Monday, April 14, 2014

More than one way to get there!

After a nice driving day, we spent a peaceful night in the free RV/truck parking area of the Casino in Indio CA on Sunday. It was just a stop-over on our way to the Jojoba Hills SKP park.

As I mentioned in my last post, the portion of the drive from Indio to the park looked like it was a winding mountain road.  After our mishap on Highway 1 in 2012, I tend to look at any new route on my large Rand McNally Atlas for Truckers and RVers, and if I am uncertain I also check it out on Map quest and Google Earth.

Although there is a drivable road thru the mountains west of Indio to Aguana, it is not marked as a trucker route. This is what Map quest looked like:

I was definitely suspicious of the part of the road that is circled.  I enlarged it. 

Nope! Not a road we wanted to drive in a 36' Class A, towing a car.

When I entered the destination in our Rand McNally RV Navigator, the same route was given.

Sorry lady, we are not going that way.

The alternative was a lot farther, but it went around the mountain instead of over it.

I was unsure about the circled section, but figured since it was more in the foothills it would not be as bad.  

One interesting fact was that the first route was a state highway, and the alternate was just a county road.  But then our nightmare drive was on a state highway as well! 

This is a blow up of the circled part. It had a lot of curves and hills, but there was almost no traffic. 

We got to that part just as it was my turn to drive. Craig did offer to drive it, but truth be told, I feel less stressed driving a hard route than being the passenger. I think it has something to do with feeling in control.  I really took my time, and we had no mishaps. 

There was a very easy, but really long way to get there from the west, but that would have added another 30 or 40 miles.

We are now settled into our spot at the SKP park. We will be here for 28 days, or less if Alfateers can fit us in sooner.  It is a delightful place and I will have more to share in upcoming posts.

What tools do you use to plan your routes?  
Have they ever misguided you?


  1. Hi Merikay! We haven't actually had a route yet--I'll be curious to see what people recommend. So glad you arrived safely.

  2. We use Mountain West Directory which gives all the grades on all the routes. The worse road we ever traveled was in northwest Colorado. That was before I bought the Directory. Needless to say the book became a priority. And we will also drive the long way around to avoid a questionable route.

  3. We use the mountain directory, microsoft streets and trips (which I have downloaded with low bridges and other POI's) and google earth. Tried to order the atlas for truckers but out of stock when then, will probably try again this summer to get it. I've been know to also go out of our way to avoid some roads.

  4. We do pretty much what you do. I use Streets and Trips, Google Earth, our truckers map and our new Truckers GPS.

    Sometimes even our truckers gps wants to take us on roads we dont' like. There is one near our Georgia Rv lot that I don't even like driving in our truck.

    I bet you'll like being in one place for a while. It gives you time to really explore the area.

  5. We use our Rand McNally trucker's GPS, which now has a feature of 2 different routes to choose from. I also route it on Google Maps. Normally we choose the fastest route. The only time the GPS steered us wrong was when we misinterpreted what she was saying ;-)

  6. We took that original route back on New Years Day in our Jeep and there were dozens of Class A rigs with toads coming from Borrego. It seemed a bit narrow and twisty to me but after seeing so many others I would probably give it a try in good weather. GPS and Google Maps haven't let us down yet. Love the Benchmark books for routing.

  7. Our daughter, Jojo, who lives here in southern CA, is a great guide when it comes to taking routes. Like, do not drive Montezuma out of Borrego Springs! That is where it feels like the front of the motorhome is going to touch the rear of the trailer on the curves. And with that said, John made the wrong turn and we ended there anyway. He did a great job driving! But we were both tired from the strain of the drive.

  8. Good research! We haven't gone anywhere (very) challenging. We used Streets & Trips last summer - it was very handy to have, especially as it didn't need internet access.

  9. Whoa! That twisty road looks like a nightmare. I'd rather drive around, too. I'm glad you got there safely. I've never stayed in an Escapees Park, and am curious. Looking forward to hearing all about it. :)

    PS - isn't it wonderful being a full-timer?

  10. Oh, and I just use my Garmin GPS. I sometimes pull up a Googlemaps map to actually SEE the route in advance. And if I'm ever in doubt, I keep my Wal-Mart Atlas stowed behind Katie's car seat so I can grab it any time and see the cities and roads. :)

  11. We use Benchmark Atlas's, Garmin GPS, Mountain Directory West, MapQuest, Walmart Atlas, Google Earth, some dead reckoning mixed with some good common sense, & a whole lotta luck sometimes.

  12. I always look at maps before I start traveling. I have my GPS on, but it does not show enough about where I am going. I also have the Mountain directories. One time my old GPS unit could not find the Camping World store in New Braunfels, TX very frustrating and it routed me to a street with a low overpass, luckily I saw the sign a block before and was able to pull into a parking lot and figure where to go next. It's a little more challenging when you do not have a navigator in the passengers seat, I try to memorize the major exits and turns I need to do and I take a break around every 100 miles to review my directions.

  13. Add us to the list of those who will happily drive some extra miles to get around a challenging route. Last year on our way to KY, we had some pretty steep downgrades, and we were happy on our way home last week to find another route that is going to be much easier on the nerves. :) And bonus, it's not even really much longer.

  14. Looks like the alternate route took you through the town of Hemet, CA. When I lived in San Diego, I had several friends who were natives of Hemet. They enjoyed the irony of Hemet's town slogan 'Hemet is Heaven'... which from their description, it most definitely isn't.

  15. We use a combination of mountain directory when planning and GPS while driving but we verify route with Google maps prior.


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