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Finding HDT Friendly Campgrounds


Snowflake

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We are new to this forum and new to travelling the US with our HDT and 5th. We've done some local camping in Canada (Manitoba) with it but that's it. The current plan is to spend 6-8 weeks this winter (likely late January to mid-March) in the Arizona and/or Texas areas. We have friends in Apache Junction/Mesa area so would like to spend a couple of weeks there but otherwise are open regarding locations. Not necessarily looking to spend the entire time in one or two locations either. We would be willing to move every 1-2 weeks to find new things to see and do as well. We are looking for ideas on where to find campgrounds that can accommodate an HDT rig and 35' 5th wheel. We have the Smart car on the HDT so can drive to attractions, shopping, etc without needing to use the big rig. Our ideal sites would be outside of towns/cities so we don't get the "parking lot" feel. We know most parks in those states will have quite a few seasonal residents but would prefer one that has a decent percentage of short-term residents rather than almost all seasonal. No pets so that's not a concern. I turn 55 in mid-Feb (though my wife is younger) so I'm hoping that means the 55+ parks are an option.

 

Looking for ideas of places to go, good websites to visit for more info, etc.

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At the top of the HDT forum page you will see a "pinned" title that says Heavy Haulers Resource Guide. Click on it and you should open a page that gives you access to "Heavy Haulers RV Campground Guide". If you click on that it will show numerous HDT friendly campgrounds by state.

http://www.rvnetwork.com/index.php?showtopic=88214

 

Also there is a link to submit any campgrounds you may find that are not listed. You will see it under "Campground Submissions ".

http://www.hhrvcampgrounds.com/

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Also, on RVParkReviews, some HDTers put that or HDT in their reviews. You can search for "HDT" or "HDTer" and drill down into their other reviews by those folks to see what their value system for rating parks is and what they thought of where they have stayed.

 

I also check on Good Sam's park directory online to see what they say the site sizes are and any comments about them. People who go to a park that says sites are longer than what they really are will almost always make a comment to that fact.

 

I agree, Big Rig Friendly is as meaningless as BroadBand speeds.

 

As others have said, though, the real test is google earth view of a park. That will show comparative site sizes but also how tight and convoluted the drives may be to get in and out.

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We have relied primarily on RV Park Reviews for big rig information. I also spend time on the phone when making the reservations to be sure the folks understand how long we are. Small older parks are usually mostly backin sites with narrow roads. We avoid them unless desperate. The last two parks we stayed in were backin only and one was so tight that getting the trailer out would have been a longer process than getting it in. Rather than slowly working the trailer out of the spot, I paid a pickup with a 5th wheel hitch to pull the trailer out of the space. We stay at this park once a year when visiting our son and his family.

 

When we need to go into a convoluted park I walk the route first to be sure the rig has enough room. I have had the truck and trailer in a couple of situations that took considerable time to get free from. When we return to Arizona this fall I will install a camera on the back of the trailer. The camera will not stop me from hitting something, but it will let me see what I hit.

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Thank-You so thus far for the good advise. My wife and I are looking forward to our winter trip, providing I finish the deck on the truck in time. My farming duties have not allowed me to do any work on our truck this summer, however we were able to use for weekend trips around Manitoba. If anyone with a HDT is looking to experience what Manitoba Canada has to offer for a summer vacation I will be glad to offer you a large selection of areas, from wooded beach campgrounds to places around our major cities.

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Snowflake, this is how I start. I bring up the Passport America web site and also the Good Sam website in another session. Then I use my Streets and Trips to plot out the general route I'm taking. If I can find a Passport site near the route I use them first. However, you can get a wider view using the map feature of Good Sam. Once I have the general route I start looking at parks and look for the listing Big Rig Sites. After I have that information I use this new invention called a TELEPHONE and call them and ask questions to be sure they can fit my 65'. This will generally save you disappointment of 'Big Rig Friendly' sites. I have had very little trouble using that method. I have found if you call ahead parks will go out of their way to accommodate our size rigs. If I'm only over nighting I have had parks come and put cones around the front of the rig so I did not have to unhook.

