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GeorgeK
09-21-2009, 11:38 PM
preferrably somwhere from the north central states of the USA where somebody could buy a small plot, maybe adjoining a national park and park a camping trailer as a semi permanent residence. A campsite would be fine too if it's something where someone could live for years (even if they had to move from site to site periodically as long as the places are in the same campground). I need to make a pair of transients (hippie new age mom and her 12 year old son) have a legal place to stay. Having honest cops drive by and even knock once in a while is fine, but I don't want the cops hassling these two.

Would it be more realistic if the mom owns a small campground surrounded by a park and the campground determines how long someone can be parked? Or do the states dictate what is allowable as a permanent residence if a minor is involved?

Setting is 20 years in the future. They homeschool online via satellite and have a garden.

PeterL
09-22-2009, 12:27 AM
Sounds good. There are places like that in most states. If you want a really empty highway, then the Dakotas or Montana are for you.

GeorgeK
09-22-2009, 12:58 AM
And childrens' services and the police won't mind if they live in something with wheels?

PeterL
09-22-2009, 01:19 AM
They won't mind, if they can't see, which is why there is skirting around the bottom of most mobile homes. I don't see many of the old trailers turned into permanent residences anymore, and I think they will be rarer in the future. Over the course of time many trailers had additions; your characters might consider that.

Mike Martyn
09-22-2009, 01:23 AM
And childrens' services and the police won't mind if they live in something with wheels?

If the kid doesn't sport too many bruises and the Mom isn't drunk or on drugs too often, children's services won't get involved since they have far worse cases in their over burdened case load to deal with. Call me cynical if you must but that's what typically happens.

StephanieFox
09-22-2009, 02:05 AM
How about a place like this, perhaps a little less developed. I've stayed here a number of times. There are a couple of small houses and a 'lodge' for campers to get meals if they want, but you could eliminate that.

There are a couple of small towns (Richland Center, Boscobel) about a 20 minute to 30 minute drive. The place is surrounded by other farms and there is a valley in the middle that has only a one-land dirt road going down.

http://travel.yahoo.com/p-travelguide-3157136-eagle_cave_natural_park_spring_green-i

bettielee
09-22-2009, 02:17 AM
Have you seen Into the Wild, the Sean Penn movie about Chris McCandless? What about that place where there was the permanent campground in the desert? The flats or something like that? It's government land and all these people live there in campers, rent free. And its legal.

GeorgeK
09-22-2009, 04:29 PM
It's important that there's not even farms around. Nobody should be around to hear the gunshots or the animal noises at night.

I was thinking of abutting a private 100 acre wild animal rescue and rehab center/private small campground onto the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. I've never been there, but I've been to Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa so I'm figuring its a mix of mountains, woods and prairie and if there are nearby farms, they're most likely effectively uninhabitted corporate farms until you get closer to the small towns.

archerjoe
09-22-2009, 05:16 PM
That park is a good choice. Slope county is one of the least populated in the country. Highway 85 is busy with traffic between South Dakota and I-94. West of that is quite empty.

dirtsider
09-22-2009, 05:53 PM
Yeah, I would think that if the new age hippie mom worked/owned a camp ground, it should be fine. There's usually a house where the ranger/owner lives and can be used as a sort of giftshop/general store where campers sign in, get their camp sites, buy limited supplies, etc.

ChristineR
09-22-2009, 10:06 PM
There are tons of areas like that in Northern Michigan, all of them surrounded by variations of state/national park/forest/lakefront, etc. There are many, many people who buy a small plot and park their trailer and live there and grow vegetables and work for the tourist industry in the summer and live on food stamps in the winter. Much of this area was farmed at one time, but it's not really productive, so most of it is empty, and used for tree farms, or hunting preserves, or summer homes. There are areas where the closest road is a mile away, and it's dirt.

