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Old 07-05-2009, 05:40 AM   #81
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The "Look to the west" inference was more an attitude from a Led Zepplin song (Stairway to Heaven).
Come on down to Montreal NW Bound and do that river trip before you run out of racetrack. Start here Ulysses Travel Guides
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Old 07-05-2009, 11:13 AM   #82
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I am still young and hopefully still have time to do that someday.

Back on really, really roughing it, you may be interested to read the story of a fellow Canadian who rode a French Mobylette 12,000 miles from Toronto through the Alaska Highway. For those who do not know, a Mobylette is a true moped which means it has pedals like a bicycle. The motor can be disengaged and the rider can pedal but with great efforts compared to a true bike because of the fatter tires and the friction of the gear. The motor is a 49cc two-stroke, with a centrifugal clutch with no gear change. Top speed may be 30mph.

I read his entire trip (Moped Trip - Home Page) with interest. This guy is about my age and did his trip in 1978. Just revisited his site and somehow all the pictures didn't show.

This Canadian did bring all his provisions on his moped, camped along the way, and traveled alone. Recently, there was a group of Dutchmen who traveled down Route 66 from Chicago to LA on a French VeloSolex. This is even worse than a Mobylette because the engine sits above the front tire and drives it through a friction wheel. Top speed is 20mph. Though a fun thing to do (to me), these guys weren't really roughing it because they had a following support van and slept and ate in motels along the way.

In a previous thread about motorcycles, I told of a young British gal (Lois on the Loose) who rode an XT225 motorcycle from Alaska down to the southern tip of Argentina. She also camped most of the time, and went to motels occasionally for showers. Then, she did it again later traveling down Africa. There used to be a detailed blog with photos on her site (which I read though), but ever since publishing her books, she took most of it off.

Compared to the above, T-Al's recent trip was quite luxurious. Yet, I do not want to do the same. Yeah, I can "rough" it in a class C. Maybe a class B. I am still pondering what would work for me.
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Old 07-08-2009, 08:50 AM   #83
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I would have a small class C or a class B. Gas mileage is much higher than a car, but saves the hassle on setting up the tent every night (call me a sissy, but I have slept in a tent 3 times in my life, and only once of those was by choice). Taking the back roads and stumbling into serendipitous encounters like Randy the Codger does sound like fun, and a big RV may hamper your access. On the other hand, suitable equipment is only part of the question. I may not have the temperament to take the same adventures as he does, even if I find his exploits most interesting. Though an introvert, I like to stay closer to culture and see people more than the wilderness. And being an introvert, perhaps that's why I like to travel to cities or towns; one can observe without engaging his subjects. And if I stay in town, having an RV cost me more than staying in hotels. Argh, I just talk myself out of having one, again.
A small travel trailer towed by an SUV or pickup would do nicely, then. You drag it along with all the amenities and then when you want to move around when you get where you are going, you just drop off the trailer and run around in the tow vehicle. Trailers are also a lot cheaper than Class C or B RVs (no engine, etc.).
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Old 07-08-2009, 08:35 PM   #84
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I have been researching that too. Funfinder like yours, Tada, Jayco, and Eco all have small and light trailers with gross weight around 4000lbs or less. Right now, I like Eco the best.

I may do that one of these days. With the market tanking, iffy part-time work, and expenses of two houses already, I don't see myself spending any money that is not absolutely necessary. It may not matter that much, as my portfolio goes up and down (mostly down recently) a couple of trailers a day, but it doesn't feel right, you know?

Anyway, never using an RV before, I read about other people's experiences, and there are things that turn me off. For example, T-Al wrote of using ear plugs while trying to sleep in noisy campgrounds. These are the things that may keep a trip from being idyllic as one imagines. And then, adding the cost of gasoline to campground fees, does one really save that much money?

I am not saying no, but still debating and reading...
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Old 07-08-2009, 08:45 PM   #85
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T-Al wrote of using ear plugs while trying to sleep in noisy campgrounds.
Those darn tents have poor acoustics.

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And then, adding the cost of gasoline to campground fees, does one really save that much money?
If you plan to approach RVing as a money saving hobby, I'd advise you to stop now and move on to something else.
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Old 07-08-2009, 09:32 PM   #86
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Agree with REWahoo - you just can't justify RVing financially. It's a treat for many of us, and you can cook the numbers in all sorts of ways (there are some savings), but in the end, it costs ya.

