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Old 10-18-2014, 07:07 PM   #1
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Generator use etiquette at CGs

I'm not all that tuned up on boondocking as yet. We've done it a few times but our travels have just not yet been all that interrupted by full CGs to where we really needed to find a boondock site. So SPs and NPs have been pretty much the norm for us lately.

Well, our plans are now to be in Morro Bay area on the California central coast for the Thanksgiving week to visit with friends and pretty much every CG is full or charging $100+ per night for a spot. I had no idea RVing was so popular during TG!

I did find a few sites in the SLO county parks, listed as "primative", meaning no elec/ water/ hookups, etc. I can manage that situation by replenishing our water supply with juggs that I carry for such eventualities. But what about generator use? The places I have boondocked were so remote that gen use wasn't an issue. Or they were on the side of a major road so nobody noticed the noise.

I assume it's acceptable to run a gen at a CG during non-quiet hours (8am-10pm)? I don't have one of those new "whisper quiet" gens. But not a loud one either. I carry a Honda EU2000i for the low power stuff and a Dometic 3000 for the higher-draw stuff. Both are quiet until running the HW heater or micro, etc. We only tend to run the gen in the morning to make coffee, take showers, etc. Then in the evening to charge up the batteries. I'm only asking what is proper etiquette because I don't want to disturb my neighbors if I can help it, then again a Honda is pretty quiet.

OTOH, I can just start my 7.3L Powerstroke... that thing will drown out all gen sounds... hahaha.

Of course the following week everything seems wide open so I only need to get by for a week.

That said, I'm still studying the boondocking options in that area... though I hear there isn't much free camping in S. Cal. Any tips on boondocking in SLO / Attascadero or Morro Bay area would be appreciated.
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Old 10-18-2014, 07:15 PM   #2
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The State parks in that area will give you the hours of allowed generator use. But I can't give you the exact times. We have only used our generator once. Like you, we don't like disturbing pristine quiet areas. To me it's like a barking dog!
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Old 10-18-2014, 07:35 PM   #3
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8AM to 6PM shouldn't disturb too many people. Have a nice trip.
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Old 10-18-2014, 10:10 PM   #4
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I live in Atascadero so I may be able to shed a little light on camping.

As you have already found out almost everything around MB is booked or very expensive. Morro Bay does not allow any overnight parking in the city limits and they do enforce this.

However I see Rvs parked along hwy 41 just outside of MB. This is on a hwy but not overly busy at night. Be sure you are past the city limits sign.

There is a CG called Cerro Alto on hwy 41 going towards Atascadero. It does not have hookups and may be too small for anything over 30'. I havent been in there for many years but I am going to MB tomorrow so if I remember to I will take a look.

There is a few RV parks near Paso Robles and one near Santa Margarita Lake plus camping at SM Lake, Nacimiento Lake and Lopez Lake (Arroyo Grande).

If I can think of anything else I will chime in. I cant think of any boondocking places close to the coast. It is all prime realestate.
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Old 10-19-2014, 12:36 AM   #5
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We've stayed at Pismo Beach SB -- the North Beach area -- which is dry camping. People often run generators during the daytime hours. So no worries there.

Steve
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Old 10-19-2014, 11:39 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rvbuzz View Post
I live in Atascadero so I may be able to shed a little light on camping.

As you have already found out almost everything around MB is booked or very expensive. Morro Bay does not allow any overnight parking in the city limits and they do enforce this.

However I see Rvs parked along hwy 41 just outside of MB. This is on a hwy but not overly busy at night. Be sure you are past the city limits sign.

There is a CG called Cerro Alto on hwy 41 going towards Atascadero. It does not have hookups and may be too small for anything over 30'. I havent been in there for many years but I am going to MB tomorrow so if I remember to I will take a look.

There is a few RV parks near Paso Robles and one near Santa Margarita Lake plus camping at SM Lake, Nacimiento Lake and Lopez Lake (Arroyo Grande).

