Boondockers have one rule: There are no rules

March 15, 2014 by Bob Difley · Comments Off 

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

January 11, 2014 by Bob Difley · Comments Off 

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

Book Review: Bill McKibben’s “OIL AND HONEY” The Education of an Unlikely Activist

November 7, 2013 by Bob Difley · Comments Off 

By Bob Difley I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that more of us RVers would describe ourselves as concerned with protecting wildlife and the environment, agreeing with sustainability practices, reducing, reusing, and recycling, and trying to conserve our natural resources than those who do not have these concerns. Those who do may not even consider themselves environmentalists, a term which is often used in derision by those who are not. And bring up “global warming” or the lesser button-pushing term, “climate change” and you will likely find yourself in a lively and often heated debate on the merit (or hoax) of this hot topic. Whichever side you are on–or tending to lean to–it never hurts to listen to the other side with an open mind, process the information, and make a rational level-headed decision on whether there is something you think you should be doing or whether the whole idea is political deception or the naive and gullible rantings of do-gooder leftists. Bill McKibbon, author, educator, environmentalist, and activist and a founding partner of, the website devoted to demonstrations and education on the effects of climate change, has written a new book, Oil and Honey, which is a memoir of two different, yet related, facets of his life. The oil side is about his personal realization that climate change is dangerously real and that he needed to inform others of the facts that influenced his decision to transition... Read more

How boondockers deal with waste water

May 26, 2013 by Bob Difley · Comments Off 

By Bob Difley How do you know where you can legally boondock? In last week’s post I wrote about the wise use of water and how its conservation can help extend your boondocking days before having to refill your water tank. This week (I know you’ve been waiting for this part) comes the inevitable yucky part of bondocking, dealing with waste water. Gray water waste disposal (waste from your sinks and shower) is not so bad but you also have to deal with the blackwater tank disposal=–that’s what goes into your tank from the toilet. The main difference between boondocking and hookups regarding waste tanks is the length of time the yucky stuff stays in the tanks. Hookups, very short. Boondocking, long. In fact one of the goals of boondocking is to stretch out the length of time between dumping your tanks, so you want to keep the effluent in the tanks as long as possible before you have to abandon your campsite. That means that when boondocking you should: Regularly monitor the gauges indicating the levels of each tank. Have an general idea of the tank levels just to affirm that your gauges are correct. Determine how fast your tanks are filling and how much time you have left before you need to dump. Install a venturi-type roof vent (photo) to your black water tank vent to extract odors. No chemicals needed. Move to a dump station before your gray tank bubbles up into your shower. Use... Read more

Is it realistic to think that renewable energy will become common in RVs in our lifetime?

February 23, 2013 by Bob Difley · Comments Off 

By Bob Difley Inventors and inventions are a dime a dozen, as the saying goes. Proof is the number of patents filed in the US Patent Office every year (over 500,000 in 2010). Few ever make it to the marketplace, and even fewer become profitable. But that is where creativity takes root, and if the venture capital flows and the public accepts the product–take the iPhone or iPad for example–sales can go viral. What does that have to do with RVing. I’m sure the inventor of the first commercially viable cell phone was not thinking of how useful a mobile, untethered, phone could be to the RV traveler making his nightly campground reservation on the fly, checking ahead to restaurant seating availability, taking calls from excited grandchildren while cruising down the highway, or calling in emergency services when away from nearby help. It took some RVers to actually look at the new invention and ask, “How can I use this to make my life better?” The same holds true with inventions and progressive ideas today. The shortsighted seldom see the long term benefits, only the short term shortcomings of new ideas that need help along their path to usefulness. And that’s where the electric vehicle industry is today. Many people see the shortcomings–heavy expensive batteries, short periods of use before requiring recharging, long recharge periods, not enough charging stations, etc.–without seeing that with increasing acceptance comes increasing innovation... Read more

Does the future of RVing include smart highways?

January 4, 2013 by Bob Difley · Comments Off 

By Bob Difley There are a lot of smart scientists working on a lot of futuristic projects, many of which will impact RVers and the way we enjoy our lifestyle. Take electric (EV) and hybrid electric (HEV) vehicles that are getting all the media play and new EVs are popping up like spring wildflowers–not only in the US but also in India, China, Japan, Korea and just about every country that makes automobiles. So far, it’s been a hard row to hoe getting people to accept a different concept in their vehicles than what they are accustomed to, such as THE MILEAGE range between fossil fuel vehicles and EVs, time to fill up with gas or diesel fuel compared to chargging a battery, ability of electricity powered vehicles to carry or pull the loads that would be required for RVs, and cost differentials–EVs and HEVs are much higher compared to internal combustion engines (ICE). But these smart and innovative scientists and entrepreneurs are working on this stuff. They’d rather that we changed our perspective on how we look at vehicles but also realize that until electrics are offered that have the same or better range, charge (fill up) time, and cost as an ICE operated vehicle, the populace is unlikely to adopt the new concept. So they are going about their business by inventing better batterties, ones that will weigh less, are smaller, offer more usable power, and charge quicker. And a Dutch firm has re-invented highways with solar powered glow-in-the-dark surfaces... Read more

