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a plea for more cool weather sites for migratory travelers

JimJohnson
Explorer
Explorer
We live in Michigan's Upper Peninsula - beautiful place to be between June through October, but unless you are a winter enthusiast (or deer hunter), not the nicest RV destination between November and early May.

We have essentially permanent reservations at a Texas Hill Country RV park during those less than ideal times. The problem is GETTING to our destination in the fall and the return in the spring.

Semi-annually it is a battle to find campgrounds from roughly northern Kansas northward. We are migrating, need one-night stays, and apparently so are a lot of other RV owners. The winter migration season runs from late October through the end of year holidays (many retired RVers want to do Christmas with family before leaving).

I get it, campgrounds want to turn off the water before freeze conditions happen, and leave it off until assured freeze conditions are over. But is it necessary to fully close the entire park? Many times my most crucial need is a parking spot for the night with electric power. That last part eliminates Walmarts, casinos, etc. for overnight parking.

To northern tier private campground owners- if you live at or near your campground, I know you won't fill your campground in the migratory seasons, but could you consider a modification to your policies and website announcing limited sites and amenities. It will add a bit more revenue for little more expense. We migratory season RVers tend to be experienced and reasonable travelers.
40 REPLIES 40

JaxDad
Explorer III
Explorer III
wapiticountry wrote:
JaxDad wrote:
Any time boondocking (or more often Wally-docking) the usual string of ‘if you can’t afford a site you shouldn’t be traveling in an RV’ posts appear.

Most of the time I travel, which is often, it’s for ‘work’ (a well-paid hobby / passion actually) and rarely stay in a campground. Probably out of 20 nights of traveling I will be in a c/g 1 night. As was mentioned previously, I drive a fully self-contained motorhome. I am in the process of building a truck conversion unit that will be even more independent.

Even if I was inclined to stop at a c/g I drive long days, I want to be at my destination, not spend days wasting time, so I rarely pull off the road before 10pm and usually I’m rolling again before 7am, I’m just too polite to disturb a bunch of people trying to enjoy their vacation time.

You are welcome to travel/overnight in any manner you wish that doesn’t conflict with local laws and private property rights. Those discussions you mention often include RVers ranting against those laws and rights. They argue their wants and desires should supersede those laws and private rights. They propose boycotts and suggest all sorts of “work arounds” that parse the English language that clearly violates the intent of those laws and policies. Things like “I am not camping, only sleeping overnight therefore the no camping law doesn’t apply”. Or maybe “arrive after midnight and now you aren’t staying overnight “. And off course there is always the put the burden and decision on someone else with “just ask at customer service if the sign says it’s illegal to park overnight “ because everyone knows a Walmart employee’s permission supersedes local laws.
And finally, personal opinion does not trump those laws or rights either. Not wanting to disturb others doesn’t suddenly make a no parking rule void.


I wouldn’t say, based on personal experience, that it is “often” anything to do with illegal parking, it has usually been with regards to parking legally such as in rest areas or commercial parking lots where such is allowed.

JaxDad
Explorer III
Explorer III
valhalla360 wrote:
JaxDad wrote:
Any time boondocking (or more often Wally-docking) the usual string of ‘if you can’t afford a site you shouldn’t be traveling in an RV’ posts appear.

Most of the time I travel, which is often, it’s for ‘work’ (a well-paid hobby / passion actually) and rarely stay in a campground. Probably out of 20 nights of traveling I will be in a c/g 1 night. As was mentioned previously, I drive a fully self-contained motorhome. I am in the process of building a truck conversion unit that will be even more independent.

Even if I was inclined to stop at a c/g I drive long days, I want to be at my destination, not spend days wasting time, so I rarely pull off the road before 10pm and usually I’m rolling again before 7am, I’m just too polite to disturb a bunch of people trying to enjoy their vacation time.


I'm confused. Who said, the OP shouldn't have an RV if they can't afford it?

The OP made no indication, they wouldn't be willing to pay for overnight site.

