Into the Forest

Diptic

Summer and rving is busy. At first I thought it would just be a little annoying around holidays and weekends. But now fully into July, we have found most campgrounds and rv parks are packed. Which then I started feeling homeless, thinking I was going to have to live in the Wal-Mart parking lot all summer.

Towards the end of May we bought our 2000 watt generator. My first real boondock was just one overnight in the San Juan National Forest. We got there, took a walk, I cooked a normal dinner, watched a movie, went to bed. The exact same things I would have done if we had a full hookup site. The next morning, we took showers, had hot water, I even used a blowdryer thanks to my new generator. Everything worked out just fine and I started to really consider that boondocking just might not be so bad after all.

The next time we found ourselves to be “homeless” was the 4th of July weekend. We decided to go into a National Forest and just give it a try for a few days. We found ourselves in a lovely valley surrounded by mountains on both sides. From that spot onward I have fallen in love with boondocking.

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I was worried at first about boondocking for a number of reasons. Thinking that I would run out of power, not be able to shower, do dishes, use my computer, or even watch a movie. All of my doubts have been eliminated.

First off power, we don’t have solar panels, but we do have a generator. While boondocking we ran the generator about once a day, for approximately two hours to recharge our batteries. It also runs when I use watt heavy appliances, for example my hairdryer and blender (to make green smoothies!). Things that our inverter wattage can not handle. That power issue is not an issue at all now. Eventually we might add some solar panels and a higher watt inverter. But for now the generator is working and does everything we need.

Water was my biggest worry heading into the forest. The airstream holds 39 gallons of fresh water, how are we going to live for days off of 39 gallons? The average person uses 80-100 gallons of water per day! To my happy surprise we made that water last with flying colors. We did a few things to help make this possible. Highest water usage are two things, showers and washing dishes.

As far as showering goes, you have to do the navy shower. For a person with a lot of hair, this was a bit more challenging. But I wash my long hair and the water still doesn’t run out. I have read from other blogs some people use dry shampoo to save even more water. I have not had to go to that extreme yet.

Dish washing is the 2nd water problem. While boondocking we use paper plates, cups, and plastic silverware. Cutting down the amount to be washed by at least half or maybe more. The only items that then need to be washed are the pots and cooking utensils that can withstand heat. After I dish out the food from the pots, I take a paper towel and just wipe the pot clean. That way when I go to wash it up, it takes an even smaller amount of water to get it clean.

Hand washing and even toilet flushing takes precious water. We brought along a bunch of hand sanitizer and wet wipes to keep hand washing to a minimum. For flushing, spray it down with a water vinegar mix instead of flushing with water.

To add to our water supply we have 7 gallon water totes. Currently we have 3 of them. With our current setup we can go about 4 days on our fresh water tank. Add in our totes of water, we can easily boondock for a week now without much trouble. streamer_a has a water pump that makes filling the water tank from the totes very easy, it is quick too.

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The other item that plays a role in boondocking is propane. During the warm months it is not used very heavily, but you still couldn’t pull off a comfortable week in the forest without it. Our propane runs the refrigerator and is used for hot water. I only turn on the hot water when I am about to do something with it. You would not want to leave it on all day like you normally would with the electric heat.

Just having those few modifications has really opened up the world of boondocking. Currently traveling around Colorado and having all the National Forest at our disposal is very inspiring. We plan to stay here for awhile and continue to venture ‘Into the Forest’.

– Julie, Golden, CO

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