We have stuck to our route plan this year rather well. Sure, we lingered longer than expected in Texas and Arizona, and our Mexico dental work side trip slowed things a touch such that we reached California later than expected. But we moved up the west coast fairly fast, and despite spending a month in Washington, we made up time with a relatively fast sprint across the top of the country to the Dakotas. We took stock a few weeks ago and examined three options for our post Dakotas route and time line back to Florida:
- Stick to the Original Plan: From South Dakota turn southwest towards Utah and Colorado to see several of the national parks we missed during 2015. After that, sprint east to Iowa to see daughter Andrea, then turn towards Florida for an early November arrival.
- Head to Iowa for family time, then hunker down somewhere cheap before making a very leisurely return trip to Florida, arriving in late October.
- Head to Iowa, but from there turn north and sprint to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for three weeks or so before turning south for a late October arrival in Florida.
Option 1 is likely the most expensive of the three. It involves more mileage and thus higher gas expenditures, takes us to not particularly cheap areas, and we are not approved for any markets along that route. The advantage is we get to see all, or at least some, of the five national parks we missed in 2015, and Utah and Colorado are beautiful!
Option 2 is certainly the cheapest. It involves the least mileage and allows us to pick affordable places to stay with possible weekly rate discounts, though again, we are not approved for any markets in the region.
Option 3, as far as costs go, is in the middle, involving perhaps $300 in additional gas expenditures compared to Option 2, along with taking us to a place with somewhat higher campground and living expenses than Option 2 (though probably pretty competitive if not less expensive than Option 1.) This route also takes us to a place where we have, essentially, pre-approval to participate in up to two markets a week during our stay. Oh yeah, we also love the UP!
Anyone who as taken a peek at our Where Are We Now page already knows what we selected: Option 3, Iowa, then Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. We plan on being there until about September 24, my birthday, before heading south by an as yet to be determined route. For those friends and acquaintances in the region, we will be splitting time between Grand Marais and Marquette, and we would love to meet up if you are available.