Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: 2022 Trip Planning- Advice for Newbies
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 > 2022 Trip Planning- Advice for Newbies

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4runnerguy

Glenwood Springs, CO

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Posted: 01/02/22 11:33am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

So much to unpack here.

Part of the answer involves understanding what you do while camping. Is it camping for camping's sake, sitting around the campsite all day and enjoying the community feel of a neighborhood, or are you looking to do other activities like sightsee, hike, etc.

As far as a trip west, I'd pick an area and concentrate just on that area. No use trying to see Zion, Arches, Yellowstone and Glacier in a 4-week trip. For instance, this year we are heading to Oregon for a month. Two weeks for the southern Oregon Coast and two weeks between Bend and Crater Lake. I'm a planner, so I've already got all our reservations (six months out seems to be a common reservation date for NFS and OR state park CG's). By reserving early, I've secured beachfront and riverside locations for our campsites. Coming from Colorado, camping on the ocean is a rare experience and worth my effort to get a campsite where I can hear the waves and walk to the beach.

We also tend to camp in any one place for three or more nights. One can spend a fair amount of vacation time just setting up, packing up and moving every day, depending on how much "furniture" you bring.

That brings up another point. Some here have mentioned boondocking. But in many ways, camping in NFS and NPS CG's in the west requires a similar setup for your trailer. Few of those CG's have hookups of any kind so you rely on the utilities in your trailer. Many of those CG's do have water so you can fill your tanks as needed (I start from home with 10 gallons plus a full hot water heater). We do have solar so our batteries stay charged that way in the summer. But come fall when there's less hours of sun, we do have a Honda EU2000. Won't run an A/C but most places we camp we don't need it. But I will turn it on after we shower so Allison can use her hair dryer. Whether boondocking or dry camping, I find the biggest challenge can be to find a dump station in some more remote locations. Many NPS CG's seem to have them, but only a few NFS CG's do. I research ahead of time to know my options.

As you might surmise, we camp a lot in NFS and NPS CG's. That's because we use our trailer as a motel if you will. We're not ones to sit around our campsite, but rather use it as a home base for sightseeing, mountain biking, kayaking, hiking, etc. For instance, we'll camp in Yellowstone rather than at a CG's outside the park so we don't use so many hours of the day "commuting" to where we want to be. Sometimes I will intersperse camping at a SP every week or so just to go someplace where I can use someone else's shower and luxuriate in unlimited hot water. Aaaah!

We do appreciate the amenities of electricity and water when available. On a trip to Arkansas last spring, we stayed in COE parks where we could run our a/c on their power.

Which brings up one final point. If you haven't already done so, buy yourself an Annual Senior Pass that covers NPS, NFS, COE, BLM and other agencies. Gets you free admission to most federal parks plus 1/2 price camping in most CG's run by those agencies. A great deal for $80. For instance the camping in Arkansas and COE CG's with water and electric ran us $10 +/-. Heck of a deal.


Ken & Allison
2 Camping Cats (1 diabetic)
1996 4Runner, TRD Supercharger, Edelbrock headers
2007 Fleetwood Arcadia, Honda EU2000i
4 mountain bikes, 1 canoe, 4 tents, 8 sleeping bags, 2 backpacks
(You get the idea!)


Bob806

Ohio

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Posted: 01/03/22 11:02am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Surgtech94 wrote:

ken56 wrote:

M



Thank you. I guess I missed the battery upgrade. We just need to get out of our comfort zones of staying in state parks


Nothing wrong with you wanting to stay at state parks. Just keep in mind some of the USA's "hot spots" will be reserved well in advance (that may also be the case at many private CGs).

Personally, we tried a parking lot (Wal Mart) once, and I didn't sleep well. I'd rather be surrounded by fellow campers that are generally courteous than some crazy shoppers that fly around in a lot.

Surgtech94

Midwest

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Posted: 01/03/22 05:06pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

dieseltruckdriver wrote:

Surgtech94 wrote:

ken56 wrote:

Most RV parks set aside at least some sites for overnighters. The only reservations I make are at our destination otherwise we use the RVPARKY app to find parks on our route. It also shows gas stations and Cracker Barrels and other places. It gives you all the info you need to find an overnight park. We start looking at around 2 or 3 pm to find a place to stay. We call them and then have them hold a site with an estimated time of arrival. I have the luxury of owning my own time because I am retired so I can take as much time as I want to going somewhere.

You will find it very difficult to hold to a schedule if you try to make reservations at every park you think you might stay at...and sometimes you might lose your reservation deposit if they require one and if you don't make it.

Get better acquainted with how your RV systems work. Water pumps, slides, lights and furnaces work off of your 12 volt battery. Depending on if you have to run your furnace while you are not on shore power you will deplete that battery in one night depending on how cool it is out and frequency of running it. At some time you will have to settle for staying in a Walmart parking lot so understand how to conserve your battery. Like others have suggested, upgrade your battery to a better deep cycle marine battery with a high amp hour rating. Your air conditioner requires 110 volts to run so if it's hot out and you can't plug into a shore power source you will not have that available to use.


Thank you. I guess I missed the battery upgrade. We just need to get out of our comfort zones of staying in state parks

A better idea for you to learn how to use your trailer is to go to the place you have been going to. The difference is when you get there, pretend the water and electric are not there. Use your fresh water tank, and propane. If things go bad for you, plug in or hook up. That way your time isn't wasted and you can learn what to do next time. Actually, you can do the same thing in your driveway just to learn how to use your rv in ways you haven't before.

It may sound strange to some here, but when I pull in to a full hookup rv site, I am lost. We have only done that two or three times, and it just feels like cheating to me. 8)


We have never done full hook up camping. I watched a video on how to do full hook up camping. Lol

Surgtech94

Midwest

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Posted: 01/03/22 05:16pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thank you everyone. I really appreciate all the replies, advice and information. Any long trips we take won’t be till September, so I need to start looking and doing some planning. One place we would like to visit is Hocking HillsSP in Ohio the end of April and maybe Smokey Mountains in September

Mayor30

Pa

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Posted: 01/14/22 01:35pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It depends when and where. During summer months best to have reservations. Same on holiday weekends.We usually take our trips in spring and fall to avoid crowds. I never made reservations except for our destination. But since Covid,I make reservations at every stop. My wife always makes food up ahead of time when we're on the road. She makes pot pie,chili,ham and string beans,etc. Anything you can freeze and thaw out in the microwave. If you're 62 or over,get the lifetime Senior Pass.It gets you into any National park or historic site free. And you get half off on camping at any federal campground like Army Corps of Engineers,Forest Service,National Parks and BLM. For our trip to Texas,we have reservations at Canyon Lake which is north of San Antonia. A site that is normally $38 with water and electric is $19 and it's right on the water.

Mayor30

Pa

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Posted: 01/14/22 01:37pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Surgtech94 wrote:

Old Days wrote:

Also think about how you will charge your batteries, I like solar but a generator also works.



We don’t have solar or a generator. What do you recommend for a generator? We will have water but not a pump?

Sorry, dry camping? Is without anything?

If we have a tank of water, but no electricity we can’t run the pump. ?
Your trailer has a battery.Some have 2. As long as they're charged you can use them to run the water pump,lights etc. The only thing you need electric for is microwave and A/C. We have a Honda EU2000 generator to charge the batteries ( we have 2 )if boon docking. It is quite and efficient.

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