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Author Topic: saving a spot?  (Read 765 times)

rbTN

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saving a spot?
« on: October 04, 2019, 05:44:48 PM »
I have read here and other forums that RV with toads unhook the toad and use it to scout spots then drive in the RV.

Similarly do folks with travel trailers scout out spots and mark/save them somehow and then pull the TT in? I ask because there is a boondocking area somewhat close and I'd like to drive in with the truck first to see if there is a good space open before I haul the TT down there. It is out of the way and no other camping close so making a trip down with the TT might be a waste of time without saving a spot first? Its just for the weekend type of camping but hate to get it out of the storage lot, load it, and find out theres no open spots.

Would this be considered acceptable to most to save a spot like that or not?
middle TN
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LarsMac

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Re: saving a spot?
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2019, 06:06:24 PM »
I've never done that. Most of the time they seem to like to assign you a pad. So, I go to the assigned pad, and if I don't like it, I might go look around a bit, and come back and ask for one I'd like better. So far, I've only done that once.

It has, so far, never occurred to me to go scouting around before checking in.
Of course, I am still pretty new at this.
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rbTN

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Re: saving a spot?
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2019, 06:15:01 PM »
Lars, the campground is FCFS, not staffed, no hookups. Just parking and roads in the woods, I drove thru a few weeks ago to see what it looked like. There is no usable map that I could find.

It is Meriwether Lewis Campground on the Natchez Trace Parkway in case anyone has stayed there. From what I could tell there were not many sites, some looked like tent only, others were pull thru and lots of room, then lots in between with tress on either side of the site limiting use of slides etc hence the desire to check it out first.

 
middle TN
was - 2001 Ram 2500 4x4 5.9 cummins, auto, camper pkg, trailer pkg (still have the 2001)
now - 2014 Ram 2500 6.7 Cummins, CC long bed SLT 4x4
2007 Thor Denahli 26RL
Equalizer hitch

darsben

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Re: saving a spot?
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2019, 06:52:43 PM »
I have never had a problem at Meriwether Lewis. Usually there is a camp host. Make friends and ask him what to do. Usually early in the day there are plenty of spots because the CG caters to travelers on the Natchez Trace.
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Old_Crow

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Re: saving a spot?
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2019, 07:36:41 PM »
Meriwether Lewis Campground!  That's where the crackheads who stole my Jeep were staying when the cops caught them and recovered my Jeep.  They had stolen it 250 miles south on the NT Parkway at Jeff Busby campground.
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Kevin Means

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Re: saving a spot?
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2019, 08:16:53 PM »
I've never owned a trailer, but unhooking our Jeep from the motorhome is a simple process. We do a lot of camping in unimproved areas, and I will frequently disconnect our Jeep and go look for a suitable site. It's a lot easier to manever the Jeep around than our motorhome, especially when we're towing.

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LarsMac

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Re: saving a spot?
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2019, 08:43:40 PM »
Lars, the campground is FCFS, not staffed, no hookups. Just parking and roads in the woods, I drove thru a few weeks ago to see what it looked like. There is no usable map that I could find.

It is Meriwether Lewis Campground on the Natchez Trace Parkway in case anyone has stayed there. From what I could tell there were not many sites, some looked like tent only, others were pull thru and lots of room, then lots in between with tress on either side of the site limiting use of slides etc hence the desire to check it out first.

Sorry. I missed that in your post.
I read it as a fairly general question.
Nevermind. Carry on.
[slinks unobtrusively back into the dark.]
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SpencerPJ

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Re: saving a spot?
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2019, 07:51:44 AM »
I would go check it out, talk to the host, take an orange cone, have a pole inside with a sign that says 'Reserved and paid for', ask host if you pay for the site, can you put this cone down for 1/2 day until you return?  OR, pay for spot, take a few chairs, table, and set up makeshift camp.  People don't know if you have motorhome out for the day.
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Utclmjmpr

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Re: saving a spot?
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2019, 07:54:18 AM »
 If it is a pay as you enter site,, then post the site post with a "reserved" sign and go for it.>>>Dan  ( What jerks my chain at those types of campgrounds is when a large pass tru site has a tent in the middle of it.)
« Last Edit: October 05, 2019, 07:57:57 AM by Utclmjmpr »
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darsben

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Re: saving a spot?
« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2019, 08:03:14 AM »
The campsites have no charge. It is usually first come first served.
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UTTransplant

