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Old 03-02-2015, 11:51 PM   #1
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FIRST TIME BOONDOCKING with Family (one week)! HELP!

OK, my twin 4-year old daughters, my 8-year old son, and my wife and I are planning our third use of the motorhome in the past year... sad. This time, we plan to take it to beach camping in San Diego that i reserved 6+ months ago. We got 6 nights on a beach front spot. But, I am pretty sure they got nothing at the sites (no water, electric, etc.). For a night or two, this is fun, but for a week with 5 people, going to be a bit dicey I think.

Any recommendations? How do i keep from running down the batteries? If I do run them down, how do I get them recharged?

Any/all advice would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 03-02-2015, 11:57 PM   #2
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Anytime you run the generator it is charging the batteries.
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Old 03-03-2015, 12:32 AM   #3
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Typically running the generator a couple hours in the morning while prepping breakfast, and again for a couple three hours in the evening starting with dinner prep, will give you a good battery charge. Ensure you batteries are in good shape, full of water, etc. before starting the trip.

Holding tanks are usually the limiting factor for time onsite. If no hookups there may be a honey wagon service available. They come to you and dump your tanks. Else you need to move the coach to a dump station or use a blue boy portable holding tank to tote contents to a dump station.

Fresh water conservation is needed. Cuts down on filling the holding tanks as quickly as well. We use bottled water for drinking and cooking.

If it's cold at night, the furnace fan runs from the batteries and can be a substantial draw. We use a down comforter, and keep the thermostat lowest we can.

The search feature here will help to find many threads on boondocking.

Enjoy!
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Old 03-03-2015, 12:42 AM   #4
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Bottled water for drinking and cooking. The hard part will be toilet usage. Use campground toilets during the day. Use outside rv shower when possible to soap up and rinse off. Most campgrounds will have public toilets and a potable water source or they should not call it a campground. Make sure you have a full tank of gas and propane,when you go into camp. Most rv generators will not start if fuel is below 1/4. The fuel pick up tube is higher in the tank. 3-4 hrs generator use will keep the house batteries charged.
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Old 03-03-2015, 12:44 AM   #5
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The OP has ID'd the 2 biggest limiting factors for boondocking - tankage and power...

Try to get everyone to use the campground facilities (showers and toilets) as much as you can.

Since there is no mention of solar, the gennie will be needed to charge the batteries. Or you can run to Harbor Freight and get one of these:
Solar Panel Kit - Save on this 45 Watt Solar Panel Kit
We have one and can put it on the ground or the roof as desired...connected to the house batteries, replaces a lot of the gennie time needed when off the grid

Enjoy the beach...next week in San Diego is supposed to be warm with SantaAna winds (from the desert/east) so the beach will be beautiful!

Best luck
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Old 03-03-2015, 04:37 AM   #6
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Doc - You might check. If your at the Silver Strand State park, I think they upgraded the park so it now has some utilities. (electric, maybe water.

We've stayed there before they upgraded. There was a big warning that you needed to be completely self contained to stay there at night, greatpark.

There is nothing around it, so its the beach, or nothing. Also note they close and lock the gate so you need to be inside the park or you'll need to park your toad somewhere and walk in (not to far)

As for the batteries, Obviously if you have a genny, that will charge the batteries.

When I had my Toyota (no genny) I installed a remote car starter. Sometime during the day when the noise was OK, I'd hit the remote starter, the truck would start and run for about 15 minutes, then shut off. If I knew the batteries need a good charge, I'd sit in the driver seat and rev the engine a little to get more amps out of the trucks alternator.

An idling vehicle isn't optimal for charging a battery, but its better than none.

great time, I love San Diego.
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Old 03-04-2015, 10:31 AM   #7
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Thanks everyone, great comments, much appreciated. I did not think about the generator charging the batteries, but is it "rude" to run the generator with other campers around? Just curious. I realize we will have no choice, but I think I would be sad if I were in a tent next door with the RV guy running a generator.

I like the solar recharge thing, I have a harbor freight down the street and will check it out.

Thanks!
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Old 03-04-2015, 10:32 AM   #8
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Oh yeah, for location, we are at South Carlsbad beach... sounds like they are getting some hook-up sites, but for now, looks like it is indeed boondocking!
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Old 03-04-2015, 11:41 AM   #9
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Hope you have fun!


South Carlsbad SB
Campsites 214-223 and 131-134 are now designated hookup campsites.


About the gennie - at that CG, you will be about 50 yards from the Pacific Coast Highway (at that point called Carlsbad Blvd/S21)...running anything other than a construction site generator during the day would hardly be noticed.


Best luck
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Old 03-04-2015, 11:58 AM   #10
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FWIW I would not bother with the solar until I had a calibration on usage. The cook will be a lot happier with the microwave and toaster available so join the crowd and run your generator for breakfast and dinner. You need at least an hour or so both times to top off the batteries and get the convenience. If you run down a lot between charging periods then think about solar. Otherwise it's a waste of money.

One thing you might want is a Genturi type setup:

Gen-turi Generator Exhaust System - Camco 44461 - Automotive Accessories - Camping World

shop around. ;-) Gets the fumes up and out so they do not collect around the coach or in your neighbors window.
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Old 03-04-2015, 07:38 PM   #11
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what I see with 3 girls is a paper clog...
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Old 03-04-2015, 07:43 PM   #12
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we stayed here in Carlsbad last time...

Map | Paradise By the Sea
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Old 03-04-2015, 11:34 PM   #13
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You probably already know this, generator run hours are 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM. We're going to Doheny SB March 16th thru 19th, San Elijo SB April 13th thru 16th, and Refugio SB May 4th thru 8th. None have any hookups, Doheny and San Elijo have dump stations, Refugio doesn't have dump station. There's only two of us both waste tanks are 50 gals each, and carry 90 of fresh water, we use bottled water for drinking, making coffee, and cooking. We don't use the campground facilities, never filled the tanks or ran out of water. Worse case if your tanks fill up you will have to go to the dump station. I try to be courteous to the other campers when running the generator. When you walk around the campground you will hear a lot of them running where there's no hookups.
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Old 03-05-2015, 12:16 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LVRVLUVR View Post
we stayed here in Carlsbad last time...

Map | Paradise By the Sea
Stayed there December 2010 for a week. Nice resort but you can't see the ocean for the raised RR tracks. Rained everyday except for the last day. Watched the flooding in Silverado and Williams canyons on TV, while talking to coworkers trying to keep potable water system from washing away.
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