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Old 03-23-2016, 06:08 PM   #1
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Ray Eklund's Avatar
2019 27' International
2014 25' International
2006 23' Safari SE
Boulder City , Nevada
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 5,703
Weekend Boondockers... tough knocking

It is so easy to ignore trailer owners on the Airforums, who would enjoy learning about Boondocking and Base Camping... but have 'limited free time'. This is directed towards an inquiry from Dave, Colorado.

You know... those campers whose free time are weekends, holidays and vacation time from work, that are precious and limited towards special uses.

I plan my Base Camping in the Rocky Mountain region with a predetermined time frame. This is most effective for most of Colorado, northern (Taos) New Mexico and areas that are within a few hours driving from a major town or city.

My schedule works within a Monday to Friday routine, moving from one camp to the next. I stay put on Saturday and Sunday, as this is when the majority of campers are heading into the High Country. Then, began to move on Monday to Thursday, stay put Friday or move further away from the populated areas and catch some more remote weekend sites.

There is nothing more frustrating than going into the National Forest to discover every developed space is already occupied. This situation can get so bad in some areas, that a trailer might be left at the site during the week in order to have the campsite for the weekend. It is a First Come, First Serve opportunity, although some do cheat by leaving something at a prime camping site. This is done to hold the spot for those scarce three day Holidays, while the rest of the family arrives to set up camp... later.

Just traveling to a camp requiring three or four hours of driving, set camp and do some hiking, fishing or laying back, wake up the next morning and promptly leave for home among the bumper to bumper highway traffic out of the High County. This is particularly familiar to Colorado. Highways 70, 24 and 50 into the High Country are particularly tough to navigate during these times.

Some Weekend Boondockers might have some suggestions how you manage to get your trailer attached, travel and spend some leisure time at popular areas that are First Come, First Serve... or do you 'reserve' a campsite and avoid the grief?
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Old 03-23-2016, 07:23 PM   #2
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Box Elder , South Dakota
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Ray you are on point. There is no such thing as first come first serve in the Rockies during the 'season' unless you get way off the grid. Folks the make the drive out of Denver and park the rig on Thursday then go home until Friday night or the weekend means if it is within a couple of hours drive those places are full. Reservations need to be made at the first drop of the reservation window. Non private parks could solve some of this by taking a one night non refundable deposit. How many times have you looked at the NFS or state sites and every weekend is booked solid yet if you take a chance and pull up in the morning on a Saturday you probably have a better than even chance of getting a space from a cancellation that didn't cost the booker a dime other than the small charge from the reservation company.

That's why boon docking, if you are equipped, makes life much simpler. Can still be challenging but gives you many more choices since you are picking the spot.
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Old 03-24-2016, 02:42 PM   #3
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2019 27' International
2014 25' International
2006 23' Safari SE
Boulder City , Nevada
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 5,703
Weekend Boondockers... you do not need to PM or email me... post your experiences.

This is how we learn as a group. If I have to tell different LIES to each who PM me, I will be confused, you will be confused and nobody learns one single thing.

There are more Weekend Boondockers than those of us who can attach the tow vehicle and trailer and be off on a whim. At least that is how we do it.

I say... Honey... we have not been to the Badlands of Nebraska for a couple years. Lets go check them out and catch a milk shake in Crawford, NE, spend a day or two at Fort Robinson, catch a Melodrama, have a good dinner, take showers, swim in the Olympic Pool and maybe run over to Buffalo, WY and hassle Thalweg and wife... and so life goes on.

In Castle Rock I might say... Honey... how about we hook up the tailer and run up to the South Platte River and see if we can figure out if there is a camp site to spend the night. Toss the Blue Heelers into the river, and just call it a Weekend Adventure.

That will be this Summer.

I just spent five hours busting snow drifts off the driveway, with my ATV and 48" plow, this Morning of "concrete snow" just so I could get our trash can next to the street. Next, use the 4x4 pickup to bust my out and go into Castle Rock, get the biggest cheeseburger, fries and refills of soda before I just collapse and am drowned when this stuff melts in a few days.
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Old 03-24-2016, 04:27 PM   #4
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Buffalo , Wyoming
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We're very fortunate in our location. We've scoped out a few premium locations that we can be in within a half hour drive of the house. In the Bighorns there are several well known/well used boondocking areas. We try to avoid those as the ATV traffic and noisy neighbors gets annoying. I operate under the premise that if I can see or hear anyone else, it's too crowded. Sometimes in the summer, we'll just leave the camper in the mountains for a couple of weeks at a time, and head up on the weekends. It's nice that we can have a 20 degree temperature drop within 20 miles of the house. So on hot weekends, it's nice to head to the hills where it's cooler.

