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Old 10-07-2016, 07:43 PM   #21
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The thread has reaffirmed for me that we all define camping differently. Honestly, I'm glad that we do because it's getting harder and harder to find what I consider to be real camping opportunities. The more people that are happy in the parking lot scenario, the better for me. I have a couple of secret spots that we camp at, but they are first come, first served deals and when you find one of those, that you love, you probably aren't going to broadcast it to the world. It would be like disclosing my best fishing hole...

For those that are ok with the 'parking lot' mode of 'camping', all I can think is when you stop by a truck stop and see all the 18 wheelers lined up with their motors running, someone is sleeping back there. Are they camping too? The definition has become so loose, I haven't figured out why some people even leave their houses, (not talking about full timers here, or overnighting in a walmart lot because you're on the road) but more power to everyone that does call that camping. I guess 'camping' just means you aren't at home, and you burned a lot of fuel to get somewhere. That isn't 'my definition' but it works for a lot of people.

The requirement to have full hookups kills your ability to have a 'real' camping experience in my opinion, and without question it severely limits your options. I have a fire going in my backyard right NOW. I wouldn't leave my house if that's all it took to be camping. I can take a 45 minute shower here, BBQ in the backyard and sleep in a king size bed without hearing generators, or as I do some weekends, pitch a tent in my own backyard and 'fake it'. If camping doesn't require getting out of our element, and experiencing the outdoors it's no longer camping, it's something else. But if that something else makes you happy, Do It. It's still a free country, at least till november.

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Old 10-09-2016, 12:12 PM   #22
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I don't think the term "camping" really involves an RV of any kind regardless of the site size or types of hook-ups involved.

I've never considered having your own bedroom, bathroom, shower, electrical system, big screen TV, refrigerator, kitchen, furnace, air conditioner and internet hook ups to be "camping".

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Old 10-09-2016, 12:49 PM   #23
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I also find this thread interesting. There is no answer to what is camping, each of us are different. Many of us may of started out "camping", tent, carry on your back everything you need camping. Then as kids come along it evolves. Kids leave and it evolves again. Now, for us, it's a mobile motel, allowing us to go places we could never do if "moteling" it.. plus we always have "our bed". I enjoy the "luxuries" we have earned over a lifetime. A shower, warm dry place, some of our "stuff" with us. We don't watch much TV, or spend much time in the RV, we enjoy a fire at night, meeting fellow campers, making new friends. After retiring we traveled two years on our Harley, pulling a pop up. It was fun and we traveled about half the country on it. But after two years, been there done that and it was time to move on. Traveled 13,000 miles the next summer (April to October) mostly in the west. Again it was time for a change, so, after visiting friends that were work kampers we thought that life style may be fun, so we work kamped for the next three years, taking this year off, to work on projects for our kids, replacing windows etc. Next year we will once again work kamp, we enjoy getting to spend 4 - 6 months in a location and really get to experience it. None of us are promised a tomorrow, we try to be flexible and willing to try new things, including changing what our definition of "camping" is.. Or Glamping as we do now.

And when it's time to hang the keys up and stay home, we will enjoy the memories and friendships we have made along the way while "camping".

It's a great life in a great country where we can all agree to disagree on what is the "ideal" campground or camping experience. But what brings us all together is the love to get out and see this beautiful land while we can. Makes no difference how you do it, just that you DO IT.

And the winter allows us to search and plan the next great adventure, sharing our experiences with other like minded folks.

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Old 10-09-2016, 12:50 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Baronent View Post
Hello all. We are about 2 months into our new trailer (1st trailer ever). Loving it obviously.

In 1.5 months, we have taken the trailer out about 6 times. One thing I am learning, is that I am not a big fan of the "parking lot" type places. Since we are new at this and do not feel "ready" to venture away from full hookups just yet, is it true that 95% of the places with hookups are like parking lots? We are in Nevada and I have found only one place (an hour away) that was incredible, and not at all like a parking lot. The others? Parking lots. Ugh.

My question is this. Is there a website that I have yet to find that only shows non "parking lot" type places? I have been on the Good Sam website and it takes forever to filter through RV "resorts" to see photos and such of each place. I have scoured the internet for places within 3 hours of us. I want to avoid parking lots, and it appears that is not an easy task.

Anyone have any experience getting away from the parking lots and having full hookups?

Thanks for your time.
Due to the nature of building RV parks with full-hookups and the costs involved it's much easier to design them in "parking lot" fashion, rather than loops and seclusion. It costs a lot to build and maintain an RV park and the more they can pack in the more money they can make.

You just need to explore more. I'm not sure where you came up with 95% number because it's a known fact that it's really only 93.6%

Many of our State Parks here in WA have some full hookup sites but they are nearly impossible to get into on a walk-in basis without a reservation and are booked month's to years in advance, if you want anything more than just a one night stay. There are always a few sites that are no reservable, but my problem with those are that it's a long drive to commit to not knowing if the spot is acceptable or not and there is nothing nearby to have as a backup plan should it not work out.

