We are all on the road for different reasons, some of us are on vacation, some retired, some working still….and with that we all have different budgets, BUT the one thing we all have in common is the need to find places to lay our heads at night!
I fall in the “still working” category and I’m on a budget for sure. When I first hit the road I looked at my rent and figured out what I pay per day to live in my apartment in Boulder, CO and used that as a sorta guideline, my goal was to save money on “rent”, but it’s not cheap to camp these days! Spending most of my time in CA and OR the average price to camp at a State Park is $35….so, thats around $1,050 per month, and if you stay in RV Parks its much more, and over time that can really add up, especially if you travel full time. For me its balance between roughing, finding those cheaper or free places to camp and spending the money for a nice place to camp. I have to admit I find joy when I find free camping or say “my average stay for a week was about $7”!!
When it’s time to find camping here are some of the places online I look at and the process I use….hope some of this you find useful.
I first start by starting a “my maps” map on google. I’ll mark the places to want see and explore. Those usually are State Parks and National Parks, wanting to be close to hikes or other nature related things (camping on the beach ect.) and towns and want to visit.
Then I’ll move onto camp sites…I start by looking for free camping….cheap next, followed by State Parks to RV Parks and add those to “my map” as I find them….I don't stay in many RV Parks, more because I look space and trees, but I gotta fill with water and empty the tanks….and sometimes I just want cable TV to watch game or a nice shower!!
So, where do I find these places? Here are my go to sites
http://www.freecampgrounds.com -Great resource, many of the locations are out there, in the woods and such so plan accordingly. They list free and very cheap options. If you have a van or smaller camper this is especially a great resource….be sure to read the reviews of the posts and ALWAYS do research on the spot….anyone can post and some people post pull off and stuff that’s not safe, or are not really camp “sites” at all….and if you have a big rig, think about using google earth to look at the terrain
http://www.casinocamper.com - Casinos are the best!! Most offer free to cheap places to dry camp from anywhere from 1, 3 to 7 nights….check out each casino’s website as well about rules and regulations…..here are a few of my favorites
Cher-Ae Heights Casino - Trinidad, CA - One of the best views you can find….a 50 yard walk from the parking lot is a cliff overlooking the ocean….Just beautiful, and a quick drive to town and the State Park…$20 for 3 nights
View from Cher-Ae Heights Casino
Quinault Beach Resort and Casino - Ocean Shores, WA - They have a huge parking lot just for RVs thats hidden away, people can put their chairs out to relax…You can hear the ocean from your home and its a 5 minute walk to the beach….$10 on weekends and $5 during the week
Mill Casino - North Bend, OR - Not a huge fan of the town but its close to some awesome State Parks. The Casino is nice, there is a RV Park there but you can dry camp in the lot for $15 a night, use their bathrooms, showers and laundry. You can access free WIFI from outside of the casino and they have some good, cheap food options (as most of them do)
View from coast hike near Mill Casino
I have stayed at casinos for free in Florence, OR, Pendleton, OR, Oroville, CA and Palm Springs…among others
3 .https://harvesthosts.com - $40 a year gets you access to farms, wineries and other cool places….they do ask you to purchase something….but $30 for camping, a bottle of wine and wonderful experience is worth it
Winery in Northern CA....Harvest Host location
4. “Google” Ski Resorts in the area you want to stay - Ski resorts usually offers free to cheap parking in the summer months….I’v stayed at Ski resorts in Taos, Lake Tahoe and Bend
5. ONP Walmart phone app - Phone app that lists the Walmart's and people can comment on their visits, the free camping site lists many Walmart's too….again, do your research as not all Walmart's allow overnight parking
6. Trucker Path phone app - List truck stops, Walmart's and other places to overnight park…good when your in a bind or just need a place to sleep for a few hours
7. http://www.rvparkreviews.com/ - When i google RV Parks and camping this site comes up a lot and provides good info for all kind of camping options
8. “Google” “Fairgrounds” - many fairground have camping options when there is not an event going on. I have stayed at fairgrounds in Eureka, CA, Booneville, CA and Ontario, OR
9. BLM Land - great place to boondock but I have not found a good resource….I usually find these spots by being in the area and talking with other travels. One of the best places I have ever camped is in the Alabama HIlls, which is BLM land and free. There is also a BLM campground nearby for $5 night with drinking water, restroom and I got almost full bars of feel service
Alabama Hills in CA, BLM Land
10. And lastly word of mouth - meeting and chatting with other travels you will learn all kinds of cool stuff
I always make sure I have a Plan A and Plan B, just in case something does not work out
After that I just Google parks in the area I want to go and read the reviews….If i’m going to stay at a RV Park I do want the review to be good…hope they have trees and some space and if I get greedy a hot tub : )
*If anyone can add to the list don't be afraid to comment
Last year we celebrated our 10th year in business manufacturing and selling RV awnings. Looking back on all the success, some failures, all the wonderful people and businesses we have met we all know how lucky we are, and this is where we belong.
