Safety in campgrounds - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-04-2003, 04:40 AM   #1
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Safety in campgrounds

I know I'll be looking like a greenhorn for saying this in an RV forum --please don't take this otherwise :) .

The first things (IMO slightly ridiculous) my office buddies told me when they heard I was getting a used Casita/Scamp was,

1. It's not worth it economically -- motels are a lot cheaper.

2. If boondocking out in the sticks (e.g. Calif. central valley)-- the potential for robberies is high.

Other contributing factors are (since I'll be camping with my wife and a five year-old),

a. I don't carry weapons to defend myself and am worried about my family's safety (maybe I should?).

b. I'm not all that handy with mechanical fix-ups.

The places I'm interested in camping in are up and down the Calif. coast to start with.

Thanks for your answers and pointers.
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Old 05-04-2003, 08:49 AM   #2
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Hi, Bill

These aren't "stoopid questions" at all. I'll give 'em a try, but keep in mind that my answers are all colored by my own experiences and attitudes.

1. I think your friends have had too much funny-juice.

2. I don't think that's true. Your Highway Patrol could probably tell you what the figures are, if they are broken down that way in your state. While the potential is always there, yahoos being what they are, I think non-campers always exaggerate the dangers. This is *not* to say that there aren't dangers. Wild, isolated places bring out the best in some folks, and the worst in others.

a. I have personally always felt that a kind word *and* a gun were better than either one alone. The anti-gun cry of "You'll only hurt yourself!" is pure baloney, IF you take it seriously and get some lessons from a certified expert. But if your aversion to "weapons" is philsophically, morally, or otherwise deeply held, then I would say that you should not try to fake it, but do everything you can to stay out of places and situations where a weapon might be required for your family's safety. In the gravest extreme, just puilling out a gun and waving it around is a death warrant for you if you aren't willing to use it and don't know HOW to use it. All this shows, believe me, and most particularly to the type of individual who might put you in that situation in the first place. You should ask yourself one essential question: Would I ever be able to use a deadly weapon against someone threatening my family? If you have any more questions along this particular line, I will be glad to try to answer them for you, as I happen to be one of those certified guys. But I'll stop here because this can be a very divisive subject on fora.

By the way, a dog can be a very effective protective companion in all but the most desperate situations. Even a card-carrying creampuff and people-lover like mine can give a bad guy pause. A farmer friend of mine once said to me, "You ain't gonna get nobody messin' with you with THAT fella around!" When I told him my dog was a creampuff, he said "Yeah, but don't nobody else know that!"

b. I've only had my Casita since December, and don't consider myself a handy-man by any means. But so far it seems to me that the on-board systems are relatively simple and its pretty easy to tell when you have reached your own limit of expertise and need to take it to a trailer-doc. Most of what you need to know willl come gradually and naturally as occasion demands. Also, you have another PRICELESS resource at your command: this forum. I doubt there is any problem you could have that you couldn't get expert advice on from this bunch of savvy egg-rollers.

Hope I've said something useful for you.
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Old 05-04-2003, 09:00 AM   #3
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Bill

Owning a trailer vs moteling it? Yeah, maybe cheaper to stay in motels (for a while), but what about meals? If you go out to eat that adds to the cost of the day. If you get a room with a kitchen that adds to the cost of the room. But, what kind of a "cost" can you give to making memories? When was the last time you heard of someone taking a picture of their motel room? I purchased my egg with the express interest of making memories for my child. My fondest memories of my own childhood were the times the family went camping..but I can't remember one motel we stayed in! If you're in a motel, you're stuck with your neighbors. If I don't like who I'm parked next to in a campground, I can hookup and move! Never have had to though..folks who camp are of a different mind set than motelers. Lastly, when my camping days are done, I know I can sell my egg and recoup some of my investment.

Safety..;violence is everywhere, at anytime. And as at home, when you camp you must be aware of your surroundings. Don't leave stuff outside (even at night) when you're not around to keep an eye on it..things have a tendency to develop legs and walk off. Home invasions are common, but does that keep people from becoming homeowners? You do what you have to do to protect your "castle" and that's whether at home or in a TT. Staying in a motel is no guarantee violence/robbery won't happen. Does anyone remember that the singer Connie Francis was raped in her Holiday Inn motel room?

Mechanical stuff: I can do what needs to be done, for the most part. But, I make certain everything works properly BEFORE I leave, and that has to do with my tow vehicle as well. If something "breaks" while I'm gone, I just deal with it as best I can and fix it when I get back. I don't have the room to take my entire tool chest..just a few wrenches, screwdrivers and two kinds of tape. For me, the secret is in the maintenance my egg.

