Choosing an RV

What will make you happy?

So you have decided to buy a recreational vehicle, but what type will fit your needs and lifestyle? There are many makes, models, design and body types.  In the interest of keeping it simple, I will attempt to address the most common, not including pop-ups and smaller units typically used for weekend camping:

Class A Motorhome

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The Class A RV is typically constructed on a commercial truck, bus or some type of custom designed chassis.  They can be powered by gas or diesel engines. Class A motorhomes can be up to 40 or more feet long.

Advantages:

  • Easy to drive
  • Living quarters are accessible from the cockpit
  • Some offer more luxury and amenities
  • No need to immediately brave bad weather to set up camp

Disadvantages:

  • Price – especially with extensive amenities
  • Size limits where to park and/or stay
  • Having a tow vehicle vs. driving the motorhome to run errands or tour areas
  • If coach breaks down you could be in a motel while your home is in the shop

 

Class B Motorhome

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Think van conversion only with some really cool amenities.  They sure have come a long way and come with dinettes, different bed types and even showers/toilets now. Mostly gas and diesel powered.

Advantages:

  • Easy to drive/handle than larger rigs
  • Living quarters are accessible from the cockpit
  • Less upkeep and expense than larger RVs
  • Can stay and play most anywhere

Disadvantages:

  • Too small and confining for tall people
  • Gas mileage isn’t great even for this small type of RV
  • Used, larger motorhomes can be bought for a similar price and offer more bang for
    the buck.

 

Class C Motorhome

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A mid-range motorhome (bigger than a Class B and smaller than a Class A). They are pretty much a motorhome stuck on a van chassis and gas, propane or diesel powered.

Advantages:

  • Easy to drive and maneuver
  • Take up less space to park and/or camp than Class A’s
  • Easy access from cockpit to living area
  • More storage than Class B – big enough to pack just about whatever you need

Disadvantages:

  • Not an ideal vehicle to tootle around town in – too big and not good for downtown parking
  • More difficult for smaller roads and facilities designed for much smaller vehicles
  • Not as fuel efficient as Class B’s
  • Height and length of modern Class C’s complicate accessibility (driveways, some campsites)

In Conclusion:

The RV that will ultimately satisfy your wishes, needs and lifestyle is a personal choice. Our goal is to travel as long as we possibly can and use our traveling home as a primary residence. We are minimalists who are not attached to “stuff” and have already successfully downsized .  The process was not only humbling, but freeing. We want to be able to go anywhere including boondocking off the grid. We don’t want to be limited on where we can go and/or stay because of rig size when we are not roughing it somewhere. We still believe a fifth wheel is the better choice FOR US.  Our next one will be 30′ or shorter and will have solar energy and other modifications for long-term, full-time living. I’m sure there will be another blog entry about our dream rig so stay tuned! And good luck finding the perfect RV for you!

 

 

Nevada Beach Campground, So. Lake Tahoe, NV

Nevada Beach Campground

Our weekend stay was October 7-9, 2016

Nevada Beach Campground and Day Use Pavilion is part of the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, US Forest Service.  It is located north of the South Lake Tahoe casino strip and adjacent to beautiful Lake Tahoe. The campground is at 6100 ft. elevation, is surrounded by tall pines, evergreen shrubs and most sites have a view of the lake. “ Its subdued atmosphere is a welcomed characteristic, as visitors come to enjoy the peace and quiet of the mountain landscape.”  INDEED!

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The location is also very convenient for us:

GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
38.98194, -119.94861
38°58’55″N, 119°56’55″W

Nevada Beach Campground and Day Use Pavilion is located 2 miles east of the California-Nevada state line, on Highway 50.

Ok – enough of the formalities…this is our favorite campground so far.  #1 in our book.  I am torn between keeping this place as a well-guarded secret or being responsible and feeding my blog! The only things that would make this campground better would be hookups, but it’s not necessary because it would drive the price up and bring more people. There are so many more important, wonderful amenities offered in my opinion.

