Who remembers the old brain teaser: a farmer needs to get a goose, a bag of grain, and a fox across the river. (Why does a farmer have a fox? I dunno!) His boat can carry only one object besides himself across the river. If he leaves the goose and the grain, the goose will eat the grain. If he leaves the fox and the goose, the fox will eat the goose. How does he get all three safely to the other side?

It comes down to logistics.


I’ve always thought logistics are fascinating in theory. Complicated systems like air traffic control, FedEx, and assembly lines can be hypnotic. It’s all a matter of logic, right? The fastest distance between two points and all that. Well, not always. In practice, there are so many other considerations that come into play.

Here’s a current example we’re wrangling with.

Our first full-time destination is San Antonio Texas, 1,500 miles from our current home in Detroit. Roadtrippers calculates the drive as taking 21.5 hours (with no stops for fuel, food, potty, etc.). Here are the factors we are weighing when deciding how to best get our family to Texas:

  • Shawn is still employed full-time on a M-F schedule. Powering through on a long weekend would minimize his time off-work, but doesn’t allow us to see anything or anyone along the way, and is very tiring for all involved. We’d quite likely arrive tired and cranky and have to set up in the dark, then start work the next day disoriented and lacking groceries. Not ideal. Most full-time RVers recommend driving no more than 3-4 hours per day, at least not on a regular basis.
  • We are probably not going to make the trip until after Thanksgiving, so we may battle some weather-related issues on the road.
  • Likewise, I’m not sure what campground we will find still open for the season until we get way south – most campgrounds up here close on 10/31. If we’re just stopping to spend a quick night and journey on, we’d really prefer to stay in a WalMart or truck stop, anyway, and save some dough. But that means no water/power/cooking/shower either.
  • Shawn will be driving the Volvo 730 towing the 5th wheel. Maximum speed as a trucker is 65-66 mph. That increases the trip to more like 24-25 hours drive time. I also have to check our route and see if we will need to pull into any commercial weigh stations (it varies from state to state).
  • I will be driving the Nissan Juke with Elvis as a crated passenger. The Juke has only a 11-gallon gas tank and is good for around 300 miles between refueling. If we start with a full tank of gas, that’s a minimum of 4 fuel-ups to get to San Antonio.
  • Shawn has a high tolerance for driving long distances and driving at night. I do not. I tend to get very drowsy, both as a passenger and as a driver – which can be scary for all involved. So I’d prefer to keep the daily driving down to a couple of shorter 2 or 3-hour stretches.
  • I also seem to have a smaller bladder, especially when drinking caffeine to stay awake. Ergo, we will need to stop every couple of hours. Hopefully those stops can be combined with refueling somewhat.
  • An additional wrinkle — the refrigerator in the trailer is a residential model, which means that it only runs on 110-volt electricity, not propane or 12-volt power. So it will not be powered as we are driving down the road. I’d prefer not to throw out all of the food remaining in the frig. (like condiments) when we leave for TX, so that means either running the refrigerator at night off of the battery bank in the Volvo, using lots of ice, or spending the money to stay in a campground with electrical hookups.

What would you do?

Shawn had the bright idea that perhaps we do two long 6-hour stretches on the first weekend, getting us halfway to our destination. Spend the week in that area, then do the same on the following weekend. I like it! Looks like Memphis, TN will fit the bill, so I’ll see what RV parks are in the area.

It seems like every decision, every project, has multiple levels of complexity and decisions which need to be made, sometimes with insufficient information. It’s challenging and somewhat draining on our mental and emotional capacity. But we have some awesome resources in the internet and the RVing community, and we’re doing pretty well about talking through all of these issues to find the optimal solution.

And once in a while we rely on rock-paper-scissors to make a decision.  🙂

P.S. Shawn figured out the brain teaser pretty quickly. Did you?