We are new to Colorado and used to boondocking in Arizona. Our 22 ft. Spirit is great on backroads that are dirt or gravel but the roads need to be fairly well graded. I have been researching for over a week and still can't make up my mind about possible boondocking sites within a few hours from home. In Arizona we always liked best to hike in the wilderness areas to avoid the gun and 4x4 enthusiasts as well as mountain bikers, though they are quiet at least. We could drive right up to the edge and camp overnight at the trailheads then hike during the day and relax at night. We spent many nights in the RV with temps down in the upper 20's in Arizona--figure that is about what we will encounter up to about 9000 ft. this week here. We would like to have similar camping experiences here. Appreciate any advice from seasoned Colorado boondockers. (I'm posting here because my searches had the most answers about Colorado camping in this forum.)
One route would be to take Coal Creek Canyon Rd. (72) to the Peak to Peak and stop not too far off the highway to hike and camp. I have the Motor Vehicle Use Map for the Boulder Ranger District. There is a trail near 116 south of Ward that looks good for us and part of 116 allows dispersed camping, next up the road could be Camp Dick the only open campground in the area, if we had to be in a campground because the roads were too rough. Also near Allenspark there is a trail system near Bruce School Road and 217 is marked as dispersed camping. We could continue up to Estes Park, I was tempted by the Wild Basin entrance to RMNP but they warn that it is not for RV's and parking is limited. RMNP camping has been partially closed this week, but Moraine reopens Thursday. That would be our end destination and the trip from point to point is about 5 hours.
The other route would be to go south, probably to 285 and then camp between Bailey and Fairplay, I have been told anyplace off sr 56 would be OK, then continue down to 24 and up to Twin Lakes. These campgrounds are also closed for the season but there is supposedly dispersed camping nearby. Can't tell from the Motor Vehicle Use Map because they don't mark specific roads as the other districts, but it appears camping is allowable basically if you are in national forest and it is not otherwise marked. The total trip to these sites would be about 6 hours point to point. We would be in the Pike and St Isabel forests and I have still to figure out what trails we would like to take. As far as weather, it appears the elevations are generally higher for this trip.
It seems the forest campgrounds close early in Fall. Does closed mean locked and gated or does it mean they are not collecting fees? Aren't there loads of trails for snow shoeing and cross country skiing that are near these campgrounds? Seems there would be a lot of fall and winter campers in Colorado.
I tried some of the off road camping near Gross Reservoir and the roads were definitely too narrow and extreme 4x4 for our RV. But another area nearby was maneuverable, at least in the sites near the road--they were numbered. We stopped at a trailhead (Boy Scout trail system) and even though I read no camping at trailheads (we did this in AZ) a sign there said camping was allowed! So do you have to visit a trailhead to know if you can camp there i.e. park overnight?
I'm just wondering how it works in Colorado, not obvious from what I have read online and much more restricted than what we are used to in Arizona. Would appreciate anyone clearing this up for us! We will start exploring Wednesday morning.
I thought the remover worked pretty well, and knew about ammonia too from spray cleaning my windows. Thanks for the tip on new decals. I checked out the Mobility RV site but didn't see any mention of the sale. I sure don't want to spend much on decals though. I think I'd rather just have a plain finish. The swirls don't do much for me esthetically. :? Won't get to it this year anyway...but always have to have a plan, right? Post some pics of your job--will be an inspiration.
I had great luck with Red Max Pro and later Zep Wet Look by the same company. It CAN check or show defects if applied over remover and not on a pristine clean surface. The process is well documented and lasts much longer than a Maquires wax job--not forever though. It is important to throughly clean with Bar Keeper's friend--amazing how it takes off the oxidation--especially if you can find the white 3m pads that are finer than the green, then wash with a strong cleaner (TSP is recommended) and rinse well. The floor wax needs about 4 coats to get the shine. It can be renewed with another coat in a year or so, or removed and the process done again, maybe every 2 or 3 years. I had a bit of checking on the overhead after using the remover--but nothing terrible. The stuff didn't save my poor decals though. They have continued to crack and peel and I will have to tackle them someday. I recently read that cement sealer works in the same way too.
We were also in love with the RV and RV'ing from the moment we took the plunge. Glad to hear you had such a good time your first time out. You are right about camp folks. Awful helpful when you need it. We also had help in a Kansas campground from a guy who knew more about awnings and RV's in general than we did!
