Wow, you made some great memories!
We had a good year. Started by trading in our Class B for a C, which made life with a big dog much easier. We love the new one.
Went to a nearby rally and our slide wouldn't retract. That actually was a good thing, timing wise. Got a repair by the dealer, near our home and no plans interrupted. Glad it didn't happen far away.
Had a great trip to Quebec for five weeks, seeing family on the way. Really got familiar with the new RV, how everything works out, made our little mods.
We leave soon for two weeks of Florida waterfront camping in various great spots. And we're planning a two-month trip for late spring back west. Life is good.
Thanks for the replies. I checked out the State Park reservations and they are full up for the dates I need, not even a one day vacancy listed. I guess I'll just try for cancellations after 3pm and hope I get lucky. The NAS campgound seems like a good Plan B if the park CGs are full.
To me, the Keys SPs are worth it to keep checking online, grab a res (even one night here and there), then fill in as needed.
We were in our Class B in Long Key one February and met another van couple who got in with a cancellation, then talked to the ranger at the park and were offered two weeks if they wanted it. You never know what you might get in person.
With a smaller RV or TC, it's easier to get a site and cobble together a great time. We've gone back and forth so much on the 7-mile bridge on a trip that it has became known to us as the 42-mile bridge.
I talked to my mom last night - she lives in Venice, FL. She said the snowbirds are in full migration.
She's so right. We live just north of Venice and there's already so much more traffic on 41/Tamiami Trail.
Our LTV Free Spirit 210-B class B had fixed twin beds in the rear, with long storage compartments beneath, accessed either inside or when the back doors were opened.
We wore out a couple of sets of cheap umbrella chairs. Finally bought the pricier Pico telescoping ones (see photo in previous post) that are the size of a thick laptop when in the case. Worth it for the good quality. Both kinds of chairs easily fit under those fixed beds. We rarely needed all the storage space, amazingly enough.
You'll probably find the Keys state parks fully reserved for the end of the year, but you can always keep looking at the reservation site for cancellations. (The keys parks are John Pennekamp, Curry Hammock, Long Key, and Bahia Honda, and they run about $40 a night for water and electric, bathrooms, dump stations.) You can also try just showing up and asking about openings. Long key is especially laid back...we head down there next week for a few days.
But it would be good to have a backup plan or two since roadside pull off or parking lot camping isn't feasible down that way. Since you don't care about electric, one place to know about is Big Pine Key Fishing Lodge. Not really laid back, but could fill in if you need a place. They are full every winter with seasonal people who have been coming for many generations, but they do have a section with no hookups that had openings the whole time when we stayed there one winter. No generators, no dogs. The little key deer roam freely in the campground.
We like Jolly Roger at Grassy Key on Marathon, which is on the Gulf of Mexico side with some sites on the water, and try to run down there for at least a few days if not longer every year. There are a lot of seasonals, but they always seem to have openings for short term stays, too.
Others here have their own favorites they can suggest, but all commercial campgrounds will cost quite a bit more than the state parks.
By the way, the state parks have limits on the length you can stay, so you can't arrive and plan an extended stay if you get a site. Maybe two weeks.
We spent several weeks in that area four years ago -- this is the first of several posts that might be helpful. Mostly we were hiking, but there are some things that still could be useful. Good luck!
Blog post -- Canadian Rockies
The photos are wonderful - such magnificent scenes of the sun on the peaks.
Thought of another fun thing to do in that area. The town of Lockport isn't far, and it has a section of restored locks on the Erie Canal where you can ride a boat or stroll the tow path. There's a visitor center as well.
Lots of wineries around there, too.
We found Four Mile Creek to be very convenient.....
If you camp there, you get free parking at the NF state park lots,
FYI, however, they have done away with the free parking at NF state park lots. It costs 10 buck now, even if you are camping at Four Mile Creek. :(
Well darn! Thanks for that update.
If you have pressed the reset button on all the gfci outlets inside, check to see if there is also an exterior outlet.
This happened to us with our class B Van. Called the factory, and they reminded us there was another one to check.
We found Four Mile Creek to be very convenient, an easy drive to the falls via the Robert Moses Parkway. Nice campground right on Lake Ontario. We had an electric hookup but the shared water outlets were various places spaced around the CG. Bring a copy of your dog's rabies certificate - they ask to see it.
