Mastering the art of the reroute

On New Year’s Day we announced that we were planning a two-month, 15-state, 6,000-mile camping trip out West. The motivation for this trip was to assist my dad and his wife in an adventure of a lifetime to see some of America’s iconic national parks. However, my dad’s health has gone down hill faster than we all expected and his doctors are limiting his activities while pursuing new treatments. Thus, he could no longer take the trip.

This has been a huge disappoint for him and for our whole family. Although my dad still wanted us to take the whole trip, we didn’t want to be away from him for that long … so plans had to change.

Mastering the art of the reroute

Although we’ve had to change camping plans in the past, this was the most extensive trip modification and rerouting that I have ever done. But I mastered the art of rerouting, and it wasn’t too painful of a process.

Steps For Making Road Trip Changes

The first step was to cancel all the reservations in the places we were no longer going to be visiting. In all, I had to cancel 13 campground reservations–and thankfully got back all but about $60 in reservation deposits. When I was making the cancelation calls, I took a few minutes to explain why we unfortunately had to cancel and as a result, most of the campgrounds were very sympathetic to our situation and graciously refunded the deposits. I also had to cancel two scheduled activities: a fishing charter and a Jeep tour.

Then I had to create a modified route. Instead of going south into Arkansas and then across Oklahoma into Arizona before heading north, we are only going to be doing the northern portion of our trip. So we’ll be cutting across Ohio, Indiana, and a few more states en route to South Dakota and Wyoming. When choosing the modified route, I made sure it would accommodate the places we wanted to see on the way out and back.

From there I had to juggle days by adding campground reservations to the front and back end of the trip in addition to extending or reducing other reservations we already had at some of the campgrounds. When making the trip modifications, I started with the campgrounds that we already had reservations for, making sure I could add or reduce our stay at those places before I started scheduling dates at the newly added campground stops.

It was rather challenging trying to fit the new plans into the original plan because the newly added campgrounds had limited availability. One such example was trying to fit in a visit to Indiana Dunes. The location was a perfect stopping point and we’ve been reading a lot of good things about the place so we really wanted to check it out. But there were no sites available in the park campground for the two-night period we needed them on our way out West. Then I had an aha moment: Maybe there would be availability on the way back? And thankfully there was one site available for the two nights we needed at the end of our three-week adventure. So sometimes successful rerouting is a matter of having flexibility in your re-planning.

I am happy to report that the trip is now set and we are in the final stages of planning. Our new itinerary features:

  • 21 days on the road
  • 4,000 miles
  • 7 states
  • 7 campgrounds
  • 3 national parks
  • 2 Laura Ingalls Wilder home sites
  • Multiple museums and roadside Americana stops
  • and the famous Cody Rodeo.

Meanwhile, Kristin is working on a rotating meal plan, we have a solution for internet on the road, and our camper modifications are almost finished. As we get closer to the trip we will be adding more posts about how we planned and prepared for it. And remember, all of the posts related to our West planning, preparation, and execution can be found under the Tips and Advice: 2015 West Trip tab.

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