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Arizona’s Coconino National Forest: Where Snowbirds head to escape the heat

April 17, 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 AdminBy Bob Difley With Snowbird season in its waning moments, RVers are starting to head north to cooler weather, many of which will head for the national forests for a change of scene from the Southwestern Deserts. Many retreating snowbirds, though, choose a more leisurely pace to the northern climes than multiple hundred-mile days of driving, heading for higher elevations and cooler weather in some of the southern parts of the country. Northern Arizona’s Coconino National Forest, for example, lies north of Payson to above Flagstaff and up to Humphreys Peak, the highest point in Arizona at 12,633 feet, about 10 miles north of Flagstaff. There are plentiful areas in the national forest for both boondocking and in forest service campgrounds. However, Coconino is well on the way to fully implementing its Travel Management Plan that designates which forest roads you can drive on and where you can boondock. These dispersed camping areas are identified on free maps available at ranger stations and online. I received the following  email from Mike Dechter, the Litigation... Read more



Bend, Oregon based Host RV introduces off-road expedition vehicle

March 28, 2014 by Bob Difley · Leave a Comment 

Bend, Oregon based Host RV introduces off-road expedition vehicle I admit, I’m starry-eyed whenever I come across an expedition or off-road RV, one that will let me explore rough terrain like a super-sized Jeep. And Host’s Outback Explorer has my boondocker’s pulse racing. But Randall Pozzi, national sales manager for the Bend, Ore.-based manufacturer of campers, expedition vehicles and Class C motorhomes, said the products will stand out in the marketplace – especially when it comes to the Aspen. The Outback is all about going places off the beaten path, coming with either three slide-outs and a side entry or two slide-outs with a rear entry. It is built on a Mitsubishi Fuso Canter 4X4 chassis and features a six-speed duonic automatic transmission. “It’s for the people who want to go places you can’t go with your normal RV,” says Randall Pozzi, national sales manager of Host. “It has the ability to cross creeks and go out in the sand. When you’re driving down the highway and you see that dirt road that goes off to the side and you always say, ‘I wonder where that goes,’ with this vehicle you’d go find out.” Pozzi said the Outback has not been regularly stocked yet due to its cost and the untested nature of the market for expedition vehicles. “Dealers are a little bit leery of it yet,” he said. “That whole field of expedition vehicles is kind of a new thing in RVs.” I guess that means there aren’t as many off-road campers out... Read more



Boondockers have one rule: There are no rules

March 15, 2014 by Bob Difley · Leave a Comment 

By Bob Difley Boondockers unwritten rules If you don’t boondock, you might think that when you are truly boondocking–camping out away from any hook-ups or other amenities, not in a campground, and on free public lands–you also don’t have any rules to follow. Not so–though there are those who do not follow the rules and that hurts the rest of us. The rules are loosely defined, aren’t hard to follow or unusually restrictive, and generally don’t infringe on or detract from the boondocking experience. Pick a campsite away from others. Most boondockers, until otherwise determined, value their solitude and privacy, and prefer not to have neighbors close by. Upon arrival, walk the site with a bag and pick up any man-made trash left behind by previous campers. Just do it and don’t fret about it. It won’t take you long If you build a campfire, anything that will not burn to ashes, carry it out. Find ways to hang things other than driving nails into trees. Keep your campsite neat. Put things away when not in use. Nobody wants to see all your stuff scattered about like a yard sale in progress. Pick up only downed and dead wood for a campfire. Chopping limbs off trees or uprooting bushes to burn is something only clueless teenagers would do. Think safety when building a campfire. Scrape all debris several feet away from your fire and keep your fire small. Build a rock ring or dig a depression to contain the fire. If you dump the gray... Read more



Did you make it to Quartzsite this winter?

