Readers responded to our question of the week, “How do you record your truck camping travels?”.
“Hi Angela. I have a trip journal on my iPhone that is very useful. It gives me a record of where I went, allows me to make notes, and has a GPS based map. I take that information and use it as a base for longer writing that I send out to friends and family. I also take lots of photos. I back these up to my laptop, and put them on a separate portable hard drive, and them burn them to a CD with the theory that if digital material isn’t backed up at least three times it isn’t backed up at all. When I get home, I often put my photos on a DVD slideshow with accompanying music that fits the photos and mood, or at least I hope it does. Lately I’ve been thinking I’d like to self publish a book of my travel writing and photos. There are many companies that offer these services. They advertise in magazines like Outdoor Photography and are pretty easy to find.” – Al Stebbins
“On the advice of friends, we bought a little notebook that lives in the magazine rack of the truck camper. We record the usual; date, place, campsite number if there is one, temperature at night, cost of the campsite, what was for dinner if it was memorable, and what we did that day. What might be unusual is recording the camper cost per night and dividing out the price of the camper by the number of nights we have slept in it. Calculating the cost per night reminds us of how fortunate we are to spend thirty plus nights a year in the camper. Maybe we’re also gloating over how the neighbor’s giant toy hauler must still be up in the thousands per night. It’s fun to sit at the table and see where we were a year or two ago and remember of the details of that trip.” – Bonnie Pascucci
“I started a blog of our travels when we first got married, using Google Blogger. It’s easy and free and gives me a place to put the stories, pictures, and notes. We haven’t been out in the truck camper in a while so there aren’t any recent truck camper adventures. I like the idea of recording the mileage and fuel costs. I guess I’ll be adding a new section to my blog in the future!” – Bonnie Belza
“Hi Angela! This is Linda Hanney of the Alaska trip last summer (wish we were preparing for that trip again). I couldn’t help but respond to your request for how we record trips. This is an interesting subject and I look forward to your responses. As for me, there are plenty of apps or programs available, but most of the time there is advertising. I’ve finally settled on using Blogger, which requires a Google account, and set up a personal blog. This is a simple process. There are many add-ons available through blogger after the site is initially set up, such as personal Twitter posts, weather, etc. Also, a link to this site can be emailed to friends and they, in turn, can subscribe and receive emails of new posts.
I have an ongoing travel blog site called, “Wildlife Wildflowers and Waterfalls” that I’ve posted most trips since 2004. (Angela alert: we’ve not always had a pick-up camper) Then, as you know, last summer when we traveled to Alaska I set up a blog for just that trip. I like the hands-on feel of this way of posting.
As far as posting on the road, there are Mac apps but my favorite and definitely the best program, as far as I am concerned, is Live Writer. Since this is a Windows program, the only way to use it on a Mac is if you do a work around. On the Alaska trip I carried an old Windows laptop just for the blog postings. You can make daily off line postings using Live Writer and save them to Draft. Then when you get an internet connection, you just hit publish for each post in the order you want them to appear. This app also works for WordPress and other blog applications. Also, some limited cell phone posting by way of email can also be done with blogger. This works well for something that I just can’t wait to share. However, I’ve found it works best for me to wait until the end of the day and organize my thoughts into one post with just a couple highlight pictures. On my wildlife site, where there are a series of shorter trips. After I get home, I accumulate all of my posts onto one posting and link to that on the bottom. Maybe I make this all too hard.” – Linda Hanney
“I have a hand made journal that I record my adventures in. Several years ago, my sister and brother-in-law computer generated several pages, over 200, with some camping art work in the upper right hand corner. They had me send them a picture of my truck and camper along with a picture of my two yellow labs which became the cover. They took the pages to a Insty Print and had it spiral bound. It is great for adding pictures, recording events of the day, favorite campsites, etc. It works better than any I have seen in a store or catalog. Plus it has a special meaning since my brother-in-law passed away two years ago.” – Sue Surateaux, 2002 Chevy Silverado 2500HD, 2008 Arctic Fox 811S
“We use this; where we are at, who we are with, what we did, and most importantly, what we ate and drank.” – Robin and Clare
“I always keep a journal. I don’t record fuel consumption and purchases, which are easy enough to check on the computer, but I do note diesel prices as we travel. I write about the places we have been, who we have met, and what we’ve done on our adventures. I have done this for decades, since keeping a log in our boating days. It’s amazing how often I dig out an old log book or travel journal to look up a name or place, or even to figure out where I took a picture!” – Orian Hartviksen
