Adventures in RVing

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Dave Helgeson

Dave Helgeson

Follow Dave's RV adventures as he travels the West in search of forgotten and unique places. For Dave, home is where you park it, the more remote the better!

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Adventures in RVing: Backing Up!

As my wife and I RV about the country, there is one thing we constantly see other RVers struggle with. That one item is backing up the RV. Therefore, I thought I would share the following truckers tip regarding backing up.

Safety experts in the trucking industry teach the acronym of GOAL to keep things simple and safe. Many RVers have adopted this acronym as well. Following is one of many GOAL descriptions you will find online:

b2ap3_thumbnail_Goal-1.jpg"What's your goal? To get the rig SAFELY backed into the campsite with as little fuss as possible. Notice we put safety first. There's much to be said about that. Fuss is at the other end of the spectrum. Yes, if you're in a crowded campground, we know there'll be plenty of rubber-neckers who will have nothing better to do than watch you struggle to get into the site. For most, though, it gets better with practice. 

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Adventures in RVing: Boondocking With Gators

While our RV travels currently take place primarily across the western United States, I am constantly adding places to my database that allow boondocking (aka dispersed camping) for that day when my wife and I can expand our horizons.  I recently came across the following on the "RV the South" blog.

Respect the Baby Alligators When Using One of Louisiana's New, Free, Primitive Campsites

Question: What's the name of the largest wetland in the U.S.? Answer: The Atchafalaya Basin in Louisiana. If 'you'all is not from around heah," then a few intriguing terms might be new to you. Bayous, bald cypress swamps, and of course, one everyone knows, "alligator." 

Now the good folks of Louisiana's Department of Natural Resources would like folks to become more familiar with the basin. To prove it, they've opened up a project that provides free primitive camping sites on state-owned property along the Atchafalaya Basin. 

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Adventures in RVing: The Running of the Bulls

There is a national restaurant chain whose most recent marketing campaign features the slogan: "No rules, just right". That slogan pretty much sums up the appeal of boondocking for my wife and I. While there are regulations regarding boondocking on public land, they are not presented to you each time you "check in" nor are you required to sign a document acknowledging them like you would in a private RV park. Boondocking allows you to check in when you want, check out when you want, run your generator when you want, let your kids be kids, hang towels from your awning to dry and even perform maintenance on your vehicle if you like.  Plus, there is no cancellation fee if you show up and don't care for your surroundings.  So when we recently checked into a well kept private RV park in Eastern Washington and were handed the "list", I was quickly reminded on why we hadn't stayed in a private park for many months. However, wanting to be a good tenant and neighbor, I read the list of park rules.  Most of the standard items were present (quiet hours, bag your garbage, pet waste, etc.), but when I got to number 10 I took notice. It stated, "Use only access gates provided for park guests. DO NOT enter the bull pasture. They do not play well with others." Well, I have to admit that in all my years of RVing I have never read or seen that stated in any other campgrounds’ rules.  Being gored by a bull is one adventure in RVing I can do without!

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Adventures in RVing: Red Bluff Recreation Area

Heading from the Pacific Northwest to Southern California this summer?  Looking for somewhere to camp along the way, close to the freeway, that won't cost an arm and a leg? Then you may want to check out the attractive Red Bluff Recreation Area and the very unusual Sycamore Grove Campground. What makes this campground unusual is that it is a USFS (United States Forest Service Campground) operated by the Mendocino National Forest, but located in an urban setting just minutes from I-5. Even more atypical than the standard forest service campsite is the campground features water and electric paved sites! Stranger yet is some of the sites are long pull throughs with some featuring 50 amp electrical service. Want another bonus? The surrounding recreation area features miles of paved hiking and biking trails, access to the Sacramento River and an interpretive center. I saved the best for last. The rate is only $25 / night for a spacious, grassy, shady, water and electric site! But wait, it gets even better! Since it is a federally operated campground, Golden Age/Access Passports and Interagency Senior/Access Recreation Pass holders receive 50% off the posted camping fees!  Discovering the extraordinary when expecting the ordinary, just another adventure in RVing!

Visit Recreation Area
Visit Campground

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Adventures in RVing: River Tubing Adventure

A number of entries ago I wrote about the beautiful Yakima Canyon and the many camping opportunities offered by the BLM (Bureau of Land Management). Now that summer has officially arrived, there is one more family fun activity I would like to share.

Each summer, the Yakima River becomes a virtual byway with young and old taking to inner tubes and enjoying a lazy float down river. On a warm sunny summer weekend, you will find dozens, sometimes hundreds or maybe even thousands of people basking on tubes and rafts soaking in the sun at the pace of the river’s gentle flow.

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Adventures in RVing: How Many RVs?

Students voluntarily stuffing themselves into a phone booth along with a few of their closest friends was a popular fad in the 1950's. I'm not sure what the record was, but it was obviously an uncomfortable amount as the accompanying photo can attest. For those readers younger than 25 that were born with a cell phone attached to your hip and have no idea what a phone booth is, you will find the answer here. Being the curious person I am, it started me wondering about how many vehicles you could stuff into a single developed campsite.


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Adventures in RVing: Teanaway Community Forest

Recently I wrote about the camping and recreational opportunities offered by the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR)- and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). 

Now the two have joined forces to manage a newly acquired Community Forest. Late last year, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources purchased Washington’s first state-managed Community Forest. The Teanaway Community Forest is a 50,272 acre tract situated at the headwaters of the Yakima Basin watershed. 

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Adventures in RVing:  Logan Canyon Boondocking

In the June 2014 edition of RV Life you will find an article I wrote about the Logan Canyon Scenic Byway.

In the article I made mention of dispersed camping (aka boondocking) opportunities along the upper tributaries of the Logan River. There are some awesome places to boondock while exploring Logan Canyon. In the Franklin Basin you will find numerous places to camp in the vicinity of N41 56.295  W111 34.235  Along Swan Flat you will find a nice camp area at N41 57.430 W111 29.290 (pictured) that can easily handle a dozen or more RVs in and among the trees.

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Adventures in RVing: Your Discover Pass - DNR Lands

In the last installment we looked at making use of your Discover Pass to explore and camp in wildlife areas in Washington State managed by the WDFW (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife). This week we will look at the plethora of camping opportunities available to you via the Discover Pass on Washington State Lands managed by the DNR (Department of Natural Resources).

DNR offers hundreds of campgrounds across the state with access to miles of designated trails. Depending on where you go you will find trails for hiking, motorcycles, mountain biking, ATV riding, boating, horseback riding and four wheel drive enthusiasts allowing you to camp and enjoy your favorite form of recreation from one convenient location.

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Adventures in RVing: Your Discover Pass WDFW

No one I know is really in favor of the Discover Pass required to recreate on State land in Washington, but if you are going to purchase one, be sure you get the most bang for your buck by making full use of it. Most people associate the Discover Pass with Washington State Parks. While State Parks receive the lion's share of the revenue, the Discover Pass also provides you access to nearly a million acres of WDFW (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife) land on which to recreate and camp.

While I have previously blogged about WDFW water access sites and the camping opportunities they provide, I recently had the chance to tour the Wenas Wildlife Area via dual sport motorcycle and I am happy to report the area is prime territory for adventurous RVers. The area offers hiking, waterfalls, great scenery, the opportunity to ride ATVs, awesome view points, lots of wildlife, old homesteads to explore, target practice and many boondocking opportunities! The accompanying pictures were taken in the Wenas Wildlife Area.

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