I replaced our grey tank valve and it was very simple. You might just be able to lubricate it but I chose to put in a new one, not that expensive. Plumbing leaks can be harder to track down, but with patience, you can do it. Working on the RV is quite a pleasure too. Enjoy!
Don't have to be single to buy and operate an RV. Or to learn all the systems and perform maintenance and repairs. Not every camping loving guy enjoys taking care of an RV and many will gladly let you do the learning, driving, and care stuff. Just do it if you want to and more power to you.
You will do fine. Everything can be learned if you spend the time and have the interest. Retirement is also wonderful if you can swing it financially do it as soon as possible. That is my 2 cents. :)
Yeah, the GFI's are tricky little devils. Ours stops our kitchen outlet and makes us think the coffee maker is broken!
We also have a 12V receptacle in our TV cabinet and the outlet there can be turned off by a switch near the antenna booster and night light. More than once we have strung an extension cord instead of remembering that little switch.
Your sewer connection is standard. New hoses are reasonably cheap from Walmart. Higher quality from RV stores if you want to pay for it. We are still using an inexpensive hose. Some folks take the hose out of the bumper and put it in a PVC pipe with end caps mounted underneath for the purpose. Won't rust the PVC etc. But we have not had issues with putting it in the bumper lately. I did have a bumper cap come off and lost a connector piece, but now I have the bumper ends taped on and one that has a little latch for the hose cover. I have seen RV hoses on the highway--not uncommon to lose the end cap and then the whole hose!
Middle of Kansas on a HOT day--Good Sam service was within 45 minutes--hardest part was talking to the guy at GS. His call to the service guy was quick though and the service was great! He was friendly, helpful, solved the problem--needed oil or it seemed to. And did NOT charge an arm and a leg for emergency service on the road. I think their network is larger than AAA based on the waiting period. Maybe I was just lucky. Had similar luck with a short tow in Mesa on our auto. I renewed even though our insurance says they have service. Didn't test them either though.
The eternabond is not attractive and over time can get scratched and dirty. However, it sticks like crazy and forms a waterproof seam that can be invaluable on RV roof and edges. Sealant tends to crack off over time in my experience (not on our roof so much but on the edges.) Eternabond is more expensive than sealant too. So low budget may not include it--vigilance works with sealant I think. Also I don't think PBR is bad beer, at least not yet--they just sold it.
I certainly like dreaming about a TC for our older 4x4 pickup. Resale is pretty high on those Arctic Fox units and they don't have a motor attached!
Cab over beds are usually queen sized but not king as some TC's might be--although most have cabinets on the sides and smaller queen sized beds about the same as a C. TC's tend to have dinettes that fold into beds but dinettes in both types are always shorter than a full size bed. I haven't see many models with fold out type of beds. We can connect our jack knife couch and the dinette bed and sleep a crew of kids and their parents while still getting to the cabover for the grandparents.
We have camped mostly off road in AZ where the roads are dirt and relatively passable, but in Colorado we couldn't get into some of the narrow rough canyons where camping is allowed. We have more exploring to do in the Colorado federal forests.
Here are the specs on our 22e and the larger 24 ft. models from 2003.
May not compare to today's models. If you don't like 27 gal fresh water you won't like 30 plus the 6 in the water heater. We seldom run out in a week but we don't do much in the way of showering.
4x4 class C's are very rare and very expensive. Gary Haupt had his c converted for $15,000 or so. I just saw one for sale in Flagstaff for $49,000 about the size and age of ours. Surely someone prefers a Class C 4x4 to a TC if they can price it that high.
I have seen 4x4 Lazy Daze for sale too, and of course you can get the Tiger vehicles Tiger RV site if money is no object. So a TC and 4x4 truck seems more maneuverable than a C for sure and if that is the way you want to camp, seems that you can find a TC with specs that match or exceed a C.
Has anyone tried the Anderson leveler? Seems like the tire is fully supported at every height increment. I'd need 3 - a pair for the rear wheels and one for the front if that also needed a lift.
Category: Learn something new every day!
Reviews are mostly great--small, easy to carry. 30,000 lb weight limit. Might try these as I do think leveling is one of the biggest pains. We have levels outside and run around the RV trying to get them leveled. Also try the door trick. Open the bathroom door and if it stays open you are close to level. Notice they are using a regular 24" level by hand in the video.
