The business of work camping: Picking a location

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By Sam Suva
From one job to the next when work camping each gig has to be carefully planned out. After all, we have all (or most) of our things with us, so breakdowns and other mishaps could really put us in a bind.

Where?
Typically we go wherever the work is, so that does not always mean that we get the glamorous spots. However, it is almost always warm, whether in the North in the summer or South, well, pretty much all the time. Area conveniences are a major plus: Having groceries and entertainment close by, within a half an hour, is right up our alley. BTW, I am an avid bowler, so an alley down the lane is always in the plan.

Location is definitely important; however, location is really secondary to comfort. If the campground is on a hill, it can mean sloping sites, water run-off, as well as poor cell, TV and WiFi coverage. It is important that we ask if the work camper sites are level. We also need to know which cell service works the best and if WiFi is strong and plentiful.

How?
Having determined the where, how do we get there? The “how” once meant packing the vehicle and traveling in the straightest line to the destination – but no more. I don’t need to rush to the next job, so I can afford to enjoy the journey. While I do usually take the interstate, I can look for attractions, vintage car shows and museums, and out-of-the-way eateries for down-home cooking taste.


Calculating the route, using online directions for up-to-the-minute detours, helps us to determine the best way to the next job. We can also determine the miles and any terrain obstacles like driving around steep grades, or getting around Nashville.

The driving directions behind us, we then determine when we will be leaving. Driving through rush hour, work zones, children getting picked up at school, along with events that have tens of thousands attending and that stop-start traffic is not high on my to-do list. If it is an extensive trip, we find the biggest potential traffic snarl and make sure we get there before 7 a.m. or sometime between 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., or anytime after 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. That usually gets us through without smelling hot brakes.

If it is a long trip, say, more than 5 or 6 hours, we usually find a place to rest and sleep for the night. A fresh shower and coffee in the morning and we are good to go!

Pulling in
Our motorhome, toad and possibly our cargo trailer won’t fit in every campground. We have already asked about sites and feel confident that the campground can accommodate us, but can we get to the site? Low-hanging tree limbs, tight corners and vehicles protruding out in the road can become problematic. I always ask the staff for a ride to the site to understand the best route and drive it before making that final commitment with our home.

It is rewarding to make the first journey to distant places and make it our home: The work is satisfying, the people are generous and helpful, and the memories we make are priceless.

Please feel free to share your experiences in the comments below or contact me at samsuvarv(at)gmail.com .

See you down the road,

Sam

Sam Suva and his wife are work campers. They began work camping more than 10 years ago and have spent a lot of time working as they traveled. In this new weekly feature, they will share their experiences with you, with an emphasis on how to incorporate work camping into a full-time RV lifestyle.

Read more articles about Work Camping.

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