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larrybuck 10-11-2011 12:34 AM

Cutting travel costs
I don't know about you, but I'd rather travel cheap than stay at home looking at the 4 walls ALL of the time!

Of course, CHEEP means different for all people like opinions about a car's look.

Bottom line dirt cheap is that several western states are pretty soft, and let people sleep in their veh. at rest areas. Whether you agree, or think that's sick, or too unsafe; I'm just laying it out as a possibility.

Truck stops: Many times when I start a roadtrip, that macho urge to conquer many miles especially the first day or two, (three for me) combining w not sleeping well at first in a strange place, usually brings exhaustion to the point of the 2nd or 3rd night, you could sleep through about anything! If it's cool enough to keep your windows shut, and you have good seals on your car, it's easy to park next to idling 18wheelers all night, and sleep well.
Of course the important key so far is to be near that bathroom in the morning for the daily constitution if you are regular.

Out in the sticks hiding the veh. somewhere off some gravel road life leads to the carry your roll of TP, and a screwdriver, looking for a tree to hide behind.

Just having a little fun, here!

The real purpose of this post that I wanted to get across; was the possibility of us sharing the knowledge of FREE CAMPGROUNDS with each other. If enough of us shared, longer trips could be enjoyed by all!
It would be cool to see a national grid of what we shared displayed here!

It should only be a place that you KNOW FOR SURE IS FREE, and has been for more than a couple of yrs. to be trusted.

My share for today is a park next to a river in Columbus, Montana. There is an optional donation slot. A local lumber mill provides this. If your timing is good, free firewood is stacked there for the taking as well.
It's quiet yet only about a 1/2 mile off I-90. Tent campers beware though; there are ticks in the grass. I have stayed there at least 3 times in the last few yrs.

OK! Who's next?

slowmover 10-11-2011 10:03 PM

This topic is known as "boondocking" on the RV boards. Or, "Free" camping sites (as in no facilities, and no known legal impediments).

Walmart is the now-classic "free" campground for many travelers, though RV oriented. The expectation at both it and the truckstop is that one will spend some money. Truckstops offer showers for $8-12 or so as well as 24-hour restaurants (not all, only the ones worth using, IMO), and Walmart often has a grocery section.

For any kind of "cheep" traveler, a 12V refrigerator or ice chest is a worthwhile investment. Same with a big water container that could be refilled for drinking and washing. And some manner of being able to cook. There are an impressive range of 12V appliances of the small sort, even if their performance leaves something to be desired.

A minivan with curtains, an airbed and some big plastic totes would be a good start. And, a tent, for a longer stay somewhere.

I'm a bit loathe to "publish" free as they tend to disappear. On the other hand, one of the fine things to arise in the original Great Depression was the establishment of town or city free campgrounds. The city fathers realized that the many small benefits to the community (lower overall costs) outweighed the ire of a few campground owners.

When the private profit of a few is not the motive, more money tends to be spent at local businesses. I have heard the WWI veterans, now retired and touring the US in their trailer-car combinations in the 1960's making it a point to re-visit a few places where they were treated well under the terrible circumstances of the 1930's.


brucey 10-11-2011 10:09 PM

2 summers ago I drove from my home in WV to Moab, Utah. It was a great trip, but I didn't have a lot of money. I got someone to go with me and we split the cost. Sleeping in the back of my car on an air bed at truck stops. It wasn't that bad, honestly. 5000 mile round trip including gas, food, and hotel (We did stay one in one one night once we got there, needed a shower!) was around 350$. Very doable.

redpoint5 10-11-2011 10:47 PM

This is OT, but I lived over a year in my Subaru Legacy. I had an ok paying job and didn't need to live so cheap (frugal I like to call it), but I didn't have a gf at the time and I was working 13hr shifts. I really had no need for comfort or entertainment during my work week because all I did was work, eat, sleep and workout. My $8/mo 24hr. gym membership provided me with exercise and a hot shower and shave.

All of this allowed me to bank approx 90% of my take-home. I put this saved money towards some rental property and the 4 bedroom home I currently live in. I'm renting out rooms and essentially have the mortgage paid by others.

The connection to this topic is that I would park my car in the lot of an abandoned home-improvement store. I slept with my doors unlocked since I never felt in danger, and figured nobody would try to break into an occupied car (also, confrontation with thugs sounds exciting). About once every couple months an officer would knock on my window and ask what I'm doing. To which I would reply, "I was sleeping". They would proceed to ask more questions and my reply was, "this is a privately owned property, and if the owner has not asked that I leave, then I am permitted to stay. I've got work in the morning, so I bid goodnight to you officer name". To which they would reply, "goodnight".

In Oregon, one does not commit trespass until they have ignored a request to leave, or proceeded beyond a sign warning against trespass. An officer has the right to investigate anything suspicious, but that generally limits them to obtaining identifying information. Questions beyond "who are you" do not need to be answered.

slowmover 10-12-2011 03:13 PM

You nevah been to Alabama.

slowmover 10-17-2011 01:41 PM

I knew I'd seen and/or bookmarked a site with this premise:

Free Camping | RV Camping, Car Camping, Tent Camping | Campsites, Campgrounds

larrybuck 10-18-2011 02:21 AM

Thank you slowmover!
That hit the spot!
Is your trailer an Airstream? How much does it weigh? What is your best traveling mileage? Truck alone mpg? Cummings?
Thanks again!!!

slowmover 10-19-2011 11:44 AM

You're welcome. I have also seen info of this type in personal blogs (search under terms above), and some of the RV boards have similar informative threads.

Trailer is the upmarket cousin to A/S: Silver Streak, a 34' TT. Weight, loaded for travel, was generally between 7-7.5k (8k GVWR). Mileage, towing, was 13-15 mpg at 63-mph; lows on the backroads, and highs on the Interstate. Had I slowed to my current solo speed of 58-mph, I'd have broken 16-mpg. Truck does have a Cummins engine, yes. Rest in signature/fuel log.

TXwaterdog 10-22-2011 07:26 PM

I haven't done much "free camping" but I've camped all over the place. On my road trip from Austin to New York I stopped and slept at a truckstop. I've stopped at truckstops for showers but I honestly would rather pay a day fee at a national or state park. The gates usually open at 7 am and close at 7pm. Day fees are $5 or so per car. You can stop shower, cook, fish then grab a nap and shove off down the road. Campsites can be had for half price if your a member of the right club.

Truck stops IMO are safe and convieniant but they are more expensive than parks. Parks are cleaner, nicer and allow you to do more. I say travel at night and nap durring the day. Just my $.02

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