This hiking group will at times post regional and overnight adventures supported by an RV / class c motorhome with one slide-out. Our Coachmen Concord is by no means a "big rig" (24' overall length) and will not be too big for most campgrounds. Many excursions will be weekend getaways on the AT.
The RV accommodations will be used on alternate days/nights by the female hikers and then by the male hikers. On alternate nights the hikers will camp in tents or hard shells. In case of heavy rain the tents can be setup beneath the RV awning (no longer attached to motorhome - similar to using a giant tarp) or we will stay in a lodge or cabin during a severe thunderstorm.
So as to be prepared for the unexpected a vehicle which can accommodate 4 riders will be towed behind the RV in case anyone needs to be extracted from the hike or leave prematurely due to unforeseen circumstances, and will also be used to store equipment and supplies if not needed for an emergency. The vehicle will also be an integral part of our shuttle system. A Honda Pilot 4x4 will serve as a secondary vehicle with a capacity for 6 hikers and their gear. The Honda Pilot will prove very useful in reaching sections of the AT not accessible by RV. Also, a mattress from a sofa bed (folds nicely) and necessary bedding can be used to convert the Honda Pilot into a hard shell shelter.
At times we may have the RV drop us off at the trailheads and pick us up at the road crossings instead of setting up a base of operations at an RV campground. The Honda Pilot would serve as a support vehicle for scouting/reconnoitering. This option may require a trekker dedicated to only driving and securing the RV. The advantages of setting up a base camp at an RV campground (2nd & best option) are the full hook-up RV sites (unlimited water for showering), laundry facilities (RV does not have washer & dryer), night security so the RV can be left unattended but locked, Wi-Fi, swimming pool and club house, and some grocery items.
While I do not expect any financial help with the cost of gasoline (unless it hits $4.50 a gallon or higher), I would appreciate dividing equally amongst the hikers the cost of tent site rentals at an RV campground (some campgrounds have designated pads for tents). Everyone is responsible for their own food and beverages, though at times we can eat communally.
I will be using almost exclusively the book "Exploring the Appalachian Trail by RV, Sort of..." (http://www.amazon.com...) for guidance on how to plan this trip, "DeLorme Atlas and Gazatteer" for the state of Virginia, and numerous guidebooks and trail maps from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC): http://www.appalachia...
As I visualize the trips to the Appalachian Trail hikers will not be required to drive their personally owned vehicles (POVs) unless they wish to do so. The RV will have a vehicle in tow and my Honda Pilot 4X4 will be part of the convoy -- that's 3 vehicles altogether, enough to accommodate 4 - 6 hikers and all their gear, and with more than enough flexibility to react to any eventuality, e.g., some hikers may have time constraints.
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