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Author Topic: Street camping  (Read 19661 times)

Jammer

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Street camping
« on: December 31, 2009, 08:56:48 PM »
Many people (and many forum members) believe that street camping in any form is a bad idea on safety, public relations, legal compliance, and practical grounds.  I understand this point of view and share it to a large degree.

I would define "street camping" as overnight parking somewhere other than a campground or remote area (Since there are a dozen other threads devoted to Wal-mart, Sam's Club, and other retailers that tacitly encourage camping in their parking lots, we'll leave those places out of this discussion, though).

It is my view that the Class B is most suited to such activities.  Indeed, much of the appeal of the VW Transporter (with or without the Westfalia conversion) to those in the counterculture movement of the 1960s and early 1970s was its potential utility as an ersatz hotel room, providing privacy and basic needs while still blending in with other parked cars well enough to avoid attracting undue attention.

I had an old friend who for many years would go out and whoop it up at the bars on weekends driving his Lesharo, and spend the night in the bar parking lot if he had a few too many.

I had another friend who drive a truck camper to work fairly routinely.  Since he lived quite some distance away, he would spend the night in the parking lot at work (in a suburban office/industrial park) under some circumstances -- icy roads or when he had to work late.

Both these people operated in a sort of gray area: They didn't exactly have official permission of any kind, but people knew who they were and what they were up to and more or less tolerated it (There are various problems places have with formally granting permission -- usually enough HR, legal, and finance people get involved that the paranoia approaches clinically significant levels).

People who do this sort of thing are not, on the whole, on vacation (though I suppose there are exceptions).  In general they have circumstances that require them to be in an area where campgrounds with amenities are unavailable within a reasonable distance, and they prefer their RV to a hotel.

I'd encourage you all to share your comments or (especially) experiences with this sort of thing.
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Marsha/CA

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Re: Street camping
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2010, 01:52:01 AM »
If you do a search you will find several prior threads on this subject.

Times have changed.  What was marginal or somewhat acceptable for your friends' situations is more than likely no longer acceptable.  With the economy like it is and with the high rate of foreclosures, families have moved into RVs in order to have a roof over their heads.  Out here in California there seems to be a crack down on allowing RVs of any kind to be parked on the street, or in parking lots whether it's for an overnight or for a week.  Neighbors call the police, police patrol the parking lots and basically it's an unacceptable practice. 

Some RVers who elect to spend the night or the week on the streets or parking lots, often dump their grey water, and possibly their black tanks, down open street drains because they have no other dump areas available. 

I often thought this type of sentiment against camping on the streets was a "big city" phenomena; but it occurred in my little town of 1900 people.  We were camped in a campground while our house was being built and late one night a Class B pulled in and parked along the side of the road where there were no camp sites.  He settled in turned off the light and went to bed.  The police appraoched him in the middle of the night and moved him on.  I was surprised as this is a very big camping, hiking, white water rafting area.  But we later learned that someone had called the police, so I guess it is not just a big city thing.

Are you trying to find out if a Class B would be more acceptable for this type of street/parking lot camping than a Class A?

Marsha~



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Jammer

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Re: Street camping
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2010, 08:11:55 AM »
If you do a search you will find several prior threads on this subject.

I'll look again.  Perhaps I was choosing search terms poorly, but I was having trouble finding anything substantive.

Quote
Are you trying to find out if a Class B would be more acceptable for this type of street/parking lot camping than a Class A?

Just trying to listen to people's experiences and insights.

The thing with a class B is that it's not obvious that it's an rv, so I would imagine that there would be less hassle.
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Marsha/CA

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Re: Street camping
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2010, 11:35:26 AM »
Hi Jammer,

Here is a link of the the search I did for "overnight street parking" .  It's kind of a mis-mash of threads; but it gives a pretty good idea of prior discussions.

http://www.rvforum.net/SMF_forum/index.php?action=search2

My gut feeling is anyone who spends the night in any type of vehicle is the issue; not what type of vehicle.  And I bet there are exceptions occasionally, like the Rose Parade this morning.  I'm sure tons of people spent the night in their cars waiting to go see the Rose Parade and they didn't get hassled   ;)

Marsha~
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Tom

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Re: Street camping
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2010, 12:02:47 PM »
Marsha, that's a link to the Search page, not to the results of your search.
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Utclmjmpr

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Re: Street camping
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2010, 12:27:43 PM »
In my opinion there is a huge difference between "camping" and overnight "parking"
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Marsha/CA

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Re: Street camping
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2010, 12:37:34 PM »
Jammer,

Until I get the search link fixed, just click the "Search" on the top bar.  In the search box I put "overnight camping" and got several results. 

