Keeping with my RVing blog theme my "A to Z Challenge" letter of the day is "P" and P IS FOR PARKING.
HOME IS WHERE YOU PARK IT
So true!!! When we are on the road we have to "mark" our coordinates on our GPS units to where we parked the RV so we know how to get "home" if we go out to play tourist, go shopping or go out to dinner. We actually had friends who had parked the motorhome at Walmart and then took the car to go out geocaching for the day. Then they couldn't find their motorhome! Turns out there were three "Wally Worlds" in the town they were in!!!
WHERE TO PARK?
A tall, 40-foot motorhome doesn't quite fit everywhere we would like it to fit. Pre-planning routes, checking campground/RV park guidebooks and online apps are just the beginning steps before picking a stopping point for the night. When we are stopping some place new it may be time to read RV Park Reviews or call the hosts and ask questions: "Do you have space tonight for a 40-footer, towing a car, 2 adults and one large dog?
We do not belong to "membership" parks like Thousand Trails but we do have lots of options on where to look. We are members of the Elks and Moose Fraternal Organizations and many of the Lodges have space for "dry camping" or formal sites with water, electric, and dump stations. We carry guidebooks and can look up various lodges as we travel. Our Escapees RV Club and Passport America subscription service are sources to locate "50-percent off" discount parkings.
Our Rand-McNally RV GPS is programmed specifically for recreational vehicles and includes our length, height, and weight. It can be used to locate parking places "along our route" or near our destination. If I pick a campground then I can direct the GPS navigational tools to get us there along a route that is safe for our size. You don't want to be surprised by "low bridge" signs or highway weight limitations.
One of the best apps we have found is called AllStays and it is available for iPhones and Android platforms. While not free, at just $9.99 it has the greatest list of "places" we could ever think of.
"The number one camping app for iPhone, iPods, iPads and Android. From resorts to hike-in spots. Amenities, maps, truck stops, rest areas, Wal-mart and casino parking, RV dealers, sporting goods stores and much more. Two modes: one uses GPS and maps that you can filter. One is an offline manual lookup mode for when you don't have service.Walmart Overnight Parking: This app lists and shows all Walmarts. See which ones allow or don't allow RV parking based on thousands of user reports. Stores change policy often so get the app and stay updated. Also filterable by store amenities."
Once you select your state, city, and then "filter" the type of place then you are given a detailed listing of amenities, discounts, driving directions and links to the websites and direct phone calling.
OUR PREFERRED SITES
At a campground or RV park we look for spaces that are preferably NOT under trees that would block our DirecTV satellite reception, fairly level to ease the use of hydraulic jacks for extending our two slide-outs, and having utilities hook-ups (electric outlets and water) within range of our storage bays. Having "sewer connectivity" isn't always necessary since our "holding tanks" can keep us contained for about a week without worry. Direction of afternoon sun can be a factor in "hot" climates. Having extra space for our towed car and a non-muddy patio area are also pluses.
RV sites are either "pull through" or "back-in" and room to maneuver also helps the decision on what site to select. Some campgrounds actually "escort" you to the site with a workamper to help guide you in. Consistent communications and hand-signals are best done between the driver and only one "parker". The staff folks are really there to make sure you don't run over the electrical pedestal or water faucets.
Dry-camping - parking without utilities - is called "boondocking" and site preferences change. At Walmarts that allow RV overnight parking, you don't park near their high traffic area or where the delivery trucks line up. Truck stops are not our first choice but, in a pinch, they will work. Often the truck next to you might be running a refrigeration unit all night and the adjacent highway traffic can be noisy. We learn to deal with it like parking in community parks and campgrounds that have freight trains running the local tracks all night long.
|Parking under trees means no DirecTV satellite reception|
When we parked under a large tree branch at Kirtland AFB Famcamp a piece broke off the DirecTV satellite dish when the dish lifted up against the branch. Luke went up on the motorhome roof, found the broken piece and "fixed" it with duct tape. It still works today!
PARKING AT HOME IN COOL
A couple of years ago we had our then gravel driveway re-graded and paved so Luke could back the motorhome up to the house for easy loading and off-loading. This is a recent photo but last year the neighbor's trees had grown up over our portion of the yard and was in a position to scratch our two large solar panels. Under close supervision by Moi (and with my camera in hand) Luke went up to trim the trees. He had strict instructions to stay on his butt!!!