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Old 08-28-2018, 08:36 PM   #1
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Your input - Motorhome and boondocking..

I just returned from a trip - Iowa, South Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, Utah, Arizona and points in between. Most of it was reimbursed via mileage, etc. I stayed at RV parks. Since I plan to retire soon, looking for ways to cut parking costs.

How many of you use public lands (NPS, BLM) and other boondocking sites with motorhomes. From what I see, most are down an unpaved "road". Some look more like the path in granddads wheat field when I was a kid. I am not opposed to going down a dirt/gravel road for a short distance (if I have room to turn around), but look like they are miles from pavement.

I guess my main concern is getting stuck in soft dirt/sand. Already drove in sand that if I had slowed down, let's say it would not have been good.

Traveling around with the wife, step daughter, and fur kids.
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Old 08-28-2018, 09:00 PM   #2
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If there's any doubt about the road in/out, the usual caveat/recommendation is to disconnect the towed, and drive it in for a look. Or, you could walk in a few hundred yards and check it out on foot.
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Old 08-28-2018, 10:12 PM   #3
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I have boondocked a bit, though personally I prefer campgrounds of some type, there are many forest service campground and the like with paved parking spaces, picnic tables, fire pits, etc. that are priced in the $10 per night range for dry camping. There are also lots of State park, COE and similar campgrounds out there priced in the $20-$25 per night range with water and electric hookups, I have even found a few municipal parks and the like with water and electric hookups for $15 per night, a few places even offer these for free (or your choice of donation) though usually with a 24-48 hour stay limit.
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Old 08-28-2018, 10:31 PM   #4
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We have boondocked at several locations. Gotten into some tight locations that made me nervous (no turn around). Found out that its best to disconnect toad to check out locations or check it out on satellite view. Plan to arrive in plenty of time to explore the area before it gets too late in the day.
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Old 08-28-2018, 10:45 PM   #5
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https://freecampsites.net/

This site gives good info about road and size limitation.
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Old 08-28-2018, 10:51 PM   #6
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We have been full timing for 5 years. Just started trying longer boondocking stays. Did 2 separate 1week stays at BLM and NFS areas.
Scouted areas first with toad. We have a 42 DP.
Biggest issue has been lack of battery/electric power. Hate having to run the generator.
I am currently rebuilding our solar setup to supply us with the power we need.
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Old 08-29-2018, 03:26 PM   #7
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How long I am staying determines how far from the Highway I'm willing to drive. I usually check boondocking sites out of Google Earth first. If I question a road, it is easy to unhook the toad and check the site. I had to back my 5er up half a mile once. That took a while. When parking I always try to park for easy leaving. I only use rv parks to dump and fill and maybe do laundry. I've been boondocking for 18 years w/o an issue.
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Old 08-29-2018, 04:06 PM   #8
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The land managers (FS or BLM usually) know where the best spots are. They can give good updated information about conditions better than anyone. The AllStays app also gives good information about boondocks. Even if I have good information from someone else about a boondock, we still drive the Jeep down first. I really don’t want to back a 40’ motorhome out a 1/4 or 1/2 mile dead end.
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Old 08-29-2018, 04:51 PM   #9
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If youre looking to stay awhile, something we do in areas were not familiar with is stay in a campground of some sort in the area first and ask around and explore, then move to the neat area we found after a couple days. We also found we generally prefer to move to a place with hookups for a couple days every week to 10days so we can dump tanks, do laundry etc so we look into campgrounds early on.

One thing weve found to ask about is weather, and its affect on the areas youre looking to boondock in. In the southern Utah/northern Arizona area we explore quite often you dont want to camp in the bottom of washes/ravines just in case it does rain. Flash floods can really ruin your day, they can also result in your being stuck in place for a couple days till things dry out.
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Old 08-29-2018, 09:14 PM   #10
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With our 40' motorhome we used public parks or boondocked almost all our time in 16 years of full-timing. Love it!! Never had an issue on roads although we didn't boulder hop. We saved that for after we parked and went out with the Jeep! You don't have to travel rough roads in order to find good spots. We used the Benchmark individual state atlases for the western states. The good gravel roads are clearly marked as a heavy line. Normally the fine, skinny lines marking roads on maps are rougher.
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Old 08-30-2018, 05:32 PM   #11
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The NFS (National Forest Service) produces a detailed map of all their roads. There are dots on the map next to those roads where camping is allowed. Just stop by the ranger station for the forest you want to camp in and ask for a map. It's called something like "Motorized Vehicle Use Road Map". It's huge and printed on white paper if I've given you the wrong name.

The rangers are often a good resource for best spots.
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Old 09-03-2018, 04:13 AM   #12
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I think the question is 'how many of us boondock on public land?" Afraid I can't answer that but I certainly do it.

Each person has their own idea of what a 'good spot' is. Finding them is something you will have to do to become comfortable and good at. With a 45' coach, my searching starts with Google Earth and public land maps. I ALWAYS scout the road and area with my Jeep before committing to driving the coach in. Also remember that while a road/area was ok last year, it may have changed.
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Old 09-05-2018, 12:12 PM   #13
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Hi Guys,
I'm at Flaming Gorge Utah at the moment and we intended on boon docking here.

We found the the hard packed gravel roads on the west side of the Gorge are unacceptable. There are too many ruts and the dust is unbelievable.

I couldn't bring my 40' motorhome down there cause that dust would just get into everything including the diesel air breather.

I was so disappointed but happy with my decision.
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Old 09-08-2018, 01:03 PM   #14
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While not what the OP asked about, our favorite are USFS CGs that do not take reservations...$6-8 with the old farts pass. Never a problem by not showing up Friday when the locals are out...Sunday night or Monday when they have to go back to work. Usually travel and resupply on the weekends unless it's a holiday.
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