The other day waking up in another Wal-Mart parking lot I turned to Barb and asked her “When we got married 30 years ago did you ever think we would be spending nights in the Wal-Mart parking lot?" She turned to me and in a serious tone responded “Yeah, I knew there was a good chance”.
Sometimes I wonder if we are doing this fulltime thing the right way. When I look at the fellow RV friends we have made in the past two years, no two of them seem follow the same guide when it comes to how they approach their campsites.
We have friends who would never consider spending the night anywhere that did not have full hook-ups let alone a Wal-Mart parking lot! Others are members of Thousand Trails jumping from park to park taking advantage of their membership. With the cost of state parks ranging anywhere from $10-$35/night and private parks usually from $35 to over $100/night, where you stay is an important financial decision. It’s not like it is for one weekend a month where $50/night is not a big deal, this is a decision that you have to make 365 days a year! Even at $25/night you are looking at an annual expense of almost $10,000. So how does one offset or mitigate this expense? Some of our friends volunteer at a park for part or all of the year and receive their site for free, this is a great option and one I am sure we will take advantage of at some point.
When we plan our travel we do so thinking about what we want to do or see, where we are going to stay is not the primary consideration. Once we plan our destination and route THEN we think about where we are going to stay. This is where Barb gets busy; our primary tools are ALLSTAYS, Ultimate Campgrounds and the blogs of other FT’ers. Our ideal situation would be to find a full hook-up site for free, but since we don’t tend to stay in an area long enough to volunteer that has never happened. Using these tools Barb searches for the best campsite that fits our itinerary. For us, we rarely stay in an RV Park that has full hook-ups instead opting for dry camping in State Parks, boondocking in remote areas and of course the occasional Wal-Mart. We spend most of our time hiking, exploring or other outdoor activities. Many days we leave the rig early and return just in time for dinner. While other days we will just spend lazing around the rig reading, working on the blog, cleaning and doing other busy work. Since we don’t take advantage of the amenities in the larger parks why spend the $35+ per night? Maybe one day we will but for now we would rather save that money for some fun activities or going out to eat!
Luckily Barb and I are on the same page when it comes to this approach. Although they can be noisier, we have found Wal-Marts, truck stops and rest areas perfectly safe. There are usually other likeminded RV’ers there that you can stay somewhat close to. Only once have we moved locations because it looked a little sketchy.
In the end we decided that there is no right way, you do what fits your lifestyle and if you are happy you must be doing it right!
Which leads me to where we are this
week….Leaving the coast of Northern California we headed inland to Cave
Junction, Oregon where we visited Barb’s 95 year old grandmother. We spent the
afternoon getting caught up on the lives of Barb’s aunts, uncles and cousins as
well as looking at pictures and hearing stories of her mother and grandmother in
their younger years. Although she does not get around as well as she used to,
her mind is sharp as a tack and you can almost see her memories come to life as
she looks across the room and tells her stories. Visiting is always a highlight
of our time in this area.
|A remote boondocking site we found outside of Cave Junction in National Forest land|
|We collected another stamp in our passport book while in the area!|
|Barb at the mouth of one of the caves|
|Barb with Ron and Diana|
Time to get back to the coast! We pointed the truck west to Charleston, Oregon. We had been there each of our previous trips to the coast and knew of a free boondocking area that we always wanted to stay but never could with the big rig. This time we were going to do it!!!!!!
It was a disappointment to say the least. When we arrived there were signs everywhere limiting camping to 24 hours, there were transients in tents scattered throughout the area as well as 3 burned out and abandoned travel trailers. You could hardly blame the local residents for wanting to limit or eliminate the camping in this area if that is the way it was being treated!
|The camper in the background was burnt. The van drove up that night and 5 guys spent the night.|
Not letting this ruin our adventure we found a quiet little spot and tucked into the trees for our one night.
|Our free spot on the beach for the night|
The next day we moved just up the hill to Bastendorff Beach County Park campground which had off-season rates of $20/night with water and electric.
|Site #34 at the county park|
This is the third time we have been here in the past two years and during each of the previous trips we had gone crabbing and clamming. The seals and sea lions were so frustrating last year that we decided to forego the crabbing, but we did get out clamming twice! We got enough clams for several meals of clam strips and chowder!
|A limit of Gapers|
We had heard that the local marine biology center was having a fund raiser call Aw Shucks Oyster Feed. Although raw oysters are not our favorite they advertised that they were cooked a variety of ways, so we thought why not! We arrived to find out that they were being prepared; fried, sauteed and steamed so we thought that we would try a platter of 12 sauteed and fried oysters. They could not be that bad, others were sitting around gobbling them up like crazy. So with oysters in hand we found an empty table. I dipped a fried oyster in garlic butter and started to eat it. The look on my face must have said it all because Barb said “Are you going to throw up?” I had to concentrate of swallowing it as it really did want to come up instead of going down! OMG, they were horrible! Barb said they can’t be that bad and popped one in her mouth. It was at that moment that I saw what I must have looked like a few seconds ago! Ever courageous we thought the sauteed ones must be better so we each tried one. Nope, equally as bad. By then several others had joined our table and we watch their expressions closely as they popped one after another into their mouths without even flinching. Must be an acquired taste as it certainly wasn’t for us. When no one was looking we slipped them into the trash next to our table and ran out of there! All afternoon those oysters rebelled and tried to make their way up but we were able to hold them down!
|The signs looked friendly enough|
|We won't be eating oysters for a while.....|
Our next major destination is Newport, Oregon where we are going to visit Barb’s aunt on her mother’s side. We had several days until we had to be there so we slowly made our way north along the coast spending a night in Florence and Seal Rock. We stayed at the Casino in Florence one night where we each got $10 for enrolling into their Players Club. Barb turned her $10 into $24.50 while mine was reduced to $6. A free stay and $30.50 equals a great night!
|Cape Arago Lighthouse in Charleston|
|Umpqua River Lighthouse, Winchester Bay|
Seal Rock RV Cove is another Passport America Park ($15/night with PA discount). It is located right along Hwy 101 with full hook-ups, free Wi-Fi/cable TV and great views of the ocean. Definitely worth stopping by if you are passing through.
We will leave you with a few shots from our walk along the beach at Seal Rock...... tomorrow we are off to Newport!