Friday, February 27, 2015

Looking ahead

As I said at the end of my last post, I've had the rig for a year (and a few days, actually: March 18th is the anniversary) and it's time for the general review.

A few semi-random thoughts:

I don't like commercial RV parks much.  My experience is that they're crowded and pretty ugly.  I do see the point in staying at one from time to time to dump holding tanks, fill up water,  and run off shore power if I need to charge batteries.   By comparison with most motels, they're cheap.  But I'll be looking for state parks and the like when boondocking isn't feasible.

If I'm just trying to get from here to there, any parking lot in a storm!  My two experiences on my trip to Albuquerque were fine: One truck stop, one restaurant lot.  Just a place to stay.  No biggie.

The days up at Site 73 were the best I've had yet with the Beast: big open views,  uncrowded to say the least (after I chased away the folks from Vashon Island.)  But there were some issues I need to pay attention to.  If the weather had closed in and the solar panel couldn't hack it, I'd have had to move or run the generator for a couple of hours to recharge. The 55-gallon gas tank was maybe 2/3 full, and the generator burns about 1/2 a gallon an hour, so that would have been an option.  I have a real hangup about using the generator, which I think comes from years ago as a tent camper, encountering an RV with a noisy smelly generator.  So I have to keep reminding myself it's there.

I'm really taken by the whole solar thing: quiet and very resource-friendly (e.g. PC).   I'm starting to look into what it might cost to put another solar panel and more batteries on... first cut is that a serious increment would cost on the order of $1K.  *Grimace*

I need to back up and remember what my original motive was for getting an RV:  getting out of Tucson summer heat.  I started reading a blog Called "Cheap RV Living," written by a guy named Bob Wells, who's something of a celebrity in the small world of full-time RV living or "van dwelling."  He spends summers, or parts of them, parked right outside of Flagstaff on A-1 Mountain Road.  I've been there.  He spends winters in southern AZ, seems to use places like Cottonwood and Prescott when it gets hot down here, and then moves up to Flagstaff later in the season.

The specific locations are less important than the concept.  Here's a guy living in places I know and like, pretty much for free, in the summer.  It's perfectly legal. ** And it's affordable!  The expensive part of RV travel is road time. The cost of getting to and from Flag is pretty small.  (About $160).

So do I want to live in an alpine meadow for a month, pretty much on my own?  I could ...

** Bob reminds me about the Forest Service' 14-day rule, which is energetically enforced in the Coconino National Forest: no "dispersed camping" for more than 14 days in any 30-day period. Hmmm.

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