This week’s Question of the Week was, “How far, and for how long, will you drive your truck camper rig in a given day?” What we didn’t expect was all the funny stories. Let’s just say we’re hoping your spouses aren’t reading these answers! Otherwise, some of you may be sleeping in your campers outside for a while. A truck camper sure beats a dog house.
“If I’m alone on a trip, I’ll do 700+ miles per day (think Fairbanks, Alaska in eight days from Maryland). With my better half along, however, once it gets to be 5-ish, the pointed looks start from the shotgun seat, the Walmart directory comes out, and muttering about stopping gets louder.
Somewhere near 550 miles seems to be the hard limit, else I may not get fed. I might get to go further but she doesn’t enjoy driving this rig, so there’s only so much knitting, reading, and sitting that’s tolerable.
Around the second day on the road I start mentally composing entries for the annual Buller-Lytton fiction contest, per its website “a whimsical literary competition that challenges entrants to compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels.” We’ll negotiate daily distance driven versus number of possible entries spoken aloud.” – Duncan Crawford, 2008 F450, 2008 S&S
“While traveling with our truck camper, we try to adhere to some advice we were given by a wise old sage. He said that to enjoy the journey, you should remember the number two. This meant that you should drive no more than 200 miles in a day, get off the road by 2:00pm, and stay for two days. Adhering to this was his guarantee of a stress-free journey!
To make the trip more enjoyable and memorable, and to pass the time, my wife and co-pilot takes a lot of pictures as we drive. These picture range from bridges, to scenic vistas to anything we feel might make a good inclusion into our online trip journal!” – Charles Coushaine, 2001 Ford F350, 2012 Chalet DS116RB
“We try to keep off the red. We like to meet people in the small towns and burgs. For the most part, we keep about six hours average time driving. Sometimes this works, sometimes not. My wife will read a book to me. Usually a real juicy survival SHTF type book. Gus, our Jack Russell, needs a break about every two hours, so that helps break it up.” – Jim Furubotten, 2006 Ford F350, 2014 Northern Lite 10-2 CDSE
“Ten hours or 450 miles. We plan and focus on a destination each day and stay at 65 miles per hour, or slower when speed limits apply. We recently drove cross country over eleven weeks and covered over 13,000 miles. We love to travel in our truck camper. To pass the time, we listen to satellite radio and an iPod with lots of country music.” – Jim Comperchio, 2013 Ram 3500, 2015 Northstar 850SC
“I have blitzed trips and it invariably ruins the trip. My current rule is no more than 250 miles in a day while avoiding interstate highways whenever possible. This makes it about the journey, not the destination.” – Steve Christensen, 2004 Chevrolet Z71, 2012 Palomino Bronco
“I like to drive approximately 250 to 350 miles, sometimes more or a little less. I pick my spots based on minor or major attractions in a certain area. I prefer to see something when I pass through, whenever possible. We also choose stops by availability of free camping, either boondocking or free campgrounds.
We prefer not to be exhausted when we get to our final destination. We have two mountain bikes along for exploring. We have plenty of time being recently retired. For short trips we will visit various bike trails in Minnesota and Wisconsin. XM radio helps.
Watching crazy drivers and other travelers is also a hoot! You can’t make this stuff up. Also, we look for odd things people create along the side of the road. We prefer two lane blacktop, not cement freeways.” – Chuck Pearson, 2008 Chevy Silverado, 2013 Hallmark K2
“We usually try to keep it at 300 to 400 miles per day when we are trying to get to a long-distance destination. This just seems like an relatively easy amount of driving. My wife doesn’t drive the camper, so this is solo driving. We listen to books on tape or CDs.” – Dave Neumann, 2010 Toyota Tundra, 2011 Adventurer 80GS
“It depends if we are in a hurry or just want to get there. This past summer we drove from Kalispell, Montana to Seattle in one day just to get there. Other times we have driven about three to four hours if we find a place we want to stop. We have satellite radio and also many hours of music on a flash drive we play.” – Jerry Cunningham, 2010 F450 King Ranch, 1989 Lance 900
“We have covered 600 miles in a day on several occasions. Satellite radio and NPR podcasts help the drive go by. Plus, Cathy is a writer and brings her laptop typing away in the passenger seat. Her first book was published last Fall. Now she’s working on the sequel while I drive.” – John and Cathy Strasser, 2012 Chevy 2500HD cc 4×4, 2012 Lance 855s
“Our longest annual trip is just shy of 600 miles. We used to Iron Man it in one day. The last couple years, now that I’m retired and can spend an extra day or two on the road, we do about 70% of the trip the first day, stopping overnight at a convenient Cabela’s, where they welcome boondockers. We get a little early morning shopping in the next day, then complete the last few hours of driving to our destination.
Our longest trip so far with the camper was to the Texas Truck Camper Rally from our home in Pennsylvania. We plotted and planned a couple intermediate destinations and tried to do about 350-400 miles per day out and back. We boondocked for real on this trip, trying out Walmart, Gander Mountain, and Cracker Barrel parking lots along the way like our friends, the Whites. It truly stirred my gypsy blood!
It added a daily element of adventure to the trip as we decided the sun was going down and it was time to find the nearest large reasonably well lighted parking lot to utilize for the evening. The AllStays app and our Garmin RV760LMT were both indispensable in scouting out our campsites.