“We have been camping for thirty-five years and have always kept a journal. It’s just a spiral notebook with a page dedicated to the trip with the dates stayed and locations. I also tape to the page a few of the pictures we took, document anything unique or funny that our three boys did, and even a record of who won at the family games we played. Our boys are now grown but still enjoy looking over the journal, and remember the fun times they had camping. We are on our second notebook and keep the notebooks in the rig so we can add to it anytime during the trip. I just bought a special log book to record our most ambitious trip in our camping lives, a driving trip to Alaska to see our youngest son stationed at Eielson AFB, Alaska and with our truck camper. You can be sure we will have a lot to record!” – Dean and Janet Larson
“I use my iPad for scrapbooking the trips. If we go Jeeping, I make feature films that all of our family, friends, and even my husband’s employees beg to get copies of. They’re pretty entertaining since I know I have an audience. The last one included lots of clips from the Muppets. It sounds strange, but it works and is very memorable so the trips don’t run together. We’ll hear a song I used and instantly think of the trip video, or see the Muppets or Lightning McQueen and Ta Matter and be transported back to the vacation spot. I use Albums FX and iAlbums for the scrapbooking. Great apps! I turn the albums made in the apps into pdf files so I can keep them in iBooks. It’s easier to access and read there and I just made a collection of albums on my bookshelf that is rather cute to look at.” – Tracy Schuster
“My wife bought a journal the year we got our pop-up in 2003. She’s on her eighth or tenth now. She occasionally journals at home, usually on a weekend morning where the sun is coming in through the sliding glass door. She records everything from the trip itself to anything new or different with the camper (or as in the case of last year, our new truck), news headlines, and life events. On the way home she will journal what was missing from the trip and things to remember for next time.
This came in handy when we started heading to the Outer Banks in North Carolina as we used the previous year’s journal to remember things like baby powder for the bed linens (an amazing way to eliminate the humidity from sheets), one extra set of linens for the ride home (once you’ve officially washed the sand and salt away for the last time, it’s nice to have clean sheets to crawl into), and one extra t-shirt and pair of shorts for the ride home (see previous parenthetical, insert t-shirt and shorts in place of sheets) and on and on.
She’ll usually start writing shortly after we pull out of the driveway and will read to me while driving, starting wherever she left off the last time (usually our last camping trip). On our annual big trip, she’ll look up an old journal from years past and read from it. It’s a great way to pass the miles. I’ve taken to looking for new journals when we’re on a trip somewhere knowing that she’ll eventually need it, it makes a great Christmas present. The neatest one I’ve found had a pair of ruby slippers on the cover, bought from the Wizard of Oz Museum in Wamego, Kansas.” – Nik Rende, Maine
“I love to take pictures and then turn them into a book through Snapfish.com, or scrapbook it yourself. A journal is a must. Then we get a road atlas and a highlighter and trace the route we take every night. It is fun to look back and see where and what routes we took. We circle favorite places we would like to return to someday. These are my ways to keep the memories alive and well in my husband’s and my mind, as well for sharing with friends and family.” – Moneta Woollard, Thunder RV, Oregon
“We use a small daily diary, a digital camera, and some times our GoPro for video. I have started a travel blog where I put our travel reports.” – Bill Harr
“Hi. We purchased a used Northstar TC650 and a new Toyota Tundra pickup last September. I began writing a blog for our first outing last Thanksgiving when we traveled to Death Valley National Park. My husband is a photographer, so he shoots pictures of our travels and I write about the places we visit. I look forward to writing about our trip this summer to Bella Coola, British Columbia. We live in Sonoma County, California.” – Carol Wegner
“I have recorded my travels in journals for over twenty years. It’s a lot of fun to go back and read them in later years. Actually, they are in a bookshelf beside my bed. Every time I get wanderlust, I pull a journal at random. I also record mileage and I keep track of miles-per-gallon in my head. Playing with the mileage, distances and miles per gallon are ways I entertain myself on the long driving stretches. As well as keeping track of where I’ve gone and where I want to go next time, I also keep an atlas in the camper. It’s covered with highlighted routes I’ve taken. Average routes are in one color and exceptional drives are highlighted in a different color. I also highlight places I’ve stayed and visited. About every ten years, I start a new atlas. It helps when I go back and try to figure out where I went on that trip way back when. It’s sometimes hard to find routes, but much easier to just haul out the atlas and check the highlighted roads.” – Barbara Linsley