Travel

Boondockers Welcome!: A Resource for Road People

Finding Boondockers Welcome was one of those happy accidents where everything aligns and you have no doubt that the Universe is indeed looking out for you.

Last weekend I was headed down to Sacramento for a Saturday encaustic painting workshop. I had hoped to park at a friend’s place in Davis on Friday night but she was traveling so we arranged to meet up on Saturday night instead. But that left me facing the prospect of a 90-minute drive down the mountain from Nevada City at the crack of dawn to arrive at the workshop by 10 o’clock – and I just wasn’t excited about getting up super early to make the 90-minute drive from Nevada City, worrying about traffic, missed turns, the parking situation – something I always have to think about driving Blanca and the behemoth that is the Avion.

Facebook feed to the rescue! An article on Matador.com –  “9 Myths About RVs that Need to Be Debunked” – led me to Boondockers Welcome, a network of RVers who, when they’re not on the road themselves, offer a free parking space to fellow travelers. And the $25 yearly membership fee is an incredible bargain when you consider the cost of a single night at even a no-frills RV park!

The Boondockers website uses an internal messaging system with profiles that protect the privacy of both host and traveler and a handy map, super user-friendly, that shows you roughly where the host sites are located without revealing the exact location. The host profiles describe both the people and the site, sometimes with accompanying pictures, so travelers know what they’re getting into – and if the site will accommodate their rig. Not much of an issue with the Avion but I can imagine it’s a significant consideration for some of those behemoth RVs. There’s also a mutual comments section so both hosts and travelers can give feedback.

While “boondocking” generally refers to camping in a remote location (out in the “boonies”) and  without access to services like water, power, sewer hookups, it looks like many of the Boondockers Welcome sites are in urban areas and some do offer an electrical hook up or wi-fi.

Checking out the options in the Sacramento area, I found three possibilities within a 20-minute drive of my workshop. Sign me up! I paid my 25 bucks, whipped together a profile with a couple of pics of me, the pugs, the Avion, and I shot a request to the closest Boondockers host: “I know it’s short notice but I’m looking for a place to park tonight.”

Nothing says “home” like a white picket fence covered in roses. That’s what greeted me when I pulled up to my first “boondocking” haven.

Within 30 minutes, I had my reply, and a few hours later I was driving through a quiet residential neighborhood and pulling up to my host site: a perfectly level second driveway alongside a little California bungalow with a white picket fence covered with roses. My host was lovely and generous, helping me get settled in and giving me a few tips on Boondockers. We chatted for a bit, I gave a quick tour of the Avion, took the pugs for a last spin, and then we bedded down. It was a warm spring night in California so we opened the windows to the night breeze. I fell asleep to the scent of roses.

Many thanks to my host for such an auspicious kick-off to the Boondockers Welcome program!

#Home is where you park it.

 

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