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Old 07-09-2013, 10:27 AM   #15
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Up and Down & In and Out- ERRORS NEED TO BE LEARNED

You might think I can go to sleep at night and just wake up the next morning without any "side effects". Well, that is not the case. Last night I thought of something that nobody has mentioned on this Boondocking Forum, except maybe myself in some long forgotten post. But here I will run it through again.

ERRORS IN GONG INTO THE BOONDOCKING TO ROCKDOCKING TRANSITION:

Up and Down travel-
Realize, more so the single axle AS owners than double axle AS's, that turning off the main gravel County or Forest Service road is an "up and down" move. Going one way easily or with minor caution, might be a major problem getting out. The angles are dramatically different. The drop DOWN off the main road you need to be very careful. First imagine the situation and then follow me along... The plumbing, in my 2006 23 footer, is like an eye ready to get poked by some brush in NW Montana. You want to clear those two skids on the rear bumper. If not, you might scape some gravel and bend one or the other a bit, but not a disaster. The going OUT is an easy no brainer. So just think about it a bit and then you understand more than most asphalt and concrete travelers making that make comments to off road AS camping.

In and Out travel-
At times the County, BLM and Forest Service roads have or have not had any seasonal tractor work. They will put the blades down and grade the road, rolling out boulders, rocks are put on edge and other obstacles... they could change, the obstacles, every Spring. The Road Graders usually come in the Spring to even out the ruts and mud holes made by hunters coming in during the wet Fall and early Winter months. The deep snows will pack the road down and the graders will even things out... most of the time. These guys are good, but are not expecting some low hanging AS to be cruising through.

You have to negotiate mentally, the ruts at times. They are harmless if you can protect the plumbing and high points. I might even step out and toss out a potential aluminum bender or two to get to where I am going. Never take for granted that the wonderful gravel road you traveled in 2007 is in the same condition or even looks like the same road. Even one track can be deeper on one side than the other. This is a mental game of how to avoid any difficulty traveling short distances, and may never come up... but be aware that brush, boulders embedded into the sides and in the road of narrow roads, etc. etc..

The lesson to be learned is that off the asphalt can be a wonderful and easy transition... just be alert and watch the up, down, in and outs of your travel. Be well and drive wise.
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Old 07-09-2013, 11:10 AM   #16
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Ray -

How much proactive/active scouting do you do when you are out on the government back roads? I am curious if you base camp your Airstream for a few days and travel the back roads around a location to later bring the trailer in; or do you do well enough to tow the Airstream into an exploration area fresh with no previous trips? I've never known a forest service fire or log road in the east to simply end without a turnaround or egress to maintained roads; I am curious how it is on BLM and other lands out there in the west.

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Old 07-09-2013, 12:50 PM   #17
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This is the Bird Dogging aspect of Boondocking...

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Originally Posted by IanPoulin View Post
Ray -

How much proactive/active scouting do you do when you are out on the government back roads? I am curious if you base camp your Airstream for a few days and travel the back roads around a location to later bring the trailer in; or do you do well enough to tow the Airstream into an exploration area fresh with no previous trips? I've never known a forest service fire or log road in the east to simply end without a turnaround or egress to maintained roads; I am curious how it is on BLM and other lands out there in the west.

Ian
*************
I cannot add to what you have said and cannot find anything else to add.

One thing I have learned in traveling further and further into the back country is... there is ALWAYS a nicer pullout ahead. But, sometimes the spot from where you are Bird Dogging for the ALWAYS NICER end of an Airstream Backcountry Rainbow... was the best and only pullout.

The limited budgets from BLM, NFS and State County Roads... the back roads may be graded every one, two... years. There are County or Forest Service roads in New Mexico that will have a large... LARGE warning sign, limiting the length of anything towed. Trailer, camper, ATV hauling trailer, stock hauler. You could be in the 32nd mile of a 34 mile county road and then FIND the reason. A large dip, without culvert to level things out. This dip when the tow vehicle is going up it causes the back end of the towed "whatever" to WEDGE SOLID like the Keystone in an Arch. You are literally... you know what!

