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About FL-JOE

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    SW Florida
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    Full time RVing

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  1. I am all about saving money on camping sites. My theory is you have to park this darn thing someplace 365 days a year when you are full time. The goal should be to have it parked every day in a site you enjoy at the cheapest price possible while traveling around the country. It has taken us close to two years to figure out how to get our annual camping costs reduced, but they are going down. None of the savings has involved membership parks and never will. For us it dictates when and where we travel too much. So far we have located three really nice campgrounds that we can stay in at their monthly rate for between $11 and $13 per day. Two of these are in areas where we have family and visit every year. One is in Alabama where we like to spend time prior to wintering in Florida and again when coming out of Florida in the spring. By doing a little research and making calls with our travel planning we have found many parks that will give us a huge price break for booking two weeks instead of 3 or 4 days. We also will boondock or dry camp if just putting miles on to get someplace special across country. We still pay higher rates to stay 4 or 5 months at a nice campground in SW Florida, but by doing all the above we have reduced our annual camping expenses a lot. If I can find these cheaper rates at nice private (non-membership) campgrounds where I will fit at 73' long, most other full timing RVers could certainly do the same and probably much better.
  2. I would ask yourself first of all, how much are you going to camp off the grid with no hookups? Since you are only on the road 6 months a year the answer would probably have to be at least half that time off the grid to make it even worth the money or effort. In other words, boondocking for 90 to 100 days a year it could be worth it. Keep in mind, depending on how much solar you are installing you also will need a large enough battery bank, the correctly matched charging system, and the right inverter. If you are throwing some panels up on the roof to charge two 12-volt house batteries then you probably are not gaining much. If you already have a generator then the equation gets more complicated IMHO. Basically you are installing solar to keep from using your generator to recharge the house bank. With or without solar you will still have to run the generator to have a/c. So now you have to ask yourself is it worth installing solar to keep from having to run my generator 2 or 3 hours a day while boondocking? Plus, will I always want to boondock in sites where there is full sun during the summer months?
  3. Of course it wouldn't matter if the toilet was a center flush or right side flush. In your past limited experience you probably are not aware that currently macerator toilets are becoming more common and they have at least two water settings. Using a macerator toilet on a high setting will fill a black tank pretty fast compared to a regular RV toilet. About 75% of the tank gauges out there don't work or are not accurate. How are they honestly going to gauge how much they put in a holding tank over a 5 or 7 day period in a rental? I wasn't bringing up residential frig vs RV frig due to the size difference. You must be aware that a residential frig is ALL ELECTRIC and therefore would use more energy with not hooked up. So they rent an RV with a propane frig and it lasts for 4 days when not hooked up, then the RV they buy has a residential frig and it only last 2 days because of a small battery bank. My reference to slides and the leveling system was not about space or site selection. The rental RV will probably have old fashion auto leveling. They may need to level the rig and then activate a slide or two. If they purchase from a different manufacturer and something made within the last few years they may very well have to deploy the slides first and then level. Things can be different with different systems if my point. Seeing how long you can "stay off the grid" will be a short term experiment in most rental RVs due to their smaller house battery banks. About the only thing they will learn is that whatever they buy will need at least four if not eight 6-volt batteries. I still think it is a good idea for them to rent an RV. It will be a good experience. However, much of the "knowledge" they are expecting to come away with probably will not apply unless they purchase something similar to the one rented in the first place.
  4. We try to spend anywhere from 3 to 4 months off and on in the central Illinois area every summer. We each have a parent (90's) living in this area plus 5 kids, and 13 grandkids. Normally there is a park district campground we can use that is very inexpensive and friendly. This year due to local flooding we were forced to find a different place to stay about 20 miles away. This campground is a McLean County owned facility on a large lake north of Bloomington/Normal Illinois (Camlara). It is operated like many State parks or County parks where you have only electric and can only be on a site for 2 weeks at a time. You can stay longer but you have to book on a different site and move every two weeks. Very scenic with large lots. All gravel sites with a few long pull through but mostly back in. Very well maintained with a great staff. The first couple of weeks we paid around $27.00 per night. I thought it was just a little on the high end because all the sites are electric only. However, we stopped in the Ranger office to book another 10 days yesterday and the worker booking our next site asked about my veteran status. After telling him I was a veteran he went back through the computer and not only changed what they would be charging us for the next site but re-figured what we had already paid. He then refunded us $18 and said we were good to go for another 10 days! We figured it up after leaving the office and this veteran discount brings their large pull through sites down to $13 and change per night. In several years of full timing this is the first time I have received this type of veterans discount. Thank you McLean County Illinois!
  5. Of course this little "experiment", or test run to get your feet wet will pretty much be wasted if you don't buy an RV almost exactly like the one you rent. Different style toilets, different size holding tanks, different size battery banks, different inverters, RV frig or residential frig, the list of differences goes on and on. Heck, depending on what type of slides and leveling system you could have the whole set up could be different. When we changed over from our 37' gas coach to our current coach it took us several month of full time traveling to get completely comfortable and familiar with everything, including camp setup and breakdown.
  6. In Florida, what generally determines if park models and double wides have to purchase registration stickers every year is if they are on a rental lot or are they on an owner owned lot. You might have a nice double wide with attached lanai in a gated rent park. Every year you would be purchasing two registration stickers and putting them on one of your front windows (one registration sticker for each section/side of original trailer). On the other hand, that same nice double wide in another gated park where you actually own your site you would not have annual registration stickers to purchase. Instead you would be paying property taxes each year. Folks that own/occupy either one of these types of homes would normally get mail delivered directly to their own mailbox at their own site, or sometimes a numbered box at the main office. Not sure if there is some sort of special designation on park model or double side titles that would be different than a regular RV title.
  7. FL-JOE

