WHAT THE…. is Boondocking, us Aussies will ask? We had the same response not that long ago. But, boondocking is exactly what Travel is Sweet is doing on our 9 month adventure around the US and Canada. Boondocking is the term us RVer’s like to give to RVing when we are not connected to water, electricity and sewerage while camping. In other words, we are only relying on what we have in our RV. It can also be referred to as dispersed camping, dry camping, wild camping and free camping. So, boondocking in the US is our current lifestyle as of March 2020. Considering the state of affairs around the world due to the COVID19 outbreak, we are in the best possible spot. Self-isolating in our RV, only venturing out for food and supplies. Boondocking in the US has been a God send.
So, for those of you that don’t already know Carolyn and I (Travel is Sweet) have invested in an RV for the duration of this journey. So, without further ado I would like to introduce you to “Cup Cake” our 1989 23ft Winnebago. She may be old but she suits us to a tee.
Check out our video below of Cup Cake. We are fully self-contained, and as such, are able to visit and stay at places without having to pay accommodation fees. Yes, that’s right FREE!!!
However, there are some restrictions on where we can stay 😊. But hey, that’s half the fun of boondocking in the US. Finding those places where we can sit back, relax and soak it all in. And the best part, pay nothing 😊. So, we will give a review of the locations we boondock at, to show you the unique side of our travels.
Boondocking in the US Celilo Park, Oregon
While technically not our first location, that belongs to a truck stop on I-90 Indian John Hill Rest Stop just outside Cle Elum, Oregon.
We feel Celilo Park reflects our first true taste of boondocking in the US.
Located to the river side of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway on the Columbia River, which borders Washington and Oregon.
Lying about 13 kilometres west of Biggs Junction, and to the south banks of the river in Oregon. Owned and operated by the US Army Corps of Engineers it offers plenty to RVers, campers, picnicker’s and water sport enthusiasts alike. There are plenty of spaces for RV’s of all lengths on a paved surface. It also has grassy areas and trees for shade for campers and day trippers. To the west of the area is a boat ramp for those wishing to launch their vessels.
Situated within the park grounds are 2 toilet blocks. The first is your normal flushable toilets, the second, as we Aussies would call it, a long drop (bio toilet for our US friends). Both are kept very clean and we had no hesitation in using either of them.
There is a large garbage bin (dumpster) to use, also picnic tables and chairs. However, there are some negatives to this site. The big one is it sits right next to the railway line. So, if the sound of loud train horns blowing quite frequently throughout the day and night bother you, then this may not be the place for you. Also, the freeway butts alongside the railway line. So, traffic noise is present too.
Albeit, as a fairly safe area to stop for the night there were some questionable looking people. But this may have been our paranoia talking 😊.
Extra Information and Conclusion
Additionally, our AT&T internet connection worked well allowing Carolyn to continue working. This park is one of eight in the local area that allows you to do boondocking.
You have a combined total of 14 nights free parking between all eight over a 30 day period. Park rangers come around every day and write down registration plate details, so don’t get caught staying for more than 14 days all up, or you may be penalised. The park ranger that I talked with to get this information was very helpful.
Overall, our first real boondocking in the US at Celilo Park, Oregon turned out to be a wonderful experience. While the noise from the trains can be off putting it didn’t affect our stay. The area is kept tidy and utilities cleaned. So, we would recommend this as a place to spend some time, chilling out and relaxing.
Cost: Free up to 14 nights
Site Quality: *****
AT&T Signal: ***
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Travel is Sweet (Dream It, Experience It, Treasure It)
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