Archive for the 'boondocking' Category

Doc Baxter

June 21st, 2016

So there was the time, back in 2013, that we met Doc Baxter. We were camped at Gilchrist Beach, a free spot ¼ of a mile up the beach from Rollover Pass. Well, we thought it was free. The paperwork said it was free. However, on the weekend, a lady rolls up and tells us we have to move or buy a pass. She said that we weren’t in the free area and handed us the paper that shows the designation. Funny thing, the paper was the same one I read online before we got there. It said we were OK where we were. I pointed it out to her, to which she said that she had never actually read it before. She went on and later came back with a revised version that said we were in the wrong spot LOL. She said that we could finish our stay but next time, we had to get a pass or stay in the other area.

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Anyway, this is the story of Doc Baxter, not how we camped in a pay area on the Texas Coast for free due to outdated paperwork.

One afternoon, while walking Rain, I ran into a man fishing with a kitten at his side. Rain took an interest in the kitten and the guy seemed cool with it. We started to chat while Rain and the kitten play. Nothing too memorable. Just small talk.

Later that afternoon, he stops by and offers us some fish. We’d already eaten, so we declined. He takes a seat, and we chat for a while. At one point we talk about camping down on Padre Island. That’s when he tells us his story.

A couple years back, he had let a couple of Navy SEALs camp in his rig on South Padre Island. They had to go somewhere in a hurry and didn’t want anyone to break in. They wrote a note and left it on the door. It said that the camper was booby-trapped and anyone trying to gain entry would be maimed. They taped a fake grenade to it.

Someone got curious and wanted to see what the sign said. They called the police and reported it. It became a huge deal. The area got shut down. The bomb squad was called in. It was all over the news.

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He said that while all this was going on, he was sitting in the hospital unaware of any of it.

We sat around joking and talking about other things that don’t really stand out anymore. Eventually, we called it a night and he headed home.

The next morning he shows up and asks if we can help him. His RV was stuck in the sand. Of course we said we would.

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We ended up hooking our van to his truck that was connect to the RV. One of us manned each vehicle. After a few tugs and some broken straps, we got the RV out. We helped him get it to his new spot and then parted ways. We’ll probably never see him again, but I’ll never forget the days spent with Doc Baxter. He’s had quite a journey.

 




Stoned-In

July 31st, 2015

So the last 48 hours have been pretty interesting. We got to hangout with some great friends whom we haven’t seen since we were in Colorado in 2011. They took time out of their vacation to chill with us in Montrose. Very cool of them. Love you guys, hope to see you in a few weeks/months.

Afterwards, we went back to an area we had found and camped at the day before, though in a different campsite. It’s a neat area. There are campsites on the cliff of a mesa, 400ft above the valley below. The views area vast. At night, the distant lights of Montrose shine bright and beautiful. We had planned to stay there for a few days and take care of some business. That is until it was time to go to bed.

Our free campsite outside of Montrose, Colorado

Snowden couldn’t get into the van on his own. He had a big day of hiking and playing with our friends at the park. I figured he was just stiff, so I picked him up and put him inside. Then, he acted as though his legs didn’t work and was collapsing. I put him in bed.

Being me, I thought the worst. I checked him for a snake bite. When I put him into a sit position to check the rest of him, his body swayed so much that he almost fell over. I laid him back down and tried to give him liquids. He acted like it was fire, flinching erratically. That’s when I freaked and called the after hours, emergency vet.

It was near midnight and the vet talked me out of bringing him in. We went over the symptoms. He said that it didn’t seem life threatening. I thought otherwise but the vet’s calm, gentle voice won me over.

Alarm set, so I could check on him every two hours, everyone went to bed. Not much sleep happened. Snowden sat up and looked so sad and pathetic. Eventually, I went and held him. Later, my love took the helm.

In the morning, he was better but still in a very bad way. We decided to leave the campsite. If there was something there that made him sick, we didn’t want Rain to get into it too.

Since we were going past the vet I had called anyway, we stopped in. They checked him out and did a test for toxins. They found something. THC!

