Monday, December 24, 2007

RV Camping makes their Escape!

FINALLY, the day has arrived! Goodbyes have been said to family and friends and we're off! It's so gr8 to be driving away from Denver and all the traffic, noise, and dirty air!

OOPS....reality check! We are headed for the Flying J truck stop to use their dump station and fill up with propane. The last two months in Colorado have cost us a small fortune in propane between our RV's furnace and the Catalytic heater.

Brian and I always say it's going to be an hour at the Flying J, no matter if it's fueling up, dumping and filling tanks, getting propane, or having the buffet. Today is no exception! I make 3, yes 3! separate trips into the truck stop to stand in line and request propane assistance. I have talked to the manager twice and a stressed out gal once both claiming someone is on his way to help us.

When the propane guy FINALLY shows up, he's not friendly, and now he's going to be overworked too since an additional two motor homes have gotten into the line behind Gozer! AW shucks!

Brian had a dental appointment this morning, which put us some behind in leaving town, and now this! Clock says 12:15 by the time we actually leave the city limits. Our 5 hour drive ahead of us, we keep pushing for our destination. About dark, our dash lights go out.....flickering off and on--we'll just keep up with the traffic and hope we're going about the right speed.

We pull into the town RV park, and a pristine setting with about 4 inches of snow! Our "sled" Gozer does us proud again today, and is almost ready to take a long winters nap. Our traveling days are going to be coming to an end for a while, as we're putting down some roots.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

RV Camping, still snowing, and whaddya mean the furnace isn't working?

So, we are STILL stuck in Colorado, and the term STUCK may become more of a noun than a verb pretty soon! We are in a lovely neighborhood, but the fact that it continues to snow might create some more problems for us. We are parked in a friend's backyard, and we're faced toward the gate-prepared to make our escape as soon as the weather breaks! Only thing is, the gate is on the north side and the snow is piling up on the other side of it!

Brian and I did clear the snow from the last snowstorm, and probably should have driven out of here yesterday before the storm moved in. But we had other problems yesterday!

Our furnace doesn't like cold weather, and had been making a noise off and on like a "Viking Horn" for a couple of days. We had heard this noise before, 2 years ago when we also ended up in Colorado and had to use the furnace in extreme cold. But this time it was going to force us to get it fixed since we couldn't use it for heat and the temperature was forcast to be 16 degrees! It wouldn't come on during the night and we woke up to a frozen water pump......not good! It does heat our basement, so crucial to keeping things warm and working!

Brian does a gr8 job of keeping our mobile house rolling, having fixed our generator, solar electric system and inverter, replacing burned out boards in our fridge, splicing new power for our "shore" power, rewiring our never worked since we got Gozer headlights so we can travel at night, should I stop now or keep on listing? I hope you got the idea that Brian is extremely handy and a good trouble shooter, and we could NEVER have spent 5 years on the road otherwise!

He did take a look at the furnace enough to figure out it was the blower moter, but that wasn't something he felt comfortable diving into when it's below freezing. Thanks to the power of the Internet we found a place that would come out to work on our rig! Mile High Mobile RV showed up about 5:30, had all the right tools to dissasemble and reinstall our new blower moter, all in about an hour! Thank God for Charlie!

SO.......here we sit watching it snow.......$240 less bucks in our wallet. If only we were in Arizona, we'd have that $240 and not have to worry about running the heat, never to know we had a problem! Ignorance is bliss!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

RV Camping in the Snow!

Oh Joy, here we are again......Snowy Colorado!

Brian and I differ drastically in our feelings about snow. Brian sees snow, gets excited, wants to drive the Jeep around and pull people out of the ditch for fun! I see snow and I turn into a pumpkin! I would be okay NEVER seeing another snowflake, other than on a Christmas card!

I have shoveled enough snow in my past life in Colorado, to be content never having to lift another pile of it! Also slid, slipped, fell, and hurt myself in in process of trying to navigate around on something that should best be avoided--black ice!

Today the "high" temperature was predicted to be 30, and same for tomorrow. Nighttime lows are in the lower teens. Thank God for our electrical plug (for the electric blanket), our RV catalytic heater, and Casey for providing a "one dog night"!

As we watch a re-run of Denver's Parade of Lights, the annual lighting ceremony for the Denver City and Country Building, we laughed to think about the times we actually braved the cold and went to the parade in person! We froze out there, and no quantity of peppermint schnapps and hot chocolate could change that.

Today was "Cookie Day" at my folks place--an annual event for us girls and Mom to get together and make all sorts of Christmas goodies to share for the holidays. Dad made elk chili and we enjoyed the fellowship of being together at a time we are usually in Sunny Arizona. I have to admit it's been nice to be around family, but once the snow and cold starts, I have a hard time being this far north.

My idea of heaven would be a desert campsite with some mature saguaro, miles of country to walk with Casey and Brian, and a frosty beverage in the shade of the motorhome! Also no visable neighbors would be a bonus! Us modern day hermits still fantisize about that perfect campsite, especially as the time passes and the possibility of us being on the road may be in sight!

Friday, December 7, 2007

RV Camping battles the cold, and man's best friend?

As we are still being held hostage by Brian's dental work, our minds wander often to the desert Southwest and warmer temperatures. Colorado is NOT our choice for the winter months, and our propane costs have escalated as the temperatures drop.

We have made a purchase that seems to be a life saver, an electric blanket with dual controls! We turn it on a few minutes before climbing into bed, and it really does the job! We are sleeping comfortably warm, and our dog Casey loves it too! No more mounds of blankets, only to still slide into the freezing cold sheets! It's wonderful!

We are still "camping" in the midst of town, and getting good walks in for us and our dog is really a chore. We are in a lovely neighborhood and there are no sidewalks (which is part of the beauty of the area) but then you have to dodge the traffic to get some exercise. I have a usual route that I travel each morning with Casey, and it even has a trash can to deposit our "goods". Lots of barking dogs, but they are all fenced or in their homes. For some reason I figured an extra walk would be good, and set out about 4pm. We were having a nice, sunny day (prior to the current cold front) and we were almost home with just one more block in front of us, when a black dog came running towards us! It had a collar but no human attached to it. It attacked Casey, rolling him on his back and biting on his neck! It was growling and snarling, Casey was wimpering, and I was screaming! I tried kicking the other dog, but it snapped at my leg and kept biting and chewing on Casey. A good Samaritan, Randy-in a burgundy Toyota pickup-stopped to help and managed to get the dogs separated and kept the other dog from Casey. It kept circling us, and wanting to attack Casey again. Another neighbor came out and said the local dog catcher had been trying to catch the loose dog for over an hour. I said "well, I have the bait here now (Casey) why don't you call the dog catcher again?" Cell phones were created for just such times, and two dog catcher's showed up within about 5 minutes. This whole time the agressive Akita kept trying to get to Casey, and we 3 spent our time chatting and trying to keep Casey from acquiring any more dog "jewelery". Apparently the dog lives right where he was attacking us, but his owner is an elderly lady and the dog gets away from her often. The dog catcher's even knew where the dog belonged!

This made me crave the solitude of our lives alone in the desert even more, and wondering how soon we'll be away from the sprawl, noise, and irresponsible pet owners? If a dog is too much for someone to handle, perhaps they need to make a decision regarding the safety issues for themselves and others? When you live in a community you need to be aware that your actions, or lack of them, affect your neighbors-no matter who they may be. It's the same way when we're dispersed camping out by ourselves, we have a responsibility to leave our campsite better than we found it so the folks that come after us can enjoy it as well.

Remember that every action has a reaction, and we CAN chose to make it a positive one!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

City Stuck

We're still stuck in the city waiting for Brian's dental work to wrap up. This has been a recurring issue for us over the years since he had cancer radiation therapy, but usually we've not had a problem that required extensive time durations between procedures.

Being in Denver this long, we get to visit family more than we probably should, and we've been dealing with temperatures in the low teens so keeping things thawed in Gozer has been a challenge too. I know people pack bales of straw around their RV for winter camping, and we would too if we thought we were going to be here much longer.

We are using our vent less propane heater a lot, but at least we get some passive solar heating in the RV as most Denver days are clear. We've only had to pull out of our parking space once for propane in the motor homes main tank since we left California. Dang...sure seems like we left California a lot longer ago than mid October.

RV Camping Home

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

RV Camping-Fools for the City

So here we are, still in Colorado and camped amongst 3,000,000 of our neighbors. Don't get me wrong, we have a wonderful place to park at a friend's place, but it's not our idea of a typical RV camping site.

While we've been here in Denver, we've been reminded all too frequently of the things we don't miss about city life. So much traffic and sprawl, that we are getting a little desperate for our usual solitude and about 2,999,998 less people!

