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Old 02-20-2016, 06:38 AM   #43
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My daughter inadvertently contributed to this thread yesterday when I told her that I might try boondocking about an hour down the coast one night this weekend, just for a mini-break.

I said, "The county park will be full but I will try to pay the fee and get either the day-use gate agent or the workamper to let me stay in the overflow parking lot. And if they refuse admission, I can just fall back to San Luis Pass and park under the bridge."

She then launched a tirade of expletives that only a 17-year-old would be capable of generating, finishing with, "My mother and my coke-snorting classmates over-nighting in the same place - now THAT is going to work out really, really well."

I've made her same point previously in other threads. Very often, the elephant in the room for would-be boondockers is the illegal drug trade. If you do find an area where the world turns a blind eye to "overnight parking", chances are that local drug people might want to co-exploit that same area.

I believe I can see this effect in the prohibited Walmart list. There are 3 Walmarts within several miles of me, all of them essentially clone facilities in terms of parking lot lay-out and size. Two of them allow Wallydocking and in fact I've seen RVs overnighting at them. The third one is prohibited. I suspect that's because it's a higher-crime area and neither the manager nor the local police want the hassle of sifting through who is legitimately Wallydocking and who has staged themselves there overnight because they are selling drugs.

Just my suspicion. But this issue is definitely something to keep in mind. If one travels to an unfamiliar area, there's sometimes little way to recognize crime hot-spots in advance. Sometimes they don't fit popular stereotypes.
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Old 02-20-2016, 06:39 AM   #44
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I'm sure there are regional variations. Any attempt to overnight in a muni park in my area would promptly bring the police no matter how stealthy the boondockers. And there are no open parking lots anyway. The gates are right at the road frontages.
I agree it is location specific, and smaller towns are generally less rigid than big ones.

The municipal lot was not a pay or gated lot, just a free parking lot for visitors to city/county offices.

We have also overnighted on a side street at a street festival...walking to the music, booths, etc.


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Old 03-09-2016, 10:02 AM   #45
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Thought I'd append this grin-producer as a lesson in what can happen when one rolls into an approved boondock or Wallydock location and doesn't thoroughly check their surroundings.

This is our local Walmart, less than 2 miles from my house. It is a non-prohibited Wallydock location and very popular - but that doesn't mean it is without restrictions. Most boondockers know to avoid blocking truck docks and loading ramps, but in this case, they have certain additional parts of the facility off limits because they use those spaces as drop spots for intermodal containers. Which makes logistical sense, right, because one of the smaller intermodal boxes is about the same size as this Class A. It would fit so perfectly in that very same spot!! And in fact, they are staged there for that reason.

Anyway, I had a good chuckle when I saw this. Pulled in late the night before, eh, dudes?? Been there, done that.
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Old 03-21-2016, 07:33 AM   #46
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Following up on this, we just got back from our solar shake-down trip, which was successful to the point of exceeding my expectations - seven days and six nights off-grid. The lowest charge level experienced by our house battery during that time was about 75% after a dark, rainy day failed to top it off. On all other days, it fell overnight to the mid-80's percent-wise, and was back to 100% usually before noon.

I realize that travel style is very much to individual taste, but at this point it's difficult for me to imagine traveling any other way. The point of having a rig is to detach from the constraints imposed by the shore. It doesn't work for me if tech limitations force me to hop from shore location to shore location, deleting most opportunities for spontaneity. Perhaps I'd feel differently if my personal circumstances were other than what they are, or if I lived in another part of the country where outdoor access is not as difficult as it is here.

On the subject of Interstate boondocking and boondocking in general, a lot goes on that is not talked about - we certainly knew that in advance of this trip. If it gets talked about, then everyone will want to do the same thing, and it won't be do-able any longer because the cat will be out of the bag.

One of the most adaptive boondocking strategies that I have found is to watch closely the surroundings in every situation, see what methods other people are using. Observe what they are doing to effectively cloak themselves or to make a defensible effort to comply with the intent of the local rules if not always the actual letter of the rules. It's much easier for me to look at the world this way now that I don't suffer from "battery brain" - that hobbling awareness that whatever actions I take must utterly revolve around this chronic need to never let the coach battery fall below 50%, a condition that deletes so many possibilities.