As to noise, the popups and tents just won't help. Ear plugs are the answer. But inside a decent hard wall RV with a fan on it is generally peaceful.
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Old 07-08-2009, 09:57 PM   #87
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I have been researching that too. Funfinder like yours, Tada, Jayco, and Eco all have small and light trailers with gross weight around 4000lbs or less. Right now, I like Eco the best.

I may do that one of these days. With the market tanking, iffy part-time work, and expenses of two houses already, I don't see myself spending any money that is not absolutely necessary. It may not matter that much, as my portfolio goes up and down (mostly down recently) a couple of trailers a day, but it doesn't feel right, you know?

Anyway, never using an RV before, I read about other people's experiences, and there are things that turn me off. For example, T-Al wrote of using ear plugs while trying to sleep in noisy campgrounds. These are the things that may keep a trip from being idyllic as one imagines. And then, adding the cost of gasoline to campground fees, does one really save that much money?

I am not saying no, but still debating and reading...
Sounds like analysis paralysis.

As for costs, once you own the equipment, marginal cost of travel is very low. We regularly take 3 to 5 day jaunts with 4 of us and two dogs and spend 150 or so all in. You can also spend a lot more.

We have seen campgrounds ranging from absolute dumps to the breathtaking. We generally stick to state and county parks, since they are well maintained, pleasant, and give us several thousand acres to play in while we are out there. If cable TV, a heated pool, etc. are important to you, then you will gravitate to the private campgrounds. In private places I have been in places one step away from a trailer park as well as some really lovely places (just got back from Boston Minuteman, which falls in the latter category).

As for the money question, its all a matter of personal comfort. I would, however, suggest that you gather those rosebuds, whichever ones appeal to you.
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Old 07-08-2009, 10:38 PM   #88
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If you plan to approach RVing as a money saving hobby, I'd advise you to stop now and move on to something else.
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Agree with REWahoo - you just can't justify RVing financially.
Oh, I wouldn't expect to save on travel expenses with a class A, or even a class C. However, the theme of this thread is "roughing it", and a small trailer like Brewer's would qualify as rough for a sissy like me. More on "roughness" below.

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Sounds like analysis paralysis.

As for costs, once you own the equipment, marginal cost of travel is very low. We regularly take 3 to 5 day jaunts with 4 of us and two dogs and spend 150 or so all in. You can also spend a lot more.

We have seen campgrounds ranging from absolute dumps to the breathtaking. We generally stick to state and county parks, since they are well maintained, pleasant, and give us several thousand acres to play in while we are out there. If cable TV, a heated pool, etc. are important to you, then you will gravitate to the private campgrounds. In private places I have been in places one step away from a trailer park as well as some really lovely places (just got back from Boston Minuteman, which falls in the latter category).

As for the money question, its all a matter of personal comfort. I would, however, suggest that you gather those rosebuds, whichever ones appeal to you.
It sure is analysis paralysis for me.

Most people who still work like to get away from the city in their RV, except for RW who appears to be in a rural setting already. My situation is different in that I have a comfortable 2nd home in the AZ high country which is currently valued more than my main home. The elevation at 7000ft is similar to the NM locations discussed in another current thread, though it is a bit drier and warmer. For contemplative solitude, I do not need to go elsewhere.

Anyway, I am semi-retired already, and look like headed for full retirement, the way my part-time work is drying up. So, I am thinking of taking a long trek, "roughing" it to see North America. It cannot be too rough or I would lose my wife's companionship for the trip.

So, I, or rather we, do not need heated pools, restaurants, or amenities of private campgrounds. On the other hand, I do not know much about boondocking, in fact do not have any camping experience, hence been surfing to benefit from other people's experience.

About the costs, in the blogs that I referenced, Randy the Codger said he had been living on a $1000 a month or less, trekking perpetually with his truck towing a "stealth" trailer. I may be romanticizing his adventures in my mind, but have any of you have done a long trek, really roughing it like that?
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Old 07-09-2009, 10:53 AM   #89
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It sounds like you need some research at this point. Rent something and go "camping" for a week or so. You might find that 10 minutes behind the wheel of a big RV or car/trailer (while backing into a small space) will rule that out for you.

There were times on our recent trip when I thought "I could do this for months or longer."
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Old 07-09-2009, 10:58 AM   #90
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...have any of you have done a long trek, really roughing it like that?
With the exception of 10 days of survival school in the military, no. Roughing it isn't in DW's playbook nor in mine, at least not more than a couple of days of it.
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Old 07-09-2009, 11:16 AM   #91
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I'll second T_Al. It time for "applied research". Go and do some camping of whatever sort.