Here is our review:

Campground Information:

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Site #012 – We were surprised to get such a great site without reserving six months in advance.  We stayed during the second to the last week the campground is open for this season.  The first thing we noticed was the condition of all the pads.  They are ALL long, wide, in beautiful condition and level.  We thought we got really lucky, but all of them are like that. There really isn’t a bad site. Some are better than others, but most every site has a beautiful view of the lake; some in the center of the campground do not. We walked the entire place to take notes and pick the most desirable sites with the best views, but you’ll have to pry my favorites out of me! I aint tellin’!! Seriously, there isn’t a site I wouldn’t stay in just to be able to stay there.

This is our site:

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Comments: 

It sounds like the same story, but we met so many nice people.  Teresa and her husband CJ gave us all kinds of tips on how to book next season and what their favorite sites are.  Everyone else we talked to while we were on our investigation was friendly and helpful as well.  This is what I love about RVing.  It’s like the old days when neighbors actually became friends you could borrow a cup of sugar from. I haven’t borrowed anything from strangers yet, but you get my point.

The campground offered:

A view to die for.  Not only is the most beautiful lake in the world in our backyard, but we can see it first thing in the morning in a campground.  The facility offers clean restrooms with flush toilets throughout the area. There are several water spigots for filling your fresh water tanks when you arrive. Each site has a firepit, large picnic table and barbecue, as well as a large lot to spread out – very spacious affording privacy and quiet.  The sandy beach is close to most sites and great for a nice, romantic walk along the shoreline.

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The sunrises are spectacular!

Dogs are not allowed on the north side of the beach, but have their own place to play by taking a short walk to the south side. What a great idea!  It’s the same beach, but there is a side for everyone.

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Places visited and things to remember next time:

We weren’t able to get a satellite signal with our King Quest Direct TV dish.  I suppose one could consider all the trees a disadvantage, but not me.  It would have been nice to watch the San Francisco Giants blow their opportunity to make it into the championship playoffs. Or not. Instead, we went to the Lakeside Casino (about three miles away) and drowned our sorrows in the Sports Bar! Oh well, there is always next year, right?

There is a Safeway located right outside of the campground, across Highway 50.  So if you forget toilet paper, or want fresh bread, it’s a convenient and affordable solution.  A bank, a couple restaurants and other little goodies are located in the neighborhood shopping center as well.

We aren’t big gamblers, but if you are, the casinos are a hop, skip and jump away.  There are some great restaurants on the strip if you like to glamp sometimes too.

ME?  Next time I am definitely going to take the gondola from Heavenly.

I have always wanted to ride the Gondola to the top of Heavenly Mountain.  BUT NOW…there’s stuff up there!   A 2.4 mile ride up the Heavenly Mountain Gondola was on my bucket list because of  the panoramic views of Lake Tahoe. Still, the price was enough to keep me from actually experiencing the ride to nowhere. BUT now there are activities at the end of the rainbow:

Zip lines, ropes courses, a mountain coaster (it’s kind of like a toboggan ride low to the ground (you can go as fast or slow as you like) and much more, the options are endless at Epic Discovery, the ultimate playground!

Hours of Operation:
CLOSED FOR THE 2016 SUMMER SEASON

June 18 – September 5, 2016 (9:00 am – 5:00 pm, daily)
Sept 9 – Sept 25, 2016 (Gondola 10:00 am – 4:00 pm, Activities 10:30 am – 3:00 pm, Friday– Sunday)

Address: 4080 Lake Tahoe Blvd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150

Here is the link for prices during the summer season: Heavenly Gondola/Adventure Pass

