Boondocking’s the best!

I run out the door in my nightie with camera in hand.

Almost every morning since we’ve camped in the Alabama Hills I’ve seen the mountains turn an orangey-pink.  It only lasts a few minutes before they turn back to silver-grey.  “Got it!”

Lone Peak in early morning light

Whitney Portal Road is a pretty drive.

Whitney Portal Road

The crew and I are on our way to take a look at Lone Pine Campground.

The last time I went up this way I didn’t have a camera.

It’s much closer to the Sierra Nevada than our boondock in the Alabama Hills.  It’s close enough to the mountains to be visited by bears.

Consider yourself warned.

We find the campground is tightly designed with campsites close together with trees and a lot of bushes.

The road going into Lone Pine Campground

The paved campground road is very narrow and the sites are short.  The campers here are truck campers, a Class B, and tents.

I get the impression people camp here who have permits to hike and climb the mountains.

The fee is $17 a night or $8.50 with a Senior Pass.

I also want to take another look at Tuttle Campground.

A long view of the approach to the campground

Tuttle Campground

Tuttle is off Whitney Portal Road, closer to where we’re boondocked.  It’s $5 a night and only $2.50 with a Senior Pass.

I consider camping here for the last two nights of our 14-day limit, but as I drive around the campground I decide we won’t.  The campground does have an unobstructed view of the Sierra Nevada, but it also has a lot of rigs relying on generators.

One of the campsites at Tuttle

As I’m driving toward the exit I come upon a sign that boondockers love to see.

Just what I’ve been looking for!

I have eight empty gallon jugs that need filling.

I use empty tea containers, the Arizona brand.  The jugs have a picture of Andy Palmer on the front.  I like the Arizona lemonade-tea drink and the jugs it comes in are very sturdy and long-lasting with screw-on tops.

For several months I intended to buy a couple 3-gallon water containers from Wal-Mart and never accomplished that.  It’s just as well because these one-gallon jugs work great for me and they’re not heavy when full.

The fresh water tank in the Best Little Trailer is about three-fourths full.

I use that water mostly for washing my face and hands, brushing my teeth, and flushing the toilet.  I like to use the water in the jugs for sponge baths, the crew’s water dish, cooking water, and water for the percolator.  That way I’m boiling the water before I drink it.  It’s probably not necessary, but the extra precaution doesn’t hurt.

The dump station fee is $5.

I decide I’ll pull the BLT up to Tuttle Campground to take care of that task the day we leave the Alabama Hills and Lone Pine, probably Sunday.

The crew and I tootle on down Highway 395, heading south.

It’s a warm afternoon and the Perfect Tow Vehicle’s air conditioning feels good.  Bridget and Spike love the A/C and have fallen asleep.  I want to take a look at the campground at Diaz Lake, a few miles south of Lone Pine.

Diaz Lake turns out to be what I would call a large pond.  The campground  is attractive with a swimming beach, dock, boat ramp, playground, yellow cottonwood trees, and well-kept grounds.

Out of curiosity I stop at the fee station. 

A man suddenly appears.  “Hello!  How much is it a night?” I call out.  He responds that it’s $25.  “Thank you.  It’s very pretty here.”  I get back in the PTV and pull out.  Gee, maybe if he lowered the price during the off-season he’d have some campers here.  Well, after a year of full-timing it, we have yet to stay in a private campground.

We already have a great site and it’s free!

I’m finishing up a stack of paperbacks I borrowed from the Lone Pine library with my temporary card.  I have a Kindle that I read from, but sometimes it’s nice to have a book in your hand, and I always like a leisurely browse at the local library.

I have to be more careful with the crew now.

Coyotes moved into the area last night.  I could hear them yipping through our open window, right over where some people were sleeping in a tent.  I bet that gave them a jolt.  Now that we’re back in the desert the night sky shows a zillion stars.


Canine Corner:  “Reconciliation” by Spike and Bridget

“Hey, Bridge!  Thanks for letting me in the condo.  I’m sorry about teasing you.”

