A Good System
~Sunday, March 6, 2022~
Finally, the sun is out and the wind has died down enough to put out those awnings again. Enjoyed a nice homemade Mocha this morning while completing a section of my cross-stitch project that I’m trying to complete before October. I’ve been steadily at it for a year and can’t wait to share it with you guys when it’s finished.🪡🧵Recipient will be revealed at a later date.
Not only are we spending a great deal of time planning our visit to the “Last Frontier” for the summer of 2022, but Florida for the winter of 2023 as well, specifically February thru April. Florida is THE hardest place to book for the winter season because EVERYBODY wants to escape to warmer pastures. It’s also become more challenging since the Canadian border reopened, leaving the snow-birds to compete even more for their spot. So we were thrilled that we were able to book our first Florida State Park campsite for 2023 for not just 2 nights, but 7. Topsail Preserve State Park near Santa Rosa Beach is in high demand like most state parks and basically takes a miracle to reserve even one night. We’re in!!!
Another state park we’ve tried several times to get into but with no success is Bahia Honda in The Keys. With its gorgeous beach just a stone’s throw from your campsite, close access to everything, and the limited number of sites, it too, requires a miracle to get in. You have to be on your computer, make that 5 computers, ready to hit those booking buttons at 8:00 a.m.,11 months to the day. Thank goodness we have 2 laptops instead of 1 to aid in this task. Believe me, we have our booking time highlighted in yellow and red exclamation points on our calendar to make sure we don’t forget.
Now for those campgrounds in Alaska……..We really think we have a great system and one which we’ll video later in hopes it helps others.
Why keep something fabulous (if I may say so) only to yourself? These are the steps we’ve taken so far to get to our lodging process:
⓵ Determine the Route. It’s important to have a large map in front of us. Keeping weather in mind, we had to first design our route factoring in whether we wanted to go in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction. Most of the miles are just getting TO Alaska. It’s at this stage that we’ll also get a rough idea of how many miles we want to drive each day to build into our 2-month timeframe.
⓶ List what we want to see. At this point, it’s important not to get caught up in being able to do it all, because we won’t. We’re including everything that interests us on the route for now, assigning them a number on the spreadsheet.
⓷ On a large map, we plotted out the excursions or sites with the number we assigned them on the spreadsheet (we got about 50% done today with this one). To avoid writing on the already busy looking Alaska & Canada map we have, we used a vellum overlay where we could plot out and see only OUR points of interest and lodging (once we have that portion figured out). This really keeps our visual clean and simple. Note: Plotting out the points of interest on a map ahead of time will hone in our length of stay in each region. Example, we have some areas where there may be only 1 or 2 things to see, where 1-2 days of lodging is likely adequate. But then there might be a cluster of 8 things we want to see which would require a longer stay. Once we have our length of stay dialed in, this will help with booking our bigger excursions, the ones that require reservations, and the ones that fill up quickly. Whether it’s seaplane rides, train rides, ziplining, boat/ferry rides, tours, etc.……they get snatched up quickly, especially with the highly rated outfits.
⓸ Adding lodging to the spreadsheet then Plotting it out on the map. As I’ve said before, we are not letting the lodging dictate what we want to get out of the trip. It’s all about what we’re doing, not where we’re staying. Now this doesn’t mean we don’t strive for the 4.5 out of 5 star campgrounds. Why wouldn’t we? The plan is to stay at a few reservable campgrounds, with the majority being boondocking sites. Alaska has no shortage of these. Many of these dry camping spots are simply on the side of the highway in pullouts or just a short distance away from the highway, mostly all with stunning views!! In fact, we’ve heard most of the boondocking locations have far better scenery than the ones you have to pay $80-$100/night. Hopefully there won’t be a shortage of water and dump stations.
Before our move tomorrow to Loy Butte Road dispersed camping (about 10 minutes out of Sedona), we wanted to scout out a few campsites ahead of time. So we took the 20 minute drive. Per our usual, when we find THE perfect site, we are always repeat customers. At mile marker 5, there it was, looking just as beautiful as it did the last time we were there, but with one impediment…….This woman in her mid-20’s sitting next to her sprinter van, had laid rocks across the entrance to the entire campsite area. Mind you, you basically can park anywhere, unless there’s a sign that says you cannot. And you are not allowed to cordon off sections to prevent others from camping there as well. So Jeff, disregarding the rocks, drove right over them, got out of the truck and walked over to our former site, next to hers. Immediately, she went into attack mode with no friendly greeting whatsoever. She annoyingly said, “You’re not allowed to camp over there”, as if Jeff couldn’t read the sign. “You need to respect the land and the law! You can’t camp over there”, she continued. Jeff was just looking at our old location which now has a “NO CAMPING” sign on it. That’s all he was doing was LOOKING. If she’d been polite, Jeff’s response would have also been cordial. “And are you the jerk that put the rocks in front of the campsite, blocking the whole camping area?”, he asked. “Oh, well, my friend is coming”, she said. We both were just kind of stunned 🤯. I always believe in Karma. So good riddance to you my friend (not). We wouldn’t want to be neighbors with her anyway!
On the way home, we decided
to have one last stop at the dog park before leaving tomorrow. There was one mud puddle in the entire dog park and where did she decide to lay down? I guess it was good timing since we had a bath night planned anyway.