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Campfor4

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Hello All!  I new to the forum but am hoping to get some good suggestions.  We (wife, 2 girls, and a dog) just bought a 35 bumper pull trailer.  I have used it once in Northern AZ back in December, we have a CA trip planned in March, and a trip down to Kartchner Caverns in April.  Looking for suggested places to head and check out.  We have not boondocked yet but have a generator so am open to that.  Eventually we want to work up to long trips of a few weeks.  Just dont want to be those people that buy a trailer and use it twice per year. Thanks in advance for suggestions!

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Well how long a trip? Arizona is packed with camping opportunities and so is NM. Utah is probably the number one destination for RVers. Cali is avoided by many Rvers because of the social atmosphere there and the high fuel and camping costs. But it too is loaded with spots.

It's too early for the North Rim but have you done Grand Canyon South Rim? There is also Petrified Forest/Painted Desert. Lots of Indian Ruin parks. Arizona State Parks are good. Chiricahua NM is difficult since your TT is too long for their CG and I could not find any boondocking close.

NM could have a list that goes on for a long time. Utah starts with the Grand Loop and has other attractions too.

Boondocking takes more than just a generator (a quiet inverter type I hope) there are a number of adaptations you need to make to pull it off successfully. Folks over in the Boondocking forum will be happy to educate you on that.

So feed us more info and we will flood you with ideas.

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Welcome to the Escapee forums! Please do fill in a few of the answers asked and perhaps a bit more about the RV and we can be of much more help. Before you try your RV without any utility connections, I suggest that you go somewhere with full connections, then fill your water tank and leave all utilities disconnected and see how long you can go before you need them. Depending on what generator you have, you probably won't be able to use the RV air conditioner when powered from it. This will also let you determine how long your fresh water will last and how long it will take to fill the two waste tanks. Those are important things to know before you go out with your family and have no utilities. 

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15 hours ago, dirtyboots said:

What part of California....it's a BIG state....or are you heading to Canada?

Also, where are you leaving from?

We are headed to Silver Strand state park in California.  A buddy from work talked me into spring breaking with his family.  Leaving from NW Phoenix.

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15 hours ago, agesilaus said:

Well how long a trip? Arizona is packed with camping opportunities and so is NM. Utah is probably the number one destination for RVers. Cali is avoided by many Rvers because of the social atmosphere there and the high fuel and camping costs. But it too is loaded with spots.

It's too early for the North Rim but have you done Grand Canyon South Rim? There is also Petrified Forest/Painted Desert. Lots of Indian Ruin parks. Arizona State Parks are good. Chiricahua NM is difficult since your TT is too long for their CG and I could not find any boondocking close.

NM could have a list that goes on for a long time. Utah starts with the Grand Loop and has other attractions too.

Boondocking takes more than just a generator (a quiet inverter type I hope) there are a number of adaptations you need to make to pull it off successfully. Folks over in the Boondocking forum will be happy to educate you on that.

So feed us more info and we will flood you with ideas.

I am a FF so one day off gets me 5.  That will be our typical trip length except for a couple "big" ones per year.  Thinking a couple of weeks for those.  We have not done any Grand Canyon with the trailer, but I have hiked up there before.  I have a Champion 4000 watt inverter genny.  Researched a ton and I think I have all the connections, adapters, surge protectors, etc... a man can buy! LOL  I agree with you on Cali, but I got roped into it.  Excited to explore!  Living in the desert sucks, I am from Michigan.  My whole family hates the heat so all of our May - September trips will be up and away from the heat.  What would be a good June trip from NW Phoenix to beat the heat?  Thinking about 8 days total with drive time.

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4 hours ago, Kirk W said:

Welcome to the Escapee forums! Please do fill in a few of the answers asked and perhaps a bit more about the RV and we can be of much more help. Before you try your RV without any utility connections, I suggest that you go somewhere with full connections, then fill your water tank and leave all utilities disconnected and see how long you can go before you need them. Depending on what generator you have, you probably won't be able to use the RV air conditioner when powered from it. This will also let you determine how long your fresh water will last and how long it will take to fill the two waste tanks. Those are important things to know before you go out with your family and have no utilities. 

