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RVing message boards => Boondocking => Topic started by: indiebarjohn on September 25, 2017, 07:49:29 PM

Title: City Boondocking
Post by: indiebarjohn on September 25, 2017, 07:49:29 PM
My wife and I have never had an RV but we think we would like to fly out to the west coast, buy a Sprinter RV and drive it home to Florida. We want to see rock concerts and sporting events in major cities across the US like San Francisco, LA, Las Vegas, Austin, Houston, and New Orleans. Is Boondocking safe, legal and practical in big cities?
Title: Re: City Boondocking
Post by: SeilerBird on September 25, 2017, 07:56:28 PM
No it isn't. There are laws preventing it and it is not practical to live in an RV and depend on boondocking in cities. You will find a whole host of problems if you do. If it was as easy as you think all our streets would be littered with RVs. And driving an RV on big city streets is not for the weak.
Title: Re: City Boondocking
Post by: UTTransplant on September 25, 2017, 09:08:08 PM
The bigger the city, the more restrictive overnight parking is. There are places that sometimes offer free overnight parking (Walmart is the biggest example), but big cities and tourist areas frequently restrict that. As Tom said they would otherwise be overwhelmed by big RVs blocking parking. I have seen people do it, but you would be taking a chance on a big fine.

In general big cities are a pain to drive an RV in, even something as small as a Sprinter van. Narrow streets, construction, parking ramps with low clearances - they all are a pain in a big vehicle.
Title: Re: City Boondocking
Post by: HappyWanderer on September 25, 2017, 10:01:04 PM
We had quite the time finding a parking place while visiting the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Despite two phone calls to make prior arrangements, I swear that those people had never seen a motorhome before.

After driving around barriers with inches to spare, and having to get out and move traffic cones, we did get a great parking spot. They insisted that we pay for five spaces, but no matter how hard I tried, I could only occupy four.

If you ever have the opportunity to drive an RV in downtown Cleveland, go for it!
Title: Re: City Boondocking
Post by: OBX on September 25, 2017, 10:13:17 PM
I don't have a class b but I've wondered if a parking garage would be a decent overnight plan in some cities.
Title: Re: City Boondocking
Post by: Isaac-1 on September 25, 2017, 10:53:19 PM
Most parking garages have 7-8 ft clearance limits, plus tight U turns, I have parked in one before in Houston at the Texas medical center in my crew cab Ford F250 (I live 150 miles from there, my wife had an appointment and I needed to pick up something that weighed over 1,000 pounds for work), it was a chore, involving backing and cutting to manage the turn radius on some of the switch backs, and skipping lots of empty spaces until I found an empty longer corner space.  A sprinter based class B is 3-4 feet longer than and 2-3 ft taller than my F250.

HappyWanderer I had a similar experience at the Cosmosphere space museum in Hutchinson KS, I called ahead to ask about RV parking, the girl that answered the phone said the nearest was several blocks away.  I happened to arrive on a Sunday, the museum is located at the corner of a community college, next to the stadium, things were mostly abandoned being a Sunday, so I thought might as well do a drive by.  Right out in front of the main entrance there is a sign RV/Bus parking across the street.
Title: Re: City Boondocking
Post by: SeilerBird on September 26, 2017, 04:19:46 AM
I don't have a class b but I've wondered if a parking garage would be a decent overnight plan in some cities.
I stayed in the MGM garage in Las Vegas one night and it was one of the worst experiences I ever had boondocking. The noise level inside is outrageous. Even much noisier than staying in a rest stop. Tires make a terrible squealing noise on turns and the echos go on forever. And when someone honks their horn you will jump a mile. :-[
Title: Re: City Boondocking
Post by: winona on September 26, 2017, 02:06:45 PM
Most parking garages have 7-8 ft clearance limits, plus tight U turns, I have parked in one before in Houston at the Texas medical center in my crew cab Ford F250 (I live 150 miles from there, my wife had an appointment and I needed to pick up something that weighed over 1,000 pounds for work), it was a chore, involving backing and cutting to manage the turn radius on some of the switch backs, and skipping lots of empty spaces until I found an empty longer corner space.  A sprinter based class B is 3-4 feet longer than and 2-3 ft taller than my F250.

HappyWanderer I had a similar experience at the Cosmosphere space museum in Hutchinson KS, I called ahead to ask about RV parking, the girl that answered the phone said the nearest was several blocks away.  I happened to arrive on a Sunday, the museum is located at the corner of a community college, next to the stadium, things were mostly abandoned being a Sunday, so I thought might as well do a drive by.  Right out in front of the main entrance there is a sign RV/Bus parking across the street.

My son sees a doctor in a Chicago hospital on a regular basis.  Driving my F150 thru the parking garage isn't for the faint of heart.  Low ceilings, tight parking spots, even tighter turns.  Ditto any parking garage in Chicago with the circular exit ramps.  Augh!!

Some tourist places have just okay RV parking, but what I've found more the norm are spots very far away from where you need to be or taking several spaces in the farthest corner of the large parking lot.  One touristy town has RV parking outside of town then a taxi into town.  And this is all with a 24 foot long class C.  Could be next to impossible in a long class A pulling a toad.
Title: Re: City Boondocking
Post by: AStravelers on September 26, 2017, 03:07:41 PM
About boondocking in the cities.  There are people who "stealth camp" in cities and towns.  Generally in smaller RV's such as Class B's and vans they have converted to having sleeping, bath & cooking.  These people park quietly with all window blocked out, no slides out, etc.  This way it looks like someone has just parked a vehicle somewhere. 

Is is safe?  I guess it depends on what part of town you park at. 

I would guess if you parked in the wrong area you could wake up to a tow truck towing you away. 

Do an internet search for "stealth camping".  You should get quite a few hits.
Title: Re: City Boondocking
Post by: ArdraF on September 26, 2017, 06:14:04 PM
Quote
Narrow streets, construction, parking ramps with low clearances - they all are a pain in a big vehicle.

We recently were in Glenwood Springs CO and drove the car into town.  Thankfully so!  The construction detours with poor markings were so bad with U-turns that I even commented "thank goodness we're in the car because it would be impossible in an RV."

As to parking garages, I wouldn't even consider doing it.  I drove my mother's Suburban into a parking garage in her town and really thought I was going to skim the top off the darned thing.  If a Suburban can barely make the vertical clearance I doubt any RV could do it.

Most western urban areas have ordinances against overnight street parking because the weather is moderate and people migrate to those areas.  Residents get really upset when they see RVs parked on "their" streets. Homeowners In Santa Monica CA who own RVs are limited to a short period of time (maybe four hours) for loading and unloading.  If you try to stay overnight on their streets you most likely will be awakened by the police.  You will not be welcome there or in many other California communities.

What we're trying to say is that boondocking may sound wonderful but it doesn't work very well in cities.  You should plan on going to RV parks or other places like state parks in such areas.  Besides, how will your bride feel if the police come knocking on your door in the middle of the night or you're harassed by hoodlums??  Back in the 1960s and 1970s it was possible to boondock in cities, but the world has changed since then.

ArdraF
Title: Re: City Boondocking
Post by: Frank B on October 10, 2017, 04:05:54 PM
If you overnight in a garage, better make sure that it is not below grade. Propane is prohibited in those areas by law. Propane is heavier than air, that's why.