Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Looking for RV Oz

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We have been 3/4-time RVing for several years. We feel like we have seen everything that interests us. We like biking, hiking, kayaking and nature watching. Our travels have been mostly National Park/Forest hopping. We are at a point in our lives when we would just like to sit somewhere warm and natural for a few months in the winter. We are turned off by commercial RV parks. The South is full of them. We are not into potluck dinners, line dancing, pickle ball and all the rest. We just want dark, quiet nights, natural surroundings, and interaction with like-minded people. Is there such a place, or are we pipe-dreaming? Maybe finding this place with a quaint nearby town is not being realistic. Any advice on how to be happy with what we can find?
--Looking for Oz in Arizona

Dear Ozzie:
I don’t think that is asking too much. The problem is finding the right fit. I assume you have considered continuing your present mode of travel and just staying at your favorite parks for the full allowable time limit which is usually 14 days. That would only move you a dozen times a winter from one awesome place to another. You could also consider volunteer work in a park you really love. That would give you the opportunity to stay much longer in one spot.

You might consider looking for a home or lot to rent in an area that fits your needs and allows RV parking. If you spend the time and money to become as self-contained as possible you could find a quiet place on BLM land that would allow you to stay much longer. Many sites are near small towns that you might find interesting. I know people that have registered mining claims, just to have privacy and boondock-type surroundings, with room enough to invite friends to stay.

You might consider buying or leasing land with others who are looking for the same camping opportunities you are. Having a small private campground with people you enjoy can be a great opportunity to enjoy the place you love, make a small investment, plan your own parking space, and enjoy the things that interest you. Not very different from a condo, a time-share or investing in a lot in an RV park. It just gives you a bit more control over your surroundings.

While you contemplate what will make you happy, I would just keep doing longer stays in parks you enjoy. After 14 days, you probably need to dump and water-up anyway. Find the primo parks you love, reserve your whole winter in the sites you like the most, and continue to enjoy the lifestyle you always have.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink


MrTommy said...

This is an interesting topic. My wife and I feel somewhat the same. We just retired this year and spent 17 weeks (not all at once) 'out'. Here in NV there is almost endless BLM land to camp on, pretty much for as long as we want. Problem is, almost none of this is warm in the winter. Maybe down near Las Vegas, but we stay well away from there. And the huge crowds at Quartzite do not attract us. We haven't found a solution to this yearning yet, but we're working on it. Some of these suggestions sound interesting. Thanks for the article.

The Desert Beacon said...

x2 on volunteering in national and state parks. We've been doing it for years. There are occasional potlucks (optional) but the seclusion you seek can be found there.

Unknown said...

Very interested in your comment about registering a mining claim to have a private boondocking area. Since I live in NY I wouldn't know where to begin to do something like that. Would love to see a column dedicated to instructions on how and where to do this, in the newsletter. What land is available for this? It sounds wonderful. Thanx.

Jerry X Shea said...

Great post. Having been to all 49 states (still waiting for that road to Hawaii) we have found many, inexpensive & remorte RV parks. The key is to find places that "kids & family" don't want to go because there is nothing for the kids to do. Also those "senior parks" (those kids party to much - ha). Because I write books, we always ask for the "last, out of the way site." Unless a holiday weekend come up, we spend most of our time alone down at the end. We pay the monthly rate and if we really like the place/town, we stay another month.

Anonymous said...

We are full-timers. We are also volunteers for an organization called SOWERs ministry. This allows us to travel and help others at the same time. We get to pick where we want to be throughout the year. And we are with like-minded people. It is a win-win situation.

Ellen said...

Keep in mind that just because an RV Park has a full calendar of activities doesn't mean you have to participate in them. My hubby and I prefer each others' company; I prefer his food (he does all the cooking)to pot luck. When we play pickleball, we play each other because we get the workout we want better that way. We've found a few parks in southern Arizona and one in particular in Southern California which is quiet and (especially nice!) very dark at night -- we sleep like babies when there, even when the park is full. "Looking for Oz" can feel free to e-mail me privately for more info on where we've found the best of both worlds (or at least, the best we can find): ellenbehr[at]
Good luck!