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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



ANSWERING QUESTIONS & COMMENTS FROM YOU

January 12, 2014 by Barry & Monique Zander · Leave a Comment 

By Barry Zander, Edited by Monique Zander, the Never-Bored RVers Yesterday I was macerating.  What’s that, you may ask.  Check out my website at http://ontopoftheworld.bz/category/barrys-travel-blog-3/ for a full explanation with photos.  I first learned about it six years ago in Key West but didn’t try it until this week.  Monique are I are in the throes of preparing for 10 days in the high desert of Arizona, where we will witness an expanse of nothingness blossom, beginning with the huge white canvas tent already up and awaiting us and up to a million folks with interests common to yours.  That cavernous tent will contain endless RV-related booths [look for us behind booth No. 401 next to one of the western entrances].  Outside on the perimeter of the tent will be more service and product vendors including gem and mineral sellers, plus a long RV repair garage.  Beyond that is free parking flanked by hundreds of flea-market-type booths. Me leaving the show a couple of years ago -- OVERLOADED! Across Interstate-10 is the desert town of Quartzsite, which, in addition to rock and “collectibles” shops now has fast-food restaurants and cafes, groceries, gas stations and other essential services.  On down the road … or really roads … are private RV parks (we’ve heard differing stories about whether there are spaces available or not) and radiating outward even further are miles of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) scrub lands, where RVers park for free, boondocking... 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



The gray water dumping question answered

December 28, 2013 by Bob Difley · Leave a Comment 

By Bob Difley This is a previously published post on RV.net, but I thought that it was informative and appropriate enough to publish again at the beginning of  snowbird season when many of you will be boondocking in Southern California and Arizona. The question nearly always comes up among boondockers on whether it is legal to dump gray water (from the RV shower and sinks) onto the ground, into a freshly dug hole, or onto a thirsty bush while boondocking in the desert. I contacted the BLM with a request to point out the applicable regulations and to clarify some gray (no pun intended) areas. I received the following reply: “Dear Mr. Difley, we have received your request and in order to properly answer your questions are consulting with our field offices to determine if there are any areas that have special restrictions/conditions in place. We will respond to your request once we can compile the responses. Thank you for your interest in BLM public lands. Carrie Templin Public Affairs Specialist Bureau of Land Management” A couple weeks later I received the following reply. I have hightlighted certain sections that I thought interesting or pertinent in bold type. “Dear Mr. Difley, Thank you for your recent questions regarding recreational vehicles (RV) and dispersed camping on BLM lands in Arizona. The answers to your questions are more complicated than originally thought. Although the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) found at 8365.1-1 (3) generally excludes “wash water”... Read more



With a little practice you can save on campground fees by boondocking

November 16, 2013 by Bob Difley · Leave a Comment 

By Bob Difley Most RVers who have gotten past the newbie stage have camped overnight at least once or twice without hookups, for instance in a Walmart parking lot, at a rest stop along an interstate highway, at an RV rally, or in a forest service campground. Discovering how to camp where there are no hookups is not difficult, since all modern rigs were designed to be self-contained and self-reliant and most RVers once they get a little familiar with their rig have tried it. But the real trick to successful camping without the restrictions imposed by hook-ups–what RVers call  boondocking–is knowing how to get that third, fourth, or fifth day – or even a week or more – out of a boondocking campsite. And not just surviving, but becoming completely comfortable and confident doing it. The trick is in managing your resources–water, electricity, and waste. If you familiarize yourself with these resources you will be able to judge how many days you can camp without running out (or filling up) and needing to take care of your onboard systems. For instance, monitor your electrical usage with a multi-meter and how fast you deplete it from your batteries. Watch your drinking water tank level and how much you waste (and the resultant waste water filling up your gray water tank). Also check your black, or sewer, tan and how fast you fill it. Then practice ways to conserve. Getting as many days in the boonies as you can squeeze in between having to pack up camp and... Read more



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