Having lived in areas like this (in Northern Michigan), the problem I see with this scenario is that people in these kinds of places are very aware of their neighbors. A mom with a kid living in a campground would very quickly be noted by everyone around. If the child is not going to school, people would know this very quickly. In any case, there are many private campgrounds where they could park and stay indefinitely, or at least until the campground closes for the winter.

johnnysannie
09-22-2009, 10:55 PM
They won't mind, if they can't see, which is why there is skirting around the bottom of most mobile homes. I don't see many of the old trailers turned into permanent residences anymore, and I think they will be rarer in the future. Over the course of time many trailers had additions; your characters might consider that.

Skirting isn't really cosmetic; it's there to protect the pipes which normally run just beneath the floor. With no skirting, the pipes can fall prey to various mishaps that include animals knocking them down, etc. Animals also often get under mobile homes if there is no skirting to prevent it.

In colder climates, it is also to keep the cold winter winds from whipping up under the floors.

I don't know where you live but here in the Ozarks there are many old and very old trailers used as permanent homes, even entire parks of them.

Dicentra P
09-22-2009, 11:07 PM
Having lived in areas like this (in Northern Michigan), the problem I see with this scenario is that people in these kinds of places are very aware of their neighbors. A mom with a kid living in a campground would very quickly be noted by everyone around. If the child is not going to school, people would know this very quickly. In any case, there are many private campgrounds where they could park and stay indefinitely, or at least until the campground closes for the winter.

This -- also having lived in this type of area farther east (I have extended family who lived 2-3 generations in mobile homes)-- Once the locals had any contact with them the gossip would start. The person who rented or sold the plat would start it, or if they had any utilities connected (they need to generate electricity for the satellite homeschooling) or any mail or packages delivered.... Its not nosiness (entirely) its just that there are so few people and so little novelty around this type of area that any new arrival is a sensation.

PeterL
09-22-2009, 11:19 PM
Skirting isn't really cosmetic; it's there to protect the pipes which normally run just beneath the floor. With no skirting, the pipes can fall prey to various mishaps that include animals knocking them down, etc. Animals also often get under mobile homes if there is no skirting to prevent it.

In colder climates, it is also to keep the cold winter winds from whipping up under the floors.

Yes, skirting does protect the pipes, but it is also cosmetic.


I don't know where you live but here in the Ozarks there are many old and very old trailers used as permanent homes, even entire parks of them.

There are some really old trailers around, but most of them have been added on to so much that the trailer is no longer visible.
Most parks in New England have regulations regarding the age and appearance of mobile homes that are such thaat the old trailers have been thrown out.

johnnysannie
09-22-2009, 11:31 PM
Yes, skirting does protect the pipes, but it is also cosmetic.



There are some really old trailers around, but most of them have been added on to so much that the trailer is no longer visible.
Most parks in New England have regulations regarding the age and appearance of mobile homes that are such thaat the old trailers have been thrown out.

We'll have to agree to disagree; I have lived in a couple of mobile homes in the past (one of which was destroyed by a major tornado) and for the most part, skirting has a practical application far more than cosmetic appearance.

In the Ozarks, "house trailers" are very common and while some have had add-on rooms, many have not and sit on rural roads, in mobile home parks, and in towns that allow them. In the small town where I live, one park was "grandfathered" in and remains on the busy commercial strip amongst the McDonalds, Mazzio's, and the like.

Heck, here, even the schools often use; the high school alone has about six at the current time. All have skirting but since most are hidden from the public view, it is most definitely NOT cosmetic.

From Four State Mobile Homes in my area:

[B][Skirting ProductsLet our skirting products protect your home from rodents and the damage they cause. Our skirting is not only functional, but decorative, available in a variety of styles such as brick, stone, and rock. We also offer skirting accessories such as vents, doors, and guards
/B]

PeterL
09-22-2009, 11:58 PM
We'll have to agree to disagree; I have lived in a couple of mobile homes in the past (one of which was destroyed by a major tornado) and for the most part, skirting has a practical application far more than cosmetic appearance.

I don't think we are disagreeing. We have different locations and perspectives.


