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Hi all! Long time lurker and finally getting serious. The nest is nearly empty and we are done messing around. Two days after deciding we’re doing this we scheduled a trip to Hohenwald. Next week we get to meet the Oliver folks, do the factory tour, and take an in-person gander at an Elite II. Really, really (really) excited about the trip. Stops in Asheville and Nashville are also part of the fun!
 

We’re a long way from putting down a deposit (759 miles to be precise) but wanted to ask the group where you would spend your money on options. I’m determined to keep those under $10k. If you would do it all over where would you spend your first $5k, then your next $5k? I’d mostly like to spend it on things that are difficult or impossible to change later. It’s a big purchase for us (with five kids in college) so we want to keep the price down, but we don’t want to make compromises we’ll have to live with forever or spend a fortune reversing. What things have you realized you didn’t really need, or wish you’d added?
 

We are mostly campground campers, but we hope to work our way up to boondocking and more adventurous stuff. We live in Maryland but picture ourselves moving west in the next five years and spending as much time as possible exploring the great outdoors. Tow vehicle will likely be a VW Touareg TDI. 
 

Thanks in advance!

Dave

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Welcome to the forum. 

The base Oliver is actually a really nice trailer.

My first (and probably only) addition would be solar. Not just because I'm a big green energy supporter, but because it's probably the most difficult to retrofit. Even that could be eliminated if Oliver would do pre-wired, instead, since you plan to mostly camp in powered sites 

Other than that, everything is pretty easy to upgrade, imo.

Truma? No. The base water heater is fine. 

Fibergranite? Not for me, but you'll have to decide. 

The rest? I'll let others offer their opinions. 

Sherry 

 

 

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2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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Hey Dave, welcome!  You’ll be fine with the Touareg, we’ve also got some Audi Q7 TV’s that work well.  We ordered our trailer 5 years ago so I’m not up to date on some of the current options.  A lot of the options back then are standard now.  There are no options that we ordered that we regret.  It was our first trailer and first camping experience, so we were sort of buying blind.

Things we’re glad we have are:  solar, 4 AGM batteries, cell booster, a couple of extra 110V outlets.  We weren’t sure if we would be boondockers, thought we’d be FHU folks.  What we found out in our quest to see national parks is that a lot of those campgrounds don’t come with any hook ups!  National Park campgrounds and other Corps of Engineer campgrounds, Forest Service and BLM campgrounds are in the most scenic areas often have no hook ups.  So, we’ve become prolific boondockers.  That is why I’m happy with the solar and extra batteries.

Enjoy your factory tour!  Mike

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

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Thanks for the welcome!

@SeaDawg, thanks! It’s a relief to know that I don’t need to predict my future needs absolutely perfectly and it is easy to get carried away with options. “Ooh that one sounds nice, gotta have that one, definitely want THAT one...” I work in solar professionally so I share your green ethic. I am leaning toward solar, a composting toilet (minus the bug issues), and the combo door lock. I can see my wife and I on our knees at 2am, possibly a little drunk, scratching in the dirt for trailer keys (“I thought YOU had them”). Any thoughts on those features?

@Mike and Carol, are AGM batteries an important upgrade? Just wondering if that’s easier maintenance, longer life, or a quicker recharge rate? Lithium sounds cool but yeah, no. 

I’m thinking the 30lb propane option is a cheap way to extend that resource, but can you get them refilled as easily as the ubiquitous 20lb version? Probably have them cut the basement access hole too. One or two avoided trips outside in the pouring rain probably returns that investment. 

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Dave -

Sherry pretty well nailed it in that several years ago Oliver standardized all wiring harnesses making it easier to add things later.  However, unless you are very handy and desire to install things yourself without the included warranty,  it is simply easier and even cost effective to order your Oliver as close as possible to the way you really want it.  A bit unfortunately though - as Mike points out - how do you know the way you want it since you have never had it?

Besides boondocking solar does give you greater flexibility in not worrying so much about running out of electricity.  On the other hand, unless you really plan on boondocking a bunch, the extra money spent on the composting toilet is questionable.

Door locks are very easy to replace later and you can find them on sale.  Besides,  looking for keys in the dirt versus trying to remember or even find the right button to push when one is ...... seems like a toss up to me.

In five years I've never needed that inside basement access door.  But recently I learned that several people use that door as an area in the basement for storing shoes.  Great idea!

I don't have a cell phone so that booster is of no use to me.  But I do use the WiFi booster a bunch - not in campgrounds where bandwidth tends to be an issue but when traveling.  I simply pull into the parking lot of almost any fast food place or Walmart or Lowes or ... an use their WiFi without going inside.