How they work: Anderson Website
When we purchased our coach pre owned a few months ago it came with a couch instead of the dinette, it was removed by original owner. Using small
tables is a pain. It is difficult to sit comfortably on the couch and be close to the table. We are in the process of having this replaced and going back
to the dinette setting. I thought the couch would be a good idea but not for us.
Practical points, thanks. Is the ultraleather type of couch stiffer and maybe more comfortable to use the table with it? Always need more storage too, although the J has underbed storage I think.
No kidding Phil,
We share a unique approach to RV'ing and glad to have your company along the way. This summer, because we are new to Colorado, we reserved several state park weekends. Boy are we spoiled with wilderness camping though. Hope to get back to it more next season or even this winter if we drive off to AZ for some sunshine.
We are remodeling too, moved all our stuff to the garage, but have two bedrooms to live in, one we decked out with a dorm fridge and microwave plus a few small appliances. But we find we use the RV fridge and stove rather often. And I've been reading about using the generator if the electricity goes off.
Hard to quantify that kind of cost benefit!
The View or Navion with the side bed would be my choice if money were no object. I've been inside them and driven one in the hope I could afford one and really like them. I think I would get the fold out couch instead of dinette too, you can always carry portable tables and the extra bed would come in handy. The only semi-issue is diesel which I'm completely unfamiliar with, and the overhead bed is much higher than a typical class C where the drivers seat is a step down.
x5 to the tri levelers. They are so much easier than the blocks and sturdier too. We have smushed several of the yellow blocks but the tri-levelers keep on keeping on. We use 2 tris and a set of 10 yellows. Boondocking it could take us up to an hour to get level--or find a spot level enough to get level. Really! And I'm talking half a bubble in the fridge not perfectly level. Mostly in campgrounds a couple of tri's will do you and at less expense than the blocks. They don't have to be the same height on each side. We often place one right under the tires and one a bit further up to level. We do support both back tires though so guess a set of blocks or a couple more levelers would be needed.
Just a very interesting part of owning an RV is the cost-benefit. Especially good info for those of us who started knowing NOTHING about owning an RV.
I kept very detailed cost records the first couple of years including all the wonderful junk I bought for comfort and coolness in the campground. I like to look back and see how I spent money on this hobby. Most of which I would not do differently.
Our initial investment was $21,720 with smog, insurance and license.
Spent an additional $553 on "stuff". Leave out the gas money, the time spent in campgrounds that cost us fees (very limited in AZ much more so across country and now in Colorado!) and you have the "other category" that has not been mentioned yet. So here I go...for your enlightenment if you are not keeping track. :)
RV Equipment and Supplies--first 3 months
RV.net for research and advice (used this one before purchase) Priceless
Good Sam emergency road insurance $80
Spray bottle with bleach water for filling tank/hooking up water (reused/had)
Water filter for hose end (waterfilters.net) $20
Pressure regulator (came with)
Extra potable (white) water hose (Walmart) $10
Recommended on RV.net (especially Class C FAQ and Mods threads)
Device for filling RV water tank--(Built this, flexible plastic pipe w hose connector that fits into the tank inlet, I added a shut off valve) $2
2 5000# Scissor jacks for stabilizing $70 ebay
Wheel chocks $8 Walmart
Solid plastic leveling blocks $10 Craigslist
Plastic containers for storage in cabinets $10 Big Lots
Plastic drawers for closet $15 Big Lots
Plastic bins/organizers for drawers $1 Big Lots
Spring loaded curtain rods for kitchen cabinets to keep items from shifting/falling out after travel $4 Big Lots
Bubble level for refrigerator (had this)
Remote min/max thermometer for refrigerator $10 Ace Hardware
Battery powered small vacuum $40 Target
Long handled window washer w/squeegee $8 Walmart
Lightweight propane grill $20 Lowes (replaced with Weber 100 on clearance at Target--$80)
Outdoor kitchen-- lightest weight and most collapsible folding camping table I could find $100 Meiers
Extend a Flow gas connection for grill (ebay) $30 ebay
Grill lighter for stove/grill (Big Lots) $1 Big Lots
Indoor/Outdoor 12 volt rechargable LED work light (Big Lots) $20 Big Lots
Enzyme black tank treatment stuff $10 RV Show
Scot single ply TP/Calgon water softener $4
Automotive pocket storage panel (Hang in closet for hats/umbrellas/etc.) $6 Big Lots
Meguiers Marine Wax (Switched to floor wax for fiberglass--Zep) $15 Outdoor World
Tire Pressure Guage Truck Tire $4 Auto Supply
Bounce dryer sheets (various uses--cleans insect yuck from hood and grill) $3 Walmart
Camping stuff we moved to the RV did not cost extra money but would if we had not had it.
