IVAN RAPIN-SMITH

Our Fall 2020 RV Trip

by | Jan 10, 2021

Due to popular demand I’m sharing some details and pictures about our fall 2020 family RV road trip.

We love traveling as a family but our 2020 travel plans were disrupted as the world was hit by CoVid19. We adapted to our new work-from-home, learn-from home  from March onward but come the summer we needed to scratch our travel itch . Since flying and staying in hotels were out of the question, my soulmate and I gravitated toward the idea of traveling in an RV.

We had never traveled in an RV or done any camping together for that matter so we started by renting one for a week end to check whether we would like the experience. And we loved it! So the plan was to buy an RV and work/study while on the road. Finding an RV proved to be challenging, since we were not the only ones in the US hit by the RV bug. After quite some online hunting and many phone calls, we ended up finding a good deal for a brand new C-Class RV in Richmond, Virginia. The RV dealer shipped the RV to their Ocala, Florida location where we picked up our new rig on August 28th.

We did a short camping stay in the area to try out our new mobile home and refine our checklist of what we’d need to take with us and headed back to Miami to finish preparing. My travel-planner-and-wife-extraordinaire did a ton of research of main spots we wanted to hit but we didn’t book any accommodation in advance. In our last  pre-Covid trips we had started to only book the first and last night of our trip but leave the rest open to adapt to the mood, weather, experience of the moment and we loved it that way.

I also wanted to make sure we were always connected on the road for work and school. One of the features liked about the RV we bought was that it came with a Winegard cellular signal booster and router on the roof and a pay-as-you-go AT&T data subscription. Combined with our T-Mobile hotspot on our phones we (almost) never had any connectivity issues.

On September 4th 2020 we hit the road with a general idea of our itinerary and an open mind for adventure and unplanned experiences!

Our travel rhythm was to do the longer drives during the week-end, stay put during the day for work/school and use afternoon/evenings for family activities and shorter drives. As we traveled West through different time zones, my days started earlier but I was also able to enjoy longer afternoons with the family.

Selection

Click on one of the pictures to scroll through a selection of 160 pictures from the trip.

Trip facts 

  • Dates travelled:  September 4th 2020 till November 15th 2020
  • The rig: 2021 Thor Delano 21FB
  • Miles driven: 11,853
  • States crossed: 24
  • National parks visited: 14
  • Average consumption: 14.8 mpg (diesel)

States and places traveled in chronological order

  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Tennessee (Nashville, Land between the lakes)
  • Kentucky (Barkley Dam)
  • Illinois
  • Missouri (Saint-Louis)
  • Kansas
  • Nebraska (Omaha)
  • Iowa
  • South Dakota (Sioux Falls, Badlands NP, Minuteman missile, Spearfish Canyon, Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse monument, Custer State Park, Sturgis, Deadwood, Black Hills National Forest)
  • Wyoming (Devil’s tower, Grand Teton NP, Jackson Hole, Yellowstone NP)
  • Montana (Missoula, Glacier NP)
  • Idaho (Craters of the moon national monument, Shoshone Falls)
  • Utah (Bonneville salt flats speedway)
  • Nevada (Lake Tahoe, Las Vegas, 7 Magic Mountains)
  • California ( Lake Tahoe, Yosemite NP, Kings Canyon NP, Sequioa NP,Pebble Beach, Big Sur, Carmel-by-the-sea, Moro rock, Solvang, Santa Barbara)
  • Arizona
  • Utah (Zion NP, Bryce NPCapitol Reef NPArches NP, Canyonlands NP, Scenic byway 12, Grand Staircase Escalante)
  • Colorado (Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP, Great Sand Dunes NP)
  • New Mexico
  • Texas (Fort Worth, Dallas)
  • Louisiana
  • Missisipi
  • Alabama (Gulf Shores)
  • Florida (Pensacola, Destin, Panama City Beach, Port St Joe, Tallahassee)

Noteworthy stays

  • Piney Campground – Land Between the Lakes – Tennessee
  • Von Holton Ranch – Missouri
  • Boondocking at Dude Ranch Primitive Campground – South Dakota
  • Boondocking at Nomad Overlook in badlands, aka “The Wall” – South Dakota
  • Game Lodge Campground – Custer State Park – South Dakota
  • Center Lake Campground – South Dakota
  • Devil’s Tower KOA – Wyoming
  • Boondocking at Eagle Creek Campground – Wyoming
  • Lake Five resort – Montana
  • Lava Crater Campground – Idaho
  • Boondocking at Flight Park State Recreation Area – Salt Lake City – Utah
  • Boondocking at Silver Islands Mountains Dry Lake (close to Bonneville) – Utah
  • Nevada Beach Campground – Lake Tahoe – California
  • Sugar Pine Point State Park – Lake Tahoe – Nevada
  • Upper Pines Campground – Yosemite – California
  • Yosemite Valley Lodge – California
  • Big Sur Campground – California
  • North Creek dispersed camping – Nevada
  • Escalante Petrified Forest State Park campground – Utah

We created amazing experiences and memories as a family and I feel very fortunate we were able to do this trip of a lifetime.
Feel free to contact me for tips and recommendations if you’re thinking about RV travel through the US.