So…after last week’s post we essentially did not much the rest of the week. We did have Taco Night at the Elks Lodge, Bingo in the park and at the Elks, and a pot luck dinner at the park on Friday evening. Following that on Saturday Neil got all the outside stuff packed up for our short jaunt away from Seminole up to a rally put on by our friends Howard and Linda Payne of RV-Dreams…the purpose of the rally is to learn about and practice boon docking or parking without hookups.
So…what is boon docking and why might and RVer want to do it? Boon docking is parking without utility hookups. It can range from being in a regular RV campsite that only has partial hookups to being out in the uncharted countryside in the west. There are many RV parks…particularly in state or national parks…that have developed campgrounds but just don’t have full hookups of electric, water, and sewer at each campsite. Most frequently is one that has water and electric only and no sewer hookup (although usually there’s a dump station so you can dump on the way out) but there are also parks that have water only or electric only or nothing. Again; usually if there is no water there is a spigot somewhere in then campground to fill your fresh water tank but not a spigot at each site. Other facilities range from full shower and bathroom buildings to pit toilets only to nothing. On the far end of boon docking…particularly out west is you just park out in nature someplace. Once you are west of the Mississippi…all federally owned land is open for camping unless it is specifically noted as a no camping area. This means that there are many spots out in the sand dunes and cacti that you just pick a spot and stop.
So…what’s the attraction? Twofold mainly…for a lot of RVers for whom budget is a primary concern the vast majority of boon docking sites are either free or very low cost to park; and the second major reason is (as in real estate) location, location, location.
For example…our friends Bill and Linda got the shot below at Devils Tower National Monument a couple of years back…we’ll be in this park on the way back east after our Alaska sojourn. On the plus side…you can’t beat that view. On the minus side…there’s a water spigot in the campground but no power and no sewer connections at all. Also on the plus side…it’s like 20 bucks a night to stay there.
Boon docking requires a whole different set of additional skills in addition to the normal RV ones…because you have no utility hookups you have to manage your power generation and consumption, fresh water storage capacity, and waste water tank capacity so you don’t run out of one of them before you area ready to leave. After all…who wants to find the perfect parking spot with a great view and the “It Factor” we like to look for in campgrounds and then have to leave after 3 days because your waste tank is full.
So…the RV Dreams Boon Docking Educational Seminar. Howard and Linda have been full timing for almost 10 years and boon dock a lot…so they’ve developed tips for how to maximize things and also realized that they have knowledge (a lot of their stories begin with “Ask us how we know.”) that they can share.
So Sunday after Mass we hitched up, disconnected our utilities and headed 45 miles up the road from Seminole to the town of Arcadia FL where we are parked in the back grounds of the Turner Agri Civic Center. We were originally going to be in an open field behind the center but last week’s rain turned it into a lake. So instead of having to call a tow truck to get 30 rigs out of the mud Howard and Linda relocated it about 500 yards to the campground located at the center. There are hookups available but none of us are using them.
We arrived and got setup next to our friends Ed and Lynn and 2 rigs away from Howard and Linda (since we got here early) and by 1700 all 30 rigs arrived and were parked. We had a hot dog dinner and campfire that evening and got some basic planing done for the rally. Essentially there are about 3 hours of seminars that they wanted to present and the rest of the time is talking to like minded people, helping solve each other’s problems, swapping knowledge and tips with the rest of the group and a whole dose of Fun Stuff©.
Yesterday’s seminars got cancelled as it rained all day but we did them this morning (Tuesday) instead after breakfast. We hit up a local Mexican joint with Ed and Lynn for dinner last night and had an outstanding meal.We’ve got a pot luck and campground this evening, are going to Myakka State Park with Ed and Lynn tomorrow and on a group float trip in our kayaks on Thursday. Friday is still up in the air except for the Happy Hour with Heavy Poo Poos (Hawaiian for hors d’oeuvres) in the evening.
Neil went out and got a couple of shots for ya; first is the educational seminar this morning and then a series of shots showing all the rigs parked here for the rally.
Connie headed off to choir practice this afternoon and Neil will get ready for the pot luck later on…it starts at 1700 which is before she gets back so Neil will save her a plate.