When we travel we are constantly on the lookout for something new and whenever we spot something we write it down in our travel log and then check it out further on the internet or woodalls guide at a later time. At one point we had a printed map that we would mark possible future locations on, but this was decades ago when we didn't have the internet to guide us.

Another good resource is talking to the snowbirds / full-timers you run into when your camping. They typically know the good places to stay.

Good luck finding the spots you enjoy. I'm sure with a little planning you will find what your looking for. There are two other good RV forum that are not brand specific. Join them and put up a "I'm headed to this area - Here's what I'm looking for" post and I have no doubt you can find things that appeal to you.
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Old 10-09-2016, 02:11 PM   #25
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Look back 5 years and there were a lot more campgrounds with available spaces. Now the RV industry is pumping out about 1/2Million new RV's a year, those sites are even getting fewer and fewer and fewer. Try getting state park sites in south FL in the winter for a week or 2.. luck is the name of the game. I75 looks like an RV caravan heading south at times in Oct and Nov.

Then we have the new version of camping which is Glamping... you want all the luxuries of a top of the line hotel in a small box and be out in a forest with electric, water, cell service, sewer, Wi-Fi, 50" Tv, surround sound. Those that get out for a weekend usually pick the holiday weekends, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day.. those are probably the worst days to try and get a decent spot... the CG's are mostly booked solid on those weekends.

As I mentioned earlier we will all need to learn how to dry-camp, and give up some of those luxuries (a lot of the CG's in Colorado a few years ago were banning generators, or cutting down on time of use) as we will probably be looking for any spot available in some woods in the mountains (nothing wrong with that) as all the good CG spots will be hard to come by.

I see that there are a lot more people that are converting to Seasonal sites, because trying to locate good spots in the prime CG's is more difficult, and with the aging campers (glamping group), one may not feel like towing a 30' TT or large RV. The seasonal spots allow you to interact with the short term campers on a daily basis. Those sites should be monitored by the CG so that they do not become a dumping ground under them or around them. Maybe, in the future (like in parts of FL) you will be required to remove your TT/RV from the site for 30 days or the CG will lose their ability to be called a CG.

Like everything else... we are running out of fresh water... and easy to get sites for cheap, taxes are going to be killing some of the close in CG's, but worst of all we are running out of GREAT camping sites.

Now with that being said, I met a couple this summer that have dumped the corporate world positions they had and have a 40' RV and are traveling around the US looking for a CG to purchase. They were leaving the GA mountains and heading to Missouri to check out a place on the Lake of the Ozarks. We need more younger people to get out there and construct some new CG's in good locations for our future campers and US older ones.

One other item that is taking up CG sites is that some of the CG's are putting "Tiny Houses" on their RV lots to accommodate people that do not own RV's, may be good but there were a lot more this year than last... less spots for RV's.

Well that is all for now as I have to crank up my Tv with surround sound, surf the net, get a cold one out of the outside fridge, heat the cheese dip in the microwave while I call my kids to see how they are doing, AHHHHH you have to love SOLAR, battery is at 13.5VDC.

Just my thoughts,

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Old 10-09-2016, 02:43 PM   #26
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We only stayed in the "parking lot" places going in a trip or coming back, mostly coming back. We typically spent two days on the road to get to Colorado from Texas. Once we got to the Forest Service CG we got set up and stayed the max 14 days in one spot. Coleman stove and everything needed for cooking was done at the table with a cover we brought from home. We always carried 4 metal buckets for water. That was used at the table for cooking, cleaning, etc. We also hauled water in those buckets for showers to fill the trailer tank. Needless to say we didn't have a shower every day, mostly just a wipe down. Only lit the water heater when we were taking showers, otherwise it was off. Did get a shower if we were going into town. Once I got passed 12 or 13 I don't think I have EVER used the toilet in the trailer. If I had to go during the night I put my boots on and went to the campground toilet (even back when it was just a pit toilet). We only turned the lights on long enough to get dressed and into bed. If a person wanted to read, well it was a flashlight or the battery lanterns we take. We have a furnace it we turned that on just long enough to knock off the chill and then shut it off.

I think we ended up having to charge the battery one time in 14 days. Usually used a bottle and a 1/4 or so of propane and had to totally fill the water tank once or twice. 4 or 5 people in the trailer. This is over a 14 day period. It can be done, just have to be careful with your resources.
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Old 10-09-2016, 03:55 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by RedHorse1 View Post
Look into RV Park Reviews - Trusted Reviews of Campgrounds & RV Parks

It's my go-to reference for picking parks. Allstays app for smart phones is good for locating parks in an area, it also provides links to the above. Abt $10 IIRC.
I also refer to Allstays - great app. You can filter by what kind of campground you want - state park, independent, type hookups and so much other information about the route there etc. Then you can read the reviews. You can also do a satellite view of the campground to get a good idea how close the sites are. This is the best $10 you will ever spend. If you are researching/planning a trip just go online to their site as it is a little easier to read and map out than on the iPhone.

