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I hate campgrounds with a passion


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I am in my mid 40's, not retired or anything and work a normal 9-5 routine..

I did full time for 2 years about 15 years ago.  I stayed at a number of CGs, got to experience the CG culture.  Some had riff-raff, some where a bit classy. Some were micromanaged to the point of absurd (no guests after 10PM - are you kidding me?), some were almost abandoned by owners. I liked the latter. 

None were cheap and convenient to work, my commute at best was 45 minutes, I thought that was short when I moved from a CG that was 1.5 hours away.

Prices keep going up and up even for riff-raff ones, they now installed a pool and pretend to be 5 star. It's cheaper to rent a room all things  considered. But then you lose all privacy. Not that you have much at a CG to begin with. I had to deal with some theft, turns out CG owner's kids were stealing things from vehicles of residents.

There are no campgrounds within 1 hour  of me. Or more.  And I am in DC. I am not commuting for  2 hours every day.  No way, not with the price of gas. The ones that are available are at least $1000/month. Makes no sense if you try to be frugal, given all expenses of RV+CG fees it's cheaper to rent an apartment as exorbitant as they are in price. 

2 years of CG left me with a sense of frustration. Nothing has changed for the better, except that now you have to book  6 months ahead. No thank you.

I am going to full time again but never again staying at a CG. I did notice one thing though. In the west, CG are a different animal, cheaper, easier to find, there are more of them, the attitude and the culture is different than on the east coast.   Looking for a nice CG in DC area is like looking for a museum in rural Montana.

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Very well said and reason I rarely use a private RV park even on the west coast and then only out of absolute necessity with a great deal of research before hand. Most are just too jammed up and crowded and noisy.  You hit on all the major cons and good luck to you.

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This is just the beginning

 

Edited by NamMedevac 70
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I have little experience with the east coast, we did one trip up thru DC, to Boston and Bar Harbor. Mosty in the west tho and I've found fellow campers to be 99% pleasant people, always willing to help. There are occasional rule lovers running the places but they are rare.

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40 minutes ago, etcetera said:

And I am in DC. I am not commuting for  2 hours every day.  No way, not with the price of gas. 

 

6 minutes ago, Randyretired said:

Some enjoy campgrounds and some of us prefer more seclusion.   We setup for boondocking and consider a campground only when we have to. 

That could be a little bit difficult to manage when working in Washington DC and avoiding a long commute. 

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9 hours ago, etcetera said:

Looking for a nice CG in DC area is like looking for a museum in rural Montana.

Supply and demand.  DC has lots of places visitors want to see.  Baltimore too, and that is pretty close.  Land and house prices are out of this world.  That means few campgrounds and higher prices.  We stay in the area twice each year to visit the grandchildren.  We've found two campgrounds.  Both are expensive.  Both are half an hour from the family and further from Washington and Baltimore.

I was just looking at the prices of campgrounds around Zion and Arches NP's.  They are no bargain, either.

Wayne & Jinx
2017 F-350 diesel, dually
2006 Carriage Carri-Lite 36KSQ

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The RV lifestyle isn't suited for a person who works in a big city.  For retired folks and for people who constantly change work locations it is just fine.  For people who live and work in an urban setting, or who live in place where the climate can be extreme there are better places to live.  

Still, people do what they have to do.  And we all have to pick the lesser of two evils once in a while.  

I wish all the people I see in the RV groups on Facebook who think it will be cheaper/easier/more fun to dump their current housing and "just get an RV" could read this thread before they take the leap.

Edited by GR "Scott" Cundiff
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The content of the CG is a relatively minor  problem compared to the proximity issue.

There are never conveniently located given a 9-5 gig, IME there is always a 1.5 hour commute. 

Not everyone in the RV full timing community fits the same paradigm.

