I'm about to take off and I have questions! - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-11-2014, 09:07 PM   #1
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I'm about to take off and I have questions!

Hello!

I'm a 25 year old female and I just purchased a 17' Casita Spirit Deluxe, which I'll be towing with my Nissan Xterra. Working in outdoor education means traveling a lot, and I finally decided that paying rent for short periods of time, and feeling tied down to any particular place, was costing me money and cramping my style. So I kind of just jumped in and decided to buy a travel trailer and live in it for a while. My only companion will be my 3 year old St. Bernard/Golden Retriever mix, Summer.
I'm currently in Kentucky. Mid-April, I'm headed to Lander, WY to work a rock climbing job for a few weeks, then on to Colorado to start training for my next job. By the end of May, I'll be living in my trailer near the Bay Area outside San Francisco, running a summer camp until the end of August.

As an avid camper and backpacker, I've never had the luxury of a mobile home. However, I also haven't had the responsibility and additional needs of one- like electricity and water hookups, for example, or the space to park it, or the danger of leaving it unattended for a few weeks (such as when I'm in the field teaching).

So here are a few questions:
Where do I start?! Where are the tips and tricks and places to go? There must be some great resources out there for tips on saving money and finding one's own level of needs and comfort. Any great links you'd like to share? Anything related to safety, security of the trailer, insurance, and storage would be great.

Holy crap! RV sites are EXPENSIVE. I think "boondocking" might be the way for me to go. How do you know where it is legal to park? And for how long? If I am boondocking, where is it safe to fill up water and such? I'll be living outside San Francisco for about three months, and it is NOT cheap. The cheapest parking I found was at an extended stay RV campground for 900 a month, plus the cost of metered electricity. Otherwise, it's over fifty bucks a night. No way can I pull that off.

I plan on learning quickly. I'm a hands-on type learner, and I expect to make mistakes and spend lots of time practicing. It feels crazy to be doing what I'm about to do, but it feels right, too. I know I don't need lots of stuff- just mobility, a few necessities, my dog, and the chance to be in the woods, deserts, and mountains.
I know I'm a newbie. But I am excited to have a community of experienced and awesome people to talk to on here, so either way, thanks so much for reading, and I'm stoked to be a part of this exciting new world. I've been reading almost every post on here and have already learned a lot. So thanks a bunch, you all are inspiring
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Old 03-12-2014, 01:23 AM   #2
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Hi Lorena, I'm sure that some other members here will speak up soon for your questions. The only thing I wanted to say was you should be able to go on line and find areas where you will be that have free camping for boondocking. As far as getting water you can use expandible water jugs to fill up your tank in your travels from town. On line you should also be able to find dump stations in your planned stays. As far as security of leaving your trailer for extended time, guess that you do what you can to secure it and hope for the best. Here in Calif the highway dept pull the wheels off their mobile road warning sign trailers that they leave on site for a while but not saying to do that. Do have the bearings checked and repacked before your trip and good luck to you and have a great time. Your new trailer will be way better tan a tent.
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Old 03-12-2014, 02:06 AM   #3
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Lorena, welcome to FGRV and offer some suggestions. There are several organizations that offer dome discounts for camping, Passport America, Good Sam, KOA all offer discounts for paid membership. In addition they also have guides to campgrounds. In addition there are websites with reviews of campgrounds like here,Campground Reviews and RV Park Reviews
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Old 03-12-2014, 04:39 AM   #4
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I use an iPad app called CampWhere that locates federal, state, and local camp grounds. Most are low cost, some free. However, most are short term. A few weeks at most. Raz
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Old 03-12-2014, 07:54 AM   #5
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Welcome to the group...

As you have already found, the RV park in Pacifica (near S.F.) is not only the only place nearby to stay, but is also very expensive. I guess that's the price of being near my hometown.

Unfortunately there are no known answers to that problem. There are some state parks in the Half Moon Bay and further south areas, but that makes for a nasty drive into the city.

There are some "Mobile Home Parks" in the Sunnyvale/San Jose area that might have a slightly better monthly rate, but the additional comminute will eat up any savings.

Basically, "boondocking" in the bay area, especially on the peninsula, is what Sheldon might describe as "Undefined" It's very difficult for more than a day or two and the local constabulary is very wise to the most creative attempts.

You mentioned being in a summer camp "Near San Francisco", if you can give a more exact location you might get more help.

