Sunday, March 09, 2014

Live your Dream and BoonDockers Welcome

Words of Wisdom by Gaylord Maxwell, author, columist, lecturer on the RV lifestyle.

Had a wonderful week at the Boondocking Rally. The rally was put on by Howard and Linda of  They are the same couple that put on the Full-Timers educationally rally I attended in North Carolina. Linda met me at the gate and told me that Howard would show me to my spot. Ed and Charlotte own the property in Lake Ogden where this event was held. I had met them at the Full-Timers rally where they were workamping at the campground for the summer.

Howard  showed me to my place in the circle. He took care to make sure that the motorhomes faced the interior of the circle and the trailers were backed in so that their back window faced into the circle.

I was parked beside Jean, a brand new RVer of only three weeks and also going solo.  In all, there were six solo females including myself.  One lady was married but "ran away" from her husband and the cold, and rented a Class C to join everyone in the field.

On our first night,  we had a cookout meal with hot dogs cooked on the grill by Shane and Howard.

Everyone seemed excited to be there.

That evening we had our first campfire

On day 2, the ladies of the Solo Cafe cooked breakfast. I did not go which was bad on my part because I was suppose to be the greeter.

After breakfast the boondocking seminar began.

Linda talked about fresh and black water holding tanks. Most people worry about the black tank but as she said, if you have a 50 gallon holding tank, think of 50 gallon jugs all lined up full of poop and pee. Do you think you will fill them all in a week?  I think I finally understand that the black tank is not my worry when boondocking. Fresh water usage and filling the gray tank (shower, dishes, etc...) are more important to monitor.

Howard talked about solar and batteries. I really was having a hard time trying to understand why I needed solar prior to his talk. I understand now that the generator will not fully top off the batteries but solar will. I have since purchased a voltage meter to check my batteries and I have made an appointment to get my solar panels installed in May. A friend of Howard's will be installing them at a great price. This is a BIG savings that I could not turn down.  Greg, the solar installer, is only doing this for a very few people as he's new and trying to get his name out there.  He will be going fulltime next year and plans on installing solar panels as his job on the road. He'll have plenty of customers.

One of these days, I plan on getting AGM batteries. AGM batteries are sealed and maintenance free.  They are a type of lead-acid rechargeable battery. Due to their construction, they do not require ventilation and can be mounted in any position but they are expensive.

Dinner was appetizers in a pot luck style.

On Day 3 a group of us caravaned to Fisherman's Village  in Punta Gorda to take a boat ride. Some decided to go to the beach (Cayo Costa State Park) for a beach day and a few of us decided to continue on to Cabbage Key for lunch. I chose Cabbage Key.

We arrived at Cabbage Key, and though there is nothing there except for the restaurant and some rental houses, it was very beautiful.  Anyway, I was just going for lunch and a relaxing day out.

This house is available for sale if you are interested.

This is inside the restaurant and those are dollar bills. 
People write their names on dollar bills and then pin them to the walls and ceiling.

This is Mr. and Mrs. Turner (no relations). They were my lunch partners.  They are also fellow RVers.  The restaurant did not have a one person table so the Turners let me join them.

Then we had a little drama. When we returned from our outing,  it was learned that we were in violation of some code. Someone complained about our group. It was definately not the owners' immediate neighbors because they are all family.  In fact, the only house you can see is Charlotte's father's.

Code Enforcement had come out and told Charlotte that we were in violation of some county ordiance.  An Event permit was needed even though this was private property.  The owners can not even spend one night in their own RV on their property.

Howard and Charlotte went to the courthouse but was told that we had 24 hours to leave. Sadly, some people left right away but the rest of us were determined to look for an alternative sight to continue.   Later that day, the Code Enforcement person came back to tell us we were still in violation but we could stay. Good grief! Luckily Howard and Linda were able to contact those that left and all but one did return later in the day.

On Day 4, a water bladder demonstation was given since I had forgotten to fill my water tank before I'd come to the rally. Howard had a water bladder that looks like a small water bed.  He filled my tank while everyone looked on. Probably something I should pick up someday if I continue to boondock.

That night was potluck. The weather was not good for an outdoor dinner, it was raining.  Howard shuttled people to the barn with their chairs and potluck goodies.

Day 6 was Valentine Day.  Some people went to see the future RV park that Linda and Howard were planning.  This will be a co-op where you can buy in for $25,000.   I went with Charlotte's sister, Verna, to see how you harvest Hearts of Palm aka "Swamp Cabbage".

The tree is actually cut down and the bark removed leaving the center core.  
We would get to eat some that evening.

 It actually tastes good raw.

We also went by to see Charlotte and Verna's father because he had his own orchard in his yard and we had to check on the hog for the feast.
Verna took some lemons off a tree and we all gave it a try.   Very, Very sour.

Her father let us taste a pomelo.  It taste like a mild, sweet grapefruit.

Now it is time for Valentine's Day Potluck Dinner.
Ed cooked a small wild hog

As this was another potluck, there was plenty of food.

That evening we watched a movie under the stars. 

On Day 7, we had our final breakfast and show & tell.  I really like this time because you learn so much.  People brought things they made and things they had bought that makes their lifestyle better for them.

One person showed the battery operated transfer pump that you can take your dishwasher or shower water out and drain into your black tank because it would fill slower.  I purchased one since I plan to  boondock a lot soon.

I liked this idea of how he documents his RV travels. He buys a patch for where ever he is and just puts it on the vest.

I showed the "Wonderbag" which is a way to slow cook without electricity.  You can also use the bag for cold food to keep it cold.

When you buy a Wonderbag, you are also donating one to a family in Africa.  I purchased the bag after seeing a blog where someone had used it and was in love. The bag continues to cook food that has been brought to a boil by conventional methods, without the additional use of fuel.  There are no plugs so it is energy efficient.  The first thing I made was beef stew and that evening the meat was fork tender.  It is great for boondockers and anyone that does not want to leave a crockpot plugged in  all day while they are out.

I really hated to leave the next day but I had made new friends, learned a lot and had a great time.

Yes, that is a smart car being loaded onto the back of a flat bed truck.  That is how they tow their car.

Some of the pictures in this post I borrowed from Howard and Linda's blog.


Colleen Phipps said...

It's wonderful to see that you are enjoying your travels and doing lots of new things. I also just noticed that you have gone back and added a lot to your blog from earlier years. Isn't it great that you can do that?


Hi Louise,, looks like you have been having a great time since I seen you at Hillsborough..sorry this took so long but I lost your card and and it took me awhile to find your blog,,,see you want a nephew leads the design team at will love it..anyway here is links to my blogs

see ya down the road...donna

Louise said...

I am using the blog as my diary. If I discover things I need to add, I am going back. I want to document this grand adventure as much as I can.