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Old 06-26-2014, 10:30 PM   #1
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Van / RV Storage

Tried searching the forum on various permutations of van or rv storage and didn't seem to narrow the plethora of times "storage" is mentioned and couldn't think of a useful alternative...

That being said... what do folks do for vehicle storage if you can't keep it at home (or apartment as in my case)? My build has actually begun, and I must now start thinking about what I will do with it when it is finished in a couple months!

I am particularly concerned about hail here in the Denver area - thinking about trying to find an enclosed tall storage unit, but that's fairly hard to find and typically gets mighty expensive here. Any covers or other clever ideas to at least protect the solar panels? (maybe thick plexiglass covers to attach to the panel frame? I dunno...)

Any thoughts or points to a previous thread would be appreciated.
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Old 06-27-2014, 12:00 AM   #2
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Re: Van / RV Storage

Howbout just covering them when you park? Thick tarp, plywood, etc. As for parking, howbout work? I've never used it but the lot at work has always been in the back of my mind to park stuff, if you have access to such.
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Old 06-27-2014, 03:27 AM   #3
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Re: Van / RV Storage

A little history is probably in order in our case, which may give you some insight.

The previous owner of our SMB (a Ford E350 4x4 EB) kept it parked in the corner of his condo complex parking lot for about 4 years. Though he was subject to a "no RV parking" policy by his HOA, he claimed that no one ever gave him a hard time about it. He lived in a suburb of Baltimore.

When we bought it from him, we also lived under a "no RV parking" policy by our HOA. At the time, we lived in northern Virginia, in which most neighborhoods have a similar policy.

We knew that we would be moving away in the next few months, so we decided to see what would happen if we left the van in the driveway. Technically, yes, it was an RV, so we were violating HOA covenants. But if someone had complained, we would have quickly moved it to a storage lot. No one ever complained as far as we knew about. That said, I did notice a lot of "looks" by other residents when they were walking by, but no one ever questioned it.

I did go to some lengths to not make it obvious that our SMB was a camper/RV. I didn't pop the PH any longer than I needed to in order to vacuum it after a trip, and didn't try to show it off. When I did pop the top, I always did it in mid-week when most people were at work and it was less obvious.

A Class B SMB doesn't really look like a traditional RV in the obvious way a Class A or Class C does, which is what most people identify as an RV. Sure, ours has a pop top, which sticks up about 5" above the factory roofline. Most people think it is a "conversion van." In our 'hood, conversion vans are okay by HOA rules.

In fact, in our experience, most people don't even notice the van's top unless they know what they are looking at in the first place.

What catches their eye is that it has a lift and that it has "4x4" stickers on the rear flanks. I think that is the most notable feature. As long as they don't look in the windows too closely, most people would just think it was a normal van.

Bottom line: Don't draw attention to the van, and don't publicize it as an RV. Also get on good terms with your neighbors. Do this, and they are less likely to complain to the HOA because you are such a nice guy.
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Old 06-27-2014, 07:31 AM   #4
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Re: Van / RV Storage

Quote:
Originally Posted by GrumpyBadger
.....cut.....

I am particularly concerned about hail here in the Denver area - thinking about trying to find an enclosed tall storage unit, but that's fairly hard to find and typically gets mighty expensive here. Any covers or other clever ideas to at least protect the solar panels? (maybe thick plexiglass covers to attach to the panel frame? I dunno...)

Any thoughts or points to a previous thread would be appreciated.
When I had a small Class C I could not park at home, I rented a covered parking spot at a RV storage business. It was not enclosed but had a roof to keep most of the rain and sun off unit. It was similar to covered parking near some airports, just a little bigger.

