Sierra Nevada Airstreams -> TT Owner's Guide -> Living

Recreation with vehicles in the Sierra Nevada and American Great Basin areas

Choosing a temporary homestead

Your RV is in one of three states. It is moving or it is serving as a residence, or it is being stored. What we are going to consider here is when it is serving as a residence. Because it can move, you have many choices about where your RV is going to be when you decide it is time to stop moving for a while and start living in it.


It is always good to know where you are going before you get there - and then to have contingency plans in case things don't turn out the way they were supposed to. There is nothing worse than finding out late in the day that you don't have any idea about a place to stop and spend the night.

In addition to planning for where the next night will be, you should also check the map and outline where you will stop for fuel, supplies, and travel rests. You can reduce stress by looking ahead and making sure your needs are met your way.


How you choose a place to stop will depend upon what you plan to do there. Here are some of the basic issues to consider:

  1. Can you get your rig in and out easily?

  2. Can you park so the rig is fairly level?

  3. Is there a flat, even area outside the door so you can enter and leave your rig safely?

  4. Are your neighbors a comfortable distance away for you and how long you plan to stay?

  5. Are there any screaming kids, loud generators, or other noise sources that will bother you?

  6. Is the access to any facilities convenient for your planned type of stay and need?

  7. What are the privacy prospects: Are other people going to be going by your windows as a routine part of their camp activity?

  8. Is the price reasonable for what you want?

  9. Is there any reason to suspect that security might be a concern?

  10. Is there any evidence of lack of care or management?

  11. Is the view out of your windows something you want to see?

Roadside rest

There are times when you need to stop for a while to use the facilities in your RV or take a nap or just stretch your legs. At these stops, all you want is a fairly level place to park your rig. Nothing of yours but your tires sits on the ground. You are ready to get back on the road at a moment's notice. Many states provide spots along major routes like this. Some truckstops (e.g. Flying J) or retail stores (e.g. Wal Mart) also provide for short term rest stops.

In choosing to stop at one of these places, the primary criteria are that you have a place level enough to park on so you can take a nap without rolling off the bed or couch, that there are no signs posted prohibiting your parking for a few hours, and, for security, that there are others around. Parking at such places is a privilege. If a public spot like a roadside rest, be sure to help keep the place clean for others. If a private spot, do some business and express your thanks for a spot to park.

It is often OK to overnight at a rest stop, depending upon local rules and regulations, but you should never make it look like an overnight is the plan.

Easter at Caddo Lake

Overnight camp

An overnight camp is a bit more than just a spot in a parking lot. It is a place for you to park that has been designed for overnight use and you don't have to be prepared for immediate roll-out. You can lower your stabilizing jacks and maybe even put out a chair and an awning. Don't plan on any amenities at an overnight camp like electricity. There is usually water available but little else. Plan on packing out everything you bring in - including garbage. These sites will often require a small fee for each night you stay.

Short term camp

A short term camp is the place to look for when you need electricity, water, and sewer hookups. They may even have laundry facilities and a convenience store. The fees at these places often start to approach motel rates, but they can be well worth the cost if you need to refresh the tanks and supplies and clean up for another stretch on the road.

Specialty camp

There are some RV stops that provide special services or places to meet special groups. Special services are often entertainment or recreational opportunities. RV oriented clubs and association may also schedule their convention at a fairgrounds or other facility. These specialty camps become destinations on their own so planning is a bit easier as the features and amenities are usually part of a publicity and registration process.

Long term living

When you find a place that you plan to inhabit for a while, you will have a new set of considerations. Rates may be better by the week or the month or even the season. You may need outside storage of some sort.

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