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Author Topic: Fulltiming in the Los Angeles area  (Read 8231 times)

Kwan Yin

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Fulltiming in the Los Angeles area
« on: October 13, 2008, 10:17:51 PM »
Hi, I'm new to this site and have never lived in an RV before.  Me and my boyfriend are planning on fulltiming it in a Class B.  It'll be used as a second car and we're planning on saving as much money as we can by parking it on the street whenever possible and only going to camp sites when needed.  Has anyone ever done this or known anyone who has?  I'm concerned about policeman or other people knocking on our door late at night and asking us to leave, amongst other things.  Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Tom

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Re: Fulltiming in the Los Angeles area
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2008, 10:42:52 PM »
It's illegal in many cities to camp in the street. Expect many knocks on your door from the police.
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Kwan Yin

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Re: Fulltiming in the Los Angeles area
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2008, 11:12:25 PM »
We plan to look as inconspicuous as possible.  We're looking into getting a 19.5' Roadtrek or converting a Sprinter van, so our vehicle will look like a more like a cargo van than an RV.

John From Detroit

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Re: Fulltiming in the Los Angeles area
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2008, 08:31:08 AM »
As tom said, in many (If not all) cities camping in the street is disallowed, and on many streets even cargo vans will collect tickets

As a retired police dispacher I can not advise breaking the law

Many big box stores do allow  you to stay over night,  This includes costco, sams, wall mart, many K-marts, and other stores with excess parking.. However you should limit your stay at these places to one or two (At the most) nights.
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.

seilerbird

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Re: Fulltiming in the Los Angeles area
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2008, 08:38:59 AM »
I lived in a van for years and spent many nights sleeping on a street in southern California. I had the police knock on my door maybe three times. All they did was tell me to move. Just tell the cop you were looking for a Walmart and couldn't find one. He will usually direct you to the nearest Walmart. Sleeping in your vehicle is not a major crime and most cops are really nice people. You can park in most any Walmart parking lot without hassle. The best spots to camp on the street are in front of large apartment buildings. They have a continual turnover of residents and a new vehicle never looks suspicious there. Never park in front of someone's house in a residential neighborhood, you are asking them to call the cops if you do. Do not park for the night before it gets dark and leave before the sun rises and you will not arouse suspicion. Don't park in the same spot two nights in a row. But let me repeat, Walmarts are your best bet and don't worry about the cops.

Tom

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Re: Fulltiming in the Los Angeles area
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2008, 09:09:30 AM »
We slept in the street once - not in a residential area - and were rudely awakened at 2.00am with loud banging on the door and a very bright light shining through the blinds. I tried explaining to the officers that we had a valid reason for being there (we did), but all they said was "move on". At 2.30am we checked into a nearby Mariott Hotel for the remainder of the night and they were kind enough to let me put the motorhome in their back parking lot.

This was northern California in the mid 80's, and we haven't slept in the street since.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2008, 09:33:42 AM by Tom »
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seilerbird

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Re: Fulltiming in the Los Angeles area
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2008, 09:30:55 AM »
There is a huge difference between sleeping on the street in a motorhome and sleeping on the street in a van. You will always attract attention in a motorhome and rarely attract attention in a van.

Tom

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Re: Fulltiming in the Los Angeles area
« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2008, 10:07:13 AM »
Hopefully, someone camping overnight in a street knows the area well enough to know if it's safe.

Several years ago I discovered that a relatively new employee (college grad) was sleeping in his car because he couldn't afford the rent for a 1-room apartment. I was not a happy camper, because the area of San Jose where he was camping is known for gangs and violence between and against folks of his ethnic background. He didn't know the area and assumed he'd be safe.

I had employees, family and friends searching until we found him affordable housing. I also gave him a pay raise to help with his monthly expenses, and told him I'd better not find out he was sleeping in his car again.