Being this far north in November is making me nervous, and thinking about years we lived here previously doesn't ease my fears. Once the snow starts we'll be limited with our travel plans, and we really prefer to travel when we want too, not when we can.

Finding a dump station here is a bit of a problem too, with many being seasonal and closing once there is a danger of freezing temperatures for water stations. Not easy and accessable like Southern California or Arizona, where you don't have to worry about hunting down a "dumperoony".

We will continue to camp out in the big city, and anxiously await our exit from "civilization"!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

RV Camping Herd Mentality

It's been a heck of a week for us. Started a week ago when Brian developed a nasty dental nightmare. To make a long story short, we had to make a run to Denver for emergency oral surgery, and camped a couple nights in Chatfield State Park.

Now Chatfield is a nice park, and we like the way the campsites are spaced for the most part. This time of year, there are few campers, and in the camping loop which closes tomorrow, there are only 2 RVs in the entire campground. Us, and a guy that pulled in across the road from us.

I find it a bit amusing that here is an entire campground, and the guy decides he wants to camp next to us. We've had this happen on public lands where there was nobody for miles until somebody decided they wanted to camp close enough to get to know us. I think this has more to do with herd mentality than anything else.

RVers very often tend to "herd" themselves into campgrounds, long term visitor areas, or what-have-you, because that is their choice for safety, social interaction, or they don't know better. It's not only RVers either. Drive down a remote freeway at the speed limit and observe the cars passing. You will certainly see a "herd" of 3 or 4 vehicles traveling around the same excessive speed. Is it safety in numbers?

Am I complaining about people infringing on my camping location? Not at all. After all...public means public, and if you choose to camp right next to me that is your choice. It's also my prerogative to pack up and move if you do.

Campsite Of The Month - RV Camping shows you a free RV camping location near Badlands National Park. Location maps, directions, campsite description, and photos.

RV Camping Home

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Customer Service - Different Drums

First off I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that the Horton Creek campground camphost site has had the shredded tent removed and the site is neat and tidy. The fee tube has also been emptied. I may have been premature in my comment about the host site as the wind we had last night would certainly change a campsites appearance. Wind gusts to around 90 mph will do that.

Yesterday was a beautiful day, and we explored a bit into the Sierra Nevada to Lake Sabrina. SR168 is quite steep as it leaves Bishop and winds into the mountains. There are numerous forest service campgrounds, but we didn't see any campsites that called our name. The campgrounds for the most part are near the road, and are in a narrow valley. Numerous pullouts along the road afford anglers good access to the stream, and fish & wildlife was stocking Lake Sabrina when we arrived. The scenery is pretty good as you can see...

Oops...back on topic. After enjoying the the lovely scenery, we headed into town to get a few supplies, and fill our small 20 lb propane tank that we use for our ventless heater. Getting supplies was no problem, but getting propane turned into a comedy episode from the "Customer Service Files".

First we went to one of the major propane suppliers in town and was told that nobody was available to fill our tank. When asked when someone would be in, the answer was "I can't tell you, whenever someone comes in". You can get propane at place A, B, or C.

We had driven past place B on our way here, and there was a line of RV's waiting for propane, so off to C. Go to C...same story that guy unavailable...guy sick. Go to A...SAME STORY that guy won't be back for a couple hours. Told to go to place D.

Went to place D - Ace Hardware on US 395 in Bishop, was treated kindly and got our propane without any further delay. We had almost the exact same scenario in Mammoth Lakes this summer with people at lunch or their day off. I guess small town business runs to the beat of a different drummer.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

RV Camping in Horton Creek Campground

We headed downhill about 30 miles and a couple thousand feet in altitude to settle into BLM's Horton Creek campground located about 10 miles west of Bishop, CA. The campground is situated at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountains with outstanding views in all directions.

This is a typical BLM campground with vault toilets, fire rings, barbeque grates, and picnic tables. There are trash dumpsters near the fee station, and the nightly rate is currently $5. Length of stay limit is 14 days per season. Bishop BLM offers an LTVA (Long Term Visitor Area) pass, but it does not include this campground. This campground is seasonally open.

The campsites are all pull-in/back-in with many spaces capable of any size RV including a towed vehicle. The campground road is in terrible shape, and BLM would be better off to scrape off the old asphault and leave the road gravel than leave it the way it is. You will want to try and miss the biggest potholes in the road to avoid pinching a tire if you have a large RV.

We've not seen the campground host, though there is a vehicle in the host position. It's a little disturbing to us that there is a shredded dome tent, as well as a rather unkempt camphost site as we feel camphosts should be setting a good example. The fee station was so full that it would be easy for someone with needle nose pliers to remove several pay envelopes.

We love this campground. The scenery is spectacular, there are only a few campers in the entire campground, we've heard coyote's last two nights, and a herd of 10 deer strolled past our window just a few minutes ago. It's a short hop into Bishop for supplies and laundry, and other than the campground road itself, access is on good asphault roads. There is fishing, hiking trails, and back roads great for exploring with a high clearance vehicle nearby.


RV Camping Home

Saturday, October 13, 2007

RV Camping - Nature's Treats

Yesterday was an exploration day for us. After stopping at Tom's Place on US 395 about 20 miles east of Mammoth Lakes for breakfast, we headed north along the Owens River Gorge Road to where it intersects with Benton Crossing Road. We then turned west toward Crowey Lake to return to our current campsite. While exploring, we found a great boondocking site perfect for our our 36' class A motor home...

The view reminded me of places we saw along the Alaska Highway a couple years ago. Access to this campsite is perfect for us with good gravel access, and along a road seldom used. It's 15 miles from US 395, but this great boondocking location is one you will have to find for yourself.

We went to sleep to the sound of rain on the roof at our base camp at the BLM Crowley Lake Campground (location map)about 15 miles east of Mammoth Lakes.

When we awoke this morning, the mountains have their first significant dusting of snow. The clear blue skies highlight the crystaline new snow on the jagged Sierra Nevada mountain peaks. Nature has once again treated us to some of it's magnificent splendor.

It won't be long until snow levels drop a few hundred feet more, and this campground closes for the season November 1. We'll be gone by then as the weather forecast is for snow on Tuesday.

RV Camping Home

Friday, October 12, 2007

Winter RV Camping Safety

Happy Birthday Margie!!!

The leaves are changing colors, the temperature is dropping, and snow rests on the high mountains nearby meaning cold weather RV camping conditions can hit at any time. Many RVers love to camp in the changing fall colors of the forest, and hunters search for remote locations where snow storms and cold temperatures can make RV camping difficult, if not downright deadly.

Not only the weather and cold temperatures, but use of portable heaters or your own RVs gas appliances can kill you under the right conditions. RV Camping Winter Safety has information you may not be aware of about portable ventless propane heaters, carbon monoxide, and some ideas that may save your life. You will also find information about camping in -0 degree weather by an experienced RVer.

RV Camping Home

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

RV Camping - Heading South For The Winter

RV Camping - California
We're out of the woods and back searching for great RV camping locations...

Winter may officially be a couple months away, but winter weather can hit just about anywhere from now on. Keeping up on weather forecasts is important to RVers this time of year. I don't know any RVers that look forward to icy road travel, so many folks head south early. But some of us full time RVers don't like spending too much time in one area, and spending 5 months in the Arizona/California desert can get kinda long for some. So how do we avoid going south too early?

Here are some tips we use to help with our seasonal RV travel plans.

Knowing the historical weather averages by month and even day can be very useful. Why? Well...if a big snow storm is heading your way, and you wouldn't leave if the weather was going to be nice, knowing that historically the weather should be quite nice tells you that this storm is unususal, should depart quickly, and the following weather should still be good for RV camping. Of course this method of travel means you travel without schedules. You can find state by state NOAA historical weather links at RV Camping by clicking on the state you wish information for, then clicking on the "Historical Weather" link.

High altitude remote camping this time of year can be problematic. We've camped in snowy conditions numerous times, but almost always in Spring or early Fall when we were confident that the snow would soon melt. Late season RVers can get into big trouble being off the beaten path as the snow may not melt until next summer.

We try and slowly change altitude from summer RV camping at around 9000 feet to winter elevations of a few hundred feet in the deserts of Arizona and California. We typically stay put until night temperatures drop into the upper 20's, then drop a couple thousand feet in altitude and repeat the process. Depending on your planning, it can take a long time to go a couple hundred miles.

Be creative. Go a different route. Take time to research state tourism web sites for travel ideas. Ask other RVers for their recommendations. Go someplace completely different. Once you get where you're headed, volunteer to help BLM, USFS, NPS, USACE, or any other organization that needs people to help out. It will make your time fly!

RV Camping Home

Monday, September 24, 2007

Camping In Snow Again - What Was Margie Thinking?

