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Old 04-13-2020, 06:58 PM   #1
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Boondocking: Casual Off the Grid Camping

After recent events, some Airstream Owners are actually considering Boondocking... again.

Boondocking Off the Grid is often an experience for ONE trailer or Family. Getting to a Boondocking Site has more risks than catching a Virus. You start closer to an exit route and then work yourself further into the 'Frontier' with the Trailer detached and explore possible improved campsites further ahead.

It is learned from experience. Eventually you can 'sniff out' a great area by using a map and looking from the paved road. We in the Western USA among the Rocky Mountains are spoiled beyond anyone's imagination. It is different out west. Real different in a positive way.

Yes... we have camped in RV Parks... like southwest Tucson, Arizona - Gilbert Ray Campground (County maintained) and EXCELLENT! Also some vacant lot with a hundred junked toilets in one corner at Quartzite, Arizona for a couple bucks a night with NO services. Some State Park sites are EXCELLENT. We enjoyed all, but prefer to be Boondocked and Off the Grid.

Once you begin to confuse Boondocking with Campgrounds or RV Parks, you must weigh the proximity of others. Chances are excellent that you are no more in danger than being solo at a undeveloped camp site, all to yourself.

There is 'comfort' among many camped in an area. That is great and you need not consider anything else. Some want to expand into a bit more exploration and getting away from the developed camping options most are familiar. Some are better than others and you make a note of the better and keep it handy.

There are probably a million or two million Off the Grid Boondocking Sites in the USA. In Canada, with roads to Boondocking Sites, just as many. Nevada which has few roads for access of millions of acres. You must chose an area you have some familiarity with to decide which to try first.

Wyoming... lots of access and lots of hunter camps and pullouts within the BLM and National Forests. The easiest State for finding locations without or with company.

The longer your Airstream, the more experienced you need to be. You will become comfortable with experience and most unpaved main roads are very good. You will learn when to stop... look it over and decide to go on... or back up and turn around.

Yes... done it and you get very good, also.

Bumper Drag is your first consideration pulling off a Forest Service or BLM improved road.

Bringing trimming tools to cut back overgrown bushes that grow into the narrower access roads is necessary.

A full Fresh Water Tank. A Full Pantry. Bedding for hot and cold weather. A full tank of fuel in your Tow Vehicle.

There is NO AGE LIMIT. Only a FEAR LIMIT of the UNKOWN is Temporary. You WILL have a sense of Insecurity... that is normal. I have it when getting into wild country for the First Time, myself. That is why we carry shovels... just in case you have to dig out... to get IN.

Solar on the Roof, or a portable Panel is a real necessary need. Not until your batteries are dead will you understand. One portable 110 watt is good. A second portable is more than you will need... for OTG conservative power needs camping. Connected directly to your Batteries with the Controller. Less than $125 for 110 watts at Costco.

The Honda Generator has its good points... mine was to sell it once I had Solar. It was not needed for AC or Television. When you are at 4500 feet or higher... you will understand.

Do you have anything to ASK or to ADD?

This could be YOUR FIRST experience which you will remember for the rest of your Life! The second year you will be prepared. The third... you will be comfortable anywhere in the areas you have explored.

Have a great Summer, have a bit of Attitude, develop some Confidence and try it. Once you have departed crowded Campsites... you will never go back... very often.
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Old 04-14-2020, 11:22 AM   #2
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Am I the only CRAZY Camper on Planet Earth?

Considering I have ran out of original things to do around the house, I get curious and browse through current Threads on the Airforums.

When we go camping:

I do not want to be able to access Facebook. I do not anyways, but some people are so connected to be connected... you have to be Crazy. Not me. Addiction comes in many forms. Like posting much too often... in short posts, but thousands of them.

I do not want to be active on the Airforums when Boondocked, traveling to a Boondocking Site or when pumping gas or anywhere else.

I do not need to go on and on about how I am preventing myself from catching a Virus of any kind and those who step outside may MAKE YOU become a victim, of some sort. Yet YOU are sterile and in perfect health... if you ignore being overweight, irregular bowel movements and chronic worrier... which may be cured by getting out and being comfortable without a crowd to share how you feel every moment you are awake.

