Wednesday, December 28, 2016

How Do You Decide Where To Boondock?

Hello Luvs,

Today finds me blogging about boondocking once again. Where we've officially boondocked is on BLM (Bureau of Land Management-Federally Owned) Land. Our first spot was named La Paz. There were saguaro cacti all around us, but most of the trees (if any) were short. What this did was allow for a nicer view. Part of the main reasons for choosing to be on dispersed camping land is the view. In previous posts I've spoke about a lot of the positives. With one of the main ones being the fact that it is free!

The Beauty of B.L.M. Land-

Diggin' the view outside!
Now I would like to share the negatives. Something troubling has happened at both sites we've stayed. Our first parking spot in both locations were both used as dumping sites. We knew this because within a few minutes of parking and walking around we were hit with the smell. This means that someone had dumped their black water tank. This is the tank that holds what goes down the toilet. Some folks (including us) us a compound that breaks it down so it smells less and is easier to drain. There is a good chance that the people who dumped used a compound but nonetheless it still stinks to high heaven. I guess if there was one thing that makes me nauseous while RV' is that smell.

You might wonder why I have issue with other people dumping? One major reason is that it's illegal to do so. If you are caught dumping you are subject to a fine (at the very least) because it is federally owned. These people did so even when there was a risk to it. I do know that sometimes you find yourself in an emergency situation, however the town caters to RV'ers and there are plenty of places that you can drive to to dump your tanks. Even if they were simply dumping fresh or grey water it is still illegal.

More than likely they dumped at night so no one saw them doing it. This is an example of people who only think of themselves. That land has now been tainted by urine and feces that will soak into the soil. It is not only campers and RV'ers that are affected. It is the wildlife that lives there. We saw quail and baby foxes at both places. They have the right to NOT have their habitat destroyed. 

The sunset view of the mountains last
night reminded us of the Sandias in
New Mexico. Beautiful!
So, how do you decide where to boondock? Well, I've listed a few places that we have used. They are rated them from 1-5 (with 1 being the lowest) and I will attempt to explain why they received that specific rating. This will hopefully help you when you decide to camp, rent an RV, buy an RV, or boondock in your vehicle. Since we are RV'ing I will approach it by our point of view.

Lowes (urban boondocking)- 4 The reason I gave Lowes a 4 is because they shut off the wifi when they close. While open (they open early) you have use of their bathrooms (which are usually clean), and you can buy any needed supplies for the RV. The signal is fairly strong. During the day we park closer to the store and then move it after wifi goes away. Not all Lowes allow you to park overnight. If they did I would definitely have rated it higher. Also, if you are unsure about whether or not you can just go in and have a quick conversation with the manager. He or she might allow you to so it's worth the try. 

Walmart (urban doondocking)- 3 Now.....most Walmarts allow overnight parking BUT NOT ALL. We actually had a security guard ask what our planes were TWO HOURS  before the store closed (on a night when we were actually not planning to stay there, but instead shopping). There is no wifi signal outside the store even if you park closer. It is pretty obvious if the location is ok with it if you come by when dark. You will see semi-trucks, vans, RVs, and some types that we custom built. You do have use of their restrooms, but we have found that they are usually not maintained very well. Of course many store have a walk-in eating place, food shopping area, and a dedicated RV shopping section.
As you can see...Eartha has space all
around spare!

RV Parks- 3 (average rating) Not all of these are created equal. Most have a terrible wifi signal even though you pay for it. In the six we have stayed only two had decent service. We even had one where we could not even check our email. They said we would be able to do so, but boy were they wrong. Some of the parks have swimming pools that are available for use year round. They also have laundry facilities (the worst one was at Circus Circus-with half not functioning and the ones that worked did not work well), small stores, dog walk areas, restrooms (with showers), and a couple had TV set-ups that you could attach your television cable to (if you have one). Some of them are kept clean while others had trash and other gross things littered all around the site (once again Circus Circus). When picking a place you can walk around beforehand to pick the best spot for you. Sometimes the price varies and sometimes not. I would ask the front desk before you head out. You are able to hook up to power (anywhere from 20-50 amps) and water along with their septic system which is DEFINITELY a plus! I will do a separate blog rating of all the RV Parks we've stayed sometime next week. This is the only places we've paid for. Everywhere else has been free.
Isn't she beautiful!?!?

B.L.M. Land (dispersed camping)- 3.5 This rural type of boondocking is definitely our favorite thus far. The fact that there are folks who dump their tanks when they should not is a definite bummer. Also, there is no wifi or water available. If you are low you could always go to the closest dump and refill site. If none are close then you need to be VERY careful with water usage. I buy 3 gallons of water and use that to cook with, bath, and drink. We also keep sparkling water (our favorites are made by La Croix) on hand. We finally started to use paper plates and bowls (trying to use more than once) which are bagged and saved to throw in the fire. I end up washing our utensils, pans, and coffee mugs. For regular liquids we use plastic cups. Oh, and the vast land around works for walking the dogs....just remember to pick it up after them or cover it properly! This all helps to make the B.L.M. visit less stressful. The only reason the rating is so low is because of the dumping. If it were not for that I would easily rate it a 4.5.

Even the clouds BEAM for her!
Neighborhood Parking (quiet safe spot to park at bedtime occasionally)- 4 This is a great option if you are between places.  In Nevada there are a couple of neighborhoods where there is overflow streets parking that others use to park business vehicles, extra cars, trailers, and any other moving object they do not have room for in their garage and/or driveway. I would wait until it starts getting dark then scope it out. The last thing you want to do is have someone call the police about your RV or suspicious vehicle....not that YOU are at all suspicious!

There you have it! These are what we have utilized in the past 2.5 months since we bought Eartha. I am sure that we will have more to share in our travels (including National Parks). If you have any questions and/or there is something that I have not covered please feel free to reach out. I am sharing our experiences with the goal of saving you some time or inconvenience before you decide to take the leap.

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Til next time,



  1. Such great info...I hope to be able to make use of it someday!

    1. Yay Kathleen! Let me know when....! There is nothing more to do then schedule a rental! If you like you can go further.