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Mountains to Vineyards

Jim and I have been RVing since the late 80s—full time since the year 2000. We travel 8-10 months of the year, with special emphasis on wine tasting, national parks, family visits and genealogy trips. Only eight states left to drive to and I know Microsoft Streets & Trips will take us there.

We started using Streets & Trips about six years ago and it works so well for us. When we're getting ready to travel, I'll first enter all of our major destinations. One of the fun things is that I can see our route in the software and find interesting stops that are along the way. I'm usually saying to Jim at this point, "Hey, that looks fun. Maybe we'll go through there."

One of our RVing rules is that we log about 300 miles or 6 hours in a day. Streets & Trips allows us to enter our preferences for how many hours a day we'll travel what time we want to start and stop. Plus we can set fuel usage for our RV, so after just a few clicks we have a route, estimated fuel costs, a detailed plan of travel by day, driving directions and a map of the stops we'll need to make on our trip—all according to our own travel preferences.

After I have the route, I start researching side trips and the towns we'll pass through. I use the Find Nearby Places feature to help me locate RV parks. And all of the included points of interest are a huge plus, so I can see the nearby stores, restaurants, national parks and landmarks. Streets & Trips helps me figure out what we can do in a day. It's so much easier to use the software to plan, and print out maps and directions than trying to navigate with big, old paper atlases!

Last year we were heading back to Texas from the West Coast, but there were forest fires in California. We didn't want to drive into the smoke, so we had to re-route. We used Streets & Trips to find another highway, so we could avoid the fire activity and be safely on our way home.

Many times I'll route our trips based on genealogy stops such as cemeteries or cities where family members lived. One of the trips we took was to find information about my second great grandfather. It took me 20 years to find out where he died and where he was buried. I used Streets & Trips to plan that special trip to Arizona. On genealogy trips, I'll also use Streets & Trips find the local libraries for research and the local post offices—it's very convenient to have that information in the software, so I can just add the locations to my Streets & Trips map. I also save the route details and RV park locations that we loved, so I can share that information with family and friends.

We're on our summer trip right now. I just looked at my route in Streets & Trips to add a stop in Lincoln City, Oregon. Sometimes I just need a beach fix! We'll also be stopping in the North Willamette Valley as we're partners in a vineyard there. We've tasted wine in 24 states, so it's really convenient to have wineries and so many other points-of-interest included in the software. Sometimes we'll reach a destination and we'll look at each other and say, "Well we don't like it here. Let's look where else we can go." I'm in Streets & Trips tweaking our travel all the time. I can't live without it. I have it running right now.

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