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Old 09-02-2020, 11:19 AM   #21
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Las Vegas , Nevada
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My thoughts exactly

I'm happy to see someone else with this idea for discussion as I will be going more or less full-time in the near future and my plan is to tow a trailer with a truck that has 100 gallon fresh and gray water tanks in the bed so I can haul out gray/haul in fresh and use a composting toilet so no black tank concerns.
Anyway, I intend to buy parcels of maybe 5-10 acres across the west with an eye toward New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. I figure property tax of maybe a few hundred dollars/year for entirely undeveloped parcels with only drive in access.
I am thinking I will spend a month or two in each location and more or less travel with the seasons and when I get too old for the life I'll simply sell the parcels.
Is this doable or am I nuts?
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Old 09-02-2020, 12:19 PM   #22
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I am thinking of something like this.
My location is close enough to a small rv park, 20 miles, in a town I like to hang out in. I figure composting toilet and staying at the rv park for a day or two every other week to get water and dump grey water and take a loooong shower.
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Old 09-02-2020, 12:39 PM   #23
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Los Altos Hills , California
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Yes. In between Boondocking and RV Port

Thank you. I've been thinking along the same lines, but these posts really help frame the discussion.

I’ll chime in that in some areas ‘honey wagons’ are more common and can be arranged for regular pumping if that's your thing. Or switch to a compost toilet and disperse your grey water through rock filtering or whatever might be applicable in your situation. And, well, compost your compost, if you're good with that kind of thing.
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Old 09-02-2020, 12:39 PM   #24
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also interested
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Old 09-02-2020, 01:11 PM   #25
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Golden , Colorado
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I have thought of the same type of arrangement, but haven't yet moved that direction. I am definitely interested in following this discussion. One topic that hasn't been hit on yet (at least in this thread) is the possibility of an informal network of folks with such sites, sharing them with each other. But that has all sorts of potential implications that we probably won't want to get into on this thread.
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Old 09-02-2020, 01:18 PM   #26
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Conroe , Texas
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Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post

At least in this part of the country, you would need some way to handle black water. That could be a septic setup or a tank that gets pumped out. Once you get that put in, a well is a very common thing to do. Surface water in coal mining country can have all sorts of "Wonderfull" stuff in it .... A rain water collection system would be another option.

We lived in our Airstream for a lengthy period while building. A couple of pertinent thoughts came to mind:

Security - Some neighbors had a hunting cabin in another state. Fine for years until someone found it and took everything including some stuff that WAS nailed down. With some bit of electrical power, you can get a cell modem and internet cameras for inside stuff. Game cameras are fine to a point but I got a lot of alerts so that I ended up turning off the notifications. We use Simplisafe security for both the barn and shop.

Water - Rainwater is pretty straightforward, particularly if you put the tanks underground. When we were sailors, collecting it from your awning was the usual method. Filtration and sanitization are straightforward.

Septic - The "honey wagon" can come by a lot of times for the cost and trouble of installing a septic system. We used a large IBC tote for blackwater and had it pumped a couple of times a year for $75. Grey water went into a small drain field. You can also use the grey water to water your garden. (I imagine that both are prohibited in many locales but I can't imagine any reasonable health dept getting too upset. Seems less invasive than washing your car even though few folks wash their car every day.)
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Old 09-02-2020, 01:24 PM   #27
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I’m still wondering how the OP was able to legally mitigate waste water during a strict 14 day quarantine.
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Old 09-02-2020, 01:41 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by InterBlog View Post
I intend this thread as a paradigm-breaker, and as evidence of that, I note that there is really no suitable child forum in which to place it on Air Forums. It’s really a Lifestyle topic more so than a boondocking topic per se, but there’s no appropriate subsection for it there. The ability to boondock is a prerequisite to this chosen lifestyle, but it’s really incidental to the lifestyle. Nevertheless, I’ll start the thread here under the boondocking section as it seems to be the closest fit of the available choices.

