Don’t get stuck — Have a ‘Plan B’ when boondocking

Don’t get stuck — Have a ‘Plan B’ when boondocking

By Bob Difley

If you are reading this you might be either (A) a boondocker, or (B) thinking of becoming a boondocker. The very fact that you are/may be a boondocker could also be one of your problems. If you are a boondocker, you are by definition adventurous, curious, bold, a little bit devil-may-care, impetuous, sometimes daring, possibly eccentric and, of course, good looking.

Except for the good-looking part, the rest can often get you in trouble when you discover a dirt road that just MUST be explored, or a beach that is calling out your name. Before you know it, your rig, having a mind of its own, is following the vaguest of tracks and eventually in your boondocking life you will find yourself in a sticky situation.

Like when I got mired in sand on a beach on the Gulf in Louisiana; or a quarter-mile down a narrow, winding, single dirt track in Washington when I reached the end and there was no turnaround; and the time I tried to cross over a hump separating the dirt road from a terrific campsite — and got stuck like a sea-saw under the middle of my motorhome with no traction to my rear wheels.

All of these dilemmas — and some I won’t mention — taught me something, all of which became the basis of  “Plan B.” To solve any more mired-in-sand problems, I now carry a couple of flat rubber mats and some traction mats to slip under the wheels when in mud, sand or snow. I also carry a folding shovel (an entrenching tool in Army lingo), a heavy iron mallet (a rock once became wedged between my left rear duals and luckily a trucker came along with a mallet and knocked the rock out) and a stout rope for towing (the pickup truck driver that pulled me out of the Louisiana sand happened to have one).

I also unhitch — even when I don’t feel like it — before driving down a strange dirt road or even paved roads where I am not sure of what lies ahead (it’s very difficult, at least with my rig, to unhitch the dinghy if the rig is headed down- or uphill and if it is cocked at an angle). If the distance is not great, I walk in on new roads to check out conditions before entering.

I take all these precautions and carry the extra gear because I know I will still venture into unknown places even when caution warns me against it, because I’m a boondocker — except for the good-looking part.

You can find Bob Difley’s RVing e-books on Amazon Kindle.

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3 thoughts on “Don’t get stuck — Have a ‘Plan B’ when boondocking

  1. Tumbleweed

    This article has me laughing, especially the phrase, “dirt roads that MUST be explored.” Yup, dirt roads sing me their siren songs and have lured me into many a near-disaster. I want to explore every one of them. And I have likewise acquired rubber mats and shovels.

    I’ve been stuck in one place for 3 years now, so this is a powerful nudge to get moving. So many dirt roads, so little time!

  2. Al & Sharon

    Excellent advice about unhooking and exploring with the toad, or walking ahead. We do both frequently.

  3. Tommy Molnar

    Good advice, Bob. I’m a retired truck driver so backing up our travel trailer for BLOCKS would not be an issue, but who wants to do THAT – skilled or not? Sometimes we just get out and walk down the road to have a look. We do a lot of our boondocking here in Nevada and most times we can SEE down the road. Even so, we’ve gotten into a couple situations which required backing up a considerable distance. The only concern I really have is backing up and seeing someone else coming down the road – looking for the ‘ideal’ boondocking site. Ha. Hasn’t happened yet, but ya never know . . .

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