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CJM

Camping suggestions along I-40, going west from Tennessee over 4th of July

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We're picking up our Ollie (hull #488) on July 3 after a fast 4-day, 36 hour drive from Oregon. It just occurred to us that we may be running into full campgrounds, dodgy weather and recent flooding as we make our way west for the return trip. So far we've got reservations at Davey Crockett SP July 3 and Natchez Trace SP and July 4 to make sure all Ollie systems are checked out before we leave Tennessee.

 

We're unfamiliar with camping in Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas and are concerned about the recent flooding and storms that may have knocked out many campgrounds.

 

Does anyone have suggestions on where to camp en route? We're shooting for spending a few weeks in Northern New Mexico/Southern Colorado before returning to Oregon.

 

What kind of daily mileage do you recommend for someone new to towing?

 

Many thanks, ahead of time, for your advice.


Oliver "Igloo" Hull #488, TV: Ford F150 Platinum Supercrew Shortbed 4WD Off Road, Max Tow Pkg

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We stopped at Red Rock Canyon SP about 45 minutes west of Oklahoma City, it was pretty and enjoyable. It’s about five miles south of I 40 down in a hole ;) - a drone video....

 

 

I don’t think you will have much luck finding a nice spot over the 4th weekend, all reservable parks will be booked up... I try to never be on the road over the major holiday weekends, it is usually stressful and a real hassle. You may end up spending the night at a few Walmarts.

 

Once you get to CO you need to play it by ear, if the weather is hot you need to stay high up, say Durango/ Silverton/ Ouray, but avoid the Million Dollar Highway between the last two or it will scare you witless if you are towing. If the weather is mild you can visit the low desert attractions . Southern UT is absolutely amazing but pretty wilting in July.

 

If you tell us what you like to see or do, and what kind of camping, and your prospective route, we could offer more specific recommendations. Which Ollie and what TV? Do you want to boondock?

 

Good luck and have fun with your Ollie.

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA


"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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Although we are not members yet, Harvest Hosts looks like an interesting option when we are destination camping.  Later this year we will travel from Florida to Illinois for a family reunion.  We will spend a week in Illinois at a state park, so that’s our destination.  Our trip up will be a little slower and we will stay in state parks, US Forest areas and COE campgrounds but the return trip will be somewhat of a race.  That part of the trip looks like a good time for us to try Harvest Hosts.

 

Good Luck with your new Ollie,


Mike and Krunch   Lutz, FL   LEII #193 “the dog house”

 

 

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Any chance you can just hang around TN longer?  If you find an issue on July 3rd, what are the chances that they don't have the people/parts to fix it until the 8th (Monday)?  What if you find something in your first overnight? I am guessing there aren't going to be many, if any, people at the factory the 4-7 of July.  If it were me, I'd reschedule or chill around TN for a while.

 

Congrats and good luck!


2019 LE2 #529.   

2018 Navigator L   2020 GMC Sierra 2500 Duramax

 

 

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If you'll be carrying a generator, then that opens up a lot more opportunities, since it will be hot and you'll probably want the A/C going at night.

 

Travel times vary greatly from person to person.  Some only like to travel 4 hours or so a day, while others will put in a 10 or 12 hour day.  For planning purposes, maybe take whatever distance you're comfortable traveling normally and then take off a few hours.  You'll figure out quickly what you're comfortable with.

 

The main thing when you're learning is to give yourself plenty of daylight for setting up at the end of the day, and don't give yourself a hard deadline for ending your trip, just in case something goes wrong and you need an extra day or so to sort it out.

 

I'm not a fan of KOA campgrounds; but for beginners, they aren't a bad choice.  You'll have hookups, a small shop to buy supplies, and plenty of fellow travelers to ask advice or assistance from if you need.  They're also regularly spaced along 40 and so you can always find one close to where you want to stay the night.  And they're reservable - I'd certainly start off your trip with reserved campsites since not knowing where you're going to spend the night is a bit of stress you probably don't want to add.


Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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Thank you all for the suggestions!

 

John: It looks like Red Rock Canyon State Park is now privately owned, and renamed to Red Rock Canyon Adventure Park (https://www.redrockcanyonadventurepark.com/).  Depending on how far we decide to travel in a day, that looks like an interesting option.

 

WhatDa: We didn't have much choice in the pick up date (July 3) but a call to Oliver TT this morning left us feeling a relieved. A skeleton crew will be working on July 5 if we need a repair. Plus, worst case scenario, we will be able to park at the sales office if we need to wait until Monday the 8th. Luckily, my husband is handy, logical and resourceful ;-)

 

Mossemi: Your HH suggestion was timely and prompted me to get a membership. There are some intriguing locations scattered along the way that look like wonderful possibilities, especially for a short overnight stay without having to unhitch. Much appreciated.

 

Overland: KOA is a good option, thank you. I usually don't look for KOAs using my online searches, but it's good to know they're plentiful along I-40.

 

We'll be fine as soon as we get solidly "west" (New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming etc.) as we are used to boondocking and exploring in that area. We're just not used to having to plan so far ahead and make reservations. We usually just move with the weather and have learned to show up early if we need to score a spot at a developed campground.

