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Old 06-01-2015, 11:06 AM   #1
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Airstream Argonauts... the 1%ers

Argonauts: Pioneers traveling overland in their Prairie Schooners, but upon wheels to destinations known and unknown.

Airstream Argonauts are those who travel to destinations that may be only an X upon a map or GPS coordinates in an uninhabited area within a map. This map may be unreliable or accurate within several feet upon a Continent.

Their Airstream is outfitted for the unexpected and unpredictable events that the average traveler never will experience at a RV Park or a KOA. Their Airstream, or any other alternative, is merely the mode of transportation to explore and share adventures that are not featured stories in a newspaper or magazine. Not that conventional facilities are absent from an Argonaut's possible options. It is a conscious thought process of avoiding what already can be done in the comfort of their home or apartment in a town or city. Each Argonaut has a reason for their choices of destinations. The 99% may not understand, but these individuals are not looking for understanding. This thought process is not learned in a book but from an accumulation of experiences. It is self taught from a desire to be... misunderstood and independent when necessary.

I have the privilege to be among a group of Airstreamers on the First Airstream Argonaut destination of an X upon a New Mexico map. Modern Nomads with a home on wheels that was never intended to veer as far off the paved roads intended for the other 99%.

An Airstream is not built for ground clearance, but for minimizing air drag and stability with a lower center of gravity on paved highways. These advantages present disadvantages to those wanting to experience something different.

An Airstream is equally inappropriate and appropriate, according to any individual's limitation of their imagination of what is possible for travel.

Boondocking takes on a different meaning to these adventurous spirits. There is a dependence upon one another. There is an inherent risk in expanding the range of the less traveled road and trails. These places do not have names or status among the developed Parks and Monuments, regarded as special, with access of the throngs of humanity. These places are special places, many without a name and unknown to the 99% and will remain this way. Not to be found within a map's index of places to... visit.

The intent of the individual Airstream Argonaut is to explore the unnamed, existing natural wonders, that must be found one at a time. Often without success but with tribulation in the process of adding that freshly inked X upon a map worth remembering as a special place.

Call them Boondockers, Rockdockers or Argonauts, they are special in my world. There are no reservations to be made. No time schedules to meet. No expectations of what is to be experienced. Their pot of gold is at either end of the rainbow. The end is no more defined than the end of a road. It is what you find between the beginning and the end that is important. When you find it... the smiles and satisfaction of the effort it took was well worth getting there.
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Old 06-01-2015, 11:51 AM   #2
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Hmmmm.....I like the idea of being an Argonaut.


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Old 06-01-2015, 12:03 PM   #3
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That is the essence of being an Airstreamer! We are playing out the adult version of 'choose your own adventure'.
For some it is finding a place that no one may have ever been before. For some it is just discovering what is around the next corner.
Adventure, in all its forms, is valid by its very existence.
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Old 06-01-2015, 12:17 PM   #4
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I haven't tried boondocking. Would like to but it depends on DW comfort zone for security and whether I feel comfortable towing off paved roads. I'm afraid of rough roads that could damage the Airstream and I don't have a 4wd tow vehicle. More than happy with national parks, COE parks and state parks. RV parks are only used if trying to get from A to B. Walmart overnights are not allow due to DW mandate.

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Old 06-01-2015, 12:54 PM   #5
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It took us awhile to do any boondocking....probably a couple of years....and we never did do anything really "remote", because we simply didn't have the skill set.

We then started doing some overnites at spots not far off main roads.....river access areas, national parks, state and national forests, etc., then for 3-4 days at a time......then spent 3 weeks a couple of years ago poking around the Rocky Mountains and staying almost exclusively in dry camping sites.

This was one of the best trips we ever had, parked within visual and hearing distance of rushing mountain streams. Firewood everywhere, just for the trouble of picking it up, so campfires sometimes all day and into the evening. Lovely.

Basic comfort is critical, and our rule of thumb....generally....was that if we needed AC or heat, we plugged into electricity.

One notable exception....Padre Island National Seashore, parked right on the beach. We have needed heat down there, also have left our rear screen up, and the doors partially open, when it was quite warm.

Some things just need to be experienced. .


