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 > At the risk of exposing, my total newbness…

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4WallCamping

Northwest Illinois

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Posted: 09/23/09 10:05am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Our last trip of the season will be a trek around Lake Michigan, a complete full circle; in October, to end this camping season. We will be going up the Wisconsin side and down the Michigan side. We have reservations at a couple of spots (Mackinaw area and Ludington area).

I will be leaving midweek after work and only wish to drive ‘til dark, or right before (3.5 to 4 hours); we want to get back on the road early enough in the morning. I would like to stay hooked to the TV. We will turtle (I think that’s the term I’ve learned); we have a queen aero bed and my son will sleep on the Jackknife Sofa.

Here in lies my question, or two, or three, or four, or five:

1. If you’re really not planning on setting up full camp where do you stop (my wife is afraid and says no Rest Areas):
A. Hotels - do they allow you to pay to park overnight for a fee?
B. State Parks – how late can you check in (really don’t want to be backing in the dark (as I said, I’m a newbie)).

2. Once you do have a place to stay:
A. Can you leave a camper connected to the TV?
B. If you’re connected, can you have the slide out?
C. Do you put your stabilizers down while connected?

Thanks again for your help and assistance. I’ve already learned many things from joining this site.


4WallCamping
Formerly: GoneRooing
DW and Son (11y/o) plus older children and GKids
'08 Rockwood Roo 21SS Retired
'03 F150 4x4 SC 5.4 V8 Retired

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oakmandan

Iowa

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Posted: 09/23/09 10:52am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You will enjoy camping in Michigan. I lived there for 12 years. My favorite State Park was Ludington, I hope that's where you are staying.

I have pulled into Ludington at 9:30 at night. I think you can set up as late as 10 pm in Michigan State Parks.
Yes I would use stabilizers, and you can also use your slide as long as you are reasonably level.

Have fun!
Dan


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bid_time

Michigan

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Posted: 09/23/09 11:06am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

No rest areas? Does that leave out Walmart also. If so, you will have to stay at a campground I guess. I don't think a hotel is going to let you stay in their parking lot. (What's the difference between a hotel parking lot and a Walmart parking lot)?

You can check in state parks in Michigan pretty late. If they are closed, as long as you have a reservation, you have a site and a site number and you can set up and check in in the morning.

Yes you can leave the campet connected to the tow vehicle, as long as the site is long enough and fairly level.

Yes you can put your slide out as long as ...(same as above)...

No real need to put your stabilizers down but you can if you like.





DesertHawk

Las Cruces, New Mexico

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Posted: 09/23/09 11:09am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

GoneRooing wrote:

1. If you’re really not planning on setting up full camp where do you stop (my wife is afraid and says no Rest Areas):
A. Hotels - do they allow you to pay to park overnight for a fee?
B. State Parks – how late can you check in (really don’t want to be backing in the dark (as I said, I’m a newbie)).

2. Once you do have a place to stay:
A. Can you leave a camper connected to the TV?
B. If you’re connected, can you have the slide out?
C. Do you put your stabilizers down while connected?


I can only relate what I have done in the past, (RVing since '71; with Travel Trailers since '86; with a C-Class MH '97 to 2004, '05 to now with a 16' Scamp), no experience with Hybrid Travel Trailers which it seems yours is from other posts ....a couple aides I have found since teh Age of the Computer:
Free Campgrounds ..... Michigan ... Wal-MartLocations; Ones allow, Ones do not allow Over-Nighting

I have not stayed at Cabela's Sporting Stores, but they seem to allow overnighting.

We have often used Rest Areas, Just be Viligant, some are better than others, if spooky, don't, if not stay. Welcome centers have been nice to stay in. Michigan Rest Areas & Welcome Centers **** Wisconsin Rest & Wayside Areas & Locations
Consider your surroundings carefully and if you feel uncomfortable with the area, move somewhere else. I feel comfortable when there are one or two (more so if more) RVs are overnighting at a location.