Exercise does not kill people. The lack of exercise DOES. The harder I work... the less often I eat. Unlike Cats... they usually do what people needing exercise need to do.

I do not know how to text message on my cell phone. I do not carry MY cell phone. I could not give you my Cell Phone number as I have it written on a business card in my wallet. If someone wanted to get in touch with me... you need to be camped next to us. Otherwise the phones are not connected. (Well, I might but did ONE text message.)

Nancy carries two cell phones as different remote locations carry different signals in the event we want to order carry out dinners from Pie Town, New Mexico for example.

Hanging myself in my closet would have been more interesting.

I am not worried about the neighbor's being infected with anything different than I could be. Why do YOU want to camp among crowds? Any place that requires a reservation... I will avoid, so YOU can stay connected to others and socialize with other campers discussing getting sick and dying.

The vast majority of RV and Trailer Campers are social addicts. They need to be among those they have common experiences and often meet to discuss their common experiences and discuss their, well common experiences...

Try something different. Step onto ground that no one has been for a week, year or a hundred years. This is not the Moon. People return from the National Forest and BLM dry camps 99.99999% of the time.

If you are the .0000001% bring a map next time.

I am Nuttier than a five pound container of Cashews. But when we attach our trailer... you can celebrate my absence. I sure will. This being confined at home is like being a killer on Death Row on appeals.

Are you Fruitier than a Fruit Cake? At least I will have someone to share recipes.
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Old 04-14-2020, 12:29 PM   #3
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Boondocking: Casual Off the Grid Camping

Ray, I live in Southern California.

Its like living in a bowl of granola. What aint fruits or flakes, are nuts. George Carlin.
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Old 04-15-2020, 03:42 AM   #4
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Tired of Insults? Now you are ready to learn...

Quote:
Originally Posted by rmkrum View Post
Ray, I live in Southern California.

“It’s like living in a bowl of granola. What ain’t fruits or flakes, are nuts.” — George Carlin.
******
Southern Nevada is much the same. Just add marsh mellows.

OK. I think I covered most everything that would discourage most Airstream Owners from Boondocking:

Weight. Socializing needs. Avoiding other people. Solitary confinement in your trailer and other taunts. No telephone service with average cell phone packages. Needing a shower every morning and evening is a good one to bring up. You cannot be over sensitive, yet. It will pass like a bad stale taco.

A WEEK OTG Boondocking... all of the above will mean nothing to you. You will soon appear like you were in a Western Movie and out on the Range rounding up what you thought were Cattle, but were Elk. That is OK. I did my best to make anyone afraid to respond to this Thread. Although you may want to look at some wildlife photographs to save yourself some embarrassment, later during the experience.

Western USA is an unfenced Zoo. Animals, tourists and locals wandering around without leashes is difficult to comprehend. If you are new to the area, that is. Canada is not much different... EH?

The Canadian Dollar makes Canada a great Boondocking opportunity once the glaciers recede a bit more. What is it, 79 cents US now? The Canadian Dollar will be back to par after this spending spree in the USA... coming soon to your pockets.

Although myself at 70, I rarely bring up age as it is relative directly to weight, avoiding other people wanting to socialize, those who begin to list what illnesses they have recovered from and those they are expecting in the near future. Memories are a terrible thing to... well recall and repeat each evening among the same group, since they are not sitting in the same location each afternoon.

OK. I get it. Anyone who went through Boot Camp and had several Drill Sargents breathing into your 'air space' understand. Today, maybe six feet breathing in your air space. I am talking the mid 1960's to mid 1970's kind of Boot Camp. You just figured out not to stand out and not make eye contact.

This works well with fellow Airstream owners with lots of Solar Power and Lithium batteries glowing all night without any power issues... kind of conversations. Just wear sun glasses visiting after sunset. OK?

Boondocking is conditioning the mind. I would not have any idea where to Boondock in North Carolina. I would not know if Olde English is still spoken in the region. I would be lost. I would have to buy a... map.