March 6, 2014 by Bob Difley · Leave a Comment 

By Bob Difley If you haven’t been to Quartzsite yet, you’ve missed it for the season. It’s starting to get hot – it’s already passing 80 degrees everyday and will move progressively warmer – and snowbirds are leaving in droves. But never fear, it will still be there next year, and if you’ve thought about going but just haven’t made the move yet, read the article below by Melanie Cullen of Blue Sky Energy and you’ll get a better idea of what the Quartzsite experience, especially the RV Show, is all about. Looking Back and Ahead at the Quartzsite RV Show By Melanie Cullen, Blue Sky Energy, Inc. While dry camping last January at the 31st annual Quartzsite RV Show, Rick and I reminisced about how Quartzsite (or Q) has changed over the last 15 years that we’ve been going and what we think the next 15 years might bring. Dry camping or “boondocking” is camping without any hookups or connections to water, power or a sewer. We bring everything we need including water and use solar to charge our RV battery for electricity. Over the years, Q has grown significantly in size from around 60,000 in 1999 to over 150,000 this year, and become more focused on making RV living cozy, which will have a big impact on how RVs are powered in the future. When we first went to the Quartzsite RV Show in ’99, the RV Pavilion was packed with big-ticket items like RV satellites, tow hitches, and companies offering to install a solar array on your... Read more



In a camping rut? Try wildlife refuges

March 1, 2014 by Bob Difley · Leave a Comment 

By Bob Difley Are you in a rut? If you’ve been RVing for a couple of year or more you likely have found favorite spots that you return to year after year. But you probably also realize that these are not the only campgrounds that will ever like, so why not venture out into new places, take different routes, or camp in places you wonce wouldn’t have considered? I’ve been guilty of the same complacency at times, but when I changed my habits I found great spots, terrific places to camp, hike, ride my mountain bike, or look for birds and wildlife. It just takes a commitment to once in a while do something, go somewhere different. OK. Once you make that commitment, may I suggest you check out this country’s wildlife refuges. In addition to all the state wildlife areas around the country, the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service manages the world’s premier system of public lands and waters set aside to conserve America’s fish, wildlife, and plants. Since President Theodore Roosevelt designated Florida’s Pelican Island as the first wildlife refuge in 1903, the System has grown to more than 150 million acres, 551 national wildlife refuges, as well as other units of the Refuge System, plus 37 wetland management districts. That is a heck of a lot of land that belong to each and every one of us – what is designated as public lands – and open for many kinds of recreational pursuits beyond hunting. The guide book to the refuges that I have... Read more



Boondockers alert: New primitive campsites in Louisiana’s Atchafalaya Basin

February 18, 2014 by Bob Difley · Leave a Comment 

By Bob Difley To boondockers it seems that every year that passes we lose legal places to boondock (and where motor vehicles can legally drive). Evidence of this is in the Forest Service’s newly initiated Travel Management Plans that designates exactly where you can boondock on land administered by the National Forest Service. These areas of legal boondocking are designated as “dispersed camping” areas and shown on new Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs) specific to each forest. These free maps can be obtained at forest service offices and online in each individual forest service website. Now the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources is possibly starting to reverse this trend by initiating a program to encourage campers and RVers to become more familiar with the Atchafalaya Basin. To prove it, they’ve opened up a project that provides free primitive camping sites (http://rvthesouth.blogspot.com/2014/02/respect-baby-alligators-when-using-one.html) on state-owned property along the Basin. This seems to be a smart move by the LDNR to initiate new visitors to the Basin, bringing revenue to the area. RVers do spend money – even if they boondock – visiting area attractions, shopping at area stores, buying groceries, using RV repair services, and taking tours. And it is likely they will become returning visitors as well. The cost to the LDNR after site preparation, which could be minimal to extensive, would be negligible but the benefits great. Now... Read more



Water: The vital resource for life and boondocking

January 31, 2014 by Bob Difley · Leave a Comment 

By Bob Difley California is in the midst of the worst drought since records have been taken. in fact, the rain fall this year is half what the previous worst year total was. This loss of available water stores (snow pack, reservoirs, aquifers, etc.) will be disastrous for farmers, spawning salmon, and homeowners (who water lawns, wash cars, plant gardens, and follow several water wasting habits in their everyday lives. States other than California are being affected also with water shortages, unlike those in the Midwest, South, and East Coast that are receiving too much of the wet stuff. Normally dry areas, like the deserts of the Southwest, of which much of California qualifies as well as parts of Eastern Oregon, Southern Arizona and New Mexico, could suffer the most. You can expect water conservation guidelines to ramp up as the situation continues to worsen. Some areas are already prohibiting watering lawns, cars, washing down driveways, operating sprinklers, and flushing toilets less (phew!) But we boondockers have a leg up on everybody else (not to be smug, or anything) because as we pursued our love of boondock camping, we also learned how to conserve water to avoid filling our waste water tank or draining our fresh water tank, causing us to vacate our campsite discovery and drive off to find somewhere to dump and fill. But these same skills we learned on how to conserve water while camping are also valuable skills to practice at home now that water conservation is looming... Read more



