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Old 05-05-2016, 08:48 AM   #15
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Hi, I'm new to this...am giving serious thought to boondocking. I'm in Georgia, and work full time. I would be boondocking locally, with two cats. I'm trying to get an idea of how much it costs to keep a Class C cool in the Georgia summer heat (and warm in the winter). I think I would feel the most comfortable driving a Class C. If summer heat (and winter cold) got too extreme, we'd be staying in a hotel for awhile. But I'd like to be as self-sufficient as possible.

So if you've boondocked in Georgia before, with pets, could you let me know about how much $$ we're talking about (in solar, batteries, generator) to keep a/c running through each day? Are Class C's easier too keep cool than a bigger, class-A rig?

If there are ways to better insulate an RV I'd be interested to know how too. For right now I'm just trying to get an idea of the costs involved to see if I could really afford this, and if an RV could be kept sufficiently cool in summer and warm in winter with pets on board.

Thanks
Another matter that you may not have considered is Water supply and Sanitation. RV's hold a very limited supply of each. Once the tanks are empty (or full), you'll need to find more water and/or a dump station. (Discharging both grey water and black water onto the ground surface will quickly get you into trouble.)
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Old 05-05-2016, 02:33 PM   #16
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Another matter that you may not have considered is Water supply and Sanitation. RV's hold a very limited supply of each. Once the tanks are empty (or full), you'll need to find more water and/or a dump station. (Discharging both grey water and black water onto the ground surface will quickly get you into trouble.)
Yes, I already researched that, and there are two dump stations within a good distance. One can get large containers of water at places like Lowe's, Walmart, etc. ...like 5 gallon containers. Any other sources of water for boondocking...?

I read somewhere that one can direct gray water to toilets for flushing them and so conserve a bit. Is that a DIY project or do some motorhomes come with a system that does that?
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Old 05-05-2016, 02:40 PM   #17
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I have five gallon jugs that I can fill with water from sales kiosks that are in some parking lots, WalMarts, and some grocery stores. There are also some public water companies that have potable water sources you can use for very low cost to fill your RV or portable jugs.

There is a kit available that can pump gray water to the toilet for flushing.

Gray water can also be poured on plants, lawns, etc., as long as it has not gone into your RV sewage storage tanks in darned near everywhere I have boondocked so far, as long as it is poured out many hundreds of feet from a waterway, creek, lake, pond, etc. I use a basin that fits in my kitchen sink to catch the gray water for outside disposal.

There are many sewage treatment plants and other municipal or utility facilities that one can dump their RV tanks at for free around the country. Free is a pretty good price for this.
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Old 05-06-2016, 07:13 AM   #18
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There are blogs by boondockers... Such as..."Gone with the Wynns"

They find it convenient to drop into an actual RV park for a night or two from time to time to replenish fresh water, run A/C units, (still cheaper than a hotel), do laundry, etc...but they do save on their travels by boondocking when they can.

If you're working in one place and not free to travel extensively...you might consider parks that cater to long term guest. They usually offer deep discount over normal nightly or weekly rates. Some parks also meter electricity...which means you only pay for what you use. Other amenities that this will offer are very useful. Dog park, laundry facility, pool?, Picnic tables, mailroom, free wifi...

There is also a little more security...a community if you will...of neighbors looking out for one another. We stay in a place when we visit our son in Augusta, GA that have short term and long term guests. The long term guest have always made us feel welcome there.

As far as worrying about your pet...we do too. We have a freeze alarm, PhoneLynx, and old pay as you go cellphone that when hooked together make a system which will call us if the power goes out...or the temperature gets too high/low... PM me and I can send you a link to info on this. Best thing is...we can call in to check the status. If you're in a park with reliable wifi you could also install a webcam, and have a wall thermometer in view.

Lots of ways to do this...yes an RV can be a wonderful lifestyle. It can be cheaper than traditional rentals, but unlike a rental where the landlord is responsible for maintenance...you bear the responsibility for the upkeep on your coach. Tires, oil change, transmission flush, wash, wax, seal upkeep on roof fittings and Windows, replacing weathered awnings, batteries, insurance, as I'm sure you are aware.

