Posted by: cstrohmeyer | February 27, 2008

Camping

Camping;
Including RV dry camping suggestions and recommended items to bring on a camping trip (especially with a young family).

Bryce Canyon National ParkThis is probably a subject I will cover more than any other over time in “My Endeavors” blog since this is not only one of my favorite things to do in life, it is also one of the few I can still afford to participate in especially with my family, even with the high cost of fuel this is still a relatively “cheap” vacation for me and my family (which includes my wife Jodie, and children; Michelle, Danielle, & Timothy).
The kids get very excited about our trips which are another reason I enjoy these trips just to watch their enjoyment of seeing many different places by vehicle (1991 Motorhome).

Admittedly what I find nicest about a campground as an adult (and even as a child) is different from what they enjoy. The kids like RV parks and/or places with a lot to do, while I prefer to “dry camp” in more remote places where the main activity is to sit back and enjoy nature, the quiet or take a hike. The inverter and other electronics hook ups allow for the peace I desire by giving the kids something more to do while I relax and enjoy the quiet scenery.

Sawtooth 2005The motorhome we own is 1991 Ford with a Class C Winnebago on top of the chassis. I am the original owner of this (bought during vastly economic times for me). I have added an extra coach battery, several built in “D” cell battery lights, a mounted flat screen TV/DVD, and inverter (this inverter has really paid for itself) and much more to allow for more pleasant travel for the kids (the inverter was handy when my son was a toddler and required to be on a monitor and stomach pump 24/7, he later was diagnosed with autism).

I also added another coach battery (in parallel) to increase electrical reserve, as well I installed an additional 30 amp charger in the basement to bring the batteries “back up” quickly during the limited generator on time (I try and restrict use out of courtesy to our neighbors). I also use a Coleman stove top drip coffee maker and portable catalytic heaters; so with all the additions and alternative lighting, we generally have plenty of available power for the kids to use the TV, play station, DVD while dry camping.

We have replaced or I have repaired several parts of the coach, however we have generally gotten our moneys worth from the coach.
Unfortunately the chassis has been a different story with problems starting while under warranty that were never properly addressed by Ford and multiple replacements of exhaust systems, the main processors and MUCH more. Unfortunately Ford has never even attempted to at least sell us a better replacement part and breakdowns on our trips are an unfortunately common occurrence any more (5 major breakdowns on a trip to Yellowstone 3 years ago), anyway, enough complaining!

I will go much more into depth about my favorite places to camp/visit in future posts, so I will only briefly mention some of my favorite and maybe a little about why I like them here:

*Yellowstone; definitely my favorite spot of anywhere I have personally been and not just for the Park but for the surrounding areas and the drive there (especially areas such as the Logan Pass and the Salt River Pass from which I have many great memories from trip originating in LA where I used to live). Another aspect of Yellowstone is that the kids love all the wildlife here as well as the geothermal features, making this a nice family place for everyone.

Yellowstone Falls

*Almost all of Utah, especially Bryce Canyon, Fish Lake, Zion and the before mentioned Logan Canyon (pictured below)

Logan Canyon

*SW Colorado (Red Mountain Pass, Lizard Head Pass)

*Yosemite; although this place is now virtually impossible to get camping reservation for especially since the hypocritical environmentalists took over and closed several campgrounds all the while leaving open the upscale elitist hotels. I generally only camp in the high country of Tuolumne Meadows of Yosemite (which is beautiful, cool and relatively quiet)

*I also enjoy several spots in the Eastern Sierra of California such as Trumble Lake/Virginia Lakes, Hope Valley, Mammoth Lakes and similar.

*Crater Lake, although not a lot to do, it is still very beautiful and has a great summertime climate.

*Several lesser known spots such as Lassen National Park and Great Basin National Park (NV) also make my list. Wallowa State Park in NE Oregon is also a beautiful spot.

There are may more camping areas I like to visit, but I will mention them in future posts.

*I have many more pictures at this site, especially of Yellowstone from 2008:
“My Pictures; Yellowstone and more”

Here are a some items I take/recommend camping:

  • Extra AA, C, D Batteries for various devices
    *Extra flashlights, including a rechargeable LED and ‘C” powered lanterns
    BTW, in mt aquarium business, I have really found the LED Lights to be the next generation of aquarium lighting.
    See my web page link:
    http://www.americanaquariumproducts.com/LEDLights.html
  • A compact propane B-B-Q (many Forest Service campgrounds in the Western USA no longer allow Charcoal Grills).
  • Propane dual Stove so as to cook outdoors on nice days, as well to lessen the crowded RV cooking area and not add heat to the interior on hot days.
  • Extra Propane.
  • Extra Toilet paper, dish soap, etc.
  • Sponge, rags, paper towels for cleaning
  • Extra water pump (easy repair, yet hard to find item)
  • Electric Heaters for adding “load” to the generator during cool mornings, etc. which is important for long term Generator “health”
  • This is far from a complete list, but hopefully this gives readers some ideas.
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Responses

  1. You have mentioned several places we would like to visit now. Thank you for the recommendations. We just completed a year of traveling in our RV with our 5 children and we are settling down now. I agree the Yellowstone is also our all time favorite place. We really enjoy the wildlife. We have gone in the spring and the summer. Off season in the spring was great. I would like to try again in the fall. http://www.rvwithchildren.com


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