First, I'd like to apologize for the lack of posts lately. We got ourselves into a camping situation where we're located in the trees, and our satellite internet connection doesn't work. We'll soon be correcting that. For now...


Our campsite was chosen by Margie, so I'm blaiming her! What was Margie thinking??


Friday, August 31, 2007

RV Camping Perspective - If You've Seen One Mountain...

We were recently asked for our thoughts about camping in Colorado vs our current camping experience along the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains. We've been RV camping in both locations extensively, and there are some differences.


The Colorado mountains were exploited by early miners that left a network of roads and trails across the mountains that have become forest access roads, and highways. Colorado has numerous mountain passes suitable for all types of vehicles, making access across the mountains quite easy in most cases. This allows people many different areas to go outdoor recreation activities, and I feel offers the best opportunities for remote dispersed RV camping. There are numerous developed campgrounds as well.

The eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains of central California are spectacular! The granite and volcanic mountains are steep and rugged, and few roads cross them. Wilderness areas and national parks such as Yosemite and Kings Canyon follow the "Sierra Crest" for hundreds of miles making RV access out of the question in many areas. Scenic areas have numerous developed campgrounds, and these are usually full of campers. California has far more developed campgrounds than Colorado. Boondocking (dispersed camping) is widely available, but access can be an issue. Much of the ground is a fine volcanic soil much like sand. Getting into many remote campsites needs to be undertaken with care.

Weather at 9000 feet elevation in California is similar to 9000 feet in Colorado. We feel that Colorado gets much more summer afternoon shower and thunderstorm activity than the California Sierra. California requires a free campfire permit for charcoal grills and campfires when there is not a fire restriction, while Colorado does not.

Do we have a favorite? Not really. We love the California Sierra Nevada for their beauty and crystal blue skies for weeks on end. We love the Colorado Rocky Mountains for their easy access to a wide range of different areas of the state.

Both offer great RV camping!

RV Camping Home

Thursday, August 23, 2007

RV Camping and cell phone service

RV Camping uses Verizon for cell service and we've had excellent coverage throughout the Western US! With the exception of Lake Havasu City, AZ. Our phone will NOT work within the city limits! Crazy!

Our plan allows for a new phone every two years, and wouldn't you know we just got to upgrade! All phones seem to have a camera feature now, and that isn't something we are interested in as we do have a digital camera we use a lot! But the kinda fun part for me is, I can take my own pictures and use them for wallpaper!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

RV Camping and Good News!

Good News regarding length of stay in the Inyo National Forest, Mammoth Lakes California Ranger District! The 14 day limit has been changed to 28 days effective in 2007! Great news for us boondockers that fall in love with a certain camp spot and never want to leave!

We've enjoyed our time out on the volcanic soil...pumice! It's like living in a house with xeriscape lava rock, but you don't have to rearrange it, rake it, clean it out of your neighbors yard, or any of those other unpleasant homeowners tasks.

This is an area with lots to see and do, and the roads take off everywhere! The USFS has done an excellent job of thinning out trees and burning underbrush to help with wildfire control.

We've seen lots of BIG deer, and the chipmonks have really had a banner year for offspring! We did have a baby chipmonk INSIDE the motor home a couple days ago! Our pets didn't know what to think about him, and I'm sure he was sorry he ventured into "Gozer's House of Horrors!" He was too cute to trap so we just propped up the bed over the engine compartment and let him make a jump for it! He made it out, but his tail didn't! One of the pets separated him from it sometime during his visit. Poor little guy. Hope he tells his friends to stay away from us!

Views of the Sierra's are spectacular, and sunrises and sunsets provide amazing colors and hues. We'll be sad to leave when our time comes!

RV Camping Home

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

RV Camping and Bears

While camping at the higher elevations in California, we've had the opportunity to enjoy some of the largest animals up close and personal! Bears! They are an interesting creature and their sheer size makes one respectful of them.

We saw grizzly bears in Alaska last year and were amazed to see them running on the road ahead of our tour bus--they are very fast for their size!

Mama's and cubs can be especially fun to see, but also very dangerous if you happen to get between them accidently. They are playful and enjoy romping around and giving each other a bad time. They seem to have a good sense of humor and like to interact with each other.

Their only "job" once they emerge from their winter den, is to EAT! Humans need to be more responsible towards bears and prevent them from getting "people food" or trash. Bears are smart and learn quickly how to purvey such goodies from us.

When you are fishing along the shore and a bear approaches, don't let him have your stringer of fish! Make yourself big, wave your arms in the air and order it to get away. They're not used to NOT getting their own way and will soon move along. Don't leave coolers and sandwiches out where they are a temptation. Leave such things locked in your car.

All too often people think it's cute to leave out dog food or a fish to attract a bear for a picture or just to watch it. Every time a bear encounters people food, it becomes that much closer to being "put down" by local wildlife officials. The bears won't forage for their regular diet if they can find easier pickins' and then they start to become a problem for people living around them. They will become more aggressive as they get used to "people food" and the ease of which it can be acquired.

Please do our bruins a favor and keep those tasty morsels out of sight and smell! The Forest Service doesn't always relocate problem bears, and it's sometimes easier and more cost effective to eliminate them altogether.

A fed bear IS a dead bear.

RV Camping Home

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

RV Camping is California Dreamin'!

We LOVE California! Just like Ahnold says it, "Cal-E-forn-ia"! This state has it all going on....beaches for boarding, mountains for climbing, you pick your chosen form and recreate towards it!

We truly love the east side of the Sierra Nevada since it's less crowded and for our particular likes, it has everything we need. And the views! WOW!

Wanna see a big tree? Come here! Wanna see amazing wildlife? Come here! And such an abundance of areas to camp and explore without seeing another person for miles!

RV Camping Home

Thursday, July 12, 2007

RV Camping in it's element!

We are parked in a beautiful forest location with a million dollar view of the eastern Sierra range! The forest Fire Ranger just drove past, and he's the only person/vehicle we've seen since we arrived.

We went for a walk in the woods last night and saw two deer! My dog has been highly entertained by the chip monks he'll NEVER catch! And we've been blessed with the solitude and cooler temperatures that come with high country camping.

This is the way we love to live, and find it to be rewarding in so many ways. Our attitudes are refreshed and spirits are lifted!

RV Camping Home

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

RV Camping and a not so perfect campsite

July has surprised us with some plans that we weren't planning on....hence the surprise! We are traveling through the western US with a quick timeframe, and it's HOT!

Usually we spend time reseaching a place to stay, but we're in a hurry to reach our desitination, and it's HOT!

We spent last night in a truck stop which normally would work out just fine except....it's HOT!

Last time I looked at the bedside clock it was 83 degrees in our bedroom at 3 am and it was HOT!

Note to self: Traveling in HOT country in summer months may require an RV park for elec and A/C....

RV Camping Home

Friday, July 6, 2007

RV Camping Escapes the heat!

After sweltering through the heat wave in Denver for a week, we've finally gotten back to the lifestyle we're designed for at altitude. 101 degrees isn't something you want to spend a lot of time in. At least Colorado has a fairly dry climate so 101 can be tolerated, just not very comfortable day after day.

The aspens are quaking in the slight breeze, the hawks are catching thermals from the valley, and we are enjoyed a beautiful sunshiny day in the high country.

The silence at night is amazing, and the only thing that woke us up was the light of the moon as it rose this morning around 2am. Quite a change from the booming stereos, pop bottle rockets, and inconsiderate neighbors from "town".

Here we can sleep with the windows open, and the night time temperatures of 45 make you put on an extra blanket and huddle up!

RV Camping Home

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

RV Camping and wildfires

July 3rd and the fireworks are starting up! They've actually been going off for a few days now. Even though we're in the midst of a drought, people just don't think ahead and that's how wildfires get started.

A good way to keep informed of problem fires while traveling is the United States Forest Service Inciweb site. In spite of the fact we're in a city, people don't realize that a pop bottle rocket could ignite someone's cedar shake shingled roof.

Celebrate our Independence! But think about the legacy you will leave......our Founding Father's did, and we should do the same.

RV Camping Home

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

RV Camping and Moose!

After spending the weekend fairly close to a busy forest service access road, we do a little exploring for a spot further off the "main drag". There are many places to camp dispersed in the Shoshone National Forest, and it just depends on how far you want to drive on a washboardy road!

We packed up and moved a little over a mile, and we have an excellent camp spot with good views of the mountains, hills, trees, and lot of interesting rock formations.

Casey, the Golden Patrolman, woke us up at 5:30 this morning to a mama moose and her calf not 20 feet from the motor home! Awesome!

Our blue skies are a bit hazy today and we can smell the smoke from the Horse Creek fire over in the Bridger-Teton National Forest. According to the Forest Service InciWeb site it's 10% contained but appears to have grown some since yesterday. We'll keep an eye on it!

