Thursday, August 15, 2013

Happy Boondocking. RV Tips. BioLite Camp Stove Charges Phones. Two Liter Shower. Oops Awards. Malcolm slays Macbeth. Panama Canal. Woodstock. Avions.


For “tRaVersing Thursday”, or RV day:

Use common sense--and a few tricks--to become a happy boondocker

“Boondocking is not brain surgery. Anyone can camp overnight without hookups. Two or three days takes a little effort--no, not effort--but, common sense in the use of your resources.
What resources? Electricity and how fast you deplete it from your batteries, drinking water and how much you waste, and that resultant waste water filling up your gray water tank. Filling the black tank is usually not a restricting factor.
Where boondocking requires a bit more effort, more creative thinking, more conservation, and more planning--the art and skill of boondocking--is in extending your boondocking days. Getting as many days "our there" as you can squeeze in between having to pack up camp and drive off to replenish electricity (charging your batteries), fill your water tank, and dump your waste tanks. Staying out longer, and doing it comfortable, is what makes a boondocker happy.

It also takes experience. Every time you boondock, you learn a new trick or two to extend your stay. Simple, common sense acts--that with experience become second nature--like not letting your faucets run, taking Navy showers, re-using the water you run when waiting for hot water to come, reducing the amount of waste water you let flow into your gray tank, turning off lights and TV when not being used--this bag of tricks--are what makes boondocking a successful  and fun way to camp.
Look at it this way. If you were just as comfortable without hookups as you were with them, where would you rather camp. With neighbors within 15 or feet on either side of you, or would you choose campsites where your nearest neighbors were 50 or 100 feet away. Or you had no neighbors at all.
That's the beauty of boondocking. Once you learn the tips and tricks, your options are endless--from a crowded LTVA at Quartzsite to a solitary campsite with sweeping vistas and no sign of civilization in sight.”


Boondocking tips with Bob Difley

Become a "boondocking expert"
”You can become a boondocking expert if you do it often. Keep a log on how many days you can boondock without having to dump or replenish your on board systems, and what measures -- such as carrying extra water, watching less TV or using the shower warm-up water to flush the toilet -- have contributed to extending your boondocking days. Soon you will be practicing these conservation habits automatically. These skills will open up thousands of square miles of forest land and open desert to you for boondocking and exploring.

Camp upwind from the dust
”If you have the option of where to camp in the desert, pick a boondocking site on the upwind side of the access road, especially if it's dusty. Even though there may be little weekday traffic, it could swell on weekends, smothering your rig with dust. Also, keep your windows closed on the side next to the road and even post a "Slow, Please" sign which may help: if someone responds when you are outside, wave a "thank you."”

Generator etiquette
”If you plan on boondocking in one of the BLM's Long Term Visitor Areas (LTVA) this winter, be especially sensitive to your neighbors when you set up camp. If you plan on running your generator a lot (because you don't have solar panels or a wind turbine) park far enough away from others so the frequent running of the generator doesn't impact their solitude. Many boondockers like peace and quiet, and not the drone of a generator. Or look for others who have their generators running and park near them since a running generator will be less offensive to those who are already running theirs.”

Check around for gray water dumping facilities
“When you arrive at no hook-up campgrounds, like the forest service, Corps of Engineers, state parks or BLM, walk through the campground or ask the host if they have gray water dumping facilities. Often these are no more than a pipe set flush with the ground surrounded by a shallow concrete basin. Typically there may be several scattered around the campground, usually adjacent to a drinking water source. If you find one, use it rather than adding your gray water (which you collect in a plastic tub) from dish washing and rinsing, teeth brushing, hand washing, and pasta cooking to your waste tanks.”

Sun showers save water and energy.

“Water is a crucial resource when boondocking, and may be the single most contributing factor to extending your boondocking days. Add a Sun Shower to your supplies, a vinyl bag that you can fill up from a stream or lake, set it in the sun to heat the water, then hang up from a tree branch away from your campsite. Use the hose and shower head attached to the bottom of the bag for showering. You will save using up your fresh water supply from your tank and avoid dumping the shower water into your gray water waste tank."

Slow cooker can be a smart purchase
“If you have solar panels that continuously feed electricity all day long when boondocking, a slow cooker can be a smart purchase. It will only draw a small amount of current, even though it will be operating for several hours, much less than the feed from your panels. By the time you return tired from hiking, exploring or going to town for supplies, your evening meal will be ready to eat with no additional prep required -- and your rig will smell scrumptious, too. And the internet is loaded with one-pot, slow cooker recipes.”