“I accept your apology, Spike.  I do wish you would stop making fun of me though.  I’m sensitive about my weight.  Saying stuff like ‘Caution. Wide load coming through’  hurts my feelings.”

“Okay.  Okay.  I don’t know why I say stuff like that.  I can’t help it.”

“Aw Bridge. Don’t be upset. Let me lick your ear, babe.”

“It’s because you’ve got evil in you, Spike.  That’s what it is.  You’re Spike, the Son of Satan.”

“Gosh, Bridge.  That’s kinda harsh.”

“And constantly telling me I should lay off the kibble isn’t?  I can’t enjoy a meal without you making a smarty remark.”

“All right, I’m guilty.  Guilty as charged . . . .Gee, you’re so cute when you’re mad, Bridge.”


About rvsueandcrew

Fulltime nomad
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61 Responses to Boondocking’s the best!

  1. Spike is such a rogue (sp?)! Sue, you are an inspiration! I hope I can become so easy-breezy about boondocking! Maybe with time…

  2. Hotel California says:

    “Spike, stop badgering me”

  3. Sara says:

    “Lone Peak in early morning light” -just loved the color in that pic
    ” He responds that it’s $25.” – is it possible he just thought he could get $25 from you?

  4. Pat says:

    Great picture of Lone Peak!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I want to do more boondocking, but always worry about getting somewhere and getting stuck………..LOL Not be able to turn around or get stuck in a ditch. I don’t mind no hookups and I really like places that are not crowded. I think I am going to leave Texas and go back west. I don’t like all the crowds. Glad the kids made up and are sharing their home…….

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Boondocking on BLM land is not hard to figure out. Just stay on established roads and look for where other people have camped. This reduces the chance of getting stuck. When I’m in doubt, I get the crew out and we walk it first.

      I’m curious where you finally decide to spend the winter, Pat. Stay in touch.

      • Pat says:

        I will let you know, but right now I am thinking of Arizona. I lived there for years, but there is still a lot of places for me to take my time and explore. You know how it is when you live somewhere, you never get to take your time and really enjoy the local sights.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Southern AZ is calling me!

          • Pat says:

            I lived in Phoenix, Yuma and Tucson, but there are places I haven’t explored and places I want to return to and spent more time. I know you like the Ajo area and I have only driven thru there on my way to Mexico. Who knows we might run into each other this winter….LOL

          • Nice winter area !! When I was in my rv I spent a good part of the winter in Southern az. Beautiful area. And, you can drive into Mexico easily for a short time . I did that and camped right on the beach for $4.00 in a secured area. Well, not sure how secure it was but supposedly it was . I was happy when another fulltimer pulled in near to me the second night because I was all alone the first night . And being all alone in Mexico is not always desirable.

            • Karin says:

              We live in Phoenix and plan on spending Christmas at Alamo Lake. Summers in Northern AZ is wonderful (we leave our RV at an RV park in Williams AZ all summer. I spend 2-3 wk/mo up there and hubby comes up on the weekendsm We are anxious to be full-timers!

  5. Sra. Julia says:

    I love the give and take with the fur kids, makes me smile and that these days is a “good thing”. Boon-docking is the way to go commercial RV parks are, for me, the pits and why pay so much for so little? Then when the noisy, disrespectful folks show up and camp next to you and invade your space, privacy and even thoughts ……that’s enough to keep me out of those parks and the parks with pages of rules aren’t much better. So I’m with you stay in the boonies!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Good to hear the crew’s “corner” gave you a smile, Julia.

      For me the best place to camp is a boondock with no neighbors, a nice view, and a town with essential services not too far away.

