RVtravel.com’s longtime friend and occasional contributor Mike Sherman emailed this message to his friends, family and us at RVtravel.com. We’re passing it along because we know other RVers are doing the that Mike discusses here. Others already have or will do the same in the days and months ahead.
We have hung up our keys and look forward to a permanent, stationary lifestyle in the California coastal town of Fort Bragg. We had purchased a brand-new 42′ 5th wheel just before the pandemic hit. Before that we were free to travel and did a lot of camp hosting which saved us a small fortune. However, things started to tighten up as more Americans purchased RVs and hit the road.
Health issues forced us to cut back on our volunteering and hosting. We were forced to compete for RV sites and were restricted to fewer options due to the size of our rig. The seasonal fees charged for folks wanting to stay for a few months here and there began to climb because the park owners will usually charge what the market allows. So, in essence, RVing from point to point became quite expensive.
As things got more expensive, and it became difficult to find space, we started to see the handwriting on the wall. The economy for everyone has taken a dive and we found ourselves thinking it might be time to find a permanent place to park it. We wintered in Arizona but upon returning to Oregon, and then California in May, we discovered the cost of diesel exceeding $6 per gallon. It was $7 in Willits last Tuesday.
So, having been caught up in the “perfect storm” involving America’s health and economy, it was easy to realize it was time. We have had absolutely no regrets for the adventures in our past, and we look forward to a new, permanent life in Fort Bragg.
NOTE FROM EDITOR: Mike added later that he and his wife are now settled in a new park of full-time residents. He wrote: “The manager says they are gradually doing away with RVers that come and go. They are converting most of the park to permanent sites. They make more money out of having sites occupied year-round, and campers coming and going are becoming too much of a hassle.”
TO WHICH WE SAY: Yup, it’s happening more and more. Getting a spot for a night or two is getting more difficult all the time.
Tips for downsizing your possessions for full-time RVing
By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Are you preparing to head out into the new world of full-time RVing? Congratulations! But if you’ve been a sticks-and-bricks dweller for many years, you’re probably face-to-face with a BIG problem: What do I do with all this stuff? Yep, accumulations of possessions can be a major issue when moving out of the “big house” and downsizing into the house on wheels. Read more.
Downsizing RV pros and cons. Is it now or never?
By Gail Marsh
My hubby and I are talking about downsizing our RV. We both agree that our needs have changed and our reasons for RVing have shifted. But downsizing? Now? Really? How can you know the right time to downsize? Read more.
My newsletter says “Non-Members (advertising-supported) edition” at the top. I have been a contributing member for many years. Is there a “member-non advertising issue”?
Hi, Betty. I’m not sure why you received the non-members edition. I’m checking with one of our IT folks who might be able to figure out what happened. Thanks for your patience in the meantime. And thank you for supporting us for many years. We appreciate it very much, and we appreciate you! Have a very Merry Christmas and a healthy and happy 2023. 😀 –Diane at RVtravel.com
It saddens me to read the varied comments that display some criticism towards other RVers. We are a very diverse group of people are we not? We RV in every mode possible and it should be understood that one size is not a fit for all.
Boon dock vs. parks, BIG vs small, we have it all when you travel around and meet so many interesting people. We were at it for over 30 years, starting out with a 12′ TT, then moving up through various trailer sizes. I’ll never forget my excitement at getting my own shower/toilet. My gawd, talk about heaven! Boon docking was very private back in the 80’s. Occasionally one reads complaints that too many are within sight of each other. Doing the solar routine to keep one off the grid is fun, until you get older and tired of all the maintenance involved. Plugging into electricity and connecting a sewer hose can be a new blessing. We eventually worked our way up to a 42′ monster, love the comforts but smile when I see young families starting the RV life.
Cool info. Thanks!
We are really excited to see Fort Bragg in the very near future. We are currently camp hosting a bit north of you at Redwood River Resort in Leggett CA. So far only a few weekends the camp has been fully booked. I’m pretty sure one could find availability here this summer if one was so inclined.