An Admin in my group came to work one day and said that a gang had set fire to her car in the driveway the night before. The car was destroyed, but fortunately nobody was sleeping in it at the time.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2008, 10:11:46 AM by Tom »
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Dave Stringham

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Re: Fulltiming in the Los Angeles area
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2008, 12:08:35 PM »
Depending on the neighborhood you are in, something that looks like it might have cargo in it is NOT a safe vehicle to be sleeping in.........I wouldnt worry about the police knocking on your door as much as I would waking up to someone looking to steal what ever cargo they might think is in the van.
Dave Stringham
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John From Detroit

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Re: Fulltiming in the Los Angeles area
« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2008, 12:58:29 PM »
Ok, this is not LA but Detroit.. The street upon which I live... In the good old days I had a cop living across the street and a bit later a fireman (his son) living next to him.

I did some research into the law for totally different reasons and found the following

Since My RV is licensed as a "Private" vehicle, non-commercial it is LEGAL to park on the street.. Note PARK, not live in over night, it must be moved daily however (All vehicles share this limit).  Second, if I'm going to occupy it it has to be at least 10 feet back from the curbe (ok it is over 100 feet back where it's parked)  No mention of a privacy fence.

That said. One of my neighbors had relatives visiting and dropped a power cord to their class A for a good week or more without any police issues... Did I mention they were parked one house down from the police officer.. The house that later belonged to his SON.
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.

Marsha/CA

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Re: Fulltiming in the Los Angeles area
« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2008, 02:04:53 PM »
Hi, I'm new to this site and have never lived in an RV before.  Me and my boyfriend are planning on fulltiming it in a Class B.  It'll be used as a second car and we're planning on saving as much money as we can by parking it on the street whenever possible and only going to camp sites when needed.  Has anyone ever done this or known anyone who has?  I'm concerned about policeman or other people knocking on our door late at night and asking us to leave, amongst other things.  Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

I've lived in So California since 1977; there is no way I would recommend doing what you are thinking of doing.  Someone trying to break in to your cargo van would be my first concern; the second would be the police demanding that you move.  Paranoia has increased so much in the last few years that I believe lots of neighborhoods will call the police to report you sleeping in your vehicle.  They will notice; everyone is looking out for unusual behavior, even if you don't have an ulterior motive.  Plus what do you do about showers and dumping your holding tanks if you have tanks?

Marsha~
2017 Heartland Mallard IDM231 Travel Trailer....Small but mighty.

Carl L

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Re: Fulltiming in the Los Angeles area
« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2008, 02:37:24 PM »
I live in LA.   I cannot recommend what you are doing.   Over on the westside and the beach cities anticamping ordinances are pretty universal and your "new" neighbors will turn you in like a shot.   

Secondly, there are any number of streets in LA in which you do not want to be on the streets after dark  -- especially in gang territory.   You can have your van shot up by 12 year olds as a part of a gang initiation rite.

Finally, where will you empty your tanks.  Legal dump stations are few and far between and the fines are VERY heavy for using a storm drain to dump tanks or porta-potties.

Do not try to camp in the foot hills.  The first casualities of the current fire-storms was some poor soul and his dog who had established a camp in a canyon.   Brush fires can move at speeds of 20-30 mph driven by a wind.

 
Carl L/LA   [Forum Staff]  KI6SEZ

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Betty Brewer

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Re: Fulltiming in the Los Angeles area
« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2008, 03:18:46 PM »
Kwan,

I'm all for saving money but If I were you,  I'd really think hard about your upcoming choice to have two of you live in your car or van.  Safety comes to mind first, convenience  next.  I  lived in the LA area over 50 years and I can think of NO place I would feel secure enough to sleep overnight on any street.  You might consider checking out  some of the modest trailer parks and see if they have a small site  that could be your permanent base.  Since you will be small they may be able to fit you in for a reduced rate.  Sorry to dampen your plans but  to just park on the street is not feasible in my opinion.  I'd suggest you do some more  research before committing to this  plan.

Trust your gut.  Something is telling you to ask these questions.  If you are uncomfortable and or nervous  it could be a very hard life.  Keep on asking questions.

