Friday, June 26, 2015

BOONDOCKING PART TWO

IN IT’S STRICTEST FORM, WITHOUT SUPPORT. Many RVer’s perceive that this means staying camped in their chosen location as long as the stuff that they bring with them lasts. And often times this can come down to how much water you brought with you. Limited space for stuff seems to be the main controlling factor. Black and grey water holding tanks are usually fixed size containers that are installed by the camper manufacturer. Filling black and grey tanks to capacity usually depends upon their size and your stay time, but even one trip a day to a primitive campground’s vault toilet can really extend your stay.
Some of the campgrounds that we have stayed in out West on the USFS ( United States Forest Service ) and BLM ( Bureau of Land Management ) , don’t mind the careful discharge of grey water when it is at considerable distance from a stream. These less strict campgrounds are nearly always up high and way back in the more arid mountainous places. Their current position on grey water under these conditions is that it can be beneficial to tree life. Now under those conditions an outside shower with solar heated water can be a really fine thing and stretch out your stay. Also being able to put a small dish pan of dish washing grey water under a needy tree can do likewise. Probably the most common grey water storage saving under those conditions can be attained by hooking a hose to the grey water tank and placing it a strategic and appropriate location. With the hose hooked up many molded fiberglass camping friends follow this shower sequence. 1.Put plug in sink 2.Adjust shower water temperature catching that water in the sink 3.Put shaving lather in the sink water to warm up 4.Wet down then turn the water off at the showerhead to keep the temperature unchanged 5.Lather down 6.Rinse off, turn water off 7.Shave, rinse, turn water off Some even plug the shower pan drain to catch that soapy shower water, add Epsom salts to it and soak their feet. Under this strict water rationing protocol many campers report using a gallon to a gallon and a half to complete the process. Your method can vary considerably but you get the idea ! Ice Chest use is somewhat similar in frugality. Some will fill drinking water containers and freeze them at home before the camping trip. Put the frozen containers in an ice chest to keep perishable’s fresh then they can use the remaining water as needed around camp. There are way too many such clever ideas to be able to cover them in such a short writing, but your imagination will doubtless come up with many more ! DISPERSED CAMPING, a term used by USFS & BLM for when there are no facilities at all. Some of the coolest camping of all and often times in some of the most pristine wilderness. One popular camping site in the Southwest is near Quartzsite Arizona where in January and February there will be tens of thousands of RV’s scattered across the desert. BLM sells a Long Term Visitor’s pass that will allow winter visitors to stay for several months. In town there are RV service sites that specialize in providing tank dump sites and fresh water fills. Many RVer’s there move every two weeks and go through town to dump, fill with water and move to another camping place. There are even mobile water delivery and pump out services along with mobile RV repair technicians.

Friday, June 19, 2015

BOONDOCKING PART ONE Of a six part series by Larry Harmon WHAT IT IS AND SOME OF IT’S FORMS Boondocking comes in many forms, so it’s not likely that we will be able to cover them all in this brief writing. So, let’s talk about the most common types of boondocking that comes to mind.
So, just what is boondocking ? It is camping without hooking up to water, sewer or electricity, and there are many ways that folks like to do it. ASPHALT/CONCRETE BOONDOCKING is just as the name implies but the location can be widely varied. This is usually in an urban type of environment. There are many names for this type of boondocking. Some that come to mind are WALLYDOCKING or overnighting at Wal-Mart. A hint for here, park out of the way, near the security cameras and away from the receiving dock area where noisy deliveries are often times made in the wee hours. Many retailers do not discourage this type of camping and some encourage it. One of our favorites is Cracker Barrel because of their roaring fireplace and great breakfast. This type of boondocking can have some hidden Dangers so reading the local vibe can be important. For example if you see gang graffiti, vandalism, street people with all of their worldly goods in a shopping cart, it might be better to move on. Broken safety glass scattered around a parking lot can well indicate that smash and grab thefts are happening there, and leaving someone in your camper, even when shopping could be a wise move. Again, parking in full view of security cameras is always a good idea. STEALTH camping is somewhat the art of blending in or hiding in plain sight. Being anonymous by virtue of, “out of sight, out of mind”, can provide not only security, but also a good night’s rest. One of our old standby’s is a RV sales lot or dealership, they always have easy in and easy out access and we look like we belong there. DRIVEWAY Boondocking can be great, either at kinfolks or someone that you know along the way. Great visit’s and wonderful local flavor from this type of boondocking, and there is no check in or out time ! REST AREA’S, TRUCK STOPS and other high traffic, noisy type, of area’s can be convenient but hard to get some rest in, because of the noise. Even with the stereo on, if a truck sets it’s air brakes next to you, it will likely wake you up. Should you find a lower traffic part of it, there will always be the bull hauler Cowboy with a Jake brake racking off. We tend to use them, but sparingly when pushing hard to get somewhere. REMOTE BONDOCKING, commonly referred to by the USFS ( United States Forest Service ) and BLM ( Bureau of Land Management ) as DISPERSED CAMPING, can vary widely depending on which part of the USA you are in. For example, in the West, sunshine and solar panels can really keep you out there in pristine wilderness for long periods of time. In Heavily timbered areas the sunshine can’t get to solar panels and other alternatives such as small generators can be used. Water is the usual limitation to remote boondocking, fresh water, grey water and black water capacities will be critical in determining on site stay time. BOONDOCKING WITH SUPPORT can be as simple as using vault toilets and carrying water in containers to extend your stay, or, to having a utility trailer to haul fresh water and waste water. This is one of our favorite ways to boondock and as I write this we are in our third week of boondocking with more to come, in a primitive campground that has a lake on three sides and a magnificent view in all directions. Later in this BOONDOCKING SERIES, we will talk about supported boondocking in depth.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