That’s really neat you were able to find a reasonable and (sorry for this) seasonal site. Do you mind sharing the name of the camp?
Hi, Matt. Mike replied to your comment this morning with his email address for you to contact him directly. I hate to put his address out there for the whole world to see (and maybe get tons of spam), so I’m holding it in Pending. In the meantime, I’ve sent you an email with his email address. If you don’t see my email (diane[at]rvtravel.com), check your Spam folder. Have a great day. 😀 –Diane
Here in South Carolina it can take up to a year to find an RV site in certain campgrounds depending on what time of year and duration.
We are set up permanently at an RV resort an hour from home. Right now our new fifth wheel is our “cabin in the woods.” Sites are 60 feet apart and you don’t feel like you’re one of hundreds in a school of sardines. In less than two years we are selling the house and retiring to the RV. We don’t plan to be always on the road. We will spend April through October here in Illinois and then go south for the winter. Ideally, we will have a permanent site somewhere in the south. We will travel, but we won’t be on the go constantly. The resort where we are opened just for seasonals. It didn’t fill up, so they opened it up to weekenders. After 9 years of this, they’re fed up with the hassle and want to encourage more seasonal campers.
Why aren’t states building a few more camp grounds, if they are full.
Oregon really needs 5 or 10 more in the mountains, cascades/coastal range.
Inmates could help prep the land, the state would make a little money and residents would appreciate spots being open.
Probably because this RV “boom” will likely fade. Two years ago, it was insane. We were luckily set up seasonally, but watched the RVs come and go for two years. This year, the owners say they are having trouble keeping sites occupied. If you build it, they will come, but apparently only for a short period of time.
No, it’s not because RVing is a fad. It’s because no one running state government cares about infrastructure or public recreation. They can only see as far as the next election and who will throw money at them, and it’s not average families trying to camp or enjoy the outdoors on a budget.
We have many many millions more people in this country than we had 50 years ago, and with a few exceptions, we are limping along with the same state park system we had back then. Where new facilities are built, they are built for fishermen or ORVers who apparently have pressure groups lobbying for boat ramps etc, or who have legislators in their ranks.
I really don’t understand why people buy an RV and then pay the high price of staying at RV parks. I guarantee it’s much less expensive to fly and stay in hotels if it’s only a vacation or weekend getaway.
I have been boondocking fulltime in the most beautiful places for 6 years and its free. I invested in a solar system, generator, and second water tank mounted in the truck bed. It’s so easy to live offgrid for 2 weeks or more. There are free dump stations and water all over the place. If not then it’s no more than $20. I can’t understand why anyone would waste money in an RV park. You are really missing out on living in nature and in peace…for free!
Well. I am not a glamper by any means and I love state parks. We don’t boondock often but I will say… we are weekend warriors and I would drive and pay a high price for a park 1000x over flying to have my own bed, my own food and location location location!!!
To each his own.
Kristy, I agree with you 100%. There are plenty of places to still go for us weekend warriors and many of the prices are reasonable but I will pay for a prime spot. I am not seeing a slow down by any means for RV parks. At least not for now.. i guess it is one of those cases of “ to each there own.”
I’m with you. I plan our trips out at least 6mos ahead, and always look for campgrounds that meet my expectations. I don’t mind paying more for a spot that is level and has the amenities that I want.
Indeed, I’m hooking up my mc bike I. A 10×trailer with bare necessities and skipping town. I gave up most all, kids are far away and I’m single. THANKS FOR THIS POST!
We are set up at an RV park as seasonal campers. It is open seven months of the year. We pay $1800 a year and do not have to move the RV in the winter. $1800 to $2500 a year for a seasonal site is the norm in central Illinois where we also live. Water, sewer, and WiFi costs $20 a month. Electricity is metered and depends on how much a/c we have to use. The most we’ve ever paid for a month is $180. Two 30 lb. propane tanks last us the entire seven months for hot water and some furnace usage. We have a 42′ fifth wheel. We are in nature. The resort has only 70 sites each at least 60 feet apart and it is surrounded by 168 acres of groomed, wooded trails. Deer, raccoons, possums, badgers, coyotes, and foxes are the norm. We even had a visit from a cougar one year!
