to book- or not to book? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-29-2005, 06:52 PM   #1
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Travelling a route for the first time raises a multitude of questions...and where better to go for advice than FGRV! In one month after I've shovelled the snow away from the "Toad", and packed all the necessities of life for two months on the road, we'll begin our West Coast safari. We learned the hard way that a campsite in Florida is sometimes a scarce commodity and began booking in advance for our winter escapes.(Gotta love ReserveAmerica!) But is such prudent planning needed for a trip down to Texas (Gulf, South Padre,Big Bend) New Mexico and Arizona hopping along the border route, SoCal at the State Parks on the ocean,Vegas,"Canyon" and so on? I'm not sure how long we'll be staying at any one CG and don't want to be tied to a schedule...but then again I've had my share of towing the rig from place to place getting the "No Vacancy" message at each stop. So, what say you, you southern vagabonds and caravanners...where MUST one book a site, and where can one just stop and camp on a whim? Your advice, as always, will be heeded and appreciated.
We leave at the start of February and return to Canada in April- well before the Easter rush.
Thanx...Alistair
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Old 12-29-2005, 07:57 PM   #2
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I've travelled about 5,000 miles per year through the west since 1999 pulling trailers smaller than 20'. This includes trips through the SW in the winter. I've never made reservations. Sometimes I've stayed in slightly subpar places but mostly nice ones. I usually start looking for a place to stop between 2 and 3.

Truth is I hate to be tied down by reservations. That's why I bought a trailer.
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Old 12-29-2005, 08:41 PM   #3
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[b]Camping Reservations
Many campgrounds fill-up seven months ahead so plan in advance. First-come first-served sites are available at some parks. Call the park for information on first-come first-served availability prior to arrival.
California State Parks just went on the Reserve America system; many were 1st-come-1st-served only beforehand. The above notice is an excerpt from the San Elijo State Beach campground's website.

That being said, when I first planned last summer's Long, Long Trip, I called ahead to a favorite KOA near The Grand Canyon to make reservations for the 4th of July time frame. They had just instituted a Holiday Block requirement; if you wanted any part of that time, you had to reserve for the whole 3-day weekend; non-refundable. I just wanted a single night, as we were just passing through. I did not reserve; but on the day we were in the area I called at about 3 PM and they had an unreserved space available for a single night if I arrived before 4.
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Old 12-30-2005, 11:33 AM   #4
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Arizona is no place to be this time of year without ressies, nor the deserts of so. Cal.

The snowbirds are everywhere and now is their time to take off. I saw more bulgies while traveling yesterday than any other day this trip and they all where headed south, cluttering I 5 worse than the trucks.

This is why I am cutting over to the 99 today. At least there is a chance of finding a space in a park. There certainly where no vacancies on the interstate.

Where I am at now is empty, but there isn't even a dump station here, so the big boys want nothing to do with it.

Surf and reserve
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Old 12-30-2005, 05:50 PM   #5
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Wally World parking lots.....Wally World parking lots!!!
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Old 12-30-2005, 06:25 PM   #6
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Texas (Gulf, South Padre,Big Bend) New Mexico and Arizona hopping along the border route, SoCal at the State Parks on the ocean,Vegas,"Canyon" and so on? Thanx...Alistair

I spent most of last winter in the same areas of the Gulf. No problem on Padre Island. You drive on the beach and find a spot and drop anchore. Easy right. Big Bend you might have a hard time finding something. I lucked out and found one site at the cg down by the Rio Grande. The one up in the mountains might have something. I'm not sure. I wanted something without hookups, didnt want to pay for anything else. I'm not sure about the other cg's in Big Bend.

Yuma has some BLM land north of the city. free camping.

A.
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Old 01-02-2006, 04:55 PM   #7
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Thanks for the advice FGRV posters. I took your suggestion, Gina and began the Reserve America quest. I've bookended the journey with some reservations at the County park in San Diego and at South Carlsbad SP on the Pacific side, and booked three State Parks in the Texas Gulf shores. Altho' I can do dry camping with the solar and propane, I still prefer a serviced site with Hot showers and electric.
Thanx for the advice, folks. I shall continue the bookings and allow some "slack" time in between where I stop at wherever, but I'll know that at the key places, sites are waiting for us (specially with March Breaks occuring all over the country at different weeks!)
Happy New Year :^) Alistair
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Old 01-03-2006, 08:56 AM   #8
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and at South Carlsbad SP on the Pacific side,

S.C.S.P.? Good choice, Alistair.
Beautiful sunset views from the bluffs overlooking the surf. Be sure your camera is ready! Within (long) walking distance to Legoland, a large outlet center and Costco. There are several really good Mexican and fish restaurants in Carlsbad and nearby. Taking your surfboard? That's great surfing area. Another good choice--5 miles south--would be San Elijo State Beach campground. What is the San Diego county campground that's on your agenda? (I'm always looking for alternate places to camp in San Diego, because reservations are often not available at our favorites, San Elijo and South Carlsbad. We have our own private camp site in the mountains northeast of San Diego, but like to spend a lot of time near our old home near the beach.)

Go Trojans! Lasso the Longhorns!
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Old 01-03-2006, 11:18 AM   #9
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Thanks George, looking forward to the stay at S.Carlsbad (a tip from Des & Dianne from Ottawa...Thanks guys!) Our booking for San Diego is Sweetwater County Park (cool website...a photo of EACH site when you reserve!) Thanks to Frederick Simson for that tip.
I,m tellin' ya...this site is the best resource for FGRV ers!!!
Got to start booking my Big Bend sites for end of February...decisions-decisions...full service or dry camp? (only the Cottonwood site -unserviced- takes reservations)
Thanks fellow eggers...keep the suggestions coming. Alistair
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Old 01-05-2006, 09:15 AM   #10
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I am sure here in Washington state you cant make reservations till Late May if your planning to stay in the state campground here... I dont know aobut the county. The ones in the Gifford-Pinchole Forest area's.. are closed will late spring. Its first come first serve at the state parks..
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Old 01-08-2006, 12:23 PM   #11
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California State Parks just went on the Reserve America system; many were 1st-come-1st-served only beforehand.
We 'experienced' California State parks at Lake Tahoe last summer. They had some campsites open, but couldn't guarantee a second night. You had to check after 10 a.m. the next day to see if your site had been reserved by someone else! And you couldn't reserve it yourself because 48 hours was required.

This, on top of the cramped sites jammed on top of each other, turned us off totally on California State Parks. We went on around Tahoe and found a beautiful, spacious and hassle-free USFS campsite on the Nevada side, where we stayed for three days.
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Old 01-08-2006, 02:25 PM   #12
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...cramped sites jammed on top of each other, turned us off totally on California...
Unfortunately, that applies to many aspects of life here. I want to know, just who are those people, and where did they get all that money to drive up the prices for the rest of us?

There are just not enough campsites available to satisfy the demand.
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Old 01-08-2006, 02:32 PM   #13
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I just wanted a single night, as we were just passing through. I did not reserve
This is the only situation I can think of where not reserving makes sense. It is like the "standby" system for flying.
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Old 01-08-2006, 02:56 PM   #14
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a helpful and sneaky hint, if it applies to you...

the handicapped sites are available for use by those with a handicapped placard in/on thier car. On weekends, if all the others sites are taken, camphosts will often allow others to use the site, rather than let it sit empty and have to turn someone away. In california, NONE of those sites are reservable, however, if you call ahead (The day before) most camphosts will keep them empty if they know someone is coming in.
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