We aren’t skiers – I prefer my snow season to include hot totties by a warm fire, with a blanket and my kitty.  If you are the winter sport type, here’s a bonus: With the purchase of your 2016-2017 Winter Season Pass, you have unlimited free summer Scenic Gondola Ride access and a special discount on Activity Passes!
What a wonderful weekend camping adventure we had!  We will definitely go back next summer (many times).  Lake Tahoe is one of my most favorite places in the world.  Having a campground there is a bonus!
Next review will be about Lawson’s Landing in a couple of weeks. You can find Lawson’s Landing located about 50 miles North of San Francisco and 20 miles West of Petaluma at Dillon Beach. It will be interesting because they are trying to get the place cleaned up. Stay tuned for a comparison of our first stay (before the cleanup) and our next stay.  My favorite parts of our last trip was the fresh barbecued oysters we got there and the friends we spend the weekend with.  I’m so looking forward to it! See you next time!!!
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Road Trip of Baseball Parks in America

WE LOVE BASEBALL!

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We are die-hard San Francisco Giants fans. This blog post goes to press before the big, DO OR DIE, Wild Card Game tonight at 5:00 p.m. PST.  It’s West against East in New York Mets territory. It’s Madison Bumgarner against Noah Syndergaard.  The winner goes to the National League Division Series against the Cubs.  The loser goes home until next year. Giants fans like us must be nervous wrecks.  This is it kids…

So while I was looking up pitcher stats, I got to thinking about some friends who did the whole baseball stadium tour across America.  Wouldn’t that be cool?  Although, in my opinion, AT & T Park might be a tough one to top, I just love being in a stadium.  The energy, the American tradition and food to try in different states sounds like a great vacation to me! Here is a list of parks on my bucket list:

Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Anaheim CA

Home of the Los Angeles of Anaheim
Opened 1966
Seats 45,483

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AT&T Park, San Francisco CA

Home of the San Francisco Giants
Opened 2000
Seats 41,915

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Busch Stadium, St. Louis MO

Home of the St. Louis Cardinals
Opened 2006
Seats 43,975

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Chase Field, Phoenix AZ

Home of the Arizona Diamondbacks
Opened 1998
Seats 48,519

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Citi Field, Queens NY

Home of the New York Mets
Opened 2009
41,922

Citi_Field.jpg

Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia PA

Home of the Philapelphia Phillies
Opened 2004
Seats 43,651

Citizens Bank Park.jpg

Comerica Park, Detroit MI

Home of the Detroit Tigers
Opened 2000
Seats 41,297

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Coors Field, Denver CO

Home of the Colorado Rockies
Opened 1995
Seats 50,398

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Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles CA

Home of the Los Angeles Dodgers
Opened 1962
Seats 56,000

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Fenway Park, Boston MA

Home of the Boston Red Sox
Opened 1912
Seats 37,949

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Globe Life Park, Arlington TX

Home of the Texas Rangers
Opened 1994
Seats 48,114

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Great American Ball Park

Home of the Cincinnati Reds
Opened 2003
Seats 42,319

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Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City MO

Home of the Kansas City Royals
Opened 1973
Seats 37,903

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Marlins Park, Miami FL

Home of the Miami Marlins
Opened 2012
Seats 36,742

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Miller Park, Milwaukee WI

Home of the Milwaukee Brewers
Opened 2001
Seats 41,900

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Minute Maid Park, Houston TX

Home of the Houston Astros
Opened 2000
Seats 41,676

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Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.

Home of the Washington Nationals
Opened 2008
Seats 41,313

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Oakland Coliseum, Oakland CA

Home of the Oakland Athletics
Opened 1966
Seats 35,067

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Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore MD

Home of the Baltimore Orioles
Opened 1992
Seats 45,971

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Petco Park, San Diego CA

Home of the San Diego Padres
Opened 2004
Seats 40,162

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PNC Park, Pittsburgh PA

Home of the Pittsburgh Pirates
Opened 2001
Seats 38,362

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Progressive Field, Cleveland OH

Home of the Cleveland Indians
Opened 1994
Seats 35,225

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Rogers Centre, Toronto ON (BUT, BUT…not America I KNOW!)