  6. Beverly says:

    Spectacular photo of the glowing morning sun on the mountains. You’re just like me when it comes to taking photos. I would run out in my jammies, too 🙂 I am an avid photo taker, which 1000’s of photos stored. I follow your blog now, faithfully, as well as others. I copy and paste helpful information all of you write, from your travel experiences to solving problems you encounter, and more, into a word document for future reference. I’m learning so many valuable tips for when we finally have our chance to be RVers. I am always thrilled when you post something on the Canine Corner. Love all the stories. Someday, when I’m blogging my travels, I’ll be writing about my labs.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I don’t know which has been more surprising to me . . . the experiences on the road as a fulltimer or the experience of blogging. Both have made my life very rich. I wish the same for you and your crew of labs, Beverly. I bet you could post some great dogs-in-the-water shots!

      • Beverly says:

        I can definitely post endless dogs-in-the-water shots! My husband and I just returned from a 5 mile hike. This hike was to raise funds for an organization that rescues and rehabs animals here in the Wisconsin Northwoods. Anyways, a group of us that hike regularly together, all brought our labrador retrievers. At one point we had six adult labs and one 13 wk old puppy. The puppy we ran in to near the end, and they walked the rest of the short distance back with us. I was snapping photos all the time. Dogs add so much joy to our lives. I love the stories that Bridget and Spike share with us. I have a wonderful group of friends that I enjoy the outdoors with, such as hiking, biking, kayaking, boating, fishing, and such. I have shared with all of them how much I enjoy following you on your blog. Now they ask me about you! I won’t be surprised if they become loyal followers soon.

  7. Julia G says:

    I was wondering if you ever tour thru Tennessee or Kentucky? The trees are so beautiful here this time of year and there are some great places to camp! Love Bridg & Spike!! I have a mini jack,who is my baby girl and 2 male yorkies…they talk the same smack all the time..LOL Big personalities always have alot to say..LOL Your getting alot of great use out of that birthday present..good job Sue, really enjoying the pics!! Be safe :0)

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I’ve only been on the road a little over a year and I’ve wanted to explore the West for years, so, no, I haven’t toured through there. I bet it’s pretty now.

      I’ve been to Tennessee and Kentucky (before I had the BLT) and having grown up in northern NY I’ve seen a lot of beautiful fall foliage. I’ll be making a trip back to see my sister in Mississippi some time and a loop through those states might be part of that trip… who knows?

      Your crew sounds like fun!

  8. Harrietann12 says:

    I have a brother just like Spike!!!! Just can’t enjoy a meal without quips!

  9. Gayle says:

    City of Ojai in Ventura County, on your way if you wish to visit a small town famous for spiritual retreats and art centers (Beatrice Woods ceramics center) (Krishnamurti) has the famous Pink Moment at sunset over the Topatopa Mountains. Can’t think of any boondocking opportunities, though. Lots movies filmed in the quintessential CA golden oak countryside. Nice vibe there, always has been center for artists, writers, movie stars. Nice trailer parks for retirees (not RV parks, but mobile home parks).

  10. Hi Sue, I’m glad you are enjoying your time at the Alabama Hills. I am located just south of you off of 395 about 15 miles North of Victorville, CA. You probably already have plans, but if you are looking for somewhere to camp you are welcome to join us. There are three of us here now, Trish who lives in a PT Cruiser, Steve, who lives in his van and myself. I am expecting another couple next week who live in a travel trailer and pull it with a van. We are on BLM land that is very secluded, no other people or signs of people around us, but we get good internet off of 395. We will be here until sometime in November when it starts to get cold, then we are off to the Quartzsite area. We all have very good dogs so your crew will fit right in.

    As always, I love your blog. Bob

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I love that you love my blog, Bob. Of course, upon reading your gracious invitation to camp with you and the people camping with you, my immediate, internal reaction was “Yikes! People! I need to flee!” I have no doubt you and your friends are good people who are fun to be with, but I have this crazy, reclusive side. Sometimes I do have bouts of sociability, and I hope that happens as we leave here. (For heaven’s sake, woman, a simple yes or no would do!)

      Sounds like you’ve located a good site!