Betty
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Wendy

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Re: Fulltiming in the Los Angeles area
« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2008, 09:09:41 PM »
I'm another former LA resident and the ONLY places I would ever consider sleeping in my RV or in a van are in front of friends and family houses. And if I looked out the windows of my house and saw a van parked on the street for an extended period of time (like more than an hour), I'd be calling the police. I'm one of the cheapest people on the forum and when we go to southern California, we stay in campgrounds or with friends and relatives. It's just not the place to camp out on city streets.

Wendy
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Tom

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Re: Fulltiming in the Los Angeles area
« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2008, 09:39:23 PM »
Quote
... if I looked out the windows of my house and saw a van parked on the street for an extended period of time (like more than an hour), I'd be calling the police.

Chris used to see someone drop off a (different) car outside our house every morning with a "for sale" sign on the windshield. When she ran outside to see who it was, the guy had always left in another "pickup" car. I asked around our neighbors and nobody knew who's car it might be.

One day I was in Starbucks on a local highway and saw a CHP officer taking his break. I talked with him about the mysterious cars, and he agreed to stop by and investigate. Sure enough, he stopped by, ran the plates, and came up with the owner in a nearby town.

A few days later I was talking with a neighbor and explained that "I took care of that guy who keeps dropping off different cars outside our house". Turns out it was the guy's son who is a wheeler and dealer. This was the only neighbor I hadn't asked!
« Last Edit: October 14, 2008, 09:54:04 PM by Tom »
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Tom

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Re: Fulltiming in the Los Angeles area
« Reply #15 on: October 14, 2008, 09:43:55 PM »
All these stories merely strengthen my resolve not to stay in a Wal*Mart parking lot in a strange town. I never know if it's a good or bad town, or if the WM is in the good or bad part of town.

I've heard all the stories about WM security keeping an eye open all night, but it's illogical to think they're there to protect the squatters campers; WM security is there to protect the store.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2008, 09:48:23 PM by Tom »
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Kwan Yin

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Re: Fulltiming in the Los Angeles area
« Reply #16 on: October 14, 2008, 10:39:42 PM »
I appreciate all your feedback.  It really helps.  Thank you...

As for showers, we're getting gym memberships and plan on showering there.  Some of them are even open 24 hours.

As for parking, we have friends who will let us park in front of their houses or in their driveway.  I don't want to overstay our welcome, though. I don't know how much I'd like a friend parking their big van at my house on a regular basis, even if I did love them.

As for dumping, we're planning on getting a small port-o-potty version that can be dumped in any toilet.

And, we would only park in safe neighborhoods, but, who knows?  No place is 100% safe.  This is my main concern.  I ordered a stun gun yesterday, but that may not be enough... 

I will continue to think this over and your continued feedback is also welcome.


Ray D

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Re: Fulltiming in the Los Angeles area
« Reply #17 on: October 14, 2008, 11:29:43 PM »
Quote
I ordered a stun gun yesterday, but that may not be enough... 

You  might want to check the legalities of a stun-gun in the LA area. Do some research on Tasers, how they work, and what they actually accomplish, to make sure that is what you want to use. Research this somewhere other than a manufacturers website.

You might think some more on whether you want to be sleeping, where you might also want/need to use a stun-gun/taser, aside from the legalities.

Ray D
Boise, Idaho. U.S.A.F. Vet. Damon Challenger, Workhorse/Vortec, 2005 towing a Suzuki XL-7, 2003.

