Comfort Truck Camping

A bathroom. Water. For me those two things qualify a camp spot as luxury. In the picture below I have everything I need. Trees to set up the hammock, a bathroom within walking distance, and water out of a tap. Luxury. Behind Lilith (the name of the valiant Toyota Tacoma) is a bench. Comfort Truck Camping

The comfort level that you need will be obvious to you during the first week. Then the level will change as you become more comfortable with fewer amenities. I can use the woods for a toilet, thanks to the book How to Shit in the Woods, 3rd Edition: An Environmentally Sound Approach to a Lost Art. Really. You can, too. For long term boondocking it was no fun on my knees, so I got a seat. That works even better.

You will mess around, get lost, be uncomfortable, get lonely, and finally find your comfort level. It is worth long term happiness to splurge occasionally.  Put a splurge amount in your budget. Below is a splurge I loved.Beer for Truck Campers

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Reading about Truck Camping

Helpful Hints

Surprise …. theboatgalley

This site helped with food storage and solutions, with packing, and with safety concerns. And the equipment that the boaters use (coolers, stoves, storage containers, etc.) were intriguing and very different from what is offered in the camping stores. Lots of good ideas.

The grandfather of the boondocking world has one great tip after the other at cheap rv living

This site has links to all kinds of help and clues and suggestions for people who like to live/travel off the grid. Many years of experience with solar, with federal regulations, and the host of the RTR every year.

The good Luck Duck has a great page for boondocking hints. She rides a Prius.

I know we are truck campers, but this woman built a great home in a 2004 Chevy Express van that is so functional, so pretty, so  perfect that I borrowed several ideas.

The most used site has been “Free Campsites”

freecampsites gives you access to every state (with GPS coordinates) of wonderful camping areas off the grid., There are some surprises and oodles of helpful hints in finding the sites. Lots of feedback from users, describing the sites in detail , asking questions, making suggestions. The image below was a freecampsite location.

Dawn in the desert
Am taking this computer to a store to try to get it fixed.  Having upgrading problems. Hope to be back on line next week, just in time to be a campground host!

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Camp Host

Camp hosting in a truck is possible.

Most camp hosts are required to have hard sided living quarters. The people hiring are so desperate for hosts in remote areas (with no electricity or cell service) that a truck is considered ok. Fancy places like KOA don’t like pick ups.

  1. Money You may get some. The number of hours that I was allotted and paid for were less than was required to do a good job. For example, on the first job there were 3 bathrooms and 13 sites. I was allotted 11.5 hours/week to clean bathrooms, weed eat the campground, take and account for money,  clean fire pits, and answer many questions. I averaged 23 hours/week.  The second job was 22 bathrooms, 65 sites, 60 acres. I was allotted 37.5 hours/week. I averaged 72/week, rode a huge mower, long discussions about the dump fees and day fees. I was flat out exhausted most of the time at this campground. You can volunteer (no money) with NM state parks and you get electricity and  don’t have to clean bathrooms or collect fees.  BLM pays by the day, not hours. I got a scratchy vest, a cheap hat and a name tag that I had to give back.camp host uniform
  2. A Place to Live If you love a certain area of the country or a certain element of nature you can park in an ideal location. You will get to know the nearby towns intimately. You will be in the same spot for 4-5 months.
  3. People to Meet I checked in a friend I hadn’t seen in 30 years, I made friends with anglers, physiotherapists, Vietnam vets, artists, and children. I also had to deal with slobs, people who let their misbehaving dogs run loose, ATVs racing around the campground after 10 pm, and two car limits that morphed into 8 cars.
  4. Weather With a truck you need a tarp to keep out blazing sun and/or pouring rain. You are more exposed than any trailer or motor home. The tarp I have is perfect.camp2boggydraw.jpg
  5. Personal Time As a camp host you will have time to hike or fish. You do have days off. However, while at the campground you will be interrupted with an endless list of questions that you may not have the answer for. It is not a job for someone who wants to write the great American novel, or even read one. Living in a truck you will not have the luxury of shutting the door while cooking dinner.  Campers saw me cooking and thought the whole thing was “delightful”.

Its worth a season trial for anyone who is full time camping in their truck.

 

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Pie Town Camping

Oh, I am so in love with this place. This tiny, old New Mexico “town” is one of my favorite stops. Great pies. Friendly people. I put quotes around “town” because it is just a wide place on a tiny 2 lane road. The library is out of town, on a farm. The post office is tiny and very old.Pie Town Post OfficeThe pies are beyond expectations at The Gathering Place. The pies are ~5″ in diameter. Enough for 2 people at one sitting. There are many, many choices of pies and a large breakfast/lunch menu.
Pie Town Pie
While camping on a tight budget ya gotta binge every once in a while. This is my go to splurge spot. There is free camping (3 nights at the city park with water and pit toilet). The city park is adjacent to free BLM camping for 14 days, so 17 total days free = 2 pies.

Next I will head north to the Colorado high mountains to be a camp host until mid September. Have you ever thought about being a camp host?

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Datil Well

Camping at the well

Datil Well Recreation Area Campground has one of the 15 water wells along the old Magdalena Livestock Driveway. The old cattle trail was established in the 1800s and stretched 120 miles.  The ranchers were trying to get their cows to the railroad. The camping area includes 3 miles of hiking trails in piñon-juniper and ponderosa pine woodlands.

Datil Well CampgroundThis is a great campground in the middle of nowhere. It is open all year, but no water or fancy pit toilets until 15 April. The wonderful parts are the hikes, a neighboring grocery/restaurant, great tasting water from a deep well, and a shelter, where I made coffee in the mornings, listening to the birds. I did struggle with the wind. Several days had gusts up to 70mph. Aggh!

In the evenings, if the wind had calmed down,  I would bring out the lantern and write in the journal about the day. This Goal Zero Lantern is perfect for reading in bed at night, and it gets charged by solar. Or wind up. Goal Zero Lantern

Thanks to great, kind camp hosts (Carlos and Teresa) I was able to stay here for two weeks. Yummy. Next I headed to Pie Town, NM.

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