Monday, February 24, 2014
Back in 2006 a new rule required Forest Service units to designate roads open to motor vehicles. In order to let the public know where motor vehicles are allowed, the agency was tasked to create maps of each individual National Forest. On those maps you'll find a legend indicating where and when motor vehicles can be driven – and camp.
Most of these maps can be had for free from the offices of each individual forest. However, you can also download these maps from the Internet. How do you find them? It's easy – simply search like this: "X National Forest motor vehicle map," and put the name of the National Forest in place of the X.
The maps will be updated annually; and the onus of camping on Forest Service lands legally is on the boondocker. Download the map, read it, and stay legal.
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
|U.S. Library of Congress|
A little probing revealed that after a couple of years of winter boondocking on the desert, this RVer was still a 'babe in the woods.' Yes, she had solar panels (45 watts worth, it turned out), but she found it necessary to fire up the generator for several hours a day, and the cost of propane was running her out of house and home. We called by to see if we could help, and the longer we stayed, the more lacking her knowledge of boondocking became apparent.
"I don't do well with technical things," she explained, "And I don't want to know about them."
Boondockers need a lot of things different from folks who stay in campgrounds. They may use a catalytic heater in place of the rig's "factory" furnace to keep from using too much of their precious electricity. They may use solar panels to produce that juice in the first place. They'll need to have more batteries to store that power. All kinds of "physical" stuff to make their boondocking a success. But it takes more than the "physical." It also takes the "mental."
If you don't know about technical things, you can boondock. But you've got to be willing to learn them. If you don't learn to wrap your mind around new things, new concepts, and figure out how things work, you'll never be able to figure out why they don't work, when they don't.
In our friend's case, she had no idea that her propane furnace not only used huge quantities of electricity and propane. She thought that somehow a tiny solar panel array from a discount tool company would keep her in electricity. She only knew that somehow, it wasn't working. We'll try and help her as best we can, but without developing the will to deal with technical stuff, she'd be better off parking her rig in an RV park, plugging into the shore power, and spending her money and fixing things when they break.
Yes, it takes more than just the physical to make a success of boondocking. It takes a willing mind.
Thursday, January 9, 2014
|matthew simoneau on flickr.com|
For boondockers, staying out in the sticks away from utilities, conservation is a critical component to staying out as long as you can. We all know about some simple things – cut down on light use, switch to LED and fluorescent lights instead of incandescents, but what about – shall we say – a more radical approach? Recently some RVers offered up their thoughts as to ways to conserve. We present for your consideration, revulsion, laughter, or nodding, a few thoughts.
Obviously, showering with a significant other could conserve some water, and possibly provide an alternative recreational activity, but for some reason, as the age of the boondocker increases, the likelihood of this approach tends to decrease. Not enough room in the shower stall when the "sag factor," is added in.
Skip the shower when you can handle it – clean up with "body wipes" or baby wipes instead. And if your hands aren't physically soiled, use hand sanitizer instead of a wash up with soap and water.
Use liquid soap in shower, sink, and dish-duty. Consider diluting the soap a bit with water for easier rinsing.
Re-do your "do." Short hair takes less soap, less water, less fuss.
Skip the pre-rinse for your toothbrush.
When waiting for hot water, catch the tepid stuff in a pan. Save it up to use flushing the toilet instead of running it down the drain. Saves water, and gray water holding capacity. And when boiling spuds or pasta, save the boil water and use it the same way.
Let the dog "pre-soak" the dishes!
Pre-scrub the crud out of your kitchen cookware with a damp paper towel. With the worst out of the way, use a wet sponge, your dilute soap. Go easy on the wash water, and turn it off while scrubbing – same with pot rinsing.
This might be the topper: Store the dirty dishes in the fridge and re-use them later.
Instead of turning on your rig's interior lights for reading, use a LED battery powered head lamp. Use rechargeable batteries in the lights, and recharge them when driving your rig by plugging your battery charger into a small inverter. Read books on your tablet, Kindle, or iPhone instead of off paper. Don't need a light on, and take less space.
The larger the draw at any given time, the faster your batteries will deplete. Don't run everything at once when you don't have to.
Running your generator for practical purposes during cool weather? Plug in a space heater inside the rig to conserve propane.
Don't use a big rig generator just to charge your batteries. Use a smaller, quieter, less fuel-hungry generator hooked up to a battery charger or your house converter/charger system.
Readying to take a shower? Don't turn on the water heater until a few minutes before shower time, then shut it off when you're done.
Sleep with your socks on.
Sleep in flannel sheets.
Sleep with your mate.
Save Other Stuff:
After shopping, one RVer gets rid of as much packaging material from her purchases as possible (pizza boxes, boxes around smaller containers, etc.) and stuffs the trash in the store dumpster. Well, may she tosses out the family trash, too, but she asks for permission.
Stinky clothes but don't want to take the time to wash? Place the dirty clothes in a plastic bag, and stuff the whole works in the freezer over night. Don't ask us how it works, we just report.