Sunday, March 3, 2013

Finding free (and almost free) camping in the West

Last post, 6_bleen_7 pointed out the cactus baby on Estée Fodder's nose. This morning I woke up thinking She was eating poke salad. The same line twenty hours earlier would have been HI-larious.

Our neighbor was out as we walked by with our two dogs.* He has been doing a lot of work during the day and leaving at night. He explained tonight that he plans to move in here, so he's been constructing a living area attached to his storage building.

Fernand is a refugee from Congo. His wife died in the war, and his children are in Gabon. We asked if they will come here - maybe someday.

His English is halting, but my French throws itself onto the ground and must be dragged. He tells us that someone (People for Action?) helped him set up his landscaping business here. He likes having us here; until we came along he felt alone out here. You are two - you talk. I am just one.† He shrugs.

What bothers him most is having no lights. He doesn't yet have a solar set-up. We're thinking some solar lights might be a useful housewarming gift. Do you have other ideas?

*Whitey held onto his Will Woof For Food gig here, and brought his brown friend with him today.  
†We think Fernand should keep feeding them after we leave so he has doggie company and night-woofers.

It was fun meeting Sue and Steve for brunch! For the past year I've had to settle for laughing at Sue's puns via Facebook. It's said that puns are the lowest form of humor...unless they're your puns. Between her and Nina, we're pretty psyched about New Mexico.

When Nina was here, she brought her Arizona Benchmark Atlas along to show us. We were impressed enough to buy it and the New Mexico version, too. These are great for finding public and other lands open for camping. For example, they show that Tucson has very little BLM land, but huge stretches of State Trust land that can be accessed for a $15/year permit.

Check out all the states available.

Don't expect these to replace Marianne's Frugal Shunpiker's Guides - there's nothing like a firsthand report - but these will tell you at a glance where to be looking for what kind of camping. And, since they're actual atlases, you won't be flipping back and forth between maps.

For more boondocking ideas, check out our Boondocking Resources page.


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JO said...

Have you bought shares in Gavinda's yet haha. Will see you there in a few days.
I think the solar lights will be a nice gift. You 2 are really sweet. Mention harbor frieght to him for solar panels. He may already know that.

The Good Luck Duck said...

Seriously! Yep, we'll be there will bells on. The kind of bells with expandable elastic waists.

Good idea about HF. I don't know what his power plans are, but a battery, adaptor, and a panel seem like the first steps.

Gaelyn said...

I love my atlas. Helps me find even the most obscure roads. How great to have a friendly neighbor to help out. And doggie friends too.

Sherry said...

I don't suppose there is an atlas for Florida?? I can sympathize, my house needs solar too. And before we squeeze Winnona into Acadia for a month.

ANNIE, ANNIE. NO DOGS IN CATTOWN. They will NEVER forgive you.

Cyndi and Stumpy said...

I just adore Estée Fodder. But she appears to be sooooooooo serious, all the time. I think she needs a poke and a pun!

Loving New Mexico! I am sure you will,too!

Have you mentioned Boondockers Welcome, to Ferdinand? Maybe a volunteer/work/stay opportunity for boondockers? Either way would bring some company and you know fulltimers' are da best!

Cj Cozygirl said...

Just got my atlas' on list the Shunpikers! But Trust Land too ?!!! I'm excited! Sweet share...thank you, thank you!!

Rick Doyle said...

Glad to hear you ducks are still quacking out there in the wilderness and having the odd encounter with an actual human!!

klbexplores said...

Ducks are the best!! This post was my anti anxiety pill for the day. Thanks for the tips. It probably won't save you from emails from me daily when I hit the road! I'll send quacker treats !

Teri said...

I totally understand when Fernand says "you are two/you talk" "I am one". Its great that you can help him out - lots of good ideas in the comments.

Linda Sand said...

In the terms and conditions the State Land Trust website says, "10. Recreational camping is limited to no more than 14 days per year. " It does not say you can then move n miles and do it again. $15 for 14 days of boondocking but limited to once per year?

The Good Luck Duck said...

I see what you mean, Linda. Pros tell us that chances of even being challenged for a permit are very low. Once challenged, chances of someone checking on you again are vanishingly small. The odds of staying a while in one area and being crosschecked in another area are an infinitesimal number that isn't zero, but might as well be.

Teri, I know I don't really "get it," but I can understand. It's different when there are two.

Lol, Karen! Reading this made my day. You can email as much as you like, and I'll answer. Anxiety is pretty normal.

Thanks, Rick! All our encounters are odd.

Thanks, Cozy! I'm glad it helped.

Cyndi, since she's got her poke, our friend Sue has a whole cattle-log of suitable puns (that was one of them). I'm not sure how I'd get the concept across to Fernand, but it's a good idea.

What's up with that Florida, anyway, Sherry? I think it's much too snobbish to share its public land with the likes of us.

Thanks for the good word about the atlases, Gaelyn. And, company is good. It's true.

Blars said... is a useful resource.

BLM has a series of "surface management" maps, about 35x70 miles each. Better detail of BLM land than other paper maps I've seen, but at $4 each at a BLM office the full set is pricy. Also BLM offices tend to carry only their local ones. California takes 104 maps, but they can be mail ordered with a quantity discount, other states seem to do it differently. One online site asks $10 each.

The Good Luck Duck said...

That is a good site, Blars. We usually check it first going into an area.

I can't imagine us managing 104 paper maps. Or paying for them! I'm glad they exist, though.