Saturday, June 02, 2012

Boondocking

When our children were small, we grew tired of dragging around all the required gear to tent camp and bought a little vacation trailer. It was 15', had no facilities to speak of although we put a porta-potty in its closet. The water was provided in a single sink with a pump handle. Hot water? You jest.

There was a small refrigerator, gas stove. a small floor furnace, a dinette, a sofa and a shelf that was above the dinette where we built a bunk for the kids. We dragged that thing all around the West. Many years we would head for Arizona in May taking along school homework and we vagabonded it with no reservations, no set places we had to be. I used to think I could live in that trailer with say a canopy alongside it, and I still believe I could have back then.

As our family aged, with teen-agers, we went back to tent camping. When the kids grew up and out, we had an Astro van and Farm Boss and I used it many places again around the West. All we needed to sleep was a wide spot in the road. We cooked meals over a sterno stove. I have some wonderful memories of those years along creeks or sometimes in campgrounds. A few unusual ones too.

The van grew undependable; and frankly it had a major drawback-- no inside facilities which is a bigger deal in grizzly, moose and elk territory. The truck didn't provide a comfortable bed in back. So for awhile we mostly left behind camping (with a few memorable exceptions) for renting vacation houses or staying in motels. That was less than satisfying as it didn't allow us to sleep in the areas we most wanted to be.

We talked of buying a trailer because we had a truck that could pull one. I was not that confident Farm Boss would have enough time to use it; so we held off. We'd look once in awhile, but we waited until the time seemed right.  That time came in May as he is slowing down his taking of new projects.

We actually thought we'd get a trailer that was 22' up to 25' but we wanted the capability of taking our cats-- or at the least our oldest cat, the one we hated to leave home for fear he'd die while we weren't there. To find that capability required going one foot bigger than we had planned, but it is a very nice unit, well-built, and would enable us to live in it if that ever became necessary (I'm always thinking that way for some reason).

There is always a little guilt feeling when you think of pulling a rig this size in a time where gasoline is an issue-- but if we take it somewhere and stay with it, it might end up less fuel usage than driving from place to place. 

I am now doing research on places we can boondock-- which means camp where there is no campground and where the law permits which is most of the BLM lands in the US-- Rules for BLM Use.

This kind of camping, out in the open, with the wilderness around us, maybe as much as a month at a time, ideally mountain or desert, that's the kind of thing I love most and look forward to roughing enjoying again.




The fancy trim above the windows is going. Not my style. It fell off one (second photo) before it got home. I like that better.


The view inside is with the slider open.


It is fancier than I had in mind but not remotely as fancy as they get (think granite counters), I think this one is in the middle for luxury. In a few weeks (there are things to do before we can take it out like sheering sheep) it will have dust all over it-- I hope ;)

Oh and if readers haven't already discovered it, Trolley, has made me  jealous inspired in this endeavor. This blog has reminded me of so many good times. Give it a try if you haven't already been reading it.

16 comments:

Annie said...

Ha ha, OK I went over there and read it, the most recent posts were certainly inspiring/jealous-making, but did you read the earlier posts about how he blew the engine and nearly killed himself pulling out the external battery? Well in spite of that I look forward to your posts from the road. Got a name picked out for your trailer?

Diane Widler Wenzel said...

I am gearing up to getting excited about a week of dirt camping on the maiden trip. Then go to a trailer park for overnight bathing, emptying holding tanks and doing laundry. Then back to a similar site on the BLM.
It is very much fun having a couple of campers together

Kay Dennison said...

Looks like y'all will be having a blast with this!!!! I look forward to seeing/hearing about your adventures.

Rain Trueax said...

Me too, Diane, for looking forward to going with you guys out into wilderness places like old times except more comfortably ;)

I started reading Trolley when Mike first put it out and well remember the things he wrote about. Some of that is part of the farm also. I also remember the times we had a trailer on the road in heavy wind. They say the heavier unit will be better that way-- we'll see ;)

Rain Trueax said...

