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Old 02-07-2011, 10:11 AM   #1
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Free Campsites in TX, NM and CO

Hi, it's been awhile since I have posted here. I am wondering if anyone knows of places to camp/boondock along Northern Texas, Northeast New Mexico or along I-25 on the eastern side of Colorado. I am leaving Elk City, OK to find greener pastures (ie better work potential). The website freecampgrounds.com has been helpful but I would like input from other skoolie owners.
My bus is basically built up, still lacking plumbing but I have a work around for the time being. You can check out my blog at TrustedCompass.com. I just uploaded a music video montage of the past two years of building and living on the bus.
Also if there are other skoolie owners in the state of Colorado it would be great to know. I would love to chat with someone sometime personally that can identify with all the nuances of embarking on such a big endeavor. If you are a fellow fulltimer that would be even better.
Good luck to all.
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Old 02-07-2011, 01:29 PM   #2
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Re: Free Campsites in TX, NM and CO

For just traveling, check out Allstays overnight parking site. You can find places to park overnight (not just Wal-Mart). Truck stops often have dump stations. We have stayed twice at the Flying J in Pecos, TX. Dumped tanks, spent the night, ate supper & breakfast (their showers are pricey). Get your plumbing working. I have discovered that more and more campgrounds are getting rid of the bathhouses (there are NONE in Socorro... county park only has bathrooms) due to upkeep. Our campground has one but shut down. It will not be reopened. Owners got tired of fixing it after it would get trashed. Because so many RV parks cater to fully self-contained RVs, they feel the bath house is an expense that can be done away with. Being fully self-contained means more freedom in where you park at. Two books that I recommend to anyone traveling and wanting to stay on the cheap is Don Wrights Free and Cheap Campgrounds (only published every few years so Amazon's used books may be a option there)... has a eastern and western edition... free and cheap campgrounds tend to not be on the interstates... if listed as a boondocking site (no facilities) you may have difficulty getting a bus into it but you should b3 able to get into the city/county parks with no problem. Also if you are running the interstates, "The Next Exit" is a godsend. I try to buy one every other year. A laptop with a WiFI antenna will allow you to hop onto any open WIFI network to get on the internet. If you are using your desktop computer, make sure it will run off the generator (mine won't run off the POS Onan... I think I need an inline UPS). We left NC and came out to NM (I75, I59, I20, primary roads & I25) in 2009. We stayed in two public campgrounds (found thru Wrights Free and Cheap). Other than that, we stayed in parking lots... Sam's Clubs (business members and our #1 choice), Wal-marts, Cracker Barrels and truck stops (The Next Exit). Some TX rest area also have wi-fi (will be signed as you enter the rest area). We refilled and dumped holding tanks at rest areas and at the two campgrounds we stayed at. Make sure you have your own water hose for filling your water tanks and use it. Sanitize the hose bibb BEFORE you attach your hose (diluted bleach works and is cheap). What some folks do with the hoses at the dump stations is disgusting. The water pipe stand Is potable water. Not every one realizes that.

When you plan a stop, don't plan one, plan 3... one "early" stop in case you need to get off the road early for what ever reason... the stop you really plan on stopping at and a third stop for backup... in case you can't stay overnight at your preferred stop or if you are just really making good time and want to travel a little farther down the road. We were not told no at any place we stopped for the night at. You will have no problem with a public campground allowing a skoolie in. And for one night, you probably won't have a problem with the private campgrounds.

Part of my websites listed under "boondocking & camping"... some are info sites and others are listings. In no order of preference except to say, I like Allstays and I also like the Dow's Forest Camping site (we like public campgrounds).

http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en.html
http://freecampsites.net/
http://www.frugal-rv-travel.com/
http://www.boondockingguide.com/
http://www.dot.state.tx.us/travel/sa..._areas/map.htm
http://www.allstays.com/c/camping-ov...rv-parking.htm
http://www.forestcamping.com/index.htm
http://www.rvparkreviews.com/
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f382/
http://www.sanidumps.com/
http://cheaprvliving.com/Boondocking.html
http://www.nps.gov/index.htm
http://www.freecampgrounds.com/
http://uscampgrounds.info/

BTW, in case you don't catch it in my sig.... We are full-time RVers (since 2006)
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Old 02-07-2011, 01:37 PM   #3
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Re: Free Campsites in TX, NM and CO

You will probably be driving thru Albuquerque. If so, get off the interstate before 5PM. They drive like lunatics during the rush. The rush lasts from 5PM to 9PM. We live near ABQ and have to drive up there in the evenings to restock our business. We try to get off the roads before 5PM when traveling, especially around large cities. Not worth the hassle and you make no time traveling. We also get back on the road (after we eat a leisurely breakfast) around 9AM. We often do not eat lunch... don't need to if we eat breakfast at Cracker Barrel.
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Old 02-28-2011, 07:08 PM   #4
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Re: Free Campsites in TX, NM and CO

