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Old 04-05-2014, 09:21 PM   #1
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1974 31' Sovereign
Tacoma , Washington
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Why did I get the BIG one?!? I can't go anywhere!

Hi all,
I'm wondeirng if those of you with big campers like mine - the 31' Sovereign - are having trouble getting reservations at the National Parks or other public places. I'm trying to make reservations at Crater Lake and their "maximum vehicle combination is 28'," which includes tow vehicle. If you take my extended cab, long bed pickup (20') and my 31' Airstream I'm way over. I'll try to call them this week, but this appears to be the norm! Mt. Rainier, some of the campgrounds in the Redwoods, etc.

How do you handle finding sites that allow big trailers?

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Old 04-05-2014, 10:38 PM   #2
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The Crater Lake site redirected me to the Mazama Village Campground. They say:
Located seven miles from the rim of Crater Lake just inside the south entrance gate of Crater Lake National Park, the Mazama Village Campground has 214 tent and RV sites, accommodating tents up to 12í x 12í and RVs up to 50 feet in length. The campground is open from mid-June to late September/early October, weather permitting.

Have you tried there?
Mazama Village Campground | Crater Lake Resort - Crater Lake National Park


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Old 04-06-2014, 07:15 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by purdytj View Post
I'm trying to make reservations at Crater Lake and their "maximum vehicle combination is 28'," which includes tow vehicle.
Even my Honda Fit subcompact is 13 feet long, without a receiver on the back. If that tiny car could pull a trailer, I'd be limited to a 15 foot trailer. They've got to be mistaken about 28 feet including tow vehicle. 28 feet for just the trailer, maybe. Which still doesn't help you with fitting in your 31-foot trailer, though.
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Old 04-06-2014, 07:16 AM   #4
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purdytj - During the three years we've pulled our 30 we've visited almost all the National and many State parks. We don't mind staying a few miles outside the park itself as a trade off for the comfort of our rolling home. So many of the folks we talk with at AS events bemoan the fact they have a little AS when they have dinner with us in The Silver Otter. Love your biggie, and drive a few minutes to visit the park. We've done 39 states and 2 provinces so far, and we're not retired yet.
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Old 04-06-2014, 07:50 AM   #5
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We have dragged our 31' all over the lower 48 and have spent thousands of nights in a wide variety of National and State Parks. There were only a handful that we couldn't get into.

Our Sovereign has magically shrunk a foot or so on occasion to make a computerized reservation system happy but even that skulduggery is rare. Look around the neighborhood you are interested in, use Google Earth to scope out a given place and you will find a spot.

Enjoy the journey,

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Old 04-06-2014, 07:58 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by n2916s View Post

Our Sovereign has magically shrunk a foot or so on occasion to make a computerized reservation system happy but even that skulduggery is rare.

Yes, me too. Heck, I have had websites that were apparently written wrong, because they said my sub-20 trailer would not fit. I fudge the numbers to do what it takes to get the res. I'll make it fit when I arrive. I stayed at one place that after the trailer was backed in, I had to disconnect the truck.....but it all fit with some creative parking.
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Old 04-06-2014, 08:31 AM   #7
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1972 31' Sovereign
Fort Bragg , North Carolina
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We've been across America twice, stayed at many of the National Parks (NP) and sometimes just outside them as they have some restrictions on movement at night.
The only thing close we had a problem with was Glacier when we wanted to drive the "Going to the Sun Road" with our 2002 2500 Avalanche back in 2002 which just barley made the 21 foot restriction.
From what I can see is back in the day, when trailer restrictions were announced, there were limited other options, now there are ofter many options. So go to the NP and if it doesn't fit stay outside the NP as the trip/view/memories are priceless.

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Old 04-06-2014, 09:14 AM   #8
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I really like what Silver Otter had to say about this. There have been many posts here where someone considering going big asks the question about having trouble getting into spots. If you plan to travel to many of the older national parks like Glacier, Mt. Rainier and Crater Lake just to name a few, you WILL encounter "some" restrictions. These usually can be avoided by registering early to get one of the larger sites, looking into options in the park and then of course, going outside the park to a private spot.

This small inconvenience probably won't cancel out the big advantage of having more space in your mobile lodge. Have fun at Crater Lake. It is an amazingly beautiful place.
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Old 04-06-2014, 09:32 AM   #9
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And remember that the vast majority of national and state parks will hold your camper. We used to have a 34 and went all over the US camping in these types of campgrounds without a problem. No problems with our 27 either so far. I know from this forum that there are some older ones with space restraints but we haven't run into one yet in our US travels. ( haven't done Glacier yet but that's on our list
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Old 04-06-2014, 10:21 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by n2916s View Post
Our Sovereign has magically shrunk a foot or so on occasion...
Most folks only measure the trailer body…so with Airstreams, you can take off 3-feet for the tongue & bumper. Never have I heard of anybody actually coming out with a tape measure at check-in time.

I haven't had to do that with our 22'-shorty, but I have had to use the restoration completion date (2010) for our trailer instead of it's original build date (1956) because of a "no trailers over 20 years old" rule. They wouldn't know how to check the age from the VIN plate and when they see ours, they have no idea it's age.

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Old 04-06-2014, 10:45 AM   #11
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My understanding is the length limitation is for the trailer only. It may mean that you have to park your tow vehicle in a nearby parking lot if the site is short. But the main problem on the older western campgrounds is getting around the tight turns without scraping a tree or another camper.

Whenever we plan to go to an older western National Park, I check google earth, campsite descriptions and also search for campsite images (google image search). Some websites have photos of nearly every site. Between all of these, I put together a list of which sites are possible and, from those, which sites we'd prefer. I keep an entire spreadsheet on hand for Yosemite, which is our nearest National Park with such length limitations.
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Old 04-06-2014, 11:05 AM   #12
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Like other posters, we have had very little issues staying at national or state parks or forests, and we have been to a bunch. Before our 27, we had two 34's. Granted, there are sites within any campground where physical size and good judgement would prevent you from staying there. Some campgrounds, like a few in the White Mountains in NH, couldn't fit you if you had a Bambi; really designed towards tent or popup camping.

A lot of times we have stayed in sites that were rated for shorter trailers than ours, but we were able to "hang" off the back of the site. I think experience will show you have more options than you might think, and not be forced into private campgrounds.
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Old 04-06-2014, 11:45 AM   #13
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Been there and done that. I hate being tethered to big campgrounds and Interstates like I was in my humongous motor home. My present rig is 25 feet without a slide and I can go nearly anywhere I want including forest service and national park camp grounds.
I try to camp when the weather is nice enough to sit outside. I would rather listen to birds than the home theatre.
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Old 04-06-2014, 11:56 AM   #14
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I've only run into ONE place that used the actual overall length of the entire rig - the Concessioners CG's in Yellowstone used truck front bumper to trailer rear bumper for ASSIGNING a campsite. We didn't have a foot to spare in the site, even though the very next one was empty and much longer.

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