Challenges of Boondocking

These are real concerns that will put a crimp in your adventures…

When you read about boondocking you’ll frequently hear how wonderful life is living free on the road.  Well, I am here to tell you not every day is peaches-n-cream.  There are plenty of obstacles you’ll face and many changes you will make.  This post is about a few of those challenges we have faced along our 2600 mile journey.

Over the course of two months on the road I’ve watched many You Tube videos, read many posts and blogs concerning the RV lifestyle.  The majority of information that I have found lead me to believe that the RV life is an all carefree style with limited stress.  I’m here to tell you life in general is stressful.  It doesn’t matter if you live in a house or on the road, problems will arise and have to be dealt with.

The first big issue we faced while being on the road was high-speed internet access.

4G-internet-phone-serviceNow if you are working from your laptop as your main source of income you will be hard pressed to find a steady fast connection.  Yes, you can give it your best shot at the local McDonald’s or Starbucks, but driving your rig to find these locations will get tire-some.  Depending how big your rig is you may not be able to find parking close enough to connect for long.  There also will be days when you wont be able to connect at all. We use Verizon with a Jetpack and still have trouble with a steady signal.  Verizon has dead spots too.  This is just food for thought for those planning on an on-line income.  You may want to rethink your plan.

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Power usage is another biggie to think about.  Are you the kind of person who can’t live without your t.v. shows or video games?  I can tell you even if you have batteries and solar panels the power generated will be limited.  The power that has been stored would be better used to power a refrigerator, an air conditioner, fans or keeping your cell phone charged.  There will be a lot of quite time.  Can you handle the quite? “Silence is golden” as the saying goes only to those who enjoy it.

Storm+warning

Weather conditions are a must to keep track of, rain storms, high winds and hot temperatures.  These conditions can all be a day breaker for the boondocker.  Keep a daily check on your local weather channel to make sure you are not in arms way.  Hot temperatures are the most of my worries living in a RV.  See this post on how we deal with the heat. Spending for a full hookup campsite for power can take a toll on your finances if you are on a limited income.

bathing with a bucket (500x629)

Lastly, get use to limiting your bathing time.  There will be days when you will not bathe.  I know you have probably heard of full-timers that purchase time at a gym to use their showers facilities.  Once again, driving around in a big RV in a heavily populated area to find your shower access will get old.  It’s also expensive, remember you have to pay per person.  You would be better off locating a truck stop and share the shower stall if you’re traveling as a couple.  We’ve used a bucket with water or baby wipes to wash down if a shower wasn’t available.  Change your clothes regularly and don’t forget the deodorant. This will stretch the bathing considerably.

These four issues are not often discussed or are sugar-coated in the camping, boondocking world.  They are real concerns that will put a crimp in your adventures if you’re not prepared to deal with them.  Think it through, be realistic, prepare and enjoy the ride.

Southern Hospitality

It all started last week with a simple post from Facebook.

It all started last week with a simple post from Facebook.  In the most unlikely way a post came over offering us a place to park for a few days.  It caught us both by surprise, we didn’t know what to think or say, “Was this for real?”  Being sceptical, we decided to think on it for a day or two.

The weather was getting hotter and we really needed to find shade.  Maybe it was time to learn a little trust and accept the offer.  We didn’t have to travel far when we were greeted by  (we will call her Gail) a small, cheery-eyed woman with a warm smile and cherry cheeks. She directed us to her back yard to park ‘Dotty’, and there it was… shade, wonderful large oak trees with the charming hanging Spanish Moss.  The perfect place to keep us cool on those hot days.

We spent the first few days getting acquainted.  A lot of question were asked and answered, one being how were we going to finance ourselves? Our plan was to take on odd jobs, (according to our skill sets) and possibly workcamping.  “What are those skillsets, you might ask?”  We have a few at our age, my husband, Bill, is a carpenter by trade and an all around handyman.  Myself, I have a nack for cleaning, organizing and yard work.  Those are my specialities.  Gail was carefully listening to our story and quickly asked if we would like to extend our stay and help her with home repairs and clean up duty.  This was shock number two, we weren’t expecting that question.  She showed us around the house pointing out various needed repairs, back door casing, hanging new drywall, lawn work, etc.  We decided quickly we would like to help her out knowing she wasn’t able to do the work herself.  Labor fee was briefly discussed, however we hadn’t thought about a price, we decided to ask for donations for work completed.  We felt that was fair.  We now were well on our way to our first job with a reference…priceless.

As the days progressed and the work was getting finished a funny thing happened.  We were building a new friendship.  In the evenings we would all relaxed on her wonderful screened in back porch having drinks, meeting neighbors and just having a good ol’time talking about camping and life.  Gail went out of her way to be a gracious host.  She even cooked dinners for us and of course we joined her, she a great cook!  Our few days turned into a week.  We knew we would have to leave soon, we had another committment coming up.

This week was a complete success.  I had heard stories of the kindness of strangers, but have never experienced it.  This boondocking adventure has made us realize there are good people out there.  Gail has shown us there is kind and thoughtful people in this world, people who do care.  She is one of those people we will never forget and hope to see again in the future.  We are forever grateful to have met her and can call her our friend.

Down in the Boondocks

Forty five miles from Savannah, Ga. we traveled to a Barrington County Park, a secluded free camp ground…

Forty Five miles from Savannah, Ga. we headed south to a quaint, hidden, free campground called, Barrington County Park .  On the outskirts of Townsend, Ga. off Hwy 57, there is a sizable camping area off of Harper Lake.  Harper Lake is fed from the Altamaha River system.  Traveling into the park was a little hairy.  You will travel approximately three miles on a wide, maintained dirt  road.  Here’s the catch, there is three miles of small ruts on this road, as all dirt roads seem to have, just beware of your speed and drive carefully.

Being our first experience at boon-docking, Barrington County Park was a pleasant surprise.  At first sight the grounds were very well shaded with oaks and their companions, Spanish moss.  The ground is covered in clean sand, (if that matter to anyone). The advertisement was true and correct as to their description of dry camping, trash pick up, running water (well water), showers and flushing toilets.  Now mind you, the water pressure wasn’t great, but it got the job done. It was very refreshing after a hot day.

Barrington Cnty Park (3)

There were only two tent set ups and two other campers on the grounds.  We could park any where we wished. Parking close to the Lake side (it looked like a small river) we had a clear view of the jumping fish, birds and squirrels.  Not far from the fishing and boat dock (built by the Department of Natural Resource) we had the perfect spot.

Now for the bad news, internet access was spotty, very spotty.  Our service provider is Verizon, and we were receiving incoming calls but no internet.  As I mentioned before, there is plenty of shade.  So, if you plan on using solar panels you need to be choosy where you park.  I needed to mention these issues so you may plan your activities accordingly.  I also spoke with a local who gave us some very vital information, If you are planning to use this site to boon-dock, it’s best to come and enjoy the peace and quite during the week days.  The locals use this spot for a party hangout on the weekends.  We didn’t stay to confirm this activity.

All in all, it was a very nice, clean park.  A little bit difficult to get to, but if you want a little R and R away from everything and everybody, give it a go.