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Alikair 09-02-2021 08:00 PM

Boondocking with travel trailer road hazard question
Maneuverability of a travel trailer while boondocking is a concern to me.
When finding a place to dry camp with no designated campsites, how do you determine if a dirt road will end up a dead end with no turn around?
Having to back up a trailer for a long distance is as undesirable as unhooking the trailer each time I want to investigate a potential road.

My travel agenda keeps me from camping in the same spot twice.
Travel plan at this time is to boondock a week or two in one spot then travel to a different spot or state.

I understand that some place are wide open and you can see the path clearly. This question is mostly for wooded areas that you can't see much from the main road.

profdan 09-02-2021 08:13 PM

First, I "scout" from home using Google Earth, to locate possible boondocking sites. (You can sometimes see a fire ring on the satellite photos!)

Next, when we get to the area, we unhook the trailer. (Chocks!!) Then we take the truck and scout the area, looking at the road surface and the turnaround points.

A wide place in the road that looks good as a turnaround on Google Earth might not be so great in real life -- rocks, ditches, etc. There is no substitute for what the military calls "ground truth."

Yes, it is time consuming to scout. But it is better than getting badly stuck on a narrow rocky sandy muddy icy dirt road.

GrantR 09-02-2021 08:15 PM

Google maps satellite view usually gives you a fairly good idea if you will have space to turn around.

jacwjames 09-02-2021 08:19 PM

If in doubt drop the trailer and drive the vehicle to check out the conditions.

Xmcdog 09-02-2021 08:33 PM

A valid point.

Have you thought of a bike? Either a small motor bike, an ebike or even an old treadly. They would all fit in the truck bed.

followingsea 09-02-2021 08:39 PM

I have a MH with a tow dolly but same general principle.

Between boondocks I will stay at a state park with hookup to fill tanks, dump, and do laundry.

Yesterday went looking for looking for new boondocks found on using my TOAD.

Headed south but after climbing a grade I turned around.

Headed east and found a beautiful spot. Then I headed north ending up on forest service gravel roads. Many places to boondock. However, found some more nice places just off paved road as I was heading southwest back to state park. Also went on a hike to see some falls.

Back at the MH, I review my finds and looked for a different route to get to them.

Today I am at a COE wide spot along the Snake River.

DAN L 09-02-2021 09:37 PM

X 2 get bicycles, preferable electric assist.
Good exercise and saves time scouting for CGS.

profdan 09-02-2021 11:53 PM

You folks who scout on bikes must be better bikers than I am -- we bring mountain bikes, but the remote two-track forest roads are too rough and hilly for my skill set. I'm ok on gravel roads, usually.

But rock-hopping at 9000 feet in the Eastern Sierra is too tough for me. Once upon a time, I could do that without breaking a sweat. Now I risk breaking my neck! ;)

Gammel 09-02-2021 11:56 PM

I won't head up an unknown road if I haven't scoped it on Google Earth.
I was a passed master at BDA.

Alikair 09-03-2021 05:33 AM


Originally Posted by Gammel (Post 5899463)
I won't head up an unknown road if I haven't scoped it on Google Earth.
I was a passed master at BDA.

Does BDA stand for battle damage assessment?

Alikair 09-03-2021 05:35 AM

I like the bike Idea. As far as google map, the area I was looking at all I could see was trees overhead.

What about using a drone?

mbridinger 09-03-2021 10:10 AM


Originally Posted by Alikair (Post 5899534)
I like the bike Idea. As far as google map, the area I was looking at all I could see was trees overhead.

What about using a drone?

there are some great ideas on this thread! Just saying bicycle makes my butt hurt. A drone? Perfect. I have wanted one and now I have a valid reason to get one.

followingsea 09-04-2021 05:41 PM


Originally Posted by mbridinger (Post 5899853)
.....Just saying bicycle makes my butt hurt. ...

Any idea what the last thing will pass through your mind when you meet a longing truck on FS road?

Lived in the Sierra foothills and a guy on a bike was killed near the house by a logging truck.

On my first camping trip pulling a 16' TT ended up on a logging road in the redwoods by mistake. A bad mistake, had to head for the ditch because I thought truck driver was not going to drive off the mountain.

Just something else to consider.

profdan 09-05-2021 11:01 AM

followingsea, yes, there is a risk of meeting a logging truck. But in my experience, if there is active logging happening, the rangers will post warning signs. We have seen exactly one logging truck in sixteen years of boondocking throughout the Far West -- this was in the Jackson Demonstration State Forest, near Ft. Bragg.

If collisions with logging trucks were a frequent problem, there would be a ban on boondocking. Hopefully, that will not happen.

Having said all of that, in British Columbia, this is a really big problem -- the logging trucks have the right of way, and the back ends of the logs stick out the back of the truck. When the truck comes to a sharp turn, the log ends "sweep" across the road, posing a big risk to anyone caught in their path.

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