After having had these experiences, there are additional changes that I/we plan to make to our Interstate to enhance future boondocking possibilities. In the meantime, if anyone wants to see an account of this trip, here's a summary:

http://interstateblog.blogspot.com/2...palo-duro.html
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Old 03-21-2016, 08:10 AM   #47
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Yes IB - you have discovered the freedom of electrical independence provided by having enough solar and battery power to meet your daily needs. I also experienced this new freedom on my recent trip to Florida with my new 2000 watt inverter and bigger 440AH battery pack. Life is good!


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Old 03-21-2016, 08:32 AM   #48
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Well said, IB.


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Old 03-21-2016, 11:38 AM   #49
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The ability to go a week without having to plug in is the proverbial game changer. It's a shame that Airstream doesn't yet understand how freeing ourselves from this battery anxiety adds significant utility and value to our vehicles.
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Old 03-21-2016, 11:58 AM   #50
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My Interstate is wired for solar, tho we never took the big $$$ plunge to add the panels because there is also an onboard generator....and why would you need both. It seemed duplicative and an unnecessary expense.

We can't go a week without needing water or to empty the holding tanks, anyway, and driving every few days to do this also charges the batteries.

Running the generator for 20 minutes or so once a day, when boondocking for 5-6 days at a stretch, has kept everything functioning well thus far, and we/I have done this stretch several times.

Sometimes we have just run the vehicle for awhile.

There are always those alternatives to solar.


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Old 03-21-2016, 12:23 PM   #51
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I almost forgot we even have a generator. :-) Solar won't run an air conditioner so there are serious limitations there but it was really nice not having to manage the battery state of charge every day. I know that there are auto starts for the generator to automate that task but depending on where you are, the noise can limit your solitude or your stealth camping options.
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Old 03-21-2016, 12:54 PM   #52
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If you need AC, best to find a campground with electricity, IMO.


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Old 03-21-2016, 03:23 PM   #53
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... there is also an onboard generator....and why would you need both. It seemed duplicative and an unnecessary expense. .

....
If one is pushing the envelope of what is permissible in terms of access, one cannot make noise with a generator. Solar is the only option.
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Old 03-21-2016, 03:32 PM   #54
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Of course....those were our thoughts, tho, in terms of justifying the expense.

The only times we have been boondocking for extended periods have been in areas where generators are not an issue.

When being surreptitious....no noise, at all, is best, and we have only done those as overnights.


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Old 03-21-2016, 08:29 PM   #55
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What we were doing I would call a hybridized approach. We were paying regular park fees, both per-person daily entrance fees plus camping fees (Texas charges separately for both). Because we showered in the park facilities, we only used about 15 to 20 gallons of Interstate water during those 7 days, for sink, lav, and consumption (boiled). We could have gone 10 days under those conditions without a water recharge or dumping tanks.

Drinking water proved to be a perplexing challenge throughout the Texas Plains. Potable park water was so unpalatable I could barely drink it. Then when I tried to buy gallon jugs to replenish our 10 liter military container which I keep for direct (unboiled) consumption, I couldn't find any because they were sold out - no surprise, as many travelers probably felt the same way I did.
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Old 03-21-2016, 10:32 PM   #56
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Drinking water proved to be a perplexing challenge throughout the Texas Plains. Potable park water was so unpalatable I could barely drink it.
You have just defined the difference between potable (safe to drink) and palatable (pleasant to drink). Potable water might not be palatable, and palatable water might not be potable.

Southwest Oklahoma is the same way— or at least it was when I was growing up. So much dissolved calcium in the water that it came out of the tap milky white, and thick enough that when enough had flowed out you'd just cut cut off a slice and chew on it. Cattle seemed to like it, though, and we never had to put out salt blocks for them.

But that was before the Federal Government passed the Safe Drinking Water Act in 1974. By the time my hometown implemented the requirements of the Act in 1978-79 I had already moved away. The water is supposedly better now. The EPA Primary Drinking Water Standards are mandatory and ensure that water is potable. The EPA Secondary Drinking Water Standards are optional and expensive to comply with and— if followed— ensure that the water is palatable. To this day when I go back to visit my brother I can't drink the tapwater without becoming violently ill, so I don't think they comply with the EPA secondary standards.
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