Saturday, July 16, 2016 – We’ve experienced challenges RVing in the Northeastern part of the United States that we haven’t experienced anywhere else. Don’t let this stop you from traveling up here because what you see and experience far outweighs the challenges, just be prepared for it. We were not!
If we were quite wealthy we could probably avoid some of these issues because we could choose to stay at the one that has it all regardless of the cost.
We have some criteria I use when finding a place to stay: Do they have space for Dora’s length? Do they have 50 amp, water, sewage or any combination of those. Are they along the way or are they way out of our traveling path? Is there a Coast to Coast resort in the area? How much do we have to pay if we’re not staying in a free Coast to Coast resort.
The issue with length is a problem with a lot of Boondockers Welcome, National Parks and State Parks RV spaces which cannot handle a 39 foot RV. Most regular RV parks can but others (like those I just named) cannot. We haven’t found traveling anywhere on the roads and highways up here to be a problem with Dora’s size, but finding a place to stay has been difficult because of this.
In our normal traveling life throughout the South, Central, West and North Westany the RV parks we stay at provide us with water, electricity and sewage hookups. This is considered a Full Hook Up to RVers. In the Northeast we’ve become use to not having at least one (sometimes two) of these at every park.
At some parks in the rest of the country, we have to pay $2 to 5 dollars a day to get 50 amps and we always gladly do that. Up here, either they only have 30 amp (which is a huge difference from 50 amp) or they have no sewage hookup. All have had water but not having a way to get rid of the water (dishwashing, bathing, clothes washing water which collect in the gray tank or the “stuff” that goes down the toilet into the black tank), life is difficult.
Not having 50 amp, like I said, is a huge difference from having only 30 amps when you have a large RV like Dora is. We have two air conditioners, a full size refrigerator, a microwave/convection oven, washer and dryer, water heater and television with a speaker system. To run all that at the same time you need 50 amps. Smaller RVs have only one air conditioner (which is all 30 amp can handle), no washer/dryer, smaller refrigerators, smaller powered or no microwave/convection oven, and no speaker system to drain the power.
When we only have 30 amps we can only run one air conditioner. We also can only run one of the following: hot water heater, or microwave, washer/dryer at a time. Life becomes a little like “Green Acres” when they only had so much to use and had to alternate between appliances. This does not make for a relaxing, good quality life which we love to have! It’s become our norm lately to just have to accept being without.
We have an adapter that lets us plug into two side by side 30 amps to get 60 amps allowing us to run everything. To be able to do that you have to have no one parked next to you which has only happened once since we’ve been up here.
The issue with the sewage seems to be handled by the parks without sewage hookups, by a “honey wagon” which is just a large tank driven from RV to RV on specific days of the week after you’ve signed up and paid for it. I just think this is terribly crude. One park I asked about it when it kept happening that there was no sewage hook up offered, said that their RV park is built on granite and that they’d have to blow up the ground to install the sewage connections. I haven’t asked others but we haven’t had a sewage hook up for weeks since we started traveling throughout the upper northeastern states. Even with them sucking it all out, we’ve been faced with our tanks being 100 percent full of grey water before the sucking day arrives. We’ve had to ration water so that we don’t fill up before our time. The disgusting thing is that when your grey tank starts to overflow it doesn’t do it outside, it does it in the shower coming up through the hole in the shower floor.
The issue with Coast to Coast up here has been a severe lack of parks. Three of the northeastern states have zero Coast to Coast parks in their states. Two others only had 1 or 2 and not in a good location for us. One of our options is to stay in a Good Neighbor Park using trip points through Coast to Coast. Normally parks in the rest of the country ask for 1500 trip points per day. In the upper north east they want between 3000 and 4000 per night. Because of these limitations up here we’ve paid more for RV stays this last two months than we normally do in a full year or more. We really work at creating a traveling path that cost us the very least in diesel for travel and in which park we stay in for cost.
Passport America up in the northeast does not allow you to stay at their park normally for more than a day or two at a time, and a lot don’t take PA during the summer months. I did find two places that let us stay there for five days and that was after searching through dozens of RV park listings in Passport America. At those two parks we paid almost twice the normal daily rate we are used to at other Passport America parks.
The hills, mountains and valleys are beautiful up here but a good number of the parks have very unlevel parking spaces which cause us to have to use blocks and even one time our back tires were up off the ground. At the one park we were still leaning which causes some disorientation when walking through Dora.