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Old 10-10-2016, 02:48 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by chesterBurnet View Post
Very interesting post as I am very disappointed in most of the camp grounds I've seen. We live in Massachusetts and the state parks are nice. That being said, we prefer to have water and electric but can live without sewer if we have to. There are a few gems among the private camp grounds but they are hard to find. I want to be in a place that has some beautiful scenery, wooded, a little privacy and is not slobbed up by the seasonals. It seems that the majority of private parks are filled with seasonals and they mostly turn the places into a dump with stuff piled up, crappy decks, screen houses, astro turf, toys and garbage. Usually about 1/2 of the trailers have been left to rot or are abandoned or at very least the roofs are covered with 5 to 20 years of dirt and leaves. Usually there is an RV graveyard / junk pile somewhere in the park where they do finally put the dead and abandoned trailers. Hard and loud partyers are also a large part of the seasonal people.

Then as this original post starts out, there are the parking lot camp grounds. I agree, there's no appeal to these for us. Now the newest trend seems to be "resorts". Everyone wants to be a resort so they can nail you for $100 a night and more. They also want to nickel and dime you to death. In some it's like camping on a golf course or a cemetery without the grave stones, but even worse, others it's just a mediocre camp ground that charges way to much. Some have been bought by the resort companies and promise that soon they'll be spectacular but still are ratty and but with resort in the name, they feel they can now charge $100 a night. I'm not a back packer / tent camper (although I think that the tenters are way cool) but geez...sitting around an olympic swimming pool sipping pinacoladas and spending all of your time in your rolling luxury skyscraper? Why not just actually go to a real resort in the Bahamas or Acapulco.

I can't really find any websites or publications in which the reviews are even relevant to what we enjoy. The more resort-like the better the rating. Simple, pretty rustic natural sites with less amusements is the worst rating. Never a word about a place being 99% seasonal either or calling a dump a dump.

As I said, I'd be very interested in others opinions. I've stopped to look at probably 150 - 200 campgrounds in the northeast and I'd be hard pressed to name 10 that were just a nice place with full or partial hookup that I want to visit.

By the way, I've been called a curmudgeon
Have you camped at Shady Knoll in Brewster? It's simple ,rustic with less amusements AND highly rated. They are particular about seasonal trailer conditions. They don't allow seasonals to slop up their sites either. They close today for the season, but I highly recommend you check it out if you get a chance.
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Old 10-11-2016, 10:44 AM   #29
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I have really enjoyed reading all the comments here. Thanks for that. It seems I am somewhere in the middle in terms of wants and needs. I want to be comfortable, but in a non parking lot setting, so I must learn how to do without hookups.
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Old 10-11-2016, 10:50 AM   #30
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Interesting conversation. I have to second (or twelvth) the idea that camping is in the eye of the beholder. I was a Boy Scout back in the day, and my family has always tent camped. My son is a Boy Scout now, and we recently bought our first RV. He keeps saying that "going out in that camper is not camping". Unfortunately, he heard us saying that over and over again through the years, and is now repeating it. I don't really disagree, so we just say he's right, and we're doing something different now because my wife and I are getting older and don't want to sleep on the ground anymore or bother with setting up tents.

With all this said, because we were tent campers for years and years, we don't care for the style of most KOA and other private campgrounds. If that's what you like -- good for you. That's why they make different flavors of ice cream. But, when we first got the camper we immediately learned that state parks were the way we would go.

Being our first trip out, I thought it would be smart to go to the KOA that's about 20 minutes away from our house, since it's so close in case we have a problem. I booked the site, and we had our plan. I'd never been there before, though, so while I was in the area the day after booking, I checked it out. My son was in the car, and we were both completely grossed out. It was indeed a parking lot. There were people who lived there long-term with a bunch of junk laying around their skirted and decked RVs, and the sites were practically on top of each other. When I got home, I canceled the reservation and booked at a state park that we've tent camped in before. It's only 45 minutes away, so it's no big deal. We already knew that most of the sites had electric and water, and since we've never had a sewer hookup, we don't miss it. We had a great time while we were out, and had no major problems.

We're hitting a different state park in a couple of weeks, and are going to try to hit another one before the camper needs to be weatherized. We will likely take it out even after it's weatherized, and just tote water with us. Coming from a tent camping background, having a big water jug on the table for drinking and cleaning is no big deal. And, we'll still have proper beds and heat if necessary.

I have a good friend with a fifth wheel who never goes to state parks, mainly because he thinks there aren't a lot of sites that would fit his rig (he's wrong) but also because he won't give up his sewer connection. That's fine for him and I don't judge him. It's just not our thing. At some point we'll probably hit a KOA or something like it, but I'm going to be extremely picky about it.

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