The issue is on the owners side. There aren't enough people willing to pay to make it worth staying open.

There were people suggesting the OP modify his rig to accommodate wallydocking but if the OP would only benefit 2-3 nights per year, it's kind of hard to justify.


As I said in my post, there’s usually a handful of over-opinionated people that start chirping when the subject comes up, I did NOT say that had happened in THIS thread.

valhalla360
Nomad III
Nomad III
JaxDad wrote:
Any time boondocking (or more often Wally-docking) the usual string of ‘if you can’t afford a site you shouldn’t be traveling in an RV’ posts appear.

Most of the time I travel, which is often, it’s for ‘work’ (a well-paid hobby / passion actually) and rarely stay in a campground. Probably out of 20 nights of traveling I will be in a c/g 1 night. As was mentioned previously, I drive a fully self-contained motorhome. I am in the process of building a truck conversion unit that will be even more independent.

Even if I was inclined to stop at a c/g I drive long days, I want to be at my destination, not spend days wasting time, so I rarely pull off the road before 10pm and usually I’m rolling again before 7am, I’m just too polite to disturb a bunch of people trying to enjoy their vacation time.


I'm confused. Who said, the OP shouldn't have an RV if they can't afford it?

The OP made no indication, they wouldn't be willing to pay for overnight site.

The issue is on the owners side. There aren't enough people willing to pay to make it worth staying open.

There were people suggesting the OP modify his rig to accommodate wallydocking but if the OP would only benefit 2-3 nights per year, it's kind of hard to justify.
Tammy & Mike
Ford F250 V10
2021 Gray Wolf
Gemini Catamaran 34'
Full Time spliting time between boat and RV

wapiticountry
Explorer
Explorer
JaxDad wrote:
Any time boondocking (or more often Wally-docking) the usual string of ‘if you can’t afford a site you shouldn’t be traveling in an RV’ posts appear.

Most of the time I travel, which is often, it’s for ‘work’ (a well-paid hobby / passion actually) and rarely stay in a campground. Probably out of 20 nights of traveling I will be in a c/g 1 night. As was mentioned previously, I drive a fully self-contained motorhome. I am in the process of building a truck conversion unit that will be even more independent.

Even if I was inclined to stop at a c/g I drive long days, I want to be at my destination, not spend days wasting time, so I rarely pull off the road before 10pm and usually I’m rolling again before 7am, I’m just too polite to disturb a bunch of people trying to enjoy their vacation time.

You are welcome to travel/overnight in any manner you wish that doesn’t conflict with local laws and private property rights. Those discussions you mention often include RVers ranting against those laws and rights. They argue their wants and desires should supersede those laws and private rights. They propose boycotts and suggest all sorts of “work arounds” that parse the English language that clearly violates the intent of those laws and policies. Things like “I am not camping, only sleeping overnight therefore the no camping law doesn’t apply”. Or maybe “arrive after midnight and now you aren’t staying overnight “. And off course there is always the put the burden and decision on someone else with “just ask at customer service if the sign says it’s illegal to park overnight “ because everyone knows a Walmart employee’s permission supersedes local laws.
And finally, personal opinion does not trump those laws or rights either. Not wanting to disturb others doesn’t suddenly make a no parking rule void.

JaxDad
Explorer III
Explorer III
Any time boondocking (or more often Wally-docking) the usual string of ‘if you can’t afford a site you shouldn’t be traveling in an RV’ posts appear.

Most of the time I travel, which is often, it’s for ‘work’ (a well-paid hobby / passion actually) and rarely stay in a campground. Probably out of 20 nights of traveling I will be in a c/g 1 night. As was mentioned previously, I drive a fully self-contained motorhome. I am in the process of building a truck conversion unit that will be even more independent.