The little dog must have found a discarded edible and was stoned out of his mind! It took 12hrs for him to return from his dream world enough to drink water, but he still wasn’t walking. It was 20hrs before he would eat.

Little stoner totally freaked me out. Snowden was Stoned’n. He was on a vision quest.

He’s completely back to normal now. No damage. Thankfully, the ordeal only cost $100 and one night’s sleep. We had to move before we had planned, but our new campsite has even better views and stellar cellular connectivity. It’s all good.

Our free campsite gunnison national forest

Camping at Oak Ridge Equestrian Area SWFWMD

May 9th, 2014

This is one of many vehicle accessible, free campgrounds that are maintained by the Southwest Florida Water Management District. While there are no fees to camp here, you must obtain a reservation. The camping area is behind a locked gate. When your reservation is confirmed, you will be granted entry. It’s only a minor inconvenience considering what you are getting, free camping in Florida.

The camping area in on high ground and dappled with scrub pine shade.  There is plenty of room for several groups

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There’s picnic tables, fire rings, a little shelter, portable toilet and water via hand pump

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It was just us and the tent. We’d see people on horses once in a while. I never saw anyone in the tent, but they had obviously taken over the shelter, and were into bushcraft, as we found items such as this bow made from a windshield wiper all throughout it.. As we were leaving we passed a snake venom guy, presumably out trying to catch some rattlers.

For more reservation info, maps, reviews and pictures of this free Florida campground, please visit freecampsites.net.

In or Out

May 8th, 2014

Using the outdoor kitchen/shower area.

Oh, look! Van pictures.

That’s dinner cooking in the outdoor kitchen/shower. To turn it into an indoor kitchen, just close the door. Indoor showers are not suggested.

The propane fired stove (Coleman PowerPack 1-Burner Stove) is attached to a board which folds down when not in use. We’d been talking about doing this before we even got the van. It is just as cool as we thought it was going to be.

Ninja Shower

The shower (Eccotemp L5 Portable Tankless Water Heater and Outdoor Shower) is also propane fired so the insulated wall behind it is covered in aluminum for fire protection. Between the shower and a 31 gallon water tank sits a water pump (Flojet 03526 144A Triplex Diaphragm 3526 Series Automatic Water System Pump).

Open the door, throw up a tarp, turn on the water pump, get naked and fire up the shower. It’s soooo much nicer than a solar shower.

My Heart is a Big Red Dot

February 24th, 2014

We have met a lot of colorful people and characters since we’ve been on the road. Often, I remember them much more vividly than the places. During a conversation about quilting tonight, I was brought back to one of our early adventures in the camper. It was the one where we tried our hand at “stealth boondocking” for the first time. I think it was this day.

Being in central FL, we decided to head to the beach and stay the night in a nearby neighborhood. We drove around for a couple of hours and never found a place we felt comfortable staying overnight. Finally, and way late a night, we just pulled into a Lowes parking lot. I heard every car that drove by that night. We expected to be rousted at any minute. Thankfully, it never happened.

All that is still in my mind somewhere, but what really stuck out the most was our first real interaction with another traveler. While having the hardest time trying to maneuver the camper in the extremely full, tiny beach parking lot, we saw a woman with a trailer so small it was hard to believe she could lay down in it. On it’s side, in plastic roadside marquee letters, it read “My Heart is a Big Red Dot”.

The woman, who was a bit forward for this conservative southern girl, beckoned us and told us of her travels. She said that, as she goes from place to place, she helps people deal with the grief of a passed loved one by helping them make a quilt from said loved one’s clothing. I must admit, I found it odd.

Her camper was dubbed “The Mantra Trailer”. She asked us what our mantras were. She told us that she had a recording studio inside of the trailer where she records people speaking their mantras. She invited us in. We declined. Apparently we weren’t the only ones. Later I found her blog and, it seems that she hadn’t had much luck with getting Floridians to open up and come inside.

I think back to that day and who I was. The road has really changed my perception of things and people.

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This image is from her blog. You can see the cab over of our camper behind her trailer. Her trailer had a recent someone’s mantra on it.

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