By Gary Jefferson
I have three modes when it comes to traveling in our Sprinter. When we traveled in our SUV, I didn’t do it like I do today in the van. In our SUV, the location of a good motel usually determined how far we were going that day. I knew we’d be stopping for photographs, meals, and before dark, so I’d factor all that in when I looked on the map for a probable destination. It was usually between 125 and 250 miles; more often closer to the 125 number.
In the Sprinter we don’t think about motels anymore. We already have one with us. So, when we are in travel mode, I’m moseying down the highway looking for good things to photograph. My wife is usually on her phone looking for interesting things nearby.
We stop, we look around, I take a photo or two and we continue on. However, if a location warrants it, we will sleep nearby and visit again the next day. Regardless, sometime early in the afternoon we start to think about where our traveling motel is going to stop. By late in the afternoon, we’re parked and relaxing at the end of our driving day. The interesting thing is that it’s usually after 125 to 250 miles. Our daily distance hasn’t changed much.
When we stayed in motels, it was expensive to stay in one place for more than one night. I know, you’re thinking, “You’d be in a motel anyway,” but we were not enjoying any new places as those dollars were spent.
Multi-night motel stays were for bad weather and a change of pace for a day or two. Now we can just park and enjoy one place for a while and we’re saving money on fuel. With the van we can enjoy a location for as long as we want. Our tendency is to enjoy sunsets (not sunrises, they are way too early for me) and beautiful views with the van. We didn’t do that as much in the SUV. The van allows us a much more leisurely travel experience.
At some point, maybe after a week, a month, or longer, we decide it’s time to be back in our fifth-wheel in Southern California. We usually have an idea of approximately how long we will be gone when we leave home. Since both of us are seniors, there are medications and vitamins that keep us alive — we are sure to take the right number of pills to keep us going during the trip. I know, many of you know nothing about that, but getting old isn’t for sissies (or people who can’t plan ahead).
Before the meds are gone, we head home. Our longest travel days have been coming home — sometimes 700 miles or more. I’m even driving the speed limit (maybe faster) on that part of our trip. It’s great to leave on a trip, enjoy the journey, and it’s great to head for home. That’s how we know it was a good trip.
From “The Story of RVing”
Gary Jefferson is the author of The Story of RVing, Van Living Explained, available at Amazon. When he’s not on the road, he lives in a fifth wheel trailer in Redlands, Calif., where he has photographed the downtown residents for five years, which he posts to a delightful Facebook page called Redlands People.