Great suggestions, thank you.  I can run my AC with my generator no problem.  I bought a 4000 watt Champion inverter type.  My RV is wired for 50amp but only has 1 AC unit with a place for me to add a second later down the road if I want.  My hunt trip in northern AZ last month was terribly cold...like lows in the low 20's at night.  I discovered that running my heater at 68 a tank of propane only lasts about a day and a half!  Luckily I have the two tanks on the trailer and I brought two more with me.

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Consider installing solar/inverter.  It beats running a generator for every 120v thing you need, makes your off-grid life easier and your neighbors will appreciate it.

Edited by hemsteadc

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48 minutes ago, hemsteadc said:

Consider installing solar/inverter.  It beats running a generator for every 120v thing you need, makes your off-grid life easier and your neighbors will appreciate it.

Great idea!  Any suggestions on panel manufacturer or specifications?

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13 minutes ago, Campfor4 said:

Great idea!  Any suggestions on panel manufacturer or specifications?

At least 300 watts to start. Panels are available on line or in solar stores.  Avoid the "kits".  Roof mounting is best.  2000w inverter for coffee maker, microwave if you have the battery power.  At 4 GC batteries work for most people. Lithiums are real nice if you have the bucks.

Edited by hemsteadc

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1 hour ago, Campfor4 said:

What would be a good June trip from NW Phoenix to beat the heat?  Thinking about 8 days total with drive time.

Have you been to the North Rim?  We stayed in Kanab for 8 days this past year in late Sept.  Lots to see within a reasonable drive.  Zion, Bryce, and of course the (drum roll) North Rim.  It's a good bit higher elevation than the south rim, so very different climate.  If you go, stop at Jacobs Lake and go to the visitors' center, and say "Hi" to Mike and Donna.

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The North Rim is my preferred GCNP area but they won't be open before late spring. For cool go high, Colorado or Northern NM. In AZ there is the Mogollon Rim in east AZ and the North Rim area which contains some other smaller parks.

Do not jump into Solar without looking into it carefully, there is a lot more to it than buying panels. You also need a controller, inverter and probably more batteries, and breakers, and solar wiring and connectors. And all that has to work together. There are a lot of tutorials online.

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2 hours ago, Campfor4 said:

What would be a good June trip from NW Phoenix to beat the heat?  Thinking about 8 days total with drive time.

Take a look at the areas around Alpine, Eager, Pinetop, Greer and Big Lake in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. Lots of Forest Service campgrounds. One at Big Lake even has some full hookup sites.

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4 hours ago, Campfor4 said:

My whole family hates the heat so all of our May - September trips will be up and away from the heat.  What would be a good June trip from NW Phoenix to beat the heat?  Thinking about 8 days total with drive time.

The general rule of thumb for dealing with heat is to go up in either direction or elevation--north or into the mountains. The mountains are more reliable as you might have to go a long way north to get much cool weather whereas some mountain passes won't even be open yet in June. For a short trip you might check out Usery Mountain County Park just east of Phoenix. https://www.maricopacountyparks.net/park-locator/usery-mountain-regional-park/

Linda Sand

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Silver Strand State Park is in San Diego. It is right on the beach just south of Coronado, just north of the Mexican boarder. As far as short trips in AZ to stay cool during the summer look at Sedona, Prescot etc. Grand Canyon will be very crowded in summer. Higher altitudes will always be cooler. It’s not cool weather but going to the Colorado River is always fun in summer. Parker, Lake Havasu, Bullhead City. You stay cool by staying in the water. 

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22 minutes ago, Twotoes said:

Grand Canyon will be very crowded in summer. Higher altitudes will always be cooler.

Agreed.  That's why I suggested the North Rim.  Much higher elevation and roughly 10% the visitor count, according to our friends who run a visitors center there.

A good rule of thumb is for every 1,000' elevation rise, you drop about 3 1/2*F.  Phoenix sits at about 1,100', South Rim is 6,800',  and the North Rim is 8,300'.

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June trip - 8 days - I'd recommend:

- anywhere from Payson, AZ east to Springerville, AZ

- North Rim Grand Canyon

- Cedar Breaks Nat'l Monument, Cedar City, UT

- Bryce National Park, Utah

In June you don't want to go to any of the Maricopa County parks in the Phoenix area (where you live) You know what the temps will be!

The Colorado River areas in Arizona will be 115 deg.

Sedona and Prescott can be hot

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