Every time we leave a really great campground, it's kind of sad - like saying goodbye to a friend. We could stay longer, but I'm trying to be very frugal, especially since I've done some pretty expensive additions to The Palms:
Roof vent covers
Coach batteries - 12v (2)
Nikon Camera (that counts!)
Coach batteries again - 6v (2)
LED light bulbs throughout (next week)
Catalytic heater (next week)
Solar (next week)
The total is adding up, but I think the cost will be well worth it.
Here's the pre-rant:
When I pull into a campground, whether private or public, I never know if it's going to be a "hit" or a "miss." Sometimes the campground is out of the way, but if it's a hit and the price is right, then we stay for a couple of weeks.
One thing I don't care for with campgrounds is the hope that the one we're heading toward will be a good place, especially since I'm new at this and haven't seen any of these campgrounds before, and when I go out of the way to drive to one, it's a dump and they want $25/night. Or I just don't like the look of it, or the area it's in. I've wasted time and gas going out of our way, just to turn around and continue on. The on-line photos aren't always current, and the reviews are sometimes conflicting. Of course, I see more of the area that way, but that's not always a good thing if it's getting late and I'm tired of driving.
Once I have the solar/heater installed, it will be easier and more comfortable for us to just pull off the road into free dispersed boondocking spots that are available nearby. They will have the same wonderful views, or plants, or animals, or water nearby, but they will be free. I was told yesterday that some RVers stay "across the street," free, for a few days, then come over here and pay for one night, recharge everything, take a long shower in the restroom shower facility, dump their tanks, fill their clean water tanks, then go back "across the street" until they need to come back for another night. That sounds really nice to me.
Even if I'm in a Walmart or rest area for the night, not having to run my generator so much will be a real plus.
Okay, here's the rant (I haven't ranted for a while):
When I do end up at a winner campground and/or campsite, I feel like I have to reserve the site for a week or two or I might lose it. If I'm not locked in and paid for, I might not be able to extend in the same site. And I completely understand that. If I asked for two days, they give me a site that's open for two days, and it may be reserved by another camper on the third day. If I pay for two days, someone might reserve it on-line, then I have to move if I want to extend my stay in that campground and I lose the site, and if the campground is crowded, I might be out of luck completely.
I've even paid in cash for a site for a number of days, then after the first day was asked to move to another one because someone reserved MY site on-line. The camp host just got the on-line reservation report, and although he said there were no future reservations on the site and I'd paid cash, he later said the on-line reservation took precedence. It's kind of confusing the way the different campgrounds work their reservations. I've even visited a campground, picked out my site for a two-week stay, then when I came back a few days later to check in, I was told they moved me to another site.
This probably wouldn't be a problem for RVers who have gone back to the same places and know where they want to be, make reservations in advance, and know exactly what they are getting. I know many of you do that and it works really well. But for a first-timer, I'm never sure what's going to happen. If I pay for a week or two in advance, and want to leave early, I lose the fees I've paid for the nights not used. I understand that the campground can't refund fees, they are in business, but sometimes I feel like I'm stuck when I want to move on. And if I don't pay in advance for a period of time, then I want to stay, I might not have that option.
Do I sound like I'm whining?? Sorry about that. I haven't whined for quite a while, and I needed that! Sometimes it's a relief to just get it out, you know?
I'm thinking I'll have a lot more control over our destiny if I am completely self contained for longer periods, and after next week that should be the case. If I'm in an area that allows a 14 day stay for dispersed camping, I'll pick my spot, stay 14 days then move on. Or, if I decide it's not a good spot after a day or two, I can move on and not lose my paid up reservation. And when I want to stay a while in a campground, I can still do that, too.
The Palms is an awesome rig. Very simple and sweet. And she's about to prove, with solar and a catalytic heater, just how very sweet. I can't wait.
On a lighter note, this guy just flew over us - what a cool way to get around - wouldn't you love to fly one of these?