Fun in the sun awaits at Lake Havasu City, Arizona

January 18, 2014 by Bob Difley · Leave a Comment 

By Bob Difley The Lower Colorado: Lake Havasu City And Parker By Bob Difley Whether just visiting Lake Havasu City on the way south to Parker, Yuma, or Quartzsite, or planning to spend the winter, visit the Lake Havasu Visitors and Convention Bureau’s website http://www.golakehavasu.com/ or their physical location at 314 London Bridge Road (enter from the parking lot behind the building) to find the myriad activities available during the temperate winter months. Because of its fine restaurants and cultural agenda, Lake Havasu City has attracted upscale visitors, year round retirees, and winter snowbirds resulting in a long list of exemplary events and activities, quite unlike the summer’s line up of boat races, Jet Ski races, and fishing tournaments. Besides locally produced little theater plays and musicals, the Lake Havasu Museum of History, next door to the Tourism Bureau, has on display historic artifacts and archives dating from the earliest Colorado Indians through the reconstruction of Robert McCulloch’s London Bridge. This is not to say that you have only cultural events from which to choose. For instance, the Grand Canyon Pro Rodeo Assn. & Little Delbert Days, January 25 – 26 attractrs prpo rodeo association cowboys and cowgirls from around the southwest, as well as a lot of action on-stage, from Kids Karaoke, balloon animals, hula-hoop contests, to the “Cutest Cowboy and Cowgirl Contest (ages 2 – 12)”. Little Delbert... Read more



Isn’t it time to work less and RV more?

January 11, 2014 by Bob Difley · Leave a Comment 

By Bob Difley Productivity. Connectivity. Accumulating Wealth. These are considered positive attributes and goals for working Americans to strive for. Yet “Ecologists warn that economic growth is strangling the natural systems on which life depends,” writes Carolyn Lochhead in the San Francisco Chronicle. You read everyday that we are running out of – or eventually will run out of – many of our natural resources, for example lithium that powers most of our devices, or we will hve to ration some resources, like water that comes from diminishing aquifers and – at least in California – decreased rainfall threatening devastating droughts and wildfires. “As the world economy grows relentlessly,” Lochhead continues, “ecologists warn that nature’s ability to absorb wastes and regenerate natural resources is being exhausted.” And if that isn’t enough to be concerned about, psychologists and health professionals warn that our drive for wealth, continuous connectivity, and relentless need to work more hours, produce more, improve efficiency, and all the other pressures on today’s workforce to be ever more competitive, could have deleterious results on both our mental and physical health. Whether you are a believer or non-believer in global warming, worried about diminishing resources or believing that nature or science will provide, or are a political liberal or conservative, there may be a solution that would... Read more



Boondocking in the Southwestern Deserts

January 4, 2014 by Bob Difley · Leave a Comment 

Many RV snowbirds are just now arriving in the Southwestern Deserts, with quite a few heading for Quartzsite, Arizona to “boondock” on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Land. The BLM has established what they call Long Term Visitor Areas (LTVAs) to provide RVers with open space for camping without hookups. The LTVAs are an easy and effective introduction to desert boondocking and snowbirding. Support services and supplies are available, and the great gathering of veteran boondockers, akin to the mountain man rendezvous of 200 years ago, stand ready to help out if needed. However, plenty more snowbird/boondocking possibilities exist outside the LTVAs of Quartzsite in the Mojave Desert of Southeastern California (including some LTVAs in California just west of Yuma) and the Sonora Desert of Southwestern Arizona. After you have tested your desert mettle in an LTVA you might want to try one of these lesser known snowbirding opportunities. You will find the main mid-winter snowbirding locations at the lowest elevations: around Yuma on both sides of the Colorado River, in California west along the Mexican border, up the Colorado River including the Parker Strip and around Lake Havasu, east toward Phoenix and down to Tucson. Low elevation desert camping is also available around Deming in New Mexico. The rest of Mexico is higher elevation, over 2,000 feet, and therefore colder, as are the northern and southeastern parts of Arizona, though many snowbirds gather around Benson... Read more



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