Monday, March 11, 2013


Ever since we started to be “Snowbirds” our idea of spending the winters was dominated by finding the open spaces where camping was free and where we could be close to nature. It is something we would never change.

Of course, it was the posting of Rick from Rick and Paulette’s RV Travel which brought me to writing this post.

But back in 2005 there was a learning curve ahead of us. How would we maintain battery power? Where would we get water and what would we do with our wastewater? These are three central topics we had to address.
With help of the internet we found places where we could purchase solar panels. They would produce power for our batteries. With that we also needed an inverter and a charge controller. We made an order and picked it up on the way south.
In order to store the energy we needed a battery pack of deep-cycle batteries.
We found them at Costco!

We bought a 50gal water tank to haul water and we found out that there were plenty of dump stations along the way for wastewater disposal.

It wasn’t really complicated. Or was it?

Well, we had also to learn that the capacity of our solar panels had to match the capacity of our batteries. And we had to learn that if that wasn’t the case we still needed a generator.
So we bought one “El Cheapo”. It spoke Chinese to me and it was loud. We hated it and got rid of it again. We bought a HONDA EU 2000i. It wasn’t cheap, but the thing can be carried around without breaking your back. It produces up to 2000W and runs 12hrs on one gallon of fuel. And we didn’t disturb our neighbors anymore. That saved the peace! 
We ran that thing for 2-3hrs most evenings – that was enough to provide a charge to our batteries until the sun would do its work next morning.

Meanwhile, we have more solar power. We haven’t run our generator for 2 months straight. It is quiet around here. We hear the birds singing and the coyotes howling. We are near nature. It isn’t all about saving money. It is about much, much more.
hotspringcamp01 Lake_Ki001
But we’ve learned something else: Over the years we’ve learned that we cannot waste our energy. We should not waste our water! Our society is wasteful. In fact, our society’s total energy consumption is mind-boggling. Everyone has to pay the price. Boondocking is the most environment friendly way of living we know of. It fits our desire to live close to nature.

Of course, not all RVers want to be boondockers. Some won’t feel safe in boondocking spots, others are bored and don’t know what to do all day, and yet others love the clubhouse, the pools and all the comfort.
If we don’t like our neighbor we move. Our BLM permit is good on all BLM lands in California and Arizona. We’ve got the big choice.

When people were nomadic they had the same choice. We are nomads and we will never change. Our bodies will get old one day, but our minds will stay nomadic. Our minds will be on the road.

Thanks for dropping by!


  1. You really nailed it down. We do boondock, but not that often anymore... it's the last part that I really can relate to... we CAN live without all the gizmos that require so much energy. We prefer to live without using up natural resources... and we have made the choice to be nomads... enjoying the surroundings without infringing on others (human or otherwise) rights and freedoms.

  2. Preach, Brother!

    The boondocking, nomadic life suits us. We've stayed at parks a few times, when absolutely necessary, but that leaves me feeling flat.

  3. We boondock as much as you do but we are not yet in a position to buy solar or the Honda generator. But like you, we wouldn't trade boondocking for a park. We are in one today because we had nowhere to dump. Turns up with the $18.00 we are paying for one night, we are taking away $20.00 worth of water!

  4. We stay in parks and we boondock. There are good points to each side. However, I love the open feeling of boondocking. I like not being crowded in by neighbors. When we land at a boondocking site there's just something about it we love but we also love when we arrive at a full service park. Isn't it great we have choices and can do a little bit of both. We also have a Honda 2000 and sometimes we need to run it but most times we don't. I couldn't figure out how the person figured it cost $10 a day to run his generator! Ouch! It never cost us that much even before solar! Great post!

  5. Great explanation of boondocking. One of the main reasons we have our lot is because of the boat. But it sure is nice to get out of the park occasionally. We're like Toni and Doug - can't afford the Honda generator or the solar at this point but it sure would be nice.

  6. Well said Peter of this amazing lifetstyle. We love it too, but like to move about so much, have membership camping and my wife does like full hookups most of the time. We do usually get a good mix of both. Not this year but next year for sure.
    Really miss the desert this winter.
    There is still a lot of boon dockers out there! Because we know so many of them.

  7. All good reasons for you to like your boondocking lifestyle, Peter. No argument from me on that at all.

    It doesn't appeal to us at all but that's just our personal preference.

  8. Well, as we all know, I'm way over on the other side of Rick's opinion so I'll just slightly re-phrase his phrase & say, 'RV Parks don't appeal to us at all but that's just our personal preference.....

  9. I enjoyed your post and also enjoy boondocking as well.

  10. I wish I could have expressed myself as well as you. When we bought our last sticks and bricks, we bought in the country. Why? no close neighbors. Same goes for boondocking.

  11. Great post Peter. Couldn't agree more with everything you said. I love boondocking and HATE generator noise when I want the peace and quiet of the desert. I also do not like RV Park(ing) Lots. 'Cause that's what they are. All the rigs so close together and you are looking at someone else's sewer hose.

    I think getting solar pays for itself in no time if you compare it to paying RV Park fees.

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