Where do you boondock at ?
Because we can! Still work 50 hrs per week. We can afford to pay for an RV site. As a side note, I usually pay less than $60.00 a nite for a site. The reasons we purchased an RV are, our own bathroom, our own bed, non smoking RV, we take our dogs and not all hotels clean well between dogs. Our dogs only get sick when they were kenneled, or in a hotel. When I retire for the 3rd (and last time) , I may look into boondocking but for now, I’m good!
What is “Folks” ?
So this article is pretty much picking on the weekenders, am I right? Well thats us. My wife has been wanting a camper ever since we got married, finally bought one this year! 20 ft bunkhouse, 2 small kids, have camped in 4 states, including 2 week vacation in Colorado in May. Sounds like you just need to put your big boy pants on and stop crying we are all suffering with fuel cost and all that. But if you’re gonna get mad at me for bringing my family out for one weekend a month and I take your spot, grow up. Buy a smaller rig, take yoga, drink a beer, do something so you won’t sound like a kid throwing a tantrum.
Perfect response! My wife & I own a 41-1/2 ft., fifth wheel, and we have found that it’s just a matter of a little planning ahead. Of course you’re not going to find a spot just pulling into a random park in the middle of summer…I don’t care what size rig you have. Here in Montana, RV parks are springing up in some of the nicest areas of NW Montana. The one’s that are tired of the “hassle” of an RV park, are becoming slum lords of trailer courts. Old RV parks turn into trailer courts, so if that’s what they need to do in order to avoid the “hassle”, I say, good luck with that! We’ve been RVing all over the western half of the United States and have never once had problems finding great parks wherever we wanted to go. A call ahead a month in advance does wonders! Stop whining and good luck in the mobile home park.
Yes, book early! We book a month ahead on all our trips, sometimes 2 to 3 months ahead. with my schedule I have a 3 day weekend once a month, so when we leave a campground this month, we book where we wanna go next month.
Planning ahead was always our way even before the current RV and camping craze. This same thing happened in the 70s when I was growing up camping with the family. There was a camping craze. We went to the same spot for a three-week vacation every summer and we booked for the next year the day we checked out. The campgrounds were always crowded, but we never just hooked up and hoped for the best. We always called ahead and had a spot reserved.
We did the same thing for a cabin on Sandusky Bay.
Calm down. Article also mentions health issues.
After all the complaining.
I do not believe he is blaming anyone, certainly not weekenders in particular. He just states that there was/is a huge increase in campers since covid, many are able to work remotely which affords them the opportunity to work from their camper. It’s the total increase, not just weekenders.
Thank you both.
Interesting dilemma but seems inevitable with the supply and demand factor.
Many challenges – the past almost three years – have hit North America and those that do not pay attention, well, too bad.
When ‘everybody’ suddenly starts buying bicycles, small dogs, RV’s or whatever, why so much complaining?
Do NOT follow the trend. Almost always do the opposite if at all possible.
The past retired years have been my last three years of happiness…..following this thinking.
I enjoy rv-ing and have some space at a former junkyard in lockport Illinois for anyone wanting to boondocks near Chicago. The half is forested on a pond and surrounded by park district and next door is a Paintball park and is connected with miles of bike trails along the Illinois and Michigan canal. They also lead to the commuter train station 1 mile away in lockport which runs to and from downtown Chicago and joliet. We are turning the half of the property into a campground as we clean up the junk yard in the front and repurpose. There are no amenities yet but any size motor home or 5th wheel will fit, tent camping is also fine. If someone wanted to stay longer we could arrange electric and sewer water service, short stay would just be boondocks. Feel free to report or to forward this info to other persons and publications etc. Emails can be sent to email@example.com but I don’t check that daily. Or I can’t be reached by text at 8155457902.