Bottom line is you have to think about how, when and where you want to use your Oliver.  Yes, listen to the experience you read about here but apply your own filters.  For instance, state of the art batteries are great.  But can you justify the current expense of them when a set of 4 AGMs should last a good 7 plus years and cover most situations you will find?

Good luck and remember the first paragraph above.  Also, it is better to get out there "doing stuff" than it is trying to plan the "perfect" rig.

Bill

Edited by topgun2
Fat fingers don't hit the keys you think they do on small devices!
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2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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Thanks Bill. Very much appreciate the thoughtful response. I think the composting  toilet appeals to me (okay, appeals is too strong a word) because I can avoid all the black tank and snake heinousness and bypass the lines at the station, in addition to the environmental benefit. But after reading about these things there are certainly some downsides. Creepy compost bugs! I also think my wife will be weirded out by a visible pee jar in the bathroom. I’ll move that to the ‘definitely-maybe-conditional’ column. You make a good use case for the wifi booster. Moved to the ‘maybe-think so-could be-who the heck knows’ column. It’s possible that I have too many columns. 
 

Nope, none of this will slow us down. Just trying to be thoughtful about the best feature set for our likely habits. I’m currently all over the place, which is undoubtedly par for the course. I should probably try to find an options thread rather than bury this discussion in a welcome. 
 

Dave

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4 hours ago, MarylandDave said:

 

@Mike and Carol, are AGM batteries an important upgrade? Just wondering if that’s easier maintenance, longer life, or a quicker recharge rate? Lithium sounds cool but yeah, no. 

I’m thinking the 30lb propane option is a cheap way to extend that resource, but can you get them refilled as easily as the ubiquitous 20lb version? Probably have them cut the basement access hole too. One or two avoided trips outside in the pouring rain probably returns that investment. 

I liked the AGMs because they are no maintenance.  5 years and I haven’t done anything to them except looking at them a few times a year.  I don’t know that they charge any faster than the T105s or that they last longer, just simpler and easier to maintain.  I’m hoping I can get a few more years out of them

We got the 30lb propane tanks and have not had any issues with getting them filled.  They are a bit heavier and more awkward to lift back into place when full but not an issue for me.

Remember you can access the basement from a hatch under the bed.  If it was available, I probably would have the nightstand basement access.  Mike

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

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Agms are a really nice option for travel trailers, especially if you have to store it off site. No maintenance.  The sealed battery withstands the road vibration better than fla. Minimal to no off gassing when charging. (That appeals to me, since my head is over the battery compartment when sleeping.😄) Better in colder weather.

Some people say they don't last as long as fla, but that's not been our experience.  Our original batteries were typical fla. We killed those pretty quick. (Our fault, probably, not the batteries, as I think we discharged too deep, too often.) First set of agms lasted 7 or 8 years, I think. New set going strong, about 3 years old.

So, yes, that's an option to consider. Or not. Maryland is a pretty temperate climate. Depends on how you feel about frequent fluid checks. If that doesn't bother you, stay with the included flooded batteries, replace later when they die with agms, and reprogram the solar charger for agm.

Sherry

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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We don’t have our Oliver yet; delivery is scheduled for December 7.  Once you decide to purchase an Oliver and put down a deposit which secures a build date, you will be assigned a sales agent.  First and foremost, meet with him/her in person or by phone and explain your camping expectations: where will your travels take you; long road trips or short outings; camping facilities; recreation; etc. Also share your budget and anticipated options.  We did this when we ordered our Leisure Travel Van and were very successful with our choices.  Getting input from Ollie owners is also a good way to “talk through” the options decision making process. 

This is how we’ve outfitted our Oliver Elite II Twin, based on previous RV experience, including the reasoning behind our choices (items in red are no cost options).

Two Mattress upgrade - $1598; regular pads would probably be fine.  You can always add memory foam toppers or upgrade mattresses if you find the need.

Fiber Granite décor - $1799; this is purely cosmetic as I don’t think either countertop choice is more durable than the other.  I wanted to break up the mostly white interior.

Ultrafabric upgrade - $299; we had Ultra-leather upholstery in our van and love its durability

Hypervent option - $179; protect sleeping pads/mattresses from moisture damage

No TV antennas - $0;  we don’t watch much TV on the road; only an occasional movie when it rains; one less thing on the roof.

Standard Curbside Awning - $0; no street side awning since we use awnings very little; manual awning is no longer available as Oliver has changed awning vendor.

Black Cabinet Doors - $0; I don't want to see the things inside the cupboard when doors are closed.  This option will also break up the white interior if you choose the standard counters.