Michigan Free Camping has these suggestions: "Be smart and Be Safe...Ask Permission!
Truck Stops - Asking permission is usually not a requirement Be considerate of the big rigs!
Walmart - Not all stores allow overnight RV parking in Michigan due to city ordinances. Check store for policy.
Nightclubs - Had one too many or just pretending?
Grain Elevators - Ask where you can park your RV out of the way for the night.
Fraternal Organizations - VFW, Elks etc. may allow members free overnight RV camping.
Cemetery - Sounds creepy to us, but we've also heard they may have water available.
Fairgrounds - State and County facilities may allow RV camping when not otherwise in use.
Parks - City, County, State, and Community parks often have free RV camping.
Churches - You can almost make "reservations" by calling ahead for permission.
Hotel Parking Lots - Assuming a nightclub/bar is inside, had one too many or just pretending?
Truck Terminals - Parking areas for large trucks might allow you free RV camping permission
RV Dealers - Pretty brave to us, but you could fit right in.
Cracker Barrel - These nationwide restaurants usually allow free overnight RV parking.
Movie Theaters - Too tired to drive home after the late show?
Highway Rest Areas - All rest areas allow a few hours of free RV parking, but noisy.
Drive In Movies - Got a small RV, park in the back row and enjoy the show. Fell asleep by accident right?
Vehicle Repair Shops - Need to see the repairman first thing in the morning?
Big Box Retailers - Kmart, Best Buy, Sams Club often allow free RV camping.
Roadside Parks & Picnic Areas - The early day version of the rest area."
More infomation on the web site about mid-way down, such as COE Campgrounds and "Many towns offer free overnight RV camping and parking in Michigan. Check with local Chamber of Commerce or Police about places to park overnight.". Last couple of years, we have used a fee campgound in a city park in WY in Wheatland. Found it listed on the Iowa Free Campground link but for WY. COE campgrounds Wisconsin

Not sure about Hotels, Motels...depends on each I'd think. I have heard of urban stealth campers who just park at the other edge of larger parking lots and just stayed. More guts than I have. Others who park in industral areas. Still takes some guts to do. Stealth Parking

State Parks, depends on the state, I assume, some, maybe all of New Mexico state parks lock the gates at night, can't remember what time. Not all sites are back in.

Many stay at Truck Stops, hear Flying J's mentioned a lot, also Cracker Barrels. I have not. Cracker Barrel Mich'n
I have read many accounts of people staying at casinos...{ Iowa Indian Casinos **** Michigan Casinos **** Wisconsin Indian Casinos } and at Cabela's. I have not, but would.

Perhaps, SuperMarkets would allow over-nighting, or WalMart-like retail stores, such as Pamida also K-Mart.

Dispersed Camping "All National Forest lands are open to camping unless otherwise posted." However, these could be harder to find when just driving by an area.

I have used AAA's CampBooks in the past to find places while on the road. We almost never made reservations while traveling & camping. Played it by ear. All over the west & even into Canada.

A. Can you leave a camper connected to the TV?
I have many times, did so this summer. I usually unhook the pick-up from the trailer's connector cable, power cord (break & lights, etc), just in case. Do not want to discharge the tow's battery. I level the Trailer side to side with drive up blocks, if needed, & level front to back with the jack. Will work hooked up, unless it is higher in front to begin with (either move to where it is not, or have to unhitch).
B. If you’re connected, can you have the slide out?
Never had one, but I see no reason why not, my son has done so with his 5th Wheel while hooked up, many times.
C. Do you put your stabilizers down while connected?
I have many times, did so this summer. Makes for a nicer night sleeping with stabilizers down.

I have never camped in the Michigan part of the World; closest was along the shore of Lake Superior in MN. One night at a State Park, one night at a Welcome Center by Thunder Bay in Canada & one night at Wal-Mart parking lot in Duluth, MN. We have driven through Iowa, even spend a week-end in Clear Lake, waiting to get a break line repaired which was broken when a front tire unraveled.

Good Camping!

PS: I have a question, I have not heard the term "turtle" or "turtling". Does it mean "not to disconnect" from the TV or more to do with stealth parking? Is it a term used by those with Hybrid Travel Trailers?

* This post was last edited 02/26/10 12:17am by DesertHawk *   View edit history


">DesertHawk- Las Cruces, NM USA
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*Previously~ 2005 16' Scamp


bikendan

Camano Island, Wash.

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Posted: 09/23/09 12:02pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

GoneRooing wrote:


1. If you’re really not planning on setting up full camp where do you stop (my wife is afraid and says no Rest Areas):
A. Hotels - do they allow you to pay to park overnight for a fee?
B. State Parks – how late can you check in (really don’t want to be backing in the dark (as I said, I’m a newbie)).