I've done all the real roughing I ever want to do. But do enjoy boondocking, state campgrounds. Also some improved campgrounds, which have electric and a shower house. I skip the ones with pools, stores etc.. In my 78 Argosy trailer, towed by a 99 suburban.

OTOH, DW's idea of rough camping is a Hilton's balcony on the beach.
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Old 07-09-2009, 11:52 AM   #92
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I did plenty of "roughing it" in my youth. When I was divorced, at 50, I ended up with no bed and slept on the floor for a year and a half. That was OK at first but got to be tough to handle. At my present age I am too old to get any joy out of sleeping out on the dirt. I have enough aches and pains as it is.

Frank, on the other hand, has dreams of camping in the Ozarks amidst the beauties of nature after we move there. I can see myself spending a fortune on camping gear to reconcile that idea with the luxury that my body seems to demand these days. No RV for me, though. I have my limits.
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Old 07-09-2009, 03:23 PM   #93
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I too am too old to "rough it" in purist form. Spent many years traveling in the VW Westphalia. Sometimes with four young kids and the dog. Then tents. Then a 21 foot fifth wheel, which was purchased mainly for living in while on construction sites for long periods. Spent one winter on Mt. St. Helens after the blast in that one. Currently I and DW have a 10' truck camper on a dodge diesel. That will probably be the retirement home for a few years. That and a 22' or so pilot house boat in which to cruise. The beauty of the truck camper is you can "boondock". Just park it in the national forest, away from civilization, and enjoy the peace. We are always careful about keeping the camp area clean and unspoiled. Doesn't cost much except fuel and food, and an occasional beer or two. You can plan your travels to hit forests and out of the way areas at the end of each leg and have very little in the way of costs. With special discounts for "elderly" campers it can be even cheaper and more comfortable in state and county campgrounds. Do the campgrounds during the week when no one is there and boondock on the weekends while you wait for the campgrounds to get back to normal.
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Old 07-10-2009, 01:55 AM   #94
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I lived in a tent during the summer of '84 while I built my first house. Also camped a lot before that. But my roughing it days are over. And DW's idea of roughing it is a nice hotel. We'll tackle any cross-country drive as long as there are decent hotels and restaurants along the way.
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Old 07-10-2009, 10:48 PM   #95
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Having done a 7 hour drive yesterday with two small children, I will take towing my camper any day over that unpleasant experience. "Roughing it" is cruising along in a rental car looking for a place for the kids to pee and hoping that you won't be looking for a good upholstery cleaning outfit.
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Old 07-13-2009, 08:23 PM   #96
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Usually when me and the wife take off for a week we bring all the camping stuff along and sometimes we do the tenting thing other nights its a motel.
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Old 07-14-2009, 06:19 PM   #97
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A small travel trailer towed by an SUV or pickup would do nicely, then. You drag it along with all the amenities and then when you want to move around when you get where you are going, you just drop off the trailer and run around in the tow vehicle. Trailers are also a lot cheaper than Class C or B RVs (no engine, etc.).
How do you ensure that someone just doesn't show up with a tow vehicle and tow your camper away? Where do you store and lock your camper?
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Old 07-14-2009, 06:34 PM   #98
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That got me thinking. Back to my original question earlier in this post, when one takes to the road, is it just to see and experience nature? This Randy shows as much or even more curiosity to other codgers and interesting characters he chances to meet in his path. On several occasions, he engaged in religious discussions with some Amish, a preacher, some Mormons, and spent some time with an obscure cult.

I also found his writing style engaging. If I try to take a similar travel path, will I be able see the interesting persons and things that Randy sees through his eyes, without these being pointed out to me? More likely, will I find the experience worth the travail? Or is it better that I live precariously through other people's blogs?
I think I would like to engage with people in a non-work setting. I'd say that most of the co-workers I have worked with would have made decent friends but work has a way of turning everyone into a snarling, back-biting fiend from time to time.

I also would like to be able to go ride, camp, hike without having to shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy a house in a nice location only to find that I also want to be in other places.
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Old 07-14-2009, 06:56 PM   #99
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work has a way of turning everyone into a snarling, back-biting fiend from time to time.
Now there's a line worth printing in very large type and framing! That is so true, sadly enough.
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Old 07-14-2009, 07:04 PM   #100
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How do you ensure that someone just doesn't show up with a tow vehicle and tow your camper away? Where do you store and lock your camper?
Buns, there are locks for such contingencies. About $12 should do it. We used to store our trailer in our driveway, it was a collapsible rigid wall unit (not a canvas popup), just an ingeniously designed light trailer. It was a trailmanor.
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