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The Frugal RV Traveler Newsletter, Issue #001---Extended Boondocking
October 28, 2009
Hi

Welcome to the inaugural edition of the Frugal RV Traveller. To capture your interest, I've tried to make it special. So, what will you find here? ... practical boondocking tips, money saving advice, inspiring people, a contest, and even a free gift!


Today's Topic: Extend Your Boondocking Time

Over the 10 years Randy and I have been RVing, I can count on one hand the number of times we’ve actually had a campsite with a hook-up but we realize this isn’t "the norm" for many RVers.

Although RVs were built for boondocking, (why else do they have those big batteries and holding tanks?) most RVers don’t spend more than a night at a time without the benefit of hook-ups – perhaps at a National park campground that doesn’t offer hook-ups or in a parking lot at a truck stop or Wal-Mart – a quick overnight while on route to the next destination.

Boondocking in one location for longer periods requires a little education, a bit of preparation and, if you’re still addicted to all the comforts of a brick and mortar home, a slight lifestyle adjustment. Those who have figured it out - love it. As all boondockers learn - how long you can stay (without having to move your RV) will be determined by how well you conserve your resources - battery power, water, propane, and waste tanks.

Because ours is a small b-class, (Roadtrek) RV, our home is always with us and moving on is as simple as making the decision, folding up the lawn chairs, and driving away. We do understand why those of you in larger motorhomes, fifth wheels, or trailers prefer to explore an area on day trips from a "home base." It's a little more work to actually hitch up and move a larger RV to a new locale, which makes conserving those resources even more important.

I get a fair number of questions about how we manage to live without hook-ups so I’ve compiled a couple of lists on my website: – tips for conserving water and tips for conserving power while boondocking. (Propane conservations tips to follow later.)

Since our experience is limited to our own van-sized motorhome, I’m sure many of you who travel with larger RVs have additional tips to add, and I invite you to please share them - I've provided a spot at the bottom of each list for you to add your suggestions. And here's an incentive to do so:

Win a Free E-book!

The top-rated ebook: Guide to Buying A Used RV ($27.00 value), by Les Doll, a certified RV repair technician, will be sent to the person who submits the most suggestions to conserve power, water, or waste tanks. (Of course the tips must be usable, and not already on the lists.) Contest ends November 30, 2009 and the winner will be announced in my next newsletter.

On a global level, sometimes it's difficult to believe that the little things we do as individuals will actually help to make a difference in saving the planet. By contrast, boondockers see, first-hand, how each small step taken to conserve resources adds up quickly - a great example to remind us that, for the bigger picture (globally) - it really does work the same way.

Generating Your Own Power

Of course, you won't need to be as concerned about conserving power if you have the means to generate it. While your first thought may be a gas powered generator, it isn't the only alternative and not the preferred choice of those who prefer a quieter outdoor experience. If you plan to do a lot of boondocking, solar panels are definitely a good investment. Planning on going that route? You might want to start by reading this article by Bob Shearer, an electrical engineer, veteran boondocker, and self-taught solar panel expert.

Water - Black and Grey, A Blue Boy, and a Green Approach

So, now you’re generating enough power to keep your batteries charged, and you don't mind hauling fresh water to your motorhome but how are you going to deal with your holding tanks when they fill up? One way is by using a blue boy - a generic term for a portable tank that you can pump black water into - then take it to an RV sanitary dump without moving your rig.

A macerator pump is another way to deal with your black water. Get more information at HitchItch.com - a great resource for this and other technical information for boondockers.

Although it may seem "way out there," another interesting concept is recycling your grey water. Unique Solutions Inc offers e-books, e-products and parts kits for those who wish to try this innovative "green" approach. Brad Ideas is another source of commentary and suggestions for grey water recycling.

Building a Better Boondocking RV

Thousands of RVers are spending more time "unplugged." Finally, it seems that the RV industry is beginning to listen to our needs. Some generators are now built in, and more manufacturers are beginning to offer solar and other boondocking-friendly options direct from the factory. While Earth Roamer is still the ultimate "off road" RV, (although pricey to purchase and drive), Roadtrek now has a model with an awning that includes a flexible solar panel. I haven't found any customer reviews on how well these work, so if there's anyone out there who has had the opportunity to try this newest Roadtrek feature, I'd love to hear from you.


Frugal Finds

Sponsored by the National Motorist Association -if you can’t afford (another) speeding ticket, this website lists exact locations across the USA where speed traps and radar detection are regularly set up: www.speedtrap.org

Are you in the market for a new RV? Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation (FCCC) is giving a $1,250 fuel card away with any new purchase of a qualifying motorhome built on a Freightliner chassis from dealers in the United States and Canada. The promotion runs from October 15th to Dec 31st and applies to 2008, 2009, and 2010 model motorhomes built on their chassis by the following manufacturers: Damon, Gulfstream, Winnebago, Tiffin, Entegra Coach, Itasca, Newmar, Triple E, Forest River, Jayco, Sports Coach, and Four Winds International.

I wouldn’t suggest you buy these just for the fuel card but if you’re comparing brands to purchase an RV right now, it’s a valuable enough offer that you might want to take it into consideration. Get the full scoop at the FCCC website.

Did you know that the Frugal Shunpiker's Guides To RV Boondocking list hundreds of frugal (mostly free) boondocking locations across the southwest? Why waste your gas, when I've already done the searching for you?


Inspiring People

This is where I highlight the most recent additions to my blogroll.

It IS a small world after all – here’s proof: After I found and posted a link to The Professional Hobo -a wonderful website by a young Canadian gal with a real sense of adventure, my daughter coincidently mentioned that she had just been in contact with an old friend (they had been in a stage play together during their university years). Her friend is Nora Dunn - currently travelling in Australia (although not by RV) and she IS “The Professional Hobo.” Here’s more about Nora's website:

The Professional Hobo: In 2006, Nora Dunn decided to take the plunge. She sold her financial planning practice in Toronto Canada, and got rid of all of her belongings for the adventure of a lifetime. Since then, she has been traveling and discovered more than she could ever imagine. With no end to her travels in sight, enjoy the entertaining chronicle of her adventures.

Live. Work. Dream: In 2007, Jim and René sold their California business and home to travel and decide "what's next?" More than two years later, these young RVers are still criss-crossing the country as digital nomads, sharing their road trip experience with others who dream of embarking upon a similar adventure someday.


Free Gift

And finally, to celebrate this - my first newsletter - and, as a thank you for subscribing and especially for reading it ALL THE WAY TO THE BOTTOM – here’s a free gift for you!

I have permission from Bill Rivell to give away his e-book, “Life On The Road- A Virtual Seminar For RV Nomads.” Bill is from the land down-under, where boondocking is referred to as “bush camping.” Other than the name, the advice for boondockers seems to apply equally on both sides of the globe. This entertaining and enlightening e-book features quotes from 9 “keynote speakers” including well known American RVers, Kay and Joe Peterson. Safely download your free copy here.

Happy Boondocking!!!!

Cheers,
Marianne

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