol

Pros:
Guaranteed safe place to park for the night
Minimum electric and water
Off the road early enough to get a good nights rest

Cons:
Added pressure to arrive before dark
If we didn’t make it or decided we wanted to drive further we would lose our deposit

Method 2

So after doing the rendezvous, we headed down to Florida. The next few seasons which included traveling between Connecticut, Florida, and Texas, we wanted to try something different. We decided that while we still only wanted to do between 250 and 300 miles we did not want the pressure of having to make a specific campground each day.

No Vacancy Fear

It was time to let go of our “no vacancy” fear. So that’s what we did. We would travel by day until we felt we wanted to come off the road and than google “campgrounds near me.” We were hoping with all the apps we loaded on our phone and good ole google we would find a place.

Who Doesn’t Like Half Price?

Guess what. We always did!!! Usually we could always find discounted parks too. It was during these travels that we added our Passport America membership. That’s when the savings really took off!!! While our KOA and Good Sam memberships provided 10% off, Passport America was 50% off!!! That’s right, I said 50% off!!! Half price!!! Woohoo!!! Who doesn’t like half price?!!!

Passport America Is Our Favorite

If you are unfamiliar with the Passport America membership, check out our article on it. We explain everything in detail. We also have articles on KOA, Good Sam, and Escapees memberships. Passport America is the one that has saved us the most money and is by far our favorite.

Pros:
Guaranteed safe place to park for the night
Minimum of electric and water
Off the road early enough to get a good nights rest

Cons:
Might not be able to find a park with vacancy
You might have to travel a little further from the interstates to find a spot

Method 3

Ok so a couple of years passed and we are pretty comfortable with the way we travel so it was time to throw in a monkey wrench. While we were on our way to Arizona we stopped to see our friends in Texas. After a great visit, the day we were to leave it was pouring. As we checked our weather apps we noticed it was going to pour almost the entire way to Yuma. Most of the campgrounds along the way were under flash flood warnings.

Are We Nuts?

Hmmm, how crazy would it be to travel straight through the night without stopping? So here is method 3. Driving all night stopping only for gas. So we pulled out of Shallow Creek Campground and made our way to Yuma.

Actually Quite Relaxing

Believe it or not it was actually quite relaxing. We found traffic to be much lighter and best of all it was super easy to get into gas stations. Being that we pull a 35 foot travel trailer and our truck is gas, we have trouble finding gas stations that we can fit in. Most of the stations have lots of room at the diesel pumps but assume only small autos use gas.

Room To Maneuver At The Pumps

Traveling through the night we found the gas stations to be mostly empty which afforded us the room to maneuver around the pumps. Score one for night driving!!! So far we have less traffic and less crowded gas stations. Two very big pluses. As with anything there are always downsides. There is a lot of night construction that includes road closures and detours. Although an inconvenience, we did not find it terrible. Then of course there’s the tiredness factor.

I Started Getting Sleepy

Since we did not plan on driving straight through originally, we did not plan our sleep very well. As morning was still a few hours away I started getting really sleepy. Luckily we pulled into a rest area and found an open spot. I was able to fall asleep for a couple of hours and head back onto the road. A short time later we were at our destination.

Pros:
A good way to cover a lot of miles
Gas stations are not crowded making it easier to maneuver around the pumps
Less traffic
Save on camping fees

Cons:
Might be tough for those who have trouble seeing in the dark
Tiredness is a factor
Possible sketchy individuals lurk at night/must stay aware of surroundings when stopping
Breakdowns could take longer to receive help

Method 4

Our final way to travel is a lot like the one above. We needed to make time getting across the country to squeeze in a trip to Long Island. Our plan was to start out around 10:30 am and drive until around 5 pm, find a rest area and grab a few hours sleep. We would then hit the road and drive all night. We would again utilize a rest area in the morning around 9 or 10 am.

Thinking About The Truckers

Our logic behind this was to utilize the rest areas before and after the truckers would need them as we know they need to come off the road after a certain amount of time. After a day or so of this we would grab a campground so we could shower and get a full nights sleep.

The RV Interior Was Way Too Hot

It sounded good on paper but several things went wrong. The biggest problem was because we have a travel trailer, we have no a/c when we are unplugged from shore power. I guess a generator would have solved the problem but as of this trip we do not have one. We have no problem accessing our bedroom and bathroom without opening the slide so that was no issue. Each time we tried to grab a nap at a rest area, we found the inside of the RV way to hot. We even had a battery operated fan that we tried but it just blew hot air.

Not Getting Any Sleep

The times we chose were good as the truckers were not off the road in the early afternoon and were gone by the morning as we planned. It was just way too hot inside. Not being able to sleep in the heat turned out to be a rather large issue as not napping turned into one tired driver.

The Noise Lulled Us To Sleep

While we were driving through PA, the temperature was nice and cool by the early am. Perfect we thought. We pulled into the rest area and found multiple spots open. Score!!! The trucks were turned off and were running generators which makes me think there is some kind of “no idling” law in PA. The noise was no issue as it actually kind of lulled us to sleep.

What Stinks?

Of course this was too good to be true. After about an hour or so a truck pulled right next to us and fired up his generator. It must have been an older one because it stunk. The fumes were coming inside the RV so it was time to move on once again.

Pros:
A good way to cover a lot of miles
Gas stations are not as crowded making it easier to maneuver around the pumps
Less traffic
Save on camping fees

Cons:
Might be tough for those who have trouble seeing in the dark
Tiredness can be a factor
Possibly sketchy individuals lurk at night/must stay aware of surroundings when stopping
Rest areas can be filled/no vacancy
Fumes may enter your rig
Can be too hot to sleep inside your RV

Final Thoughts

As I said earlier, each method of travel has it own positive and negative features. Only you can decide which method is best for you. As for us, we will be using the second method. We found that the best for us. We can adjust the miles we do by leaving a campground earlier or later and stay on the road as long or short as we want. We have never had trouble finding a campground to stay at.

We Enjoy Relaxing And BBQ’ing

We realize that many RV’ers spend the night at Walmart, Cabellas, or Cracker Barrels but we do not feel comfortable doing that. We love being able to hook up to shore power, water, and most of the time sewers. We also love to walk around the campground and talking to other RV’ers. Finally we enjoy being able to sit outside and bbq if we want which we feel is inappropriate for a Walmart or equivalent.

How Do You Travel?

Of course these are our opinions. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and we respect that. How do you like to travel? Are you like us and like to stay in parks or do you stay at rest areas and Walmarts? Let us know by sharing your opinion in the comment section below.

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