RV Camping Home

Saturday, June 23, 2007

RV Camping in Wonderful Wyoming!

After spending two very hot days in Northwestern Nebraska, we decide we need to get some elevation if we're going to survive the heat!

Friday is a FULL day, as Brian has promised (read BRIBED)me breakfast out if I'll get up early so we have cooler temps to travel in. We stop in a little cafe in Hamilton, NE where the waitress is also the cook. All the local's are in having breakfast, coffee and shooting the bull. Everyone has been very friendly in this state and we almost hate to be leaving.

Find a good price on diesel at $2.85 and the drive continues..... The type of travel day I enjoy is typically about 60-100 miles and involves lots of stops and seeing the sights. Today is NOT one of those days!

We arrive in the Shoshone National Forest and see a couple of BLM campgrounds that don't appeal to us. We find a good gravel forest road, pick out a flat spot with lots of opportunities for afternoon shade and settle in. Now this is living!

RV Camping Home

Thursday, June 21, 2007

RV Camping!

No, we're not still stuck at the rest area.....Brian was able to fix our diesel leak (bad hose) and we're many miles up the road!

Spent a peaceful night in the Bridgeport State Recreation Area and wished we had a fishing license! Then one night in the Chadron State Park, scouting a place to camp out in the Nebraska National Forest. The National Forests in this state were all Hand Planted!

This part of Nebraska reminds us a lot of the Colorado Mountains, with lodgepole pine, rolling hills, and a bit more elevation at right around 4,000 feet. A very different area than what we've driven through so far!

People are friendly here and they all wave! Such a nice change from the big city!

RV Camping Home

Monday, June 18, 2007

RV Camping hits the road, or.....the best laid plans!

Today is the day we've been anticipating for several weeks now--the day we get back on the road and return to our nomadic lifestyle! Two months in Colorado has us feeling like we're growing "roots", although we have managed to take a couple nice trips out of civilization during that time.

Driving up the Interstate, a rest area always appeals to me, and I know our dog will appreciate it too! This is a lovely sunny day, and we take a little stroll with Casey, leaving our coach idling to cool down. A strange feeling of deja' vu comes over me as I see diesel fuel cascading out of the engine compartment. Our Jeep has had another diesel "bath" and we've got a mess to contend with.

Ahh life....you never know just where it'll take you....or leave you!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Hats off to Dad!

Today is Father's Day, and folks around the US will honor Dad in various ways. Of course the customary BBQ will be in order for us later this afternoon, and a couple of beers will be on the menu too!

I want to thank my Dad for taking me camping, fishing, duck hunting, target shooting, etc....yes, I was a girl but I appreciated all the time we spent together outdoors! If not for all the earth oriented activities, I may not have grown up with such an appreciation for this amazing planet we inhabit. Without knowing it then, Dad was shaping my future in a very important way!

Thanks Dad! And Happy Father's Day to all the "outstanding-in-their-fields" Dad's out there!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

RV Camping in the rain!

Weather can present all sorts of problems when you're living in the great outdoors, but it can also provide you some "down-time" to catch up on indoor chores.

My biggest complaint right now would be that my dog wants/needs to go outside, and it thundering and lightening, so we're On Hold! Guess we better dig out the rain gear and a towel for his feet!

We always have plenty of things to keep busy with inside. We both like to read, have CD's and VHS tapes to view, and if we're really bored we do have a couple of games. The Yahtzee game and Backgammon board have NEVER been used in our coach, so I guess we don't have any problem finding other things to do!

Just enjoying a big thunderstorm from the shelter of "home" can provides hours of enjoyment!

RV Camping Home

Sunday, June 10, 2007

RV Camping and Public Lands

Public Lands are exactly that. There is no way to police or control peoples use of them. That's the rub....YOU are ultimately responsible for your actions and activities in these areas.

So the ATV'ers that parked quite near us to unload their "rides" for the day, were within their right to get as close to us as they wanted to. Which turned out to be a good thing, since I was able to see, pick up, and dispose of the trash they left.

Again, YOU are the one who has to answer to the outdoors! Do YOU accept the challenge?


RV Camping Home

Friday, June 8, 2007

RV Camping does 24 degrees!

One of the chillier nights we've had in our motor home while boondocking! Denver set records for their overnight low temperature, and we had cold temps in the mountains too. Isn't it June? But having seen it snow on the 4th of July I guess we don't have any reason to question the weather.

The frost provides an intense view of the frozen grasses reflecting the morning sunlight in diamond-like sparkles from the entire color spectrum. Sights like this make me glad we have a dog that needs to go out bright and early! The coyotes are complaining loudly about the cold too, and they're not too far away!

Thank goodness we have an extra heavy quilt to add to the bed or it wouldn't be as much fun to be at 9,400 feet! The sun is out now and it's a lovely day with 64 degrees, the cold snap is over and we are on a warming trend through the weekend.

RV Camping Home

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

RV Camping's current home address.....


Our Campsite - Pike National Forest - Colorado

Over the past 5 years we have had some million dollar views for the price of our tax dollars. We've lived in places that we could NEVER have touched even on our previous salaries! Nor would we have wanted to stay there long term, but the short term worked perfect for us!


For example...
  • Uncompagre National Forest Ouray, CO
  • Mammoth Lakes, CA
  • The Canadian Rockies
  • Sawtooth NRA in Idaho
  • North of Jackson Hole with a spectacular view of the Tetons

just to name a few!

RV Camping Home

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

RV Camping goes to the mountains!

After our two weeks out on the plains of southeastern Colorado, yesterday was moving day! We always say we're going to get an early start, but by the time we: Did Laundry, Bought some donuts at Daylight Donuts (they are REALLY the best!) Dumped and filled our rv tanks, Got Gold, er, I mean Diesel, and did some grocery shopping it was 11:00 am!

Our drive was uneventful, and we are always thankful for that! We found a road that neither of us had been on before so we were in a little bit of an explore mode. It was also the most direct route to our new campsite, and it afforded some awesome views of the high Rockies to the west! We are sharing the National Forest with only one other travel trailer that we've seen.

We had a spectacular thundershower and the rain lulled us to sleep. Such a different environment than where we came from--here the wildflowers are just beginning with the indian paintbrush barely breaking through the soil and the Columbine clusters are only a couple inches tall. The smell of the pine trees is strong and the aspens are leafing out. Temperatures are cooler too, with 39 degrees last night and the possibility of snow tonight....we'll see what tomorrow brings!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Full Time RV-ing--Not for everyone.....

But absolutely for us!

As I sit listening to the meadowlarks and other song birds serenading us out on the prairie, and watch the winds sway the tall grasses to an unspoken melody, I know that we made the right decision to go full-time! How else could we have the time to fully enjoy the splendid scenery and history that is our United States?

In our 40+ hour work week lives, we didn't have more than a few weeks vacation and it was never enough! We'd be back to Monday and the grind again before we knew it!

We've been married for 15 years, have spent the past 4 plus years together 24/7 in our rig. This life style isn't for everybody, but there is a growing percentage of Americans that have decided to trade "time" for the "things & stuff" of "normal" day to day existence. Off the grid, but not out of the loop.

With our satellite internet, solar panels, inverter and some sunshine we are as connected as we want to be with the outside world. And the natural world is just outside my window!

RV Camping Home

Thursday, May 31, 2007

RV Camping over Memorial Day Weekend!

Ahhhh, Memorial Weekend! The "traditional" beginning of summer.....pools are opening, people are digging out the fishing tackle, and shaking out the camping equipment.


Most people decide it's a good weekend to "head for the hills" here in Colorado. For many of them, this may be the first and only weekend they camp all year!!! May seems just a bit too early for camping in the high country and this past weekend was no exception with snow levels around 7500 feet.


We opted for the lower elevation start to the summer in the Comanche National Grasslands in Southeastern Colorado, near La Junta. We were with family and friends that had been planning this trip since January, so we were all ready for a fun few days together out on the prairie. The wildflowers are as beautiful as you'll ever see with all the snow on the eastern plains this past winter.


Lots of awesome food and fellowship, campfires and laughs, a trip into Pinon Canyon to see the largest dinosaur track site in North America, and a tour of Bents Old Fort turned our 3 days into a really good time for all of us! We had a blast!!


Did we mention rattlesnakes? Yes, the prairie rattlers are out, and I got to see my brother do a real live impromptu snake dance that would have made Dancing with the Stars proud!


Comanche National Grassland Travelog

RV Camping Home

Friday, May 25, 2007

RV Camping - Boondocking Location Access

We boondock almost continually, so we feel pretty experienced when it comes to finding good places to camp. You must keep in mind that our boondocking rig is a 36' class A diesel pusher motor home, so good boondocking location access is a constant issue for us. There are people that would argue that what we use for boondocking is too big, but since we also live full time in our RV, we actually think we have the perfect rig.