Even if I was inclined to stop at a c/g I drive long days, I want to be at my destination, not spend days wasting time, so I rarely pull off the road before 10pm and usually I’m rolling again before 7am, I’m just too polite to disturb a bunch of people trying to enjoy their vacation time.

wapiticountry
Explorer
Explorer
Mike and Tammy hit it in the head. No way would it be worth it, financially or personally, to be open after the traditional season. On any given day , even a park along a major north/south interstate would likely only see two or three guests. Then those guests would likely have an expectation of significantly reduced prices since the majority of the park’s services are closed. Someone mentioned $30. Even at a consistent three guests per night that is only $2700.00 gross for a month. Take out $5.00 a site for electricity and that gross for the month is down to $2250.00. That’s less than a third of what one of our parks would gross in a day during the season.
And someone has to be there all the time. If not, a guest is sure to yank repeatedly on the water spigot trying to make it magically work. They will park in closed areas. They will dump their tanks into the sewer system causing a huge issue. (Without constant flow a single dump will not flow out of the pipes to the septic tanks or the city lines. Those solids will dry out over the winter and create a dam. In the spring the system will clog and roto rooter will make $500.00 or so thanks to that $30.00 reservation.).
Say it’s an owner who lives on site that takes care of the park all winter. They can’t go out to eat, go to a movie, both go shopping or anything else because the park must be staffed should anyone arrive. Fact is many days no one will show meaning a wasted day for nothing. And all this doesn’t take into consideration the potential need to plow snow, dig a guest out using shovels should it snow or sleet overnight. And when it gets really cold things break and some has to fix them.
Finally, like was previously mentioned, most owners of seasonal parks consider the ability to close and go south, just like those other snowbirds, one of the biggest perks. I suspect the plea for parks to remain open in the winter will go unheeded.

Gdetrailer
Explorer III
Explorer III
Not sure what you find "funny".

I find it funny that folks buy a totally portable and self contained home on wheels, then for some odd reason what to stay tethered to an extension cord while traveling?

May as well save yourself a lot of money in the cost of the RV and wasted fuel and simply drive a econo car and book yourself into a nice Hotel Room.

One pair of GC2 6V batteries easily powers my home fridge conversion, provides lights, water pump and yes, even heat via the RV furnace for not only overnight but around 20 hrs and still have some battery left (not dead). It doesn't take much planning, effort or cost to make most any RV independent enough to travel for days at a time without ever needing commercial power.

OP doesn't "want" a generator buzzing in their ears all night long. Why in the world would anyone need to run a generator overnight in "cool" weather to just run the furnace? The RV furnace doesn't require 120V AC, just some 12V battery.. All you have to do is make sure you have sufficient battery capacity to handle the 12V loads for the time period needed.. Recharging the batteries happens while you are cruising down the road in your land yacht ..

We overnight all the time, WM, Rest stops and the likes during warm and cool weather and have not once needed commercial power nor have we ever ran our generator overnight.

Just takes a bit of preparation up front.

Grit_dog
Nomad III
Nomad III
LOL
2016 Ram 2500, MotorOps.ca EFIlive tuned, 5” turbo back, 6" lift on 37s
2017 Heartland Torque T29 - Sold.
Couple of Arctic Fox TCs - Sold

Gdetrailer
Explorer III
Explorer III
JimJohnson wrote:
Lots of good discussion here.
I do want to steer this thread back to a couple key points if I may.

We are talking about overnight stops at places with electricity in the northern tier, during the two migratory seasons. Which to my observation, the move south ends by the beginning of January. And the move north starts around late March. (snow happens in our home town as early as Halloween, but gets falling in earnest by New Year, and 20 to near 30 feet by April is not unheard of; temps in the northern plains can drop to -40F (or C). Nobody with brains tries to go south by that point)



Migration "ends" in January?

You are way too late to the game.

Most Northern snowbirds are smart enough to know to leave town well before the snow and ice falls

My parents for nearly 10 yrs snowbirded in Florida, they would typically leave PA just before or slightly after Oct31. Leaving later than that can result in you enduring some very bad weather conditions from North West PA all the way down in to North Carolina. South Carolina and even Georgia have been known to occasionally get quick blasts of snow and they are not really setup to deal with that so even a inch or two can shut down roads.