(Backpacking/Kayak camping stuff for small RV with little carrying capacity)
Lexan dinnerware set for 4 with lexan silverware and Lexan French Press
Kitchen essentials--packed in a small nylon shaving kit size bag: (Salt/Pepper, small leatherman, pot lifters, mini pot holder, paring knife, spatula, pancake flipper matches,etc. )
Nested stainless steel pots, aluminum coffeepot
Lightweight camp chairs(2)--lightest full size that we could find~6 lbs each
Flashlights and compass
First Aid Kit
Pack Towels (fake chamois) including a new large one for the bathroom $4
Sleeping Bags (use for blankets)
Binoculars and Spotting scope
Small outdoor gas stove
A few large pop open window shades for cab windows
12 v and 110 v extension cords
Backpack for hiking
More stuff we moved to the RV
18v light and drill w bits
Miscellaneous new stuff added after the initial items
Kitchen utensils with measuring cups/spoons (Big Lots) $5
Pillows (Big Lots) $5
Toiletries for RV (including sun block/lotion) $5
Broom and dustpan (Target) $3
Bucket, toilet brush, and sponges (Big Lots) $5
Foam floor tiles to protect the shower area for storing a box of firewood/folding bikes/grill at night (my idea--Big Lots) $5
WD 40 (small can-Big Lots) $2
Bungees (Big Lots) $5
Entry mat (Big Lots) $3
Small foldable step stool (Walmart) $10
In the next year or two we spent an extra $4500 on repairs, equipment and maintenance.
Insulated curtain to shut off cab in colder weather & windows $40 Reflexic/Home Depot
Solar panel and inverter (have but need to install) $30 Amazon
Foldable table $79 Target
Good tire pressure gauge $4 Auto Supply
Extra fuses $7 Auto Supply
3M Dual lock velcro $5 Target
Water "bandit" connection for non-standard water sources $4 RVWholesalers.com.
Grill cleaning brush $3 Lowes
Lexan Wine Goblets $3 Target
RV outdoor mat $40.47
Backup camera and monitor $100.00 Various--ebay, Overstock
Extra 12 v outlets $3.52 RV Direct
Wire for extra 12v outlet $20.00 Home Depot
Hitch rack/storage $65 Harbor Freight
Large locking plastic box for storage rack $50 Home Depot
12 volt Electric slow cooker $25 Amazon
Interior level indicators $3 RVDirect
Pole to extend cell antenna $6 Big Lots
Cell phone antenna $30 ebay
Battery storage box and strap $15 Salvage and RVDirect
Cell phone booster and accessories $220 ebay
Lite Cylinder Fiberglass Propane tank $90 Garden.com
Weber 100 grill $79 Target
Fancy lightweight towels $40 Online
Extra folding chairs $10 West Marine
Swing arm mount for TV $20 Amazon
Portable DVD player $50 Frys
Tools for RV (moved toolbox to RV) $50 Mesa Flea Market
Portable flourescent fixture $4 Target
Outdoor light strings (Solar LED) $20 Target
Enternabond--to patch/prevent leaks $129 RoofingSupplyUSA.com
Dicor Lap Sealant--Proflex caulk $26 RVWholesalers.com.
Materials to repair rear end $75 Home DepotRV
Small plastic drawers $14 Big Lots
Plastic Containers $8
Document Folders $12
Closet shelf $9
3M hooks $14
Plastic Shoe boxes for Bed area $20
More 3M hooks $3 Home Depot Clearance
350 amp inverter $25 Harbor Freight
100 amp battery shut off $10 Harbor Freight
Interstate DC100 batteries $150 Used Craigslist
Blue Sea 4 way switch $45 West Marine
Various cables $100 AutoZone and West Marine
LED Lightbulbs $150 Revolution LED/HitchingPost
Versiliner Wheel cover lug nuts $40 Replaced lost nuts
Wheel Covers $33 Amazon
Air Filter $15 Autozone
G rated tires w brass stems $1,200 Discount Tire
Coolant change $60 Autozone
New Thermostat $15 Autozone
Oil/Filter Change $70 Autozone
Generator parts (air filter/spark plug/fuel filter)
Generator New Carb $329 Precision Motors Mesa, AZ
303 Aerospace Protectant $30 West Marine
Aerospace fabric protector $30 West Marine
License 2012 $200 AZ
Insurance to 2012 $500 Hartford
Smog to 2012 $20 AZ
We have slowed down a lot in keeping records but later additions to our RV lifestyle included these costs--stopped noting oil change, generator maintenance, and licensing/insurance costs. These additions total another $2500 at least.
