When Katie and I finished saying our goodbyes to our parents and grandfathers at the Allentown, Pennsylvania Service Plaza, we had no solid idea where we would spend the night. We had a late start, so we ultimately decided on staying at a Walmart in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania after only about two hours of travelling. Despite not researching or planning it out ahead of time, we had a beautiful view from the parking lot, and were able to walk to a terrific dinner at a local joint called The Olive Garden. As a result of this very positive experience, Katie and I were thinking it was best not to plan our travels too much, and just take things as they come together.
Another great experience we had with loose planning was our time at Glacier National Park (if you’ve read many of our posts, you’ll know we liked this place, like, a lot). We did some loose planning that is typical of our travels that consisted of checking the RV Parky app and seeing what campgrounds were in the park and well reviewed. We found a first-come, first-served park (our favorite kind of park) that would accommodate our 31 foot travel trailer. Some more planning consisted of a five minute call to a park ranger who was able to recommend the site numbers with the biggest spots and best views, as well as the best time to arrive to have a good shot at getting one: Sunday mornings. Armed with this information which took thirty minutes tops to gather, we were able to get our favorite campsite up to this point.
This is certainly not to say that playing things fast and loose does not come with its downsides. No time was this more than apparent to us as when we arrived in Indianapolis the weekend of the Indianapolis 500. Without tickets to the race. While neither Katie nor I are huge racing fans, this race seemed like it would be a ton of fun and great experience. And since we didn’t plan ahead, and the costs of secondary market tickets would have been exorbitant, we couldn’t go to the race and wound up staying in Katie’s cousin’s driveway with all of the campgrounds booked up as well.
We have ultimately found ourselves doing a sort of balance of planning vs. going where the wind blows us throughout this trip. For instance, when we were in Oregon, we read online (which we were grateful to have, as our struggles with this are detailed here) that Bruce Springsteen was doing a book signing and meet and greet. As Katie and I are both huge fans, we were able to just head down to Los Angeles and were lucky enough to be able to meet him and get a picture. Had we had bunch of prepaid campground reservations, this may not have been so easy. Conversely, had we really wanted to just go with the wind and not be tied down to specific dates/times AT ALL, we may have missed out on this incredible, once in a lifetime experience. You can read about it here.
While both approaches admittedly have their purposes, it can definitely be a balancing act at times. There is just so much to see out there. Even with all the time full-time RVing offers to someone, it is just impossible to see it all. While we lean towards not making too many reservations because, as Albert Brooks says in his excellent movie Lost in America, “we’ve dropped out of society; we don’t really do reservations,” we do base things around big events, or meeting up with friends and family who visit us, and maybe even make reservations a week or two in advance in these situations. There are merits to both approaches, and this is what has worked best for us. Please let us know what works best for you in the comments below. 🙂