Monday, July 7, 2014

Lassen Volcanic Parking Lot Camping

On my way to the IRG in Humboldt County, California, I took a slight detour to spend a night at Lassen Volcanic National Park. This small, but interesting park, is probably one of the least visited of the U.S. national parks. It's overshadowed by its neighbors (Yosemite, Death Valley and Yellowstone) and doesn't quite make it on the tourist loop. However, it has everything the larger parks do including hiking trails, wildflowers, waterfalls, alpine lakes, the 10,457 ft Lassen Peak and even some bubbling hot pots, steaming valleys and the smell of sulfur. Call it Baby Yellowstone.


What makes this park unusual for teardroppers is that the rangers let you camp out in the visitor center parking lot. There are several campsites for tents, but RVs and teardrop trailers can park right in the entrance to the park for up to 14 days. The cost is $14 for the night and includes water, bathrooms, a dishwashing station and access to the visitor center restrooms. For my one night in the park, I didn't even need to unhook from the vehicle.



11 comments:

  1. Lassen is a great park. There are other campgrounds in the park as well. The fall colors are beautiful there.

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    1. It is a nice park and it's far enough away from cities so you can really feel like you're getting away. I've never seen it crowded and it's only $10 a day for a visitor's pass.

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    2. I believe the $10 pass is good for a week and is for the car load of people.

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  2. Christina, I am a solo teardropper and recently had a mishap in which my trailer came off the hitch while I was driving. It was "operator error", though I had hooked up my trailer many times before with no problem. Fortunately, I was going slowly on a residential street when this occurred and the safety chains lived up to their name. I was stuck without a jack that could lift the tongue high enough to reattach my rig. I called a family member who didn't answer his phone. I called AAA (I had bought the RV coverage) and was shocked to learn that this situation is not covered! She offered to give me names of businesses whom I could call to come out at my expense. I declined this, as I was close to home and decided to find someone myself. I unhooked, left my rig, and found at the Jiffy Lube near my house a nice guy who borrowed his fellow employee's jack and rode with me the short distance back to the scene. It was fortunate that I had a couple of pieces of 2x6 scraps with me to lift the trailer high enough to reattach, even with my helper's superior hydraulic jack. Mission accomplished! I was very grateful for the help and can't stress enough that one should carry enough cash to fairly compensate such valuable help.
    I wonder if you could address the solving of emergencies here in your excellent blog, I was close to home during this one, but that was downright lucky. I'm looking forward to reading about others' solutions to emergencies (besides hooking up the teardrop correctly in the first place--noted) and perhaps suggestions about what to carry with you in case of such mishaps. You can be sure that from now on I'll take along a jack that serves the purpose!

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment ML. What a crazy story that I'm sure will help other teardroppers out there.

      I've done the exact same thing. Gah! I was in a hurry and failed to fasten down the latch on the coupler and was barely out of the driveway when the entire trailer hitch came off the ball. Yes, thank Heaven for those chains.

      I think the best thing to do is to be a partially paranoid. Double and triple check every latch and lock and be sure to run a trailer hitch bolt or a long Master hitch lock through the latch before taking off.

      We are lucky in that many teardrops are so light that having two or three people lift up the tongue onto the ball hitch would be enough. How heavy is your trailer?

      I like the idea of doing a safety post and I already have some ideas brewing. Thanks for the tip!

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    2. Yes, paranoia can be a good thing when it comes to safety. Even though the hitch was extra carefully scrutinized after my fiasco, you can be sure that I agonized over every bump and wiggle in the road for awhile when I finally embarked on my road trip.

      I don't know how heavy my trailer is, but it feels heavy enough when I need to maneuver it into a camping space. I should probably collect a few willing souls to see how many it takes to lift it up onto the hitch. That day my car was packed too tightly to take on any more passengers and the street where I tear-dropped was truly nice-house-nobody-home.

      I read your blog with great interest. Thanks for doing such a classy job with it!

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  3. Intresting park.
    Once again your picture shows so much more. I am curious about your folding table. Half grate under the stove?

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    1. Thanks Greg. Yes, the table is a folding Ozark Trail table with a metal grate section just for the stove. I know that the surface of some of those plastic folding tables will melt when exposed to hot Coleman stoves.

      We purchased the table from Wally World for about $40. It works great, takes a few minutes to set up and is really light.

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