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Open Roads Forum  >  General RVing Issues

 > a plea for more cool weather sites for migratory travelers

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JimJohnson

Texas Hill Country

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Posted: 09/15/22 11:00am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Gdetrailer wrote:

Costs campgrounds the same money to keep an open but crippled campground open just for electric hookups. Just because water, sewage and restrooms are closed doesn't mean it is cheaper to run. May even cost more in the winter since it would require additional manpower to plow open, salt, maintain campground roads and campsites.

The chance of a plow vehicle of totaling campground infrastructure goes up drastically.. Heavy snow drifts can obscure water and electric pedestals making it a minefield of things that can get damaged.

Campgrounds must also consider safety on not only their employees but you the "guest". Not every road leading to a campground may be safe to use during off season.

You have something wrong if you run out of battery overnight running a propane furnace plus having a propane fridge.

A 30K BTU RV furnace fan uses 10A at 12V, assuming 50/50 run time (30 minutes on per hr) and 10 hrs (for overnight) and that is 100 Ahr of battery capacity needed..

Two group 27 batteries in parallel (70Ahr each or 140Ahr combined) or one pair of 6V GC2 batteries wired in series for 12V at 210Ahr will easily be plenty of battery.

For the record, I used a single group27 combo marine/starting battery for yrs in a smaller 20Ft TT and never ran out of battery overnight using the furnace (13K BTU with 8A fan draw).

During the day while traveling, your battery will be recharged by your vehicle (the amount of charge may vary some due to differences in RVs and wiring to the battery).

Addition of some solar panels on your RV and/or a small portable gen can easily handle the rest of the charging when needed.

As far as propane, generally should be able to get 4-5 days of running your furnace during extreme cold temps with two 30lb cylinders assuming 24/7 operation.

When traveling out of season, it is best to be well prepared to handle most normal and emergency situations.

Plan, plan, plan.

Plan for enough battery capacity for several days, plan for some solar to fill in, plan with a small gen as a final backup plan.

Do a good job planning and there is zero need for campgrounds between your starting point and your destination.

Depending on open campgrounds out of season is a recipe for disaster.


What you say makes a lot of sense - if most of the campground's sites remain open. What I have found (but due to demand you have to book many months in advance) are campgrounds that fully close most of the sites. The remaining sites are generally close to the office and very likely only provide electric. Staffing is generally the owner(s) and MAYBE one person for part-time phone coverage. Minimal plowing, minimal maintenance - they would keep the office accessible regardless if open or closed. Showers as well as other park amenities are closed. You might be able to get water jugs filled from inside the office.

As I said, the few campgrounds that offer this do a brisk business with their limited sites. I wish more campgrounds offered this service.

valhalla360

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Posted: 09/15/22 11:10am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We've left from southern Michigan in October before and didn't have much of an issue finding places to stop.

What resources are you using to find sites? Have you considered alternate routes?

That said, many northern campgrounds shut down laying off staff for the winter. If they have to keep say 3 staff at $15/hr for a month...that alone is probably around $7500-10000. At $30/n, that means they are going to have to generate 250-300 overnight visitors in that month, just to break even on staffing. I'm betting that's unlikely for a lot of parks.

Then add in potential damage from freezing (and complaints about the park that result). They also have to cover electricity (because people will be using space heaters. It's probably more hassle than it's worth.

Health department rules may require a functional bath house. Many aren't heated, so they can get in trouble being open without a bath house.

Many staff/owners are also snowbirds, so forcing them to stay into November/December may be a tough sell if they are staying in an RV and want to get south.

The further into the fall you push it, the harder it becomes to address these issues. If it is profitable, the parks will stay open (and some do) but for most, it's a money loser that comes with hassles.

Honestly, you best bet is to have the RV prepared for the conditions and get south fairly quickly if you are going to delay the departure late into the fall/winter.


