It’s Cinco de Mayo!

The Restaurant, not the Holiday. And boy, was it good.

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First up, I thought I let you in on how I plan our trips, and since we leave here in Bend on Friday, I figured it was about time to figure out where we’re going. Actually, I know where we’re going, more like how we’re going to get there and where we’re going to stay along the way.

Between now and the 29th of June for the Escapade in Gillette, WY, we plan on staying 4 nights each in Jackson, WY, Cody, WY, and Billings, MT. And it will take 3 nights on the road to get to our first stop in Jackson, WY.

The trip to Jackson is only 720 miles, and normally we would do it in three days, two nights of travel. But when I started looking for parks every 240 miles or so, either there was none, or if there were some, the reviews were awful. But by keeping our day’s travels to 170 to 200 miles, we found 3 nice Passport America parks,

But the first park I looked for was the one for our 4 day stay in Jackson, WY. And at first it didn’t look too promising. They were all in the $60-$80 range and RVParkReviews didn’t have good things to say about any of them. But looking at the map, I saw another park nearby in Victor, ID, only 22 miles away. And even better, the park, Teton Valley Campground, had excellent reviews, And even more better?, it’s a Passport America park.

So instead $250 – $350 for 4 nights in Jackson, I’ll be paying $49 for two nights at the PA price, and $89 for two nights at the Good Sam rate for a total of $138. A savings of $112 to $212.

Not bad for a $45 a year Passport America membership. For this reason I don’t understand why some RV’ers say that a membership will never pay for itself. We usually get our money back on our first couple of nights at an RV park.

Once that was done, I was now able to lay out our overnight stops along the way. So our first stop Friday night will be at The Narrows RV Park in Princeton, OR. Saturday night will be at Garrity RV Park in Nampa, ID, right outside Boise, with the next night at the Village of the Trees RV Park in Declo, ID. All of these are Passport America parks and have good reviews.

And we end up with 4 easy days of travel, with 168 miles, 196 miles, 179 miles and 177 miles. Nice.

Now since these are parks we’ve never stayed at, I always like to double-check the park’s location and entrance using Google Maps and sometimes Google Street View.

I really hate driving down some country road looking for an RV park based on an address that maybe 1/2 mile off one way or the other, as country road addresses are wont to be. So I use Google Maps to find the park on the satellite view. Then I get the Latitude, Longitude coordinates for the entrance and plug them into my Delorme Street Atlas GPS program, so it takes me right to the park entrance.

Teton Valley Campground

In some cases the park entrance may be obscured by trees or other obstructions, so then I’ll use Google Street View to find the park entrance from street level.

Teton Valley Campground 2

Obviously this street view shot wasn’t taken at the same time as the satellite view.

Once we stay at a park, I enter the park name, address, and GPS coords into a master park file that I can display like this. These are all 284 parks we’ve stayed at for the last 5 and a half years since we started RV’ing.

Complete RV Parks File

When we’re back in an area we’ve been before, it’s easy to see where we want to stay if we liked the park, or where to avoid if we didn’t.

I also have similar files, one that shows all the Thousand Trails parks we can stay at, and another where we store places that we want to visit as we travel around the country.

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About 3:30 Jan and I headed about 12 miles south of here to the small town of La Pine to have dinner at Cinco de Mayo, a local Mexican restaurant that came highly recommended, by both Yelp, and more importantly, our friend CoolJudy, who was visiting the area recently.

Cinco de Mayo - La Pine

And once again, the reviews were right. (Thanks, Judy!) We knew it was going to be great when we first tasted the three different homemade salsas that came out with the chips. A mild sauce, a hot, spicy, chunky style sauce, and a hot green sauce, they were all great. At least we figure the mild sauce was too, but we never tried it because the two hot ones were so delicious.

And it just got better when our food came. We both had the “Pick Your Own” Combo Platter, with Jan having the Chile Relleno, Ground Beef Enchilada, and a Ground Beef Taco, while I had the Chile Relleno, Ground Beef Enchilada, and Pork Carnitas Burrito.

We both agreed that this was some of the best Mexican food we’ve had since we left the Houston area in February. And we’re in Oregon!

Cinco de Mayo - Platter

The only unfortunate thing about this place is that we didn’t discover it earlier, since we’re leaving on Friday. But we’ll definitely be back the next time we’re in the area.

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Our grandson Landon has been a little under the weather the last few days with his asthma, so we sent him this set of Jumbo Dinosaurs from Amazon to cheer him up.

Landon's New Dinosaurs

And it looks like it worked.

Landon and the Dinosaurs

Tomorrow we’ll start getting ready to travel on Friday with a visit to Wal-Mart and a final dinner at Baldy’s BBQ, and maybe a last try at driving to the top of Pilot Butte.

We’ll see how it goes.

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Thought for the Day:

Guns kill people, pencils misspell words, cars drive drunk & spoons make you fat.

sdfgfg

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15 Responses

  1. Greg, Thank you foe the excellent and detailed explanation of your methodology on travel/where to stay plans. It looks like a great way to avoid problems.

    Also, thanks for your “Thoughts for the Day’, you’ve been “quoted” more than once.

    Butch

  2. Great to see how you use Google Street Maps and such….That’s some great information to hang onto. Eldy would like to use Google maps more in this way, so the next time we are heading out, we’ll look into this…. 🙂

  3. Hope you get to drive up Pilot Butte. We were in Bend last fall and went up twice, we enjoyed it so much. Check out my story at http://Violette.com/ArchivesHTM/121106_An_awesome_viewpoint_Pilot_Butte.htm

  4. There is a nice museum within walking distance near the exit at the Garrity RV park. Don’t miss the old prison in Boise. It has a wonderful gun collection in it.

  5. Thanks for sharing how you keep track of parks visited and the research you do to choose a park. Great info! We have been full-timing for 3+ years and are always interested in hearing how others do things.

  6. Thanks, Butch.

  7. Dave,

    It’s overcast and spritzing rain today, but we’re going to see if the gates are open today.

  8. Jan,

    Thanks for the info. We’ll check it out.

  9. Joan,

    Hope it helps you out.

  10. You have 3 different files where you keep track of stuff. What software creates these files? Sounds like a good idea.

    JC

  11. Jerry,

    Actually they start out as CSV (comma separated variable) database files that I compile by hand.

    Alyeska Resort,Arlberg Ave,Girdwood,AK,99587,US,N60.97058,W149.10495 Amarillo Ranch RV Park,1414 Sunrise Dr,Amarillo,TX,79104,US,N35.193021,W101.770971 American Sunset RV Park,N Montesano St,Westport,WA,98595,US,N46 53.973′,W124 6.352 Antelope Valley Fairgrounds RV Park,,Lancaster,CA,93536,US,N34.72599,W118.1756

    They’re just text files saved with a .csv extension instead of .txt.

    I then use the XData function on my Delorme Street Atlas GPS program to pull them in and convert them into Delorme database files.

    Whenever I need to, I just add the new park to the CSV file and then re-import it to Delorme.

    Microsoft Streets & Trips will let you do the same thing with a slightly different procedure.

    Hope this helps.

  12. No TT?

  13. Tom,

    As I said in the blog, I have one file that shows all parks we’ve stayed at, that includes TT parks.

    And I have a second file that shows all TT parks, whether we’ve stayed there or not.

  14. No TT’s on the way to WY?

  15. Heading east from Bend, the first TT park we would come to is Arrowhead in Wisconsin.

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