relocated to High Rock Spring area outside Estacada, OR

My 14d at that popular (crowded, trashy) spot was almost up, and I was ready to move on.    I made a run through the day use / camping area I’d been hiking to and dropped off trash and filled the water tank.

I actually wanted to do a stretch of stealthing to  reprovision and find some open wifi, but a heat wave in the area had temps in the 80s-90s in every nearby town of any size.  I decided Continue reading “relocated to High Rock Spring area outside Estacada, OR”

Found the water @ Trillium

The Trillium Bike Trail led off the south end of this general area, and had signs saying the Trillium campground was 1.5 miles away.  I made a couple assumptions:

  1.  the distance referred to distance by the nearby road (it did)
  2. that the Trillium campground was the place where the water and dumpster was supposed to be (it was)

The walk was quite nice through the forest:

Way more hikers than bicyclists.  Muffin made some dog friends along the way.

There was indeed a Trillium lake visible Continue reading “Found the water @ Trillium”

article: RV Boondocking and Dry Camping

my thoughts on this article. from a vandweller’s point of view.  Some of my objections are technical, some are financial.

> With many campgrounds closed, full-time RVers that aren’t prepared to dry camp or boondock might find themselves in a pickle.

Agreed.  Luckily for me, I never had the budget to become dependent on rv campgrounds.

> Generator – You don’t NEED solar. A generator will get the job done!

Depends on “the job”.

What could one do with $1000 of generator (Honda eu1000i, 1000w ) or $1000 of solar (800w)?

  • Generator
    • large (IMO unnecessary) loads like microwaves and electric coffee makers
    • charging lithium, or Bulk-charging lead
  • Solar 
    • medium loads
    • fully charging lead (Pb)  batteries to avoid battery murder
  • optimal mix for Pb
    • generator in the morning while you make coffee
    • shut off generator when Vabs is reached, allow solar finish the full charge

> Batteries – Where can you put additional batteries? You might lose a storage bin to these.

Adding solar does not require adding batteries, since additional loads during the day can be run off the panels.   I would recommend onlookers keep the existing battery bank until it proves insufficient for needs.

> Some people might be perfectly comfortable running a generator for an hour or so each night to top up their batteries.

Great solution for lithium.  Recipe for battery murder with lead. Absorption takes hours.

> There has been a tendency for RV manufacturers to move towards all-electric rigs. Some people are afraid to have propane on board. It probably also simplifies the build for them. An all-electric coach is not a deal-breaker for boondocking

To quote Sternwake:  “fear of propane will be expensive”.

Other issues with all-electric:

  • they are typically designed for pedestal power, and have no incentive to be efficient
  • they tend to run appliances on 110v, requiring additional inverter losses off-grid


> We both work and have our internet router and computers going all day long. We like to be able to get up in the morning and make a pot of coffee without being concerned about running out of power. With 1360 watts of solar panels on the roof and 600 amp hours of lithium batteries

Problem:  need coffee in the morning

Proposed solutions:

  • spend (I’m guessing here) $8000 on panel and a ton of lithium to run Mr. Coffee machine; or
  • use a $20 propane burner and a percolator, pour-over, or press.  My Melitta pour-over was 50 cents on clearance at a supermarket, and I bought many bodum presses for $2 at thrift stores over the years.

Admittedly the first option is more fun, especially if it can be written off as a biz expense, etc.

> we have only had to run the generator a few times when we’ve had rain for multiple days in a row or poor sun exposure.

Sounds like a successful setup.  I’d encourage onlookers with that much solar to reduce power consumption in poor insolation rather than spending another $1000+ on a generator.

At first glance, you might think that an Instant Pot would be too power hungry for boondocking. But once it gets to pressure, it only uses a bit of power to keep it at pressure for the cook time. And because it cooks faster than most other methods and doesn’t heat up the house, we consider it a boondocking essential.

A stovetop pressure cooker is $40 new ($5 at thrift stores) and uses 0 watts on propane.

> If you have an electric only fridge, it will figure heavily into your power usage calculations.

My 12v compressor fridge uses 12A/day.


while I agree with much of the content, it leans heavily on the most expensive solutions for each problem.

backchannel: generator holy wars

grouchy response to this comment.

> Sometimes I feel that [running a generator]  upsets people a little too much.

Sometimes I feel that generator folk feel entitled to make racket wherever and whenever they want. No different from partiers or music-blasters.

> before solar, everyone ran their generators

People have been camping in nature for 1000s of years without generators.

> I feel shunned in the community

I do not stay near people making racket regardless of the source. My intent is to get away from the noise, not to shun anyone.

> or like I’m a bad person for needing my A/C.

People who need A/C are not bad people.

People who falsely present their preferences as needs in order to justify transgressive behavior are bad people.  Fake service animal shenanigans, etc.

I trust you are in the group that actually needs A/C.

> since I need it a lot

People who have health-related needs for A/C would do well to use campsites with hookups and/or get their snowbirding skills up to speed. What will they do if the genny breaks down when they require A/C?

I have met many veterans boondocking who do it to get away from noise and other triggering stimuli for PTSD or other reasons. That’s precisely why I camp away from others.

Success story: At the 2018 RTR a fellow (sasnak on YT) was camping in a semi and walked around to his neighbors to ask if they minded him running his engine for a couple hours to bulk charge his batteries. He had bought solar but couldn’t install it until the next day. Everyone, including me, gave our blessing. I thanked him for asking. I visited other areas of the camp for a couple hours.

july, and a long weekend

Google says I was here in July:

Screenshot_2019-08-09 Timeline

Looks right to me.  I like the Ruidoso area as well Cloudcroft (near Alamagordo) but Ruidoso is a longer drive.

Right now I am outside Cloudcroft in a prime spot on the tip-top of a ridge.  I’ve been trying to get into it since I’ve been coming up here, but it’s popular and is usually occupied.  Last time I drove through there was a car “holding the place” and the campers didn’t arrive until the next day.   🙁

long weekend

Oops, prematurely hit the Publish button.

I mentioned my office’s transition to a 4×10 schedule earlier.  We have on average 3 days off a week, but sometimes 2 or 4.   I’m on one of those 4-day weekends right now.

I really needed it.






Today at work we started 4×10 shifts (4 days x 10hrs/day), and added Saturdays.   The change is really good for me personally.

10 hour days

10hr days mean I will be in a climate controlled environment two more Continue reading “4×10”

short weekend

I work a rotating shift.  This shift change is the worst because I work until 10pm on Friday then open again at 4am Monday.   Makes for a short weekend.  :-/

Pic is from by go-to, Organ Mountains / Desert Needles national monument outside Las Cruces NM.

Bucket list: Big Bend

Big Bend has been #1 on my bucket list for a long time.  How can I have lived my whole life in Tx and never been here?

There are actually two parks in the Area:

  1. Big Bend national park, which is what most people are thinking about; and
  2. Big Bend Ranch state park, through which the Presidio – Lajitas drive runs (no charge to drive through).  It may be the most beautiful stretch of road in Texas.

I drove through the park and overnighted in Big Bend.  Camping there is problematic for boondocker, although better than state parks.    There are two ways to camp in the park: Continue reading “Bucket list: Big Bend”