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Re: saving a spot?
« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2019, 08:36:44 AM »
Since it is a formal NPS campground, even though primitive, there will be some kind of marker for the campsites. In that case you aren’t boondocking which is part of the confusion on the answers. From what I see there are asphalt camping sites, mostly pull through, with a camp host in season. Under this type of circumstance, I would drive the truck to get a site, put a couple of chairs and a tent on it, then go back pick up the camper. There is still some possibility someone will poach your site, but it is quite rare, particularly with a tent there which is why I recommend it. We have done this on FCFS campgrounds in our local county park.
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Wizard46

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Re: saving a spot?
« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2019, 08:45:12 AM »
How would you feel if you found the perfect site but someone had something on it to keep you from parking there then didn't show up until the next day
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Pugapooh

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Re: saving a spot?
« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2019, 09:06:18 AM »
How would you feel if you found the perfect site but someone had something on it to keep you from parking there then didn't show up until the next day

Probably irritated and disappointed but I believe it is first come,first serve.
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LarsMac

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Re: saving a spot?
« Reply #13 on: October 05, 2019, 09:37:48 AM »
Probably irritated and disappointed but I believe it is first come,first serve.

If you're talking an hour or so, maybe, but a day ahead would be kinda piggish, IMHO. Kinda pushes the spirit of the arrangement, I think.
 
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: saving a spot?
« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2019, 10:08:53 AM »
Saving a site seems all well and good for reasonable people, but we workamped as hosts in a park like that for 6 weeks one summer and soon learned a lot about abuse of privilege.    People would show up on Thursday night or early Friday a.m. (before they went to work) and want to hold a site for Friday night.  This park had a flat $3/night fee, but they didn't even want to pay that ahead.  They'd leave a folding chair, or a scribbled sign, or just beg us to hold it for them (we had no way to do that).   The head ranger said the rule was a site had to be paid and have a tent or RV on it or it was considered to be available.  We soon learned why.   We tried to help some seemingly nice folks by bending the rules and got burned by no-shows or finding them later on a different site than the one they pre-selected.  This little park was popular and filled every weekend, so making a site unavailable spoiled somebody else's weekend fun.

We quickly developed the attitude that you better get your tent or trailer on the site within an hour or it was available to the next "first come".  We would tell the lookers that they could leave their marker on the site while they went for their gear or trailer, but we made rounds every 60-90 minutes and they better be back and set-up when we next made our rounds.

I don't think any of these folks intended to cause problems, but life happened.  They all had kids and worked hard at low-paying jobs.  Kids got sick or Dad had to work late or a car broke down and their plans changed. Or they arrived at the park and saw their brother-in-law and decided to camp next to him rather than the previously chosen place.  We heard all kinds of stories from people who sounded sincerely apologetic, but we soon tired of the excuses. Probably got a reputation as hard asses before too long.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2019, 10:21:54 AM by Gary RV_Wizard »
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ChasA

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Re: saving a spot?
« Reply #15 on: October 05, 2019, 10:23:03 AM »
In NC state parks, setting up and not using the site is verboten.  If you set up on a site, it must be occupied every night.
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mel s

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Re: saving a spot?
« Reply #16 on: October 05, 2019, 10:54:32 AM »
I have read here and other forums that RV with toads unhook the toad and use it to scout spots then drive in the RV.
Similarly do folks with travel trailers scout out spots and mark/save them somehow and then pull the TT in? I ask because there is a boondocking area somewhat close and I'd like to drive in with the truck first to see if there is a good space open before I haul the TT down there. It is out of the way and no other camping close so making a trip down with the TT might be a waste of time without saving a spot first? Its just for the weekend type of camping but hate to get it out of the storage lot, load it, and find out theres no open spots.
Would this be considered acceptable to most to save a spot like that or not?

rbTN
How would you "save a spot" in a boondocking area?
You could leave a lawn chair in the site....(but you might lose both the chair and the site).


I've never done that. Most of the time they seem to like to assign you a pad.
So, I go to the assigned pad, and if I don't like it, I might go look around a bit, and come back and ask for one I'd like better. So far, I've only done that once.
It has, so far, never occurred to me to go scouting around before checking in.
Of course, I am still pretty new at this.

LarsMac
In most "boondocking areas" there are no pads and no one is assigning sites.

Smith

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Re: saving a spot?
« Reply #17 on: October 05, 2019, 11:41:20 AM »
Probably got a reputation as hard asses before too long.

