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Thursday, April 11, 2019

"Everything I need..."

Something hits me like a shovel
and I am stunned into believing
anything is possible...
suddenly I know
everything I need is waiting for me...
Richard Shelton, Going Back to Bisbee

It's easy to become jaded when one's life has, and continues, to revolve around wandering through nature and exploring their tiny backyard portion of the planet. It's an addiction...the more you do it, the more you need to do it. 

Before Google Earth and on-line sources of information, Bobbie and I loved to scour old fashioned paper maps for intriguing destinations. We are fortunate to have found one another and to have a common thread that weaves us together.

We are also fortunate to have wandered most of the western National Parks during the Golden Age of Camping and Rving—you remember, the days when you could just show up without reservations and get a room at "the lodge" or a campsite in a half-empty campground. September was always our favorite month to camp. The kids are back in school, parents back to work, biting insects gone. It was enough solitude to take the edge off the idea of 50 more weeks on a treadmill before next September. 

But times have changed. So we, like all living things, must adapt or die...or, in this case, stay home. Our first "adaptation" was to hike farther in order to escape the growing swarm of tourists and, so to speak, "have it to ourselves." Over time, what once took an extra mile lengthened to two, three, or even extra four miles.  

It then came to pass that we couldn't just show up and get a campsite without reservations. With "escape pod" sales going through the roof, reservations had to be made six months to a year in advance. I'm talking not only National Parks, but BLM, Forest Service, State Parks, National Monuments...anyplace that wasn't pretty much a "shit-hole," as our esteemed "Commander In Cheat" would put it. Hard to be spontaneous. So we tweak the "model" again. Adapt or die.

Boondocking to the rescue. For years—as the Generator equipped Rv Toy Hauler rage continues to explode—Boondocking was our salvation. It worked well enough to quell frustrations to acceptable levels...somewhere slightly above the point of throwing-in-the-Rv-towel. 

With the addition of a few solar panels and batteries, we were no longer dependent on "nuts to butts" campgrounds and "hook-ups." Boondocking afforded more solitude, freedom from crowds, noise, and the overuse associated with the park's "core" areas. Now we could probe from the outside in. Cool!

But the times they keep a-changin. Nowadays, the (take your pick) Rv/van/automobile is morphing into an alternative "home-on-the-road" lifestyle. Instead of a few (ok, a LOT) of boomer retirees competing for campgrounds and/or public lands to camp on, younger gen Xers and millenials and entire families are climbing aboard the "living free on the road" Bandwagon. All they need is some public/BLM Land with a nearby cell tower in order to telecommute from anywhere they please, as long as they stay low and keep moving. Forest Service, State Lands...even vast tracts of private property, if no one is watching, are the new "Slab Cities." 

I know—Pot calling Kettle Black! I'm "one of them," part-of-the-problem, the complaining conspirator/collaborator/accomplice/confederate hypocrite. Try to think of this as a warning for newbies, rather than a grumpy geezer gripe.  

We've been coming to Camp Klondike, Utah for years. In my humble opinion, the mountain biking and hiking opportunities are unparalleled during spring and fall. It's one of those special places where we can hike all day without seeing another soul. Recently, however, the commodity of solitude is more difficult to come by. Even more difficult is finding (relatively) unknown landscapes that haven't been Instagramed to the world...complete with GPS coordinates. Oh their out there, but you better be willing and able to hike far enough.

We're not surprised by "company" anymore, nor the additional regulations that follow in the wake of overuse. The "outdoors" has been discovered, and the recreation industry couldn't be happier. The demand for recreational "gear" is exploding, especially motorized toys that are supplanting more natural/primitive forms of locomotion. If we're lucky, the Toy Hauler that just rolled in (too close) next door won't be full of ATVs and/or motorbikes (it was). And it will have solar power instead of a noisy generator (it didn't). And the young couple were childless (they weren't...as soon evidenced by a passel of blonde children exploring our campsite).

If I we're smarter, I'd find some other place to go during the red dust haze of Jeep Safari Week in Moab. But where? I can't go home cause it's still blowing and snowing and mud season. While it's not perfect anymore, "everything I need is waiting for me." It's remains somewhere out my windows, just farther these days. All I need to do is go earn the solace required to get me there. 
Jeep Overlandia! 
"For many Jeep enthusiasts and overlanders who may be Jeep-curious, the release of the 2020 Jeep Gladiator pickup is the story of the year. Excitement about that story will reach a fever pitch at this year’s Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah, an annual gathering showing off Jeep concepts and trail rigs."


  1. It's not just the RV parks, and the public lands, it's EVERYWHERE. The major cities are just over run. We've always wanted to see the architecture of Gaudi in Barcelona, but reports of the hours long waits to get in give us pause. And then there are cruise ships, which kill everything they touch. Where do all of these people come from? It's just depressing.

    1. I know. I think we've missed the Golden Age of travel in Europe. From what I read it's long lines to a carnival atmosphere. At least there are no lines here at the back door to Arches. Crowds were never my thing.
      On another note regarding the Rv explosion, there are not enough Rv parks being build to keep up with the demand...and Govie isn't building new or adding onto existing campgrounds. Where are all these people going to park their rigs...especially the big ones that don't lend themselves to Boondocking? mark

    2. We just did Barcelona early last June and saw as much Gaudi as we wanted with no lines. Love his work.

  2. Yep you are correct in every aspect. The last three years of my 12 on the road have been as you described in this post. It is not heart warming at all.

  3. You are scaring me. Someday I want to spend weeks or months or maybe more in the SW, hopefully not next to the generator of a neighboring RV. When I camp now I have to make reservations in the state parks in Michigan 6 mos in advance or I can't get a decent spot. And I only camp in the middle of the weeks. No way I can stand the weekends when the parks are totally full. Even then, by Thursday night there's usually some huge RV next to me running their generator all night, lining their sites with lights that they keep on all night, with a dozen children riding their bikes through my site. Yep....it's getting harder to find peace.

    PS: I LOVE your photographs...they make me want to go even if it isn't perfect.

  4. there's always Canada, pretty empty likely since the Canadians all come here!


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