Which Direction? — Listen to your Inner Voice

Valley of Fire State Park

Sometimes, the freedom of full-time RVing allows you the flexibility to change your mind, to detour, to look for a new route. It can also make it challenging… deciding which way to go?

Every time I think I know which direction to go, something changes my mind. Or, thanks to getting a little older, I get overwhelmed with the choices. There are just too many places we want to see.

What if we go this way? No? Then, how about that way? Maybe this way is better? That’s the dialog I often have with myself (and my husband) when planning our route.

There are basically three factors that come into play when I am deciding on a route: 1. Weather- where is the most mild weather patterns. I check the weather daily and look out about 10 days, guessing when it is safest to travel. 2. Crowds — I am not a big fan of crowds, especially large crowds. I prefer to avoid them. 3. Timing —when is the weather good for traveling? When is it not too crowded? And, when does it fit into our schedule (yes, we still have one?)

When we left Charleston on February 17th, weather played a big part in our decisions on which route to take.

We had two goals:
1. We needed to be back in Washington state by May 22nd.
2. We wanted to start Route 66 in early March, before the crowds and before the weather turned into Spring storms.

Everything else was up in the air

I debated back and forth, do we drop down to Florida, then swing up through Alabama? Maybe come up via Louisiana? Mississippi?

Our destination for the first leg of our trip west was to start Route 66 from Pacific, MO with a deadline start date around March 8th. Weather and crowds (Madri Gras) changed my mind about the route south through Florida and Alabama. The weather had been stormy and Alabama had a tornado or two by this point, something I would prefer to avoid. So, stay away from the south — that was the decision we made.

I decided on a more direct route, to just cut to the chase, we will head west than north, but that route would take us through Atlanta, a city most RVers would prefer to avoid. Thanks to some advice from a Facebook friend in the Atlanta area, we timed it just right and sailed right through Atlanta on an early Sunday afternoon. No Problem!!!

This new route also took us to some towns we would not have made a point to visit, and, yet, we really enjoyed —
Augusta, GA,
Tupelo, MS,
and Cape Girardeau, MO.

Route 66 was the Ultimate Road Trip and always a part of our route from east to west. It was a bit easier to plan out, I picked certain towns on the route we would park, then from there we would explore (see my article on RV parks.) I timed our route based on weather and what to see in an area, this would often be a deciding factor on the length of time we would stay.

Needles, CA

When it came time to leave Route 66, the original plan was to end in Barstow, CA and head up Hwy 395 through California and Oregon, then cross over to Hwy 97 in Oregon into Washington. By the time we left Williams, AZ, I had our route up Hwy 395 somewhat planned out and a list of places to stay along the route. But once we parked in Needles, CA, I started to have doubts and my inner voice was not comfortable at all with this route. I couldn’t quite put a finger on it, I just knew I was uncomfortable. I had been watching the weather and it was still unstable through Mammoth Lakes and Northern California. A few days before we were to head that way a huge snow storm was to go through Mammoth Lakes, dumping over a foot of snow, with possible highway closures. I think that was the final straw for me. Then add to that California gas prices, and it cinched the decision to not go that direction.

So, now what? If not that way, what direction should we go?

I mulled over maps till it hit me, my husband mentioned he would like to go to Las Vegas, okay that might work. Then what? We had been wanting to visit St George, Zion, and Bryce. Great! I started to feel a tingle of anticipation in my stomach and my inner voice seemed to agree with this change. It was warmer. There was so much on this route we wanted to see. And, most importantly, it felt so much better.

The new direction

This route would take us a bit east, so the next decision — where do we go to head west? My husband refuses to drive through Salt Lake City, so I played with mileage and decided on leaving Bryce area and head towards Ely, NV, then head up to Twin Falls, Idaho. From there we could work our way into eastern Oregon and do the Painted Hills and Smith Rock before heading up Hwy 97 into Washington. We still had plenty of time to make it work. Decision made.

It is because I listened to my Inner Voice that we changed direction and had the privilege to view some of the most spectacular scenery our country has to offer. It was that change of direction which gave us experiences that fulfilled dreams and checked off more items on our bucket list.

We need to listen to our Inner Voice, this is a problem for many in today’s society. Our ability to listen to our instincts have been drowned out by the busy lives we lead and the noise pollution that surrounds us daily. I have learned over the years to listen, sometimes (quite often) it has to scream at me to get my attention, but eventually I hear it. It is when I choose to ignore the screams that I find myself in trouble. This time, I listened, and it was once again correct and worth every mile.

Would the other direction have been wonderful? Most definitely, but the timing was just not right. We were meant to change direction and I am grateful I listened.

Bryce Canyon
Zion Canyon
Las Vegas
Hoover Dam

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