Also...since it's a small place you have to work a bit harder to mitigate moisture damage, mold mildew, etc...because cooking, bathing, cleaning up, breathing, all release moisture into the confined space. Because of this, and I'm sure other reasons....most RV manufacturers state in their owner's manual that RVs are NOT to be used as Full Time Dwellings... We all know that their are plenty of people that make it work though.
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Old 05-06-2016, 11:39 AM   #19
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Thanks for your info! I'm lucky in that there's a Walmart, parks, a freeway interchange, and other potential parking very close to where I work. There is also at least one charging station for electric cars nearby; can one charge an RV's electrical systems through one of those?

The more I read about propane, the more I'm thinking of trying to find (or convert) a motorhome to all-electric. Solar, battery banks, generator....

I've been reading online about all-electric or hybrid gas/electric RVs but not having over $100,000 to spend on one...
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Old 05-06-2016, 12:20 PM   #20
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Thanks for your info! I'm lucky in that there's a Walmart, parks, a freeway interchange, and other potential parking very close to where I work. There is also at least one charging station for electric cars nearby; can one charge an RV's electrical systems through one of those?

The more I read about propane, the more I'm thinking of trying to find (or convert) a motorhome to all-electric. Solar, battery banks, generator....

I've been reading online about all-electric or hybrid gas/electric RVs but not having over $100,000 to spend on one...

Well your two choices for heat are propane, or an aqua-hot diesel fired system. You won't find an aqua-hot except in high end Diesel Motorhomes.

If you are going for a gas engine Motorhome, propane is your only choice for boondocking heat.

Electric car charging stations CANNOT be used for an RV. All the solar in the world won't help you heat your RV in winter....you need propane or diesel.
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Old 05-06-2016, 12:43 PM   #21
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Gray water can also be poured on plants, lawns, etc., as long as it has not gone into your RV sewage storage tanks in darned near everywhere I have boondocked so far, as long as it is poured out many hundreds of feet from a waterway, creek, lake, pond, etc. I use a basin that fits in my kitchen sink to catch the gray water for outside disposal.
Very off-topic (sorry) but semi-interestingly, most of the places I have been clearly state that this is illegal. That said, it clearly varies. I believe BLM and most NFS management areas say absolutely no but it can be confusing at times - especially with state and local laws muddying the water. I think few would argue that a little relatively clean water is not going to hurt anything but, as always, that is abused and ruined by a small group of idiots.
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Old 05-06-2016, 12:53 PM   #22
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most of the places I have been clearly state that this is illegal. That said, it clearly varies. I believe BLM and most NFS management areas say absolutely no
Every National Forest and BLM land area I have camped in has allowed for small dumping of gray water as long as it has *not* been introduced into the RVs sewage tanks. I have asked specifically at every opportunity where I have stayed and the answer was always "Yes, as long as it is captured before it gets into your sewage tank." I've been asked to limit the amount of soap I use in these situations, and I usually do anyways. I also believe it is a good practice to disperse the gray water as best as I can.

Shower drain water always goes into the tank, but dish and daily personal hygiene waste water goes onto plants or a different spot on the ground each time.

National Parks are strictly "no way, no dumping, period, full stop."

Smaller state, county, and municipal places seem to have no clue about what is legal or not, so I don't dump gray water in those places. I can find free or low cost dumps if I look hard enough.

RV parks so far have all been a strict "No", but they have sewer dumps, and I always use those in a private RV park anyways.