In the Ozarks, "house trailers" are very common and while some have had add-on rooms, many have not and sit on rural roads, in mobile home parks, and in towns that allow them. In the small town where I live, one park was "grandfathered" in and remains on the busy commercial strip amongst the McDonalds, Mazzio's, and the like.

Heck, here, even the schools often use; the high school alone has about six at the current time. All have skirting but since most are hidden from the public view, it is most definitely NOT cosmetic.

From Four State Mobile Homes in my area:

Skirting Products Let our skirting products protect your home from rodents and the damage they cause. Our skirting is not only functional, but decorative, available in a variety of styles such as brick, stone, and rock. We also offer skirting accessories such as vents, doors, and guards


Yes, skirting is definitely for protection. No disagreement there.

StephanieFox
09-23-2009, 12:27 AM
Regarding rural neighbors;

In some parts of the country it is possible that people keep to themselves and out of others' business. HOWEVER, the following happened in Iowa and would have probably happened in Minnesota, Wisconsin or other parts of the northern Midwest.

A group of Easterners bought a farm in Iowa and moved in. They were planning on growing and processing large amounts of pot and they got caught, not because their neighbors saw what was going on and reported them. No, indeed. These Easterners chased people away when they came over with cookies and casseroles to welcome to the area. They did'nt attempt to get friendly with the folks on nearby farms or folks in the small town.

The got everyone thinking that there was something odd going on and the word filtered to the cops who raided the place.

"They just weren't friendly," said one local farmer. "If they'd be nice, we wouldn't have thought anything was wrong."

Gary
09-23-2009, 04:51 PM
I lived not far from TR park in North Dakota and have been there several times.

Yes, the population is sparse, but I guarantee you that if a trailer was parked on some rancher's land near the park, he'd be checking it out. Even if they asked and he agreed to let them stay, it's the nature of people in that area to watch out for the welfare of neighbors. Snow blocks even major roads in that area every year, and spring rains make secondary roads nearly impassible, and your scenario would have only a prairie trail near the trailer. It would be difficult to live such a life without everyone within 50 miles knowing everything about you.

If your characters owned the land, it would be a bit different, as most rural residents have an abiding respect for privacy.

I hate to discourage your plot, but it would be unrealistic in that area. Anonymity is far easier to achieve in a city than in the country.

That said, most people have never visited that part of the country and would have no way of knowing that part of the plot might be implausible, so it's your call.

GeorgeK
09-23-2009, 11:07 PM
I lived not far from TR park in North Dakota and have been there several times.

...
If your characters owned the land, it would be a bit different, as most rural residents have an abiding respect for privacy.

I hate to discourage your plot, but it would be unrealistic in that area. Anonymity is far easier to achieve in a city than in the country.

...that part of the plot might be implausible, so it's your call.


they don't have to be anonymous, just secluded enough that generally nobody investigates sounds of wild animals. I can easily get rid of the sounds of firearms, but not the animals.

If they own and run a small campground/wild animal rescue abutting the park and are on good terms with the park rangers but some of the locals think they're a bit strange, would that work? I was thinking something in the neighborhood now of a 100-300 acre farm that they run in a luddite style except they do have satellite internet and phone (Assuming the photovoltaics are working properly, so I guess they'd be off-grid homesteaders rather than true luddites)

Also having a few small rentable cabins instead of trailers would work for the story. Would that work for the setting

Would that be a problem?

PeterL
09-23-2009, 11:54 PM
they don't have to be anonymous, just secluded enough that generally nobody investigates sounds of wild animals. I can easily get rid of the sounds of firearms, but not the animals.



People can be quite anonymous anywhere. There are houses in suburbs that no one thinks about, because the trees hide the house. A number of years ago I found a house in Connecticut that had been off the tax rolls for at least twenty years, and the people who lived there drove down a street that was lined with houses and down their mile long driveway that looked like a forest trail.

