Adventures in RV Boondocking
September 2013

Full Time RVing

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I remember the day well. It was January 10th 2010 and Iowa was frozen over. Snow covered the ground and icicles hung from my RV. With an average temperature of 0 degrees during the past 2 weeks, I was ready to thaw out. After months of work making repairs and modifications to my truck and fifth wheel trailer, my rig was ready to thaw out too.

RV camping Inyo National Forest
RV camping in the Inyo National Forest near Mammoth Lakes, California

The RV was already packed with everything I thought I needed for full time RVing. After saying goodbye to my family, I left Iowa to begin a life I had only dreamed of until now.

Backpacking Marie Lakes
Backpacking Rush Creek Trail in the Sierra Nevada Mountains

I was seeking adventure when I decided to go full time RVing, and that's exactly what I found. I also wanted to live life to the fullest, and that's something I still strive for today.

In my quest I've realized there are a few important things that have contributed to my health and happiness while living a life on the road. I've turned these insights into a new article on full time RVing. Even if you're not a full time RVer (and don't plan on becoming one) you should find some useful tips here.

So here's my 2 cents on living it up while full time RVing...

Full Time RVing, 10 Tips to the Good Life

Don't Feed the Bears!

Now we've all been told "Don't feed the bears" yet it seems some campers never listen. While looking for campsites in the Inyo National Forest north of Mammoth Lakes, California I visited Big Spring Campground. As I was biking through the campground I spotted a black bear that appeared to have a great interest in a pickup truck parked there.

Black bear opening cooler
Black bear searching a cooler for a bite to eat

The bear was cautious, as this was in the middle of the campground and I was nearby...though I doubt I posed much of a threat to this bear! It hesitated a bit, then the bear came back around to the pickup, climbed into the bed, opened a cooler, grabbed something tasty in its jaws, and made a dash back into the forest.

I never saw the driver of the pickup. They probably didn't even realize they were parked right next to a metal bear proof box put there for the sole purpose of keeping coolers full of food out the jaws of bears!

It's a shame, as this bear may become a so called "problem bear" visiting the campsite often, searching for food left out by careless campers, and becoming dependent on this unnatural food source. At the same time the bear becomes accustomed to being around people, and can pose a threat. The sad truth is hundreds of these "problem bears" are destroyed each year in the United States.

So if you love bears and you're in the forest please remember not to feed them, regardless of how cute they appear.

Marie Lakes campsite
Camping in the Sierras next to Marie Lakes

While on a week long backpacking trip in the Sierra Nevada Mountains I was required to store all my food in a bear proof canister. People used to hang food from trees, but I've heard that doesn't work with bears. They're way too smart for that trick. The only sure way to keep the bears from eating your lunch is to store it in a bear proof canister. I never did see a bear while backpacking, but it was reassuring to know I wouldn't go hungry from a hungry bear.

Rush Creek
Rush Creek

On my backpacking trip I followed a gorgeous mountain creek, clear as glass, called Rush Creek, all the way to its headwaters near 11,000 feet. The high country was amazing, and I'm already dreaming about my next backpacking adventure in the Sierras.

If you happen to find yourself in the Eastern Sierras (and you definitely should!) here are a few great camping areas to watch out for...

Boondocking Campsites

There's four new campsites for you to enjoy here. The first is the famous Alabama Hills near Lone Pine, California. These hills have starred in hundreds of movies. The landscape is surreal with strangely shaped rocks and many natural arches. It's a geologic fantasy land. There are too many beautiful campsites to count here.

Alabama Hills, California

Haystack Mountain is another great camping area near Lone Pine. The mountain is in Owens Valley near the Owens River. Temps can be a bit hot during the summer, but spring, fall, and winter should be ideal. There are several patches of dry lake bed here that make for excellent camping. Leveling the RV is a piece of cake.

Haystack Mountain, California

Fossil Falls Recreation Area is another fascinating geologic display. Volcanoes shaped this landscape of lava and water from the Owens River flowed over the lava, sculpting it and polishing it into a work of art.

Fossil Falls Recreation Area, California

Short Canyon is just northwest of Ridgecrest and is the perfect spot for a spring visit. This is the time when wildflowers color the canyon. At this southern tip of the Sierra Nevada Mountains you get a taste of what's to come north along Highway 395. 

Short Canyon, California

Scenic Videos

When temps are too hot to handle in Northwestern Arizona near Kingman, it's time to head into the cool Hualapai Mountains. Hualapai Peak tops out at 8,417 feet and tall ponderosa pines provide plenty of shade. This island in the sky is a picturesque place to park the camper. There are hiking and ATV trails and rugged mountain roads to explore.

Hualapai Mountains Video

Hualapai Mountains Camping Article

Stay tuned for new articles, campsites, pictures, and videos.

Until next time,

Keep RVing and keep smiling!

Will Barton

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