Oh... and many free places ideal for RVs aren't for tents since many lack restrooms.
Oh and my new tent is even easier to put up than I expected. I just now finally opened it up and assembled it (except the rainfly) indoors. The main pole assembly is one big piece and there's no threading poles through fabric like with cheap department store tents I am used to having all my life.
It amounts to two pole pieces, stakes, the tent itself and a rain fly. The instructions are sewn in to a plastic flap of the bag for it.
I have previously used http://freecampsites.net to find places, including some with FULL HOOKUPS in small west TX towns, funded by the local city parks department or Chamber of Commerce.
This is the CoC one I stayed at in Andrews, TX which had a 3 night max stay, as I recall:
It's just going to be me on the trip so I plan to just sleep in the car on occasion between using tent friendly GS parks. I have been "staring" locations on Google maps and also writing them down in a notebook for later reference. I will have a Verizon coverage smartphone plus my good 7" GPS so I won't have any problems finding places to stay.
The reason I have my mind set on GS parks is the 2 major stops alone the way I am making on my way to my destination both have GS tent-friendly parks less than 5 miles away. As much as I like Fed/State parks, they are often 30+ miles out of the way. Since it's such a long driving trip as it is, I want to avoid making 60 mile round trip detours if I can avoid it.
In the case of a Salt Lake City GS park that has a tent area, it's actually FAR CHEAPER than a nearby (but still further away) gov campground. It's less desirable to residents of the area since you're still in the city. It's no kind of getaway to the woods like the gov campgrounds are in the area. There is a KOA but it's further from my destination in the area and costs $10 more.
I have a brand new small 2 person I bought from REI Outlet with an extra discount (paid about $150) so I have a good tent that should last me many years and it's also not difficult to set up. If it's super windy, I can sleep in the car if I have to.
A major reason for the trip is to see family and friends about 2300 miles away (and also to deal with some personal belongings I left behind stored), but I am going to also see stuff along the way to and from, including Dodge City KS on my way there and most likely Yellowstone on the drive back home. Once I get out to where my friends and family are, I will be staying at a COE campground that's a bit far from town but driving my high MPG car, it's far cheaper than the in-town KOA even with the extra gas cost. $11/night with my disabled discount at the Fed campground -vs- $30/night at a KOA. Sicne I will be staying at least 5 nights... yeah. At $30/night in that city for a tent site with NO HOOKUPS? I could have a MOTEL ROOM for not much more! As I recall, the tent sites at the Fed campground there has electric and maybe water.
It depends on the RV and the RVer. A lot of RV parks (without tent sites) have restrooms and showers.
Mine is a Class B with a tiny bathroom where you sit down on the closed toilet to shower. Also it's equipped with a recirculating toilet so I tended to use it only for #1 when I was in an RV park to give an extra day or two before I had to dump it despite having full hookups since it's a chore to dump and "recharge" the toilet when doing it by yourself.
The reason I'm talking tent camping now is despite having the Class B, it gets 9-10 mpg hwy and I am planning a 4500+ mile trip next May. My tiny 30mpg city/30+ mpg hwy 3cyl car means 1/3 the cost for gas and since it's just a road trip, I don't mind car camping. I fixed up the Class B for full timing with the intent of using it for several years but plans quickly changed and now it's in storage.
Although, there is still a very slight chance I might decide to take the van on the trip instead. It'll be more comfortable for sleeping but the thought of paying $1300 in gas vs $400-450 in gas makes me think since it's only going to be a 3 or 4 week trip, I better just take the car.
Do I want to spent the majority of my road trip funds on gas and worry about money the entire time, or do I want to spend it on doing things and not worry so much about running out of money? *lol*
Is it common for parks that have tent sites AND accept GoodSam 10% off to give the discount to the tent sites? I saw one park's site that pointed out the GS discount on the RV sites (in addition to full price) but it didn't specify if they accept the discount on tent sites or not.
I realize it probably boils down to each individual park and I would need to call ahead and find out. Although, one can't be too picky for places to pitch a tent when they are in a city or town where you have something you want to do on a long road trip.
But I am just wondering if most parks don't give the 10% discount on tent sites. I'd still do better to stick to the GS tent-friendly parks than to go with KOAs and their $27/yr discount card since their sites are much higher to start with.
May as well pay $20/night at GS parks that won't honor the 10% discount (so thereby skipping GS $22-25/yr membership) for tents than to pay $27 for the KOA card to save 10% on $30+/night tent sites.
It takes 9 nights at $30-40/night rates to get back the cost of a KOA membership ($3-4/night discount).
If GS tent-friendly parks DO tend to discount tent sites, then the $22/yr would still be a better deal even if it would take 11 nights to recoup the membership cost since the sites themselves are also lower priced to begin with.
I wonder who else is thinking about the implications of an increased heat flow from the giant volcanic caldera that is the whole park? That's what I first thought of, not that a melting road is an inconvenience. Geologist thing.
Yes, I thought about that too actually. Makes me weary of visiting it now... haha