I've had amazing luck with being able to dump small amounts of gray water on federal public lands, again, mostly USFS and BLM lands, and not running afoul of the law, rules, and regs.
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Old 05-09-2016, 06:10 AM   #23
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I dont recall seeing anyone mention that if you are staying in a hotel because of too hot or too cold wearher make sure you have the rig prepared for those temps. You may need to vent the rig and have damp rid or winterize if in cold temps to prevent damage if you are not outfitted with heated tanks, etc.
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Old 05-09-2016, 07:18 AM   #24
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Am I the only one where this doesn't make sense???
The goal is to save money and live frugally. Yet will need to stay in hotels during hot or cold weather while living in GA. Last one I checked GA is pretty hot all summer long. And it gets pretty cold I the middle of winter.
I see this as a pretty expensive way to live.
Best of luck to ya but I'm not plugged into the thread anymore.
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Old 05-09-2016, 07:54 AM   #25
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Talk to the Boss

My oldest son talked to his boss about RVing in the back lot of his workplace. The boss loved the idea of 24/7 security and not having to come out every time the alarms went off (usually a fine after the cops show up a few times and nothing is happening). My son's boss allowed him to plug in his electric, use the break room as a kitchen and the place even had a shower. He has done that for 2 years and only recently moved into an apartment within walking distance (his RV is still set up at work). Just an idea, but it worked for him, and he saved some serious $ with no rent, utilities, etc.
I asked 'why an apartment?' and he said it's hard to pick up girls when you live behind your job in an RV.
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Old 05-09-2016, 08:42 AM   #26
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I don't know much about Atlanta. Drove through couple of times, decades ago.

But I can't imagine the rent for a studio (or one bdrm apt) would be more expensive than SoCal.

My daughter is about to "go on her own" (we are moving out of state), and she is getting small one bedroom apartment in Palm Springs for $650.- a month. This is CHEAPER than 'boondocking" in the RV! This apartment will cost less than 10K a year with all utilities included (including even hi speed internet, Netflix/cable, and the cell phone).

By the time one purchases (or God forbid finances!) a mechanically sound RV (of any decent size), puts insurance on it, fuels it, tries to keep it cool/warm, ....one WILL be well over 10K a year cost! Insurance alone could run couple grand a year (a lot of variables here!) with no tangible return. Oil changes, tires, propane, brakes, transmission service, roof maintenance, electric....things add up quickly. After all this come the "rules" (boondocking is NOT allowed everywhere!), or camp fees. If one is not in the camp, one needs to pay for dumping (I just did it yesterday, and it was 11 bucks at Flying J). My tanks are BIG, but they don't charge by the capacity of the tanks, the smaller the tanks, the more frequent is the dump (and charge). Smaller (and cheaper) RV would need to dump at least four times a month, or possibly more (40 bucks or so just for that). RV needs to be driven too (at 6-8 MPG), genset will burn gas (or diesel, or propane).......boondocking is NOT a way for a single person on the budget to live "cheaply".

Unless......there are Youtube videos about some people doing it in the vans! They work over the web (or get paid by number of clicks on Youtube), live in the minimalist way, and even with pets (I feel sorry for the pets!). Boondocking and working at the same location (any business), is not the way to go. Police knocking on the windows, turning lights off inside, and hiding from the cops.......not a good way to get a good/restful night of sleep, and be ready for work in the morning. "Workcamping" sounds cool, but the only thing one gets is "free" campsite with hook ups. One still needs to eat, have phone, pay for insurance, gas, tires, oil changes, and take care of pets. Retirement income, or whatever other "non working" income provides for that.

I have no idea what OP's income level is, but it sounds to me like she would be better off renting a small studio (from a reputable apartment complex), and get a second job if needed to cover her living expenses. If the studio is on the bus route (walking/bicycling distance) from work, ....no car, and no expenses associated with this. If the current income level covers living expenses (it seems to be doing it now), OP should get the student loan (NOT the vehicle loan!), and go to night school to change career/income level.

If I would be a young woman (like my daughter), I would have a "day job" (she works in the major hospital's business office), and in the evenings I would wait on tables (she does) at a fancy steak house, and go to school two nights a week (as she does). She wants to be forensic examiner, and is two years away from that goal.

Why "fancy steak house"? BIG checks (per table) = BIG tips (20% is customary in SoCal, most patrons tip more). Fancy steakhouse = fancy pricing, which keeps riffraff away (less harassment). She works four nights a week as a waitress, and brings home over $600 a week in tips (hospital earnings go straight into savings account). This pays for her school (and then some). She is 21 YO, drives a brand new small BMW (that she financed on her own against my advice), and doing well. We don't give her ANY money (she will inherit it all soon enough), in order to "educate" her to be self sufficient.

