The American Deserts: Gems of the West

December 19, 2014 by Bob Difley · Leave a Comment 

If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to our E-mail Digest or RSS Feed. We will then send you the stories that are posted each day in an e-mail digest. We use a service called Feedburner for delivery of these emails. You will receive an e-mail from Feedburner after you subscribe and you must click on that email to activate your subscription. Thanks for visiting and enjoy all the information! RV.Net Blog AdminThe American Deserts: Gems of the West By Bob Difley As if frozen in time, the coyote stood motionless, muscles taut, eyes focused straight ahead. I followed his gaze, but could not see what had captured his attention. Suddenly he shot forward. Two wide-eyed jack rabbits exploded out of the brush, scattering in different directions. A cottontail sprinted for his burrow and disappeared into the darkness. Foiled from capturing his prey, the coyote stopped, gave me a once over, and slowly loped away to try his hunting techniques on another potential meal. Ever since my first desert camping trip the abundance of life in the desert has amazed me. I can still vividly see my first desert coyote, standing out on the bajada, a few hundred yards from Death Valley’s Stovepipe Wells campground, delivering a lengthy tirade of yips, barks, and howls. And the roadrunner, that watched secretly from the dense foliage of the tamarisk tree that shaded my picnic table, until I moved the right distance away and he would jump down onto the table, snatch a goodie, and run off into... Read more

Are RVers about to lose their freedom to camp on public lands

October 31, 2014 by Bob Difley · Comments Off 

Special interests are increasing the pressure on the federal government to turn over to the states public lands that fall within their bouondaries. So far these efforts have failed, as they should. As an RVer and boondocker, I have a particular intererst our public lands and have been an advocate of thier use by RVers for camping and boondocking for many years. Even my nickname, “boondockbob,” comes from my love of camping on the millions of wide open acres of public lands managed by the National Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). But if the special interests that are trying to transfer these public lands out of the American citizens’ hands and into the coffers of opportunistic politicians in the states, imagine what could be the ramifications of what would follow. First, the states would have to start coughing up the money required to manage these lands. The federal wildlife management agencies spent almost $4 billion in 2014 alone to manage just the wildlife refuges. And isn’t the enjoyment of our beaautiful and scenic public lands the very reason why many of us have chosen the RV lifestyle? Do you think the states, in the current political climate, are going to suggest raising taxes to manage these lands? Of course not. So what will they do? The only possible option is to start leasing or selling the public lands (which are our lands) to the highest bidder, whether it be amusment part developers, hotel chains, mining and exploration... Read more

What RVers can do to avoid animal/vehicle accidents

October 24, 2014 by Bob Difley · Comments Off 

“FALL is the season of apples, frost, turning leaves and roadkill” write  Amanda Hardy and Renee Seidler on the New York Times Opinion Pages.  ”A 2008 congressional study found that one in 20 reported motor vehicle collisions is animal-related, and the numbers peak in autumn. Annually, these incidents result in about 26,000 injuries and 200 human deaths. Across the country, collisions with deer — the most common type of animal-related incident — cost more than $8.3 billion per year, including vehicle repair, medical services, towing, law enforcement time and carcass disposal.” The article also points out that most reported animal related accidents are collisions with large mammals and that the “toll on smaller creatures like squirrels, salamanders and birds goes largely uncounted, but a recent study estimated that as many as 340 million birds are killed by vehicles annually. For 21 species listed by federal authorities as threatened or endangered — including the Canada lynx, the red wolf, the Florida panther, the crested caracara and Florida scrub-jay — road death is a major threat to survival.” Though most wildlife authorities conclude that reducing such animal/vehicle accidents could be prevented by installing safe corridors over or under roads that lie across migration routes, these solutions are expensive. Though a study shows that the cost can be recouped in about 12 years the original funding can be problematic. It seems also,... Read more