Access issues for us include overhanging trees and rocks, road width and strength of road and campsite surface. Strength of road surface will vary from place to place. In Arizona, a section of old Route 66 is open to vehicle traffic, and the rough broken asphalt looks inviting to us. Beware of places like this because the old water overpasses may not be safe for your vehicle's weight! A tow truck would have a devil of a time extracting your RV if the bridge broke.

Forest Service roads are often quite well maintained, but beware of narrow sections in turns where water may have eroded the edge of the road. Many an RV has become trapped in a washout or have slipped off the road entirely in such places.

Currently, we're camped 8 miles up a gravel road. When we came in, the road was dry and smooth. The night after we set up camp, we got almost 2" of rain. We took the Jeep for a drive on these rain soaked roads, and I can assure you that trying to access this area during wet weather would be impossible with a large RV. We've now had a couple days of dry and the road is back to its smooth hard surface.

We think knowledge of weather is almost as important as where we camp because is will impact our ability to enter or leave and area. We don't head into unfamiliar areas with the motor home, and explore first with our Jeep. We seldom have a problem finding great boondocking locations accessible with our rather large RV.

RV Camping Home

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

RV Road Service

We're sitting on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere and not moving until we get the major diesel fuel leak repaired, or a huge tow truck arrives.

The Story...

We stopped for lunch, started walking the dog, and while the inter-cooled diesel was idling and cooling down from highway speed cruising, we saw fluid leaking from the back of the motor home. A glance at our towed Jeep found diesel covering its front end, so we stopped the engine, had lunch, and investigated the source of the leak.

Brian quickly discovered a bolt, or plug of some type had "disappeared" from the fuel distribution block causing our serious leak. We're lucky to have a good physical breakdown location as we're well off the road, only problem is no cell phone service.

We set up our Datastorm Internet antenna and looked for auto parts in the nearest town (25 miles). Since it's late in the day, we decide to spend the night along this quiet state highway, and take the Jeep into town in the morning for parts since it looks like an easy repair. Auto parts guy was helpful, and away I go with what I think I need. Get to motor home, only to find out that finding the correct plug to go into the fuel block is going to be a problem. What I bought doesn't fit!

Back into town and call our road service Coach-Net.com. At first they want to tow our motor home about 75 miles which we don't want. They tell us if we can find a mobile repair closer than 75 miles, they will pay service charge and we will be responsible for parts and labor.

We asked the auto parts guy about a local mobile repair and was referred to a local shop. By this time, it's late in the day, but we are able to arrange for next morning repair with our road service and the mobile repair company. The reason I don't give these guys a plug is that they don't do much mobile repair, and they don't want to be considered a mobile repair company. We were lucky that we went into town and inquired, otherwise a phone call would have been turned down.

Repair guy showed up, and we're on our way. Coach-Net covered the service call charge, and we paid for a simple repair. This is only our most recent experience with Coach-Net. In the last 4 years, we've need them for 2 flat tires, and one other mobile service call. "Two Thumbs Up!"

RV Camping Home

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Finding RV Dump Stations

Part of the "fun" of owning an RV is dumping the black and gray waste holding tanks. Finding places to dump the tanks can be a bit difficult when you are traveling unless you are paying for full RV hookup sites.

Keeping in mind that almost every city and town has an RV dump station somewhere, here are some tips to help you find free and fee locations to empty your waste holding tanks.

State & National Parks - Park campgrounds almost always have a dump station available for anyone paying the park day use fee.

Truck Stops/Gas Stations - Many truck stops such as Flying J, and TA (Travel America) have free RV dump stations. Many gas stations also have RV dump stations.

Community & City Parks - Smaller towns often have a city park where camping is allowed that includes an RV dump station.

City Water Treatment Facilities - Many waste water treatment plants offer sanitary dump facilities. You may have to use the same dump station that large septic pump trucks use.

Many state highway rest areas have RV dump stations available free.

Resources for finding RV dump stations vary. Two nationwide internet web sites offer the best information we've found so far. Sanidumps.com, and RVdumps.com have good lists of RV dump locations in all states and Canada.

Ask the local chamber of commerce.
Private RV parks usually let you dump for a price.
Check the yellow pages...call septic pumping companies for a dump station recommendation.

RV Camping Home

Friday, May 18, 2007

Camping Season...Are You Ready?

With the Memorial Day weekend and the "traditional start of summer" nearly upon us, it's a good idea to be thinking about getting the RV ready for camping season. What really brought this to mind was a family member that decided to pull their pop up camper out of storage early just to be sure that they were ready for the season.

First off, there was the flat tire that needed changing before exiting the storage lot. Now many folks are able to store their RV's on their property so they will know about such things, but our family members live in an area where extended parking of an RV is restricted. Be ready to change a tire if you have to.

They next get the camper home and find out that the water pump didn't get all the water out for winter and is now leaking. Again, if they would have "assumed" that everything was OK, they would have hit the road and had had a difficult problem to live with. By checking early, a new water pump was obtained, and now a trouble free camping trip is in their future.

Don't forget about using checklists so you don't forget a thing. Look around and especially under your RV. Things may loose or leaking that you are not aware of creating an unsafe situation. I've heard too many stories, and seen too many accidents over the years involving RVs to not take safety seriously.

So get your RV ready and head for a great camping site.

RV Camping Home

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Difference Between Boondocking and Dry Camping

We wish there was universal understanding of the difference between the terms dry camping and boondocking when it comes to RV campsites. RV Camping defines boondocking as remote location camping away from developed camping facilities.

Overnight RV parking locations such as Wal-Mart, K-Mart, shopping centers, restaurants, etc. should not be considered boondocking. The same is true for any public developed campground or horse camp. Whenever you are camped on private commercial property, or in public developed campgrounds without RV hookups, you are dry camping.

Boondocking is really advanced RV camping. There is little information about specific boondocking campsites, which means you need a sense of adventure to find great camping locations. Look at any RV magazine, and you will see beautiful pictures of an RV next to a lake or stream with a great view of the mountains beyond. Those pictured boondocking campsites are really out there, you just have to look hard to find them.

Does the difference between dry camping and boondocking really matter? Probably not, but when somebody says they are boondocking at Wal-Mart, I figure they just don't understand that some of us know the difference between dry camping and boondocking.

RV Camping Home

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

RV Camping - Watch Out For The Fine Print!

We try and keep up with the goings on of the USDA Forest Service and other public lands administrators as their decisions can have a huge impact on our camping locations and availability. Today we learned about some "guidance" provided by the USDA Forest Service about game retrieval and dispersed camping.

Here is where the "fine print" comes into play. We learned about this document from a camping forum post. The original forum post pointed out two issues...one had to do with ATV's, the other delt with dispersed camping (boondocking). All respondents to this point agreed that ATV's should be restricted, and that was it. Nothing mentioned at all about how camping 50 feet from a road would be lousy with dust, noise, and potential safety issues for children and pets.

So please, read the "fine print" too when you read about public lands doctrine. There is often more than meets the eye that may effect your future camping plans, and if you don't agree with what is happening, let somebody know. Write the forest service, your congressman, or your other elected representatives. They are our public servants, they should be working for us.

RV Camping Home

Sunday, May 6, 2007

RV Alternative Fuels - How Dangerous?

70 years ago today, a vehicle using an alternative fuel crashed taking the lives of 36 people. At the time, it's cutting edge technology included metal framing and fabric cover. It covered thousands of miles safely before it exploded into flames and crashed at Lakehurst, NJ.

The airship Hindenburg crash should remind us about the dangers of making changes, and the need for careful forward thinking. While Hydrogen in the Hindenburg was used as a lifting source rather than a fuel source, the results are obvious. A few years ago, MTBE was a required fuel additive to help reduce engine emissions, then it was found to be a very dangerous chemical additive easily invading ground water, and outlawed nationwide.

The Hindenburg crashed in part because the US had an embargo against less explosive Helium, so the highly explosive Hydrogen was used instead. The problem is that even though the use of Hydrogen as an alternative fuel source sounds great, there are potential problems to overcome. The same is true for Ethanol that is being touted as a great fuel source, but we just read the other day that extremely hazardous chemicals are byproducts that may cause serious environmental issues.

The US seems to take a "knee jerk" approach to energy and political issues trying for the quick fix. Unfortunately, without careful forward thinking, we end up with MTBE type problems or worse. With the cost of fuels skyrocketing, it's easy to view any reduction in our dependence on foreign fuels as positive.

RV alternative fuels are just around the corner. We hope the decision makers keep past disastrous lessons in mind as they make energy policy decisions that may effect our RV camping experiences in a negative way.

