If you don't mind over-nighting in a parking lot, the Oregon Inlet Boat Ramp may be just what you are looking for. We over-nighted there a few years back with no problems. The Oregon Inlet Campground is right next door.
My Wagan 400W Elite came with clips to connect directly to the battery. It ran fine up to 100W using a car plug but screamed over that due to the wiring, not the inverter itself. Chances are the wire at your plug is entirely too small to pull enough amps. Any inverter you buy will have the same problem.
In our tt, we had two outlets: one that came off of a radio wire (long distance and small) and one that came directly off the converter (short distance and large). We could barely pull 100W off the radio wire without an alarm but had no problem with 200W off the converter wire. YMMV
Defintely plan on a few different locations.
Dead Horse Ranch State Park is a good place to stay to see Jerome and Sedona.
Lost Dutchman State Park or Usery Mountain Regional Park are great for the Phoenix area.
Catalina State Park is good for Tucson.
Kartchner Caverns is close to Tombstone and a day trip to Bisbee.
Not to miss: Big Bend National Park in Texas
City of Rocks State Park in New Mexico.
Here is my review of Virginia City RV Park on our blog:
We decided to stop at Virginia City RV Park, a full service park with Passport America rates. It was halfway up a giant hill just past the town and had a great view over the valley. Unfortunately, when we got there, we were told all their "Passport" spots were taken! There were only two other RVs in the park at the time. I would have just kept going. Ennis has some sites on the lake or on the Madison River (Montana Fishing Access Sites) and a couple of RV Parks but Mike wanted to stay (we needed a good flush and some water). So we did, but I grumbled about false advertising and such. Some of the sites were tight, some were unlevel, but most had a decent view in one direction or another. There was some highway noise when trucks would try to make it up the hill but for the most part, it was a clean, well taken care of, campground. A little over priced but what can you do...
We spent the last three months in New England, going as far northeast as Jonesport, ME. We used the western arc (110, 119, 129) except in a couple of campsites where trees were in the way; we manually tuned into 61 or 72. I think maybe twice over the summer we were unable to get HD (129) but that was due to trees.
If you can't get 129, try to 'manually' get 61. Often, manually tuning in to 61 also gets me 72. Good luck!
So sad, government sometimes controls too much.
Its not 'the government.' Its people. People like to get angry about things, usually insignificant things. So they complain about everything they don't like and politicians get tired of the complaining. So the locals vote in a new ordinance. And then they get to go around and search for people to rat out.
I had a neighbor that did that. He really liked controlling everyone else's lives. I'm so glad I don't live there any longer and I hope the people that bought my house are giving him hell.
Parks we really liked so far:
Fisherman's Memorial State Park in Rhode Island. Close to Newport and beautiful beach towns.
Scussett Beach State Park in MA. Just off Cape Cod next to the Cape Cod Canal. At the beach!
Schoodic Woods campground in Acadia National Park. Huge sites on the very quiet Schoodic Peninsula.
Jonesport Campground in Jonesport, ME. The views are wonderful, the town is tiny and quiet - a downeast Maine experience.
Winhall COE in southern Vermont.
The roads in far northern Maine are marginal - frost heaves got on my nerves.
We loved Cooperstown, liked Bangor, hated Old Orchard Beach. We are now in the finger lakes with plans to head to Alexandria Bay, a must see according to our friends from New York.
We typically have breakfast in, lunch out, then dinner can be either/or.
We are out and touring or hiking most of the day and lunch out is usually cheaper than dinner so we find local places we want to try. By dinner we are tired so we go 'home' and cook or scrounge in the fridge, depending on how tired we are.
Being full time, we grocery shop at least once per week and what we pick up depends on what we have a taste for at the time. We also pick up local foods (cheese, meat, vegetables, pies) while checking out the area to eat later at home.
I can't suggest a 'best way' for you but I can mention that being flexible makes for a much more enjoyable vacation/life.
It was THE reason I went to a MH. Pull in, put it in park and open a cold one and sit and watch the RV'ers with TT's spending all the that time setting it all up! And the driving is different too you have to be on more when towing anything.
So you don't level your motor home or hook up the utility's? Only extra time involved with a trailer over a motor home would be unhooking the trailer from the tow vehicle but if you have a toad you would have to unhook that so where is the time savings? Sure you might have auto levelers but are we really talking about a whole lot of time difference?
Yes and no. We put the bus in park and hit a button. Coach levels itself. Then we push 2 more buttons and our slides are out. Total time, 3 minutes. We fulltimed in a tt before getting the bus. Regardless of the weather, in a tt we had to get out to unhook (spring bars and all), level front to back then side to side. Minimum 10 minutes. And, in the MH, we can level in many sites where a tt would need blocks on one side or the other adding even more time.