Home of the Toroto Blue Jays
Opened 1989
Seats 49,282

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Safeco Field, Seattle WA

Home of the Seattle Mariners
Opened 1999
Seats 47,963

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Target Field, Minneapolis MN

Home of the Minnesota Twins
Opened 2010
Seats 38,871

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Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg FL

Home of the Tampa Bay Rays
Opened 1990
Seats 31,042

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Turner Field, Atlanta GA

Home of the Atlanta Braves
Opened 1996
Seats 49,586

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U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago IL

Home of the Chicago White Sox
Opened 1991
Seats 40,615

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Wrigley Field, Chicago IL

Home of the Chicago Cubs
Opened 1914
Seats 41,268

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Yankee Stadium, Bronx NY

Home of the New York Yankees
Opened 2009
Seats 49,642

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How to Camp as a Full-time RVer

My good friend, Shane, asked me a very common question: “How do retirees hit the road, living out of their RVs all year if you can’t stay extended periods at any of these parks?” The question was in reference to a prior blog post about campground membership clubs.

Here are some questions and food for thought if you are considering going full-time:

  1. Will you have an income such as retirement, investments, Social Security benefits?
  2. Do you want to supplement your income on the road, or will you support yourself on the road?
  3. What is your budget? $1,000 or $5,000 per month?
  4. Are you flexible, or do you have to be certain places at specific times?
  5. Is boon docking or living off the grid an option?
  6. Will you also have a sticks and bricks home as an anchor? Some people need a place that doesn’t move to “come home to”…not me!
  7. Are you a reservation maker, or more “by the seat of the pants” traveler?
  8. Do you have family or friends to visit along your route?

This blog post is not about how much everything costs or fixed versus variable expenses.  It’s more about the different options of staying and playing. I’ll cover money later…

thThere are a million ways of making money on the road, but the first one I’ll address is work camping. Depending how long your contract is, this option can mean staying for more than 14 days at a particular campground (unlike the campground membership clubs).  Some pay wages and some only offer free sites for hosting a campground.

Here are some links to apply for campground jobs:

xfacebook-cropped-02-jpg-pagespeed-ic-ssfjnvvwrl Workers on Wheels

 

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THERE’S LOTS MORE TOO!

The second way to earn an income traveling is working remotely.  Depending on your qualifications and skills, many companies are looking to hire and skip the overhead expenses of an office. There are so many to choose from, but also a lot of scams.  Do not ever pay to apply to any company.  Types of jobs include transcribing, mock juror, data entry, proof reading, sales, marketing and just about anything! If you are crafty you can always sell on ETSY or offer services like plumbing, electrical or maintenance help at campgrounds if they allow it. The possibilities are endless.

The third way is to boon dock.  We hope to do a lot of this.  We have been able to pick the brains of some very good friends, Al and Debbie, who have convinced us being off the grid is a good thing. You should see their set-up!  We call them our experts and look forward to camping with them so they can show us the ropes – the REAL ropes!  Our dream is to get solar ready, carry enough water to get through more days and live simply in between gigs.  The only thing I care about is a flushing toilet and shower.  We’re good there already!

Aren’t Al and Debbie the cutest? !

Another way is to park for free.  Walmart, Camping World and Kmart all provide free overnight parking. Just check with the store manager first. Casinos are welcoming to RVers as well and some have designated spots (with electrical) in the parking lot for a free night. You can always play “trucker” and park free for a night at locations like Flying J. They also have showers and have you ever been in a truck stop diner?  Some serve pretty decent food and enough to fill up the hungry guy.

Our whole idea is to not be in a rush. Ever. Our rule is to not drive over 200 miles per day – maximum. We have a bucket list, but when we get to the next item will be a mystery. We need to travel based on our budget, income and willingness. We want to be on an adventure and that means discovering new horizons.  I can’t wait to say, “Let’s live here tonight”!