The time has come to being planning for our 2014 travels. Actually, the time came about three months ago, but I have managed to put it off until just now with the convenient excuse of being too busy. As a therapist, I can rationalize just about anything, but the time is now to plan our travels for the year.

Camper With that as my task, I sit down to look over our camping goals for the New Year, set at the end of December. I note that Terry and I decided we want to focus on several areas: getting our camper out for at least one trip, traveling together as a family, hiking a few more 14ers, getting out hiking near our home and traveling to Des Moines for Ryan’s college graduation in May. I am hoping to be able to accomplish three of the five with this trip.

My first step is to sit with my Road Atlas and page through it, conceptualizing our potential travel areas. When mapping out our destination and the time it will take to get there, I turn to online tools such as MapQuest, but when just beginning to map out a new project, I still prefer the comfort and reassurance that holding an actual map of our travels in my hands can bring me. So this is where I begin.

Road AtlasI turn to the Colorado state map. We have had delightful camping experiences in the mountains and national parks in Colorado in years past, and I hold fond memories of these experiences. With that in mind, I also realize that camping in Colorado will bring us close to the 14ers that also grace our camping goals list. It is decided. This year we will travel again to Colorado, saving Montana, the Adirondacks and the Northwestern part of our country, all on our list of future camping areas, for following years. Colorado, being a bit closer than the other destinations on our list, may also make it more likely that we will be able travel as a family as well.

Having decided on Colorado, I look over the area containing a group of 14ers that we had planned to hike as a group: Mounts Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln and Bross. That would give us four additional 14ers bagged and brings us promptly to the Leadville/Silverthorne area of Colorado. I pull out my Good Sam Camping Guide and peruse campgrounds and RV parks in that area, focusing more on proximity to trailheads than to amenities provided. When you need to be hiking by 6 am at the latest, you do not have time to be fussy about amenities; your need is to avoid a two hour drive before starting your hike. 

I select three campgrounds that look promising and plan to go over them with Terry before firming up any plans. I then head to Mapquest to get routes and estimated travel times established, adjusted to our slower speed while pulling a camper. It looks like the Leadville area is just over four hours from our home. A piece of cake. Allowing five to six hours for slower travel and traffic, we are in business.

Finally, at this stage of the game, I come up with several likely blocks of time for our trip. It is too soon to nail down an exact time frame as neither Ryan nor Meghan has firm plans for summer. Both are looking for paid internships in their fields; Ryan in Environmental Science and Meghan in Graphic Design. We will have to wait to see where they land before implementing our plans. Also, as I teach online classes through Kaplan University, we hold classes year round, so I will need to ensure I have internet access available to me while traveling if classes are in session the week we travel. Firmer plans will have to wait a month or two. But for now, I have the backbone of our travel plans for the summer and am optimistic that we can make it happen!

I am hoping this post has inspired you to think about your travel plans as well. If so, I would love to hear them. Who know, next year I may try planning our travels with Pinterest, as some of my colleagues have been advocating. How every you do it, happy travels!

Browse Woodall’s listings of Colorado Campgrounds.

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  1. Dave Planitzer

    Hi Diane,
    Just read your post and had a couple of comments.
    I know you like being with your family and getting together is sometimes hard.
    When we moved from Ohio to North Carolina we didn't know anyone here but we liked camping. We contacted the State Good Sam president and he put us in touch with the local chapter. We joined up with the group and been happily camping and enjoying the groups company for about 7 years now. It;s a long story but most of the group left the Chapter and started a new club. We have about 12 rigs that camp and/or socialize every month of the year now have lots of good memories. With somewhere to camp 9 months of the year it kind of sets our schedule. If there is no Chapter in the Taos area maybe you and Terry could start one. – Just a thought on my part.

    Another thought when planing a trip – The Good Sam Website has a trip planner that you might like. I prefer Streets and Trips for routing. We've three major trips with it they worked out well.

    I'm sure you will have a good year traveling in 2014 and I always look forward to your blogs.