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MarkC

Boondocking for the newbie

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One of my motivations to purchase an Oliver is its Boondocking ability. I'm curious as to the realistic availabilty of campsites where you don't have to pay.  Having never done this, I'm guessing they are slim to none East of the Mississippi.  Excluding Walmart and rest areas. Just had a thought...what about those big truck stops? Can you stay overnight  without a fee? If I just wanted a place to sleep while covering some miles would probably just use a rest area? Don't know if this is a good idea.  When you are out West in the wide open spaces does one just pull over, camp, and hope you are on public land. Hoping the land owner doesn't show up with a shot gun at midnight to run you off!  Yeah, I know, just pay the $10.00 state forest fee and be done with it. But,  sometimes don't you want to get away from everyone. You see a place you like miles from a town or house to ask permission. Does one stop at the local county seat and get a map of public land?  I bird hunt and fish and had an unpleasant experience trespassing on someones property trying to get to the river. I was total in the wrong and embarrassed.  Didn't know where I was...  Ignorance is no excuse.  Never again.  How does one navigate around private land effectively? Are there publication out there you can recommend?  Or, as I stated earlier do you obtain maps from county, state, or BLM offices?

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I can't comment on boondocking in the East except that it is extremely limited. Nearly all the public land is out West. You can't just stop somewhere at random and cross your fingers. You need maps.

 

Start with Ultimate Campgrounds - it lists most public camping sites and has clickable links so you can access webpages and get site info (requires a cell signal and data plan). http://www.ultimatecampgrounds.com

 

Unfortunately it doesn't have very complete maps, though it did recently get the very nice Google Terrain Maps, so you don't know what is private and what is accessible. Even if you are in a National Forest, you might find yourself in one with checkerboard ownership - scattered blocks of private land embedded within the federal land. The Premium membership of this app works great. You can layer all sorts of info over base maps, for example forest MVUM (motor vehicle use maps) and public land ownership on top of topo or NFS maps, or on top of the wonderful National Geographic Trail Maps.

 

https://www.gaiagps.com

 

Combine it with an iPad or similar tablet and you have a great way to get around in the boonies. It is pretty hard to use well on a phone.,,, Some map types are downloadable, so when the cell signal fades away you can still figure where you are going, if you took the time to preload the map data onto your device. If you plan to buy a device, get the largest drive offered because map files are huge depending on the zoom levels; some are several GB. I have over 45 GB of maps on my iPad Mini 4.

 

There is a ton of info available, you need to do some reading and watching videos. You need to learn about two separate things: overland navigation and RV boondocking. The subjects overlap but they are NOT the same thing. Expedition Portal is a great start. And this has a discount code for Gaia:

 

http://www.lifestyleoverland.com/this-is-the-best-outdoor-navigation-app-ever/

 

You always should have a paper backup map, I strongly recommend the Benchmark state atlases for out west. They are really nice. You can buy a digital version, but IMHO if you are miles back in the desert or forest and your car nav system shows a big grey blank, you need a paper backup in case your other device dies. .. https://www.benchmarkmaps.com/atlases

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA

 

 

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"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

 

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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Those Benchmark Atlases are the best.

 

The apps we use are All Stays, Ultimate Campgrounds, RV Parky, Overnight RV Parking, iOverlander and Boondocking - all for iOS though most will have android versions.

 

We'll also visit the BLM and USFS pages for the areas we'll be traveling, to check out camping opportunities and download maps.  You can also order MVU maps from the USFS for free that will tell you along which roads you can camp.

 

But yes, we've found that a quick visit to a local USFS or BLM office for recommendations is what often leads to the best campsites.  It also lets them know that you're out there in case something were to go wrong.

 

Your best bet east of the rockies will be national forests, though sometimes other departments have free dispersed camping.

 

Different states have different rules about overnighting at a rest stop.  Generally, big rig drivers don't like RVers in 'their' areas, like truck stops - but then, those are usually noisy and smell like diesel anyway so not the best place to stay a night.

 

If you're in desperate need of a place to overnight, stop by the local police or sheriff and ask.  Often they'll know a safe place and will let their officers know that you'll be there so that you won't get bothered.

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Snowball • LE2 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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Mark, what happened to your Garmin? I have had quite a few over the years, they get obsolete, battery worn out, lost, stolen, or gifted, but I have never had one simply die. Even with a dead battery that one would still operate perfectly when plugged in.

 

A caution about using printed resources, unlike the better online ones that send out updates several times a month ,your book is obsolete after a season or two at most due to publishing errors that go unseen, and simple changes in campsite operation. One favorite lake near me (a BLM reservoir) just shut down overnight camping in a bunch of remote lakeside clearings due to abuse. I reported the change to Ultimate Campgrounds and the new info was available a week later in their database update. A COE campground was shut down due to a major landslide and I reported that one months before the highway department got around to altering the sign out on the highway...

 

There should be a rule about posting links to way cool navigation apps that are Android only.... I spent five minutes at OnX before realizing my iPad wouldn’t run it....

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA


"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

 

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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