Still in Yuma, but moved to Westwind Golf and RV to meet with Pete's sister Donnalee.
for an overview.
This travelogue has the details.
There are a lot of RV related clubs and organizations you can join. Their goal is to get you to use their parks or services by offering you savings. Each has a membership fee and each has a different way to let you "RV for less". These are the clubs or groups we belong to:
Annual cost varies: We pay $138 (2019) for Atascadero Elks and $40 (2019) as Associate member of the Redding Elks.
We've said it a dozen times, "Join the Elks". We have stayed 989 nights at Elks lodges; that is 1 of every 5 nights for us. Parking fees range from zero to donation to $15 (common) to $35 (in California). We estimate we have saved over $20,000 in the last 13 years. Beside the savings in parking, the lodge members are welcoming and give you all the local knowledge, e.g. "There is a Mexican restaurant next door. Don't go there, go down the street to Pepes." A web site exists that lists Elks lodges with RV parking. We don't use it. 29 of the 111 lodges we have stayed at are not on the list and some of these are our favorites. We use Elks
to find a lodge near us. Then we call and many times get the bartender. We ask "Do you have RV parking?". They might say "Yes"; or "No, but you can park in our lot." We always give our names "Pete and Ellen". We have parked and walked in the door and more than once the bartender announces "Pete and Ellen are here!" Immediately we are befriended.
Atascadero Elks has 14 full hook up sites. Redding has 20, a huge pool, gym, showers, bocce ball, billiards, meals and even pickleball!
Searching for Lodges: Launch Elks
, click on Lodge Locater > Advanced, choose your state or district and you get a list of lodges in that area. Click on a lodge, then on Facilities and to learn about RV sites. Then click on Contact Us and call the lodge.
You can't beat some of the Elks locations. We never get tired of showing the "Garden of Elks" in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. We paid $10 on our last visit (2011).
Associate membership gives you some or all benefits of a member of that Elks Lodge.
As an Associate member of Redding Elks, we save $10 per night on RV full hookups.
Passport America (PA)
Annual Cost: $44 (2019)
Camping at PA parks saves you 50%. See Passport America
to join. Use it once and you will probably get your money back. To search, launch the site, click on Campgrounds, click on a state and you will get map and a list. You can pick a park from the map or go through the many pages of listings. Read your selected park details.
Pay close attention to the Important Campground Notes. All parks have differing dates and limits on using the PA discount. One of our favorite parks, Golden Village Palms in Hemet, California allows 3 days use in a 30 day period throughout the year. Many Southern Arizona RV parks do NOT allow PA discounts from January to March. Read the notes! (GVP's notes shown below).
FMCA (Family Motor Coach Association)
Annual cost: $50
Our dealer signed us up with FMCA as part of our purchase. In 2006 FMCA was for Class A motorhomes only. Today it is for all types of motorhomes, 5th wheels and trailers. Benefits include 10% off at some RV parks. FMCA rallies are generally four day events with classes, vendors, motorhome sales, activities and entertainment. Service companies come to the rallies and offer discounts. Check the FMCA
web site for all the benefits, e.g. if you are incapacitated, FMCA will find a driver to come to you and drive your motorhome home. Below is the 2007 FMCA International Rally in Pomona, California with 8,000+ motorhomes in attendance.
1) We joined FMCA International Chapter to attend the Rocky Mountain FMCA Rally in Farmington, New Mexico. 2) We parked with the California Coasters Chapter at the annual Indio, California rally.
FMCA International Chapter
FMCA California Coasters Chapter
Good Sam Club
Annual Cost: $27 (2019)
Good Sam is the behemoth of RV clubs.
They offer 10% off far more RV parks than does FMCA. They own Camping World and you get discounts as a Good Sam member. They own RV.net web forum, Trailer Life RV park directory and much more. They also hold rallies; we have not attended any yet. We use and like the 10% camping discount. What we don't like, as full timers, is all the junk mail they send out. It clogs up our mailing service. It took six months of phone calls to get Good Sam to stop all mailing except our annual cards. We also switched from Progressive motorhome insurance to the same Progressive policy through Good Sam and saved 50% annually. Join at Good Sam Club
You can find thousands of RV parks at the Good Sam web site. Click on Plan a Trip. It even lists parks that are not Good Sam discounted parks. Below is Rivers Edge RV Park in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Annual Cost: $39.95 (2019)
Escapees is a little different than FMCA and Good Sam. They offer four types of RV parking:
1) They own Rainbow Parks which offer short terms stays for low fees. We stayed at Rainbow Plantation in Summerdale, Alabama $23 (2019).
2) Co-op Parks: Escapees members "buy" a Co-op lot and stay full time for a low monthly fee. When they decide to "sell" they get their full "buy price" back. When owners are away you can rent their lots. We have stayed at Jojoba Hills RV in Aguanga, California. Our last visit was only $20/day for a huge lot, pool, two spas, pickleball, book/video library, fitness center, billiards, meeting room and lots of activities. Limit was 28 days and that was an amazing value. Today, sadly, it is $40/day (2019). While the price is double, it is still a lot of park for the money. Our site at Jojoba is pictured below.
3) Private Park discounts: 800 parks (2019) give Escapees discounts of 15% to 50%.
4) Overnight Camping: Escapees gives you discounts to four types of boondocking resources (we have not used these).
and you'll easily save on parking.
Annual Cost: $99 (2019)
Coach-Net is the "auto club" for RVs. They provide many benefits. The two we have used are the technical support and the towing service. Our dealer gave us the first year membership. The technical service is available 24/7. We often call Monaco for free technical assistance. They have been very helpful but sometimes have not solved our problem. Coach-Net handles all brands but seem to know the Monacos very well. We have called many times when Monaco tech was closed. They tech support is excellent. The towing service has been more amazing. We used them three times. 1) They brought us a tire after one of our rear tires leaked all the air out. 2) They towed us out when our rear tire slipped into a ditch. 3) In Alaska (pictured below) they drove 300 miles from Anchorage to Soldotna and 300 back with the MotherShip. All three services were no charge. There are many towing services for RVs, but we will never leave Coach-Net
, they have been terrific. Savings? We can't even imagine what the 600 mile tow would cost!
Cummins Power Club
Annual Cost: $19.95
If you have a Cummins engine in your motorhome, get Cummins Power Club
. With their membership you will save 10% off parts and labor at Cummins service locations. An engine oil and filter change is about $300 so you save $30. Just paid for the card. We sadly had to rebuild our Cummins ISL400 engine
. The final invoice was $12,000. Because we had the card, we saved $1,200. Need we say more?
We continue everyday to find more ways to save as we travel.
Keep up with all our tips at Big Rig Bible
With love, Pete, Ellen and Mandy
Photos from 2006 TO 2019