The bottom line, the decision of how you wish to spend your money and how you deal with problems is strictly your own. But, I don't think you're going to find ANYONE on this forum who is willing to sell their trailer to (go back) to moteling! Don't let the naysayers change your mind for you..you decide the pro's and con's and go from there.

Best of luck:wave
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Old 05-04-2003, 09:02 AM   #4
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Camping Safety

First, I can tell you, right off, that there is no comparison in cost between staying in a camper vs staying in a motel. In order to even come close to direct cost, you would have to find the cheapest motel and stay in the most expensive RV resort. Personally I wouldn't stay in one of those motels, let alone put my family in one. In my personal opinion, safety in the RV resort would even be much better than a sleazy motel. Here's an excerpt from a great thread:

I gotta agree Eric - you can't beat the price! I remember the first 5-nighter we did at a State Park. Wow - a whole $60 for 5 nights lodging. It had me grinning ear-to-ear

If you haven't read the posts on this thread, check it out: Waxing Philosophical

Then you have meals. You know what it cost to eat out. Then trying to find a place that everyone wants to eat at.....well, home cooking is always better and more cost efficient.

I cannot speak to camping in California, but we have many, many on here that do. They can address that issue.

If you were buying a huge diesel pusher (or large stick built) and having to park, buy gas for, and maintain it, then they might be right. But that's the beauty of these fiberglass trailers. Easy to handle, easy to maintain, easy on the gas to tow.

Sorry, I think your office buddies are either unlearned or jealous. Regardless, I do not believe they are correct.
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Old 05-04-2003, 09:02 AM   #5
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Hi Bill
I have been camping in one form or another now for 35 years.Only once was I in a situation where I felt unsafe while camping.A group of High school kids blocked me in a spot while I was Boon docking.I knew this place was a kids party area so it is my fault.

As for cost,I dont mind paying for peace of mind while on vacation traveling.

You will soon meet other people you can camp with and you know there are safety in numbers while boondocking.

I personally would not stay at a motel that costs the same as a camp spot.

Weapons-------This is a whole new ballgame to me.That thought never occuried to me.I guess if you have to carry weapons because you feel unsafe in certain areas I would stay clear of those places.

Finnally I would NOT let my friends influence me about not to go camping.They are most likely just jealious and besides, when do so called friends start controlling your life.I have met more people while camping, from all walks of life who enjoy this life style.It is great fun.Enjoy it.

As for repairs-------Don't sweat it.You can and will get 99% of repair advice here.What you can't fix go to a rv TECK.

Campinig along California Coast, I think would be great.Lots of people on here who live in California and will point you in the right direction.

One final note.When I am in a strange area I do go to Campgrounds and pay .

Get out there and camp and have fun.:wave
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Old 05-04-2003, 09:32 AM   #6
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Hi Bill!

Your co-workers are off-base.

1. not economical, motels cheaper. Well, depends on how you look at it. The formula is:

(Acquisition Cost - Residual Value) + increased fuel consumption while towing + camping fees / # nights camping

(And I'm not factoring in the "saved" cost of meals prepared versus restaurant charges)

If you had purchased a big diesel pusher bus (for $250,000) or a 30 foot traditional stick built, both would depreciate like rocks. Since you bought a used molded fiberglass wonder, you won't suffer the traditional "lose a third of its value when you pull it off the lot." In fact, many sell our used, cute, little rigs for close to what they paid for them, years later.

Increased fuel comsumption really isn't much of an issue, pulling one of our little rigs ... in stark contrast to running a large Class A, pulling a toad ... or an F-350, pulling a 10,000 fifth wheel.

Camping fees ... well, most commerical campgrounds cost US$25 or so. But most state and provincial parks, national forests, army corp of engineer campgrounds are US$12. (Ask your friends to find a $25 motel room, let alone a $12 one)

Number of nights is the big variable. Obviously, if you just go camping two-weeks a year ... your "averaged" cost per night (14 nights) (as per the formula above) will be greater than if you camp two-weeks + ten weekends (total of 34 nights)

Most folks here would tell you that owning a tiny fiberglass rig makes it easier and cheaper to spend more nights "camping" whether it be a local state park, in the Canada wilderness, or in your own carport.

In other words, even if you only have a two-week vacation from work, you'll find yourself spending more nights away from home ... getting away from it all ... which is better for your mental health!
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Old 05-04-2003, 09:41 AM   #7
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Bill's coworkers [2]robbery high -- Again, Bill, I would say that your co-workers fear is not supported by the facts.

The crime rate is incredibility low!

Pam and I have been camping since we go married 32 years ago ... first in tents ... and then in a succession of three tiny fiberglass rigs.

We've just about perfected the art of camping as far away from civilization as we can get. We prefer to boondock, whenever, where ever possibile.

In hundreds and hundreds of nights of camping, we've never experienced ... nor even heard about ... someone getting robbed at gunpoint (or getting robbed any other way).

