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Old 09-30-2007, 08:10 PM   #1
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Boondocking as Part of Your Vacation

We've just returned from a fantastic month long vacation where we were able to include a lot of boondocking. It was such a rewarding experience I thought I would share it so that others considering boondocking might see how easy it is. Perhaps it will be the inspiration some will need to give boondocking a try.

Our adventure started Aug 29 when we departed Corpus Christi for west Texas. We drove all day and spent the first night in Pecos, Tx. at an Escapee's Park. Temperatures were in the mid-90's so we opted to stay in a park with hookups so we could sleep under A/C. That first night was the most expensive of all at about $20 plus tax. The park was really a large flat gravel parking lot with a grid of RV hookups. It was hot, dusty, and dry. The next morning we were off to Ruidoso. In Ruidoso, we boondocked in a large parking lot owned by the "Inn of the Mountain Gods". The parking lot is located at the old Casino, which is now called the Hunting Lodge. It is located about 1 mile south of the new Casino. They do offer RV spots with hookups for $25 per night, but we opted for the free "open" camping in the parking lot. We chose a quiet place in the back, away from the highway. Except for 1 night, we were the only vehicle in the parking lot. We spent 4 nights there. Days we spent exploring Ruidoso. See picture 1.

From Ruidoso, we headed for Sedona. It was a 3 day drive to Sedona, so we spent the first night in Pie Town, NM. There is free camping in Jackson Park, the town's mostly neglected park facility. It's more a maze of roads surrounding a baseball diamond. Just find a spot which suits you and settle in. There were about a dozen other campers sharing the park, but they were so dispersed that we were almost unaware of their presence. See picture 2.

The next day we were off to Payson, Az. That night we camped at Houston Flats Campground, a National Forest campground without hookups located at the north end of the town of Payson. It is a nice campground, but for $16 per night ($8 for Golden Age Pass) it should have hookups included. Sorry, no picture is included.

In Sedona, we had to try 3 different locations from my list before we found a site where boondocking is still allowed. Things are changing as Sedona is discovered by more and more people and the National Forest has implemented a lot of restrictions including restrictions on boondocking to preserve the National Forest. We were able to find a good quiet free spot off 89A on a NF road located about half way to Cottonwood. There was only one other RV boondocking in the area and he was about 1/4 mile closer to the highway. The first picture of Sedona is the sunset the night we arrived. To our delight and surprise, the next morning we awoke to discover we were in the middle of an area used by some commercial hot air balloons to land. Four balloons landed within 1/4 mile of us. With a fresh cup of coffee in hand we went out to enjoy and watch the proceedings! We spent 4 nights here, and each morning we would awake to another round of balloon landings. Days we spend exploring Jerome, Cottonwood, and Sedona.
More to follow.
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Old 09-30-2007, 08:23 PM   #2
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Bob,
Nice pictures and good info. Thanks for sharing.

I lead a rally boondocking on Lizardhead pass at 10,200' elevation on Hwy 145 about 12 miles south of Telluride, CO. The highway is very good with some sections of 4-6% grades. The parking area is a dirt and grass meadow on the east side of the highway right at the top of the pass.
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Old 09-30-2007, 08:23 PM   #3
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Great post Bob! and it sounds like a great trip too. You know, its funny, but reading your post I realised how many folks dont regularly boondock. Its hard for me to remember since it is my first choice most of the time.

For the newer folks, you should search "cheap or free" and see the several neat threads on boondock sites that bob has started.

Hey Bob, I am planing to be out your way at new years on padre, maybe we will bump into each other
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Old 09-30-2007, 08:25 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airstream25
.
I lead a rally boondocking on Lizardhead pass at 10,200' elevation on Hwy 145 about 12 miles south of Telluride, CO. The highway is very good with some sections of 4-6% grades. The parking area is a dirt and grass meadow on the east side of the highway right at the top of the pass.
I'm looking at that site for next summers trip, it looked neat!
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Old 09-30-2007, 08:42 PM   #5
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Thumbs up Great thread!

Nice photos too looking forward to hearing more! Sure appreciate your info about boondocking!
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Old 09-30-2007, 09:04 PM   #6
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From Sedona, we moved to a National Forest Campground called Canyon Vista which was located south of Flagstaff. It was your basic National Forest Campground, but was still $12 per night or $6 with Golden Age. Sorry no picture. In Flagstaff, they were having a Hot Rod Run and downtown was jammed with hot rods and people! What great fun!

