Now that we’re ready to hit the road again, we share how we find boondocking sites while we’re on the road to Death Valley! Whether it be camping on BLM land, camping in national forests, or otherwise free camping on public land, we share our tips on finding free camping. Let us show you how we use Campendium and why we think you should give it a try sometime! We have several good travel days and overnight locations, but there is a little mishap while on the way!
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Finding Free Campsites
In Today’s Episode
Good morning on our last day in Oregon. We are hitching up and heading south into California today. We’ve got kind of a long day. It’s going to be about 270 miles with a couple of fuel stops. I really think we’re going to get there in the dark today, but it is what it is. We got a long way to go. So I’m gonna pack up the last few things, and we’re gonna head out of here.
Doing our final walk around now. Kevin and I both circled the RV one more time and just checked that everything looks good, has been locked up, is put away, so we can hit the road.
Fueling Up Before We Enter California
Fuel stop number one of two. I expect it to be a lot more expensive in California.
We’ve been on the road for about three hours now. It’s been a really pretty drive so we’ve enjoyed that. And we’ve been eating snacks. The kids have stayed entertained with books and toys, and now they’re playing game on the tablet. That comes in handy on drive days too. We have another fuel stop coming up in about 30 minutes. So you know, not too eventful. I’ve been doing a little bit of work.
And I guess the only other thing worth mentioning is when you come into California, you have to stop for an agricultural inspection. This time they just waved us through, but sometimes they’ll ask you you know what kind of fruits and vegetables that you have just to make sure you don’t have anything that could cause trouble with pests and such. And so didn’t ask us any of that this time, but as we’re going through he’s like, “Go on, good luck.” Like, what does that mean? Good luck with what? So we were thinking, right, maybe uh good luck with the gas prices. Good luck, it’s gonna be more expensive for you to travel here now. I have no idea.
We also have three car seats across the back now because Klara has graduated to a high back booster. So instead of just two car seats, we now have three because we are keeping Klara’s old car seat for the new baby. So we’re already getting used to this new setup, but it is getting a little more crowded back there already. And we also have the dog down here in the footwell. And she looks pretty comfy. She’s taking a little snooze. she’s a really good dog on travel day especially. She just sleeps, until she thinks we’ve gotten there then she gets excited. So far so good.
California Fuel Prices
So that is definitely a new record for the highest prices we’ve ever paid for fuel ($6.89). But on a happier note we’ve only got about two hours left until we get to our destination tonight and get set up and get dinner. So let’s go.
Last Rest Stop & Our Mishap
Well we just pulled into, I think this is our last rest stop of the day. And if I’m being completely honest the day is starting to feel kind of long at this point. I think we’re ready to be there. Yeah. We’ve done 200 miles today. We still have about 70 to go. There was a little bit of time there where I was starting to think we might get there before it’s dark, but probably not now. It was daylight savings time change last night into today. So we even have an extra hour of daylight now, but still it’s not going to help us.
It’s a long way for us to go in a day, and tomorrow is going to look pretty similar to this too. But the drive has been beautiful. I think soon we’re going to be heading out of the trees and the mountains and down into where it’s a little drier and more desert like. Neither one of us have actually been in this part of California before so this is all new to us.
Surprise! We’ve actually had a mishap. unfortunately. This has never happened to us before, but we came in to use the bathroom inside the trailer and we heard the fridge beeping. And apparently it has come open, and there’s something stuck in it. And I think that was probably my doing. I briefly tried to see if I could get into the fridge with the island against it like this, the slide was in, before we left because the kids were hungry. And I thought I locked it again. There’s, even now I think I remember locking it but apparently not. And now we’re in this situation. That’s the sound we heard. It’s beeping.
So I opened our dining room slide just enough to just get in here because we don’t have a whole lot of space in this pullout spot here. And I’m probably gonna have to put that slide out just a little bit to get everything rearranged. and hopefully nothing comes falling out on me.
Oh this isn’t good. We just needed something exciting to happen. A regular day on the road, how bored were you guys? So a quick note, we’ve never had a major mishap with the fridge like that. It’s never opened because we’ve always latched it. I have to believe that I forgot to latch it because it just doesn’t seem possible for it to open any other way. Some people put little tension rods in their fridge across things on travel day or put things in little containers. So people use various techniques. We’ve never done that. And you know I hope that we never have a bigger mishap because nothing’s ever come tumbling out.
That was our excitement for the day. I hope that’s the last of our excitement for the day. So let’s close up and get going. Yes, let’s do it. Well as you can see we have definitely arrived in the dark. We found this beautiful camping spot, but we’re only going to be here one night so we’re actually just leaving the truck attached. So we just got parked. I’m going to check how level or off level we are and use the levelers on the trailer, just the front and the rear ones, to even us out as best I can, put the slides out, and then I think we’re going to bed.