What am I talking about? Well, for 3 years now, my husband and I have been developing a 5-acre lakefront property specifically for our Airstream, as an “enhanced” boondocking destination. The conventional interpretation of boondocking is that it’s something you do on OTHER peoples’ properties, either private or public. What I am talking about is owning the property YOURSELF.

We’ve discussed this previously on a smattering of other threads over the past few years, but with the novel coronavirus pandemic, I think the time is now to take this idea to the next level - people are looking for a greater range of options to “get away from it all”, and access pressures on “regular” camping have never been more restrictive - a lot of the usual options are drying up because of excess demand, as others on this forum have noted.

Next level is particularly a propos given that we just completed our 14-day mandatory quarantine at our property, which is in Canada (we live in America and had to quarantine as a condition of entry into Canada). OK - that’s a game-changer, the idea of needing a remote boondocking property to support ALL needs for weeks at a time with no legal option to leave the site. That takes this option from an informal pursuit into a more serious lifestyle proposition.

Think of it as a deliberate alternative to a cottage lifestyle. What you pay for in this scenario is as follows:

1. Land
2. Access to your land (clearing, driveway / road)
3. Upgrades to your Airstream (MH or trailer) so that it can support itself off-grid
4. Maybe you pay for other amenities depending on the configuration of your site (e.g., perhaps a water tank or water well if your property does not front to a body of fresh water).

What you DON’T pay for in this scenario includes the following:

1. Construction of a dwelling (cottage / cabin) - VERY expensive
2. Running utilities into the property and/or building them on the property (e.g., septic) - VERY expensive
3. Insurance, if you can even get it (in many jurisdictions, it’s not possible to insure an unoccupied structure, and cottages are unoccupied most of the time)
4. Far higher annual real estate taxes based on conventional fixed assets

In other words, your primary investment goes into your rig, not your land. The land is just there to enable your rig.

MY FIRST QUESTION IS — has anyone else adopted this as an intentional lifestyle or approach? Thus far, I am unaware of anyone who has developed the idea as extensively as we have. If you have also done something like this, we can have a lively discussion on logistics.

Here below are a few pics showing our configuration. I have owned this land for 27 years, but for almost all of that time, it sat wooded and untouched. Three years ago, I paid a contractor to put in a section of private road and also to scale a parking pad to our Airstream Interstate, which has a 50-foot turning radius. We began selective clearing of the trees in front of our lake view, only to have Hurricane Dorian roar through last year and do a lot more thinning than we had intended, but we don’t regret the result.

I estimate that I’ve invested about 10% of the cost of what a modest cabin would have cost at this location. But to show for that investment, we have about 75% of the comforts of a cottage because we put the investment into our Interstate instead, primarily into its electrical system (300 watts solar, 300 amp hours lithium battery, 2,000 watt inverter, plus many peripherals).

Here are a few pics. I did an Instagram series (username interstate.blog) of our quarantine, hence the annotation on the second pic, which is from IG.

It’s really a special experience to be able to comfortably enjoy something that is this remote, for weeks at a time, and at minimized overall cost of investment.

I was just thinking about buying some land this past week and use it for boon-docking and here I saw your post! Really like what they say: "great minds think alike?" I'm thinking if there are enough people interested, we could have a exchange website like those house swapping sites. This way we are not locked into your own property and can still travel around the continent during quarantine times.

As for the power, I believe battery technology will be sufficient for solar generation and storage in a few years to support a trailer for a while. Also, if you own one of the Tesla Cybertrucks, the battery inside the truck could support boon-docking as well.

Let's keep this thread alive and keep dreaming!
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Old 09-02-2020, 02:57 PM   #29
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2020 23' Flying Cloud
Sebastian , Florida
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Have you heard of Boondockers Welcome?
I’m not sure I would trust an uber$$ battery system to someone else...
(That man in that tiny can)
(Same man, Bigger can)
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Old 09-02-2020, 04:37 PM   #30
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2020 27' Flying Cloud
Howell , MI
Join Date: Oct 2019
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We are on 5 acres in S.E. lower Michigan about 60 miles NW of Detroit. We are a host site for this program. The website is excellent and has a really good system for making and confirming "stay requests" and for messaging. There are currently about 2,500 host locations in North America, and a few elsewhere. It's $50/year to be a guest member; less (or free) to be a host member. Hosts earn guest credits for each confirmed guest stay.

