Saturday, August 18, 2007

Really Frugal RVing and Happy Camper

When you lose your workamping job with its free site rent, you really have to budget carefully for where you will stay. I don't mind boondocking in a safe place once in a while but I do need power and Internet connectivity to take care of the forums, blog and other RV Bookstore/RV Travel-related work.

I just became a Happy Camper ( There are over 1200 campgrounds and RV parks in their system and the rates are excellent. I'll be leaving the San Francisco Bay area next week and making my way up the coast to Edmonds, WA, the galactic headquarters of RV Bookstore, arriving on September 10. I'm booking sites in parks along the way and using Happy Camper parks to save money.

On the return trip, I'll be going south through California, arriving in Lodi by October 10 for the RVing Women National Convention. I'll be delivering two seminars, one on saving space and weight in your RV and basic self-protection for women RVers (and others). On October 15, I'll continue south, stopping to visit my sister and her family in Buena Park. She's close to Disneyland and those RV parks have premium rates. I'm still checking for a park that honors Happy Camper near her.

I'm also making arrangements for a monthly stay in a Texas RV park from November 1 through December 14. The parks I've contacted have terrific rates and I save $50 a month with Happy Camper. I've already changed my mailing address through the Escapees mail service in Livingston, Texas (click on the map to enlarge it: Livingston is northeast of Houston and southeast of Nacogdoches), and will need to register my RV, get a driver's license and register to vote (absentee, of course). From December 15 through January 31, I'll be volunteering at the Escapees CARE Center in Livingston, Texas. ( I'm a Roving CARE Ambassador (selected by Kay Peterson herself) and I will be doing whatever I can for 20 hours a week, from washing dishes, preparing food, driving folks to medical appointments, answering the phone at night, or helping with activities. I receive a free space, pay for electric and propane, and a meal on the days I work. I'm really looking forward to being there and celebrating the holidays with some Special Kinds of People (SKPs).


  1. Another very good discount club of 50% is Passport America. It paid for itself with 3 nights. Over 1600 campgrounds and a very good price.

    Just got back from Anaheim doing a convention next to won't find an RV park with decent rates in this area!! It was cheaper to stay in a motel and save on the gas from Utah with my Class 1.

  2. Passport America has served us very very well. I suspect the membership cost is less than Happy Camper, but I have not verified that. I recommend PA!

  3. Will you be staying in Texas for a long time? Is it going to be your official residence? Are you not planning to return to the San Fran area? Has your new RV been running better? I feel your pain. My car has had every moving part replaced and yesterday I had a flat tire. When I went to add air, the stem was too short. Fortunately my RV is running. LindaDelJ

  4. I'll be in Texas for about three months (November through January) and yes, I do plan to return to the Bay Area eventually. Much depends on whether I'll be at the Good Sam Rally in Georgia and the Life on Wheels in Tucson, both in March. I may stay in the south during February.

    My RV is running well and the latest trip was a pleasure to drive.

  5. I live across the street from the Houston NASA Johnson Space Center and you are welcome to park here free for a couple of nights. It's almost boondocking, but we do have 120 Volts and water available. E-mail me at