We do try to avoid holiday weekends because it does get crowded everywhere. A week prior to any holiday, we see lots of 17 county plates (Gillette) heading to the mountains to stake their claim. They'll park a car, or a camper, or a boat, or sometimes a makeshift sign at a spot to "reserve" it. Start a discussion about that with my wife if you want to hear a rant. Just warn me when you're going to start that discussion so I can run away.
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Old 03-25-2016, 11:08 AM   #5
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2014 27' FB International
Denver , Colorado
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Thanks Ray for your voicing of this "Boondocking on weekends" topic. It has dawned on me that finding secluded spots near Denver are at a premium and therefor kept on the down low. I'm sure that over time and with getting the opportunity to make new friends that enjoy this lifestyle, that I'll come to learn of some hot spots as well and want to keep them from becoming public knowledge as well.

With that being said, any advice or anyone planning a weekend trip that wouldn't mind having some company, please let me know. We are getting our first AS delivered next week and very excited. Plan on spending a couple weekends getting situated in Golden to load up supplies and start getting familiar with the AS. Reserved a couple weekends at a few popular campsites to make sure we can get in as well as booked a Yellowstone trip in August. But really looking forward to getting off the beaten path as soon as we are confident and able.

Looking forward to meeting any and all members and thank you in advance for your advice and willingness to help a Greenhorn!

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Old 03-25-2016, 08:14 PM   #6
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Richfield/SLC , Utah
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Some Weekend Boondockers might have some suggestions how you manage to get your trailer attached, travel and spend some leisure time at popular areas that are First Come, First Serve... or do you 'reserve' a campsite and avoid the grief?[/QUOTE]

Our camping habits definitely fit into this 'weekend warrior' category. We like the convenience of dry camping in a good USFS or State Park CG, and we stick pretty close to a 100 mile radius around Richfield, Utah due to time constraints and a higher mileage TV.

I try to plan a few weeks ahead and reserve good spots using or the Utah state website. Have been able to use GoogleEarth and website photos to pick the better reservable sites at sites we've not stayed at before. I can get weekends reserved (say Thursday through Sunday) provided we plan a few weeks ahead, and stay away from holiday weekends. I like the certainty of knowing I've got a good spot, particularly considering the 27' length of trailer plus need for truck parking (pull-thrus are always nice.)

When we do stay at a CG, we walk through and note the numbers of the reservable sites we like best, for future reference. I also have to consider cell phone availability as work requires me to 'remain available' 24/7. I have a sat. phone which works in remote areas, but not inside the AS.

My method will get tougher over time, as the area we frequent has been discovered and there's more visitors each passing year. In fact, the Utah Tourism Office is launching a new ad campaign promoting the roads and byways of the state, as well as the Mighty 5. It's all good.

We may try some boondocking once we get the hang of how to plan these stays - i.e. where dispersed camping is allowed, etc.

Regards - Ron

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Old 03-25-2016, 08:33 PM   #7
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Kansas City , Missouri
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We started AS camping mid-season last year, so we are still a bit green.

We have found 3 places we like that are A- Reservable, and B -2 hours or less from our storage facility. This allows us to get a reservation several months in advance for sites we like, and can get to and set up before dark, after work, on Friday night. That assumes we scoot out of the office an hour or 2 early on Friday

And we can be back home early Sunday afternoon to attend to laundry and shopping, and to get the car washed and vacuumed and ready for the next work week. And have Sunday Dinner at home with extended family.

We are hoping to get a few boondocks at a friend's lakehouse in before it gets too warm to sleep in the ozarks without AC.

Ironically, we found in the Kansas Flint Hills we will need to run AC in summer in the afternoon, but may be able to sleep with windows open at night. Very refreshing.

And we are doing a long trip to Yellowstone/Grand Teton early July. That will be a strange combo of RV parks en route, and NP campground with no hookups while in Yellowstone and GTNP.

I think that a year from now I will have a lot more experience under my belt, and really start to get my Stream Legs.

We also keep notes about what sites we have stayed at, liked or disliked, and other preferred sites for returning to campground we like.

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