No Microwave - $0; will use some of the additional cupboard space to store a Breville Mini Smart toaster oven

No Outdoor Pro Pkg - $0; we’ve never wanted outside propane connects, don’t want the tongue storage basket since we plan to use our bike rack between the pickup and the trailer, and rear bumper receiver is too small for our bike rack.  30# LP tanks and 30amp convenience connection will be ordered separately.  We have a small, portable LP tank we can carry in the pickup if we want to use a propane grill or fire ring.

Standard Porcelain Toilet - $0; I have no desire to maintain a composting toilet.

Standard Water Heater - $0; we wanted this in our van, but Truma was standard and we could not downgrade. With the standard heater you can run on LP or shore power, on demand hot water is not a “must have” for us and Truma service techs are scarce in our area, should we need warranty work.  In the past, we would turn it on 10-15 minutes before we need hot water, then turn it off until needed again.

Lithium Pro Pkg - $8999; this was a tough decision, but we decided it offers the least maintenance, shorter charging times, and more amp hours available with an installation designed for the Oliver; Plus it pays to keep on top of technology these days.  Solar Pro would be my next choice - $4999

No Electronics Pro Pkg - $0; will purchase cell phone booster separately

30 AMP Convenience Connection - $499; to connect auxiliary generator from back of pickup

Cell Phone Booster - $629; I went back and forth deciding on this option.  We do travel in areas where cell coverage is marginal.  The cost is comparable to what we could purchase elsewhere, but with the wiring done by Oliver.  It will also serve as a WiFi booster, using our jet pack cellular data plan.

No WiFi Booster - $0; we have a jet pack for data

No Backup Camera - $0; my husband is a confident “backer upper” (retired truck driver) and we are always traveling together.   In addition, it would be just one more electronic device to manage.

No Keyless Entry – $0; again, one less electronic device.  Keys work fine and we have keyless entry on our pickup so we can lock a spare key in the cab. As someone else mentions, this is an easy DIY project if you decide you need it.

No Weight Distribution Hitch – $0; our tow vehicle is an F-350.  You should discuss this option with Oliver since you plan to tow with an SUV. 

No Storage Basket Option - $0; this would get in the way of our bike rack. Other factors; It is just an additional step to secure cargo when breaking camp, security of things stored here, plenty of storage in the covered pickup bed, plus I like the clean look of the tongue without the basket

No Rear Bumper Receiver - $0; our bike rack is 2”, thus the smaller Oliver receiver would serve us no purpose.

No Lagun Table - $0; we would eat at either the dinette or outside.  We might use it, on occasion, but it would be yet another thing to stow away at bedtime.

Basement Access Door - $179; I plan to use this to store things we don’t want to go outside to get, such as bottled water.  It will also be useful as an access to a clothes hamper or for storing shoes.  I think it’s a good value and not something I’d want to DIY.

No Auto Drain - $0; another electric component.  The manual valve will do fine

No Shower Rod/Track - $0; I’m not keen on the way this looks/works.  I plan to use a short tension shower rod in the doorway and possibly suction cups over the toilet area, if we find a curtain necessary.  I do like the idea of being able to shower with the door open.

Graphics - $150; one color silver grey metallic pinstripe graphics on sides, no front graphic, no graphic on tire cover, no rear name or hull number

If we had opted for the Solar Pro Package, instead of the Lithium Pro, and left out the decor upgrades of ultra fabric dinette cushions and metallic graphics, our options would total $9882 - within your budget.

Before making any final decision on options, be sure to watch/read material in the Oliver University as it pertains to your choices.

Hope this helps!

 

Edited by Susan Huff
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Ray and Susan Huff

Elite II Twin Hull# 699 - delivery December 7, 2020

2013 F350 3.2l diesel Super Duty 4x4 long bed crew cab

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed (sold)

AZARCACOGAHIIDILKSLAMSMONENVNMOKORSCTNTX

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Decisions,decisions.  If you are thinking about a mattress upgrade I believe you can save some money by purchasing from southern mattress.  Even more if you ship them to a business address.  I would get the mats for under the mattresses either from Oliver or you may find an alternative.  We purchased from Southern Mattress and are very pleased.  We also have the back up camera.  I really don't use it to back up, I use it as a rearview mirror while driving.  We were new to long distance  towing and the ability to see what is coming up behind us is something I like, and it works well for me.  Good luck with all of your decisions.  We really like our Oliver.  

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Thanks everyone! Very much appreciate all of the thoughtful replies. I change my mental list of options hourly at this point but I’m leaning toward keeping it simple - probably just solar and batteries. Subject to change by laying my eyes on shiny stuff and deciding I need it. All of it. 
 