Back country roads provide access to the Hunting community, loggers, oil and any heavy industrial gravel/sand pit operations. This is BIG BUSINESS and TAX PAYERS, whom the County and Forest Service understand very well. These roads are usually the Interstate Boondocking Highways that give you access to Rockdocking camping on the smaller, less traveled roads. This is why you see environmental groups wanting NO Road work nor roads, or access. So be it, but there are more roads that may not look passable at first for your AS, but you are traveling on ten inches of rubber. Not 30" to 36" of Snowmobile track on each side.

Once you set up a base camp and begin to explore, write down mileages from one known to the next to the possible camp site. One thing I have learned... in the tow vehicle the road may look as a flat, easy road. With the trailer in tow... where did all the brush, lower tree branches and irregular surfaces come from? Do it once... and you will remember that sentence.

Those of you who NEVER TRAVEL THE BACK COUNTRY, just ignore my posts. It is not impossible to survive off the asphalt or concrete roads. I will not die from being stranded, attacked by bear, moose or rabid raccoons. In less than 170 years you cannot find most of the Oregon Trail today. I bet these wagons did not even have Grey or Black Water tanks to prevent killing off everything as far as the eye can see. It was up to one mile wide in some places. A 100 years from now, the thought of stepping into the forest, open prairie or some box canyon will only be mentioned in "scary" fiction novels. The brush will fill in, the ruts will be leveled by wind blown dirt, the trees will be tall and healthy and you would not even known an Airstream of ancient history camped at that spot. (I just added this to discourage some readers not to follow any of these posts in the future.)

Base Camp. Bird Dog. Get Location. Move on brother, move on! This is still OUR Country and YOUR Public Lands in the West. Obey the signs for No Vehicles, leave no trash, leave the open fires out of your list of to do's and follow your tracks out after having a great time hiking, biking, sleeping, playing cards... or just laying back reading a book.
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Old 07-09-2013, 07:46 PM   #18
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For my wife and I, boondocking isn't four-wheeling; it's camping without hookups.

Ray seems to be more adventuresome than we are, because we mainly boondock down graded dirt roads suitable for most family sedans. Our favorite spots are just off the main highway, a few hundred feet to a mile or two from where the pavement ends. The roads and pullouts we choose are usually in pretty good shape; because we don't want to damage our Bambi, and our TV is 2WD.

Basically, if it looks like our rig will high-center or get stuck, we just don't go down that road. However, if it looks really inviting but in a little worse shape than we'd normally attempt, we park and walk part-way down to check it out. Several times, a short walk has saved us from getting stuck in mud holes or deep sand, and from having to back up a few hundred feet, because we couldn't turn around.

In hindsight, the couple of times that I drove in anyway (despite my better judgement) turned out to be excellent learning opportunities that sharpened my driving and backing skills. However, it was a good thing we were in a wilderness area, because of the @#$%^&* colorful language exchanged while expressing personal estimations of each other's intelligence in selecting this road, our individual observations of the remote solitude and privacy afforded by the complete lack of other campers in this area, and the surprisingly deep and wide, mud-filled dip in the road which lay ahead of us. And, that's why I now hold the unofficial Backing Distance Record for Dumm-@$$ Campers.

In any case, the big thing to consider is whether you'll be able to drive out unassisted, if it starts raining, snowing, etc.; because there might not be anyone else down that road to help if you get in trouble. Also, if your cell phone even works in that location, I've heard that some tow companies won't come if you are more than a few feet from the main road.