We enjoy music and satellite radio to make the miles fly by, but our absolute favorite thing is to listen to audio books. Both of us are Audible junkies and enjoy the same authors and readers. Don’t know how we traveled before without Larry Correia, Bronson Pinchot, Jim Dale, and Oliver Wyman in our ears and minds!” – John and Marylou Wells, 2011 Chevy 3500HD, 2012 Chalet Ascent S100F
“Not being retired yet, we have a limited amount of time to see our grandkids who are 1,250 miles away. It is a long two day trip so we drive about 800 miles the first day, spend the night at a Bass Pro Shop parking lot, and then continue on the remainder 450 miles the next day. Of course this depends entirely on the weather since we travel through the Midwest heading north during the holiday season.
To pass the time on long driving spells, we listen to XM radio, and have an abundant supply of downloaded music and CDs. We also trade off driving duties when refueling.
Since I have to stay in contact with work (not retired yet), I use the iPad and cell phone to conduct business while not driving. With our hectic schedules, driving time is also spent just being together and discussing life and talking about what our next great adventure is going to be.” – Terry Berg, 2013 GMC 3500HD, 2013 Arctic Fox 992
“We are new to full-time truck camping and have told ourselves that we will travel no more than 250 miles in a single day and that there must be a few days in between. We just moved to a new campground that was only fifteen miles down the road from where we were camp hosting. It is amazing how such a short distance can look so different.
When we travel, we talk about what we want to see/do at our next location, and listen to audio books.” – Glenn Blount, 2012 Ford F350, 2004 Lance 1010
“We travel nearly the same as the TCM crew, although we’re more likely to boondock than Walmart camp. Our best travel times are reading a book that we’ve pre-recorded on an iPod. For us, that’s the best, although we often enjoy music too.” – Bruce Allison, 2000 Ford F350, 2012 Adventurer 910 FBS
“We try to travel about six hours. If that is on a route to somewhere that is scheduled, we may travel eight to ten hours. I plan 300 miles between fuel stops and try to make them at the end of the day. When touring. we try to average about 1,000 miles per week to leave time to look around. We have satellite radio, but generally look at the countryside for entertainment.” – George Hughes, 1999 Ford F350, 2004 Arctic Fox 990
“Since Cathie is still working and I am retired, I usually do the driving alone on our winter trips to Florida. Cathie then flies round trip to whatever destination we are going to that year. This way she saves five vacation days because she is not sitting in the truck on the two-thirds of the day to drive to our destination.
I like to drive 500 miles a day, but that is not carved in stone either. Running the North-East Truck Camping Jamboree over the last eight years, we have made so many friends that I can stop in practically every state visiting friends and would never get to Florida.
Also, I do not plan my fuel stops based on when I have one-quarter tank of diesel fuel, but I plan my trip and fuel stops around Gas Buddy. With Connecticut and now Pennsylvania having some of the highest fuel prices, I can drive all the way into Virginia without stopping for fuel and get some really inexpensive diesel fuel.
As to driving the highways, I avoid the I-95 corridor until I get to Richmond, Virginia and then hop onto I-95. For us RVers who are forced to register our truck campers as a commercial truck, the George Washington bridge in New York and the Delaware Memorial bridge have some of the highest tolls in the eastern USA.
To make the miles go by as I am driving south, I listen to several CDs. Let’s face it, after lunch, some of us may get a little droopy eyed after eating – and I have come up with the perfect solution; licking a tootsie roll pop. Not keeping it in your mouth but eating it – lick, by lick, by lick.” – Mike and Cathie Tassinari, 2002 Ford F350, 2014 Lance 1172
“We generally drive six hours and try to make 400 miles give or take a few. This gives us time to enjoy the next campsite without rushing, having time to cook a great dinner and have a fire before bed time. We count mile markers, and watch how many drivers are texting while driving.” – Sam Tardo, 2002 Ford F250, 1998 Shadow Cruiser
“One wonderful thing about retirement is there are no rules. We can wander as we please. We do have long term destinations to keep us rolling in the right direction like Christmas in New England or winter in warmer climates.
We tend to restrict our long travel days to one tank of fuel (about 350 miles). We like the idea of a two hour rule but there is so much to see around the next bend. I love to drive and Pat likes to knit and research our next destination on our iPad.” – Phil McEachen, 2000 Ford F350, 1998 Bigfoot 10.4
“Since 1974, when we started camping in our first truck camper, we have enjoyed much of the USA. Every trip seems to begin with about 500 miles the first day (450 to 550). The second day of travel seems to depend on how close we got to our initial destination the day before. At that point, we really slow down spending multiple nights in many places and only driving short distances then exploring. The last day or two driving back home can be two 500 mile days sometimes.
We prefer National Parks and State Parks and avoid private campgrounds. It works for us, but it can be a grind.
While driving, we talk a little about our plans, our past trips, what we hope to see, and our next stop. Most of the time we do not use the radio or CD because we want to make sure we pick up any change in road noise – listening for tire failures or anything we can hear that will slow our progress.” – Tom Bender, 2011 Ford F250, 2009 Sun Valley Apache Chief 8.65 WS
“I have driven in all fifty states, made many cross-country trips across the US and Europe. Every one of those trips was on a schedule, so now I relax. Gone are the 1,000+ mile days and now my target is about 250 per day or about six hours.
I take the length of the trip one way and divide that into about 250 mile segments. I also insure I do not arrive after dark at my destination. The day we leave is well after rush hour traffic, if we are located in or near a city.