  11. Something interesting about the coyotes: the coyotes in our area just started yipping yesterday also, and now the leading edge of the storm is starting to hit us with gusty winds. It’s supposed to drop 15 degrees by Sunday. I wonder of they know the storm is coming and are gathering the pack for hunting. I’ll have to pay attention and see if they yip before storms hit. Bob

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I’m interested in knowing what you conclude about the coyotes, Bob. The yips I heard did not sound like the territorial howl. It was more like a gathering as you mentioned.

  12. Rita says:

    Again, beautiful pictures. Love canine corner. I can see some RV’ers would be afraid to camp in the boonies…I try not to be afraid but I guess I’m a chicken at heart…most of the time I put on a brave front. Which reminds me years ago when my kids were little, we camped in an isolated area in Yosemite NP and saw at a distance a lone RV. We didn’t see anyone or the occupant of the RV for three or four days. My had kids picked wild flowers for me, I told the children not to pick wild flowers (most park rules) but I couldn’t see throwing the flowers out so I put them in a Styrofoam cup and displayed them on our picnic table. While relaxing with a cup of tea around our camp fire that evening out comes an elderly woman from the RV. She said ‘I knew you were good folks when I saw the flowers.” She was a full time RVer and headed down to Mexico for the winter. She stops in San Diego to visit her son who handles her finances then heads to Mexico. My children absolutely loved her stories. I suppose sometimes she was afraid of people while she camped in isolated areas i.e. boon docking?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Interesting story about your stay at Yosemite. I want to go there, too. You may be right about the old lady, but I would venture she wasn’t afraid of people when camping in an isolated area. A full timer who winters in Mexico sounds like a self-assured person who uses good sense (She read the message of the flowers.) and who doesn’t waste energy on fear.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      And thank you for complimenting the blog and photos, Rita.

  13. geogypsy2u says:

    That golden view was worth a nightie shot. The entire country look gorgeous, but I see snow on them thar hills. Brrr.

    Glad Spike and Bridget are making up.

  14. Bayfield AL says:

    It was the Tuttle campground we stayed at. Had the site closest to the mountains & no neighbors. I see you met Nina from Wheeling It. Met her last winter in Borrego Springs. We sure lked the Alabama Hills…..

  15. Tanya says:

    Hi Sue and crew. I just finished your blog from beginning to end and absolutely loved it. Thank you for taking the time to share your travels and fantastic pictures. I am a teacher in Ga and also own a BLT just like yours. Love that Liberty. I’m so envious of your travels. I still have 7 years to retirement so I’ll just keep reading. Be safe and hugs to that cute crew.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I’m always amazed when someone tells me they read my blog from beginning to end. It’s one thing to read it as the posts appear, but going back to the beginning? Thank you for sticking with us through it all. May God help you through the next 7 years and bless you with a retirement as wonderful as mine. Nice to hear from you, Tanya.

  16. Ms Minimal says:

    Love your posts, the photos and Canine Corner. I’m a full timer, but in a fixed locale at the moment. I hope to get on the road one day….. I cut my beagle dog’s food in half and he has lost 5 lbs. He wasn’t too happy about it, but he has a bad back and is all the better for it and has more energy now than he’s had in years. At 12 that is saying something. 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Congratulations to you, Ms. M., and to your beagle on the weight loss. You accomplished something with your dog that I couldn’t with Bridget. Feeding the crew separately just didn’t work and cutting back on Bridget’s chow made her sneak chow from Spike and Spike got mad and . .. . well, I didn’t persevere.

  17. Roger Norris says:

    We stayed four nights in the Tuttle Campground three years ago. We wanted to stay in the Alabama Hills, but a forest service ranger at the Bishop station told us that boondocking was no longer allowed. We should have parked there anyway. Be careful going back to the dump station at Tuttle. The speed bumps there are the worst we have ever encountered.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re absolutely correct about those dang speed bumps. Even with only the PTV and no BLT behind, they have to be taken very slowly.

