Skip to Content

A Total Change of Pace: Why We Boondock

| Updated Nov 6, 2021

It sounds like it's raining. But it's not. It's the sound of acorns dropping from the oak trees all around us as we boondock in the middle of the woods overlooking the Rifle River in northern Michigan's Ogemaw County.

This is not a particularly pretty time of the year. The beautiful fall leaves have turned brown and now cover the ground. Only the oaks, with their shriveled up leaves and their dropping acorns, still have a covering.

There's a bumper crop of acorns this fall

Squirrels are running all over gathering the bounty. Deer, too. The animals seem to know winter is coming and the heavy acorn crop and their early drop across the upper Midwest appears to verify the Farmer's Almanac prediction of another really rough winter.

Jennifer and I came up Thursday night. We'll stay through Sunday. This is one of our favorite boondocking spots. It's on a 200-acre hunk of privately owned land surrounded by thousands of acres of state forest.  The property is owned by my brother-in-law and is totally undeveloped. If we were in anything larger than a Class B motorhome, there's no way we'd get to our boondocking spot, accessible only by dirt two-track located a mile off a paved country road.

Or spot deep in the woods
Our spot deep in the woods

We need no electrical or water hookups. Our Roadtrek carries its own fresh water supply. The eight house batteries, always supplemented by 250 watt by solar panels, gives us enough power to last four or five days out here before we have to tun the engine and have those eight batteries recharged in about 20 minutes to a half hour.

Our Webasto heater – and we needed it last night as the temperature dropped to the lower thirties Fahrenheit – runs on diesel, off the vehicle's fuel tank. It uses so little that I can't even see a drop in the fuel gauge after a weekend's heater use.

We've been coming here for two decades, long before we got an RV. Now, with our Roadtrek Etrek, we use this land as a place to retreat from the world. Friends have asked if they can join us on one of our boondocking weekends. We politely say no. This is our special hideaway, a place not to be shared.

We truly can get away from it all up here.

My view atop the High Banks

I'm sitting in a chair on what the locals call the “High Banks,” a spot abut 150 feet above where the Rifle makes one of its snake-turning bends. I frequently see white tail deer just upstream coming down to drink. I hear no traffic. No noise at all but the dropping acorns.

Jennifer and I and Tai took an hour long hike last night and another one just a few minutes ago.

We'll spend the day reading. I'll build a campfire late afternoon and we'll sit around it tonight, shoulder to shoulder, watching the flames, saying not very much, but very much enjoying each others company. At some point before we turn in, we'll walk away from the fire and look up at the night sky. If there's no cloud cover, the whole Milky Way can be seen like a dust across the black sky.

During the day, we usually take an afternoon nap. I like to sit in my chair overlooking the river and write.

Not very exciting, is it? Not for Jen and I, anyway. Tai finds it very exciting. He's chasing squirrels right now. He's learned not to bark. To hunt like a coyote. Sneaky and quiet. And, yes, he occasionally does get one.

No. It's not exciting at all for Jennifer and me.

What it is, though, is a total change of pace. It's decompressing. Restoring. Refreshing. Total escape from the stress and demands of everyday life.

That's why we boondock.

Because we can get away. Completely.


Mike Wendland

Published on 2014-10-26

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

23 Responses to “A Total Change of Pace: Why We Boondock”

September 12, 2016at1:22 am, Jessica Meinhofer said:

This sounds so lovely. We really need to get solar and a generator. We need to get away from the RV parks some times and aren’t able to yet. We will get there though. Thanks for sharing!!

November 07, 2014at10:23 am, Janet Arnold said:

I do this in the desert. Love it out there.

October 27, 2014at11:02 am, Susan Harrison said:

Would like to know if there is a handicap accessible road trek. My son is handicap & we want to purchase a road trek???

October 28, 2014at10:53 pm, Dave said:

From RT’s updated website under Support/FAQ:

Although a wheel chair lift is not available from Roadtrek Motorhomes, your Roadtrek 170 or 190 can be built with a level floor and one or more seats removed to accommodate installation by an after-market company.

October 27, 2014at10:44 am, Steve and Gaitha Athans said:

Mike and Jennifer…Everyone needs a getaway like this at times…although I understand why a few do not. Gaitha and I are very “people connected” and it’s great. But there are those wonderful times to just be alone with yourself and you thoughts…to renew, refresh, and recharge. You are blest for having such a place…Happy Trails!

October 27, 2014at10:28 am, Gary Hennes said:

As to the quiet and the solitude – Amen, Mike and Jennifer. We have a 160 acre place like that up near the Canadian border in NE MN. My fondest memories are just sitting up in the gazebo, listening to the wind in the trees and watching the stars.

October 27, 2014at10:25 am, Janet O'Neil said:

Peace and quiet!!!!!!

October 27, 2014at9:23 am, Theresa Hopwood said:

I don’t think I would take my laptop though!

October 27, 2014at9:23 am, Theresa Hopwood said:

I would love to do this!

October 27, 2014at9:20 am, Joe Todd said:

Enjoyed the post

October 27, 2014at12:09 am, Dallas Stone said:

Great article and I hear you on having a private spot to camp.

October 26, 2014at1:02 pm, Dorothy Short Inglis said:

For me, boon docking is the only way to go; I love the solitude of the wilderness. It’s where I always go to recharge my batteries.

October 27, 2014at10:26 am, Janet O'Neil said:

Sounds wonderful!

October 26, 2014at12:59 pm, Sharon Percenti said:

Single person comment: This would be great if you have a partner or other friends. I wouldn’t want to be there alone. Try it by yourself sometime, without partner or pets. Just not the same joy in it. Much more fun and enjoyable when you can share experiences with others I think.

October 26, 2014at12:37 pm, Cheryl Schreiber Theurer said:

Pure joy. I love reading your posts.

October 26, 2014at12:04 pm, Pat Mesic said:

To me camping is being cut off from all technology. A book or some magazines, a campfire and some good food and a cup of tea or coffee.

October 27, 2014at10:26 am, Janet O'Neil said:

Yep!! You go girl!

October 26, 2014at11:28 am, Mike Pete said:

Nothing better than taking the laptop out while boondocking! Just make sure it has enough battery power if you use it wirelessly!

October 26, 2014at10:43 am, Marty said:

That sums it up very well. As I write this my wife and I are boondocking in our favorite spot as well doing exactly what Mike said, decompressing : )

October 26, 2014at10:34 am, Leslie Eskra said:

That’s what I call getting away from it all! When I’m at my trailer so long as I have books and a comfortable place to sit especially if it’s a rainy weekend – I’m happy!!

October 26, 2014at9:18 am, Karsten Askeland said:

That Mr. Wendland is what I would call … THE GOOD LIFE!!!

October 26, 2014at7:58 am, Rejean Trudel said:

in my point of vue, that’s…LIFE

Comments are closed.

Back to top