The same out West if you are from North Carolina going to Wyoming for example.

Your first thought once arriving to a town is wondering where am I? And why?

If you could handle the previous hazing, Boondock Style... you are ready to do it. You will feel insecure. That is normal. My first trip out... is repeating 2006 over again. What did I not pack. Where are the maps. My wallet. Did I bring my Smoking Jacket... well, just for those who are older than myself and smoke.

What? On this Planet do you want to see and Boondock to do it? Why, would be also a good place to start. You can be the spectator and safe... or part of this Zoo we call Experiencing the Woods, or tall grass if you are in western Nebraska.
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Old 04-15-2020, 05:14 AM   #5
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I grew up canoe camping way OTG in the woods and lakes of Canada and somewhat OTG in the Adirondacks. I don't have a problem with being OTG but I don't know how to find it. I'm sure when the time comes, as I am still tied down to things at home, the information is out there--here. I appreciate the thoughts and experience and the time taken to write things down for all of us to see.
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Old 04-15-2020, 06:27 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by farafield View Post
I grew up canoe camping way OTG in the woods and lakes of Canada and somewhat OTG in the Adirondacks. I don't have a problem with being OTG but I don't know how to find it. I'm sure when the time comes, as I am still tied down to things at home, the information is out there--here. I appreciate the thoughts and experience and the time taken to write things down for all of us to see.
We're still learning too. In the east, some of the places that are furthest OTG are found in state and national forests. Some of those places are campgrounds (of sorts) but they are usually very rustic and without many amenities.

We noticed an interesting feature on Allstays (the campground app) that shows remote campsites on the map along with the host of other camping areas. As I said, these are usually in state and national forests and the locations are shown with a D shape icon rather than the usual O shape icon. The D stands for disbursed camping. Unfortunately, it's not possible to sort on disbursed camping. You simply have to zoom in and look for them. But start by sorting on national forest, state forest and county parks, then look for the D shaped icons.

Continuing with the Allstays app... look for national, state, county camping facilities that indicate equestrian use. We've stopped in those several times and have found they're usually a large open field suitable for horse trailers to park. Sometimes they have a potable water refill station, sometimes not. Depending on the season, there are no horse trailers to be found and we've had the whole place to ourselves.

Not exactly boondocking but we've found fairgrounds to be useful to us and usually much less crowded. Facilities are hit or miss but that's why you have an Airstream. Even though it's not boondocking, you're not with the throngs of campers.

on edit...

Here's a picture of a disbursed campsite we found in northern New Hampshire in 2018. That's the first time we noticed a D on Allstays and we've identified lots of D's along the east coast since that time. There were other "camping" turnouts on the dirt road but only one was occupied. The sites were 1/4 mile or more from each other.
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Old 04-15-2020, 01:09 PM   #7
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Spell check got me again... should have been dispersed not disbursed. Oh well, you get the idea.
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Old 04-15-2020, 10:50 PM   #8
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When I was a kid growing up in St. Paul, MN in the 60s, my father would take my brother and me and perhaps a co worker and their kids up as far as the roads would go into Ontario, CA. Wed head down old logging roads for what seemed like forever, park, then take the home built canoe off the roof of the car and head out on a lake with nothing but a map, tent, sleeping bags, camp stove/pans, compass, food staples, and a 3 HP motor on the sawed off back end of the canoe. Hed drive that canoe for miles, wed portage some, and finally get to the place where we camped. Often an island in the middle of nowhere. We were truly OTG. Wed not see a soul for a week. One of his friends had a new 66 Buick Electra with a fancy new search feature on the radio. You knew when you were OTG when it got stuck on an endless search loop looking for AM radio stations. Food was fish for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 10lb Walleye and 15 lb Northern Pike were the menu. Every day. If you didnt catch, you didnt eat much other than some crackers or Melba toast. I was always amazed he could find his way back to the car. Amazing memories.

These days Im not sure I could do the same. My occupation and later, kids, and later, our business, kept us too busy with a pretty common suburban life. Little free time, too much stress. Im older now than Dad was then. A lot older. The Airstream was Kriss idea. She wants to see the country and full time for a while. It didnt take a heartbeat for me to be all in on that idea. I want to go OTG for a while. Unwinding with a bit of adventure sounds really good. Id like to create some new amazing memories.

