By Dave Helgeson
Last week we celebrated Independence Day and the freedom we enjoy in the United States.
- One of the freedoms we enjoy as RVers is the ability to go where we want, when we want.
- Another is the freedom to form and share our own opinions along with making our own decisions.
However, with freedom comes responsibility, civility and understanding.
1. Many of you will take exception (you have the freedom to do so) to my statement that RVers have the ability to go where they want, when they want. I will agree that setting off on an extended RV trek without locking yourself into a rigid schedule via advanced overnight reservations is not what it once was when there were fewer RVs roaming the highways and byways competing for campsites, but note that I used the word “ability” (noun – Possession of the means or skill to do something).
To possess a skill you must first learn it. In this case, it is the ability to find boondocking or other non-conventional campsites and how to comfortably stay there without services. With a little research and brushing up on your dry-camping skills, you too can possess these abilities. If a sufficient number of you show interest, maybe I will be able to help you sharpen these abilities through future entries (leave a comment if you’d like this!).
With boondocking comes responsibility like cleaning up after yourself and leaving the site better than you found it, along with complying with other rules. It also comes with civility and understanding such as not parking adjacent to a fellow boondocker without permission, even if there is no law or ordinance against doing so.
2. Some of you may also take exception to the COVID-19 rules posted by campgrounds, RV parks and the government, such as wearing facial coverings and social distancing. I read an article here a couple of weeks ago, from RV park owner Andy Zipser, about those that have formed their own opinion (they have the freedom to do so) on the subject and choose not to comply with those rules, which has resulted in angry, uncivil campers on both sides of the issue. Those that want to be free of the rules and those that feel mortally threatened by those not following the rules. The people we see exercising their freedom and incivility on the evening news and online is exhausting enough – it is uncalled for in a campground setting.
How do the two above examples relate to boondocking in a coronavirus world?
* While I pointed out in my first entry (Part 1) there would be a rise in RV use with the safety an RV provides against potential virus transfer (your own bedroom, bathroom, eating areas and food prep, etc.) and the resulting crowded/full campgrounds, I didn’t foresee the incivility and anger that coronavirus requirements would invoke. This is just one more valid point for boondocking during the outbreak.
* In the true boondocks (dispersed camping on public land) rarely will there be a need for facial coverings, social distancing or the incivility involved for those that don’t believe they need to follow the requirements as you are unlikely be in close contact with others.
* I hope to encourage everyone reading this that there are options to crowded campgrounds during the coronavirus outbreak and the likelihood of them closing due to a second wave. You are free to choose something different!
* Some of you have expressed an interest in escaping all this craziness and giving boondocking a try, but don’t know how to find a place to camp. That I can help you with in Part 2.
A number of years ago RVTravel recorded a three-part YouTube series on boondocking as follows:
Part One: What is RV boondocking and how to do it
Note: In Part Two I mention the website PublicLands.org. They remodeled their website and the page views are different than what you see in the YouTube videos. Click here to go straight to their recreation map showing land agency overlays. Other websites and apps have been developed since the video was filmed too. A recent resource for viewing public land is FreeRoam.
When you read this I will be out enjoying the freedom of my RV without reservations. Happy summer and stay safe wherever your RV travels may take you, maybe even the freedom and civility of the boondocks!
Feel free to share your comments and opinions at the bottom of this page, but please remember to be civil!