The Importance of Preparation and Planning

Riverside Park in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Photo by Dan Wentzel

Riverside Park in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Photo by Dan Wentzel

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Canon memorial also located at Riverside Park. Photo by Dan Wentzel


One of the most popular landmarks of Riverside Park. Photo by Dan Wentzel

One of the most popular landmarks of Riverside Park.
Photo by Dan Wentzel

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Close up of the mascot of the park. Photo by Dan Wentzel.

Recently as we made our way from Park Falls, Wisconsin where we visited our convalescing daughter and her husband to La Crosse, Wisconsin, we were reminded of an important lesson. When full time RV-ing or even for just a short camping trip, planning and preparation are vital to a successful experience.

In order to have fun and have most things go as you wish, you must spend some time planning for the trip and the eventual destination you will visit. Of course none of us are guaranteed our every desire but, we do have some reasonable expectations. The time you spend planning and anticipating the visit will be well worth it as it can remove problems before they crop up. Preparing for your specific voyage and circumstances may avoid some pitfalls and increase your pleasure in the trip.

Our trip to La Crosse was planned quickly and evidentially also poorly as we did not have control of events. Instead of arranging things to our liking, we fell into a situation where we just needed to accept some things not the way we had hoped. It was of course, our own fault but, that did not make things any more palatable.

Before starting out on this full time RV lifestyle, we set ourselves some basic rules or maybe goals is a more appropriate term. We vowed to move slowly so as to enjoy life without the hustle and bustle of more traditional lifestyle. This meant no schedule but, we have found some scheduling is better than none in order to meet other goals. We must at the very least before traveling any distance, be as packed up as possible the night before. The stowing of loose items and an overall quick clean up happens anytime we will move more than a few miles into town or for a short jaunt out to sightsee. The other part of this is that we will get up early and not plan on more than coffee and tea before we depart, sometimes we plan on skipping that also. This means breakfast on the road. To us that could mean a full- fledged breakfast in a restaurant, or a breakfast sandwich from a fast food place or even just donuts from bakery or a convenience store. This saves valuable time on the road and avoids more mess before we travel.

Another goal in order to keep life very simple and relaxed was to usually travel less than 100 miles a day. Many times this did not work out and we drove much further but, when there is a choice and no pressing reason to be at a place at a certain time or when there is no destination at all, we try to stick to that idea.

The trip to La Crosse, we broke many of our own rules. First we did not do enough the day and night before. We left later than planned with still additional trips to the grocery store, gas station, to get propane and a few other shopping items. Till we finally got on the road, the time was much later than we should have left. The route was tricky at some points and we may have gone around -about -way to get to La Crosse. We thought we checked the map and knew the route but, it seemed longer and harder. This resulted in driving longer than planned and we were tired, hungry and a bit cranky at that point.

We stopped to get subs to take to the campground and that also may have taken us a bit out of our way. We then made our way to the campground. Since we had not reserved a campsite believing it would be fine since we would arrive early, we needed to take the last electric site available. Not a good thing! We were tired so just said okay but regretted it before we were even pulled in. It was a strangely shaped site with no trees, no shade at all and placed in front of the fish cleaning house. We felt so disgusted so we never ate outside, had a fire or even put our chairs out. We prefer wooded sites and privacy when we camp and we had neither. That along with the over 100 degree heat index made everything particularly unpleasant.

I guess we never planned for or took into consideration that with a motor home and no toad we had to expose our pets to all kinds of situations that might be unhealthy for them. Our two dogs did not do very well in the heat though our cat took it in stride. We tried walking them in Riverside Park in La Crosse but, even with a breeze off the water and lots of trees the dogs minded being outside. If we tried to park and leave them inside, we could rarely find enough shade. We watered them constantly. We wiped them down often to cool them off. We even bought them ice cream which seemed to help a bit but, they were miserable and so lethargic we worried for their safety.

There was almost no sightseeing and we went back to the campground and non-stop cold air conditioning. We stayed holed up in the camper almost the entire four days we were there and that served as an important lesson for us. In the future during these heat waves we will scope out more places where we can offer our babies a cooler and safer existence.

Planning and preparation are important if you wish to enjoy yourself and avoid things that ruin your day. Take the time to do them for best traveling results.


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