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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The importance of Plan B

If you are reading this you are either (A) A boondocker, or (B) Are thinking of becoming a boondocker. The very fact that you are/will be a boondocker could also be one of your problems. If you are a boondocker, you are by definition adventurous, curious, bold, a little bit devil-may-care, impetuous, sometimes daring, possibly eccentric, and of course, good looking.

Except for the good looking part, the rest can often get you in trouble when you discover a dirt road that just MUST be explored, or a beach that is calling out your name. Before you know it your rig, having a mind of its own, is following the vaguest of tracks and eventually in your boondocking life you will find yourself in a sticky situation.

Like when I got mired in sand on a beach on the Gulf in Louisiana, or a quarter-mile down a narrow, winding, single dirt track in Washington when I reached the end and there was no turnaround, and the time I tried to cross over a hump separating the dirt road from a terrific campsite--and got stuck like a sea-saw under the middle of my motorhome with no traction to my rear wheels.

All of these dilemmas--and some I won't mention--taught me something, all of which became the basis of  Plan B. To solve any more mire-in-sand problems, I now carry a couple of flat rubber mats and some traction mats to slip under the wheels when in mud, sand, or snow. I also carry a folding shovel (an entrenching tool in Army lingo), a heavy iron mallet (a rock once became wedged between my left rear duals and luckily a trucker came along with a mallet and knocked the rock out) and a stout rope for towing (the pick-up truck driver that pulled me out of the Louisiana sand happened to have one).

I also unhitch--even when I don't feel like it--before driving down a strange dirt road or even paved roads where I am not sure of what lies ahead (it's very difficult, at least with my rig, to unhitch the dinghy if the rig is headed down or up hill and if it is cocked at an angle). If the distance is not great, I walk in new roads to check out conditions before entering.

I take all these precautions and carry the extra gear because I know I will still venture into unknown places even when caution warns me against it, because I'm a boondocker--except for the good looking part.

Check out Bob Difley's Boondocking and Snowbird Guide eBooks at


  1. Here's our experience off-roading in a 35' motorhome:

    Lesson learned: it's good to have friends. :)

  2. Not being an RVer as of yet but an avid lover of off-the-beaten path dirt roads, I have to say, 4WD truck. If you are one of these people that have to explore off the grid, don't buy a motor home. Get yourself a good tough 4WD truck with plenty of heft and a nice 5th wheel. Unhitch the 5er before exploring. You will be glad you did.

  3. The reason that I have a truck camper is that I can go places where no motorhome or towable can even think of. I have to watch out for my overhead because it is a full size 11' camper. I'm out fitted with solar and a Giardia water filter so I can be out as long as I have a water supply and enough food. But as always - all RV's are good because you are camping, and that is what is important.

  4. Virginia, you are forgiven for not getting it, he's Boondocking not 4 wheeling.
    You'll have a better understanding of the difference when you hit the road. See you out there.