The cost, if adjusted for inflation, would be around $50 a month. The cost didn't bother me as much as having to park it about 5 miles from home, which I found to be a pain. Between that and 8 MPG it made me want to build a van I could park at home even if I had to accept a lot of compromises due to exterior appearance.
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Old 06-27-2014, 09:40 AM   #5
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Re: Van / RV Storage

Quote:
Originally Posted by 86Scotty
Howbout just covering them when you park? Thick tarp, plywood, etc. As for parking, howbout work? I've never used it but the lot at work has always been in the back of my mind to park stuff, if you have access to such.
Thanks 86... I work from home - or at a national lab. Or other kind of geeky place. They would freak and probably have it towed to a field by a bomb squad and blown up! As I said, I might try covering at least the panels and leave it out at an RV storage - but I'll use something like plexiglass / lucite to keep a little trickle charge to the batteries (yes, I know it'll cut down the charge, but with two panels the trickle ought to be enough to keep it topped off).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chance
I rented a covered parking spot at a RV storage business. It was not enclosed but had a roof to keep most of the rain and sun off unit. It was similar to covered parking near some airports, just a little bigger.
Thanks Chance... WOW... if I could find a covered place for less than $150 / month I'd dance a jig! (the uncovered lots are worse than $50 in the area here) I've not tumbled to any place like that here yet. It gives me a little hope, however, that I might be able to locate something. I will continue to look - I have till next next Summer to look - I won't get the van, unfortunately, until this fall after the real hail danger. Even a basic self-store unit with a tall door will run me several hundred per month up to - get this - $1800/month for climate controlled big enough to store a big class A diesel pusher bus.

Quote:
Originally Posted by photographix
we left the van in the driveway.
Thanks, photo... I unfortunately don't have a driveway to leave it in. And the apartment complex I intend to move to doesn't really have extra parking (and I wouldn't want it there because of all the gnomes running around playing).

You all might ask, "why the hell am I spending such cash on a vehicle when I don't even have a real home?" I am a consultant - my job ends up being shorter term in most places than it pays to buy - and most clients require us to be onsite - hence I move a lot. Sooo... since I do not have a family to go back to, I move... making a real estate purchase insane (which I have painfully learned over the years). If I have to move away from Denver yet again the Sporty will stay here so I can fly back and play whenever I want (I used to do that with a Jeep - but it is sucky uncomfortable to sleep in and is cold in the mornings).
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Old 06-27-2014, 09:58 AM   #6
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Re: Van / RV Storage

Holy crap, Batman!

I just googled a place and they have COVERED storage for <$100 / month for a 25 footer.
I'm a-dancing!!!! Not the most convenient location, but knowing I can at least get it covered without it being a stupid horrid expense is cool and I will keep looking around. As dumb as it sounds, I didn't expect there to be just "covered" parking. Too cynical, I guess (or woefully ignorant - I am new to RV world).

Again... the forum comes through for even an idiot question! Thanks!
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Old 06-27-2014, 10:08 AM   #7
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Re: Van / RV Storage

Quote:
Originally Posted by GrumpyBadger
I am a consultant - my job ends up being shorter term in most places than it pays to buy - and most clients require us to be onsite - hence I move a lot. Sooo... since I do not have a family to go back to, I move... making a real estate purchase insane (which I have painfully learned over the years).

I'm just going to throw this out there: How about living in your SMB?
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Old 06-27-2014, 10:12 AM   #8
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Re: Van / RV Storage

Dude... that would be the ultimate (well... and WILL be done between contracts!)... but, alas, I have to pay for the silly thing somehow.

And I didn't get a shower or water heater... I think I would get a little gamey after awhile.
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Old 06-27-2014, 11:06 AM   #9
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Re: Van / RV Storage

I would make sure that storage place has those units available. I know you dont have your SMB yet, but it might be worth it to spend the money and have that unit on hand for when you do get it.
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Old 06-27-2014, 11:19 AM   #10
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Re: Van / RV Storage

Been making some calls... the covered parking exists... but any place reasonably convenient is stupid expensive or unavailable as I feared (one place said they had turnover of exactly ONE covered spot in the last two years - assuming they are honest). The first place I found that got me fired up is about 30 or 40 miles from where I will be living come November (in the wrong direction from the mountains, too).

Best I might do is a full enclosed self-store unit for $250 - $300 / month. At least the SMB fits in a 25' self store. With the mirrors pulled in.

Perhaps I have found my niche - buy several acres and cover them with solar panels 15 feet off the ground and park RVs. Charge stupid money for parking AND sell the power back to the grid. Any investors out there?
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