    New here

    Darn, the only reason I originally signed up on here was to see really huge pics of someone's HDT build. Sorry to hear you have to downsize them so much. I'm so bummed I might leave this stinking forum also! Thanks for the head up, and goodbye and good luck to you.
  8. I guess if you are only trying to "brush up on the basics of RVing and get a feel for being in a campground and being without hookups" a short term rental would be one way to go. Good luck with your adventure.
  9. FL-JOE

    Sewer hatch seal

    I keep a rolled up microfiber towel stuffed around the extra space where the sewer hose goes through the wet bay floor hole. I also keep a couple fresh dryer sheet in the wet bay to make sure the critters don't even want to come in there.
  10. We have checked into several over the years. We even stayed at a couple Thousand Trails to get a small sampling of what some of those parks were like. Membership parks, or time shares, or whatever you want to call them are not for us. Sorry I couldn't be of more assistance.
  11. Okay, you are in Florida and you will be doing this short rental "experiment" within 100 miles or so. I assume you will be doing it during the summer, or at least not during the winter when the snowbirds flood into Florida? What immediately comes to mind for me is all the issues involved with trying to boondock in Florida in the summer. You will probably either be running your generator for air conditioning the whole time or sitting around in your underwear. I think I would skip any idea of trying to boondock or dry camp in a rental RV in Florida during the summer. Why not just pick 3 different available campgrounds and visit them for a certain number of nights. That will give you a little road experience and some experience setting up and breaking camp in different locations. I think you are reading too much into a "dry run" or a test run. Just keep it simple and enjoy the week or so in the rental, since it will be very expensive.
  12. Makes sense, I suspect it is a popular free app for most. We have a run coming up in a week or so that will be around 900+ miles, ending in the Black Hills area for about 3 weeks. I hadn't pre-planned or booked anything in advance because we were undecided on if we would do it in 2 days and boondock or maybe split it up and use a couple campgrounds. After determining my exact route my next resource I turn to was RVParky. It is so fast and simple to type in the area you are looking for a spot to camp. It shows me everything, even Walmarts, Cabelas, Cracker Barrels, Rest Areas, all campgrounds, etc. By using the app I was able to pretty much narrow down where I wanted to stay and then start making the calls. EasyPeasy.
  13. I don't know if there is a "problem" with 60 to 70 year old RVers pushing fluffy around the Tampa RV show in a baby buggy and talking to them like they were a 2 year old human baby. I'm just saying it struck me as such a freak show that it was more interesting watching them then it was looking at most of the RVs on display.
  14. We are currently in a county campground where it is fairly empty during the week but gets full during the weekend. We have been seeing a lot of first time RVers and newbies come and go. Based on what I'm seeing, no I would never consider renting out my RV. Anyone who does rent theirs out should probably get a deposit equal to about 50% of the value.
  15. Barb hit it on the head with her answer. The key here is like she said, we ARE NOT ON VACATION. Many of my days are not much different that when we had the sticknbrick. Here is an example Matt. Yesterday, after spending time on a couple forums and 6 cups of coffee, I went out and did my 5k walk. Service on my Harley was due so I spent a couple hours inside my enclosed trailer changing fluids on it. Late afternoon found us taking a short ride through the country. During the evening we watched a Cubs game that we recorded earlier. Now if we were in a truck camper and no toad and no DirecTV my day would have been a little different. I would have spent time on a couple forums and 2 cups of coffee (smaller coffee maker I'm guessing), went out and did my 5k walk. Came back and sat in a lawn chair all afternoon and evening staring at some trees before going in and retiring.
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