Occasionally someone may swipe a camp chair (although we've never lost one) ... but camping, overall, is incredibly safe. Don't take my word for it ... stop at any park office and ask.
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Old 05-04-2003, 01:07 PM   #8
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Thanks for all your helpful replies :)

Well I knew this'd elicit a lot of responses but I'm truly impressed by the thoughtfulness of them all.

Thanks Charles for the formula...I'm considering getting new SUV's, either a Honda Pilot(V6) or a GMC Envoy XL(V8) to tow the 17' Casita/Scamp. These will get me 15 mpg.

<<<<(Acquisition Cost - Residual Value) + increased fuel consumption while towing + camping fees / # nights camping>>>>>

This'd mean then - for a 900 mile (I'm guessing 15 mpg) trip -- [~$10 for acquisition penalty (for total 'acquisition' penalty of $500 spread over 50 trips for the life of the trailer)+~5 mpg or $100('increase in towing' penalty equating to an add'l 600 mile trip penalty which is $100 total gas cost)+ $100(20*5) in camping fees/5 nights]

This means $210 for 5 nights or $42 per night (not counting the savings on food or the thrills of camping in the boondocks.
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Old 05-04-2003, 01:33 PM   #9
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>>$42

Yes, for the first 5 nights you camp. But the true "cost" gets lower with each subsequent night camping.

After a couple of hundred nights, you'll be down in the low $$$20's for total cost ... easy!
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Old 05-04-2003, 01:39 PM   #10
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Charles' formula is good, but it leaves out a couple of expenses:

o Repair cost for the trailer and increased repair costs for the tow.

o Costs of improvements to the trailer.

o Costs of towing equipment for the tow.

o Costs of insurance for the trailer.

These should all be amortized over the life of the trailer.

Thsi is offset by the value of camping in the wild; priceless. :crazy-ii
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Old 05-04-2003, 03:10 PM   #11
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Good points Morgan ... and I forgot those "expenses." Some of which are offset by similar savings by being away from home ... where Pam can say "Hey, I'm going to run into town and pick up a few things" ... not to mention the huge savings in home electrical costs by not running our home's two central a/c's during the heat of the summer while we're camping up in the mountains!
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Old 05-04-2003, 03:32 PM   #12
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safety in campgrounds

As a solo camper I have saftey in mind all the time. This means when heading off into the boondacks i generaly try to stay within yelling distance of another camper, ranger station or well traveled
dirt road. I do this not so much for robery, bears, or other critters
that prefer not to be step on ie snakes, but for medical needs that might arise. I actually kinda like a group of early 20 yo"s partying off in the distance . i did say in the distance ! If your do get hurt as i did it was a lifesafer to have someone who could run a mini marathon for help.
I keep a hand gun with me but it is not for 2 legged aniamals .
It is for Bears hopefully the noise well send them off. and that is my 2 cents on that subject.That and i still plan on keeping food in the car and not in the trillium. ok final 2 cents worth.
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Old 05-04-2003, 03:39 PM   #13
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California Camping

We've tent and Casita camped for over 30 years and never had a problem, unless you count 1 or 2 noisy neighbors. Always have a dog with us, but never a weapon. We've camped in northern & central Calif; the Sierras, foothills and coast. I highly recommend Tom Stienstra's, California Camping, which we rely on when in CA. It lists every type of campground with prices (some free, some cheap, some expensive), a good rating system and has very reliable trip notes for each entry.

(2) The only time I ever heard robbery mentioned was when someone pointed out the safety issue in staying overnight at certain rest areas, along I-5, in the central valley. So I would avoid rest areas that didn't have lots of other overnighters there.

Actually, we always pay and mainly stay at national, state or county/city campgrounds & provincial parks. IMO, they offer the best camping and are the least expensive.

Just kick back, relax and enjoy the camping experience, it's great.
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Old 05-04-2003, 04:24 PM   #14
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Hi Bill
We've never had any safety concerns when camping but we always camp in Provincial or National Parks near other campers. We leave stuff out at the site all the time, valuables like cameras, camcorder, wallets, get locked in the van. Most people are honest, friendly and no threat what-so-ever.

Boondocking might be another storey. We've never done it, would like to, but would camp differently. We have friends that do. A good solid baseball bat is within reach as is pepper spray and one of those air horns.

As for motels being cheaper, initially maybe but you can't make your money back out of a motel. Kids love camping! Nothing beats sitting at your campfire, roasting marshmallows and hotdogs, watching the fireflys, listening to the loons and other wildlife and talking with your kids. We have wonderful family memories and pictures of past camping trips both by ourselves and with friends. These are memories you can't even begin to get from a motel.

Don't listen to your office buddies. They don't have a clue what its all about.
Nancy
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