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Old 06-01-2015, 04:55 PM   #6
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Argonaut Exploration

Argonauts in most cases:

- have no idea of where they are going, once they leave the comforts of home.
- if they do get there, how do they know if that was the place or just there?
- if they do arrive... why were they expect anything different from their own... back yard?

The wonderful aspect of traveling the Western USA, which includes western Kansas and western Nebraska, are the distances seen before you arrive at your destination.

Pick an interesting topographic feature visible from the highway. Awaken the designated map reader for "A" road and you go towards that landmark. As you are getting closer to this landmark of interest, you begin to look for a campsite that is accessible. Check the odometer and write down the mileage... and proceed to "upgrade" the campsite location as you get closer. If nothing else is found as you drive, you will know within a fraction of a mile where the last decent pull out was located.

After several attempts it becomes second or... fourth nature. We will pull over to the edge of the "main" improved dirt road, walk a turn off to a potential campsite and decide if it is worth setting up camp, or not. You get really good after awhile. Some side roads have brush, piñon pine or pine trees too close to the road with overhanging branches you have to avoid. You become a pilot... looking up, down, left, right, forward and backward. If it is all clear, you make your move. Some nice spots just are not worth the aggravation.

The majority of people living among the civilized, densely populated urban area, towing their pride and joy, find the West... disturbing. Just nothing but empty scenery. But that is just your imagination working against you. Once you step into the stark naked wilderness... you will remain a captive of Boondocking and flexible for campsite amenities. Which amount to only what you have with you.

National Parks are beautiful. They were even "more appealing" before they became a National Park or protected for some reason or other. The mass of humanity flows into and out of a NP like plumbing. Argonauts are the "leaky plumbing" within the system and proud of it.

There are BLM areas in between some of the heavily traveled National Parks in Utah. They are right there on a map. You have to look. You should not need me to tell you where. These campsites were there since a road provided access to drive around the crowded NP sites.

The Grand Tetons of Wyoming... National Forest campsites Off the Grid can be found. It is the same for many other places in the Western USA. It may take time. It may take some effort. You will develop a sense of discovery. Try it. You might like it.
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Old 06-01-2015, 05:23 PM   #7
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What is so impressive about the West are....the....wide....open.....spaces.

You can drive for miles, and not see another vehicle or human being.....maybe the occasional rider on horseback, doing whatever guys on horseback do in the 21st century.....rounding up stray cattle, moving little dogies along, rushing to save a damsel in distress.

Seeing the open prairies, it is not difficult to imagine the wagon trains heading west, and how that must have felt to those pioneers.

We "townies" marvel at those vast expanses of Mother Nature.


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Old 06-01-2015, 11:19 PM   #8
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Off the path...

I bought a 1960 Southern Pacific bunkhouse on a whim. Other than being 36 feet long, it has occurred to me that given its substantial ground clearance it would be ideal for some off road travels. It goes without saying that a fairly hefty tow vehicle would be called for.
The attached pic of this model when new is not necessarily my unit (although it's possible).
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Old 06-02-2015, 05:48 AM   #9
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That is pretty spectacular looking.

I could see that nestled under some trees in a wide open space, somewhere, but you're right.......towing it would be a challenge, and even I can tell that.

Where there's a will.....there's a way.

Have fun!



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Old 06-04-2015, 03:15 PM   #10
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You're right about Granite Falls. On your recommendation we pulled our International 25FB up there. One of the most beautiful places we've ever been. Thank you!


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Old 06-04-2015, 03:50 PM   #11
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To be an Argonaut you might need an Argosy, and a mission. Searching for the golden fleas, or is it fleece? Ever since Rocky and Bulwinkle I get those mixed up.
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Old 06-16-2015, 10:40 AM   #12
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This sounds like right up my alley. Growing up in Oklahoma, Colorado is where we went to stay cool in the summers. Ray, I hope to join you soon on one of your adventures "out West". Looking for a trailer now to get familiar and then retiring in another 3-4. I'm curious as to if you have generators or solar?
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Old 06-17-2015, 08:52 AM   #13
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Never mind I saw your preference in a different thread. Solar it is.
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Old 06-17-2015, 09:05 AM   #14
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I know for a fact that Ray is currently in the Gila Wilderness, scouting camping areas for a group of us in about 3 weeks.

He may be without adequate signal to be on these Forums for awhile.


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