Lastly reservations need to be made up here at least a month in advance to be assured of a spot. That is not the cast in the rest of the country. As long as we made reservations three days in advance we’ve always been able to get a spot.
This will continue until we return to the South which makes for a little darkness over the otherwise amazing places we’ve been blessed to visit. Roy has jumped in and is helping me now with the planning for our travels. It gets so complicated sometimes that I just can’t do it and he even gets quite frustrated with it.
We’ve honestly wished we had unlimited funds to be able to not concern ourselves with this but then we know we are “quite” blessed to be able to do this at all.
I don’t like to complain about things so I hope you find this a little unusual for me. My main reason for sharing this is to prepare other RVers for what to expect in this area.
I’m happy to say we have reservations most everywhere along our path until mid September except for a week or two around Virginia Beach near the end of August.
That’s it for our issues up here in the northeast! Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!!
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7 thoughts on “07.29.16 Challenges of RVing in the Northeastern United States”
Rosalyn do you know where you think you will be staying at Virginia Beach? We live in Virginia and know the area. I have been following your blog for a month or so. I sort of feel like a kindred spirit as we both have first born sons named Chad and we lived in Houston Texas for 9 years. In reading your bio we have much in common. If we can be of any help we live in the DC area (40 miles out) and camp in Williamsburg/Va Beach area quite often. We have Thousand Trails membership and Coast to coast membership. We would love to meet you all if you are close enough or if we could meet up camping. We are scheduled to be at TT Chesapeake Bay for labor day and that is 20-30 miles from Williamsburg.
Hi there Joyce! We do not have any plans confirmed for August 23 to August 30 in the Virginia Beach area. We were having difficulties finding something there when we were doing our planning a few weeks ago. Decided to wait until after the FMCA Convention which ends next Sunday to take up the chore of finding some place to stay. I’d love to meet up with ya’ll when we’re in the area.
We plan to visit DC while we’re in Pennsylvania. That seems to be the closest we could get so we may make a two day visit and stay in a hotel one night. Not sure yet. I’ll get with you when we get our plans more settled! Thanks so much for writing! Rosalyn
Rosalyn there is a campground that is closer. It is in College Park, Maryland and has a shuttle to DC or the metro. It is Cherry Hill Park. 301-937-7116. We have been there when friends came down from Connecticut to visit them. The ratings are all 9.5. They enjoyed their stay there and felt it was easy to get into DC from there. You do not want to drive into DC as the parking is horrible. We always take metro unless the place has specific parking for us, like hotel valet parking. When we went to Virginia Beach we stayed at the Holiday TravL Park. 866-850-9630 I have recently reviewed the First Landing State Park 757-412-2300 that looked nice but I am not sure what hookups it has. The sites are plenty big enough for a motorhome and are private little coves. Looked interesting but the hookups are not listed in the TL directory. When staying at Williamsburg we usually stay at American Heritage RV Park. Full hookups and very well maintained. Prices are better at Am Heritage than at Va Beach area. $40-50 vs 30-85. You can drive to the beach very easily from there. 888-530-2267. If you are there on a weekend we could join you. The only weekend we are tied up is the 20th as it is our grandsons birthday and the party is at our home. I hope this helps. Keep in touch
We just got home a few days ago. If you haven’t made it to Mackinaw City Michigan and ferry over to Mackinac Island, you should consider it. Very beautiful place. No cars since 1885. Like a step back in time. Peggy and I enjoyed it more than Niagara Falls. Also the Ark is now open in Williamstown, Kentucky. It was built to scale by the instructions given to Noah in the Bible. Did you ride the Erie Canal while in Niagara Falls? Take care. Peggy and I will be home until September. Got a grandson due in early August.
Oh, congratulations in advance Grandpa! I don’t think we’re going close to Michigan this year. I’ll add it to our future plans document. I would really like to see the Ark and if its close enough on our travels we’ll be doing that. I saw you at Trinity on the Live Stream last Sunday. We watch every Sunday, I love it!
When we were in northern Wisconsin for 2 months the first time we were out we were on a 30 amp breaker that was shared with the trailer next to us. You almost had to stick your head out the window to ask what they were using before turning the coffeepot on. The good part is it is not as hot up there so the air conditioning wasn’t as critical.
You can really relate! We’re looking forward to heading back to the south!