Thanks for all the great info. Since I last posted here, I decided to head north from West Texas, cut across the panhandle of Oklahoma and enter Colorado. It was here that I boondocked for a week at the Comanche National Grasslands. It was spectacular. I then drove to Pueblo, black topped boondocked at Walmart a night. From there, I went to Canon City to camp on some BLM land in the mountains. My bus is 30 ft long and I feel it is the perfect size and tough enough to handle remote trails. I am now in Denver. I am currently looking for a job in the area. Ideally, one in or close to Boulder, CO. Urban camping is an interesting challenge right now. I have a Virgin broadband2go mobile internet card that works virtually everywhere, except the wilderness. My only limitation is electricity. Which is why I am typing this right now in a Starbucks. I save genny fuel and battery juice for late night surfing.
The plumbing issue is important, but amazingly I have been able to work around it. A couple of barriers to getting plumbing installed...1) Limited money until I start working again 2) Lack of a place to do this kind of construction. Campgrounds frown on working on the bus and public parks, Walmarts are a definite no-go. Boondocking out in the wild is iffy because, in my experience, I will be in the middle of a project and missing a simple yet crucial part, despite the best planning. My friend here lives in an apartment complex, I can't even park bus there to visit. 3)Finally locating the appropriate sized tanks is extremely challenging because my rear pusher bus has 'saddle bag' diesel tanks, like a semi truck. There are two 50 gallon tanks on each side of the bus, messing up the underneath layout. I would have to have custom tanks fabricated around the tanks. One other option is to use my basement storage area and get traditional rectangular tanks. I just hate the idea of losing valuable storage space.
I will eventually getting to installing plumbing. I enjoy roughing it. I have 'tricks' I do to fend off offensive odors. Baking soda keeps underarm smells away. It has been a great experience going from being a corporate working, suburban living guy to the rough and tumble, live by the seat of my pants kind of guy. My mostly conservative friends and family back home don't all understand but they admit it is fascinating to watch my travels on my blog.
I really appreciate your feedback and admire your fulltime lifestyle. It has been an inspiration to me.
As a courtesy to some of the readers here I will post a couple of the places I found to camp for free that had electricity. These are town parks, where camping is limited to 3 days.
Elk City, Oklahoma
Elk City Lake-Get off I-40 mile marker 38. Take Hwy 6 about half a mile. There will be a small highway sign for the park. Turn right on Lake View. Left on Washington. Go less than a mile, park is on the right. 30 amp plugins, vault toliets.

Borger, TX
Huber Park- 12 parking pads with 30 amp electric AND water and dump station. At the cross roads of S. Main st and Pine st.

Stinnett, TX
Stinnett park- 5 camping pads with 30amp electric AND water. Cross streets Mackenzie and Broadway.

Dumas, TX
Dumas Municipal park- 20+ Camp spots in large parking lot next to park. 50/30/20amp hookups. Off 287 west in Dumas right before railroad tracks.

I wish I knew where some of these were in Colorado. I will have to check out Don Wrights Free and Cheap Campgrounds, like you advised.

You can get more detailed info on my travels and bus condition at http://www.trustedcompass.com

Here is a picture boondocking at Comanche National Grasslands
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Old 03-04-2011, 10:13 AM   #5
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Re: Free Campsites in TX, NM and CO

Man, what a beautiful spot to call home for awhile. Hang in there, I enjoy your posts.
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Old 03-21-2011, 02:45 AM   #6
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Re: Free Campsites in TX, NM and CO

Sorry for the delayed response.
Thanks browncrown, one of my favorite things about being a skoolie owner is the ability go into these type of places.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iceni John
Do you have space under the frame rails, between the fuel tanks? I cannot visualize exactly how your fuel tanks are set up - are they cylindrical tanks on brackets either side of the frame rails (like a truck's), or something different? Fitting the maximum possible capacity of tanks is not easy, especially if you don't want to use your precious under-floor storage space for them. I went through this myself, putting two Ronco B433 tanks either side of my centrally-located fuel tank - it was a lot of work to install them, but worth it (I hope). My idea is to have the largest tanks that will fit, not because I plan on normally driving around with a ton of water, but instead for those rare occasions when having a lot of water will allow you to stay somewhere you couldn't if you had less water, such as boondocking.
John
John,
I don't feel that I have much room under my frame rails because I like my ground clearance. Also my gas tanks encroach on much of that valuable real estate.
My saddle bag gas tanks are box-like: about 3ft x 2ft x 2.5 ft . Like old school truckers. They are on either side of the frame rails, but hang down a few inches below frame. I may just have to get under the bus and snap a few shots to better explain. What I am really holding out for is to find something free or really cheap on craigslist. I got lucky today. A guy gave me a 50+ Gallon fresh water tank. Next, black water and gray water tanks. Because I boondock extensively, I want to a really good capacity. Or I may go with something smaller and get a macerator.
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Old 06-26-2011, 11:05 AM   #7
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Re: Free Campsites in TX, NM and CO

Wow. You have re-fueled my dream of being a full time Gypsy. Thank YOU!
Quote:
Originally Posted by trustedcompass
Thanks for all the great info.

Here is a picture boondocking at Comanche National Grasslands
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Old 06-26-2012, 09:41 AM   #8
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Re: Free Campsites in TX, NM and CO

TFR.
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Old 06-26-2012, 11:37 AM   #9
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Re: Free Campsites in TX, NM and CO

I've been following this guys (Brian) blog for about 9 months now. Really worth checking out.
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