Yep – hubby and I decided to actually sell our rig and now are living in a 55+ community in Northern San Diego County. The size of our rig, health issues, having 3 cats along made it exhausting to move. Mostly, it was becoming difficult to make reservations in cooler areas. If we’d had the option of a permanent site like Dave, we would have considered it, but there was nothing here but a community inland, in a very hot desert area. Glad that Dave has found a permanent spot in the cool north 🙂
For those of us who have motorized rigs, permanence is not an option…or at least not a very practical one…without selling one rig and buying another. At this point in the game, that does not make sense to us.
We are in good health, but the issues that seniors have does mean that FHU are pretty much the only way we go now. We would like to give it one more season, but with the economy in turmoil, I am afraid that the deflating bubble for RV sales will burst before then.
We will truly miss those good times but we are not in a position to make payments on a vehicle that sits in the yard.
Been to every state in an rv the past 20 years. Tent camped for 20 years before that. Currently own a new 32ft Class A and a hightop extended van camper. Sure the big name National Parks are jammed up in the summer. We visit them in the spring and fall when the kiddies are back in school. We are currently up in Maine and had no problem finding camp sites on our way north from Florida. Visited friends and family in Nashville and Indianapolis on the way up. Over 2 thousand miles in June. Never had a problem getting a nice pull through site. We now avoid the busy interstate toll roads and avoid the big cities most of the time. Lots of 4 lane zero toll state and local roads. And lots of nice smaller rv parks in small towns along the way. Avoid the big parks with lots of amenities for kids near major attractions. Made reservations a day or two ahead and no problems. In Maine we stay at our own property. Over the years we have owned 3 Mh, 2 5vers and 2 vans. No hurry means no worry.
Thanks for sharing your perspective and glad to read that there are other ways to still enjoy this experience. We’re recently retired and only getting started but looking forward to the journey.
Off season is the way to go! Prices are usually lower, you can stay longer if you want, and often the weather is just as cooperative. One of the most interesting trips we took was to end on Easter Sunday two years ago. It was 75° on Saturday. We woke up Sunday to heavy snowfall with four inches already on the ground. We asked the campground owners if it was okay to extend the stay for two days to wait for it all to melt. They had no reservations and we had a great time. No schedule also means you are more flexible in these situations.
Purchased a Coachman Beyond in 2020. Kids all over the country, Long Island, Santa Fe and Irvine. Our second USA tour. Live in SW FL so we are now headed up east coast and then headed west. Figure eight through mid west, Can, MI, WI, IL, MS, NM, NV, CA, NM and back to FL via TX, LA, MS, AL. Quite an adventure. FL, GA, SC, NC, DE, PA, NJ, NY, CT, NH, ME, VT so far.. Boondocking most of the time, camp grounds occassionaly, Costco, Walmart, Sams Club and Cracker Barrel too. Planet Fitnesses for gym and showers. 15mpg, $4.75 pg avg. 35k on our Lithy (Coachman Beyond Li3) to date.
Agreed. I have one in woods on private land. River up back no reason to go anywhere unless I want a field trip. Then I go to mountains in van and boondock. Sweet set up with privacy and my family on property. Installed pellet stove for winter. No more worrying.
Ft. Bragg is a beautiful place!! Lots to explore and enjoy nearby. Congratulations on your permanent situation!!
Does RV not stand for recreational vehicle anymore?
Good question, Carl. For many people these days a “recreational vehicle” is many things, but far more about “living” than “recreation.”
I have seen so many RV Parks where rigs are so close to each other that the
they look like sardines!!! Hence packed together like sardines!!! NO THANKS!!!
Sold the motorhome.
Not an accurate title but hey do what works. We been full-timers for two years and love every minute of it. From hail,sheet,tropical storm and a few tornado we’re doing great with two rambunctious young ones along for the ride.
It’s sad when we meet Boomer’s with large rigs and health issues who have been doing this much longer than us. And life is short, so my wife and I say to each other just go small and get rid of crap and live with less. But here in America the land of bigger is better no one listens. Nothing wrong with Boondocking in the middle of nowhere.