Ron

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Re: Fulltiming in the Los Angeles area
« Reply #18 on: October 14, 2008, 11:46:54 PM »
If I was in an area where I felt it necessary to have a weapon for protection I sure wouldn't be sleeping there. Please heed Rays excellent advice.
Ron & Sam-home is where we park it. Currently located   HERE

seilerbird

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Re: Fulltiming in the Los Angeles area
« Reply #19 on: October 15, 2008, 06:54:37 AM »
You people are all silly. None of you who recommend that she doesn't stay on the streets of LA have actually lived on the streets of LA like I have. I found nothing unsafe there. You are trying to scare her with rumors not facts. The fact is 40,000 people a year die in automobile/motorhome accidents on the streets of the USA. How many people die while sleeping in a vehicle? Driving is a lot riskier than being parked. You people make LA sound more dangerous than a Viet Nam jungle during the 60s. As paranoid as some people are here I don't see how you get out of bed in the morning. The sky is falling, the sky is falling. Yes there are unsafe neighborhoods in LA but the huge majority are very safe. People rarely break into vans. It is pure stupidity to try and break into a vehicle that you can't see what is inside of it. And if someone did try and break in all you would have to do is start talking and the person would run like heck. There are many dump stations in LA and there are many places to shower, campgrounds, YMCAs, fitness clubs, friends houses. I still think a Walmart parking lot is much safer that wasting $30 a night on a campground. There are a lot more drunk beer drinkers in any campground I have been in.

Wendy

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Re: Fulltiming in the Los Angeles area
« Reply #20 on: October 15, 2008, 11:02:32 AM »
I was born and raised in the LA area. I worked in the LA area. I've driven all over the area. I'm on the list of people who stay often in WalMart parking lots. I don't think you're necessarily safer in a campground than in a WalMart parking lot....mostly it depends on the area of town. But there are many, many places in LA area where I would not stay overnight. It's not silly. It's not scare tactics. It's not rumor. And this advice is coming from people who have lived or now live and work in the LA area.

I agree with Ron on not staying anywhere that I felt I might need a weapon. Besides, I don't want to stay anywhere that I have to stop after dark and leave before first light. That's not my idea of a restful night.

Wendy
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ArdraF

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Re: Fulltiming in the Los Angeles area
« Reply #21 on: October 16, 2008, 05:23:32 PM »
There are many communities around L.A. that are anti-RV and have ordinances that do not allow ANY RV parking except by permit and for a specified and very limited amount of time.  Santa Monica comes to mind.  Jerry's uncle lived there and had about two or three hours to load or unload his small RV in front of the apartment building he owned.  So, aside from all the other things mentioned, local ordinances may prevent your staying on city streets.

I would add that, if you do decide to do this, stay away from schools.  Sometimes when we're traveling and looking to stop for the night in a small town, we purposely bypass school areas because people are just too touchy these days where kids are concerned.  Parking next to a school probably would ensure a visit from the police.  Government buildings probably should also be avoided.

ArdraF
ArdraF
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drljspr

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Re: Fulltiming in the Los Angeles area
« Reply #22 on: November 04, 2008, 09:46:13 AM »
I have stayed in a rv in the LA area, but you always worry. For some reason people there hate seeing people living in the area in an rv and will turn you in.  There are free campgrounds near Palmdale where u can stay for 14 days at a time. 3 BLM campgrounds in (Lone Pine, Crowley Lake, Big Pine) charge $300.00 for 8 Months (march thru November 1st) and you can move between the 3 campgrounds any time you want (lots of fishing). Glass creek Campground u can stay 42 days for free near Mammoth Lakes.  BLM has 10 campgrounds in southern Ca, they charge $195.00 for about 6 months stay from mid oct to about may. The indian reservation charges $45.00 for 3 months boondocking near Yuma. Where everyone winters (snowbirds). In the forest around around LA the rule is 14 day stay in one spot, then 7 days in a new spot in the same district, then then you have to move to a new district. 28 days a year max in a national forest camping in the forest near LA. Then you have to move to the next forest. On BLM land you can boondock 14 days in one spot, then move 25 mile, then another 14 days. The distance between spots might change per area. Slab city near the Salten sea is free the whole year.

DaRL

ArdraF

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Re: Fulltiming in the Los Angeles area
« Reply #23 on: November 04, 2008, 01:15:58 PM »
While there may be a lot of places in the Southern California area where they could stay, I'm thinking they specified L.A. for a reason - such as workplace.  If that's the case they need to find a close-in location.

ArdraF
ArdraF
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