After reading my eyes out on all the forums it occurs to me that the community of owners is possible the greatest feature. My wife and I have an old farmhouse with an exhaustingly busy Airbnb business (and full-time jobs) and it’s a ton of work fixing all the stuff that inevitably breaks around here. In that I’m mostly on my own. Might be nice for a change to have some experts to lean on for advice and guidance. 

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Welp, we did the tour yesterday and came away very impressed. A little disappointed Phil wasn’t wearing his signature flannel but otherwise we loved everything we saw. It’s an impressive operation and my wife was so happy that there was zero sales pressure. After never seeing an Ollie in the flesh it was odd to see one behind us as we neared Hohenwald and then all over the place in various states of completion. I’ve obsessed over this stuff to the degree that the factory tour was almost redundant, but it was great to actually see and touch everything. The quality is evident and we really want something that will last. The best part was laying in the twin bed and realizing I fit. I’ve been a little depressed about old-man shrinking to 6’4” but it finally paid off. I laid in the bed and then got up and drove 11 hours home. 
 

We drove past a million RV dealers and it would’ve been quicker (and cheaper, and closer, and easier on my butt) to pick one off a lot and drive off. But watching it slowly fall apart in my driveway would be depressing. We’re 95% sure we’ll move forward with an Ollie, but at this point deliveries won’t happen until late summer/fall of next year and we don’t want to have it sit here all winter without being able to use it. (It would also be nice to let this red-hot used car market cool down. We still need to buy a tow vehicle and...yeesh.) Does anyone know if we can put down a deposit and then pick a delivery date 15 months out? I guess we could just wait but I’m worried about more price hikes. They are going gangbusters down there in Hohenwald. 

 

Thanks all!

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You would be well served to ask the Sales Department that last question.  However, I've always believed that when it comes to thing involving money, there is usually a way around most any obstacle.

Bill 

2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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38 minutes ago, MarylandDave said:

Welp, we did the tour yesterday and came away very impressed. A little disappointed Phil wasn’t wearing his signature flannel but otherwise we loved everything we saw. It’s an impressive operation and my wife was so happy that there was zero sales pressure. After never seeing an Ollie in the flesh it was odd to see one behind us as we neared Hohenwald and then all over the place in various states of completion. I’ve obsessed over this stuff to the degree that the factory tour was almost redundant, but it was great to actually see and touch everything. The quality is evident and we really want something that will last. The best part was laying in the twin bed and realizing I fit. I’ve been a little depressed about old-man shrinking to 6’4” but it finally paid off. I laid in the bed and then got up and drove 11 hours home. 
 

We drove past a million RV dealers and it would’ve been quicker (and cheaper, and closer, and easier on my butt) to pick one off a lot and drive off. But watching it slowly fall apart in my driveway would be depressing. We’re 95% sure we’ll move forward with an Ollie, but at this point deliveries won’t happen until late summer/fall of next year and we don’t want to have it sit here all winter without being able to use it. (It would also be nice to let this red-hot used car market cool down. We still need to buy a tow vehicle and...yeesh.) Does anyone know if we can put down a deposit and then pick a delivery date 15 months out? I guess we could just wait but I’m worried about more price hikes. They are going gangbusters down there in Hohenwald. 

 

Thanks all!

Wow!  I'm glad we placed our order when we did . . . . . . our less than 6 month wait seems like nothing . . . . . and the time is flying by.  The old adage, "Good things take time" is appropriate here.  

Sadly, RV travel is just not what it was a year ago.  This has made being with an RV bearable for us.  And the current RV market certainly made selling our camper van a breeze.

After extensive travel trailer research, watching the Oliver factory tour and finally seeing an Oliver in person, our view of mass produced travel trailers has changed forever. 

Get the Oliver; you won't regret your decision.

Ray and Susan Huff

Elite II Twin Hull# 699 - delivery December 7, 2020

2013 F350 3.2l diesel Super Duty 4x4 long bed crew cab

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed (sold)

AZARCACOGAHIIDILKSLAMSMONENVNMOKORSCTNTX

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Woo Hoo! 😍

A real welcome to you guys.  Now you get to start buying all that "stuff" you think you need to put in and/or on that new Ollie.  More importantly, you get to start planning all of those trips.

