Butch swears my favorite book is an Atlas. I have one in my car, his truck, beside my recliner in the sunroom, and in the living room. I also have a pocket atlas in my briefcase for traveling to writing conferences and such.
I like the Walmart atlases and usually buy an updated copy every 2-3 years. These are basic Rand McNally road map atlases with the bonus of listing every Sam’s Club and Walmart location in the country. Not that we’re Walmartians, but you never know when traveling if you’ll need to shop.
We’re busy routing our upcoming vacation. AAA gives us maps and routes, and map apps give us turn-by-turn directions, but I still enjoy browsing the atlas books. If this trip is like any other, we will plan our trip as we go. We aren’t likely to make reservations or follow interstates. I’ll pull out my atlas and study the possibilities.
How about you? Do you follow a strict itinerary? Or do you travel without a plan? Whichever kind of traveler you are, enjoy the trip.
In 1983 we took our first vacation out west, traveling from our home in Jacksonville, Florida, to Arizona. As much as possible, we drove US 66 (Before it was decommissioned in 1985). We saw legendary tourist sites like the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, Arizona, and Cadillac Ranch (before it was relocated farther west) in Amarillo, Texas. Since that trip, we’ve been captivated by the history of the Mother Road.
Route 66 isn’t just an old highway. It represents a way of life in an era when folks were starting to experience automobile road trips. It was immortalized in song, movies, books, and a television series. Did you know that the Pixar movie Cars was originally titled Route66?
I researched Route 66 history for a couple of novellas I wrote for an anthology, Romance on Route 66. (If y’all read romance, the ebook is still available on Amazon. But this isn’t shameless self-promotion, just an illustration of my affection for all things Route 66.) I have my sunroom decorated with Route 66 fabric and curios. My friend Dolores recently gifted me with her set of Route 66 diner style stoneware. Butch and I wear Route 66 souvenir T-shirts. So, yeah, it’s a passion.
Even as we plan for this year’s vacation, we are choosing to follow roads designated “Historic Route 66.” It’s well worth the occasional detour off the Interstate to enjoy the onion burger in El Reno, Oklahoma, or visit the hotel in Oatman, Arizona, where Clark Gable and Carole Lombard honeymooned. And don’t miss Santa Rosa, New Mexico, home of a number of great Mexican restaurants.
The Casita is suited for taking the roads less traveled, and we intend to take advantage of it. If you see Dixie Pixie at a campground during your travels, be sure to say howdy.
Traveling with pets is one of the advantages of camping. We RV with Nova, our one-year old Shihtzu, and she’s a good traveler. We have a Kurgo pet seat in the cab of the truck, complete with safety belt to attach to her harness. She sits high between our two seats, which gives her a good view. She has enough room to curl up for naps, too.
She also has a Nylabone chew and a stuffed toy in her Kurgo. ( Kurgo products are available on Amazon.com.)
I carry a large bag, sort of like a diaper bag, complete with treats, food, baby wipes, plastic gloves for picking up poop, a Tupperware bowl filled with drinking water, and any medicine she might need. The bag goes with us to the Casita when we set up camp.
Dogs love routine, so we keep to her regular schedule as much as possible. We bring her crate from home so she’s sleeping in the same bed at night.
It’s important to observe common courtesy and safety rules, including:
Keep your dog leashed unless in a fenced dog park or run.
Keep your dog secured with a safety belt while traveling. A loose dog may be a dead dog in a crash or sudden stop.
Always pick up dog poop and dispose properly (many parks, campgrounds, and rest stops have designated areas for dog waste disposal.)
Never leave your pet alone in the vehicle unless you leave air conditioning running, and then only leave them briefly.
Don’t leave your dog tied up outside your RV.
Give your dog water frequently, especially in warmer weather, to avoid dehydration.
Don’t leave your dog unattended for long periods. It’s not fair to the animal or your neighbors, especially if your dog is a barker.
Obey all campground pet rules. Don’t try to take your fur baby into buildings that are off-limits to animals.
Some attractions offer dog kennels for visitors, althoughwe haven’t used those. A growing number of stores allow you to bring your dog. Also some fast-food restaurants offer outdoor seating where youcan take your dog.
I hope you enjoy travel with your petas much as we do.
Last year, when we traveled to Texas to take delivery of our trailer, we had to pack judiciously for both the hotel stops and our camping. We were limited to the cab and bed of a regular cab pickup truck. We had 1000+ miles to travel … with a new puppy. Preparation was key to a relaxed, fun journey.
Dixie Pixie’s first campsite
Rockin’ “A” RV Park, Vernon, TX
Before the trip, Butch installed a cover for the pickup bed to protect items from the weather. This cover increased our storage so we could transport chairs and plastic storage containers for our camping necessities. We tried to think of everything we’d need on our first few days of Casita ownership.
Alas, we made numerous trips to the Vernon, Texas, Walmart for the items we didn’t pack and for groceries we couldn’t bring. Fortunately, the Walmart is located next door–within walking distance–of Rockin’ “A” RV Park and the Walmart trips enabled us to earn steps on our fitness trackers.
Here’s a list of what we brought and wished we brought. We have more on board now. These were bare essentials for starting out. I hope the list helps newbie campers. (If you don’t travel with pets, you can ignore our dog items)
Clothes for 5 days
Pet food, water, toys, treats, and crate
Essential medications and toiletries
Tools (Butch keeps basic tools in his truck’s toolbox)
RV toilet paper
Paper towels, plates, cups, and napkins (at least enough for a week)
Flatware (stainless. I don’t like plastic utensils)
Kitchen tools (i.e. spatula, can opener, knife, vegetable peeler)
Teakettle for boiling water (we’re tea drinkers, both hot and iced)
Two large bath towels, two hand towels, and a dishcloth
2 sleeping bags (our preference. Take bed linens if you want)
Whisk broom, disinfectant wipes, baby wipes
Small bottles of hand soap, dish soap
A zippered storage bag of laundry pods and dryer sheets.
Holding tank treatment
Our electronics and rechargers
Two folding lawn chairs
*I have a small set of stainless steel cookware perfect for RVs that nests for storage. It also has a griddle that doubles as a toaster. Although I added a 3 quart mini Instant Pot and an air fryer since that trip, this basic set enabled me to cook well-rounded meals.
Rice, Texas, at the Casita factory
I didn’t include grocery items. We picked up salt, pepper, butter, and food for meals during our first Walmart visit.
If you have suggestions to add to the list, please leave a comment.
We haven’t traveled lately in Dixie Pixie but we do keep in touch with others who are fiberglass travel trailer (egg) enthusiasts via social media. Facebook groups, for example, are usually private members-only forums where you can exchange tips and techs, and where you can swap honest campground reviews. Just do a search in Facebook and you can find dozens of groups. We’re active in a few, like Casita Owners of America and Casita Owners. There are also state specific groups, and we belong to a Florida group.
If we are away from home, we’re reluctant to post anything until we return for security reasons. But after the trip, it’s fun to post pictures and recommendations of sites and campgrounds.
I will also share photos on this blog under PICS. Just click on the menu in the header to select.
When RV travelers meet at national parks, campgrounds, truck stops, or rallies, they inevitably ask you where you are from. Or as we say, “where y’all from?” Technically we’re Floridians. Barely. We live so close to the state line that Valdosta, Georgia, is our nearest Sam’s Club, Best Buy, or Outback Steakhouse. But we used to live in Jacksonville and consider Florida home.
When we began decorating Dixie Pixie, we wanted to show our Florida pride. Here’s what we did.
We didn’t want to overdo it on Dixie Pixie’s exterior. Now we plan to tackle the interior. Stay tuned …