Despite these self-imposed restrictions, we have camped in some beautiful, remote areas. And, with a little caution and common sense, boondocking (at least, the way we do it) presents very little risk for most campers.
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Old 07-10-2013, 08:52 AM   #19
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We are very fortunate to have countless boondocking opportunities within a few hours drive of our home. We have never found a marked forest road impassable for our rig. Roads that are questionable are usually marked "not maintained" or 4WD only and we avoid them. Forest roads are kept in reasonable condition to permit fire crews quick access to problem areas.
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Old 07-10-2013, 10:32 PM   #20
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Eleven mile reservoir
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Old 07-11-2013, 03:56 PM   #21
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WOW. What a PHOTO to prove a point!

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Originally Posted by deecarr View Post
Eleven mile reservoir
*******
You cannot ask for a better Boondocking photo to get the point across. And what a way to break in the 25 footer! Keep the rest of us Boondockers up to date on YOUR Trial and Errors.
********

Out of subject matter, but worthy of mentioning.

Prior to our AS, we would camp north of Texas Creek, Colorado. Camp... you know an igloo easy to set up tent and an ice chest. If you collect rocks, there are some pegmatite quarries up there that mined Beryl Crystals for WW2. There is also a Rose Quartz vein that required a sledge and chisel to remove samples. We found it on TOP, NW as the bird flies, but you have to follow the dirt, barely improved road to the ATV tracks up to the top and hook to the left (SW). We found this beautiful forty feet+ by 3 inch seam of waxy high grade Rose Quartz, came back a year later... and could NOT FIND IT. A beautiful tent camping site, but I have not returned again and looked it over for trailer travel. If I could get our 23 footer in there... I would not hesitate. When you get there, you will understand. If you want further information, I can elaborate a bit more, but there is only one road. You cross the bridge and head north and keep to the right. There is some grave marker up there and I recall a run down cabin.

As a side note. There was a Spring on the west side of the camp site with water holes deep enough to bathe. No photos of the campsite or bathing campers, but this is one of those places no body knows about. The area could be 15 or more acres of flat grassy firm ground.

There is a business selling garden rock from the quarry and may also own the Quarry(ies), so you can check with them about the "improved road". I think they were just west on the north side of the highway from Texas Creek. The hamlet... Texas Creek, I recall might even have RV parking spaces. They also rent ATV's if you are daring and it sure beats walking... until you see the incline they take people.

Now my conclusion. On our return to tent camping there and looking for the Rose Quartz vein on top, an ATV was following some of the trails and a middle age couple stopped to tell us how beautiful the area was. And the area is beautiful, with junipers and hotter weather vegetation... in a Rocky Mountain setting. We went back to figuring out where this Rose Quartz Vein went... and as we watched the two on the ATV, they stopped and appeared to be dumping something off by a sage brush.

Giving up on the Rose Quartz and seeing a few flint chips left by ancient Indians, we understood we were not the only people in these woods over the centuries that made tracks in the forest, if I could call it a forest (more of a New Mexico pinon/juniper terrain). We could not find the Rose Quartz! Before GPS. I wanted to find the spot after going to the Rock Show. This Rose Quartz was as nice as the "gem specimens" for sale... by the gram! So it was a bit of greed and a bit of having some swapping goods for the future.

The ATV headed back to Texas Creek and we hiked over to the bush. They had stuffed a white plastic bag of TRASH into the cover of the bush. We packed it back down to our camp site and the thought of these two SOB's (not Some other Brands) are the same ones who ruin it for the rest of us. This one event STILL reminds me to be aware of our duty to make your visit, break the dirt around the trailer to "assist the grasses" with your steps... but haul your trash and do a little extra policing of the area for obvious trash.

I will not mention this again on the Forum. The intent of my posts is to encourage your getting out and having fun. This event was a disappointment for me, but we took care of it. We AS owners must be above the Hunters' Camps and casual camp site trashers. They are out there and unnecessary, but not unexpected.

Be well and keep some tread on those tires. You never know if they will be made into tire tread sandals in the future! Didn't you love those?
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Old 07-16-2013, 04:41 AM   #22
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Thanks for that topic, I find it very interesting.
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