What does it cost to RV? Answer: Whatever budget you have to work with

October 27, 2012 by Bob Difley · 3 Comments 

By Bob Difley A lot of new and wannabee RVers ask “What does RVing cost?” Of course, that is a question that–depending on how you look at it–either has no answer or has infinitive answers.  My approach to that in my classes and writing has always been to define what the individual asking the question means by RVing. There is a whole lot of cost difference between the young family that invested in a second-hand pop-up tent trailer and the retired couple that sold their mega-mansion and invested in a rig designed for fulltiming. And fulltiming here is their definition–something as close to their standard of living as they can get in an RV. That might be a 45 foot luxury motorhome built on a Peterbilt truck chassis and memberships in the fanciest (and pricest) RV golf resorts. If that defines you, congratulations. Money and income is probably not a consideration for you since you likely have enough to support such an RV lifestyle. But for the rest of us, the answer to how-much-does-RVing-cost lies within the definition of your version of RVing. If you enjoy–and plan on continuing–eating out in the country’s restaurants, your food cost will be substantially higher than if you shopped for local fresh foods in farmers’ markets, roadside produce and fruit stands, and U-pick orchards and prepared your own meals in your RV kitchen. The same comparison would be those for whom reading is an important complement to their RV lifestyle,... Read more

Your RV is your passport to a campsite free of the political cacophony

August 23, 2012 by Bob Difley · 15 Comments 

By Bob Difley Turn on your radio or TV anytime between now and November and you will likely get an earful of politics. I’ve already had enough of presidential year politics as I’m sure many of you non-political junkies have also. But I have a solution, an antidote to the flow of political tirade. Go boondocking. I’m not just talking hyperbole here either. Back in 1996 when Bob Dole ran against Bill Clinton My wife and I decided we had had enough and decided to leave the civilized and noisy world behind until after the election. So we did what many RVers do, we headed for the back country, far enough away from TV and radio reception to be tempted to tune in, and  we were pretty much alone in our Shangri-La until we emerged following the election. Boondocking is now difficult, and is an effective way to get out of range of the frantic media barrage of the outer world. The difficulty in boondocking is extending the length of time you can stay away from your support systems–electricity, water, waste disposal–before you are forced to re-enter the civilized world. But it can–and is–being done by lots of RVers who have discovered how to live off the grid and enjoy the world of nature away from the world of humans. Most of what it takes is already a part of your RV. Electricity is solved by batteries, water by a large on-board fresh water tank, and waste disposal with two holding tanks. But to stay out as long as we do requires some additions.... Read more

How to live the RV Lifestyle in turbulent and unsettled times

June 9, 2012 by Bob Difley · 17 Comments 

By Bob Difley Two Fridays ago the stock market fell to its lowest point this year, then rallied the following Monday to regain the losses, resembling a yo-yo more than a retirement investment stategy. Bank failures and massive debt from Spain, Greece, Portugal, and Italy threaten to send the EU into another recession, endangering the Euro as the common European currency. American partisan political bickering and head-in-the-sand politicians prevent even the most benign of bills from making their way through Congress, and jobs are hard to come by, wages are down, and the economic growth forecast for the next few years is modest at best. Add to that the newest finding by an international panel of 22 scientists and researchers from five countries that population growth, carbon dioxide from fossil fuels, decreasing sea life populations, rising shorelines foretelling the engulfment of coastal populations, and a seemingly endless list of the earth’s problems (tornadoes, hurricanes, drought, wildfires) attributable to climate change will require huge expenditures from already cash-strapped and struggling governments to invest in infrastructure,  energy creation, and myriad other measures to solve earth’s crises. Does it leave you wondering what will come along next to threaten our very existence on this fragile planet? Fortunately, when times are tough–as they are now and will likely continue–we RVers (humbly admitting to be some of the wisest, most innovative,... Read more

Keep your fresh food stores safe from microscopic creepy crawlies

February 11, 2012 by Bob Difley · 10 Comments 

By Bob Difley Developed nations such as the USA and Canada have strict laws governing the handling of food from the pickers in the fields through the processors to the canners or baggers. Handling of livestock is also controlled and inspected from the time it leaves the ranch or feeding pens until it ends up in the meat counter or in plastic wrap in the supermarket. But as you all too often read in the news, food bugs (not the kind you can see) still get by the most stringent inspections and into our foods. While most of us are familiar with and have confidence in our local food suppliers, we unfortunately can’t tell when foods contain something that will make us sick. Whether you purchase food from a major supermarket supplied by big agribusiness producers or from the back of a farmer’s truck at a local farmers’ market you can’t tell what pathogens might sneak through. Boondockers must be especially careful in the handling and storing of fresh foods when stocking up before a trip,  some of it hidden from view until discovered when the storage area empties out, often having been subjected to a wide fluctuation between heat and cold. We also often keep foods beyond the safe date since if we’re camped out in the boonies we can’t just pop down to the market to replace questionable items—and we are often a distance from medical care as well if we do get food poisoning. We also might be a bit stingy in using wash and rinse water on dinnerware and cooking utensils... Read more

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