Friday, May 4, 2007

RV Camping - Central City Colorado

On May 6, 1859, a fellow named John Gregory discovered gold in what soon would be called the "Richest Square Mile on Earth". This find occurred near the site of current day Central City and Blackhawk Colorado which are located west of Denver about 40 miles.

This area is rich in mining history, with mine shafts, mills, and assorted mining equipment scattered around the mountains surrounding town. Central City was considered for Colorado's capitol, and the town has endured a boom and bust economic history from mining, to current day gambling.

There is free camping available in the area, but the Columbine Campground (with location maps) is a popular public forest service facility with vault toilets, picnic tables, water, and trash. This campground has a host, reservations are accepted, and most campsites have large Pine trees for shade throughout the day. Our 36' motor home with toad fits into most of the back-in spaces. There are no pull through sites. $12 per night. Maximum length 55'.

Located at around 9200 feet, this campground offers cool summer camping close to some of Colorado's extensive mining history. The towns of Central City and Blackhawk offer casino gambling, and streams and trails are abundant. Mountain biking, and 4x4 exploring via 1800's mining roads are popular activities.

RV Camping Home

Free RV Camping - North Dakota

Let us introduce you to North Dakota's boating access sites on the Missouri River System. Almost all sites have a boat ramp, courtesy dock, and restrooms. Low water may make boat access unavailable.

Game and Fish Department's web site lists 57 access areas, many allow primitive camping. These developed areas are funded in part by sportsman license purchase, but you can enjoy many of them for free unless you want to engage in activities that require a license.

Here are just the first two listings...

  1. Sundheim Park - 2 miles west of Cartwright on ND Highway 200, west side of Yellowstone River and on he south side of ND Highway 200. (No courtesy docks, paved access road, primitive camping, security lights, picnic shelter - McKenzie County Park Board).
  2. Confluence Area - 1 1/2 miles souh of Buford on ND Highway 1804. (Paved access road, primitive camping, security lights, picnic shelter, trash receptacles - Williams County WRD)

Not everyone will enjoy these boat launch areas as an RV camping location, but travelers may think these are perfect overnight locations off the beaten path. There are more free camping ideas available at North Dakota Camping Resources. Links to Wildlife Management Areas, federal and state parks, grasslands and more.

RV Camping Home

Thursday, May 3, 2007

RV Camping Information - How Current?

We spend a lot of time every week fixing links from our RV camping website to various official information web sites. The Internet is in a constant state of change, and we are keeping up with the information changes as quickly as we can to make searching for campground information a no surprise experience.

Today was Nebraska and North Dakota's turn to slow down our expansion of the camping resource pages. Nebraska made a major change to it's tourism site that we link to for city and county campground information throughout the state. North Dakota made changes to how they present their WMA's (Wildlife Management Areas) and boat launch areas and campgrounds that required link corrections to our web site.

Finding camping locations is tough enough without hitting bad information links. We feel that the only way to provide the most current information is to provide links to many official public web sites that provide the most current camping status and information available. If that means that we have to deal with changing some links on our web pages, we'll gladly do it. You see, we really built www.rv-camping.org as our own personal research tool. We hope it works for you too!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Camping Season and Checklists

Well, It's the first of May, and camping season is upon us. I know this because I've seen video of people camping in the Colorado mountains just this weekend. Camping in the Colorado high country this early in the year is "iffy" at best. We've been camping in a full blizzard on the 4th of July in past years in Colorado's mountains, so you have to be prepared.

Being prepared is different for everyone. Even if you never leave a hard surfaced road with your RV, you need to have certain things with you to make your trip enjoyable. Personal items such as spare light bulbs, groceries, paper towels, eating utensils etc. can help make your RV camping experience trouble free.

RV Camping offers a wide range of item checklists that you should customize for your own use. From tools, glue, and bailing wire, to salt, pepper, and sugar, you will find things that you will want to have along in your RV. Forgetting something important like cooking utensils can make for an "interesting" weekend.

Use your checklists. Write down what you use up and replace it. You'll be rewarded with trouble free camping trips.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Camping and Dogs

An article in the local paper today reported the results of a survey about dogs on public lands. The public lands were open space areas where dogs were allowed to run off leash, and people were asked if they were bothered by the fact dogs were allowed off leash. 83% responded that dogs off leash is no problem in the area.

The thing is, most people love dogs. Dogs love to run and play and explore and visit other people. Unfortunately, about 1 person in 10 is afraid of dogs, and I don't appreciate strange dogs exploring my campsite either.

One reason we boondock is so we don't feel the need to have our dog on a leash all the time, and not have to worry about other dogs off leash. My dog loves people, but not everybody has been receptive to his 80 pound advances. (really, my dog is the friendliest Golden Retriever ever!)

What's my point? Just to try and remember about 1 out of 10 people you see are afraid your dog, no matter if your dog is the friendliest dog ever.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Camping Thanks To Underhanded Political Trickery

In some of my previous blog entries, I've bashed the USDA Forest Service some, so I started the day thinking that I would write about Gifford Pinchot. Gifford Pinchot was the first director of our National Forests. Now this is a bit misleading as there were other men in charge of the nations forests prior to Gifford, but he has the distinction of being in charge when the name was changed from "Forest Reserves" to "National Forests".

But during my research about Gifford Pinchot, I got sidetracked as often happens. It seems that just over 100 years ago, our president Teddy Roosevelt and old Gifford pulled a fast one on Congress by establishing what became known as the "Midnight Forests".

The short story is that Congress renamed Forest Reserves "National Forests," and outlaws their further creation or enlargement in six Western states (Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Colorado, or Wyoming). The exception is by act of Congress. When the bill passes Congress on February 25, 1907, Pinchot and Roosevelt identify sixteen million acres of forest in these six states which are designated as national forests before the bill is signed into law on March 4, 1907.

March 2, 1907 was a very active day for National Forest creation and expansion. According to www.foresthistory.org, more than 20 forests were created, expanded, renamed, and combined.

So if you are camping in USDA National Forests in the West, remember that there is a fair chance the place you are standing is protected thanks in part to some underhanded political trickery.

RV Camping Home

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Find Free RV Camping Locations - Internet

How do you go about researching places to camp on the Internet? The type of camping you do certainly makes a difference. Do you need pavement or are you willing to go down a gravel road? Do you want RV hookups (yep...some places have hookups for free!) or is an isolated lake more your style?

Using the Internet is a great way to find places to camp tailored to your personal preferences. Internet web sites such as the popular freecampgrounds.com and boondocking.org have state by state listings of free and low cost campsites for example.

There is a lot of camping information available most people are not aware of. County parks, city parks, even state parks offer free camping. We feel that there is so much information available that it's impossible for any one web site to document it all. What we needed was a web site that waded through the search engine results and grouped camping resources in a state by state manner.

We developed RV Camping to be our primary source for finding places to camp. We designed the site to quickly search public lands for camping locations, and provide official links that will always have the most up to date information. Listed by state, you will find links to federal and state campgrounds, wildlife refuges, and every official public camping website we've found. We hope to provide a wide range of camping options for all types of recreational vehicles and their owners.

We hope you bookmark http://www.rv-camping.org/ for use as a research tool for finding RV camping places everywhere.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Why We Camp

We live in our RV full time, but we seldom camp in public developed campgrounds, and even less frequently stay in private RV parks. We much prefer nature to neighbors.

We camp to get away from it all. After a week of working, we always looked forward to our weekend camping trips. Heading into the mountains with our pop-up camper and Jeep was our recreational foundation from high stress jobs.

Now retired from the corporate world, we still camp to get away from it all. We've upgraded our equipment somewhat, and we've spent more hours researching camping locations than we want to admit. We seldom have a schedule or fixed destination, so the journey is more important than the destination.

Most of our friends and family thought we took a walk off the map when we sold everything and hit the road in our motor home. Our response is we traded space for time. While we don't have a stick built house to live in, we also don't have that house to take care of. We travel when and where we want, and try and find America's best campsites along the way.

Doesn't sound so bad now does it?

RV Camping Home

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

RV Camping Map Volunteers Wanted

Do you like challenge? Love the Internet and finding camping information? Do you like maps? Want to be famous?

We've been working on our Nebraska RV Camping page, and integrating Google Maps. This has been a fun and educational experience, and we want to expand the maps to the entire country. The problem is that this is a slow and time consuming project. Researching a states public lands camping locations and not private property locations such as Wal-Mart, with varying levels of amenities takes a week or more. The goal is to provide a travelers map with links to official information about camping locations.

If you look at the Nebraska Camping Location Map, you will notice different colored markers. Green is free, yellow is $9 and less, and red is $10 and above. All locations are public land camping sites that provide a link to more official Internet information. You can zoom in, zoom out, and pan. Clicking on the markers displayed will provide more information.