While we don’t avoid the main highways and Interstate, we save that for for the return trip when we are home bound. What we try to avoid is driving the same route twice and traffic.
We talk a lot and catch up with family and friends on the phone. My iPhone syncs with my truck system and allows the truck to play my music through the speakers. We also stop to take advantage of sightseeing opportunities along the way and by driving shorter distances we can include a lot of side trips.” – Donald Pryor, 2011 Ford F350, 2009 Arctic Fox 1150
“We try to have an eight hour driving limit, but often it gets stretched to twelve hours. This does create some tension in the cab as my wife would like to stop more and quit sooner. Fortunately, we have our music on a thumb drive, as the conversation tends to lag as the hours stretch.” – Jock Weir, 2008 F350 Ford, 2014 Northern Lite
“On our first truck camper trip in July of 2013, to Glacier, Montana from Tennessee, I drove several days beyond 500 miles. As I am the only one driving, this really took a lot out of me mentally and physically, with a residual effect. Since that trip, we have decided to take it a little easier, driving around 350 or so miles per day. The more recent trips have been much more relaxing and enjoyable.
I do not like the distraction of the radio when I drive. We talk some when my wife is not reading, but usually I try to see the different features of the area through which we are driving, thinking about whether I would enjoy living in the area.” – Dewey Lackey, Silverado 3500 HD, Lance 1172
“We are hybrid drivers. I like to hit the road and get as far as I can toward our eventual desired part of the country whether (300 to 500 miles in a day) it be the Oregon coast, Glacier National Park and the Canadian Rockies, southern Nevada, southern Utah or all the way to Arizona. Then I slow to crawl and just do short jaunts around the area desired.
We really enjoy books on tape as well as Radio Classics on Sirius/XM. We are never bored on the road as even the Nevada Great Basin drive has its own beauty to be enjoyed.” – Gary Gadwa, 2012 Ford F350, 2011 Eagle Cap 950
“We like drive no more than three to four hours because we travel with our toddler. We made it up the Alcan to Alaska this way and back over for two months when we first got the camper. Our son was only eighteen months old. My wife and I usually download an Audible book for the trip on to our phone. It makes the miles fly by.” – Scott McDaniel, 2008 GMC 3500HD, 2008 Lance 1191
“I avoid interstate highways like the plague. There is nothing interesting there. On last summer’s trip to Alaska, we learned that 300 miles a day as a goal was best. If we found something interesting, there was time to investigate it. If we drove 400 miles one day, we were fatigued the next day and only made 200. Along two-lane highways, there is always something interesting to see.” – Philip Tron, 2009 Chevy 3500, 2012 Lance 1050
“We drive 24 hours a day. One sleeps, while the other drives. We live in Pennsylvania. When we set out on a trip, like this past year, drove to the San Francisco no stop. Then we took a slower time on the way back, stopping at our planned sites. This way we plan our when I need to be back for work time better. We listen to satellite radio, but I am used to being on the road, and driving does not bother me.” – Frank Mertes, 2006 Dodge 3500, 2006 Sunlite 955
“I drive during daylight hours and try to stop by 4:00pm, which is usually no more than eight hours, or 500 miles. I enjoy the scenery and look at all the RVs on the road. It is the journey, not the destination!” – Joanne Walker, 2006 Ford F150, 2014 Four Wheel Grandby
“Normally, when in a hurry to get to our destination in Colorado, we will travel 500 miles per day. We will travel on the interstate(s) and spend the night in a Flying J truck stop. We will stop in interstate rest areas for lunch, rest, and potty breaks. For a leisurely trip, we always take the back roads and avoid the interstate. We will make stops at interesting sights along the way. If we see a local restaurant with pickups and cop cars, we will stop for a meal. It’s always good.
Last year, on our return trip, we stopped in Oxford, Mississippi to see the beautiful Ole Miss college campus. At the entrance we were greeted by a beautiful authentic historical confederate statue. Only a few statues of this type remain today.
We enjoy listening to Pandora through Bluetooth from our iPhone to the truck stereo. It’s a great combination with no commercials.” – Warne Todd, 2000 Ford F250, 2005 Lance 981
“We camped out on way to Alaska and back three times. We tried to make at least 500 miles per day through the corn and soybean states, after which we would slow down. Kentucky to Anchorage, Alaska usually took eleven days for the 4,000 miles. We listen to satellite radio.” – Ernie Leet, 2006 Ford F-250, 1999 Bigfoot 10.5
“We’ve taken two long trips: one about 11,000 miles from California to New Orleans to Chicago to Vancouver to home, and one about 15,000 miles from California to Key West to Nova Scotia to Vancouver to home.
We usually travel ten or twelve hours the fist day to get out of California, and then we slow down. During the first trip, we traveled six to eight hours a day, rarely staying more than one night at a camp site, but that wasn’t satisfying because the trip was like watching the our journey on television, hardly ever stopping.
During the second trip, we vowed to slow down, never more than three to four hours on the road each day and stopped at many interesting places to visit. When we slowed down, we started enjoying the trips more. If we have limited time for our road trip, we plan on staying closer to home. We also try to stay off the highways in our slow down mode.
Cindi and I are quiet travel companions. We don’t talk too much. However, Cindi loves to get travel guide books and she reads them out loud while we drive. We have an XM radio, but it only works when traveling south. We also have an MP3 player packed with music.” – Jim Goodrich, 2006 Chevy 3500, 2008 Lance 1191
“As I travel six months of the year in my truck camper, I’m not the typical truck camper. Over half that time is on my annual trip to visit my cousin in Montana. On that trip, I average about 100 miles per day. I leave my USFS campground at around 10:00am and arrive at the next one around 4:00 to 5:00pm.