Then there is the cost. If you are going to pay $800-1000/month for a 20'x40' strip of land, year after year, you might as well buy your own property in a friendly county where they either allow RV full timing or overlook it. $1000/month will buy a lot of land. Like several acres. Or at least one. It's a better deal than renting. I know many counties in rural VA that do that, but admittedly none are close to DC area.

Some CG  owners/admins are obnoxious, walk around, check whether everyone's tags / inspection /etc. are expired. It goes against the principles of RV freedom and do anything you want, go anywhere you want vibe. Again, great for visiting kids if coming from out of town but that paradigm does not fit a lot of people at all.

All I need is a bedroom after 10PM, a converted sprinter van fits my needs a lot better. This area has myriad of them.  Amazon delivery vehicles and many others.

I work in IT, that just means contracts come and go, sometimes you are gone like the wind. Zero job security, the only job security is in moving.

 

 

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23 hours ago, Randyretired said:

Some enjoy campgrounds and some of us prefer more seclusion.   We setup for boondocking and consider a campground only when we have to.  Different RVing for different preferences.

A converted full size van would work well. 

However if I suddenly moved west, I think it would lose its purpose and a "real" class C would work better. Places like Colorado seem to be more accepting of the lifestyle, the whole vibe there is totally different than some place like Philadelphia or DC. I mean you don't have to blend in there.   Unless you are downtown Denver.

 

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14 hours ago, Jinx & Wayne said:

Supply and demand.  DC has lots of places visitors want to see.  Baltimore too, and that is pretty close.  Land and house prices are out of this world.  That means few campgrounds and higher prices.  We stay in the area twice each year to visit the grandchildren.  We've found two campgrounds.  Both are expensive.  Both are half an hour from the family and further from Washington and Baltimore.

I was just looking at the prices of campgrounds around Zion and Arches NP's.  They are no bargain, either.

Wayne & Jinx
2017 F-350 diesel, dually
2006 Carriage Carri-Lite 36KSQ

 

My personal circumstances are such that even if I could deal with the long commute from a CG and deal with their high prices, I still could not deal with leaving my RV unoccupied and without supervision for about 12 hours. 

When the economy goes south, lots of wildlife will break in and empty it. Not that it's particularly valuable stuff but some of it is irreplaceable.  When you are a single person, that's a game changer, it changes everything and both expands and limits one's option. I don't have a spouse to stay there and watch things.  An RV that looks like it's unoccupied for 12 hours per day, day after day is an easy target.

I don't have the option of removing 100% of  everything valuable off-site.  Like computers and hardware and whatnot.

It's actually a lot safer to take your RV with  you, where you go, in my case it's work. Then it's 300 feet away from you at all times.

 

 

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Are there friendly counties near DC? You are projecting the situation in the NE metroplex onto the rest of the country. Here in Florida you can get a nice slot in a RV park for $400-500/month tho if you want a new RV Resort then that blows up to $900 and up.

And placing an RV here in FL isn't as easy as you think, you need five acres minimum, a well, septic tank, electric power poles and county permits and inspections.

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1 hour ago, etcetera said:

All I need is a bedroom after 10PM, a converted sprinter van fits my needs a lot better. This area has myriad of them.  Amazon delivery vehicles and many others.

I work in IT, that just means contracts come and go, sometimes you are gone like the wind. Zero job security, the only job security is in moving.

Is there some sort of advice that you are seeking, a question you wish to ask, or.................  I can't figure out what it is that we can do for you???

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Does everything have to fit into a category?

I am sharing my frustration 

I am giving advice to people who may be in the same situation and in similar circumstances to mine. So they can avoid some of the issues I encountered.

I wish someone had told this to me 20 years ago. Maybe then instead of a TT I would have pursued some other ideas.

It's talk around the campfire. The process is more important than the goal and sometimes there is no solid well-defined goal.

 

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1 hour ago, agesilaus said:

Are there friendly counties near DC? You are projecting the situation in the NE metroplex onto the rest of the country.