2. Once you do have a place to stay:
A. Can you leave a camper connected to the TV?
B. If you’re connected, can you have the slide out?
C. Do you put your stabilizers down while connected?


we just stayed with the DW's 90 yr.-old Grandmother in an Idaho rest stop, on our way to Glacier NP. the only negative was the truckers' running their engines all nite. we turtled and only put the slide out. i didn't need to put the stabs down but the trailer would rock some when we moved around in it.
we also turtled in a casino's parking lot on the way home from Grand Teton NP. same thing as the rest area.

sure you can leave the trailer connected to the TV. you may not be able to put the front bunk down if you need it. if you have a campsite and leave it connected, i'd put the stabs down if you're going to be there for awhile.

other than Walmart lots, rest areas are your only option.


Dan- Firefighter, Retired">, Shawn- Musician/Entrepreneur">, Zoe- Faithful Golden Retriever(RIP">), 2014 Ford F150 3.5 EcoboostMax Tow pkg, 2016 PrimeTime TracerAIR 255 w/4pt Equalizer and 5 Mtn. bikes and 2 Road bikes

Jeremy626

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Posted: 09/23/09 12:54pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

looks like everyone's posted the same responses I would. I did some measuring (eyeball and tape measure) and realized I can drop my front bunk while still connected to the TV (assuming I'm parked in a straight line). Or if your Roo has a rear bed, drop that one so you're semi-turtled and not stumbling over each other. It takes maybe 5 minutes to open/close the bunk end. I'd take that extra time rather than stumble.

I put my slide out all the time without stabilizers down without issue.

Yes you are just there for an overnight rest and want to roll out early in the morning, but I wouldn't let that hinder a good nights sleep (needed when doing a long day of driving). This past summer on a week long trip, we had 6 travel days and each travel night we did full deploy of beds, even awning. Took maybe 25 minutes total to get setup/broken down. Worth it for a comfortable night of eating/sleeping.


Jeremy

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dadmomh

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Posted: 09/23/09 12:57pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Never been to the area you're planning to go - but would love to someday. Re overnight stops - if you can manage to get into SPs that would be my first choice. We've done that, leave it hooked up and then get up and go. A bonus is that you'd have water and electric available. Piece of cake. Agree on setting up late - as in "after dark", we hate it! Since you plan on turtling, check the website for Camping World locations. We've stayed a couple of times and they're very hospitable - even telling you which areas to park in since many offer electric for free. Probably assuming you'll come in and buy some stuff - works every time! Rest stops that have "24 hour security" would be an option, but I agree with your DW about the ones that have no security. Walmart? I'd not be concerned about security, just the noise of people in and out of the store. The Walmart here in Jackson usually looks more like an RV park than a plain parking lot. Most times there are 4, 5, 6+ overnighters and they tend to gather in one general area. Have heard that some Cracker Barrels allow overnight, but not sure the restaurant is actually open - than would make me a bit nervous. Hope you'll have a great time! We're envious!


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Chuck_S

Chesterfield VA -- that's south of Richmond y'all

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Posted: 09/23/09 04:19pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You're not going to get any driving "after work" as the sun sets at 1800 or so in Rockford IL (NW Illinois) in mid October. Unless you get out of work very early and can magically get immediately on the road. I know we can't do this. [emoticon]

An 0500 departure the next day can get you very far on your way.

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4WallCamping

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Posted: 09/23/09 05:08pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

oakmandan wrote:

You will enjoy camping in Michigan. I lived there for 12 years. My favorite State Park was Ludington, I hope that's where you are staying. Dan


I wish we were staying there, but in Luddington we are actually staying indoors; a Holiday Inn Express. We were originally only going up to Manitowoc and staying at the Village in Motel that has a small attached RV Park on Lake Michigan. We were then going to take the USS Badger across and stay a couple nights at The HI Express. It cost too much to take truck and camper across round trip.

However, USS Badger canceled on us and are calling their season short. So they refunded our money, but I had non refundable hotel reservations in Luddington MI. Hence our new trip: a complete circle around Lake Michigan.

We are staying two nights at Mackinaw Mill Creek Camping and spending a day on Mackinaw Island. I'll have to remember about that State Park, if we make it back over that way.

4WallCamping

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Posted: 09/23/09 05:14pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

DesertHawk wrote:

PS: I have a question, I have not heard the term "turtle" or "turtling". Does it mean "not to disconnect" from the TV or more to do with stealth parking? Is it a term used by those with Hybrid Travel Trailers?


DesertHawk,

Wow, thank you so much for the huge write up and many pointers...

As far as Turtling, that I have been told: It is applicable to Hybrids and means I am going to stay in my shell (not opening the ends); kind of like a turtle going back in their shell [emoticon]

That is how it was once explained to me...

Thanks again...

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