I avoid interstate highways, when possible. 150 miles in a day is okay. 200 miles is longer than I want. My longest in nine years of ramblin’ is about 275 miles. Driving my truck with the truck camper on is definitely more tiring than without it.
I have an iPod loaded with music and usually listen to it via my truck radio while driving. As a solo traveler, I only talk to myself. I haven’t started answering myself yet, though.” – Ralph Goff aka Ramblin’ Ralph, 2006 GMC 2500HD, 2001 Lance 845
“We do not have a time limit, rather a mileage limit. 400 miles would be the top limit. We aim for about 350 miles. I do the driving. We take a break every three hours or so. On long drives we follow the GPS for the fastest route as we are usually under a time constraint.
We do have satellite radio, converse with each other and, Doris reads. Also, the GPS sort of breaks up the trip mentally as it gives the mileage to the next turnoff. It also helps that we stay at campgrounds every night on the road, so we are never more than 400 miles to our destination for that day.” – Mark Bluth, 2013 Ford F550, 2012 Northern Lite 10-2RR dry bath
“I like to keep it on the short side; two to five hours. Then we’ll spend several days. It’s hard to get a lot of miles in because we love back roads. We stay off interstates as much as possible unless we have to get somewhere. We listen to public radio podcasts.” – Bruce Ostermann, 2015 Dodge 5500, 2015 Eagle Cap 1165
“I haven’t had the camper long, but one summer we took our fifth wheel on a 7,474 mile trip in 24 days. The most we did in one day was from Niagara Falls in New York to Madison, Wisconsin.
When I retire, I plan to travel the country for months at a time in my camper and actually see what’s between the two end points. I love to drive, so I just enjoy the experience.” – Pete Haidinyak, 2008 Ram 3500, 2014 Lance 1172
“We try not to make long trips, but it all depends on getting ahead of weather, or schedules, like being at a location at a certain time. We go until we see something interesting. Then we stop, enjoy the area, and move on.
Schedules are for non-retired people. I threw out the schedule when I retired. We take our time and enjoy the views. It’s interesting when you slow down. You can enjoy the trip, even when you have been through an area many times.
Over a year ago I went from Colorado to Boise, Idaho to pick up my Arctic Fox. I was going across Wyoming, which I have crossed many times while working, but was always in a hurry. I saw some beautiful country that I didn’t remember seeing before. Or maybe, when you’re getting older, you enjoy every day you have left in your life.” – Frank Niehus, 2007 Ford F-350, Arctic Fox 1150
“For many years we would drive from northern Minnesota to Destin, Florida or back in two days so we could spend Easter vacation there with the kids. Now they are grown and we are really enjoying driving the red roads on the map and trying to keep the drive time to six hours a day.
If we need to cover more ground we can do it, but it really makes the trip more enjoyable and the miles per gallon better when we slow down. We have missed so many interesting places in our hurry to get somewhere in the past.
Sirius radio really makes the trip enjoyable too. It’s not the destination, it’s the trip!” – Dave Miller, 2015 Ford F350, 2003 Bigfoot 10.6E
“We have driven as far as 800 miles in a day. We talk and sing with the radio or CDs. Sometimes are just quiet. From the Houston area to anywhere decent is a long way in any direction. After we get into interesting areas we may only travel a couple of hours a day and do side trips in our Jeep.” – Harvey Melcher, 2002 Chevy 2500, 2012 Lance 1050
“Generally speaking, we go about 350 to 400 miles a day, but there have been times in the past where I’ve driven up to 750 miles in one day. Those were tough days. We talk, listen to the radio, and stop some to stretch our legs and have something to eat.” – Alex Blasingame, 2007 Ford F-250, 2002 Lance 815
“I usually drive as far or as long as it takes to get where I want to be if I have a particular destination. I live in Southern California. When I visit my brother in Lake Tahoe – 475 miles, 7.5 hours – I do it in one stint. Likewise, when I go to the Overland Expo outside of Flagstaff, Arizona, that’s 500 miles – 7.75 hours.
Locations more than a day away are reached in similar lengthy stints. Follow-your-nose-type trips are as little as 100 miles in a day like southern Utah’s canyon lands. I typically do all the driving, but my wife will assist when I’m too fatigued. I just admire the sights or daydream.
I used to monitor the CB radio religiously but, as speed limits have been raised and I drive slower for fuel economy reasons, I no longer do. Occasionally I will listen to an audio book and some CDs. My passengers tend to read or listen to podcasts.” – Mark Obert, 1999 Ford F250SD, 1999 Lance 920
“I prefer to get up early, drive about four hours and set up camp in the afternoon, and enjoy. I sing along to “Willie’s Roadhouse” on satellite radio.” – Barb Pesavento, 2004 Toyota Tacoma, 2011 Four Wheel Eagle
“I have just finished an 11,500 kilometer trip over eight weeks this fall. Throughout this entire trip with exceptions at the beginning and end of the trip, I followed the same routine on travel days. After a rather leisurely morning, I would leave between 10:00am and 11:00am and drive a maximum of two hours. Then I would stop where there was a trail, lake, gorgeous view or an interesting village to explore.