Bill

2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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2 hours ago, MarylandDave said:

We just put down our deposit. 😀

Yahoooo . . . . . . and welcome!  Looking forward to following a new Oliver owner 

Ray and Susan Huff

Elite II Twin Hull# 699 - delivery December 7, 2020

2013 F350 3.2l diesel Super Duty 4x4 long bed crew cab

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed (sold)

AZARCACOGAHIIDILKSLAMSMONENVNMOKORSCTNTX

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2 hours ago, topgun2 said:

Woo Hoo! 😍

A real welcome to you guys.  Now you get to start buying all that "stuff" you think you need to put in and/or on that new Ollie.  More importantly, you get to start planning all of those trips.

Bill

Planning our first trip . . . . . to Hohenwald to pick up our Elite II December 7!  In the meantime purchasing "stuff" we need just to take delivery:

Snow tires (needed these anyway); 

tire chains (just in case);

Garmin GPS (so we don't get lost getting there);

Several jugs of anti-freeze (again, just in case)

New seat covers for the pickup (can't have old upholstery and tow a new trailer)

 

 

Ray and Susan Huff

Elite II Twin Hull# 699 - delivery December 7, 2020

2013 F350 3.2l diesel Super Duty 4x4 long bed crew cab

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed (sold)

AZARCACOGAHIIDILKSLAMSMONENVNMOKORSCTNTX

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For those who are watching the delivery lag, we wanted a spring delivery and were told July ‘21 was the earliest they could do - so we asked for a spring ‘22 delivery. Phil called and said they had a cancellation and offered May of ‘21. Even though the later date is probably better for us we couldn’t help ourselves so we accepted the earlier date! Currently progressing through the big expense stages, from remorse into cautious optimism. We remind ourselves that it’s like buying a car, only one with a remarkably durable resale value. 

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Posted (edited)

Its only money!  Of course that's easy for me to say when it is YOUR money.

The older I get the more I'm believing in that saying - never put off 'till tomorrow what you can get done today.  If you can afford it, try to do those things you've always wanted to do and see sooner as opposed to later - you simply don't know if the later will ever be there for you.  The experiences and memories you will have are usually worth so much more than looking at that pile of dollars (again - assuming that you can afford it).

Bill

p.s. how old is the black pup?

Edited by topgun2
added p.s.

2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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Thanks Bill. I had a double pulmonary embolism this past spring (at a “mere” 54) and felt fortunate to survive it. The experience really changed my perspective. 
 

Mini-labradoodle is four. Name is Ollie. Go figure. 

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Of all my retired friends, I have never heard one of them say, "I wish I had worked longer". Take the early delivery. Bet you get to use it. If only to sit in the driveway and read the manuals. Short trips will let you get use to it, and cross country will be sooner than you think.

Enjoy. And the stuff you think you want and need to outfit the camper? Put it back. You will only need half of it, and there are stores all across the back roads of this country that have the stuff you really need. 

Most every state has an association of campgrounds. Most put out a free camping guide. Go online and request one for each state you might like to visit. Also request one for each state you might travel through. They have maps, travel guides for visitors on things to see, and a list of most campgrounds. A ton of free information.

See you around a campfire.. Enjoy

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Thanks @Mainiac! We’ve transitioned fully into excitement mode and are thrilled about the new date. (The weather is gorgeous here - possibly a related factor.) Yes, we’ll start with a few wimpy places ten minutes from home, unless you count the camping we’ll do near Hohenwald at pickup. I suppose the long drive home is the first real stresser. I’ve learned a ton about tire pressure and lug nuts in the last 24 hours.

 

Does anyone have any campground suggestions near Oliver in the GSMNP? We’d like to pause there for a few days while we shake her down, and it’s on the way home but not too far if we need to head back to Hohenwald for adjustments. 

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Dave,

GSMNP and Hohenwald are about 4 hours and a time zone apart.  If you mean “near” as in “on the route home”, there is a virtual cornucopia of places to stay close to I40 and 81.  If you want close to the park, I would suggest the Townsend/Wears Valley area over Sevierville and Gatlinburg (unless you really, really like pancakes). 
 

This is a high-end park close to your route http://www.anchordownrvresort.com/.  It’s on my li$t but probably not for a $everal day $tay!  Use Campendium or your favorite app to view areas around Newport, TN.  Cherokee NF is in the mountains northeast of GSMNP and has many many places to Camp.  Also, you could go through the mountains to Asheville area then take 26 back to 81.  


I looked back and saw you were looking at a spring delivery.  One of my favorite spring drives is Highway 64 across the southern part of TN then take highway 127 up the Sequatchie valley to Crossville/I40.  If you are into June for your pickup, also look at Roane Mountain SP.

 

Dave

Edited by DCdude

David and Vicky
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2020 LEII #686 (under construction)
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