Marsha~
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Carl L

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Re: Street camping
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2010, 09:30:58 PM »

My gut feeling is anyone who spends the night in any type of vehicle is the issue; not what type of vehicle.  And I bet there are exceptions occasionally, like the Rose Parade this morning.  I'm sure tons of people spent the night in their cars waiting to go see the Rose Parade and they didn't get hassled   ;)


The Rose Parade is a special case.   There camping for the parade is just that event and is contolled by the Pasadena PD.   
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jjhoneck

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Re: Street camping
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2010, 10:32:14 PM »
On our recent trip to Texas, we decided to split the return trip into two segments.  We departed Port Aransas, Texas at noon, and drove non-stop (alternating drivers) until midnight, when we gassed up at a freeway service station somewhere in Oklahoma.

It was cold (18 degrees), windy, and snowing.  I pulled around behind the gas station (where there were a few truckers parked), flipped on the furnace, and we all went to sleep for six hours.  No one hassled us, and we were back on the road by 6 AM.

Not exactly "on the street" -- but not at an RV park or WalMart, either.  It worked out great, though.

The kids have slept in our motor home with it parked in front of our house, but -- with the streets getting ever-more-narrow throughout this snowy winter -- that sort of fun will have to wait till spring.
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John From Detroit

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Re: Street camping
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2010, 10:34:18 AM »
I agree with the statement "There is a big difference between camping and overnight parking"

On the issue of "Street camping" We used to have a class A that parked across the street from our house and plugged into the cross-the-street neighbor's house.... The problem is an RV is allowed to be over 8' wide. even a humer is only 8'. the only other vehicle that can be more than 8' wide without an oversize permit is a flat bed tow truck.  Add slides and .. Well I'm 13' wide just now (not counting the awning)

Of course I don't put out a traffic side slide.

That said, when my rig was new the off-street parking pad was not ready yet.. I had to park it on the street for like 2 weeks.

Some idiot in a stolen pick up with improper plates creased it.

Slides all in.. Bounced his beater truck off the driver's side he did.
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maddog348

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Re: Street camping
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2010, 07:34:08 PM »
OUCH !!
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John From Detroit

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Re: Street camping
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2010, 02:06:50 PM »
Welll Maddog..... That is why I had insurance.. It paid.
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
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GregScott

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Re: Street camping
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2011, 08:29:32 PM »
I do this quite a bit, but I try to be circumspect.
First of all, I have a pop-up slide-in pickup camper that I can use without popping up the top.
I call this "stealth" camping. I do it when parking in an urban area. Often I try to park near to a police station.

When in rural areas, I may be in stealth mode when parked on the shoulder.

At a rest area, when overnight is prohibited, I set the alarm for 4 hours, and pop my top, and leave a light on.
If over night parking is not prohibited, no problem.

I often travel back roads and small towns and a very ad hoc route, so I sometimes find these things necessary. As a photographer, I often get up before sunrise, shoot the AM golden hour, drive a while, nap a while drive a while, nap until supper, shoot the PM golden hour, nap a while drive a while, etc.

Trail head parking is another general place that it handy for "stealth" camping.

 
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Jeff Brown

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Re: Street camping
« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2011, 02:25:14 PM »
We make reservations at destinations during our vacations.  So if a destination is further than a day away (which it often is) the going to and from we just ad-hoc our sleeping.  Casinos, rest areas, a Wal-mart once.  I know it is frowned upon here to overnight in rest areas because of the danger, but we have never had an issue.  When heading north or north west my favorite first stop is a rest area on the 395 about 10 miles from Independence.  (I thing that's where it is, maybe big pine?)   Very peaceful and there is a great little nature walking path.  At other rest areas we have stayed at the trucks sometimes idle all night but at least then I know I'm not alone.