My parents made that mistake several times leaving just before Thanksgiving or just after.. Both times the result was the Interstate roads were closed due to unpassable roads to ALL traffic and ALL traffic was routed off the Interstate. Both times they ended up in a parking lot in the middle of nowhere for several days.

The first time, my parents were not prepared for this type of disaster, only had a Group24 battery for the 5th wheel and left the truck connected (charge line was hot all the time). Woke up to a dead trailer AND truck battery and no way to start the truck. Had to wait in freezing temps for many hrs until AAA could show up and give a jump.

The second time, they wisely found a gas station which allowed them to plug an extension cord overnight.. Still unprepared but a bit wiser.

Winter shows up way before January in many northern states and can be very unpredictable so the wisest thing to do is to stick some extra battery capacity into your rig, supplement with some solar panels on the roof and even carry a small generator.. Be prepared for several days of being delayed and staying put.

Worst plan is to ignore the weather, throw caution to the wind and hope there is a live electric plug somewhere you can use.. Depending on a bunch of campgrounds being open and easily accessed in winter time is a foolhardy plan.

You have a "self contained" mobile home but yet you are not willing to make it "self sustaining" and cut the cord.

An extra battery to what you have will go a long way in giving you enough power to run a furnace overnight without the need for commercial power.

Grit_dog
Nomad III
Nomad III
Funny thread….
Simple solution. Buy a generator. You’re in a camper…
2016 Ram 2500, MotorOps.ca EFIlive tuned, 5” turbo back, 6" lift on 37s
2017 Heartland Torque T29 - Sold.
Couple of Arctic Fox TCs - Sold

valhalla360
Nomad III
Nomad III
When people complain that the market isn't supplying their niche need, there's always a good answer...though typically, the excuses start flowing....

Open up a string of parks along the route. If there is really enough demand to be profitable, you will make lots of money.
Tammy & Mike
Ford F250 V10
2021 Gray Wolf
Gemini Catamaran 34'
Full Time spliting time between boat and RV

valhalla360
Nomad III
Nomad III
Old Days wrote:
I have a 18rbs trailer and have 370 watts of solar and could very easy put 130 watts more on the roof so it can be done. We camp in the rocky mountains in the winter and solar works great.


While certainly doable....

Unless the OP is otherwise into boondocking, a big solar/battery setup probably doesn't makes sense for 2-3 nights per year when they are running south for Texas.
Tammy & Mike
Ford F250 V10
2021 Gray Wolf
Gemini Catamaran 34'
Full Time spliting time between boat and RV

valhalla360
Nomad III
Nomad III
shelbyfv wrote:
But $150 or so for your average Hampton Inn. Plus you know who's been on your sheets and toilet.;)


Actually, this brings up a good alternative.

Assuming the RV is winterized, find a hotel with a big parking lot to crash for the night. UP to Texas making good time should only be 3-4 days travel which translates to 2-3 nights at a hotel.

Yeah, it's a little more expensive but most hotels are open year round.
Tammy & Mike
Ford F250 V10
2021 Gray Wolf
Gemini Catamaran 34'
Full Time spliting time between boat and RV

afidel
Explorer II
Explorer II
Castle Mound has at least some 50A sites, I checked for the first weekend in December and the first site I clicked on was 50A. 50A is a big deal for me as I can run enough electric heat to use my trailer year round here in NE Ohio with 50A, not so much on 30A (technically my hookup at home is 30Ax2 so a 30A plus a 20A might work but if the pedastal has both it probably also has 50A).

As far as CoE parks, all the ones around here close way early, week after Labor Day for Ohio and PA.
2019 Dutchman Kodiak 293RLSL
2015 GMC 1500 Sierra 4x4 5.3 3.42 full bed
Equalizer 10k WDH