Lightweight hammock/portable stand $79 rvtoy outlet
Air bake cookie sheet for oven/or grill storage $12
Sewage dual flush pro $30 Amazon This got lost/stolen!
Black & Decker VEC1093DBD Smart Battery 40/20/10/4 Amp Battery Charger $120 ebay
Assorted pkg of automotive Fuses both full size and mini $20
Foldable chip table $8 rvtoy outlet
Extra folding chairs (4) $28 Home Depot
Portable air compressor (DEWALT D55140 1-Gallon 135 PSI Max) $120 Amazon
Air compressor tools--tire gauge filler/air hammer wrench/dust blower/quick connects $30 Harbor Freight
"Swamp" cooler fan with ice holder $30 Cabellas
Fantastic Vent Endless Breeze Fan $60 Camping World
Coleman "folding suitcase" tables $79 Target
Child protection holders for doors/drawers $15 Target
Oxygenics shower head $25 Amazon
"Skid" wheels set 1 $30 Amazon
"Skid" wheels set 2 $50 Amazon
Kwikee Steps (replaced broken steps) $350 pplmotorhomes.com
Propane coffee maker $60 Sierra Trading Post
Manual coffee grinder $15 Amazon
Spring loaded refrigerator bar holders
Folding ladder/small 120 volt vacuum/fire starters/toilet deodorizer $50 Craigslist
Jack tv antenna (replaced broken) $50 Camping World
Camco Tri Levelers $35 Amazon
Replacement gray water valve $15 Amazon
Replacement Carbon Monoxide Alarm $58 Amazon
Replacement LP gas detector $53 Amazon
Replacement Awning Puller $12 Amazon
15 gallon Drinking water bottle $12 Water Store
Dolphin manual pump for water bottle $14 Amazon
New water pump $75 Amazon
Fixed vent lids blown off in storm $25 Camping World
Vent covers and parts for lids $100 Amazon
Replacement air vent for bathroom (wind vent type) and broken door holder $24 Amazon
Replacement cup holder $5 Amazon
Replacement tires on recall plus 2 new $520 Discount Tire
Replacement truck battery $180 Autozone
Replacement house battery $80 Walmart
Plus the awning still needs to be replaced. Maybe just the material, or maybe the springs and tube so another expense coming up.
All in all, the costs for the RV are at least $7500 over original investment and that is not counting gas/oil or fees for use. Am I the only one who buys all this stuff? I'm an RV junkie I guess.
Yeah, renting is expensive and it can make you not want to EVER own an RV. We rented a Class A and it had "issues". It was a private rental from a consignment lot and I didn't know what to look for. It was 35' and had spaces for a couple and our three grown children to sleep but we hated it and had to cut our vacation short because driving it was so uncomfortable. We took 5 more years to decide to buy a much smaller Class C that we sometimes camp with 4 people and still feel comfortable although very close.
A Class A will limit your camping to developed sites while a Class C can be taken to more primitive sites--especially a short one. A short one is also good for getting around town a bit without towing a car--at least at about 24' max. A 24' vehicle will get about 10 mpg and will generally have a side full bed, a dinette that makes into a bed and an overhead bed. I really like the ones that fit in a fold out couch too but there are fewer of those.
There are so many RV's to choose from and it appears good used ones can take a long time to find so good that you are starting to shop now. Actually shopping for one is a LOT of fun if you don't know exactly what you want then money is not yet on the table and you can walk through several of them on lots or at shows getting a feel for your preferences. Also read back posts--learn to use the search function and you will find many many opinions about what to look for.
Our water pump cycled for no reason, that we heard especially at night, before it stopped working completely. New one does not cycle without an open faucet--so we didn't have any leaks, just something wrong with the pump. After it stopped running, I tried replacing the pressure switch but then the pump worked for one day and stopped again. So that was a waste of money. Got a new one reasonably on Amazon--about $75, and installed it with a bit more foam padding, then installed a 2.5 gallon pressure tank like those used on a hot water heater, instead of the tiny shurflo one that ours had. All together the pump cycles less and is much quieter.