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Old 06-22-2021, 03:00 PM   #1
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Default My folks are calling it quits.

My parents, dad is 68, my mom is 72. We've been camping together since the early 1980s. As everyone in the family grew up and started having their own families, we stopped camping together for the most part. After my first wife passed away in 2015, we got a bit closer and started camping again.

When I met my current wife, she said she'd camp as long as I provided her with a roof, bathroom, bed, and shower. Part of the reason I got the Fun Finder. We've gone a few places alone and a few with the folks.

My dad restored an old 1953 travel trailer but it was just a bit too small for their needs. So they sold it to my sister and bought a 16ft Coleman Lantern bumper pull. They spent months ripping out the dysfunctional dinette, adding slide out drawers and other modifications to their liking.

This last trip to Ely was pretty hard on them. Part of the reason is my dad cooks for an army when he cooks. So he brings too much. Food for 40 people and every method of cooking you can think of. My mom likes to craft, so she too brings quite a few items. Add their little dogs and rugs and dog fencing, you end up with way too much stuff. Then they had to deal with water, propane and grey/black tanks. Add to that his truck was starting to struggle with towing. It was becoming too much for them. The weather is also becoming too hot, even up in the mountains it's plus 90 degrees and they're miserable. They have a generator and air conditioning, but will flat out refuse to use them. (No idea why.)

In April, my sister and her husband came out to Moab for my birthday, instead of camping, they stayed in a hotel and just drove to my campsite, they had a great time and I guess kind of convinced our parents that it was much easier.

I'm not against hotels, but I like getting away from civilization now and again. Boondocking is my favorite. My dad, not so much. He likes outhouses and water pumps, and reservable places, like hotel rooms.

So last Saturday he sits us down to tell us they're throwing in the towel. He's emptied the trailer and drove it to a dealership to sell on consignment. If they go somewhere with us, they are going to stay in the closest town and drive to our campsite like what my sister did. We talked at length about getting a stronger truck, a smaller trailer, a C-Class camper and even selling their house and going full time RV. They just aren't sure what they're going to do... but camping is pretty much done for.

I'll be honest, I'm a little sad about all this. Of course I don't want to see my parents struggle. I've taken a lot of their camp setup upon myself to help, but it's just not enough. My second wife is hinting that she too is no longer enjoying herself camping.

I bought the Fun Finder so we could comfortably camp. I replaced my old Wrangler with the new Gladiator because it would tow easier... I've finally acquired pretty much everything I need to camp and cook and shower comfortably... now my parents and wife tell me they just aren't into it anymore... I'm conflicted.

I'm still 100% into camping, Jeeping, exploring, camp fire cooking... I just need to temper that with a mix of camping and hotel rooms and eating out I guess.

Still making me pretty sad. Rant over... just needed to vent.
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Old 06-22-2021, 07:22 PM   #2
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I'm the same age as your folks, and there are times where trailering seems like a lot of work and lifting and bending and carrying. But then we hit the boonies, and it is all worth-while. We'll stop when the costs exceed the benefits!

The good news is that your folks obviously discovered camping and trailering a long time ago --they've had a good run. We did not start RVing until I was in my mid-50s -- we missed out on a lot of fun, both with the kids and without them.

We had always thought (erroneously) that camping was too rough for us -- we are city folk. But then one day, after a long day of hiking, we came off the trail preparing for a long drive back to our motel. There, at the trailhead, was a forest service campground. And there was a nicely-dressed lady, about our age, and her husband, kicking back in front of their small RV, enjoying cocktail hour.

A blinding flash -- camping does not have to be about roughing it! It can be about good food and drinks, hot showers, and clean sheets -- wow!

Once we bought our first RV (a used T-139), we discovered that it was a lot of work, at least at first. But we have learned, over the last sixteen years, to make the whole process less burdensome. We prepare and freeze meals at home -- they just have to be heated up in a skillet. (Smoky pulled pork, for example!)

We tote extra water in 6 gallon jugs. We take Navy showers. We eat off paper plates (fewer dishes to wash). And so forth. All of these things enable us to boondock with a minimum of effort. Not effortless, for sure, but not too bad.

And the only thing better than boondocking is "empty nest" boondocking -- just the two of us, without a lot of family obligations. We can sleep as late as we want, listen to the silent wilderness, and just relax in a way that is unique to RVing.

Jeff, my advice for coping with the heat is to head for the high country. Great Basin Nat Park is an easy drive from your town, and a 139 can fit into Wheeler Campground at 10,000 feet! Nice and cool. Bring extra blankets. (Don't take anything longer than 20 feet up that road -- too twisty!)