RISING

A slightly rising lake during a fishing trip is generally a good thing ! The fish bite better and in a springtime fishing trip the air is washed clear from time to time by those wonderful and mild showers that are causing the lake rise.
Most of our springtime fishing trips kind of follow a pattern in general, that goes like this. Fish during a mild lake rise for a couple of days. Then as the lake drops back to a more nearly normal level and the fishing slows down, we have held our daily catch in the live box. During this lake dropping and slower fishing time we catch up on our fish cleaning and filleting, putting one gallon freezer bags of fillets up for future use. This slow down period is when we catch up on fish fry’s and Dutch oven cooking.
This spring’s fishing trip however, was different. Once the lake quit raising, we, . . . . No, wait ! The lake just never did quit raising ! Between rains we were able to have fish fry’s and some great Dutch oven cooking, but that lake just kept on rising.
Fishing was pretty good, but, then, that lake just kept on raising. Daily it seemed, we would have to move our boat tie up lines further up the bank. Soon our neighbors were leaving out and, soon, there was just us ol’ die hard’s left there with the rising lake. Then we realized that it was time for us to go. After all, we had a trans Canadian trip to get ready for ! Yep, we’re back at the docking port, rounding up our plunder, getting ready to tour again !

Saturday, May 16, 2015

MEALS

We are not fishing quite as hard while at Lake Ouachita. Rain, winds out of the East, friends visiting, going to town for supplies and so on and so forth, consumes our days. We have a large rain fly over the fire pit and cooking area which gives us a gathering place around the fire with full coffee cups where we plan our day. Checking the forecast has allowed us to adjust our activities so that between weather events we are cleaning fish, repairing the jugs or cutting firewood.

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Meals have been absolutely primo events with all kinds of Dutch oven fine fare. On a personal note, clicking on the photo’s to get a better look can trigger  campfire cookery cravings !

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Dutch oven treats such as yeast rolls and blackberry cobbler as well as things like racks of ribs barbequed over the campfire have been such a real memorable treat.

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With regular fish fry’s scattered through the week, the variation of side dishes has been amazing.

As our campers and fishermen have came and went over the duration of our stay at Big Fir campground, each has brought different skills to the cooking fire and kitchen area.

The clickable video link below gives a quick look around the campfire during a rain shower.

Rain fly campfire big fir 2015

Saturday, April 25, 2015

WIND

Our boat has sat in our campsite, out of the water, for the best part of a week. Heavy thunderstorms and high winds from the east will capsize our boat where it is tied up at our lakeside campsite. When the National Weather Service sent an alert to our cell phones we knew that it was time to pull the boat out of the water.

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That means it is time to pull the bait traps out of the water, repair jugs and other chores around camp so that we will be ready to fish. He, he, now, after three days of rain and storms, none of which amounted to a hill of beans,  all is ready to fish and I have gone to looking for things to do around the fiver while it is raining, After five days I have read all of the books from kindle that I have on my tablet. The rain finally quit last night and this morning I am starting the reverse process. Traps are baited up and back in the water, and the boat is ready to launch, when the NWS sends out a lake wind advisory  ! There will be gusts up to 30 MPH !

Crud, crap and crim o nettly ! Oh well were’ on the lake, it is a beautiful day and I think I will cut a little firewood because there is nothing quite like the smell of a campfire on the banks of the state’s largest lake !

Saturday, April 18, 2015

STICK

Back in 97’ or 98’ while fishing down on Lake Greeson I found a Hickory stick that I liked. It caught my attention because it had been stripped of it’s bark by a beaver. Now, Hickory is a bark that Beaver’s seldom like, so, it caught my eye. The stick was quite long and still pretty green, but it was fairly straight. Naturally I hauled it home and it stood by the fireplace, with me thinking about it, for a couple of years. I had a hiking stick on my mind.

Hikeing stick

Hickory is well known for it’s strength and being a particularly hard wood when seasoned, and this one was well seasoned. My cool Sister, Candy who is quite the Artist took it home to Centennial Colorado to carve on a bit. And a bit of carving it did take, it is well seasoned Hickory for sure.

Mountainman on stick

The first year she carved a long haired, bearded mountain man on it.

Bear on stick

The second year she sculpted a Black Bear on it.

ghost fish

Followed by a silhouette of a Ghost Fish.

stick name

Then the nick name that Granma’ gave me.

Who would have thought that a old stick floating in a lake could make such a light, strong, beautiful and very useful keepsake ?

Saturday, April 11, 2015

SALET

Sharp eyed mountain folks have always kept a look out for Polk salet early in the spring time. Back in the day, here in the mountains after a long winter,  that the main food staple might have been pork that was salted down in a barrel, the early salet sprouts were a real treat. Though now it is more of a tradition, we still look forward to spring time polk salet greens. Betty picked these this morning.

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We are camped on the shore of Lake Ouachita, Arkansas’s largest lake, jug fishing. We especially love the polk salet fried up in scrambled eggs.

A word of caution though, after separating the leaves from the stalk, they must be washed, checked for insects, discarding the damaged leaves. Then they are ready to cover with water and bring to a gentle rolling boil, cook until the water turns green and the leaves are tender then drain, rinse and boil again until completely tender.  Then drain,  rinse and drain completely. Cook in hog jowl or bacon grease until all moisture is gone, then add scrambled eggs to suit. We like onions in with ours.

It sounds like a long complicated and lengthy process but it goes quickly and is well worth the effort.