We started kicking around an idea to further connect our community of RV businesses and all the people who support us all. We fully believe in community and even more so from our travels and being is business for 10 years, believe in the RV community.
So, we decided to launch the Tough Top Community! It's simple in nature, we want a place were RV businesses and organizations can promote themselves and introduce themselves to the RV world, and we want a place all of YOU can meet these businesses, connect with them and receive consistent information as well.....under one roof.
We are new and need all the help we can get....We are very forntute to have a few well established businesses believe in our idea and join us. Please take a look at the Community, let us know what you think....But more importantly share with others, connect with the Community businesses and help us make this a powerful tool in the RV industry.
We at Tough Top Awnings thanks you in advance for your help and look forward to grow the community.
We are excited for the holiday season, but want to keep the excitement going through the New Year! We will be in Quartzite in Jan. for the RV Show with our friends the RVgeeks, and offering a 10% discount starting now and running till the end of the show.
Are you thinking about adding a solar system in your RV or motorhome?
Here are 5 simple things to get you thinking…
1. Budget - It seems things always begin and end with money…. but if you set a budget for yourself it will help you decided where to put that money.
2. Wattage - Its tough to figure out how many watts you will need, that might take some research, depends on the number of people, and it your wanting to keep the same lifestyle as if you were at home. Think about ways to save on energy….solar powered lights along with LED lights, an inverter the plugs into lighter to charge computer and devices…maybe even a french press to replace your coffee maker. Usually it's about a dollar a watt.
3. Type of batteries - there are many types to choose from, I’m no expert, We went with hight quality solar batteries….here is a link the might help
4. Where will the panels go? - Solar is all about efficiency….and RVing is all about using your space wisely….having panels on the ground allow you to move them around and point toward the sun, but you need to store them somewhere. If you mount them on your roof, they will be stored and out of the way…and will be changing whenever the sun is out….even while your on the road!
5. Controller - In my option the most important part of your system. Hence the name, it controls the energy coming in from the panels and keeps your batteries properly fed and safe for the long term.
There is a lot to think about, not to mention all the wiring you will need as well. But when done right it makes for an amazing way to travel….and being self-efficient is great for the environment.
The summer season is here again. All of us at Tough Top Awnings hope you have a great summer.
We will have two new videos on awning installation soon that you can see on the Tough Top Awnings website and the RV Geeks You Tube page. To see the RV Geek You Tube page click here
We already have some of the best RV Awning installation videos on the web so check them out. Previous videos are: Patio (Main) awning installation, A&E slide out installation and Carefree slide out installation. See all our videos here
With summer fast approaching here are a few jokes to get you thinking about summer RVing!!
A couple from Iowa decided to go to Florida to thaw out during one particularly icy winter. They planned to stay at the very same RV park where they spent their 15th wedding anniversary a decade earlier. Because of hectic schedules, it was difficult to coordinate their travel dates. So, the husband left Iowa alone with their fifth wheel trailer. His wife would fly to join him the day after his arrival.
The husband checked into the RV park. To his surprise and delight there was a cyber cafe next to the recreation room, so he decided to send an e-mail to his wife. However, in doing so, he accidentally mis-typed one letter in her email address
Meanwhile, somewhere in Houston, a widow had just returned home from her husband's funeral. He was a minister of many years who had died of a sudden heart attack. The widow decided to check her email, expecting messages from relatives and friends. After reading the first message, she fainted. The widow's son rushed into the room, found his mother on the floor and saw the message on the computer screen:
To: My Loving Wife Subject: I've Arrived I know you're surprised to hear from me. They have computers here now and you are allowed to send e-mails to your loved ones. I've just arrived and have been checked in. I see that everything has been prepared for your arrival tomorrow. I look forward to seeing you then. Hope your journey is as uneventful as mine was. P.S. Sure is hot down here!
HIS WISH WAS GRANTED
There was an RVer named Art from Portland, Oregon who stumbled upon a Genie in a bottle who granted him one wish. Art said, “I want to explore the big island of Hawaii I my motor home, but I can’t afford to send it there by ship. So my wish is that you build a road from the coast of Oregon to Hawaii. The Genie replied, “I’m sorry, but that is too difficult. The length and the depth of the ocean would make that task impossible even for a Genie like me. So you must make another wish.” Art quickly replied, “Okay, I never could understand women. I want to know “how do they think and what do they really want?” The Genie paused for a moment, deep in though, and then replied, “Do you want that two lanes or four?”
The entire Tough Top Awning family thanks you all for your continued support and business over the years!