Save water by preparing meals ahead of time.  

“Since water is one of the limiting factors in boondocking, for your next boondocking trip, prepare several meals at home, like lasagna, spaghetti and meat balls, or enchiladas and freeze in individual freezer-safe plastic bags. At mealtime plop them into a pot of boiling water. After cooking save the water to re-use, either for cooking the next meal or for flushing the toilet. Save the water you run to warm up your shower to cook with. It is also a great cooking time-saver, when you would rather be doing something else. "


Winter Solar Panel Tips
”Use solar power during winter? Be sure to get the most out of your panels. Tilting panels during winter will increase the amount of captured power significantly, while in summer the increase is negligible. Shadows falling onto solar panels will decrease the panel output dramatically. Watch out for those cast by nearby roof equipment like storage pods, satellite dishes or air conditioners. When possible, it may pay to reorient your rig to keep shadows from falling on panels. Summer or winter, always keep your solar panels clean. Use only a soft cloth and plain water to avoid damaging the panel surface.”
Russ and Tina De Maris are the authors of RV Boondocking Basics.


These tips for desert boondocking will keep you out of trouble:

image "The rules for boondocking on Federal public lands as they now exist -- and that may be changing -- allow you to camp/boondock anywhere on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land unless expressly prohibited by signs or fences. But that doesn't mean you can just go tearing off across the desert mowing down cacti and smashing wildlife burrows. Here are some tips to keep you out of trouble."


Campstove that makes electricity

camp_overview_img_2-942x648[1] “Using BioLite's patent-pending thermoelectric technology, BioLite Stoves convert heat to electricity that powers a fan to make the fire ultra-efficient.

Extra electricity can be used to charge small electronics like mobile phones and LED lights.

There's no need to buy or carry heavy fuel canisters with this stove—simply collect twigs during your journey and burn them when you get to camp.”









More at:

And for bug-out situations and folks with no power there is the “Homestove”:


“The “home stove” is the product designed for large family cooking in a village environment. Not only is it suppose to reduce smoke (up to 70%), but, it also is suppose to use up to 50% less wood because of the increased burning efficiency. This helps with the deforestation of African forests.

The home stove is a totally different design and allows one to feed the wood from the bottom and it is much larger. My family and I have spent much time in Kenya (Mister in law has been there for almost three years) and having used the “camp stove” I am convinced that the “home stove” will make a huge impact in the town of Meru, Kenya, where we are involved.

Second, many people in Kenya have cell phones. Many people in moderate villages that still cook over open fires have cell phones. They walk several miles into town every few days and pay to charge their phones at local charging stations. The “home stove” would solve this problem for them. They could charge while they cook. Brilliant.

Regarding price, the “home stove” is not available in the US and based on the biolite website they are working with organizations to provide these stoves and a very low cost to those that need it.”  From:


How to take an RV shower on only two liters of water

"In this short video, RVer Dave Ulmer shows you how he takes a shower using only two liters of water.

"I have disconnected my RV hot water heater and use an electric tea kettle to heat my shower water with my excess solar panel power," he says. "I've been showering this way exclusively now for over three months and it works just great."

"A most frugal shower system could save the world huge amounts of energy and water. Easy to build your own and try it for yourself.  If you spend a lot of time boondocking, this might be a great way to take frequent showers with barely any impact on your freshwater or graywater holding tanks."


or:  Available at


2012 RV Oops Awards

MH1207_RV Oops

Photo: Brent Schoonover

“What’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever done while motorhoming?”

“Well, to be honest,” replied one fellow when I asked him this question, “in 19 years of motorhoming, I’ve never done anything stupid … until this year.” He then proceeded to tell me his woeful tale. Nearly everyone I asked could recall one or more mishaps they wish hadn’t happened to them. I recorded these mishaps and ranked them on a 10-item scale from dumb (No. 10) to dumbest (No. 1). Usually, dumber things are more costly. Readers may recall last year’s winner (Motor­Home, August 2011) totaled his coach by driving into a tollbooth with a slide extended.

A wise person once said, “Experience is the best teacher.” Maybe so, but a wiser person noted, “It’s better to learn from other people’s experiences.” So let’s have a look at this year’s list to find out why these dumb things occurred, and how you can avoid having them happen to you. Most of these motorhome owners would probably agree that nothing spoils a perfectly fine day like an avoidable blunder.”  See the Oops Awards at: By Larry Macdonald


On This Day:

Malcolm slays Macbeth, Aug 15, 1057:

“At the Battle of Lumphanan, King Macbeth of Scotland is slain by Malcolm Canmore, whose father, King Duncan I, was murdered by Macbeth 17 years earlier.”