A Beautiful Campsite!
Good morning. We had a really quiet night here last night, and the views here in the morning were just spectacular. The quietness is just, what a contrast to the last campground we were at with a little bit of road noise. Yeah so we’re out enjoying. Me I’m having a tea. Kevin has his coffee. And just looking at the views before we hit the road again today, but this is wonderful. This boondocking spot like jackpot. I was telling Kevin if we weren’t kind of on a schedule to keep moving and this wasn’t just planned for one night it would be a nice spot to stay for a little bit. Yeah, this is the exact kind of spot where you might plan to pass through and then say I’m gonna stay for several days because it’s just so nice.
Tips On Finding Boondocking Sites With Campendium
We find boondocking sites like this on a website called Campendium. It’s our absolute favorite place to find boondocking sites. And if you pay the membership fee which is only like 10 bucks a year I think right now. Don’t quote us on it, but it’s not, it’s not very much. Yeah and they give you map overlays to show where there’s cell coverage, where there’s BLM land versus national forest, so on and so forth. It’s really really helpful to find boondocking sites like this.
Yeah our criteria are kind of starting with location. So finding it on the map, does it make sense for our route or where we want to be. And internet, do they have internet coverage because we have to continue to work and we still want to stay connected. And then the reviews on there are awesome so we can read did people have a good experience. If not what was going on.
Sometimes places like this have a lot of um off-road vehicle noise. And so this place in particular we got here right right the perfect time because it was the end of the weekend. We had read reviews that the week is quiet hardly anybody here. And then we get a feel for did anybody feel like it was a sketchy place. Did they feel safe. Was it comfortable. how dirty is it. Sometimes people say that unfortunately others have not cleaned up after themselves.
It’s just, it’s a really great site. We look up all of our boondocking spots there. So check that out if you’re looking for boondocking spots. Think of some of those criteria as you’re looking for good sites, and I’m sure you’ll find some amazing ones.
We’ve had kind of a slow morning this morning, and it is time to hit the road again. I think tonight’s spot isn’t going to be quite as nice as this. It’s really just like a rest area on the side of the highway. Which is why we’re kind of lingering here a little bit longer because we just kind of want to get there and go to bed and then head on the next morning. Luckily it’s a shorter travel day than yesterday. Not by too much but a little bit. So we’re gonna hit the road, and we’ll talk to you guys in a bit.
All right this doesn’t happen often,
but I do drive and tow the rig. Occasionally. Usually works out better that Kevin does the driving. I help with navigating, get work done, pass out all the snacks, and take care of the kids. Shout out to all the other women drivers for towing their rigs, driving their rigs. I wouldn’t want to do some of the narrow, more difficult stuff that Kevin does for us, but a nice wide open road, I’ll do that.
A Change Of Plans
Well maybe we’re getting a little braver as we’ve been doing this longer and we’ve parked that big old rig in some definitely different tight spots in places. But I think we’ve had a little bit of a change of plan today. We’re normally pretty strict about going to exactly where we planned to go for the night. And tonight the original plan was to just go to a rest area on the side of the highway, when we actually stumbled across this lake and camping here which is also free. Christine was looking this place up on Campendium just as soon as we saw the sign. It doesn’t look bad at all, and it actually sounds a lot nicer than a rest area.
So nice campground, but I don’t think I’ll be going down to the water due to you know unexploded munitions. Good morning. We did not really show much of leaving that last place because it actually started to rain as we were packing up. And we kind of went into speed mode trying to just put things away before we were getting rained on while getting out of there.
And we’re having a little bit of a chuckle now because we just pulled into the rest area that we would have stayed at last night if we hadn’t found that really nice boondocking spot at the lake. I’m so glad we stopped when we did. 1000 times better. This would have worked you know. It’s an overnight spot that we would have been allowed to stay at. We would have been 45 minutes further down the road. So instead we had to add that to our trip today. But it’s just not scenic. There’s other trucks here that surely would have been here overnight as well. It probably would have been louder. The road is right here rather than a little bit removed. So you know we’re grateful for the change in plans, but again it would have worked.
We’re going to continue the rest of our drive today which will take us to our boondocking spot where we will be exploring Death Valley. We don’t anticipate anything else happening on this drive hopefully. We want a nice uneventful finish to our trip. But we hope that this video gave you guys some insight into how we find boondocking sites. And we hope you guys give it a try sometime as well because boondocking is really awesome, and it can come in handy for extended stays or just travel days. See you all next time.
We hope that gives you some tips for how to find boondocking sites and free camping of your own as you travel!
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