As for unhooking, in a back in spot, I usually unhook while DH checks us in, before we drive to our site. So, unhooking the toad takes no extra time.
Altogether, from backing into the site to sipping beer, utility hook ups included, 5 minutes, 10 if sewer is involved. And when it is raining, just the 3 minutes for the buttons. We have an inverter, a rooftop automatic sat dish, and carry 60 gallons of water; we don't have to 'hook up' anything.
We saw grizzlies last year in Valdez. Also on Kenai Pen. between Seward and Cooper Landing. And Haines, Hyder, along the Cassiar Highway...
Definitely check out where the salmon are running - that's where they will be. Check out Skilak Lake Road near Sterling (Kenai Wildlife Refuge). DH almost stepped on a grizzly cub at an overlook there...
What do you consider "good" tent camping?
Close to everything? As suggested above, try Elkmont or Smokemont in GSMNP.
If you like frills like a swimming pool, try most of the RV Parks around Townsend and Gatlinburg.
If you want to get away, there is plenty of disbursed and primitive camping in Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests. Check out the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area. That is the best tent camping in my opinion. Go to the Forest Service Office, grab a map, and go.
NF disbursed camping
We go to state and federal parks when we can. However, since we full time, it is occasionally best if we hit a private park for a day or two (laundry, dump, water, etc.). Also, occasionally, there are either no public parks where we want to be or they are all booked. This is typically on weekends so we grin and bear it at the private park until we can get into a public one.
There are some great private parks and some really crappy public ones. But, we spend about 80 percent of our time in state and federal parks because we enjoy them more.
We have been fulltiming for 2.5 years. Our longest stay has been about three weeks in one place but it was family related. When we move, it can be anywhere from 30 miles to 400 - it just depends on where we want or need to be. I think we would both go crazy if we stayed a month at any RVPark - we usually only last about a week in one. State/National Campgrounds we can do two weeks.
We both have lists of places we want to see and things we want to do. I'm a local food junkie so we find local food and try it from various places (here in Maine, it is blueberry pie). Then in down times, I try to make what we find, testing recipes. We both love historic sites and old decrepit buildings so we visit lots of them. We hike and walk. We plan our next destinations. In our two+ years, we have found that we miss more than we see and so always have a reason to return. We run out of time more often than not.
Much like Old Biscuit, we settled into a quasi-routine with a moving day, a cleaning day, site seeing days, and make sure to include an 'I don't want to get out of my sweats day' now and then. If you treat it like vacation, one can burn out quickly. If you treat it like a s&b, one can get bored quickly.
Figure out what you and your wife like to do or see. Make part of your travels center on that. We went to a tiny town in PA just to get a particular bread flour that is hard to find. Loved the town so stayed a week. We also figured out where an ancestor lived after getting off a boat in 1749 and went there to check it out. I'm not into quilting but there are quilting museums and stores and classes all over the country. Breweries and wineries and factory tours are everywhere. Find a local church, bar, dog park, diner where locals hang out. Hang out with them and get the scoop. Grab the local paper and see what events are coming up.
If, when we started out, we just parked somewhere because it was cheap, we would have quit soon after. We try to park with a view in a place open for exploration. If there is nothing to do there but watch tv, why bother?
So here goes with the questions for those who may have done this; how did it go? What would you suggest for someone who is thinking about this adventure? What are the pros and cons? Do you regret doing this, or was it the adventure of a lifetime?
Two and a half years later, it is going well. After six months, we switched from a truck/tt to a Class A/wrangler and haven't looked back. Our goal was to figure out where we wanted to live after retirement. After 2.5 years on the road, we have figured out where we don't want to live but haven't yet decided on the perfect place to live. The longer we travel, the more we realize that the most perfect place is where you are RIGHT NOW. Every place has a good side and a bad side. So we follow the weather and currently have no plans to quit.
Suggestions? Don't over think it. It is like dating - you hang out and have fun, but there are no strings attached (i.e. you don't have to stay). If you get bored, move on. If you are enjoying yourself, stay around for a while. Don't tie yourself into a regimented (9-5 type) plan - just go with it.
Cons - having to put everything away all the time or be overwhelmed with stuff. Those cute little tourist towns aren't so cute when shopping for stuff is the last thing on your mind - you have no where to put it. Cons - eating too much good food. It is easy to gain weight and harder to loose it.
Don't regret it for a minute - We only regret what we haven't done. Having wheels, we can always go back another time to do it. So far, an amazing adventure.
Best of luck with your decisions!
How do you know they leave it open for weeks at a time?
When we arrive at a full hook up site, our tanks are usually full. So we hook up and dump as we set up. Some time later that night we will close the valves but it could be in the dark by then. Maybe you missed it.