      I read an old review about the Hills and the person said something like “Be careful where you camp in the Alabama Hills, because there’s a COMMITTEE that tries to catch people doing something they don’t like.” I haven’t had anyone bother me and there are other people boondocking out here. My guess is the realization hit the powers-that-be that this is BLM public land and we boondockers spend our money in little Lone Pine up to two weeks at a time. Just a hunch.

  18. earthdancerimages says:

    The sunrise photograph was beautiful! What a gorgeous place to wake up! Glad Spikey and Bridget are friends again!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Geri! You and Chuck were on my mind this morning, wondering how you are.

      I enjoyed the photos of Canyon de Chelly on your blog.. . and hearing about the sandhill cranes flying and honking overhead.

  19. Chuck says:

    Hound Herd to the Crew:we’re glad you’re getting along so well and that Bridget is so much better.
    Chuck to Sue: Great pictures, beautiful spot and another great and informative blog, thanks.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks, Chuck. I hope all the HH are well… Hello to Scotty, Radar, and the Doog!

      • earthdancerimages says:

        Actually, Radar is not doing well… he rolled off the bed and hurt his back. He is getting lots of sympathy and extra attention. He sounds like a fuzzy squeaky toy, yelping when you touch him wrong or if he moves wrong. Vet said to give 1/2 baby asprin AM and PM and call Monday! Asprin seems to have helped some.

  20. EmilyO says:

    Sue, what do you use in your black water tank – to keep the odor down for a couple of weeks. I never really found anything that worked good for that long (especially in temps over 90º). The closest I have found is a homemade solution.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Emily,

      First off, after I empty the tank I squirt some Dawn dish soap (original) down the toilet. I add some water and drop a packet of Campa-Chem holding tank deoderant (purple “toss-ins” that dissolve). Of course, all this is unnecessary because my $&*# don’t stink.

      • EmilyO says:

        Ha, Ha, Ha. Funny lady, funny. I use Dawn also and some liquid Calgon to keep those sides slippery slidy! Water, then one of those packets; but alas, after 2 weeks . . . . .

      • Chuck says:

        hahahaaaheheeeee, yeah right!!!!! But at least you are NOT full of it…….

        • EmilyO says:

          Yuk, yuk Chuck. Thanks Chuck, I take that as a compliment – or do you mean Sue? Sorry Sue, getting carried away here. Delayed 4th of July fireworks here are driving me & the dog crazy.

  21. Rand says:

    Hi Sue, there’s a campground not far from Owens Lake.

    video of Fossil Falls BLM campground and trails nearby

    This is a favorite stop for us coming from San Diego. Indians liked it here.
    There’s well water. Not ever crowded. Think theres too much mojo for cowboys.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Rand! Great to hear from you again . . . I may stop at Fossil Falls. I’ve been researching my next camps today. I looked at Fossil Falls and thought no. Now I think I’ll give it a try. Thanks for the link and the video. I haven’t seen the entire video yet because my connection is sooooo slow. I love the snarling Desert Dog at the opening . . .

  22. Sherry says:

    The first sentence had me laughing out loud. I could just picture it. Definitely something I would do. In your case a Great photo was the result.
    And I was laughing at the last line of your last comment to Emily. Thanks Sue, you brightened my day!!

  23. Ed says:

    Sue you are going to be getting WINDS :

    * Winds: west winds gusting between 60 and 70 mph are possible in
    parts of the western Owens Valley and Sierra foothills.

    * Timing: conditions for high downslope winds appear favorable
    beginning Monday morning and persisting through Monday night
    into Tuesday morning. The best potential for high winds is
    expected late Monday afternoon and Monday evening.

    * Locations: Aspendell… Whitney Portal… Bishop…
    Independence… Lone Pine… Olancha

  24. Jim Rinaldii says:

    Running outside in your nightie? You gotta love being in the middle of nowhere! I’ve been known to go outside in my, ahem, birthday suit. My wife doesn’t like it, but heck, there wasn’t anyone around for miles. Boondocking is the way to go. I just love your blog! And thanks for including so many photos.

  25. rommel says:

    WEEE! Another RV’er to follow.

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