 

Brad

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My wife does all the planning, I just drive the truck. :) She uses googlemaps. If the back road has a semi truck on it it's good to go. She has a low clearance site she goes to. She uses Passport American and RV Park Reviews to find what she thinks will work for us and looks like we can fit. She then calls the campgrounds. Tells them what we have. Do they have interior roads and a site that will fit us? Would like a pull through but if not then an easy back in. Has worked for us. Although some campground owners/managers/workampers are clueless and the stories I could tell you, but over all 99% are very helpful and get us into a good to great site.

 

 

The 55 plus park my wife and I work in during the winter, only one person has to be 55 or older. http://www.sunscapervresort.com/ I see the webmaster hasn't changed the monthly rate from $350 to $375 but you can also look under classifieds there are private sites owners who rent out also.

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I always explain that my truck is a Volvo which seems to resonate, since most folks working at an RV park know there are no Volvo pickups. A few times, after being reassured that all their spaces would fit me, the RV park worker would tell me they misunderstood my size and a semi truck would not fit it. When I'm lucky I'll hear something like "but we've got a large pull through that is open that's 75' long.

 

I wait till I land a 65' + site before adding that we also have a Toyota 4Runner. I always offer to park the truck or the car where ever they have room. Except for overnighters I unhitch so I can level the trailer using the auto leveling feature. Driving the truck to another location in the park is not a problem. We have the 4Runner for local transportation. I believe I have only had two parks that did not have a space for me. Both were small older parks. Many parks have sites with open ends that could accommodate a HDT and a 53' 5th wheel.

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So, you are telling me I need to plan my trip (or job) in the Great Pacific North West more than a year in advance? I can hardly get a job with a 2 to 3 week advance notice. Maybe it will be different when I'm ready to explore that area. (Or I should ensure I have a large enough battery bank to provide for the intermittent sunshine and a huge solar panel array.).

Rod

 

Clearly, you were not in the Pacific NorthWest during the summer. Between the many older, pre-slideout days parks and the seasonal price gouging in the PNW, one is often lucky to just get any kind of reservation on less than year's n

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Sorry Budd, but we spend our summers on the Oregon Coast. Currently we are three miles from the ocean up the Alsea River, still a tidal river at our camp. The Chinook (King) Salmon are running and the Alsea is a great salmon river, so there are a lot of fishermen and women on the river. I spent two hours yesterday turning a 30lb Chinook into meals, vacuum packed and freezer ready.

 

We are staying this year at the Chinook RV Park, three miles east of Waldport, Oregon on the Alsea River. Waldport is 13 miles south of Newport, our favorite Oregon city. We paid $500 for the month. The sites are backin and are only 55' long. Google Earth showed the space I was assigned was across from similar spaces and a fairly wide interior road. The owner assured me that the opposite sites were vacant. My trailer is in a space large enough for parking the 4Runner and spending time outside. There are two sites nearby that were being used for storing a car and a boat trailer. The boat trailer space had plenty of room for the Volvo. I paid the owner $20 for the month to park in the space, mostly so another resident could not co-opt it.

 

There are many vacant spaces here and the price is reasonable. There is an area near the river where a dog can run its tail off. For us this is a huge benefit. While I would not call the park layout HDT friendly, the owners are HDT friendly, and willing to work out a way for you to stay. We will definitely be back.

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Been towing with the Volvo for 12 years and have yet to find a park we could not fit into. We are 65 feet long and when I call I tell them " 65' long with a heavy duty truck" two or three times we have had to park the truck away from our site, occasionally I have to leave the park to find a spot to unload the smart. With the tight turning radius of the Volvo and the hitch behind the rear axle I can get it into some pretty tight spots. Several times park owners have said they did not think I could get into a site, but I usually find I can after I look at it.

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On Labor Day we stayed in a military campground in Monterey, CA. The lady asked how big the trailer was and I said 39' nose to tail. She said she had a 35' slot it would fit nicely in as long as I could back it in. She was right. We fit nicely with room for the smart and parked the truck about a block away at the golf course.

 

One question...do they ever stop asking how you get that car up there?

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