Or there is lots of great boondocking in the Uintas, near Mirror Lake, also at 10 thousand feet. Also a very easy drive for you.
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Old 06-23-2021, 08:56 AM   #3
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Unfortunately, all the local places are booked until December. That's why I boon. I've found a few places to boon, but everyone and their dog is doing it right now.

I'm just a little bummed, no one wants to do this anymore.
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Old 06-23-2021, 03:11 PM   #4
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We turn 70 this year. We need our FHU's but finding a small quiet little campground near someplace we want to visit is getting much harder. The State Parks here in the southeast can be crowded but being retired we can pick times which are less busy. And the SP's of the Blue Ridge Mountains are very pretty. Even the Georgia coast and Florida can be fun but you may have to change sites if you stay all week.
I guess we're just wussys but we like our hook-ups. Especially the air conditioning.
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Old 06-23-2021, 04:45 PM   #5
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In the southeast, air conditioning is not a luxury -- it's a necessity. It's hard to even imagine what life was like before a/c.
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Old 06-23-2021, 05:41 PM   #6
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Yeah, Elon Musk is all about electric cars, rockets and Starlink satellites... but if I had his money and R&D staff, I'd find a way to make an air conditioner condenser run purely on solar or more efficiently on batteries.
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Old 06-24-2021, 06:09 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xerofall View Post
Unfortunately, all the local places are booked until December. That's why I boon. I've found a few places to boon, but everyone and their dog is doing it right now.

I'm just a little bummed, no one wants to do this anymore.
It seems like the RV sales have outstripped the RV campground sites available. The days of traveling and pulling in for a spot near evening are gone - now reservations are required, sometimes months ahead of time, or there will be no sites available.

That really ruins the fun in RVing and wandering thru the USA at one's leisure. To pre-plan every day, every distance to travel, every place to stop is so like the working day with the 'to do project' plan.

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Old 06-24-2021, 08:05 PM   #8
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Hi! Like Profdant, I am even older (73) and my story is a little different. I had not been raised in a camping family but my bride and I first rented a tent trailer in ~1976 which we pulled with our trusty Volvo. We did that for a couple of summers and then took a hiatus to have 2 boys. Once they were both walking we rented a small trailer and towed it behind my Bronco. At that point we were hooked and purchased a used Golden Nugget the following year. Having our own trailer meant that we could use it for weekends in the mountains or desert, as well as longer vacations. There were many great times and memories. We have probably had 6 used trailers over the years before ending up with our 2016 FunFinder.

Our longest trip was in 2019 when we were gone for 100 days and drove 9000 miles. When you are retired you can do such irresponsible things! I'll confess that it stated out as just a trip up to OR and WA. After a 5-6 weeks we had the desire to see old friends who had retired in Star Valley WY so we set off across Idaho. We also spent several days in Island Park so we could visit Yellowstone which is a special place.

Between COVID and health issues we don't get out often but we both still enjoy our days on the road. We are planning to return to the Oregon Coast in August to escape the smog and heat in SoCal.

I enjoy this FF forum and consider you all virtual friends.
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Old 06-26-2021, 03:53 PM   #9
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Wow...sad to hear your young folks feel old. I am looking for an older funfinder and I am 72!
Tents got to be hard on my knees....Keep exploring
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Old 06-27-2021, 01:35 PM   #10
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Well said . I understand your sadness and do not consider it a rant. I think it's time for a change for many of us that love ti camp. Hopefully your parents will find joy in relaxing with all the perks.
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Old 06-27-2021, 08:54 PM   #11
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I like that idea!!!
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Old 06-30-2021, 04:24 PM   #12
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I'm past the 3/4 century mark and have no thought of quitting.

Next outing is to the Sturgis Annual Motorcycle Rally -- the 81st that runs August 6 to the 15th.

Always a great time riding thru the Black Hills, a little gambling in Deadwood SD, meeting people from all over the world, and seeing every possible configuration of motorcycle possible....and some that are far older than I- still running and ridden.
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Old 06-30-2021, 10:48 PM   #13
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Gambling in Deadwood? Watch those eights and aces . . .
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Old 07-01-2021, 07:22 AM   #14
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A full house, ace high is always good! lOL

BTW - open carry fully loaded has always been legal in South Dakota and concealed carry without any permit needed (for residents) is now legal too. This state is about freedom and has a low crime rate. And NEVER a state mask mandate either.

"An armed society is a polite society "
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