We want volunteers willing to create Google Maps similar to what we have developed for Nebraska. (We claim "dibs" on South Dakota) We want to link to state maps from www.rv-camping.org, allowing easy and free access for anyone from a central location. A quick online resource for any state, with graphic representation of locations and links to official information. Only 50 map markers are available per map, so finding locations is limited, and we understand some eastern states have limited opportunities.

Do you have what it takes? Help your fellow RVers develop a useful Internet RV camping resource map ideal for travelers. With enough help, all states could be mapped before the summer travel season, otherwise we'll continue to plod along.

Drop us an email at admin@rv-camping.org.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Where To Go Camping

First, this blog entry is not about "camping" at Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Sam's Club, shopping malls, or any other private property location. This is about primitive camping on public land.

Many public land areas require a low cost access permit of some type, so you will need to do some research about where you go no matter what! Learning how to research camping locations is the key to finding camping sites. If you are reading this, you have the necessary tools, other than needing a big dose of patience.

Here are some ideas to help get you started finding free public camping locations...

Free dispersed camping (boondocking) is available in every USDA National Forest. There are restrictions and you should learn the rules, though they are pretty much the same in every forest. Areas can be closed to camping because of wildlife or environmental impacts, and finding dispersed RV camping may be very difficult in highly populated areas. Ask the rangers where to go. (Not all USFS employees are aware of "dispersed camping")

BLM (Bureau of Land Management) has extensive managed lands throughout the western USA. Free dispersed camping is allowed just about anywhere on BLM lands. Again, there are areas that are closed to camping for wildlife, archealogical, environmental concerns etc. BLM has more free developed camping sites than any other agency.

State Forests - Many states have state forests available for free dispersed camping. "Horse Camps" is a common term used for designated camping areas.

State Parks - While not common, some state's offer dispersed camping in their parks. A good example recently mentioned on this forum is Utah's Gooseneck's State Park.

US Bureau of Reclamation - Many dams and areas around reservoirs created by these dams have free camping. USACE (US Army Corps of Engineers) - The corps lakes offer water based recreation, and often have free camping sites available. There are usually fee camping areas with RV hookup facilites too.

State Land Trust - Most states have lands held in reserve to be used to benefit schools. Some states allow free camping on these lands, but some require a pass to camp.

State Wildlife Areas - The hidden gems! Almost every state has a division of wildlife, fish & wildlife, or similar agency. These state agencies manage wildlife areas, often called WMA's (wildlife management area)or game refuges, and primitive camping is usually allowed.

US Fish & Wildlife Service Refuges - Not all refuges allow camping, but the ones that do, have great locations!

City and county parks - There are many towns that offer free camping at the city park, and some counties allow camping at fairgrounds or other designated camping areas.

RV Camping is attempting to simplify your search by providing links to each states public lands camping information web sites. Hope this helps you find those great RV camping sites you see on the covers of magazines...they are out there waiting for you to find!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

RV Campsite Location Mapping

We've been trying to come up with a user friendly Internet map interface that will perform multiple functions. We think we may be on the right track using Google maps for example...

ALLEN <--- Clicking here will take you to a Google map with camping information in Allen, Nebraska. By clicking on the yellow marker that is displayed on the Google map, links to RV Camping Nebraska, and official camping information from the State of Nebraska is available for the town.

We would love to hear your input about using this type of information to reference free and low cost camping locations across the country.

RV Camping Home

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

New Math And
Public Campground Fees Going Up

An Open Letter to the USDA Forest Service

We received information today about fee increases for day use in the USDA Chequamegon-Nicolet NF. The information we received is copied below but the conclusion really bothers us. It states...

"Results: The Forest received four written comments concerning the proposed fee increase to date. Two were against the fee increase, one was in favor of the increase, and one thought that an increase was OK but not a 100% increase and suggested a 20% increase. The Forest received about 4 phone calls concerning the proposed increase, all of which were opposed to the increase. No other comments were received after two years of postings at fee sites. Forest press releases concerning proposed increased fees went out on March 1, 2007.

Analysis: There is general support for an increase in fees to maintain the historical level of site, setting, and service provided. "

Amazing to me that 100% of phone calls (only 4 calls), and 75% of written comments were opposed to or recommended a 4/5 smaller increase in fees at the areas you surveyed, yet the analysis states...

"There is general support for an increase in fees..."

Is this new math? I missed it!

Sorry to tell you, but out of 8 responses mentioned, 75% were against the increase completely, that would seem to me that 3 out of 4 people completely oppose the increase, yet it is stated "there is general support for an increase in fees"? No wonder the USFS is out of money, you don't listen to the people that own the land, and YOU (USDA Forest Service) asked for the information...why don't you use it!

It is my belief that most of the public using USDA Forest Service administered lands are not using improved facilities. My family and I would much prefer to camp in a quiet dispersed campsite with our self contained RV than be in a campground with others that don't care about the facilities, don't take care of them, and sometimes leave without paying the day and camping rate anyway. I know this from personal experience...I've campground hosted for USFS in Colorado.

RV Camping Home

We received the following document via email from http://www.westernslopenofee.org/...

National Forest, State: Chequamegon-Nicolet NF, Wisconsin
Proposed Action: Increase day use fees at all current developed site fee areas on the forest. The fee is a vehicle based fee allowing all participants in a vehicle access.

Fees are outlined below.
Day Use Fees
Current Fee
Proposed Fee
Change

Daily Vehicle Fee
$3 -$5 +$2
Annual Vehicle Fee
$10 - $20* +$10
* A second vehicle annual pass for the same household would cost $10. Limit one $10 vehicle household pass per each $20 pass purchased.

Site Description: This proposal affects 77 developed day use sites on the Forest. These sites include developed trailheads, boat launches, picnic areas, and beaches. All of the sites provide the Recreation Enhancement Act required amenities for charging a standard amenity fee.
Current Fee: See table above.
Reason for New Fee or Fee Change: The developed day use site fees have not changed since 1998. The forest has made significant improvements to most of our day use sites over the past several years.

The following list reflects those improvements accomplished since 2001:
Installed 6 new vault toilet buildings
Rebuilt 10 boat ramps
Installed 7 accessible boat docks
Installed 3 accessible fishing piers
Constructed and installed 10 bulletin boards
Purchased and installed 56 recreation trail signs
Reprinted 8 recreation brochures/maps
Constructed 19 miles of bike and snowshoe trail
Remodeled flush toilet bathrooms at two day use sites
Reconstructed 3 trailhead parking areas

The above improvements are in addition to annual maintenance items such as cross country ski trail grooming; snow plowing ski trail parking lots; snow plowing boat landings for winter access for ice fishing; and maintenance of trailheads, boat landings, and beaches. This proposed increase in fees reflects these improved facilities and allows the forest to continue the high level of maintenance that the public has grown accustomed to by continuing to clean facilities on a regularly scheduled basis, maintain parking and other improvements, and maintain a Forest Service presence in the developed day use sites both for visitor information and law enforcement purposes.

Benchmark Price Comparisons for Similar Facilities & Services:
Forest Service: In the Eastern Region within the lake states area (Chippewa, Superior, Ottawa, Huron-Manistee, and Hiawatha National Forests), the price for daily access to higher developed day use sites ranges from $3-$5 per vehicle per day to $20 to $25 for an annual vehicle pass.
Local Private and Public Providers: Private recreation providers generally do not provide this type of opportunity. County and State of Wisconsin Parks provide similar opportunities in a range of prices from $0 to $20 per person per year. Specific examples include: The State of Wisconsin Trails Pass which costs $4 per person per day or $15 per person per year fee. Oneida County Forestry has a trail pass for the Washburn trail that cost $5 per day per person or $20 per person per year. Sawyer County trails have voluntary fee that is $5 per day per vehicle or $30 per year per vehicle. State Parks also charge $7 per day per vehicle or $25 per year per vehicle to come into state parks or campgrounds for day use activities.

Public Participation:
Methods: Posted the proposed fees for 2 years at the fee sites. Discussed proposal with recreation users who commented on the fees. News releases in local newspapers. Updates on Chequamegon-Nicolet NF website.

Results: The Forest received four written comments concerning the proposed fee increase to date. Two were against the fee increase, one was in favor of the increase, and one thought that an increase was ok but not a 100% increase and suggested a 20% increase. The Forest received about 4 phone calls concerning the proposed increase, all of which were opposed to the increase. No other comments were received after two years of postings at fee sites. Forest press releases concerning proposed increased fees went out on March 1, 2007.

Analysis: There is general support for an increase in fees to maintain the historical level of site, setting, and service provided.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Where To Go Camping

The RV Camping website got it's start after a conversation with family friends that own an RV dealership in Minnesota. We were amazed to hear that the most common question they get from new RV owners is "where can we go now that we own it?". It got us thinking that there are few web sites that provide a broad range of public and private camping location information.