The default is dry-camping for 1-to-5 nights (at each hosts discretion as listed in their profile) which is always NO CHARGE. There is a recommended donation for use of electricity and many hosts have electricity available, as well as potable water. Some hosts request the donation, some accept the donation if offered, and others (like us) politely decline. We are not running a campground and do not want money changing hands.

This program is not limited to Airstream products, of course, and as a host you would not be allowed to put such a restriction in place. Still, the functionality is already there and working very well. BTW: You can go to the website without being a member and "see" where all of the hosts are located on dynamic map. Note, however, that the locations are "approximate" (25-mile radius circle) and you cannot get any additional location or contact information. That only happens by making a stay request, which requires that you be an active/current member.

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Old 09-02-2020, 04:58 PM   #31
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Interesting stuff, maybe some would find tinyshinyhome.com interesting
1960 Sovereign 33' Pacific Railroad Custom
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Old 09-02-2020, 05:31 PM   #32
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I think this is a great idea but it has brought up some serious points to ponder. But, before that I was wondering what you meant by .....no suitable child forum.....Uh..What?

I also took issue with your definition of Boondocking. You said, "The conventional interpretation of boondocking is that it’s something you do on OTHER peoples’ properties, either private or public." If you get out of Texas, free camping on someone else's property is not Boondocking, it is Trespassing. Be careful if you do this in Washington. Perhaps this is the way you look at things in Texas, the state with the greatest percentage of privately owned land in the nation. We have plenty of state and federal land up here so finding a place to Boondock isn't really that hard.

The best of all worlds is to do what you are planning. If you own a piece of land, you should be able to do what you would like as long as you are not breaking any big rules. You can't run your black tank into the river for example. My inlaws purchased a small piece of ground on a river in Western Washington. The put in a gravel road, leveled a spot for their small motorhome and it was great. Then they ran electrical in and put in a septic system, then a small shed with a fridge and toilet. They had to follow all of the regulations and they did. Kept if for a long time until people started building houses all around them. But, it was a great way to Boondock on your own property.
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Old 09-02-2020, 08:24 PM   #33
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Our set up.....


About 11 years ago, we developed two ocean front pieces of property on the east coast, with the thought being, that we’d do Summers at the northern lot and Winters on the southern lot and then enjoy the long, meandering journey in between the two, during the Spring and Fall…

In developing the property, having phenomenal views was ‘the priority’ at the time, with both lots facing west to capture those nightly sunsets.

…rather than ‘privacy and seclusion’, that might top the list of priorities today in 2020. Also, back 11 years ago, the technology for operating off the grid, wasn’t what is today, so we developed each lot with full hook up utilities as well, which as the OP mentioned, add a significant cost during the land development.

The northern lot is a 2.5 ac parcel in New Brunswick, Canada, about 10 miles from the border crossing in Maine and the southern lot is a ½ ac parcel, on the Florida Panhandle.

As several have mentioned, zoning is a ‘real challenge’, especially near water front areas, as many communities are moving to restrict, RV usage.

Unfortunately, a Cat 5 Hurricane wiped out our southern lot back in late 2018, with the 16 ft storm surge sweeping away my u-shaped driveway, parking pad and all my buried utility lines. With no insurance (can’t insure gravel and utilities with no house on the property), we’ve decided to sell that lot, rather than re-develop it.

The first two photos are of the northern lot, which sits up on a 100 ft cliff and the last two are of the southern lot.

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Old 09-02-2020, 08:45 PM   #34
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San Luis Obispo , California
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Boondock Homesteading in the West

Now THIS is a compelling subject.

My retirement plan is still evolving depending on how receptive the BOSS is to my flow of ideas. I've been thinking, as a California resident, to go North to OR or WA to lower cost of living- based primarily on extremely lower taxes, utilities, and DMV fees, since I have a collection of carbon-burning, rolling devices, including classic car, motorcycles, tow vehicle, etc.