If you camp there, you get free parking at the NF state park lots, which saves I think $10 versus commercial lots further from the falls. We arrived early and got into a very close space. From there we could walk across the Rainbow Bridge into Canada, easy customs, to see the falls from that side - viewing parks are right next to the bridge. (Or you can drive but long line of cars were waiting to cross and clear customs as we walked by them.)
Near Four Mile is Fort Niagara, a big state park also on the water, with restored buildings, nice visitor center, costumed interpreters who demonstrate musket firing, recreational areas, etc. Well worth a visit. IIRC, they have a pool people staying at Four Mile Creek can use, too.
July 4th is probably very popular so you are smart to plan early. We were there in July two years ago and it was packed.
More good advice!
To answser those who were asking, we are two seniors (no kids along) and enjoy going to ranger talks, visitor centers and museums to learn about an area, and have had fun at factory tours (such as the Cabot Cheese factory in Vermont). Eat lunch out about once a week during our long road trips, so we seek out fun places but mostly cook in the RV
Great scenery appeals so we plan our itineraries around national and state parks, forests, etc. and do some hiking. Our knees and other joints aren't what they used to be, so we like the easier trails. Whenever possible, we stay inside the parks, so are willing to dry camp sometimes.
No desire to shop and accumulate stuff all over again. We browse a little if we want to get a tee shirt or small gift typical of the area to take home to family or neighbors.
Someone else who is going next year asked about whether summer campsite booking window opens in January 2017 and yes, that is what the Parks Canada web site says.
Never been, plan to go via Spokane toward Banff in mid-June 2017.
How would you divide your time betwee Banff, Jasper, and other suggested places?
After that week, would be heading down to Glacier NP , probably via Calgary.
Yes, per the Scottiemom post - perhaps you didn't mean to type "advantage"?
Because Medicare Advantage plans are completely different coverage from Supplemental policies, and cannot be combined. If you choose Advantage, it replaces traditional Medicare and often includes drug coverage. You can drop it any year during open season and go back to traditional Medicare or a different Advantage insurer.
"Medigap" supplemental insurance coverage is available when you become eligible for Medicare and they have to take you by law at that point. State laws vary, but they may not necessarily offer you coverage later. It "supplements" traditional Medicare - I have Plan F, and never pay deductibles, for example. People with Supplemental typically buy a Part D drug plan as well.
Nothing. Bought a used good quality diesel Class B and had five great years, just the two of us, seeing the US and Canada. We were newbies and spent two years before purchasing learning everything we could about all classes of RVs and options.
Now, with a big service dog in our lives, we've traded in the B this year for something slightly larger. (Got almost what we paid for the B in trade in.)
So I'd say don't be afraid to buy best quality you can find in a clean used unit if you are handy with tools. You'll enjoy learning all about how an RV works. But keep your options open. Maybe a trailer is ideal, maybe something else. Talk to a lot of people.
I think Dutchman has it right. Buy what suits you now but realize change may come.
I learned something this summer by reading their 2016 directory - KOA currently has four classes or categories of campgrounds. They are "evolving many of our locations" into the first three:
Journey - not fancy, for overnighters, has 50 amp pull-thrus, well-lit after-hours checkin.
Holiday - more amenities like patio sites, deluxe cabins, and meeting rooms.
Resort - Fanciest and of course more expensive.
These categories promise certain things, and the CG owners apparently agree to go with the gameplan.
However, if you read between the lines, there is a fourth group which is None of the Above. I guess these owners are not yet, maybe never, signing on to whatever standards are being imposed. Or maybe it will take time to change their facilities to conform.
I've stayed in some so-so KOAs I wouldn't recommend and, sure enough, they were not identified with a badge in the directory book...not part of the three groups. I'm going to avoid such CGs in favor of Good Sam and Passport America - why pay a premium?
We stayed at Quechee Pine Valley, Vermont this summer ("Holiday" class) and it was great. Also stayed at one of the "Journey" locations for an overnighter and had great service.
I'm guessing the KOA organization has known for a long time that their product quality varies tremendously and can be a real turn-off. So maybe they are trying to differentiate what you're likely to find.
I was sad to say goodbye to our little class B van this year - needed more room to tote my 70-lb dog around with us. It was the best thing to do and I loved the new layout, but I mourned the good times gone by for a few months.
After the first long trip in the bigger RV, I'm not mourning anymore. It takes a while to get comfortable with the change, re-establish where you'll put stuff and get the flow going.
To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven. Now you can build new memories!