For the first time on our adventure, we boondocked in the same place on 2 different occasions. We first stopped at the Young Field Wildlife Management Area for the night on our way to Moab, and then stopped again on our way to St. George. While our plans had us zigzagging across Utah, we were trying to squeeze in as much sightseeing in as possible before we began our first camp hosting position, so being able to stay at this spot twice was a real win.
It is surprising how much time we spend planning routes and finding and researching campgrounds or boondocking opportunities along those routes. When we initially decide to visit an area, we first consider how long we want to stay. If we are just passing through, boondocking is typically our first choice for a 1-night stay. However, if we are staying multiple days, we then determine if we will want to go out and do things where we will need to leave Daisy behind. We never leave Daisy in the camper when we are boondocking, as we do not leave the generator (and, therefore, the air conditioner) running when we are away. So, if there is a need for us to go somewhere without her, we default to a campground with at least electricity hookups.
Once we decide that we want to boondock, we scour multiple websites. We start with Campendium and typically also reference Harvest Hosts, if we are in the mood for a little adventure. Campendium allows us to see a whole spectrum of options: from parking lots that allow overnight stays (like Cracker Barrel restaurants) to free, dispersed camping on BLM or other public lands to state parks and full-service RV resorts.
After narrowing it down, we will read the descriptions of each location, paying close attention to the most recent reviews and the cell service reports. Even though we love going off-grid, with working remotely, it takes even more planning to be off-grid, so knowing we have reliable service is incredibly important. The most recent reviews are key to finding out about road conditions, if a camper our size will fit, where the spots are specifically located, whether the location is busy, etc. Plus, there are often photos, which are even more helpful.
Between the reviews and photos and a close look at satellite imagery on Google, we will decide if we want to call a location home for a night or 2. This whole process can take a few minutes if we are lucky, or it can take much, much longer. It all truly depends on where we are going.
When we came across the Young Field Wildlife Management Area, we were sold pretty quickly. It was right off the interstate, had decent access to the campsites, and had excellent cell coverage. The first night we stayed, we opted to take the very first spot, but because we were able to explore the area a bit, we knew that on our second stay, a site further in would be more suitable for us and would be easily accessible. Both sites were incredible, and though we had a motorhome attempt to impede on our site on our second stay, the nights were quiet and uneventful (just the way we like them).
Going into places without ever being there before is 1 of the things that causes me the most anxiety about boondocking. However, by having tools in our toolbox that allow us to do research and get decent feedback from other campers, we are able to weed out the sites that will not work and determine what will be a good fit for us. To date, we have never arrived at a site only to realize it would not work for us, which is a streak I truly hope we can continue.
Boondocking is a wonderful change of pace, even if it is just for a single night, as we are almost forced to slow down: we have limited electricity (and require a generator for that), limited water (only what we bring along), and do not have the amenities of a structured campground. Instead, we are forced to get outside and entertain ourselves, and that absolutely makes some of the best memories.