I would take a walk with the dog or a swim, do some stretches, then get in the camper with the top down, eat my usually pre-made lunch, stretch out on the dinette and either read or nap briefly.
About an hour after stopping I would leave and drive again for about two hours. I would set-up camp around 4:00pm each day, allowing me time to ride my recumbent trike for four to eight kilometers most days with the dog running beside me. I never made a reservation nor pre-planned what location to stop at other than when arriving in a city to meet someone.
I drove secondary roads through rural locations. I found this a very relaxing and enjoyable way to travel. There was lots of time to stop and explore. I met dozens of warm, generous, interesting country people both in Canada and America. I discovered with great pleasure the numerous township campgrounds all across the prairies; cheap, clean and in the midst of a rural community. There are downsides to this type of travel. Friends and family cannot plan on when you will arrive. You can also run out of time and need to get home through a cannonball run.
I was forced to get on highways and drive two uncomfortable nine hour days. In very late October I stopped being able to locate campgrounds with washrooms still open. I will definitely purchase a self-contained, solar equipped, insulated camper soon so that my dependence on campgrounds is resolved.
Obviously I am retired and have no time restrictions. And clearly, I am comfortable being aimless and just going with the flow. Even if I had a co-driver I would not want to be in a moving vehicle more than four hours daily on average and would prefer actually to stick to three hours at the most. If I was planning on attending an event it would be a challenge with my slow lane approach. I guess I would just leave much sooner.
I enjoy controlling my RPMs and exploring various methods for improving fuel efficiency as I travel along. I do not use GPS which means I must memorize my routes at times and then remember the roads, turns, etc.
I renovate my house and even other houses I have seen in my head as I drive, planning colors, decor, etc. I do not listen to music often, but I occasionally turn on various recorded narratives that my daughter selects and pre-loads on my device. She understands my interests well and there is always a novel, some comedy and some talk shows for me to select from. At my slow pace, I watch, observe and ponder the amazing geography of our shared continent.” – Michele McLeod, 2013 Ford F150, 2002 Northstar TC800
“I usually drive under 300 miles when trying to get somewhere. Driving alone, 400 is the maximum that I will try to go, though sometimes, when it’s in the 100s across the Great Plains, I push until the temperatures start to cool. I try to maintain a budget of $100 a day and pushing more than a tank of gas (about 280 miles) takes me over that.
In Canada, with both higher gas and higher camping fees, I have to up my budget and stay a shorter period of time. Where are the free or inexpensive sites in Eastern Canada? You can no longer overnight at rest areas. So when I can relax, I aim for no more than 200 miles a day and I schedule at least one place to stop and see on any day’s travel.
What do I do when I drive? Math. I’m calculating mileage, distance traveled, how far/how many hours to any destination or to get home. Or I listen to audio books.” – Barbara Linsley, 2005 Chevy Silverado, 2005 Sunlite
“Usually we do not drive too far. 100 miles might be it, sometimes more. Heck, it may even be less than 100 miles. We treat our trips with the belief that the vacation starts when you put the key in the truck’s ignition, not at the final location. Yes, we work and have limited days off, but the whole trip is a vacation to us.
We love to geocache, so stopping to geocache along the way actually makes the distances go by. I’m not looking at the total distance to our camp spot, I’m looking closer at the distances to the next geocache.” – Rich Bain, 1999 Chevy c3500, 2010 Adventurer 810ws
“Funny you two should ask this question. For years my wife has said, “Why must we drive so far the first day on the road?” I say, “Because we need to make time, so we have more days to enjoy our destination!” This is an illness with me.
I’ve driven 800+ miles in a first day on the road! The second or third day, I take it easy, and drive a lot less. For some mind numbing reason, that first day is, “Drive, till you can’t drive no more!” Sheesh!
We have satellite radio and, since we are addicted to TCM, we pass time commenting on the articles and blogs.” – Mike Kolinski, 2012 GMC 2500 HD, 2012 Four Wheel Camper Hawk
“Our first trip was from New York to Vernal, Utah for the Ute Pow Wow. We made it in two and a half days; we were moving. We usually will cover 300 to 400 miles a day. Traveling to Quartzite, Arizona was covered in about five to six six days, 2600 miles.
We listen to tapes of Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash. They usually are playing like they were on the Harley in our younger days going cross-country.” – David and Lila Weinstein, 1999 Ram 3500, 2005 Arctic Fox 1150
“Bonnie and I have taken two long trips in the past three years. I normally map out the basic route using a travel program from Good Sam. Then I take the total miles and driving time and divide them by the number of minimum days we plan to travel.
The Alaska trip 18,000 kilometers was eight weeks at 3.4 hours per day and the US Pacific coast trip 16,000 kilometers was nine weeks at 2.8 hours per day. Since we seldom reserve ahead, this gives us lots of days off when we find the hidden gems on our trip. Of course, we always drove farther than planned because of the side trips that Bonnie finds in the travel books as we motor down the road.
I normally drive and Bonnie reads aloud about the places that we are about to see. We also, download book tapes and listen to them on the longer days. Local radio stations give you a unique flavor for the area you are driving through.” – Jim and Bonnie Hartley, 2010 Chevrolet Siverado 2500HD, 2003 Bigfoot 8.5
“If we are heading for our first destination across one of the boring states like North or South Dakota, Nebraska, or Kansas, we will put on a good 800 miles or twelve hours of driving, which ever comes first. If we are not in a hurry, we will take as many scenic byways or back highways as possible. We just sight see and talk about what we are going to see at our destination.” – Mike and Nancy Pohl, 1999 Ford F150, 1985 American Pilgrim 8.5 Hard side
“Our camper has a name, Impromptu 2. The name implies travel as the urge strikes us. That we do. We have a trip outline for our travel, but we change our plans as we find interesting people, places, or anything that interests us.