We don't know yet but are guessing we'll get 15 mpg on the road as the diesel gets about 16 with any load. I's not cheap. But it lets us go where we could not go without a tent and these days we simply aren't into the tent thing-- especially not in the middle of the night in bear country.

Ingineer66 said...

The trailer looks very nice. I bet you will love it. I happened to drive by the dealer in Redding on Thursday and noticed in addition to Wildcats they also had a model called a Cougar. I guess that wasn't what you were looking for? :-)

PS you may want to avoid driving through Cali this summer while pulling it. Even though Fuel prices are down all over the country, ours are going through the roof ($4.21 regular), because of all the rules here about having special gas and diesel that no other states have.

Rain Trueax said...

Diesel runs that in Oregon and then some. The cheapest place on this trip was Arizona at around $4. Up here, it's been high all winter and they blame it on refinery fire or something. One thing is until their prices are checked and excess profits called profiteering, they will get what they can and blame anybody but those who later say they had record profits.

I just reconcile myself to it given we live in the country and driving with hauling a load (sheep, cattle or hay) has been part of the package all along. I cut on other things. As long as we can buy it, that's what I care about.

Darlene said...

When we moved back to Arizona we avoided the high cost of having our furniture shipped by buying a big truck and hauling it ourselves. My husband's job had furnished him a car and we didn't want to buy one in Mass.

Instead of a car we bought a tiny trailer called a Scotty. We could sleep in it but other than making a sandwich that was about all it was good for. It sounds like an even smaller version of your first trailer. No facilities, of course.

You can imagine the stares we got as we drove on expressways with this big truck hauling a trailer that looked like an apostrophe. People were laughing at us, much to my consternation.

Anne said...

I hope you will still be able to post while you enjoy your vagabonding. I know you will have some wonderful adventures.

Taradharma said...

I love the idea of camping in one spot for a month with all the protection and convenience a camper/trailer can bring! A great way for us older folks to stir get out into the wild. I'm sure you'll have great adventures!

Dick said...

That looks like a good unit. I miss RVing but Pat just didn't enjoy it. Of course she really doesn't like to travel much at all.

I was more a fan of motorhomes and pulling a small car to get around locally but part of that was because I didn't need a truck for anything else. I always found that a fairly close trip for no more than two nights it was probably cheaper to take a car & stay in motels but any longer than that, the savings of campgrounds over motels made the RV cheaper. Boondocking would be even cheaper although if you are thinking of month long stays you will have to dump holding tanks and refill water.

I too will be looking forward to hearing about your travels. Have fun!

Rain Trueax said...

I agree on the costs, Dick. And if you stay in campgrounds with full hook-ups it gets even iffier. What we found before is we could use the bathroom at night and find other places during the day; so it can last longer that way. A person has to look at it as dry camping and again remembering to leave the place as you found it; so others can enjoy the same pleasures. What I envied most with those who had trailers is they could stay where I couldn't find a motel.

We have to have a truck for the farm jobs; so that's where the trailer worked best for us. A camper would have been good too but we tried climbing up on some of the bunks in those and decided that's a young person's game ;) Since Farm Boss is used to pulling trailers with hay and livestock, plus those earlier years with our small one, this will work. I like motorhomes though but just one more vehicle to license also since we have to have a heavy duty truck.

Rain Trueax said...

oh and we never named the earlier one; so doubt we will this one unless something comes to us. It'll just be its brand name for now anyway.

Anonymous said...

Your trailer looks spacious and comfortable. Good for you. You reminded me of how our family traveled in the early 1950s - a 1938 Plymouth into which were stuffed two adults, three kids, and enough comforters for Dad and us kids to each roll up in one to sleep on the ground, at night. Mom slept in the car as she was phobic about snakes from having encountered so many in her youth on the farm.
Cop Car

Anonymous said...

P.S. Well...I guess that Elder Brother and I were teenagers; but, a teen is a kid to me!
CC

Hattie said...

Happy trails. Not my cup of tea, but I sure understand the allure.