Where Can You Park that RV?

california traffic

RV’s are multiplying in numbers just like these cars pictured above.  Camp grounds, even national ones like Death Valley, require advance registrations. Parking in your relative’s drive way or in front of their house may require a parking permit.

There remain a few places where drivers can safely stop to park en route to their destination: highway rest stops or Wal-Mart’s which post “no overnight camping” signs, or, on Bureau of Natural Resources lands such as Quartzsite.

Quartzsite BLM Land
Drive right into desert beauty. Not far from Los Angeles or the Salt and Sea in Arizona.

Your favorite camp site may now have rules.  In the Tonto area near the heavily trafficked Apache Junction, now you need to purchase ahead of time a Tonto Pass, then, make a call to the campground to register for an additional fee.  If you haven’t purchased an advance Tonto Pass, the vigilant park policeman will stop by to hand you a hefty fine.

In the Phoenix area, if an RV has a mechanical or appliance problem, we found that the typical rv dealerships are booked out several weeks.  A happy option is to head to the Apache Junction area near the Superstition Mountains.  That area has attracted over thirty roving rv mechanics who have fully-stocked vehicles and ready to come to your aid immediately.

In the Quartzsite, the latest addition for rv’s is the opening of an entire service center.  You can drive to it and add water ($2 for small rigs and $5 for large), use their dump stations and buy propane, both essentials for dry camping.

On our trip to and from Arizona through California, Oregon, and WA. State, finding propane was difficult.  It seems stations which used to sell both fuel and propane fuel rarely have it anymore and  it can only to be purchased at a gas headquarters such as Amer-Gas.

Winter storms this year did mean empty camp ground spaces, no fires burning during a windy, snowy season.  Near Heart’s Castle the normally filled grounds had plenty of scenic spots open.  One brave woman stood in the rain washing her hair over a large dish pan; the cold wind and rain no problem.

Although going to a favorite camp grounds miles away is becoming more difficult than it used to be, the good news is that dry camping areas remain plentiful, scenic, safe and free of charge.

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California Traffic

california traffic

Long ago, Frank Lloyd Wright, a famous U.S. architect, said, “The U.S. is tilted.  Anything that’s not fastened down slides into Southern California.” (Thanks Photopin for this truly explanatory picture of traffic on California freeways.)

He’s right.  Millions are and more people are going there to live.  We saw high-rises and new homes being built from Sacramento to San Diego.  Californians feel they must be aggressive to drive their freeways.  Often we were caught off guard and were driving in the wrong lane due to inadequate signage.

But, there is still beauty here in the vast farmlands and vineyards among the rolling hills.  There’s also a magnificent ocean.  However, Californians fear the drought they are now in and worry that their average $200 monthly water bills will increase.

Steve, a lawyer in Sacramento, muttered, “Because of the dense traffic, when I have a court appearance in San Francisco, I leave home at 3 a.m. and get there in three hours.  If I left at 6 a.m., it would take up to six hours.”

Marya, who lives in Santa Clara near Oakland, told me, “I hate the traffic.  I must almost tail-gate the car in front of me.  If I don’t and leave a little gap for other cars to move in, that creates a wave of stopped traffic miles behind.”

Often, the lines of vehicles waiting to enter a freeway were long.  Most freeway entrances are monitored and allow one or two cars at a time.

Jane in Sacramento moaned, “This area was once so nice.  Now the population has mushroomed.  Fifty thousand new homes are being built nearby.  How will these new people have water or enough freeways when we don’t have enough now?”

A park ranger in Lampoc talked about traffic in Los Angeles which has the largest populated area in the world with no public transportation.  “It’s the worst traffic.  It used to be easier if you drove between 5 a.m. and l0 a.m. and 5 p.m. and l0 p.m.  But, not now.  It’s all the same condition.”

Throughout Southern California, RV camp sites even in the winter season must be reserved days or months before on-line. Even in Death Valley.  However, we did find parking places might still be available if we were lucky in the larger parks like Lake Cushuma with over 300 sites.  Camping was not possible at Wal Mart, Costcos or at restaurants.  We didn’t attempt to find a spot in industrial park areas.

Parking lots were completely full in most malls.  They were always at capacity near a fitness center.

One California grandmother is sad because her Arizona grandchildren tell her that they’d like to live in California.  “My kids wanted a happy and fulfilling life with attainable goals.  But, if they choose to work in California with its high house mortgages, they would have had no money left to play and enjoy life.”

Business owners have bigger problems than traffic more concerning, especially those are raising crops.  How can they find farm help when the federal government has laws in conflict with those of California for using illegals?  Suggested the talk show host, “You could always move your business to Texas.”