Everyone should take an RV trip at least once in their lifetime

September 23, 2014 by Bob Difley · Comments Off 

Long ago, back when I had a real job, I had a favorite saying when interacting with potential customers. At some point in the beginning of our conversation, I would say, “Everyone should take an RV trip at least once in their lifetime.” You might expect a statement like that coming from the Regional General Manager of a recreational vehicle (RV) rental and sales company. But I fully and completely believed it. And now – 21 years after retiring and 17 years of traveling and living fulltime in my motorhome – I believe it more than ever. I’ve been RVing for more than 45 years, beginning with renting a Class C motorhome for a one-week vacation to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks with my wife and parents. While operating the RV rental company in Northern California I also managed to slip away for several weekends a year in one of my rentals (one of the best perks of a job I can think of), trying different models and sizes of RVs in the guise of “research.” My wife and I would take off on a Friday afternoon for the redwood country, or up the coast, or into the national forests, or to the Mojave and Sonora deserts. We stayed in a variety campgrounds ranging from fancy RV resorts – with swimming pools, spas, and organized recreational activities – to primitive no-frills forested campsites surrounded by towering evergreens. My agenda: to evaluate how the RV and all its systems worked, comparing livability of small to large-sized... Read more

Add these side trips to your snowbird migration – Part 2

September 20, 2014 by Bob Difley · Comments Off 

In last week’s post (Part I) I suggested that instead of making a near non-stop head long rush to your winter home in the Southwestern Desert, you instead take some time to visit some short side trips along the way. This week I follow with the next highlight following Wupatki pueblo that I wrote about. Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument From Wupatki, continue on the loop. You will pass Sunset Crater (photos), Lava Flow, and Lenox Crater Trails before arriving at the visitor center, which is two miles before rejoining 89. Lava Flow Trail, a self-guided loop, depicts a variety of volcanic features, while Lenox Crater Trail is a more strenuous climb up the side of a cinder cone, two miles round trip. Sunset volcano erupted in AD 1065 and displays in the visitor center illustrate various volcanic phenomena, such as squeeze ups, where the lava is forced upward through cracks, and hornitos, strange hornlike protuberances. Ranger Stephen Nycz explained some of the geology of the area. “From the visitors building we see the same top layers as in the Grand Canyon–250 million year old rock–before there were dinosaurs, trees, or plants, and before the separation of the continents.” Road pullouts, some with trails, provide access into the strange volcanic landscape. The cinders–rough, black rocks–have a strange feel as you walk across them. This crater is the youngest of the few prehistoric volcanoes in the world that can be accurately dated. After... Read more

Add these side trips to your snowbird migration – Part 1

September 13, 2014 by Bob Difley · Comments Off 

Snowbirds descending from the Pacific Northwest, the plains states, or the mid-west into southern Arizona for the winter have several routes to choose from, though most often they take the most direct. Typically, my father, the archetypal planner, plotted out the exact mileage and average driving time to haul his trailer from home in Pennsylvania to San Diego, CA , where he spent the winter near my brother and his family. He knew practically to the minute how long it would take him to make the journey, starting each day at a prescribed time and stopping each evening at a pre-determined campground (always a KOA), and conducted the trip as if it were an organized time/distance rally. It drove my mother nuts but it worked for him. I know that there are still some of you out there who travel like that today, admit it. Get to the destination in the most efficient and timely manner! Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead! Maybe this year, rather than choosing the most direct or fastest route, try a different way, with side trips and stopovers on the way. (I can see a cold sweat breaking out on your forehead). So it won’t be too debilitating to your efficiency genes, I’ll suggest an easy alternative to start with. Instead of focusing on your destination of Phoenix and its environs, fix your sites on Flagstaff, only a couple of hours driving time to the north. You will pass through some scenic, high country, pine forests before dropping down to the scrub, juniper, and rabbitbrush... Read more

RVers and bears: Tips on staying safe – for both RVers and bears

September 6, 2014 by Bob Difley · Comments Off 

“When you are naked, it’s amazing how little courage you have,” writes Tom Stienstra in the San Francisco Chronicle relating to his recent camping trip into the mountains of California. Remembering in the middle of the night that he had left his on-the-road dinner leftovers on the passenger seat in the truck when he set up camp in a remote section of a national forest, he rose about 2:00 AM to remove the leftovers before a bear discovered them and decided to break in for the goodies. With only a penlight to approached his truck and came face to face with a 250-pound black bear. Before he had time to decide on the correct defence, the bear, appearing more shocked than he was, scampered off crashing through the bushes and brush to disappear in the woods, leaving behind a trail of urine (conceivably more frightened than Stienstra who did not). The lesson to be learned for campers (that includes RVers) is not only the obvious one of not leaving food out – on the picnic table, littering the campsite, or on the pasenger seat of your truck – but also that the reaction of the bear – frightened and running away – is the natural and normal reaction expected from wild animals. But that expectation has changed, and for the worst. Except for bears that live in the deeper reaches of forests and mostly out of contact with civilization, most have lost their fear of humans because of the unfortunate way humans view their responsibilities toward wildlife,... Read more

