By Bob Difley
Finding a nice boondocking spot in the National Forests or on BLM land is not always easy, especially if you are traveling in an unfamiliar area where you have not previously located several prospects. If you are in a rush or trying to cover a lot of territory in a few days it will probably be easier to just head for a campground along your way.
However, if you do have a more leisurely trip planned, you could change your way of thinking about finding boondocking spots. If you consider it as only “finding a campsite” it may sound like a tedious chore. But an alternate viewpoint, and the one my wife and I use, would be better described as allowing an hour or so for exploring and enjoying an area while keeping an eye out for camping spots. We enjoy the exploring and do not focus entirely on finding a campsite. We unhitch the toad and leave the motorhome by the side of the road or at the beginning of a forest road while we explore the back roads. I look not only for the perfect spot, but also look at the access road to make sure that I can get the motorhome in, that we will be able to level, and eventually turn around and get out again.
Sometimes we will spend an hour driving and considering numerous spots and take a short hike or two (this is what we would be doing anyway even if we had already chosen a campsite) before we decide on one. It’s hardest when we find one good spot after another and want to stay in all of them. Once we decide, we drive back and collect the motorhome and head for our new camp. And we might stay for a few days – or maybe not. We don’t like tight itineraries.
We never complain that it took an hour to find a camping spot, because that was all part of our lifestyle – exploring a forest, stretching our legs, seeing what was around us. Finding the campsite was incidental – but we always seemed to be able to find a spot.
Then once you are set up, grab your binoculars and take a walk, ride your bike, set out your feeders, arrange your camp, set up your barbecue, and place your chairs facing the best view. At night listen to the silence, unbroken by generators, traffic or conversations. Gaze out at the stars before falling asleep, and wake up to the chirping of birds and the rich smells of the forest. That’s what boondocking is all about.