Vagabond in America 2016 travel blog

Boondocking

View from my roof

Far from civilization


As I write this, I’m “boondocking off the grid”. More specifically, I’m “dry camping” (no external connections) in the middle of a desert in Nevada.

I’m more than 50 miles from the nearest store. More than 100 miles from any interstate highway. There’s no cell phone coverage, which also means no email or Internet. There’s no TV or radio. In the unlikely event that I get the overwhelming urge to interact with the real world, I do have satellite radio in my truck and I have two-way text communications via satellite on my InReach device.

I’m legally camping for free on Federal property that is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). In the past, I’ve enjoyed free camping in Walmart and casino parking lots. I’ve found many cheap RV sites ($20 or less per night). But, I always have been close to civilization.

It’s deathly quiet out here. No cars, no trucks, no airplanes, no neighbors. There aren’t even birds or crickets. The only sounds are occasional noises from Pooka (my rabbit) hopping or chewing on something. I’ve done the best I can at “bunny proofing” my RV. There are very few remaining ways that he can get in trouble. Nearly everything that he can reach is plastic or metal. I’ve intentionally left some cardboard out for him to play with and chew on. For example, I left out one long box with both ends removed. Pooka enjoys running through it. (Bunnies love tunnels.) Nonetheless, Pooka can still cause trouble. Lately, he’s been trying to dig a tunnel through my bedroom rug. I found a special anti-rabbit spray on-line. It’s full of nasty stuff such as capsaicin (the pepper found in pepper spray). What I discovered is that Pooka will avoid the areas that I’ve thoroughly sprayed but will find new sections to bite that I didn’t spray. I think that this will be an on-going battle between Pooka and myself.

One of my purchasing criteria for this RV was that it be fully equipped for boondocking. It has five water tanks: one for fresh water (over 100 gallons); one for hot water; one for “black” water (from the toilet); and, two for “gray” water (sinks, shower, and washing machine). It has dual LP (liquid propane) tanks to power the stove, oven, refrigerator, water heater, and furnace. It also has a sophisticated electrical system: 12-volt LED lighting; four large-capacity, deep-cycle batteries; a generator (50 amps); and solar panels. There’s even a 40-gallon fuel tank for my generator. The solar panels are currently generating over 10 amps, which is far more than I’m presently using and will soon replenish my batteries from their use last night. Free camping my way, isn’t free!

My fridge and pantry are both huge. I have enough food to last me for weeks.

I have plenty to do: reading, writing this blog, finishing customizing my RV, and doing general house work. The view is fantastic. My picture window looks out onto the vast desert with barren mountains (Pancake Range) as a backdrop.

The limit to how long I can stay out here enjoying the wilderness isn’t resources, it’s the crushing isolation. It will be fun for a few days to be “off the grid” with no talk of Donald Trump. But, I would surely grow lonesome long before I ran out of supplies.

For me, today is an experiment in boondocking. My plan is to spend only two nights out here in the wilderness testing out my new RV. I look forward to enjoying many more boondocking experiences throughout in America’s Southwest.



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