Ah… the Sound of Silence.
There really is a sound to it, you know. On a boondocking trip deep in the Michigan woods in Ogemaw County, we heard it good.
There was the crackle of our campfire. A hoot of a distant owl. The yips of a pack of coyotes somewhere far to the west. The gurgle of the Rifle River moving over a stretch of rocks just downstream from where we were camped. The whooshing sound of wind whipping through a stand of pine.
And on that clear night, the sound of boondocking silence comes with a view.
Up above, as soon as you walked away from the fire and got your night eyes focused, a gazillion stars speckled the ink black sky.
That’s the first big perk of boondocking, or being totally self-contained with no commercial power or water or sewer or any other service. Some people prefer to call it “dry camping” or “independent camping.” Other terms are “primitive camping” or “dispersed camping.”
Whatever, we were loving it.
No one else was around. Probably for miles.
Tai, our Norwegian Elkhoud, ran free, though not very far from our motorhome. I swear he smiled the whole weekend, blissfully exhausted from leash-free hikes and the new scents of deer trails and the deep woods.
We slept with the blinds up and the windows open with complete privacy.
In our all electric Roadtrek eTrek, with solar power and a diesel heater connected to the engine, we can go that way for days. In fact, the limiting factor for us out there is how much food we can bring. More often than not, we need to resupply about every three days. Because we have eight house batteries, 250 watts of solar power, a diesel generator that charges the batteries on a half hour or so by just running the engine, a refrigerator, heater, microwave/convection oven, air conditioner and inductive stove that are powered by a 5,000 watt inverter, our eTrek is made for boondocking like that.
But most all Class B motorhomes can boondock, some for a night or so, others a couple days.
My friend Campskunk is the boondocking king. He’s written here extensively about his favorite places, including yesterday’s post about alternative places to camp in the wake of the governmental shutdown that closed out national parks.
Me? I use the Internet and apps to help me find new places to boondock.
For starters, check out the app for iPhone, iPad and Android devices by AllStays (www.allstays.com). They list more than 22,000 commercial campgrounds, state and national parks and boondocking spots, everything from KOAs and Walmarts to state and federal forests, military and BLM land. This is my favorite app and website, offering the most detailed information of any app I’ve yet found on places to stay.
While the regular AllStays app is great, the paid version, AllStays Pro, is the major go-to site Jennifer and I use for finding places to stay that really stand out, especially out of the way boondocking spots and free places to stay. Since Jennifer and I discovered AllStays Pro, the browser-based subscription site, we rely on it almost exclusively in our RV travels. AllStays has generously offered 10% off the AllStays Pro subscription if you use this link and the discount code RVPODCAST when you signup.
There are other resources.
Harvest Hosts is a unique membership service that lets RVers camp overnight FOR FREE at lovely outdoor venues such as wineries, breweries, museums, farms, orchards, and creameries. You can get 10% off the Harvest Host annual membership ($49) using the discount code: HHFriends
Another resource to help you find free or very low-cost places to stay while traveling in your RV is called OvernightRVParking.com. As of today, it has a database of nearly 13,800 locations around North America that can be searched, listing places that allow and prohibit overnight RV parking. The site is a subscription service – $24.95 a year. I had a great conversation with the owner and he has made a nice offer to our readers. If you decide to sign up, he will extend your membership from 12 months to 15 months. That works out to a pretty nice discount so use the link above to sign up and receive your 3 free months!
Free Campgrounds for RVs (http://www.freecampgrounds.com) has a big database, sorted by state, of state, federal and county land open to camping, most without hookups or services.
For boondocking and camping information about National Forests, check out the very useful U.S. National Forest Campground Guide (http://www.forestcamping.com). Much of the research was done by Fred and Suzi Dow, a couple of avid RVers who have spent the last 17 years visiting 155 national forests, 20 national grasslands, 1 national tallgrass prairie and 2,383 developed campgrounds.
I also like the Free Campsites website (http://freecampsites.net). There’s an interactive map as well as comments and reviews of boondocking spots.
You can also check the site http://boondocking.org. It’s a database of free boondocking spots based on GPS coordinates. Enter in your location’s latitude and longitude and it will tell you whether the closest boondocking spot may be.
Those are some of my favorite boondocking resources. How about you? Share your suggestions under comments.