If HR5204 passes the House our public lands may no longer be free

September 1, 2014 by Bob Difley · Comments Off 

For those of you who define your RV Lifestyle by the great hiking, fishing, and camping to be found in our national forests and on land managed by the BLM, HR 5204 poses a financial threat and possibly even greater controls over what we can do with our RVs when we go seeking the beauty and solitude of our public lands. The following is a repost of an email alert sent by the Western Slope No-Fee Coalition. I have placed it here, because I believe it is important to get the word out: HR 5204 is written as an amendment to the current law, in the form of line-by-line additions, deletions, and substitutions, which makes it very difficult for the public to understand. (Probably this was the intention.) A detailed analysis of the major provisions of HR 5204 can been seen at this link. August 24, 2014 THE FEE-FREE PRESS DEAR PUBLIC LANDS SUPPORTER , Action is urgently needed to stop a bill introduced in the House, and already rammed through Committee and ready for a floor vote. HR 5204 would authorize the Forest Service and BLM to charge fees for all public lands, for any activity, by any person, any time. Details follow. Please TAKE ACTION NOW! Kitty Benzar Welcome to the future. Pay ahead. STOP THIS BILL HOUSE BILL WOULD ALLOW FEES FOR ALL PUBLIC LAND ACCESS Just before the House adjourned for their August recess, HR 5204 The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Modernization Act of 2014, was introduced by U.S. Representative Rob Bishop (R-UT) and rammed through the House Resources... Read more

Off the beaten track: Southern Oregon’s South Slough Reserve

August 15, 2014 by Bob Difley · Comments Off 

Though the sea is enjoyable and invigorating any time of year, fall is a great time to RV along the rocky Pacific coastline. The lure is a direct result of the transition that follows Labor Day, the official end of summer. Traffic no longer impacts Route 1, kids are all back in their schools and humming with activity, summer vacations are but memories until next year, and you can move into the now un-crowded campgrounds, un-bound by the high season necessity of making reservations–the destroyer of spontaneous whims. This is the time of year when Indian summer settles over the coast. The fogs of summer, that form over the cooler offshore waters sucked in by the vacuum cleaner of sizzling inland temperatures, have mostly disappeared. Nippy afternoon winds have decreased to soft zephyrs. This is the time to meander Route l, enjoying the ocean views atop precipitous cliffs, and walking barefoot along cool soft sandy beaches. But don’t forget the occasional side trip that often gets missed by the straight through traveler. One such trip is to South Slough National Estuarine Reserve, the nation’s first protected Estuarine preserve, on Oregon’s south coast near Coos Bay. The Coos River enters the ocean a few miles west of Coos Bay at Charleston, and South Slough stretches out languidly south of town in a shallow, tidal basin of narrow winding channels and gooey mudflats. It is this mud and tidal flow that creates South Slough’s soupy smorgasbord, a mixture of the most primitive... Read more

There are many other volunteer positions available to RVers in addition to camp hosting.

July 12, 2014 by Bob Difley · Comments Off 

8. VOLUNTEERING There are many other volunteer positions available to RVers in addition to camp hosting How does volunteering fit into the RV Lifestyle? Camp hosting is not the only form of volunteer position open to RVers. Though there are volunteer positions available to students, retirees, and for seasonal needs, RVers who bring their houses with them are top tier candidates for volunteer positions where local housing may not be available and where there is room for RVers to park their rigs. Why do businesses and others use volunteers? Many parks use volunteers for jobs such as trail maintenance, invasive plant removal, wildlife census, habitat rejuvenation, leading hikes and nature walks, collecting camping fees, and many more. These are activities/chores that don’t always get funds included in budgets that have been pared to the bone. When a park or other agency or business, such as a wildlife refuge, state park, national forest, or wilderness area can get the job done by offering a free campsite as trade without having to pay a fulltime employee or account for it in their expenses, everybody benefits. Some seasonal positions may even pay a wage, though you won’t get rich on it. The famous Wall Drug in Wall, South Dakota, uses seasonal RVers to work in their store and even provides an RV park where all the seasonal RVers stay. They have found that RVers are reliable, trustworthy, happy to work short hours or in short temporary jobs, and will often come back year after... Read more

Next Page »