Don’t get stuck — Have a ‘Plan B’ when boondocking

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By Bob Difley

If you are reading this you might be either (A) a boondocker, or (B) thinking of becoming a boondocker. The very fact that you are/may be a boondocker could also be one of your problems. If you are a boondocker, you are by definition adventurous, curious, bold, a little bit devil-may-care, impetuous, sometimes daring, possibly eccentric and, of course, good looking.

Except for the good-looking part, the rest can often get you in trouble when you discover a dirt road that just MUST be explored, or a beach that is calling out your name. Before you know it, your rig, having a mind of its own, is following the vaguest of tracks and eventually in your boondocking life you will find yourself in a sticky situation.

Like when I got mired in sand on a beach on the Gulf in Louisiana; or a quarter-mile down a narrow, winding, single dirt track in Washington when I reached the end and there was no turnaround; and the time I tried to cross over a hump separating the dirt road from a terrific campsite — and got stuck like a sea-saw under the middle of my motorhome with no traction to my rear wheels.

All of these dilemmas — and some I won’t mention — taught me something, all of which became the basis of  “Plan B.” To solve any more mired-in-sand problems, I now carry a couple of flat rubber mats and some traction mats to slip under the wheels when in mud, sand or snow. I also carry a folding shovel (an entrenching tool in Army lingo), a heavy iron mallet (a rock once became wedged between my left rear duals and luckily a trucker came along with a mallet and knocked the rock out) and a stout rope for towing (the pickup truck driver that pulled me out of the Louisiana sand happened to have one).

I also unhitch — even when I don’t feel like it — before driving down a strange dirt road or even paved roads where I am not sure of what lies ahead (it’s very difficult, at least with my rig, to unhitch the dinghy if the rig is headed down- or uphill and if it is cocked at an angle). If the distance is not great, I walk in on new roads to check out conditions before entering.

I take all these precautions and carry the extra gear because I know I will still venture into unknown places even when caution warns me against it, because I’m a boondocker — except for the good-looking part.

You can find Bob Difley’s RVing e-books on Amazon Kindle.

##RVT805

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Tumbleweed
3 years ago

This article has me laughing, especially the phrase, “dirt roads that MUST be explored.” Yup, dirt roads sing me their siren songs and have lured me into many a near-disaster. I want to explore every one of them. And I have likewise acquired rubber mats and shovels.

I’ve been stuck in one place for 3 years now, so this is a powerful nudge to get moving. So many dirt roads, so little time!

Al & Sharon
3 years ago

Excellent advice about unhooking and exploring with the toad, or walking ahead. We do both frequently.

Tommy Molnar
3 years ago

Good advice, Bob. I’m a retired truck driver so backing up our travel trailer for BLOCKS would not be an issue, but who wants to do THAT – skilled or not? Sometimes we just get out and walk down the road to have a look. We do a lot of our boondocking here in Nevada and most times we can SEE down the road. Even so, we’ve gotten into a couple situations which required backing up a considerable distance. The only concern I really have is backing up and seeing someone else coming down the road – looking for the ‘ideal’ boondocking site. Ha. Hasn’t happened yet, but ya never know . . .