ChristineR
09-24-2009, 12:48 AM
If they ran a 300 acre farm, they'd be buying and selling fairly regularly, and people would know that. If they didn't show up when expected, someone would phone or drive by and check it out--especially if it was a single mother and child. Someone like that would be noticed all the time. I don't see a single woman running a 300 acre farm without a lot of help from her neighbors, either. Even a campground usually takes at least two people, so that one can watch the desk while the other drives into town.

I'm also not really sure about the animals--it takes a lot of work to care for animals. If these animals were being mistreated, it would be fairly easy for someone to figure it out. They'd need regular vet visits, for example.

I can certainly see them not being looked at for a few days, but much longer than that, and someone would go and check on them. A single woman and a kid, plus they keep animals--that's the kind of people that get checked on all the time.

Gary
09-24-2009, 05:49 AM
Maybe the best way I can help you is to post a link to a blog that my distant cousin writes. He lives in the tiny town of Dunn Center, ND, which is quite close the park, so he should have more firsthand knowledge of the surrounding area than I have.

He probably doesn’t even know that I exist, so just say his shirttail cousin from Texas led you to his blog. From following his blog, I gather that he is somewhat of a modern-day Woody Guthrie, so he might be able to give you some insight into hippie aspect of your story also.

http://www.rappincowboy.com/journal.html (http://www.rappincowboy.com/journal.html)

frimble3
09-24-2009, 09:28 AM
What kind of animals are you thinking of? In a farm area, farm-animal noises would be unremarkable. Roaring lions or shrieking monkeys would attract notice, all right. Deer are pretty quiet. Howls of agony would attract more notice, faster, than casual mooing or grunting. And unicorn hooves sound much like horses.

GeorgeK
09-24-2009, 08:14 PM
If they ran a 300 acre farm, they'd be buying and selling fairly regularly, and people would know that. If they didn't show up when expected, someone would phone or drive by and check it out--especially if it was a single mother and child. Someone like that would be noticed all the time. I don't see a single woman running a 300 acre farm without a lot of help from her neighbors, either. Even a campground usually takes at least two people, so that one can watch the desk while the other drives into town.

I'm also not really sure about the animals--it takes a lot of work to care for animals. If these animals were being mistreated, it would be fairly easy for someone to figure it out. They'd need regular vet visits, for example.

I can certainly see them not being looked at for a few days, but much longer than that, and someone would go and check on them. A single woman and a kid, plus they keep animals--that's the kind of people that get checked on all the time.

I live on a 200 acre farm, am disabled, the only people to come down the 1/3 mile wooded driveway is the electric meter reader once a week, and once in a while the UPS lady. If my wife didn't teach, nobody would leave the property for weeks at a time. Look up "Homesteading". We're like Amish with computers. If you own the land and are only aiming at self sufficiency, it's surprising how little land we actually need to use. Most of it is going back to woods.

It takes about 20 minutes a day to care for our animals, not counting just taking walks with them and looking at them in the pasture. The key is getting animals that need little care, and getting the animals to do work for you that is natural for them to do.

GeorgeK
09-24-2009, 08:21 PM
What kind of animals are you thinking of? In a farm area, farm-animal noises would be unremarkable. Roaring lions or shrieking monkeys would attract notice, all right. Deer are pretty quiet. Howls of agony would attract more notice, faster, than casual mooing or grunting. And unicorn hooves sound much like horses.

The only noises would be from animals that already reside today in Teddy Roosevelt Nat Park. People who spend a lot of time listening might realize that the percentages might seem a bit off.

GeorgeK
09-24-2009, 08:29 PM
Maybe the best way I can help you is to post a link to a blog that my distant cousin writes.

Thanks for that. The pictures showed me the terrain variety that I was expecting. Of course the park is more wooded.

dirtsider
09-24-2009, 09:38 PM
As for the sounds of shooting, depending on the season and how often the shooting's done, it probably wouldn't raise too many eyebrows. Unless it's out of season. But if the woman and her son are known to hunt on their own land, you can still get away with it. (Some friends have 4 acres of land on the borders of a forest and they were approached by a hunter who wanted to hunt on their land, as I recall.) But they'd have to get permits or someone would most likely come looking for them.