JustaLittle, we don't have two trailers -- we had an older one, sold it, and got a newer one, almost identical to the old one. Camping on the beach sounds great -- ironically, here in California, beach real estate is so expensive that there is very little beachside camping, and the campgrounds are usually completely booked up. (The good news, though, is that we live fifteen minutes from Huntington Beach and surf there pretty often, usually on a weekday -- the weekends are too crowded -- no parking, and no room on the waves to take off!)
Is there room on your trailer for bigger wheels? We replaced the 13 inchers with 14s, and it made a lot of difference. The trailer now has as much axle clearance as the truck does.
DAS, the advantage of a monopod is that you can use it while sitting down, unlike a tripod. Just brace it against your foot or your leg and lean back in your chair. Although a tripod is steadier, your body moves while standing up looking through the tripod, so you still get a jiggly image.
Tiger, it's great to hear from you -- wonderful TR! But my goodness -- first your knee, and now your ankle?? I sure hope you got the extended warranty! ;) How long will it be till you are back on the road again?
Joe, here is an inexpensive idea -- I understand the attraction of talk radio. You hear opinionated, well-informed people who do their best to get and hold your attention, hour after hour. You can't change the subject or talk back, but that's ok -- they'd never let you get a word in anyway.
So do what I do -- turn off the radio and listen to your spouse. It fulfills every single one of those criteria, without draining your battery! It's talk radio for boondockers.
We could never remember which way to move the thermistor, so we wrote on the inside of the fridge with a waterproof Sharpie pen -- up is cooler, down is warmer. I would have written it in the manual, too, but I can never remember where it is . . .
bcbuoy, if it is true that you leave the Canadian National Parks to the tourists, all I can say is first, thank you, and second, I sure hope you have visited those parks yourself! We have spent many happy weeks in your wonderful parks. But you are right -- the national parks involve busy campgrounds, not as pleasant as boondocking. Very well located, though!
And Magilla, it is true that there is not much boondocking back East. On the other hand, we have flown to New England several times for bike tours during leaf season -- the rides and the fall colors are world-class, and there is nothing quite like that in California. And the seafood on the Atlantic coast is better than what we have here (although Washington and Oregon are terrific for that). So there are some great things about the East, even if it is not Boondocking Heaven.
This is a photo of our most recent boondocking experience -- after a few days in Yosemite, we enjoyed two very quiet nights not far from where the Hetch Hetchy road intersects Highway 120. Much of the area nearby had been badly burned in 2013, but there were a few areas that were hardly touched. This site was not as spectacular as some we've seen in the Eastern Sierra, but it still was nice to be by ourselves for a little while:
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-N-jsy3NsN8I/VRBhL7u-bSI/AAAAAAAAOG4/Jg4Ps-eazWs/s1600/Boondocking%2BSite%2Bnear%2BHetch%2BHetchy.jpg height=400 width=300
Tiger, we aren't moving to the dark side -- I absolutely had to have cell coverage -- my students were taking an exam, so I needed to be available. Plus most of the boondocking in the Sierra is out of reach in the winter -- the forest service locks the gates until the end of snow season. So Yosemite was almost our only choice. Plus, Upper Pines is so amazingly well-located -- it is right at the east end of the valley, right at the trailheads.
And the trick to making Yosemite look like a remote area is easy -- just hike above the valley floor, and the crowds thin out right away! Also, go in the off season -- I would imagine that in summer, even the more difficult trails can get pretty busy. I have not been there in summertime since 1959 -- to quote Yogi Berra, when asked about how he liked a very popular restaurant: "Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded."
Chuck, once you get a thousand feet above the valley floor, the big tripods and big cameras tend to disappear. I carry a DSLR and a light-weight (but full size) tripod, and I am often the only person foolish enough to lug that stuff up into the high country!
Here's a link to our report -- lots of photos -- please feel free to check it out:
Yosemite in Springtime
And here is a sample photo, just to whet your appetite -- this is Vernal Falls in the late afternoon:
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-xgXPVBcFNF4/VQ9itSA7wBI/AAAAAAAAOD4/qBgC-ubw0Fg/s1600/Vernal%2BFalls%2Bdouble%2Brainbow%2Blate%2Bafternoon.jpg height=600 width=400
Lists. Lots of lists. Lists of lists. That is the key to avoiding costly misteaks. Please don't ask me how I learned this painful lesson or how long it took me to learn it by heart. I never could remember which chores needed doing, what sequence to do them in, where things were stored, and my organizational skills have only deteriorated with age.
So to me, a list is a tool to compensate for my shortcomings. Yes, it is tedious to consult a checklist before (let's say) unhitching. But since we started the checklist habit, it has been a long time since we unhitched before putting the chocks on the wheels, and it has been a nice long time since I last watched the trailer roll majestically away after unhitching. (Plus we do not remove the safety chains before unhitching, for the same reason.)
When we come home from a trip, we have a list for that -- clean out the fridge, prop it open to guard against mildew (don't ask how I learned that, either), launder the linens, etc.
We have packing lists. Food lists. Clothing lists. Sporting equipment. Truck maintenance. On and on.
Camping has become about as spontaneous as the Invasion of Normandy. But nothing is forgotten. Errors are caught before they are unfixable.
Hang in there! Things will get easier.
In much of Orange County, Calif., there are "CC&Rs" (covenants, conditions, and restrictions) that prohibit RV parking on private property. These covenants are essentially in the deed to your property -- they are not laws passed by a governmental agency. But the covenants are administered by the HOA of each neighborhood, and they have the power to enforce the covenants. (Plus they get monthly dues, so they can hire legal help when needed.) We sought out a neighborhood that did not have those covenants, and I am very glad we did.
Some of the HOAs are run by reasonable people. Many others, though, are dominated by zealots, who seem to enjoy hassling nonconformists.
If we had purchased a house in one of those cookie-cutter neighborhoods, we probably would never have tried RVing -- we bought a little trailer on a whim, just to try it out, and we never would have done that if we had been forbidden to park it on our driveway. That was ten years ago, and we are now campaholics.
Green, I like the White Mtns idea! I doubt the tent is going to happen, even though it would radically expand our horizons -- I am at the age where if I try to sleep on the ground, it would take a crane to get me back to a standing position. We missed the boat on backpacking -- we should have done it when we were younger, but we mistakenly thought that we did not like camping, so we never tried it.
We have developed a taste for mild snow boondocking -- nothing extreme, just a nice blanket of snow and cool temps. (For folks suffering through this winter back East, no, we are not crazy -- the snow provides a welcome contrast to day after day of sunny, dry, dull California weather.)
The problem we have encountered is that during the winter months, the Forest Service locks the gates to almost all of the high altitude forest roads. This is understandable -- they don't want unwary city folks to get trapped out there. But we are wary city folks, and we are comfortable about taking care of ourselves in a little bit of snow -- we watch the forecast, we have chains for the truck and the trailer, we have a winch and tools, we can get unstuck, etc.
So that is my question -- without identifying any specific boondocking sites, are there general areas in the Western US where we could get into the snow without breaking the rules? Obviously, this winter is history; but I am looking ahead to next year.
Thanks in advance for your thoughts!