It CAN be done. All it takes is "Three Dees" (as I call it). Dedication, determination, and discipline.
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Old 05-09-2016, 11:35 AM   #27
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When we were in Tempe, AZ It always made me wonder when we drove by Apartments for rent for far less than we payed for a lot per month.
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Old 05-10-2016, 11:42 AM   #28
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I don't know much about Atlanta. Drove through couple of times, decades ago.

But I can't imagine the rent for a studio (or one bdrm apt) would be more expensive than SoCal.

My daughter is about to "go on her own" (we are moving out of state), and she is getting small one bedroom apartment in Palm Springs for $650.- a month. This is CHEAPER than 'boondocking" in the RV! This apartment will cost less than 10K a year with all utilities included (including even hi speed internet, Netflix/cable, and the cell phone).

By the time one purchases (or God forbid finances!) a mechanically sound RV (of any decent size), puts insurance on it, fuels it, tries to keep it cool/warm, ....one WILL be well over 10K a year cost! Insurance alone could run couple grand a year (a lot of variables here!) with no tangible return. Oil changes, tires, propane, brakes, transmission service, roof maintenance, electric....things add up quickly. After all this come the "rules" (boondocking is NOT allowed everywhere!), or camp fees. If one is not in the camp, one needs to pay for dumping (I just did it yesterday, and it was 11 bucks at Flying J). My tanks are BIG, but they don't charge by the capacity of the tanks, the smaller the tanks, the more frequent is the dump (and charge). Smaller (and cheaper) RV would need to dump at least four times a month, or possibly more (40 bucks or so just for that). RV needs to be driven too (at 6-8 MPG), genset will burn gas (or diesel, or propane).......boondocking is NOT a way for a single person on the budget to live "cheaply".

Unless......there are Youtube videos about some people doing it in the vans! They work over the web (or get paid by number of clicks on Youtube), live in the minimalist way, and even with pets (I feel sorry for the pets!). Boondocking and working at the same location (any business), is not the way to go. Police knocking on the windows, turning lights off inside, and hiding from the cops.......not a good way to get a good/restful night of sleep, and be ready for work in the morning. "Workcamping" sounds cool, but the only thing one gets is "free" campsite with hook ups. One still needs to eat, have phone, pay for insurance, gas, tires, oil changes, and take care of pets. Retirement income, or whatever other "non working" income provides for that.

I have no idea what OP's income level is, but it sounds to me like she would be better off renting a small studio (from a reputable apartment complex), and get a second job if needed to cover her living expenses. If the studio is on the bus route (walking/bicycling distance) from work, ....no car, and no expenses associated with this. If the current income level covers living expenses (it seems to be doing it now), OP should get the student loan (NOT the vehicle loan!), and go to night school to change career/income level.

If I would be a young woman (like my daughter), I would have a "day job" (she works in the major hospital's business office), and in the evenings I would wait on tables (she does) at a fancy steak house, and go to school two nights a week (as she does). She wants to be forensic examiner, and is two years away from that goal.

Why "fancy steak house"? BIG checks (per table) = BIG tips (20% is customary in SoCal, most patrons tip more). Fancy steakhouse = fancy pricing, which keeps riffraff away (less harassment). She works four nights a week as a waitress, and brings home over $600 a week in tips (hospital earnings go straight into savings account). This pays for her school (and then some). She is 21 YO, drives a brand new small BMW (that she financed on her own against my advice), and doing well. We don't give her ANY money (she will inherit it all soon enough), in order to "educate" her to be self sufficient.

It CAN be done. All it takes is "Three Dees" (as I call it). Dedication, determination, and discipline.
Here I pay $500 a month for rent on ONE ROOM in a house. I have already gone thru the reasons that is not working. A studio around here, if you can find one, costs $800 or more per month. Not including utilities. I am trying to research the actual costs of boondocking in an RV. Then I will decide for myself.

There are no words to describe how much I want a place of my own. This may be the only way.
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