Panama Canal open to traffic, Aug 15, 1914:

“The American-built waterway across the Isthmus of Panama, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, is inaugurated with the passage of the U.S. vessel Ancon, a cargo and passenger ship.  In 1906, American engineers decided on the construction of a lock canal, and the next three years were spent developing construction facilities and eradicating tropical diseases in the area.

In 1909, construction proper began. In one of the largest construction projects of all time, U.S. engineers moved nearly 240 million cubic yards of earth and spent close to $400 million in constructing the 40-mile-long canal (or 51 miles long, if the deepened seabed on both ends of the canal is taken into account).”


Woodstock begins in upstate New York, Aug 15, 1969:

“The Woodstock Music and Art Fair, "An Aquarian Exposition," opens at Max Yasgur's dairy farm in upstate New York. Promoters expected the music festival, modeled after the famous Monterey Pop Festival, to attract up to 200,000 for the weekend, but nearly a half a million people converged on the concert site. Promoters soon realized that they could not control access to the site and opened it up to all comers free of charge.

Because of the unexpected size of the audience, volunteers were needed to help alleviate many of the logistics problems, while helicopters were used to fly in food, doctors, and medical supplies, as well as many of the musical acts that performed during the three-day festival.

Despite rain and mud, the audience enjoyed non-stop performances by singers like Richie Havens, Janis Joplin, Arlo Guthrie, Joe Cocker, and Joan Baez, as well as the bands Creedence Clearwater Revival; The Grateful Dead; The Jefferson Airplane; Sly and the Family Stone; and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.  Jimi Hendrix closed the concert with a freeform solo guitar performance of "The Star Spangled Banner." Woodstock became a symbol of the 1960s American counterculture and a milestone in the history of rock music.”



Misty and I went in the van to pick up a neighbor’s dryer.  She doesn’t like to ride in the van, and won't relax and sit down like she does in the Puddle Jumper.  If she goes farther than this subdivision in the van, she wears her seat-belt harness, or rides in a big strapped-in carrier, for her and my safety.  We had our walk down there.

After we had loaded the dryer, I brought Misty home and drove to the appliance repair place and dropped off the dryer.  Then I went to the Eagle carport dealer.  Her husband was mowing and called her to come to the office.  While I was waiting for the lady, I saw two Avion travel trailers there.

84 34V Avion One of the Avions is for sale, a 34 footer, so he showed me around it, and I was very impressed by the quality.  I could live comfortably in that.  It not only has a dinette across from the kitchen, but another dinette up front with a couch/double bed on one side.  Then there are two twin beds in the bedroom.  Lots of places for storage!  (I travelled around the west side of the USA with chests of drawers on the extra twin beds in my MH.)  Going to seriously think about this.

I have had many Airstreams, a Silver Streak and an Avion over the years   Slab-sided trailers with roof seams that are prone to leaking, have never interested me.   The ‘silver bullets’, and the fiberglass ‘egg-trailers’ tow so much better and as they are more aerodynamic the rain runs off, and can’t pool on the roof.  Over my 50 years of RV repair, I got sick of flat-roofed trailers and MH’s with leaking seams. Maybe that is why I can’t find a Park Model that I like.

When I got in the office, the lady called the manufacturer, but they can’t make a carport that is 9’5” at the front and 10’5” at the rear, so it would have to be 9’5” wide all the way.  I wanted to have extra long legs on the carport, for two reasons, one for more shade on my house, and secondly, I might want to put my motor home under it for a while.  As I really needed to see where the metal carport’s legs 5’ spacing would be, so they wouldn’t interfere with opening the driver’s door on my van, I didn’t order it then and there.

I spent a lot of the afternoon researching about Avions, they are highly recommended, and as I already knew, they are considered better made than Airstreams.  His price seems to be inline with what others have sold their similar Avions for, but his has some hail pock marks on the passenger side.  I would have to haggle over that.

This morning Ray came over before he left to take Shay to the doctor, and helped me measure the exact width between my motorhome’s mirrors.  Then we went across the street to measure how much room their Eagle carport’s trim takes up. It would be a very tight fit to get the MH in there!  About 4” on each side. 

I spent so much time looking at the Avion forums, etc, that I didn’t get this journal drafted until today.

1 comment:

zionriverresortzion said...

Great ideas! Love all the comments too! Thanks!!! I've been dry camping for years but haven't thought of a few of these!

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