Saturday, November 25, 2017

Camping, Unplugged

A week or so ago, we were at a free camping site. We wanted to explore the local attraction but didn't want to spend money on a campsite when we would be there only for dinner and sleep. 

We spent 2 nights watching the stars, playing cards, cooking simple meals, visiting the local caverns and enjoyed the silence. We had no TV, no microwave, no electric space heater. Our RV batteries operated lights, furnace and water pump, while our propane tanks ensured we could cook, keep our fridge cold and our hot water heater operating.

(click pictures to enlarge)
The Carlsbad Caverns Entrance (doubles as the exit for the million of bats, hence the seating area seen here)

I got up early to position the solar panel for the first ray of light. That would recharge the batteries for the day. I boiled water, in a pot, for our coffee. No coffee maker this morning. But, I ain't going without coffee. The Aeropress has been a blessing! I took my cup of coffee outside to make sure the panels were doing okay (I am a bit obsessive about solar panels). Walked around the field, back inside to start the Buddy Heater (yes, we are safe while operating propane apparels indoors). Time to wake up Rob so we can get started on our day of exploration. Came back later that afternoon to full batteries and a warm RV, thanks to the sun.

We had a great evening, complete with a camp fire and star gazing. Before heading in for the night, I positioned our solar panel eastward and prepped the coffee corner for the next morning.

Our free spot, complete with unobstructed sunrise views. We just don't do sunsets here!

Needless to say, we slept well in the silence of our empty corner of New Mexico.

But why would we want to do that? Isn't it easier just to go in an RV park and plug in? Yes, an RV park - or any park that has sites with water and electric (like state parks) - does come in convenient most often than not.

For example, even though we are Canadians, we had a Thanksgiving dinner. We had to find a place with electrical hookups. We're cooking turkey, mashed potatoes, green veggies, stuffing, etc. Having electricity sure makes it a lot easier. Turkey goes in slow cooker, potatoes on the electric element, stuffing in toaster oven, and gravy on the stove top. Open up a tasty bottle of white wine and we're happy campers! (sorry, no pictures of the turkey dinner)

Also, an RV park (and on occasion state parks) will have laundry, wifi and/or cable. Yeah sometimes we like to indulge in a bit of TV or YouTube binge watching! And not having to drag our laundry to the town's laundromat is quite convenient.

But we haven't left the comforts of a home/neighborhood, where everything is at our fingertips, to live in an RV like we would in a home.

No. We like to challenge ourselves. *

We love learning about water management, electricity limitations, best angles for our solar panels to capture a maximum of light, how to take an efficient shower to conserve both water and battery, etc.

We had no power to our wall outlets for 2 days, but we read, played cards, hiked, watched the sunset and the sunrise. You tend to not do these things when plugged in an RV park. Also, watching the sunset over your neighbor's awning is not very scenic nor romantic.

We will gladly save the $25-$40 a night in a crowded RV park to find ourselves occasionally camping with no amenities in the middle of nowhere, far away from our closest neighbor, where we can observe the sunset, watch the cows grazing by in the distance and enjoy a campfire.

When we started doing research and following all these other bloggers online, this is what attracted us to boondocking/dry camping in the middle of nowhere. And it is what keeps us coming back to it.

* Note: while we love boondocking/camping with no amenities, we did buy a generator that would allow us to use a microwave and watch TV if we wanted/had too. However, we view the generator as an emergency tool in case we don't get solar for a few days and need to recharge the batteries in order to avoid damaging them.

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Do you have questions about our lifestyle, or certain aspects of RVing? Please use the comment box below and ask us! If we get a couple of questions, we will answer them by video!

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