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JimJohnson

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Posted: 09/15/22 11:11am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

shelbyfv wrote:

Maybe check this out for an overnight with electric. Loves RV Stop


Good to know. Won't do me much good (open map, find that peninsula in Michigan's Upper Peninsula that juts out into Lake Superior. Then draw a straight line down to Kansas City. That would be my first/last day's drive to use a Love's. And honestly, there isn't much in-between. I know of one place in NE Iowa (still a long haul) that officially closes, but the manager (and only the manager) will authorize an overnight stop during the unofficial season.

More places in the north tier like the linked Love's would work nicely.

JimJohnson

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Posted: 09/15/22 11:29am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

valhalla360 wrote:

Honestly, you best bet is to have the RV prepared for the conditions and get south fairly quickly if you are going to delay the departure late into the fall/winter.


No argument. I wish we could leave in October. However we have family obligations that prevent that. And just within our winter RV park we have a number of friends who can't leave their northern homes earlier and have similar complaints about that long gap to get below the early freeze zone. North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, New York, Saskatchewan and Ontario. That is one small RV Park in rural Texas. I cannot imagine our group is unique.

Old Days

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Posted: 09/15/22 03:43pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have a 18rbs trailer and have 370 watts of solar and could very easy put 130 watts more on the roof so it can be done. We camp in the rocky mountains in the winter and solar works great.

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Posted: 09/15/22 05:13pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Try state and local parks, generally you won't have water north of the Mason-Dixon but you can get electric. The Iowa state parks become first come first served after 10/31 and water won't generally be available, but you can get electric. Clear Lake State Park would appear to be on your way as an example.


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Cleveland

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Posted: 09/15/22 05:30pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Btw if that's too far, Black River State Forest in Wisconsin is open year round. There are many options.

Gdetrailer

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Posted: 09/15/22 08:59pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

JimJohnson wrote:


What you say makes a lot of sense - if most of the campground's sites remain open. What I have found (but due to demand you have to book many months in advance) are campgrounds that fully close most of the sites. The remaining sites are generally close to the office and very likely only provide electric. Staffing is generally the owner(s) and MAYBE one person for part-time phone coverage. Minimal plowing, minimal maintenance - they would keep the office accessible regardless if open or closed. Showers as well as other park amenities are closed. You might be able to get water jugs filled from inside the office.

As I said, the few campgrounds that offer this do a brisk business with their limited sites. I wish more campgrounds offered this service.


I don't believe very many campgrounds will find it economically viable to keep a couple or handful of sites near the office open yr round. If it was, they WOULD already be doing that everywhere..

I see your from Texas, up here in PA, pretty much all campgrounds close, even ones that are setup with permanent lot leases. It is not unusual to have a winter storm sock roads in with a lot of drifting snow along with ice..

I live on a pretty busy rural road and there have been a lot of times over the years I called off from work when I woke up to 6" of fresh snow on a bed of 1/4" thick ice that happened overnight and no sign of a plow and salt truck for hrs.. Heck vehicles often get stuck on the hill below my home every winter..

If you think a campground can "operate" and still turn a profit on one or two "overnighters" in the middle of winter, I would suggest perhaps you may have a good business plan to start your own chain of "overnight" campgrounds across the US and have a go at it. Find a few small gas stations and pitch your idea and give it a spin, charge $10 for one night and split it with the station..

But for larger campgrounds doing this, I suspect if they really thought they could turn a profit they would have been doing it for yrs. Your plea won't even be considered.

steveh27

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Posted: 09/16/22 04:27am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

shelbyfv wrote:

Maybe check this out for an overnight with electric. Loves RV Stop


$45/night

magicbus

Nantucket Island, MA

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Posted: 09/16/22 04:38am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for the info on Loves. Good to know.

We have the same problem our first two nights heading south. Our heat is a Truma Combo and we prefer to use it in electric-only because our propane tank is on the small size and the temps are generally in the low 20’s when we leave. We seem to find more KOA’s open in the winter.

Dave


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