If I can think of anything else I will chime in. I cant think of any boondocking places close to the coast. It is all prime realestate.
Thanks for the info. I did get a spot at a county CG that is dry-camping/ primative spot. But it states $13.00 night for second vehicle. I'm wondering if that means they're going to charge me for my TV as well. The 40' spot for my FW is $25 a night. Not bad, considering the cost in the area, but not great considering no power, sewer or even water. Money isn't an issue for me, it's principal. If I don't feel I'm getting good value for money then I vote with my feet and move on (reason why I no longer transition through the UK when visiting Europe, their departure tax!). $13 per night to park my car in a CG, being that that is more than 50% of the price of the camping spot, seems high to me. But maybe for "2nd" car they mean a car from guests or what have you. I'll call on Monday and confirm.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveLevin View Post
We've stayed at Pismo Beach SB -- the North Beach area -- which is dry camping. People often run generators during the daytime hours. So no worries there.

Steve
Thanks Steve. I looked at Pismo. Is that the one where you drive onto the beach? Driving on the beach with a 2WD F350 and a FW sounds like a recipe for getting stuck. Lots of funny youtube vids of RVs getting pulled off that beach by wrecker drivers.

I got stuck in the sand at Long Beach, WA. Nobody would stop to help. Nice, eh? I ended up digging myself out by hand using 4 mudflaps I had on board for traction. It took me a little over 2 hrs and maybe 15 different spots I had to dig out until I got back to hard sand. All those years getting stuck in sand on Hawaii beaches when I was in highschool paid off I guess. But I should've known better than to drive a 2WD diesel dually onto a beach.
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Old 10-19-2014, 02:15 PM   #7
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There is "quiet time" and then there is "good neighbor time". In general, try to minimize generator usage - nobody went camping to hear someone else's generator droning away. What is "not too early" or "not too late" to you may be objectipnable to someone else, so be cautious about the beginning and ends of Quiet Time. Sometimes, of course, ya just gotta do what you gotta do, but think of your neighbors before hitting the Start switch. And remember that sound carries along way in quiet park, especially if near open water or desert.

Planning ahead helps. If you run an hour or two in the morning (maybe while the coffee is perking) and again in the late afternoon or early evening, you can probablyavoid late night emergency runs. Also take note of when others run their genny. If you do yours at the same time, neither of you is bothered by the other.
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Old 10-19-2014, 04:57 PM   #8
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Your best bet to answer your questions is to call the park directly.

Most parks will state their generator hours. Sometimes it's for limited hours morning and night, other times it could be all day and ending at quiet time. No two parks are alike.

The same goes for your vehicle fee. Call the park diretly for an accurate answer.
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Old 10-19-2014, 06:56 PM   #9
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Thanks Steve. I looked at Pismo. Is that the one where you drive onto the beach? Driving on the beach with a 2WD F350 and a FW sounds like a recipe for getting stuck. Lots of funny youtube vids of RVs getting pulled off that beach by wrecker drivers.
No, that's the true beach, and I don't venture there either!

The State Beach campground is broken up in two disparate areas -- one is down in Oceano, right where the entrance onto the beach is, but it's paved and for RV's the spaces have power (30 amp if I recall). However, there's less in Oceano to do, and the sites are more conventionally RV-Park with everyone not quite on top of each other... but lined up.

The "North Beach" section is up near Pismo Beach. It's right next to the full service Pismo RV park. Entirely dry camping, but the spaces are a bit farther apart. It's also not an unreasonable walk into downtown Pismo Beach, if you want to get an ice cream, have a meal, or even just need some milk from the 7-11 (again, less important if you have a car).

post Thanksgiving, you can pretty much always just show up at North Beach and get a space (it's all first-come, first served, and never full) and we often just shoot down for the weekend.

Steve
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Old 10-19-2014, 07:39 PM   #10
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I stopped by the Cerro Alto CG and no way anything bigger that 28' will work there.
Single lane road, tight spots, only one pull through, no hookups.
It is $18/night and it is pretty. Maybe has 15 spots.
Pismo is a good option.
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