Boondocking the Last Great Frontier 3

youtube-Logo-4gc2reddit-logoOff the keyboard of RE

Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666
Friend us on Facebook

Published on The Doomstead Diner July 30, 2017

Discuss this article at the Doomsteading Table inside the Diner

The early part of Day 3 of Boondocking wasn't a whole heck of a lot different than Days 1 & 2, another early trip to the Alaska Club followed by a trip to the Library to do some reading and surf the Doom-o-sphere on their FREE Wi-Fi.  I did dispense with the trip over to Kalahdi Brothers Coffee for one of their expensive Coffee Drinks to save a little money.  I have been spending pretty profligately here over the last couple of days.  I also am planning on spending $15 today on a For Pay campsite, which I really do not have to do but I wanna make some Videos for the I Spy Doom series and this location is a real good spot for making those vids. I ate a real big breakfast for me of Sausage, Eggs and Homefries, so I am not at all hungry when the afternoon rolls around and really probably could go the whole rest of the day on just that meal, so the remaining 2/3rds of my Subway Spicy Italian Hoagie remains in the cooler for tomorrow.  However, on the drive over to the campground, I go by Matanuska Meats, where not only do they have a fabulous selection of commercially produced meats, they also will prepare any game meat you hunt down as well.  They'll do all the sausages and cut up into nice steaks and roasts as well.  Of course, you pay a price for that and by the time you add in the cost for the hunting trip, it's going to be quite a bit more expensive than just buying a commercial industrially farmed steak, even an organically raised one.  However, you generally can't buy Moose or Caribou off the shelf. Having professionals prepare the meat is far better than doing it yourself, both for the work load involved and the fact they do a far better job and have all the right equipment.

There are some REALLY SUCCULENT looking Aged T-Bone Steaks in the refrigerated display case, and while I KNOW I can't possibly finish one of them, since I am going to a for pay campsite I can do some open fire grilling at, I just HAVE to buy one to have for dinner.  So I go ahead and spend $13 on one of these gorgeous pieces of meat.  That and buying the campsite was all I spent for the day plus the fixed rent cost of $8.50, so all totalled up this was a $36.50 day.  I swear to myself that tomorrow I will not spend so much money!  However, even spending that much, if I had a job at Starbucks as a Barrista and was making just $10/hour, I could have paid for this day with just 4 hours of work serving up the Frappucinos and Espressos.

I arrive at the campsite and drop in at the office to pay for my site and get my parking ticket for the night to drop in my windshield.  I'm not Boondocking now, I have paid RENT for my little patch of the earth for the next 24 hours!  It is MINE, to do with as I please, as long as I obey the park rules anyhow.  Which overall are not too onerous for me, as I don't throw big parties with lots of loud music and I don't leave garbage all over the place.  The only rule which is an issue is NO ALCOHOL, so drinking beer in public in view of others is not such a good idea, although many if not most of the campers do it.  What fun is it to sit around a campfire and shoot the shit with your friends if you can't enjoy a nice Lager or IPA while you do it?  The rule is mostly not enforced, only if you get a real rowdy party going would they probably come down on you for it.  Despite that, I stay pretty stealth with this and mostly drink the occassional beer inside SaVANnah where nobody can see me doing this horrible thing.  I collect the empty cans inside SaVANnah and will dispose of them tomorrow at some dumpster not on this property. Once parked, there is a decent amount of action ongoing with kids from other campsites running around and biking the trails, especially for mid-week.  This place is kind of a Paradise for kids, it's quite safe and there are tons of places for them to go exploring and they can even go swim in the river, although you should never let them do that without supervision.  Virtually none of the people here with kids are full time Van Dwellers of course, most of them just do it for a week or two at a time over the summer on vacations.  Some teachers who have the whole summer off will live the life for the whole 2-3 months though.  They go from one park to another, down to Kenai to fish for salmon and so forth.  Up here on the Last Great Frontier it gets a good deal more difficult to live this way around September or so when many places shut down, but it's not impossible.  In any event, when this time of year rolls around, it's time to drive the Al-Can and head for the Florida Keys!  Don't winter in Alaska if you don't have to!  Snowbird it!

