2 Tech-Savvy Ways To Plan A Road Trip
Time to plan a road trip worthy of a 62+ go-getter….
Say goodbye to uninterrupted long-distance drives, 500 miles a day, sitting on your butt for 10 hours, and watching fun zoom by. Been there, done that.
There’s a life out there, stuff to see, the birds, the bees, the vast plains, waterfalls, and purple mountains’ majesty. These days, you’re not so much focused on getting from Point A to Point B, but on having a great time moseying along.
Technology can really help out here.
The kind of “tech” Muddy Boots is talking about is not complicated or obscure and it could get you way more adventuring than you might think up all by your lonesome.
If we set up a hypothetical trip, it’ll soon be clear how technology might help to plan a road trip that’s an adventure and not a chore.
Where shall we go?
Aahh, you guessed right! Oklahoma City to umm Arizona? Yes, indeedy. Tucson to be precise, ‘cos family’s calling.
Google it up and what do you get? Voilà: 4 variations on a theme of INTERSTATES. Typical. Could we maybe at least have a little more excitement?
Your adventuring mindset kicks in….There are 6 days on the road to the all-important reunion. No prob. You’ve got your NPS Senior Pass tucked in your pocket. Bingo: Carlsbad Caverns. A little cave tour with a ranger, or maybe two…A caveman diner…Neanderthal square dance…Lucy lunch.
Let’s check it out:
Oooh…White Sands National Monument? That too? Cool.
So far, so good. You decide you’ve sketched out enough detail for the moment and you’ll make up the rest as you go along. Still, it might help to have some ideas to work with.
With that in mind, you sign on to
#1 RandMcNally’s TripMaker® .
And the TripMaker® gives you a whole bunch of things you might want to do. It can highlight attractions en route, including festivals, historic places, quirky sites, and the “great outdoors”. Links are provided to relevant websites for more information.
Thumbs up: RandMcNally’s TripMaker® is easy to use, easy to read, and very helpful for suggesting attractions along the way.
Since TripMaker® runs on a browser, it can be accessed from any device with web service. It’s free.
Great way to plan a road trip. But wait….
You get on the road to TUS…
As far as Carlsbad Caverns. There, you find that you can’t sign up for a ranger cave tour in the morning as planned, but there’s space in the afternoon.
You had intended to overnight 200 miles further along on your journey. Your extra Carlsbad Caverns fun will nuke that plan, but never mind….Alas, staying right there in Carlsbad is not a happy prospect since it’s a major tourist destination and there’s no limited-budget-friendly campground.
What to do?
You locate a place you can get online (at the Park, a library, rest area, or wherever else you can find with a hot spot) and launch
Carlsbad, mmmmm. Grrreat! All kinds of public campgrounds—State, Municipal, BLM, NP—you can drive to in an hour or so.
Whoa, Guadalupe Mountains National Park is not too far off, and the Road Trip Planner lists two campgrounds right in the Park.
You didn’t know this until now, but all of a sudden, you really really really want to check out that particular National Park. From what you can see, you can make it there for the evening ($4 per spot per night with Senior Pass) with an hour or so drive. You decide to explore Guadalupe Mountains until about 2 pm the next day. Unplanned adventure.
What happens to the rest of your itinerary?
The Road Trip Planner shows you that there are several public campgrounds between the Guadalupe Mountains NP and Tucson (see ST; BLM; FS). You take a close look.
Genius: you can kill two birds with one stone and camp at the newly-designated Organ Mountains National Monument. BLM campground, 2015 price of $3.50 with Senior Pass. Two nights here might be a good plan while you take a breather, especially after you check the weather right in the Road Trip Planner and note that it will be dry and warm but tolerable.
Road Trip Planner can easily recalibrate your trip, new overnights and all. And yes, if you skip Silver City which was on your original wish list, you can make it to Tucson in good time even if you drive at your normal pace of 50 miles per hour.
However—and this is the bad news—you might have to forego that detour to see the gunfight in Tombstone.
To get the Road Trip Planner
Muddy Boots refers you directly to the developer for price details, but it’s very easy on the budget. There are modules available for the US, Canada, and iOS as well as a Mac. The public campground database is an inexpensive add-on. Estimated total? About 1/4 of the cost of an unforeseen night at a motel.
Next issue. You realize you’re going to be out of web range for considerable periods over the next little while. You bring up
Interested in reading up on using apps to organize road trips? Right here:
Photo credits 5. Featured image, colorful USA map: Public Domain via Pixabay. Top panel… Oklahoma City Greetings: CC BY 2.0 by Matthew Rutledge via Flickr. Arizona Greetings: CC BY 2.0 by Boston Public Library via Flickr. I am in Texas but my ass is in New Mexico: CC BY 2.0 by Boston Public Library via Flickr. All others: screen shots from Google Maps, Rand McNally Trip Maker, and Road Trip Planner App.