We do like full hookup campsites, but if we are just sleeping and leaving I'm not going to hook anything up anyway so I don't really want to pay for just a place to park.  We usually pull in around 6 or 7 and out about 10-12 hours later, I wouldn't even think of spending more than a single night someplace other than a campground.  This summer we are planning to spend 3 or 4 days at my dad's house in Meridian Idaho, we will park in his RV barn use his hookups then mosey on down the road when we had had enough family hospitality!  We might not even go far at first, there is a campground outside of Mountain Home we have thought about staying a couple of nights in.

In addition to my opinion I'd like to ask a question.  I see trucks parked on on and off ramps sometimes, what is the opinion or legal implications I should be aware of for that?  It isn't something we have tried yet, but in a pinch you never know where you will end up some nights.

Jeff
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tonyandkaren

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Re: Street camping
« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2011, 05:22:03 PM »
 We have a small C. We park on the street and sleep in our motorhome when we're visiting people if we can't fit in their driveway.  My mother lives in a suburb north of San Antonio ,Texas. We park on a quiet street behind her apartment complex. There are no houses so no neighbors. We've been doing that for years , no problems but I think that everyone knows that we're just visiting not moving in.;)  Our daughter lives in Seattle and we park on her street which is not ideal because spaces are limited and the street is narrow but again we don't park in front of anyone's house. On our last visit we had a note placed on our windshield by the city stating that we were too wide to park on that street so it looks like we're out on that parking spot. We have overnighted around that corner on a quieter street but just a few times because we didn't want to push our luck. We also got an exception to the HOA in a suburb of Sante Fe , New Mexico and were allowed to park for a few days. So try it -the most that can happen is that you'll be asked to move.

Mexray

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Re: Street camping
« Reply #15 on: March 18, 2011, 01:57:32 AM »
In our old Class-C, we had an enjoyable, mid-week trek North of the SF Bay Area one afternoon, stopping at a favorite 'No Overnight Parking' coastal beach area...

We'd brought along some fresh Dungeness Crab, SF sourdough, Sonoma cheese, and couple bottles of Napa's best vintage...The sun had set as we finished, and we really didn't want to leave our cozy compartment...So, alone on the beach that evening, we decided to park overnight - If asked, we'd just have to move on...

All was well overnight, with the sounds of the waves lulling us to a sound sleep - the wine didn't hurt either... ;)

At 6:00 AM the next morning, there was a subtle 'knock' at our door...I stumbled around to find a local Sheriff standing outside... :-\  The officer's greeting was courteous, and asked me to please raise our shades in the MoHo so any other early visitors wouldn't think we'd been there all night! ;)  He advised us to have a great time at the beach, and went on his way - Great guy!

Of course that was 30 years ago...today, most of these areas now have gates that are locked each evening to keep us all on the straight and narrow... >:(  I know the list of reasons the 'rules' have changed, there's lot's more of us out there, etc., etc. - but it's still a shame that attitudes have changed over the years... :-[     


Ray & Pat near Lodi, CA...

Tom

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Re: Street camping
« Reply #16 on: March 18, 2011, 10:40:58 AM »
That's a great story Ray. The guys who woke us up at 2.00am weren't so understanding. See here.
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PancakeBill

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Re: Street camping
« Reply #17 on: March 18, 2011, 10:49:44 AM »
When we stay at my father in laws home we stay on the street, his driveway is so steep and the street so crowned, I would need to build a bridge to get in.  His street is about a 5% grade, so need to ramp up the front to get close to level. 

All in all, it is OK for a night or two, and no neighbors complain, no police knocks.  Definitely would not want to do this for long or often. 

CG's far away, and sesonal, so not always an option. 