 

Many thanks~  Chris and David

 

 


Oliver "Igloo" Hull #488, TV: Ford F150 Platinum Supercrew Shortbed 4WD Off Road, Max Tow Pkg

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We stayed at Red Rock Canyon State Park last year. It’s conveniently located just south of I-40 at Hinton, OK. Unless they’ve really hiked prices it would still be a nice place to stay. The Ultimate Public Campground app still has it as a state park. I’ll shoot them an email to update their database.

 

We occasionally stay at KOA for convenience or if we need FHU, not really our style but nice to have when needed!


Mike and Carol | Fair Oaks Ranch, TX | 2016 Elite II #135 | 2020 Ram Rebel 4X4 5.7L Hemi

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Speaking of KOAs and I-40, we have tried a few RV parks in Flagstaff, as we play every year--the end of June--at the Flagstaff Folk Festival. We have discovered that the Flagstaff KOA is by far the best for us--used by "real" campers, kids, etc. instead of stuffy, often uptight types in their class As. Flagstaff is also a great base for exploring a number of awesome local features, including the Grand Canyon.

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Onward through the Fog!


EarthPicks of Cochise County


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Congratulations on your new Ollie! Safe travels to Hohenwald, and home.

Were it me, I'd hang within 150 miles of Hohenwald for several days. Beautiful roads and parks. Check all the systems, enjoy the beauty of central and eastetn Tennessee.

 

Then, I would make a beeline up to Duluth/ Two harbors, Grand Marais, and on to Thunder Bay. Take the TransCanada 1 toward home. Longer, but cooler, if you have the time. That area along Lake Superior is simply beautiful, if you've not seen it before.

 

Obviously, I'm not a fan of camping in the west in the hot summer. New Mexico and July wouldn't be my choice. But, you know your tolerances.

 

 


2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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Another round of great suggestions <thank you>

 

Mike and Carol: Nice to have another vote for Red Rock --- the photos are intriguing and it may be a perfect spot for a few days. We will be watching the weather for floods, twisters, wild fire, high temps and humidity which will inform our route northwest.

 

Spike: Flagstaff is a great idea -- we're usually in the southwest during Oct/Nov and then again in Jan/Feb when Flag tends to be too cold to camp. Now that we'll have a rig with proper heat and cooling we just might incorporate northern AZ.

 

SeaDawg: We were thinking of northern NM for this trip (Santa Fe, Taos, Carson NF) then continuing on to Colorado. Or heading to the Tetons or  Wind River Range in Wyoming then continuing on through Ketchum or thereabouts. We have the whole month of July to wander about, so keeping track of weather and smoke is very much on our radar. We've found that we can't depend on past weather trends to plan a route.

 

We've been able to be very spur-of-the-moment with our camper van over the past 4 years, but traveling by Ollie may need more forethought than we're used to!


Oliver "Igloo" Hull #488, TV: Ford F150 Platinum Supercrew Shortbed 4WD Off Road, Max Tow Pkg

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CJM, since you may go further north, I can’t recommend highly enough both Colorado National Monument and Dinosaur NM. They are at low elevation so they may be stinkin’ hot..... They both offer “no services except water and toilets”camping but the scenery is spectacular and they don’t get many visitors. You haven’t mentioned your tow vehicle.... if you have high clearance 4wd there are some really cool rough tracks to explore. My favorite is Echo Park Rd, a steep winding rough track that takes you through slot canyons, stream crossings, old ranch structures and all the way down the a primitive camping/ fishing spot on the Green River, where outlaws use to ford. It is spectacular and lightly travelled, and very remote. You have to leave your trailer at one of the Monument campgrounds, no trailers allowed on that road. It can be impassible due to water over the road after a thunderstorm.

 

https://made-all-the-difference.com/echo-park-dinosaur-national-monument/

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA

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"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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Honestly, once you get used to towing, the spontaneity can be the same. ( with the exception of stealth camping in a parallel parking spot on a city street. Easy with a van, not so much with a truck and trailer.)

 

If 9 hours is a long day of driving with a van or truck, figure 6,7 or 8 as a stretch with a trailer, with the extra gas stop.But take it easy the first few days. Backing a trailer in the dark is much harder than daytime... as is the uncertainty of turning around if you find yourself on a dirt road to nowhere. In dark and fog, thanks to google maps. Ask me how I know... :)


2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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Yeah, be careful with Siri as well.  She likes to take you to the geographic center of parks rather than their entrance.


Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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Change of plans! We've hired Painted Cowboy Transport to haul our Ollie halfway to Oregon. We'll meet him at Cherry Creek State Park in Aurora CO on July 24 and take a few days to get familiar with #488 before embarking on a month long camping trip through Colorado. Phil at OTT will do a FaceTime orientation and walkthrough with us on July 3. We're very relieved to avoid the long drive to Tennessee and back considering the weather, humidity and holiday.

 

 

 

 


Oliver "Igloo" Hull #488, TV: Ford F150 Platinum Supercrew Shortbed 4WD Off Road, Max Tow Pkg

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[postquote quote=177213][/postquote]

Cool, do you mind sharing the details and cost of the delivery? Will they tow it or put it on a flatbed? The latter is preferable, with shrink wrap plastic protecting the front.....

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA


"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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