From Flagstaff we headed for Los Angeles with an overnight along the way in a little town called Ludlow, Calif. It is an old dried up desert town with a lot of free places to park for the night. We found a good place about 1/8 mile from where the big trucks park. Soon we discovered the railroad was nearby and it was very much active. Seems like trains passed buy every half hour all night long. To top it off, an 18 wheeler decided we must be lonely so he parked about 100 feet from us and let that damn diesel idle all night. Aarrgggh! I like quiet. Sorry, I took a picture but it didn't turn out. First light were're off to Los Angeles.

LA is the big surprise of the trip. We spent 11 nights camped in the Angeles National Forest at the Chilao Campground. Chilao is a campground with 85 spaces and except for a few other campers on the weekends, were had the whole place to ourselves. It is located about 23 miles back in the mountains from Pasadena. It is a beautiful campground at an altitude of 5500 ft.. Days were warm and nights were cool enough for perfect sleeping and it was QUIET. It even had good TV reception! There are water spigots located several places in the park, and there were pit toilets. A free RV dump station is located about 3 miles back down the mountain at Charleton Flats. Eleven days cost us $66 with the GA Pass. Days we spent going to the Getty, visiting the Santa Monica Pier, and amoung other things, going to Universal Studios. We visited El Mirage dry lake and got caught in a dust storm. We also took in The San Bernadino Rod Run. What a great collection of pre-1974 cars!

We even attended 2 tapings of the "PRICE IS RIGHT" where we, unfortunately, were not chosen to "come on down". We were audience members for one taping of 1 vs 100 with Bob Saget, and were part of the audience for the TONIGHT SHOW with Jay Leno on Thursday, September 20. On 1 vs 100, we were seated right behind Bob Saget and the contestant was Joe Lorenzo. The show won't air for a couple months, but if you happen to catch it, you will see our smiling faces in the 2nd row back.

Part of what makes boondocking work for us is planning, especially when it comes to use of water, electricity, and accessing a dump station. Being only slightly conservative we can make a tank of fresh water last about 7 days. When the fresh water is gone, it's time to dump, and replentish the water tank. As for electricity, we run our Honda EU 2000i generator when we need to replentish the batteries (usually 1 hour in the morning and 1 hour in the evening), or use the microwave oven, coffee maker, or hair dryer. This usually amounts to about 2 hours a day. The generator can run about 8 hours on a gallon of gas. With the double batteries, we use a simple 300 watt inverter to change 12volt power to 110volt to run the TV and DVD player.
The picture is of the Chilao Campground.
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Old 09-30-2007, 09:18 PM   #7
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oh everybody, thanks for all the wisdom and pics! will take under advisement!
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Old 09-30-2007, 09:42 PM   #8
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LA kept us so busy, it was relaxing when we moved on to Las Vegas for 4 days. Clark County has banned dry camping within the county which includes Las Vegas so we had to pay. We found a surprisingly comfortable place to park at the Kings Row Trailer Park at 3660 Boulder Highway for $14 per night. We were lucky enough to coax the manager to put us in a place in the back which was surprisingly quiet. It was a really pleasant place to stay as we spent days exploring the new Wynn Casino, the Bellagio, Fremont Street, and shopping. Sorry, no picture.

Too soon, it was time to head for home! The first night on the way home, we spent at the McHood City Park a couple miles outside Winslow, Az. It is a very underused park with free camping featuring a view of the lake. The first picture is of McHood City Park. There were about 10 free spaces like this one. We were the only RV using them.

The next day we made it to El Paso where we spent the night at Sunland Park Casino where they have 5 spaces in a huge parking lot with hookups for $5 per night. Sorry no picture, just imagine a giant parking lot with a small area set out for RV's with hookups.

The next night we spent in Junction, Tx. at the city park next to a lake. This is a favorite place for us. The city allows RV's to camp for 3 days for free. We usually park next to the dam and love to watch the water pour over the spillway. Usually I pack my swimming trunks for a refreshing dip in the lake behind the dam, but this trip I forgot them so we camped closer to edge of the park where the TV reception was better! Thank goodness because it was Premier Week and CSI was on and we just had to know what happened to Sarah! The picture is of the Park in Junction.

Next day, we made it home. Well, there you have it a month long vacation with a total expenditure of $167 for camping fees and a wealth of wonderful experiences. I hope you've enjoyed my presentation as much as I enjoyed sharing. Give it a try! Boondocking can be amazing. Just for the record, the whole month vacation cost us less that $2500 including some shopping!
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Old 09-30-2007, 09:59 PM   #9
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Bravo, Bob!!
Thanks for the great travel log!

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Old 09-30-2007, 11:39 PM   #10
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Thanks for your travel log, Bob...as always you are an inspiration to the world of boondocking and helping some of us to work up to boondocking on a more frequent basis...

Your trip sounds great! Thanks for sharing...

Thank you!
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