Well get there. The Airstream now has the solar, lift kit, and weve proven to ourselves that we can go a week or more w/o hookups easily. Im looking forward to retirement. It might be a while now with the virus and its economic influence, but were reasonably healthy. All things come in time.
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Old 04-16-2020, 12:15 AM   #9
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i love this! i boondock 95% of the time. i love to talk to people but don't need to.hike with my better-half,dogs off-leash.a little slice of heaven. always looking for new camping sites,new hiking areas beautiful vistas.more people should get out and relax/unwind. have many more great trips! kurt
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Old 04-16-2020, 04:31 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nvestysly View Post
We're still learning too. In the east, some of the places that are furthest OTG are found in state and national forests. Some of those places are campgrounds (of sorts) but they are usually very rustic and without many amenities.
....
@NVESTYSLY - Thank you! That's all very interesting and helpful! I am hoping to venture west one of these days but in the meantime it will be a good challenge to find the most OTG spots I can in the east. I have really enjoyed the state parks, especially on week days when they are not as busy. Such nice folks! But a little too cheek by jowl for me haha.

Be well!
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Old 04-27-2020, 04:23 PM   #11
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Live in the Mojave desert. Have a cabin in the Mojave desert. Boondock in the Mojave desert.

Sense a pattern?

Desert boondocking is my favorite camping. So many places so far away from anyone else. Sure no cell service or any hope of help if it goes wrong but that is where you will find me.

Solar panels and those new batteries keep us off the gris for an easy week at a time.

Desert is full of places and things that previous desert rats, the hopeful, wanderers and the insane have left. Abandoned buildings, towns, ranches, farms, mines and more.

Like to do research and then go find whatever struck my fancy. Have found Sherman tank parts from a tank in Pattons Desert Training center that was hit by the Santa Fe back in the early 40's. (train won hands down) Abandoned airfields, train repair shed remnants off hwy 66 east of Ludlow and of course the super secret WWI poison gas testing area... Among other oddities.

We are all different but to me a RV resort is a form of prison.

P.S. My favorite find came when I gave a guy a ride from the town of Yucca Valley to his cabin out past Flamingo Heights. Turns out he was from another planet. Forgot the name. But when we got there he invited me out behind is cabin to see his flying saucer (!!) Went back and sticking out of the ground was about a foot and a half of a coneish shaped thing he said was the top of the saucer. I just love the desert and the beauty and weirdness therein.
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Old 05-25-2020, 09:29 AM   #12
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Solo Boondocking: Be Prepared

Solo Boondocking has more risk than traveling with one or more Off the Grid. I have chased this topic around, trying to get the idea across that OTG Boondocking is different than a Forest Service or BLM campsite where others... may or may not be there the day you arrive.

Solo travel and camping in places where 90% of trailer and 99% of RV owners do not. Ever.

You must be prepared. I have already gone on and on about your health and ability to physically adapt to being... on your own.

One important aspect are TOOLS.

Shovel(s) to dig out or fill in. Always important.

But lets say you are in NOWHERE and an electric brake locks up. What now? You are really in a bind.

Be prepared, unlike those who travel in groups and in established campsites with services and access to help. You need basic TOOLS. You should be able to get the wheel with locked up brakes in the air using 'leveling blocks' AND have the basic tools to remove the wheel, the cap sealing the drum bearings, pull the lock pin, remove the snap ring that holds the bearings... and remove the drum to repair or REMOVE the brake shoes to make it back to town.

The process is not that difficult, after the FIRST time. You also need bearing grease, something to clean the bearings, paper towels and tools to remove springs and anything else you discover as being a problem.

Just consider what else could go wrong. Your hitch may have a bolt loosen up that has been loose but not noticed until... now. The Ball can become loose. I found mine loose in 2007. Bought a socket just for this. Marked the top with a black magic marker in case it became loose again.

It never did. Nothing like it with the last two trailers, either. But... did once.