I want to be on the Columbia River (North Bank) or Puget Sound, the weather is rather moist compared to the Central Coast of CA, but either way, either place, I want 2-5 acres and as close to the water or a spectacular view of it, as possible.

Why not avoid buying/building a home, and just a build big steel barn for permanently sequestering valuables and bring the GT 27' along, for living space. As someone said, invest in the rig, not in the real estate. A few extra sites for friends and family could be gradually established. I'll lay out a few 50' X 20' levelled, gravel pads with H2O and electrical, campfire rings and sceptic dump at each, shouldn't be that expensive.

I'll have to counsel with tax experts on what constitutes establishment of residency, 6 months +1 day each year, and then how much infrastructure is required for the qualification? No income tax in WA is very attractive. CA may be balancing its budget by going from the 13% max income tax now- to close to 20% in the not so distant future...thoughts? Comments?
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Old 09-02-2020, 09:51 PM   #35
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We made a trip to the North East in the Fall of 2015. We were leaving Maine and stopped to stretch our legs next to a small dam beside the road. A nice fellow stoped by to talk. He owned a farm in the area and had recently sold his AS. It had never been towed by a conventional vehicle. He moved it around on his property with his tractor. He had been doing this for something like 30 years. So your idea is old hat.

It's boondocking, so no well, sewer or electric power needed. Has to be the simplest idea for enjoying your RV and the area you choose to own.

Good luck with your plan. Pat
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Old 09-02-2020, 10:10 PM   #36
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We have been contemplating the same thing here in BC, Canada. We have been full time since July 2017. In April 2018, we bought an RV site at a small RV Co-op. That saved our bacon when we had to quarantine after returning to Canada this past March. However, RV park living isn’t really our style. We are currently trying to find land where we can have our belongings without having to build a house. It seems as though the more rural the property, the fewer the restrictions regarding building. I’ll be following this thread.
Lisa and Paul

2017 30' FC | 2002 Chinook Destiny | 2008 23' Int. CCD (written off: hail!)
Full-time since July 31, 2017
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Old 09-02-2020, 10:35 PM   #37
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Funny. I have been on the road since 2013. Interesting that after seven years in the road I started looking at this .
I knew what I wanted but have discovered that there are many more issues than just zoning. One place that I had looked at was in Utah. They had incorporated as a town less than two years ago. Their income stream did not match up with their budget. Who pays? Building projects...
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Old 09-02-2020, 10:47 PM   #38
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OP, Great idea and over time your spot will be paradise.

Being west of you. We have hundreds of thousands of miles of free Gov. land to boondock on. So your idea would not work for most out here.

Texas has almost no free Gov. camping land. We were talking last week about the possibility of getting camping leases in Texas. A twist on the hunting lease idea.

The best to you and enjoy your bit of lakefront heaven.
I'd rather be boon docking in the desert.

AIR# 13896
CA 4

Yes, we have courtesy parking for you. About an hour North of Los Angeles.
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Old 09-03-2020, 01:21 AM   #39
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I have been looking at property to do what you have done. I place to get away - but not to far away from home. A piece of property by a lake with woods to hide in.
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Old 09-03-2020, 07:22 AM   #40
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this seems to be more common in Canada our family has a place up at lake charlotte BC where they just put up a pole barn to put the RV under and they have a porta pottie outside and filter lake water and they are set but no zoning or other issues.we looked at doing this in Colorado the county (fremont) actually has tough rules about this ,time you can stay etc .we are looking at Oregon coast now but have been RVing for 30 years and have lots of favorite places,Our solution was .stored the airstream in FLA 5 years ,in Cal 5 years ,in NH 5 years and now in Ma.fly to the local pick up the rig go play .ssafe secure storage is ceap , uber from airport to storage , floghts cost less than the gas . and 2 weeks is really 2 weeks with no travel time to orlando,LA or White Mts
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