BTW: It's not a good idea to even think about leaving a Casita "Unattended" for several weeks while you are away. Even those in storage lots have been known to disappear per posts in the last week.

Good luck and let us know if you find any solutions to RV'ing in The City by the Bay.
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Old 03-12-2014, 09:12 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Borrego Dave View Post
Hi Lorena, I'm sure that some other members here will speak up soon for your questions. The only thing I wanted to say was you should be able to go on line and find areas where you will be that have free camping for boondocking. As far as getting water you can use expandible water jugs to fill up your tank in your travels from town. On line you should also be able to find dump stations in your planned stays. As far as security of leaving your trailer for extended time, guess that you do what you can to secure it and hope for the best. Here in Calif the highway dept pull the wheels off their mobile road warning sign trailers that they leave on site for a while but not saying to do that. Do have the bearings checked and repacked before your trip and good luck to you and have a great time. Your new trailer will be way better tan a tent.
Expandable water jugs. Brilliant. I put that in my "trailer stuff" notes on my smartphone. I thought about five gallon jugs, ut they take up so much space. So thank you!
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Old 03-12-2014, 09:13 AM   #7
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Thanks, I will bookmark that page. Every time I've traveled through the states, I'm stoked that I have a smart phone.
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Old 03-12-2014, 09:17 AM   #8
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Thanks everyone for the tips.
I'm now officially terrified about leaving my brand new Casita parked in Lander for up to three weeks unsupervised. Especially because everything I own will be in it, or in my Xterra. I guess I should start calling RV storage areas in and near Lander. Eeek. Are there any other suggestions for what to do with it and maintain my peace of mind?

For more info: I will be working in Corta Madera, in Merrin County, from Late May through August. It's a day job, with weekends off (hooray!), so I would love to be within twenty minutes drive. Any suggestions are much appreciated.
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Old 03-12-2014, 09:18 AM   #9
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Whoops... *Marin County
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Old 03-12-2014, 09:33 AM   #10
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Pleeeze, Marin County, although a beautiful place, isn't San Francisco...LOL

Actually you may have better luck there, than on the other side of the bridge, finding a place to stay, but in bay area traffic jargon, a 20 minute drive is about 3 miles. Try up towards Santa Rosa, the fairgrounds there has cheap spaces I believe as long as there isn't a major activity going on. BUT, stay clear of anything near the Russian River, those are mostly party places and the spaces are like the inside of Sardine cans.

Coleman makes an excellent, folding 5 gallon container, available at Wal-Mart.

As far as parking for an extended period.... good luck on that one, unless you can arrange a parking place at the local police or fire station (ask?).
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Old 03-12-2014, 09:38 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Miller View Post
Pleeeze, Marin County, although a beautiful place, isn't San Francisco...LOL

......

As far as parking for an extended period.... good luck on that one, unless you can arrange a parking place at the local police or fire station (ask?).

Sorry, I haven't actually been to the location yet, I don't know where anything is! It looks close to SF on a map!

Are you serious about the fire station? Is that something they do/have done before? See, this is why I'm here- that never would have crossed my mind in a million years.
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Old 03-12-2014, 09:42 AM   #12
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Name: Lorena
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Miller View Post

Actually you may have better luck there, than on the other side of the bridge, finding a place to stay, but in bay area traffic jargon, a 20 minute drive is about 3 miles. Try up towards Santa Rosa, the fairgrounds there has cheap spaces I believe as long as there isn't a major activity going on. BUT, stay clear of anything near the Russian River, those are mostly party places and the spaces are like the inside of Sardine cans.
Santa Rosa! Yes! I have a friend who lives there, and according to Google it's only forty minutes north. I wonder if he'd let me park outside his house. Text sent, waiting for response! Man, that would save me so much money! Thanks, Bob.
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Old 03-12-2014, 10:24 AM   #13
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Lorena, if you are going to leave it for extended time in an unfamiliar to you location, make sure you have a real *good* coupler lock on it. Also wouldn't hurt to run some heavy chains through the wheels.
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Old 03-12-2014, 10:26 AM   #14
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Name: Lorena
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carol H View Post
Lorena, if you are going to leave it for extended time in an unfamiliar to you location, make sure you have a real *good* coupler lock on it. Also wouldn't hurt to run some heavy chains through the wheels.
Wonderful! Ok...so then my sheepishly stupid questions: What is a coupler lock? How do I chain it properly? Are there videos or instructions online I can check out?
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