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Old 07-19-2014, 09:29 PM   #15
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There's also casino camping, many casino's let you stay for free or minimal cost and some have hookups, www.casinocamper.com. There's also Cabela's, you can stay in their lots, no hookups but they have a dump and fresh water. That generator will come in handy. We also use Don Wright's Free Campground books, there's an Eastern and a Western edition, buy at Amazon. They list free and low cost campgrounds. We've found many city & county campgrounds in them. In TX, there's a park in Gaines County that's on a golf course that's $4 a night, elect & water with a dump onsite. When you are traveling through you just want a quick place to park, save your dollars for your destination where you can pay the $40 or $50 a night.

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Old 07-20-2014, 07:32 AM   #16
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If its not the location it's the amenities that get you, for instance ocean front around $70,Disney $100, stone mountain $60 generally state parks with no sewer,no tv are in the 30-40 dollar range. I think prices are reasonable considering it cost $400 or more in fuel to get there.

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Old 07-20-2014, 09:51 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by harleychief View Post
Ok here goes on a few of the questions. As far as boon docking with a 5'er it's doable depending on how much compromise you'd like to make. Most SP/NP's have no hook up spots that are less $ than full hook up. You didn't say if your 5'er is 30 or 50 amp, sometimes that makes a difference in the per night stay, and it always makes a difference with generator hook up. Walmarts/truckstops/Cracker Barrels, are all overnight options, but as you know they aren't for camping or even multiple night stays. There are websites that you can search about boondocking. I've never heard of anyone doing short term storage, but I'm sure someone out there has.
We have 30 amp. But I also have a second 30 amp hookup for the 2nd AC that the previous owner later installed, which is non-ducted. Should I ever come across a site with the option of two 30-amp poles, that may come in handy. For now the main ducted AC works even on the hottest of TX days. The cost difference I noticed in just a very small precursory search showed it wasn't much between 30 and 50 amp.

I do like the idea of the second AC as a backup though in case the main AC breaks.

Originally Posted by Gary RVRoamer View Post
As you surmise, you cannot expect to boondock anywhere you please, even on public land. Most places have land-use restrictions, even state and national forests, so make sure overnight stays are permitted. That applies to interstate rest areas too, by the way.

That said, yes you can boondock to save some bucks on campgrounds, but you are more likely to end up in a truck stop or Walmart parking lot than an idyllic retreat by a lake. There are probably more public lands available for boondocking in the Western US than the Eastern half. Many Walmarts allow overnight stays, as do many casinos, some wineries, and similar places that like to attract customers.

Here are some resources for free/cheap overnights:
Overnight RV Parking
Overnight Parking | Overnight RV Parking

Sadly, $42/night is becoming the norm for a full-hook-up campsite in a decent park. It's even higher than that in many places. If you can do without sewer, or 30A power instead of 50A, you can reduce that somewhat. And if you shop around in most areas, you will usually find some bargain places that will range anywhere from a little jewel to a dump. Caveat emptor. State and local parks are typically less expensive too.

Leaving the rig for a only couple weeks typically means you need to have power cause there is stuff in the fridge. Leaving it on an RV site is the practical, but expensive, solution to that. Some places may give you a price break if you aren't actually there, especially if you will place the rig in one of their least desirable sites. If you don't need electric power, some campgrounds have no-power sites or an "overflow" area where you can leave a rig inexpensively.

Using a generator when boondocking is a personal choice. If you choose to boondock in hot places, you will need it for a/c. And if you boondock for very long, you need to re-charge batteries as well. How often depends on the size of your battery bank and how much power you consume (do you have an inverter?)
Hey, thanks for that advice and info!

As far as leaving the rig, I'll chose a powered-off option. We'll use up most food items prior to the "shut-down" then just give away whatever is left. IMO, it's not worth paying an extra $200/ month, plus wear-and tear on systems just to save $60 in food.

I was planning on buying a cover for my FW though.

Originally Posted by PyrateSilly View Post
You may want to browse these sites:

The average campground cost we've come across was around $25 a nite. Do you have AAA? Are you prior military? Ask the campgrounds if they give a discount. Sometimes they will "find" one to give you just by you asking politely. There were some parks that were in the $45 to $65 range but those were few and far between for us.
Whoa! That's a ton on info to pour through. But I asked, right? Thanks for the links!

Yes I'm an AAA member. Thanks for the "discounts" tip. Hadn't thought of that. I wonder if AAA has a list of CGs that offer discounts?

Originally Posted by vsheetz View Post
Elks member? Many of there facilities have RV accommodations.
Nope, but that's a good reason to consider joining. Besides, Mom lives next door to the Elks club in Honolulu... always thought about joining just so I could take her to breakfast now and again when I'm there on a work trip.

Originally Posted by vsheetz View Post
Thousand Trail member? If their CG locations work fit you it can be a good savings.
Not yet, no. I was planning on joining as many memberships as made fiscally prudent sense to keep my options open and mitigate my costs. I looked into it 3 months ago when the planning started but they all start the annual membership on the day you join. So I thought I'd wait until we're closer to leaving.

Originally Posted by Bamaman View Post
That's great that you're going to get to spend the time with your children. Everyone in today's world needs to get a break from the internet, I Pads, etc.

If you're a pilot, you're going to be very detailed in your navigation. You've been given enough info above to turn you completely OCD.

On your itinerary, you should find some government lands where boondocking is allowed. I always start with a new WalMart Rand McNally Atlas every year, as it has locations of every Walmart in North America.

You should have no problem finding good locked storage facilities with security cameras, etc. They're in every town. You might want to check with campgrounds close to airports to see if they'll let you store your vehicle and fifth wheel there. They need all the income they can get.