Every state has state parks available for RV camping. Many states have USDA Forest Service and Grasslands, Bureau of Land Management, and National Park Service campgrounds. State and federal wildlife areas and refuges offer opportunities. County parks often have camping facilities, and even town parks can have great campsites next to a lake or in a forest location.

Researching and remembering that there may be more camping locations than you know about in your neck of the woods will reward you with terrific campsites.

RV Camping Home

Monday, April 16, 2007

Camping & Eighty Eight!


Today, my mother turns 88. She was born in 1919 in northeastern Nebraska to Perry and Emma, and grew up in the town of Ewing. Ewing was, and is a small town where her father was the rural US Mail carrier. He was dedicated and went so far as hiring an airplane to drop mail and food to rural farmers after blizzards closed all roads.

She worked for the War Department during WWII, and she and my Dad adopted me from the Nebraska Children's Home in 1951 when I was 3 months old. My Dad traveled most of my early life as a Railway Mail Service clerk sorting mail on trains from Omaha to Cheyenne, Wyoming, Me and Mom had lots of time together, and I'm glad for that!

My folks liked the outdoors, and they made sure I learned about nature and the outdoors. We car camped all across the USA, especially in the western states. Dad made a cool box to house cooking and eating utensils, and the old Coleman gas stove was the heat source Mom used for our hot meals, and almost every meal was hot.

We hiked and camped in the Rocky Mountains, and I'm pretty sure it was Mom that talked Dad into letting me go on the ranger led hike into Grizzly Bear country in Glacier National Park around 1962. When I was diagnosed with cancer and nearly "bought the farm", Mom was there when I needed her most too. Dad died a couple years ago after a long illness, and they had discussed going to Alaska for many years but never got it done. Margie and I offered, and Mom agreed to go to Alaska with us last summer. Our Alaska Journal.

I could go on for hours about great experiences I remember from my childhood and my mother, but a simple "Thank You Mom!" will have to do. You helped me learn a deep appreciation of the outdoors and all of nature, and we wouldn't be living, camping, and traveling in our RV if it wasn't for lessons learned from you.
Happy Birthday Mom! - I Love You - Brian

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Outdoor Values

One of the fun aspects of writing this weblog is researching topics to write about. Today is no exception. We started out to write about how todays kids are usually more savy about technology than they are about what grows in their backyard. We wanted to write about camping and other outdoor activities now seem to be taking a backseat to video games and Ipods. We got sidetracked...

A Salt Lake Tribune article written by Tom Wharton spoke about just this topic, but the response to the article is what grabbed us. One response called teaching children about hunting and fishing as family fun to be "tantamount to child abuse", while another respondant was pleased because it would mean fewer people on the trail. Not one positive response about the need of kids to learn about nature and the outdoors.

We think it's important to learn about nature and the outdoors. Escape from the hustle and bustle of society and it's stress will likely become more important to people as the planet becomes more and more populated. Popular camping locations are booked months in advance already, so people will tend to extend their recreation more and more into public lands. An understanding of nature, and the limits of it's ability to sustain impact will dictate its use.

Please...take it easy on our public lands, and teach your children that same respect.

RV Camping Home

Saturday, April 14, 2007

RV Camping
Bitteroot National Forest Montana


The USDA Bitteroot National Forest offers over 20 developed campgrounds suitable for RV camping. With room for rigs up to 50 feet, and fees ranging from free, to $30 for a group site, there are great camping locations available for every type RV.

Located along the border with Idaho, this National Forest has 1.6 million acres, with 1/2 dedicated to the largest expanse of wilderness in the lower 48 states. Its rugged beauty was caused by glaciers forming steep canyons that open into wider valley floors, and the forest offers a wide range of opportunities for recreation like camping, hiking, and fishing.

The Lewis and Clark Expedition crossed the mountains of present day Montana and Idaho in 1805. The terrain was so rugged and confusing they needed native guides to show the way. Large areas of this country are still as wild and remote as when Lewis and Clark saw it. Grizzly bears, wolves, elk, and moose are abundant. Mountain peaks, swift rivers, and forests blanketing the hillsides with Pine, Spruce, and Aspen await you.

So if you are heading into Montana this camping season, don't forget about the Bitteroot National Forest. It offers great multiple use opportunities for the whole family. Montana RV Camping has more information and links to other great campsites.

RV Camping Home

Friday, April 13, 2007

RV Camping and Paraskevidekatriaphobia

If you have Paraskevidekatriaphobia, you fear Friday the 13th. The fear of Friday the 13th may be based on ancient experiences with the day Friday, and the number 13. Whatever the reason Friday the 13th causes some people consternation, it's always been a normal, if not lucky day for us.


This year is no exception. The weather forecast for today was 12 to 17 inches of snow. We're not real excited about camping in 12 to 17 inches of snow, and as late as the 10PM news last night, the forecast had been reduced to 8 to 12 inches of the white stuff. This morning, we awoke to cloudy skies, and 0 inches of snow. The storm had a mind of it's own, and decided to show the weather "guessers" who is still boss.

To me, not camping in 12 to 17 inches of snow is pretty lucky.

RV Camping Home

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Fire Ants!

The tallest sand dunes in North America are located a short distance from the town of Alamosa in south central Colorado. This spectacular area is protected by the National Park Service Great Sand Dunes National Park.

NPS Photo

This area is home to wildlife, unique insects (more on that later), interesting history and early Native American culture. It is common to see deer in the campground, and the sand dunes offer a unique opportunity to play in the sand without worrying about being run over by high speed motorized recreational users such as sand rails, ATV's, or motorcycles.

Now...about those insects. The Great Sand Dunes Tiger Beetle is one of at least seven insect species endemic only to Great Sand Dunes. Now we've not seen the Tiger Beetle, but we've had a run-in with some red Fire Ants and a tent there that we'll ever forget!!

Before we were RVers, we were tenters, and our trip to Great Sand Dunes turned into a long night. When we arrived at the campground, we found one open campsite. It looked ideal except for the fact that you had to carry your camping equipment from where you parked your car about 50 yards to the campsite. No Probem! We hauled our stuff on down to an absolutely beautiful spot and proceeded to put up the tent...Ouch!

I'd been bitten by a red Fire Ant! Ouch! another bite. Well...I'll just go ahead and hurry putting up the tent and that will be it. Tent up (a nylon dome tent) and we proceed to fix dinner and enjoy a nice campfire.

Climb into our sleeping bags for the night, but a very strange sound greeted us. I can not really describe the sound. Imagine if you can, the sound of thousands of little feet climbing all over your tent. Them ants wanted in!

Well, to make a long story shorter, we didn't get much sleep, but discovered that our tent was at least "ant proof". Climbing out of the sack in the morning greeted us with a deer just 50 feet away, singing birds, and spectacular views. It also taught me to look closer for ants.

RV Camping Home

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Global Warming?

We made a move from Utah to Colorado yesterday. Our route took us across northern New Mexico and we had howling winds the whole trip. The good part of the wind at least was it's direction...behind us!


As we wound our way up into the mountains, we watched Gozer's (our motor home) outside temperature sensor readout drop...60, 50, 40, 30 and right now...at 6:30AM, it's 20. Brrrrr! It's suppose to be Springtime in the Rockies...pretty chilly camping!

Must be global warming!

With the strange weather that has occured across the country this winter, it's difficult to believe in global warming. It was just a few years ago that scientists were predicting a new Ice Age for the planet, now it's going the other way.

We believe mankind is altering the planet in ways we don't understand. Where does all that air polution we see over big cities end up? What will it ultimately do? How long do we have left on the planet? Who knows?!

The science of the environment is much more tricky than predicting the weather.

RV Camping Home

Monday, April 9, 2007

The "Science" of Wildfire

As users of public lands with an interest in forest management and how it realates to RV camping and other outdoor recreation activities, we're signed up to receive press releases from the USDA Forest Service. We received the following press release today titled...

New study sheds light on long-term effects of logging after wildfire.
Are severe reburns likely with or without logging?


You can read the full press release at RV Camping News. Look for the USDA Forest Service press release heading.

We're not so sure this study sheds much light on anything! The following is a direct quote from the end of the news release...

“Wood can be fuel in the short term or the long term, but that’s only part of the story. Wood is also wildlife habitat, and wood provides nutrients to the soil. Fire, ecological factors, and management objectives are all important. Our data show that there are no simple answers.”

WOW!! What an enlightening statement...NOT! After 3 years, you would hope that a little more than "our data show that there are no simple answers" would be the conclusion, but obviously, forest management isn't easy.

I agree that a study of this type could provide significant information useful to forest managers long term to help control wildfire and manage forest fuels appropriately. I guess they need to collect some more scientific data.