Gary,
Our experiences as USFS volunteer campground hosts for 4 years at the same campground mirrored yours. I had to argue with people every weekend about how "reservation chairs" didn't cut it. Signs were posted at the fee station explaining what "occupy and pay for the site" meant. Some people would roll in Wednesday night, shove a trailer into a popular site, then not come back until Friday night or Saturday morning. Sometimes they wouldn't pay until they returned hoping they could get away with paying only for the nights they actually stayed there. Some of the regulars starting calling me the General. I just reminded people of the Forest Service rules. Not my rules. Most people appreciated what we did. We had to quit doing it 2 years ago due to family issues. I heard this summer the place has gone downhill, anything goes now.
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LarsMac

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Re: saving a spot?
« Reply #18 on: October 05, 2019, 11:52:28 AM »
rbTN
How would you "save a spot" in a boondocking area?
You could leave a lawn chair in the site....(but you might lose both the chair and the site).


LarsMac
In most "boondocking areas" there are no pads and no one is assigning sites.

Yes, I got that, as you can see if you read my next post:

Quote
Sorry. I missed that in your post.
I read it as a fairly general question.
Nevermind. Carry on.
[slinks unobtrusively back into the dark.]
2000 Itasca Sundancer 430V
2007 Saturn Vue

“There is a road, no simple highway
Between the dawn and the dark of night
..."

rbTN

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Re: saving a spot?
« Reply #19 on: October 05, 2019, 02:21:23 PM »
I'm sorry for the confusion I caused by using the term boondocking incorrectly. Also, I was not aware there was a host, I did not see one when I went down a few weeks ago so again, my fault. I try to keep things short but seem to forget lots of important information at times.

It is a campground with paved roads and sites, but fcfs, no office, no water or elec. etc so I guess maybe dry camping might be a better term?

It is only about 40 min from me so I thought I might drive down, see if there was an opening, then go home and get the trailer but I guess I'll just take my chances.

thanks everyone.
middle TN
was - 2001 Ram 2500 4x4 5.9 cummins, auto, camper pkg, trailer pkg (still have the 2001)
now - 2014 Ram 2500 6.7 Cummins, CC long bed SLT 4x4
2007 Thor Denahli 26RL
Equalizer hitch

John From Detroit

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Re: saving a spot?
« Reply #20 on: October 05, 2019, 04:09:31 PM »
A lot depends on park policy
At one Park I was taking my Rig in for an oil change and ask if I could just leave my car on site.. NO. but Security put a OCCUPIED sign up for me.  (So no problem)

At another I had my own "Site Occupied" sign

All depends on the park..  Has never been a problem though.

I get my oil changed again in about a month. but I'm not sure if I'll return to the site or just head south (Most likely head south from oil change shop)
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
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Isaac-1

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Re: saving a spot?
« Reply #21 on: October 05, 2019, 04:27:26 PM »
I tend to travel in a motorhome without a TOAD car, so I carry a Campsite occupied sign ( I think I bought on ebay for about $15) and collapsing orange cones that I can use if I need to go to a dump station, refill water, etc.

p.s. a  cheap pop up tent is another option (2 person dome tents can be bought for under $25 on amazon), and may be more likely to be respected than an occupied sign, I always worry someone will toss the sign aside and occupy the site while I am away, then claim they did not see a sign when they showed up.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2019, 04:33:09 PM by Isaac-1 »
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: saving a spot?
« Reply #22 on: October 06, 2019, 08:58:15 AM »
Quote
I'm sorry for the confusion I caused by using the term boondocking incorrectly.
You were well within common usage for the term; there is no formal definition. Many consider any camping with electric hook-ups to be "boondocking", but others have more stringent definitions.  The key point is that different camping areas have different policies (and sometimes even no policy at all).  Even state and federal public-use lands typically have local rules in addition to whatever the general policies are, so do your best to learn them before attempting to hold a site. You cannot assume that the lack of hook-ups means its a free-for-all.


If a camping area has designated sites and maintained roads, it's a pretty good bet that there will at the very least be a periodic ranger patrol and often a camp host, though the host may be a volunteer whose main purpose is to call a ranger when & if needed.
Gary
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Pugapooh

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Re: saving a spot?
« Reply #23 on: October 06, 2019, 12:07:35 PM »
If you're talking an hour or so, maybe, but a day ahead would be kinda piggish, IMHO. Kinda pushes the spirit of the arrangement, I think.

You're right.  An hour or so seems reasonable.  Overnight would not be right.
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