And have a great time.
Good tips. Thanks for the ideas.

Originally Posted by pasdad1 View Post
I believe you are going to need the air conditioning most likely, so you should plan on getting that second honda generator and the parallel kit. One by itself won't run an A/C. Some solar panels would have been a good idea also if extended parking without electricity is anticipated or desired.
I'll just get another Honda for now and parallel it. I'll study the solar option once we get on the road. At this point, I'm limited on time to finish all the projects and research. If i take on one more it will delay us further. If I have to hear "Dad, you don't have to make the RV perfect!" one more time from my 7 year old son.... it's time to wrap up and get on the road. IN the past 3 weeks, I've probably done 50-60 upgrades/ improvements to make this FW as close to homely and clean as possible, both outside and inside.

Originally Posted by pasdad1 View Post
You will find this useful as well. Places to stay for FREE.

Unique RV Overnight Stops with Harvest Hosts

Attachment 68464
Thank you! I'll review it.

Originally Posted by richardcoxid View Post
Whatever time you think that you will need to see Y’stone NP you better double it!

Remember that Y’stone Park itself is about 50 miles E/W and 70 miles N/S (2.2 Mil Acres) and the Grand Loop (figure 8) road is about 140 miles around. With a 45mph speed limit (radar controlled), all the thermal attractions, the Bison think that they own the road and will sometimes back up traffic for 1/4 mile or more and the altitude (Canyon Area is 7918 ft, Old Faithful is 7365 ft and Mammoth Area is ONLY 6239 ft) it will take a full day for each loop. When walking take it easy, carry/drink lots of water as it can be very exhausting, then you will only see the highlights. If your luck is like mine I guarantee that Old Faithful will have gone off just minutes before you arrived and will have to wait about another hour and 10-15 minutes for it to go off again kill time by walking around the upper geyser basin. When you are at Old faithful be sure to go into the Old Faithful Inn and look up when inside. When in the visitor center, Inn, Snowlodge etc they will have a sign displaying approximately when the next eruption will occur (+ or – about 10/15 minutes)

We have lived about 110 miles from the West Y’stone entrance for 50 years and go there a couple of times each summer and I still haven’t seen everything yet.

When in Jackson be sure to see the Bar J Chuckwagon dinner show! I guarentee that it will be the best $ you will spend on your trip. We see them 2-4 times every summer, once already this year.
Tim, their fiddle player has won the Idaho mens fiddle championship 6 times and the US Open championship 2 times!

Bar J Chuckwagon

Discaimer- I have no fininacial or other interest in the Bar J!
You're right. We wanted more time at YNP but they didn't have it available and GT did. I'm bummed about that. Regardless, I want to have reasons to come back and see it again. So there you have it. We'll see what we can now and come back next year. Our plan is to get into this RVing thing pretty aggressively because we love touring the US but we live/ work overseas on an island in the Pacific were I'm based. When you're stuck on an island for long periods it really gives you a huge sense of appreciation for the ol' US road trip.

I've got my TX house up for sale and we sold/ gave-away just about all of our stuff (still have two boats left to sell). So we did the whole downsize thing (such a relief to have less stuff!!!), now we're waiting for the SB to sell to determine our next course of action in life. In the meantime, we'll try RVing with this used, but quite nice, BH-FW for a couple of years and use that experience to learn what we truly want in a "dream" FW.

Soooo, what I'm saying is that we'll be back to see all the NPs again and again.

Originally Posted by richardcoxid View Post
Do you have a NP Annual Pass, Golden Age Passort? if not purchase one when you enter your first NP. 1/2 price camping and free entrance etc. It is good in any NP and many other US rec. areas.
Good point! I looked into it a few months ago. I'll get one this week. I believe you have to be 55 for the Golden Age pass though (age discrimination! ). I'm still a few years from that. But the NP pass may help.

Originally Posted by Tha_Rooster View Post
If its not the location it's the amenities that get you, for instance ocean front around $70,Disney $100, stone mountain $60 generally state parks with no sewer,no tv are in the 30-40 dollar range. I think prices are reasonable considering it cost $400 or more in fuel to get there.
I guess it depends on how you look at it. I got into the whole RVing thing primarily to spend more time with my kids before they no longer want to be around their dad. But also because I absolutely loathe hotels of any kind (mostly 'cause I stay in hotels for a living). They hire the lowest paid staff they can who minimally clean. That's just something I've noticed over my years of staying in hotels for a living. Ever pull the hotel sheets off and see whats in that mattress? Or under the bed/ dressers, etc? So to me staying in an environment that I have more control of is worth the price of admission. And if the higher prices keep the crowds down a bit, that's a plus. But I guess I went into this whole thing with a different assumption about how much I would be paying per night. I assumed it would be 1/2 that of a discounted hotel room. Guess I was wrong. Oh well, like I said, it is what it is. I'll pay if I have to. We're committed to the trip, the experience, and the lifestyle. Except for the mortgage, we have no debt so we'll be fine. I'm just trying to figure out ways to mitigate expenses somewhat since we're living on savings till I go back to work. Plus I want to make sure there's plenty in the bank for the unexpected repair/ equipment breakdown.
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Old 07-20-2014, 10:08 AM   #18
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One more point is that most campgrounds offer storage for a few dollars/day. Usually not elegant but cheap. Not sure about the tow vehicle. You might find that as a viable option.
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Old 07-20-2014, 07:33 PM   #19
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If you could change your reservations in GT NP a few days, 3 miles north of the town of west Y'stone, MT, east side of the hwy is a forrest service CG named "Bakers Hole", the NP passes are good there. No hookups except a few sites in one loop have elect. with a NP pass the no hookup sites are 1/2 price and the elect sites are full price, no reservations available for any sites.

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