Philips head. Straight edge. Different sized. Socket set. Breaker bar and socket for removing a wheel.

What do you want to add? You heard about being in a canoe without a paddle?

Murphy's Law: Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

Be prepared for about anything... but hope for nothing but fun, travel and adventure.
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Old 05-25-2020, 09:49 AM   #13
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Awning on left side of our 2019- unsecured

Surprise. The long awning on the 'driver's side' of our 2019 27 foot International was nice and secure with the 'crab claw' latch. I used the tool provided to unlatch and unrolled it. Worked great.

When we moved, I rolled up the awning and took the tool and 'set the crab claw latch'. Easy to do. The first time there was some resistance but when securing the second time... not as snug.

Well... while traveling and a cross wind in the Flaming Gorge Area of Utah/Wyoming I noticed something move in my driver's side rear view mirror. It was the awning unrolling and flapping.... Holy... you know what.

The wind must have been a steady 40 mph. I pulled over and the wind would catch under the awning and it took both of us to 'tame and get it to roll back up'.

But, then...now what? This crab claw hook was not going to do the job. A Zip Tie. I ran the zip tie through the hole the crab claw was attached to the awning and through the crab claw latch secured onto the trailer. This secured it. (You will understand if you have this awning.)

Although... if the small screw comes loose that holds the crab claw comes loose and falls out... back to trying to secure this on the road. This I am going to take care of today.

THIS was a surprise to me and could become a surprise for you. Study it and you will understand. Occasionally you will find RV awnings along the highway.... Take ten minutes and check yours out on a late model Airstream. Ours is a 27 foot. this is a very long awning to secure.

I am going to figure out how to secure this better and not rely on the small bolt, as it would come loose on our 25 foot Safari, as well, but had the knurled knobs that secured both ends.

As I said... Be Prepared for about... anything.
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Old 05-25-2020, 10:08 AM   #14
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Spare Regulator for Propane Tanks and Wheel Bearings

I hear about these regulators on the Propane Tanks going bad. Even if it only goes bad for those unfortunate souls that mention it... I had to break down and bought a replacement on the Internet. All of the Airstreams I have owned have had these plastic regulators with the green/red indicators. Really cheap looking and flimsy.

If you shut off your propane tanks and the regulator shows... green. Look later in the day and... RED. They leak, too. All I have owned do this. C... R... A... P.

The 2019 is not different than earlier ones I have had... that so far... none have gone... 100% bad. Just seem to be ready to fall apart just looking at it.

After some research, more RV's use these and have had trouble. Just great... . So I bought an exact replacement and keep it in the trailer when traveling.

As you will discover. If you are 100% prepared... nothing ever happens or is needed.

The day you are not prepared... guess what? I do not want to carry a spare Airstream around for parts, either. Water filter, OK. Plumber's tape, OK. Grease for the hitch, OK. At least some basic tools and some unique to the hardware used on the Hitch Assembly and trailer itself.

*******

An example. We topped off our Diesel in Austin, Nevada. Pulled over to let the two Blue Heelers out to do something on the short list beginning with water. A guy and wife were looking at a wheel on their overloaded single axle trailer being towed with THREE motorcycles and heavy stuff.

He was pulling on the right side wheel. It was LOOSE. I mean... loose like... whoa there, this wheel is loose!

A flat bed dealer installed new bearings, greased them... and missed the adjusting nut for the bearings by a notch or two.

The owner had a screw driver and a 'monkey wrench' for tools.

We agreed his trip to California would end up short and alongside the road, so I pulled out my assortment of tools, showed him how to use them, removed, greased, reattached and adjusted the tension on the bearings. His wife began to cry as they were in dire straights and never thought someone with a full compliment of tools would be walking their dogs and be able to get them back on the road.

Austin, Nevada... nothing open but a Service Station with snacks and gas. Not even a stop light.

So you may not use your tools yourself... you can help someone else some day and justify hauling all of this stuff. He wanted to pay me and I refused. I said you 'owe me a post card when you get home'. Well... maybe he did not make it. We will see.