I am not. I thought I was pretty clear, that based on my experience, in the west things were much different. Both in terms of attitudes and in terms of what you could find. Beginning with mid-west like Missouri but really even going to the West Virginia next door is a drastically different experience than DC metro.

Full timing and the whole RV concept is just not a thing in the mid-Atlantic. Yeah, but not really. And I can't move. Not yet. So I am stuck having to adjust to the realities around me. RV people are an anomaly. The ones who have an RV they also have a real house and don't full time in it. You have to go to central VA or Southwestern VA to see a a difference.

Places like Nevada and California struck me as anything goes and we don't care.

 

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4 hours ago, etcetera said:

All I need is a bedroom after 10PM, a converted sprinter van fits my needs a lot better. This area has myriad of them.  Amazon delivery vehicles and many others.

Yes, much easier to stealth camp in a Sprinter van.

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1 hour ago, etcetera said:

Places like Nevada and California struck me as anything goes and we don't care.

California cares. They have massive problems with people who move junk campers near the ocean then can't move them out again because they didn't maintain them.

Linda

 

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The Reno BLM office just closed down all camping at the recreation area just north of the city that was full of junk and abandoned RVs and vehicles plus a trash dump.  They have also stopped camping at another off-road vehicle area NW of the city due to heathen activities and pedestrian vehicle hit and runs by trucks, motorbikes, 4 wheelers.  The county sheriff is tired of spending a lot of man hours policing these young (mostly) pukes.   Reno also enforces parking restrictions on RVs on the streets and business parking lots.  No overnight RV parking allowed on the lots.  I only see a few now and then.

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You are writing about "campgrounds" to be used as full-time, permanent locations near big cities.  That is a very narrow use of that term and limits the places that are open to you to commercial RV parks that squeeze in as many units as possible because real estate is expensive.  And you are right that that kind of living tends to be expensive and not very pleasant. 

However, most of us who are retired or who work online jobs do not stay for months and years in a single place, nor do we stay in "campgrounds" close to big cities.  I hope that if you choose to live full time in an RV that you can find a job where you can truly work remotely and thus can travel and choose places that are far away from cities and offer you more privacy and better scenery.  You are lucky to work in IT, so if you possibly can, maybe you can be looking for that job that allows you to choose where you live that isn't nearby where you work. 

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On 6/11/2021 at 6:06 PM, etcetera said:

I am in my mid 40's, not retired or anything and work a normal 9-5 routine..

I did full time for 2 years about 15 years ago.  I stayed at a number of CGs, got to experience the CG culture.  Some had riff-raff, some where a bit classy. Some were micromanaged to the point of absurd (no guests after 10PM - are you kidding me?), some were almost abandoned by owners. I liked the latter. 

None were cheap and convenient to work, my commute at best was 45 minutes, I thought that was short when I moved from a CG that was 1.5 hours away.

Prices keep going up and up even for riff-raff ones, they now installed a pool and pretend to be 5 star. It's cheaper to rent a room all things  considered. But then you lose all privacy. Not that you have much at a CG to begin with. I had to deal with some theft, turns out CG owner's kids were stealing things from vehicles of residents.

There are no campgrounds within 1 hour  of me. Or more.  And I am in DC. I am not commuting for  2 hours every day.  No way, not with the price of gas. The ones that are available are at least $1000/month. Makes no sense if you try to be frugal, given all expenses of RV+CG fees it's cheaper to rent an apartment as exorbitant as they are in price. 

2 years of CG left me with a sense of frustration. Nothing has changed for the better, except that now you have to book  6 months ahead. No thank you.

I am going to full time again but never again staying at a CG. I did notice one thing though. In the west, CG are a different animal, cheaper, easier to find, there are more of them, the attitude and the culture is different than on the east coast.   Looking for a nice CG in DC area is like looking for a museum in rural Montana.