An example is that we traveled about 5,000 miles last summer covering twenty states and a Canadian Provence. We took 47 days to cover the trip. My wife sleeps and I drive. Her trip is faster than mine! Hope she doesn’t read this.” – William (Mike) Chiles, 1999 Dodge 2500, 2014 Lance 1050S
“My personal record is 860 miles in a day. Two years ago we did a 730 mile day, but as my wife ages, she cannot handle more than about 1.5 hours without stopping and walking around. But, after about four hours of straight driving, I am stiff and it takes ten steps to walk fully upright. We listen to RAW comedy Sirius when it is free. Otherwise local talk radio gives me a feel for the area.” – Roy Garland II, 2011 Ford F350, 2011/12 Outfitter Apex 9.5
“Despite my best efforts to not plan ahead so I can enjoy yet undiscovered sights along the way, I start much too early in the day worrying about places to spend the night. But, if I’m going to an area where there is boondocking around, not Walmart, then I worry less. If I have a specific destination, only then will I make reservations in advance. I prefer not to travel for more than five to six hours per day to allow for true relaxation time.
Long gone are the crazy days of driving eighteen hour stretches. It is rare that I ever exceed 62 miles per hour with the camper because that is where my best fuel mileage occurs.
Miles go much faster with audio books. I also have a satellite radio because I tend to be a news junkie. Also, miles are more enjoyable if you take the time to stop periodically to enjoy the sights rather than continual non-stop driving.” – Steve Cilenti, 1999 Ford F350, 2012 Arctic Fox 990
“I’m never in a hurry. Most of the time I do not do more than 100 miles in a day. I travel all back roads, so there’s plenty to see.” – Wayne Korpi, 2014 Ford F150, 2006 Sunlite 8.5
“I drive until l am feeling tired, or there’s a nice place to stop. We stop often for potty breaks, and to walk around. My wife doesn’t drive the truck camper. The longest drive so far from western Massachusetts to Fancy Gap, Virginia was 700 plus miles in 14 plus hours. We’ve tried satellite radio, but we prefer our memory stick will hundreds of golden oldies.” – Gary Goyette, 2011 GMC 2500HD , 2011 Northern Lite 8-11 QC
“Some times we drive long distances of 300 to 500 miles a day, but usually this is on our way home. When we are going some place to explore, we drive from sun up to noon.
We then explore the area in the afternoon and find a spot for the night. Our favorite on road hideaways are Cracker Barrel restaurant parking lots. They usually welcome overnight RV parking and, nearly always, in the morning the local law enforcement are having breakfast or coffee which makes us feel secure. You can pickup a map at their restaurants that shows their 600 plus locations. No, I don’t work for Cracker Barrel. I just find them RV friendly!
Another thing that breaks up long drives is geocaching along the routes. You can setup pocket queries that only identify geocaches close to the highway. Remember geocaches bring you to places you normally wouldn’t visit. There are literally millions of geocaches all over the world. Checkout Google Earth and download their free geocaching app to see geocaches in your neighborhood. Happy truck camping!” – Lucien F Langlois, 2012 Ford F-250, 2004 Lance 1025
“The honest answer is, it depends on current and future weather, existing road conditions, and wineries/breweries. Unexpected intriguing billboard promotions have been known to alter our overnight plans. Generally our loose daily travel plan is to get on the road about 9:00am and off by 4:30pm.
Before retiring, I used to get up early and drive until dark. With retirement, I now take it easy on myself and others who travel with me. I do stop and smell more roses that way. Good roads, clear weather and listening to classic western, mystery and adventure radio programs make the miles less noticeable.” – Chip and Daisy Cartwright, 2015 Dodge Ram 3500, 2007 Eagle Cap 1160
“Our limit is about 400 miles or eight hours, although we prefer to do much less. I figure we average about 50 miles per hour, which includes fuel, potty and lunch stops. If we have plenty of time we like to take the back roads because it seems we always see something interesting.
It is nice to hear some people still sing. When I was a kid with no radio in the car in the 1940s, my mother would start singing and we all would join in. It was a lot of fun to sing with our folks. My wife sleeps sometimes and I just keep driving.” – John Bull, 2004 Dodge 3500, 2015 Arctic Fox 990
“Miss Ivy, my camping bunny/buddy, and I have an agreement that we don’t travel more than 200 miles or four hours a day. We always stop at a pre-selected campground. When we attend the Truck Camper Jamboree in Gettysburg it takes up two days to get there from Virginia Beach.
Since we’re only on the road no more than four hours and Miss Ivy doesn’t like the radio, we have in-depth conversations about poor drivers we see and what color wine, red or white, I will be having when we get to the campground.” – Richard Balling, 2008 Ford F-250, 2007 Bigfoot 25C94
“We do both. If there is a place we want to get to as quickly as possible, we drive with fury, but not more than four hours at a stretch. We drove over-the-road hauling freight at one point, so a four hour stretch isn’t all that long.
