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Today’s tips, offered by Lee Turner, were submitted as a comment to another RV Tip of The Day but we though it should be a RV Tip of the Day in it’s own right. (Edited for space by RV Tip of the Day.com)
When I first decided to try the full time RVing lifestyle I wondered what alternatives there were to the pay-by-the-night RV campsites, the monthly leases in resort areas or Federal/State Parks. I did not like (and still don’t like) the idea of being crowded in with a lot of other campers. There are some beautiful “parks” out there, and I have stayed in some of them, but I prefer my own space and privacy to “movie night” and a community swimming pool. I like to “move around” too so what was I to do?
I found through research that many state and federal parks won’t always have even basic hook ups and that you cannot use generators during certain hours. That makes sense but I love my A/C on hot nights… so what was I to do? Unless I booked with them way in advance I was probably going to have to go without hookups. Since I am a spur of the moment kind of guy making reservations just wouldn’t do.
So I bought Marianne Edwards’ boondocking guides and as the saying goes, “I took from them what I needed and I left the rest behind.” Through Marianne and her husband’s experiences I opened my own mind up to all the different possibilities available to me beyond WalMart parking lots (which I am grateful for…especially when they have a lovely view) and I discovered my own ways and places to boondock.
I find if one has a nice rig or simply keeps their older one up nicely and as long as one doesn’t pull out one’s grill and/or out door furniture (a chair or two is one thing but those tables and rugs and yard decoration…not!) that one can even “camp” within view of the White House because I have.
Places and spaces most of you might think would be off limits to folks like us are actually OK to camp in for a night or two while we rest up and take in the local scenery.
Security guards are also a boondockers best friend. I approach them before setting up camp and find that with a smile and a sincere interest in making sure they know you won’t cause them any trouble, the answer is usually a “no problem.” Offer them some fresh coffee too, when you do you’ll be amazed by how often you wake up to the most incredable views and to peaceful, quite mornings, you never imagined could be had country towns and in big cities alike. Private spaces all over the country can become public to you only if you think it through.
I have custom made, full color, laminated, “beware of the dog”, “driver too tired to proceed” and “in case of emergency phone [my area code/cell number]” signs printed up that I use in my windows when parked or away from my rig…most concerned locals will phone my cell before knocking and risking disturbing that non-existing Doberman Pincher. This gives me a moment or two to throw on my jeans and get real friendly before opening the door.
I have also had security sticks (metal broom sticks) cut in different lengths to fit all my sliding windows for those nights I don’t need the A/C or want instead to enjoying the refreshing breeze.
The reality is that most local authorities and neighborhood watch groups knock on our doors not to make us leave but to make sure we boondockers are “OK in there?”. I am rarely asked to move my rig and this is true even when I am parked in obvious (and usually posted) no overnight or anytime parking areas. Let’s face it, no one wants the “tired” driver of a 40′ anything out on the open road.
I have paid for water fill-ups and sewage/gray dumps exactly 4 times in 3 years and I spend about 300 days a year “on the road”…this can be done right and right cheaply too! Right now (as I type) I am enjoying my morning cup of “java” while looking out at a beautiful view of the Rockies and a couple of the “greens” of the Denver, Colorado Golf and Country Club; this “cul de sac” I found the other day is an out of the way and probably hardly used turn around of some sort and I have enjoyed it for free while parked in one of Denver’s highest rent zones. Today is day three but I think I am heading up into those mountains next? I have had my fill of civilization for a while.
So use your head my friends, be gracious and friendly, and keep your rig in good shape, clean and free of clutter and my guess is you will have the same enjoyable experiences boondocking as I have enjoyed these last few years. – Lee Turner
During nine years of shunpiking, (driving the back roads) Marianne Edwards and her husband have found hundreds of free campsites. In response to questions from friends and relatives, who wonder how they can afford to travel as often, as far, and for as long as they do, The Edwards’ have written a series of RV travel guidebooks they call The Frugal Shunpiker’s Guides
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