There are not many CGs around the DC area. Land is expensive and traffic is horrible. You could be 15 miles to your place of work and it would take you an hour to get there. If you can find an apartment  to rent for under $1000 a month it is going to be in a very sketchy neighborhood. I know this as I spent the first 46 years of my life around DC. Just like finding a CG around San Francisco, land is stupid $$$$ and there are not many CGs there. 

Edited by rynosback
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8 hours ago, sandsys said:

California cares. They have massive problems with people who move junk campers near the ocean then can't move them out again because they didn't maintain them.

Linda

 

I don't think that is what is happening in Venice Beach, the local police have been told not to remove the junkers.

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, sandsys said:

California cares. They have massive problems with people who move junk campers near the ocean then can't move them out again because they didn't maintain them.

Linda

 

There are all these videos of Venice beach, etc. with their massive population of "full timers", tent cities.  I do not think  a van/box truck/sprinter van or even a "real" RV will be at their top of their priorities list.

I've lived on the west coast, their attitude seems to be a bit more tolerant. I still would not consider residential areas even there.

I actually kind of sort of regret moving back to the east coast. Seattle I liked the best. Not as hot as in California, great climate, etc. They are somewhat more tolerant to the RV vibe than the colonial east coast, old Virginny. Or so it seems. There are plenty of rural places here in NC, WV, Southwestern VA that has a pretty similar vibe. But you have to go out there. Plenty of counties all over that have no building codes, or don't care.

I am stuck in major metro areas due to career choice.

If I get remote gigs, that's a game changer in conjunction  with  if Starlink becoming a revolutionary option that we sorely need.

My job can be 100% remote. Yet the corporate structure is that they like to see in the chair 8 hours a day. That has become to change however, I had a gig last year where they mandated remote work. I did suffer with the 20' commute from bedroom to the desk.

 

There are all these videos of google employees living in RVs in the google parking lot.. and it's a common phenomenon. You know how much they make and it's still not enough. With Silicon Valley income you get Silicon Valley real estate prices.  There are very few houses for sale in the Silly Valley.  Apartments seem to go for 4 grand a month. I did get an offer with Apple and declined it because I could not find any housing at all. No rentals, no apartments, no rooms. We don't have any, and don't know when we will have any. And rooms rent for insane amounts also. Then you get to deal with roommates and shared bathrooms. It ended up being being a huge pay cut from where I was. In retrospect I probably should have taken it anyway, just to move around. But really the main condition that makes it viable is not paying exorbitant rent, meaning stealth camping in something and redirecting saved 4 grand a month towards future house purchase or land or whatnot.

Really that's the same in all expensive metro areas, it's just more acute in Silly Valley or DC area or New Jersey but the west coast is more friendly, as the the impression I got.

Midwest doesn't pay as well as either coast, even Kansas City is a relatively small pond compared to either DC or Seattle or Chicago. The prices are a lot more sane however.

I got stuck in DC dealing with my divorce that ended with me gaining full custody and  the ex told me, pretty much take him anywhere you want.. even Alaska if you want.  My son prefers either VA or Texas, so there is that.

 

 

Edited by etcetera
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6 hours ago, rynosback said:

There are not many CGs around the DC area. Land is expensive and traffic is horrible. You could be 15 miles to your place of work and it would take you an hour to get there. If you can find an apartment  to rent for under $1000 a month it is going to be in a very sketchy neighborhood. I know this as I spent the first 46 years of my life around DC. Just like finding a CG around San Francisco, land is stupid $$$$ and there are not many CGs there. 

I am familiar with every single CG in the DC area, or aware of. None are viable. For a long list of reasons.

Stealth-camping in the parking lot of your gig is the most viable option thus far.

A travel trailer would be another neat option, if I could find a place to park it at and then move once a week to get to where I need to be. I've done that before. You can get a viable one for 10K and a nice one for 20K and up. All in all, class B or C seems a lot more practical / viable.

Finding CGs in DC or New Jersey area is like looking for a theater in rural Idaho.

The RV vibe just doesn't rhyme with this area. The lifestyle itself doesn't.

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