Most of the time we just take it slow and easy down the blue highways. We talk to one another endlessly about a variety of subjects. We are both avid readers so there is never a shortage of topics to discuss.” – Jon and Audrey Hunstock, 2008 F250, 2014 Northstar 8.5 Arrow U
“Six hours or 300 miles.” – Jim Colvard, 2011 Ford F350, 2008 Lance 992
“This past May, in route from California to the Black Hills of South Dakota, we drove 800 miles in 13.5 hours. Normal travel days we shoot for 300 to 350 miles a day to get where we are going to enjoy a few days of R&R and no driving. We enjoy each other’s company (married 37 years), but XM radio and a USB drive full of our favorite tunes comes in handy at times.” – John Wilcox, 2013 Chevy 3500 HD, 2013 Arctic Fox 996
“We live in Pennsylvania and our daughter and family live in Orlando, about 1,000 miles away. We drive to Orlando straight through except for fuel, potty, and coffee breaks, which is about eighteen hours one way. We do this trip about two to four times a year. We also do dispersed camping many times a year during trout season in north central Pennsylvania, which is about 4.5 hours one way straight through.” – Janice and Terry Mechler, 2002 Dodge 2500, 1989 Sunline 11.5
“I hate to miss seeing the landscapes I am driving through, and I find almost everywhere interesting. So, as a matter of principle, I don’t drive after dark. Also, I do most of my longer trips alone, so there is a drowsiness safety factor. Other than the first and last days, I like to limit myself to a hundred or so miles per day, depending on the places I want to go and how many stops I make.
I have three standard first-day routes, beginning from home in the Bay Area; north up I-5 to Rogue River, Oregon (370 miles), east on I-80 to Pyramid Lake, Nevada (240 miles), or southeast to Owl Canyon or Afton Canyon near Barstow (420 miles). These are all pleasant camping sites, and get me clear away from congested urban California. Before I retired, I often had to make longer drives, especially coming back. Once I drove solo from Kamloops in the interior of British Columbia in a non-stop day and night (1,080 miles), then went straight to work. Marfa, Texas to Mojave, California was a surprisingly painless day despite being 1,050 miles.
But since retiring, the only time I have had to drive an unreasonable distance was coming home from Bismarck, North Dakota, (1,580 miles) in a day and a half because of a family emergency. On those killer drives, I tend to stop only for gas and restroom.
On the outbound trip I seldom listen to music or anything else. My mind is busy thinking about the trip ahead and observing the landscape. But on long drives home, I am usually tired and rely on an audio book to keep me alert.” – G. Donald Bain, 2013 Ford F-150, Four Wheel Hawk
“Very seldom will we drive over six hours. We like to take the back roads and stay off the slab. 300 miles is a long day for us. We are retired. Why should we get bent out of shape? Smell the roses!
The wife and I just chat or sometimes we are silent for many miles. If we listen to anything, it is gospel CDs – no radio for us. As I say, we aren’t in a hurry. How can you relax and enjoy things if you are in a fizz?” – Kenneth Wright, 2005 Dodge 2500D, 2011 Travel Lite 860
“I think you guys sort of answered your own question when you asked it. It depends on where I’m going, how fast I want to get there, and what kinds of roads I’ll be driving on. When driving to get someplace on freeways, like when I went to Overland Expo 2014 this spring, I’ll push it to 500 to 700 miles in a day. But, believe me, I’m plenty bushed when I stop for the night.
I’m usually driving by myself, and my truck has a 51 gallon fuel tank which makes for very long legs. In August, I drove from my home in Port Angeles, Washington to Woodland, California (just under 800 miles) in sixteen hours. It would have been fourteen hours but Cal-Trans has Interstate 5 torn up from the Oregon border to Redding and it was a mess. I only stopped once for fuel and a few times at rest stops.
But, like you, I prefer the back roads and exploring. That usually limits me to 200 to 400 miles or there about.
Driving by myself, my entertainment options are few. But, I installed a fancy entertainment system (GPS navigation system, CD, and Bluetooth) this year and I have a large smooth jazz collection on CD. Plus, when I travel I always bring along DeLorme Atlas and Gazetteers for every state I’ll be driving through plus several guide books on the local areas, so that I can do a lot of exploring.” – Steve Timmings, 2003 Ford F350, 2013 Four Wheel Camper Hawk SC model
“Unless we are on a mission, we try to limit our trip to 250 to 300 miles and camp for a couple nights to see what’s there. We carry a small motorcycle for day trips. We research the internet for local happenings.” – Jim Posick, 1994 Chevy c2500, 1995 Starcraft Roadmaster
“200 or 250 miles is probably my average day of driving. If I push myself beyond my limit and drive when I’m too tired, I start doing dumb things like miss the exit and waste gas getting lost. Traveling in a truck camper means that I can stop almost any place to grab a snack or a nap.
I listen to books. Cracker Barrel restaurants and Flying J truck stops let you rent books at one and return them down the road at another. Or you can borrow them free from your library.” – Janet Carter, 2003 Ford F-250, 2005 Eagle Cap 950
“How far do I drive in a day? Well that really depends. Most summers I go west from Massachusetts. I try to get over the Mississippi in two days and over the Missouri River in another. Then I slow down and enjoy The West.
I am far more likely to do something like 500 miles a day in the East. Being retired, I tend to not drive at night on long trips any more. I want to see the land.