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Pierat

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Re: Street camping
« Reply #18 on: March 18, 2011, 11:51:26 AM »
As far as off ramps from freeways, our driving instructor indicated that he had used the shoulders, off of the ramps themselves, when he drove big rigs and truckers often do -- if they're wide enough and out of traffic, of course.
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bendts

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Re: Street camping
« Reply #19 on: July 21, 2012, 04:37:26 PM »
I've parked my 40' class A w/tow on the street for a night or 2 many times in small to medium towns.  Never had any issues.  I don't put out my slide and don't put down my leveler pads - I just deal with the lean.  I always look for as out of the way big street as i can.
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wackymac

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Re: Street camping
« Reply #20 on: July 21, 2012, 05:10:59 PM »
If you want to (park, camp, stay overnight) on the street, the west side of Santa Cruz, CA is wide open.  Sometimes the streets look like an RV junk yard.
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99WinAdventurer37G

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Re: Street camping
« Reply #21 on: July 21, 2012, 10:44:43 PM »
I know this is an old thread, but one of the comments mentioned parking on off ramps, etc..  The police and state patrol are making a special emphasis on this as there have been several fatality crashes on off ramps.  Rest area shoulders will also often draw a ticket, at least in a truck.  They might be nicer if it's an RV and just tell you to move.  Just FYI
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Pierat

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Re: Street camping
« Reply #22 on: July 22, 2012, 09:31:27 AM »
What jurisdiction/state is it that is making an enforcement push?
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bendts

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Re: Street camping
« Reply #23 on: July 22, 2012, 12:28:44 PM »
Quote
What jurisdiction/state is it that is making an enforcement push?

Not sure about what State - but seeing as how most are Bankrupt and they never have enough FRN's to spend - they will be looking for some of yours.

Every Rest Stop i have stopped in has No Parking on Shoulder signs soon after you pull on the ramp.  Although in many by the time i have left in the morning, both the entrance & exit shoulders have been filled up - mostly by truckers.

As for parking on a Freeway Exit or Entrance - Pick the Entrance Ramp, At least there they are not coming of the freeway at speed or High Speed after having a few. Not to say they wont just continue through the stop sign and right down the other side...

And leave your Parking lights on - some of those ramps/rest stops are damn dark.
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99WinAdventurer37G

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Re: Street camping
« Reply #24 on: July 22, 2012, 01:06:14 PM »
I do know Texas is working real hard around the Austin area, between mile markers 371 down to the 144, tickets start at $100.  Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia, and Maryland have been working real hard on this for several years, ticket prices vary by jurisdiction.  Out west though one seems to be pretty safe, as long as you're at least 15 feet off the traveled section of the road.  If you're there more than about 10 hours though, you're likely to get a ticket if the same cop sees you there during two shifts.   
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odie1234

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Re: Street camping
« Reply #25 on: July 22, 2012, 05:22:23 PM »
DW and I own some commercial property that sits on a street little used at nights and weekends. A few years ago we started to get stealth campers using a loading area just off the street in front of our building to overnight. I think word got out - maybe there is a network like hobos of old that spread the word about places to stay. So far this year, our tenant has had to call the police 11 times because of stealth camper behavior. Stealing water and power, cooking meth, dropping sewage into storm drains and panhandling our tenant's employees who happened  to be working late are the behaviors I know about. In addition, DCF has removed children from two families stealth camping in front of the building. We are going to have to stand the cost of removing the pull off point and redoing the roadway in front of the building. We had to spend a lot of money to fence the parking lots and put security locks on them because the stealth campers found they could park behind the building and be out of sight of the police patrols. Count me among those who always vigorously supports bans on street camping.

Water Dog

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Re: Street camping
« Reply #26 on: July 22, 2012, 05:48:58 PM »
There's a major creek across the street from our house and the land that is adjacent to it is privately owned, but looks like a greenbelt. I know the owner and have agreed to kind of keep an eye on it for him as he lives out of town. Over the years we have had several people try to spend the night there in a range of vehicles and usually wind up calling local law enforcement to encourage them to move along. The folks usually show up in very old RV's all dented and with broken or missing windows and just make the whole neighborhood look trashy. Problem is if someone wants to do it in a well kept RV....where do you draw the line? If it is okay for one, it seems like it should be okay for all....but if you look the other way, the word gets out, and you find you've opened a campground.
Dennis

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