Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

Boondocking vs Campgrounding

Staying at commercial or “developed” campgrounds is nice for convenience. I’ve done so when no other options were available, and when I needed a lot of amps in 115vac power to run tools or the small vacuum cleaner. The following is a video which promotes an upcoming Overland Expo near Flagstaff, which also reflects my biased perceptions of why I like to stay in more remote areas. A TT (travel trailer) doesn’t work so well for the rough stuff, but you can still get isolated in some very nice territory here and there. The Overland Expo caters to the pop-up truck camper and motorcycle crowds as well as tenters. These folks enjoy exploring areas where no other hardware can get to. The last 25% of this video is credits, but the bulk of it is superbly done. Enjoy!

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13 thoughts on “Boondocking vs Campgrounding

  1. Wow thats gettin out there Doug. You ever wonder about the mighty Ford giving out on you in the boonies? I will be camping in my slidein camper with my Ford F150 4×4 and I certainly have thought about it happening. Something very inexpensive could shut me down just as easily as a blown engine etc.

    • The thought does occur, and until you get out here, it’s hard to appreciate just how much trouble you could get into simply by having a starter solenoid decide to quit. Heck, some RVers just yesterday drove their towed car up toward Ferguson Lake and ripped open their car’s oil pan at about 4PM on the way back. Lucky some young people in a Jeep happened by, with a tow strap. It’s a rough road in places, but I’m still trying to figure out where there’s a hole deep enough to expose the pan. Here’s one article about someone with a 4WD camper that’s more equipped and knowledgeable than most. Since I don’t/can’t get seriously out there with the Defiant, and try to limit exploring with the Mighty Furd to a walkable distance with water, breakdowns are a concern, but not seriously yet: only 60K miles and coming up on 6 years old.

  2. Earl /ACE on said:

    Propane now selling for $34.00 on a refill @ ACE in McHenry some higher up to $50. rumors of thefts of tanks on back yard grills.

    • Crikey, Earl, that compares to $12 and change to fill a 20-pounder here in Yuma, and about $22 for a 30-pound tank! That’s like a $10 jump in a year for you, isn’t it? And that makes me wonder if you’re still the cheapest source in the area. Someone in the pipeline is being naughty.

  3. Thats one thing I wonder about for my big trip is propane and gas prices. I am a insulin dependant diabetic and my frig in the camper is going to have to run on propane. Not sure how much it will use. Its of course from the seventies and is a three way, elec., 12volt, or propane. Also my Ford F150 gets about 15-16 mpg on the highway empty, no idea what it will get with the camper on it and loaded down, plus tooling around on back roads. Last year the propane usage was 3-4 weeks per month with nothing but the frig. using propane.

    • Well Bill, my opinion, which is free and worth every penny you pay, is to worry about gasoline prices more. My 6.1 cubic foot 2-way doesn’t use much propane and neither does stovetop cooking. Hot water heater usage seems to matter more. I was about a month on 30 pounds but have dropped to three weeks with more hot water usage. That would be bad in high-cost areas, but having to head for town often, or just exploring the area makes that cost chicken feed compared to gasoline.

      I’m getting 16-18 MPG bare and averaging 10 with the TT attached, doing 60 MPH. I have to think a truck camper is also a lot of air to push and one thing’s for sure: your mileage ain’t gonna get any better with it on there!

  4. Hey Doug I liked the way you always gave your mileage when driving. Amazing how much the headwind or tailwind affected it. You are right my old style camper is a wind block going down the hiway. I noticed last year on the other truck that 50mph was a happy place for my veggie diesel truck with the camper mounted. Not because of the veggie fuel but the camper pushing so much air, I could go faster but it was not worth the throttle increase on the old girl. My Ford is a 2007 and does not display the gas mileage so I will have to use my “butt dynometer”! LOL I still have my old dually and love her and she runs great but I am gonna save her the strain and let the Ford go with me this time. Plus the Ford is 4×4 which.is better, a dually is not good off road. They get stuck easy, its got to do with the rear tires not tracking in the front tires path.

  5. Hey Doug where are you. Do I neec to get a paper for Yuma and check out the obits? Give us a hello pardner plz? Thanks, Bill

    • Still alive, Bill! I’ve got a to-do list a mile long and, despite appearances, full-timing is not the same as a full-time vacation – at least not for me. There’s a ton of stuff I’m trying to get done before I break from Yuma & then Quartzsite.

      • Gmornin Doug!!! I have a technical question plz? I have a 2007 Ford F150 4×4. I am going to install a cargo carrier into my hitch plugin. I need to lower it to give the carrier enough room for my generator without hitting the generator when I put the tailgate down. I was wondering when you are hitched up and traveling on those dirt roads how much distance there is from the ground to the lowest point of your hitch? The cargo carrier will have my bicycle rack on the rear. Total from bumper to bicycle rack will be around 27 inches. I know this sticking back will hit first when I go thru a gully or low spot. I figure from reading your posts you are very aware of these kinds of things. Also while I am asking my tires have a lot of tread left but they are regular tires not 10 ply or anything, do you think I could drive on the dirt roads out there?

        • Bill, it’s pretty much a pick and choose thing as far as trails and paths go. An F150 with a camper and loaded carrier off the bumper is going to have clearance issues at times, and you’ll simply need to pick your route and occasionally get out and look, to learn where you are on clearance. You could consider having a front hitch installed instead, if you’re rich. My guess is that in general you’ll be fine, but will need to get a feel for trails that other people call rough or not big-rig friendly. You may drag a corner of the carrier when climbing or descending the shoulder on a turnoff or intersection. My own hitch clearance loaded, I don’t know, but I can say that clearance isn’t much because of the weight distribution bars hanging underneath. I’ve come close to grounding that out, but by that time, I’m sweating what will happen at the tail of the trailer, with 10+ inches of clearance on a 9′ overhang. You won’t be nearly as bad off as me, but you will have to “stop, look & listen” as you discover what situations you need to avoid. Any area with a sign advising “high clearance” will likely be a problem for you. No one else will really be able to advise you on where to go or stay away from.
          The dirt/gravel roads should be okay for your tires since you won’t be on those roads full-time. They do need to be in decent shape and may suffer cuts in the rubber or small chunks of tread wedged out over time. You may want to avoid more strenuous trails or ones which you know will invite wheelspin under load. More plies is a piece-of-mind thing. Less plies means your spare needs to be inflated and accessible, just in case. I’ve only been out here a year and a half on 6-year-old load range E AS tires. Not all that much tread left, but other than chunks of tread missing, I’ve had no problems. Then again, I’ve done a minimum of “adventure driving” that would push them even moderately. Bed loaded but not hitched, the Furd weighs 9,000 pounds, so that’s enough punishment all by itself. The sun and dryness are actually tougher on them than the gravel, but all together they are an issue.

          • Thanks Doug for the quick info. I really think I will be ok with.my tires. The carrier tho…. Maybe but if you havent frug your stabilixer and weight things on your equalizer hitch I feel some better. I really dont want to lose the cargo you know. Hope you are gettin the to do list narrowed down.

            • Oh, I think that if you take it slow and keep your driver’s window open in questionable areas, you’ll very quickly find out where you need to pay attention to terrain. A lot of people here use those carriers for waste tank dumping and they do ride low, but that’s because they’re so far back and full of liquid.

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