My two tricks to make the miles go by faster are audio books (I make sure to have a good supply before a long trip) and mixes of rock and roll that I can sing along with. Actually, I do that more to keep sharp and awake.” – Al Stebbins, 2006 GMC 2500 HD, Northern Lite 8′ 11” Queen Classic
“Since time is not on our side, we have to drive till we get there. Our last trip to Yellowstone was an around the clock drive, 31 hours or so. Yet we had the map set to fastest route and most direct. That was a hoot when we ended up with 20 miles of dirt roads.
Coming back, somehow we ended up on top of Mount Casper after I made a change to the settings. We still had a great time, even if we drove about 75 miles on dirt roads.
We listen to the radio the most as we drive along. It also gives us time to really talk to each other. That is what is wrong with most marriages. They don’t really talk to the other. But, being stuck in a seat at 65 miles per hour, you learn how to talk and really enjoy the other’s company.” – James Tedford, 2012 Ram 3500HD, Arctic Fox 990
“If we have to cover a lot of territory, we usually drive a maximum of eight hours. We like to stop by 3:00pm or 4:00pm at the latest. We always switch drivers every two hours. That way no one becomes too tired or numb. We use the break times to stretch, potty and make a snack.
To pass the time we listen to books on CD. It’s amazing how fast the time goes by when you get involved in a good book. We like to find boondocking spots to camp and that makes the last shift even more interesting.
My wife has become a champ at pointing out likely spots where we’re not visible from the road and won’t be bothered by anybody. The next morning if it worked out as a quiet and relaxing spot, we save it in our GPS for future reference.
When not in any particular hurry, we like to only drive three to four hours a day. We’ll start late and end early. We’ll stop at vista points and other interesting places that one of us has seen or read about. We’re both kind of news junkies and like to keep up with business and politics, so we change from our book on CD to satellite radio for updates every other hour or so.” – Jim Cornwell, 2011 Chevy 3500 HD, 2012 Lance 1191
“We have driven as much as 700 miles in one day. Normally we try to do only 200 to 300 miles a day and look around. I don’t like to go over 65 miles per hour with the camper towing a Jeep, so we usually take back roads and slow down. We like to listen to books on disc to pass the time.” – Erwin Greven, 2002 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD, 2002 Lance 921
“The answer is, it depends. We have been on a cross-country trip where we knew the first few days we would drive as far as possible before exhaustion set in and we had to stop. We have done 1,000 mile days in this mode. But, the objective was to get out west to a certain destination and then slow down. Living on the best coast, there is no short cut to The West. A more typical trip for us in the Northeast is a 300 to 500 miles day to get to the mountains.
If we had a choice, we would always limit our driving to 200 to 300 miles a day. This would allow plenty of time for exploring the back roads. As we are still working, we have to make the best use of out time off. I lock the satellite radio to the blues station and rock out. My wife and son surf their iPads and look around, and perhaps research what is ahead of us. Shadow (the lab) rests up for our next hike.” – Bill Tex, 2006 Chevy 3500, 2013 Eagle Cap 850
“Assuming we are on our own schedule, we try to keep the driving at or under 400 miles a day. In fact, we shoot for 350. We also try to take every third day off for cycling or hiking. There are a lot of interesting things to see and people to talk to out there. We share driving and that keeps the day relaxing. We took part in a truck camper convoy across Canada this fall and found that for people with only one driver in the truck, with two days of 400 miles, almost required a day off.
Having said all that, we once covered 639 miles in twelve hours running in front of a snow storm on the way up the East Coast to home. We parked the rig in our driveway as the flakes began to fall. The next morning there was twenty-four inches of snow on the camper, so that mad dash was worth it.
We do have satellite radio, and we use it for an hour or two a day. We do stops to take pictures or just stretch our legs. But our fall back to clear the whiteline fever from the head is to play videos of our granddaughter, that our daughter in-law and son are kind enough to send us.” – Jim and Janet Kaley, 2013 GMC Sierra 3500, Northern Lite 8’11”, QC SE
“We have two styles of driving depending on time of year. We live in Tacoma, Washington with family in central Iowa. We typically drive back two times per year (1,756 miles total one way). In winter we don’t take time to smell the frozen roses, so we try to do it in two long days (a twelve-hour day and a thirteen-hour day).
We typically don’t bring the truck camper in winter because we only spend one night on the road. However, in summer, we take different routes that take about a week to get from Washington to Iowa and we try to see different national parks or sights along the way. We have to make reservations months in advance to stay in the national park campgrounds.
We listen to movies our daughters are watching in the back seat. We also have an iPod full of music, play the alphabet game, and have lots of snacks for the four-year old and twenty-one month old. We try to see something different each time and enjoy the mind-numbing think-time (we have cognitively demanding careers), and we enjoy time to just talk with each other.” – T.J. Purdy, 2007 Chevy Silverado 2500, 1992 Caribou 9ES
“We usually drive five hours or 250 miles to our destinations. Occasionally we drive eight hours or 500 miles. For these longer drives we take the pop-up camper. To me, the journey is just as much fun as the destinations. We listen to news and music via Sirius radio. My wife reads or surf the net. I prefer country roads and only freeways if we have time constrains.
Driving in the open country is like freedom from the daily grind. So it is relaxing to me. Changing sceneries and the smell of different places is interesting. When passing different towns and cities, I wonder what the people there do for a living!
The long hours without much distractions, except staring at the road, allows my brain to think and plan our retirement and finances.” – Ron Oh, 2008 Dodge Ram 2500 , 2012 Chalet and 2013 Northstar 850SC