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THE REAL COSTS OF RV LIFE OFF THE GRID
Firelight sounds so romantic, so ruggedly rawboned, so green and so cheap. Do you plan to live off the grid?
Living off the grid makes sense. I’ve done it for months. But let’s take a clear-eyed look at some of the costs involved.
Even with a sharp pencil
and a crystal ball, it’s hard to know the real cost, over time, for a
power station, generator or a solar setup with inverter, propane, batteries. Even hand pumps and windmills need maintenance.
Initial cost is just the beginning.
The new EV car batteries can last up to ten years but at this time they cost a fortune to replace. Other rechargeable batteries (tools, appliances, toys) may be good for only two or three years depending on usage.
|Portable power stations are becoming more common|
First, inventory your actual power needs, from a totally EV motorhome to the few amps needed for your computer/printer setup and 12-volt hair dryer. Whether you will be using the grid or not, your lifestyle probably involves at least some electric servants.
* Will you buy special appliances such as a solar cooker and 12-volt or propane refrigerator? Some can be quite costly.
* Many campgrounds ban open fires always or at some times. Generators are bring banned or phased out. When you can’t have a campfire for cooking, what is your Plan B cooking source?
* Will you incur costs for alternate fuels such as propane, gas or diesel for the generator, oil for the lamps, dual replaceable batteries? (Heavy users buy two battery packs so one can be charging while the other is in use.)
* Where will solar panels go? Will they install permanently on the roof? If so, what is the availability of free space there? If they are portable, where can you stow them safely underway?
The RV roof may have little space for solar panels
* What is the cost, long-term and initial, for total independence from the grid versus recharging periodically at campgrounds and other charging stations?
The other element to consider is your time. That is, waiting time at charging stations, down time while waiting for a recharge and cook times for some foods on some cookers. My favorite outdoor solar shower is a black plastic bag, hung in the sun. It could take minutes, or all day.
I hope this starts you thinking. Good luck.
CAMPGROUNDS; GOOD NEWS/BAD NEWS
The Pacific Coast Dream Machines Show is back after three years and it’s BIG. Be at the Half Moon Bay, California Airport on April 30 for the Coolest Show on Earth, machine-wise. See dream machines from bulldozers to fire engines, tricked out trucks, vintage busses and military aircraft. Come early because there is a world of machines spread under acres and acres of California sunshine.
If it drives, flies, huffs, puffs, flies or floats, it's it’s here in great style. Campgrounds include Pillar Point RV Park and Half Moon Bay RV Park. Ticket information is at https://dreammachines.miramarevents.com The event benefits the Coastside Adult Day Health Center.
* With its existing campgrounds booked solid, Fairfield, Iowa is adding a 15-site camping area to Jefferson County Park. To be named Prairie Ridge Campground, the $1.7 million project should be completed within the next few years.
* Potholes will be gone at Bay City State Park, Bay City, Michigan when upgrades and improvements are finished. Roads and parking spaces will be torn up for a while. Also new will be improved campsites with full hookups including 50-amp power. The park on Saginaw Bay is known for the Tobico Marsh,one of the largest remaining coastal wetlands on the Great Lakes. Come here for the sand beach and 2,000 acres of natural areas teeming with wildlife including an abundance of migratory birds.
* Sands Township, Michigan will have a new, year-round, 600-acre RV resort by next year. We don’t yet know the name but it will built north of Pelissier Lake and surround Little Pelissier Lake with 23 cabins, 100 campsites and 12 glamping sites.
* Due to local opposition, plans have been scrapped for a 25-site campground at Christina Lake, British Columbia.
* A new winery is in the works in Kentucky’s famous wine country around Owensboro. The winery and wedding venue in Utica, Kentucky is expected to have four RV sites. A name and opening date are not yet announced.
* Campers at Tishomingo State Park, Mississippi, 45 miles north of Tupelo, will find all new campsites, with paved pads, picnic table and full hookups. The scenic park is on the Natchez Trace Parkway.
* The former Yacht Club mobile home park in Hollister, Missouri has been evacuated. New owners are turning the waterfront site into an RV park with new infrastructure, food truck court, kayak rentals and a dog park. No opening date has been announced.
* Bald Mountain RV Resort, Hiawassee, Georgia, has a new owner. The 42-acre resort has 289 RV sites. It has potential for an additional 20 RV sites. The park, with its famous mountain scenery, also has cabins and tent sites. Stay alert for changes under new owners.
* CLOSING this year in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, is Moraine Campground, the park’s only year-round campground. It will reopen in 2024 after extensive renovations.
* In Toad Lakes Township, Minnesota, the eight-site campground owned by the Laines on County Road 117 has been approved for the addition of 16 campsites plus a dock and boat lift.
* Intracoastal Park in Sulphur, Louisiana, south of Lake Charles, was closed by hurricane damage. It has reopened ahead of schedule. The park has 25 campsites on a first-come basis plus showers and restrooms, a playground and boat launch. The pavilion is still closed for repairs.
* The city of Benton, Arkansas is setting aside $7.6 million to purchase and develop 511 acres on the Saline River as a sports and recreation complex with stadium and playing fields, a 95-site RV park, trails and swimming pool. RV reservations aren’t yet available.
* On April 14-16, the Noli Festival in Erwin, Tennessee is an annual gala of whitewater and rafting sports on the Nolichucky River. See top athletes compete in SUP and kayak contests. The Red Banks RV Resort here has 12 RV sites with hookups and plenty of room for primitive camping. The Red Banks, site of a Civil War Battle, are home of the USA Raft Adventure Resort, the popular Take-Out Tavern, caving, fishing and rock climbing.
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