My work is not on a warranty, but after pulling wheels and bearings on trailers and my worn out cars in my youth... they should have made it, as we saw them a mile or so heading towards the Sunset....
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Old 05-27-2020, 06:02 PM   #15
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Being prepared. I carry a 15 foot logging chain. So far 5 others have benefitted from it being pulled out of snowbanks. It saved my ass once at a boat launch where I lost traction. 6 times in 35 years is not much until it’s time again and you need it.
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Old 05-27-2020, 06:25 PM   #16
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The couple needing the wheel bearing work sent a card of Sundial Bridge at Redding, California. Posted May 19 and arrived... on the 26th. All worked out. Maybe the heat slowed the mail down. Hit 100F today. Time to head back to the High Country.

I opted for a 100 foot nylon rope. We had some snow flakes in Boulder City two years ago. Need to get back to Wyoming where there could be use for a rope. Butch Cassidy and Gang also come to mind...

Beaver Rim, Wyoming... May 2020 photo.
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Old 05-28-2020, 06:46 AM   #17
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Looks like May is a little early to be up there.
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Old 05-28-2020, 10:49 AM   #18
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Our Airstream is the best TENT we have owned

Quote:
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Looks like May is a little early to be up there.
****
Wyoming, as you already know has two Seasons.

Cold, Snowy and Ice.
Warm, Snowy and Ice.

Canadian Clippers are no different, but add ****er to the end of Cold.

We have had snow in August in the Rocky Mountain Sun Belt. We have had Frost when the newspapers do not report, as they only report temperatures in TOWNS. Do not let what you read in the newspaper or see on the Weather Channel fool any of you.

When in the Rocky Mountains... it can be raining and snowing in the mountains... and in town everyone is wearing shorts and tee shirts. If you have heard "Drive in Dry and Warm and leave Wet and Cold" welcome to Climate Change on steroids.

The Front Range of Colorado have ski season into late Spring... or later, if you like to shorten your life on ice at sunrise and slop afterwards... Those who have... you are nodding your head, aren't you?

Fishing is good, most of the time, if you are using Gearheart hand tied flies. I caught a 12 pound... tree limb without a fly. Beat that.

Gearheart had a large Canadian Flag on Beaver Rim, Wyoming when we all set up camp on the 2016 Wyoming Adventure. I mean BIG. I thought the Cowboys out of Lander, Wyoming would be up there to save the country from invaders from the Northland. Well... the Wyoming WIND obviously did the invaders in... as it was gone... maybe Gone with the Wind, sequel? Nope. A Wyoming Wind keeps the grass short and the trees from getting tall... Thank you.

We tent camped for one season after selling the 2014 International. I include a photo. Tail Gate camping at its best.

The next Spring we bought a 2019 International. We are too... well, lets say I learned my lesson and made the proper changes. Nancy, I and the two Blue Heelers all agree. Airstream provides the best TENT money can buy... and a lot of money that seems to be everywhere today and our $2400 showed up just in time to get out of the Mohave Desert soon.
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Old 05-28-2020, 12:53 PM   #19
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I remember that windy morning. We left the awning deployed to dry some wet clothing on it. 05:00 in the dark we were out, en deshabillee, taking in the awning. 1 of the tie down straps was torn in 2 the other was badly frayed. Pix and Karen had apparently left their windows open. I heard muttering about a trailer full of dust the next day. My flies catch wood very well. There’s a pine tree on Grey’s River that took a half dozen of those caddis patterns.
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Old 05-28-2020, 04:25 PM   #20
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Connie and I decided to head up the hill (into the Bighorns) a couple of days ago. We started out with light jackets and wished we had brought our heavier coats. A half hour later we were carrying our jackets complaining that it was too hot. There is still a fair amount of snow, which the dog enjoys rolling in, but most of the major roads were dry and passable. A lot of pseudo locals (WY 17 county plates) have staked out their favorite dispersed campsites already, and hadn't made too much of a muddy mess getting in there. It got down to the low 30's here in Buffalo a couple of nights ago, I'm sure that it was in the low 20's up the hill. Camping season is getting off to a slow start, but it's starting.
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