If you do have to winter over in Alaska though, it's certainly possible to do it even in your Stealth Van.  Here it depends on your budget mainly in terms of how to do it. As long as you have access to electricity, you can withstand about anything an Alaska winter can throw at you inside a Stealth Van, including temps as low as 30F Below Zero.  This because the volume you need to heat is so small and a typical Space Heater will do the job of warming it up in a jiffy!  Such space heaters come in at the whopping cost of around $50-100.

To be getting electricity completely legal though, you're going to have to buy a campsite that stays open through the winter and pay their monthly fee for the worst months of this, Dec-Feb.  Before and after this you can always get away with other forms of heating not requiring electricity.  You could in fact use other forms of heating even in the worst months, but it would be a bit of a pain in the ass.  I certainly have never tried it, but I think I could make it through as long as I had enough kerosene (maybe 15 gallons, according to my friend Van Dweller who has lived this way for 50 years and spent a few of them in Alaska) or enough wood to burn.  So in your Storage Unit, good idea to keep 15 gallons of Kero in there for the winter that comes when the Lights Go Out and nobody has electricity at all.  You will at least get one more winter to watch the SUN☼ rise before you freeze to death in your Stealth Van.

The thing about buying one of these campsites that both stays open AND provides electricity is you will have to pay around $200/week for it.  For this price, I can rent an off-season Cabin rental for the same price!  So on my budget, I would simply add in the cost of buying a cabin for Dec-Feb and living in splendor and comfort for those three months while the Winter Winds whistle outside the cabin door and I have the wood burning stove fired up with plenty of Wood Pellets purchased at Home Depot.  At least until TSHTF of course.  So this does drop $2500 or so onto my yearly rent bill doing this every year.

Snowbirding it and driving SaVANnah down to the Florida Keys or the Baja Peninsula to over-winter, I would likely spend a similar amount of energy.  Instead of the kero or electricity to heat the van, I would need to buy gas to move it across the Al-Can and then down to southern latitudes.  I think it would be slightly cheaper to do it this way, depends on the relative prices for the energy and the rent.  Going south, you could Boondock a lot more and thus avoid paying rent.  No way to calculate this unless you actually did it over a couple of seasons at least, which I have no intention of doing.  That experiment would take at least 4 years to run, spending 2 up here through the winter and then 2 more Snowbirding to the lower 48.  I would need to keep meticulous records of all expenses to make a comparison.  I'm not going to do that.

Back to present day circumstances however, after picking up the Steak at Matanuska Meats I head over to the campgrounds and set up camp, very Spartan this time as the weather is very good with no chance of rain so even the Big Brolly does not get deployed.  The Outdoor Office and Command Center for the Diner is set up on the Picnic Table inside of 5 minutes, complete with electricity for the day.  Nothing else really needs to be done in terms of setup besides getting ready to COOK!

I have my choices on ways to cook my Juicy and Thick T-Bone steak.  I could sautee it with some garlic, mushrooms, peppers and onions in a pan over my propane stove right on the picnic table while Admining the Diner, but that would be a waste of a great cut of meat like this!  There is NO SUBSTITUTE for grilling meat over an open fire!  Here also I have choices.  The EZ choice is to just use Propane in my portable propane Coleman Grill or a little less EZ Charcoal Briquets in my Cast Iron Lodge Logic Hibachi.  For this occassion though, I choose the toughest of the choices possible, I am going to cook my steak over an Open fire on the Camp Fire Ring with WOOD!

Now, I am not suited to going out into the woods to collect a bunch of wood for this and split it anymore, so instead I go up to the office and get a pile of firewood for FREE sufficient to make a decent Bonfire, which will last for hours to do a lot of heating and cooking tasks.  Normally said pile of wood would cost you around $5, but I know the camp host and for odd shaped pieces he gives them away free.  My objective is not to make it huge however, just to make it right for cooking on.  This means first getting the fire lit and going, then letting it burn down until you have a pile of hot coals burning about the right temp to cook your steak how you like it.  I like mine "Pittsburgh Rare", which means burned on the outside and still Mooing on the inside.

Prior to getting the fire going, I do a dry rub on the steak of a few spices I have in the larder, including Garlic Powder, Coriander and McCormick "Old Monterrey" spicing, and sprinkle on some fresh ground pepper and sea salt as well and let it sit and absorb them for an hour before cooking.  Once that is done and I have checked for new comments on the Diner, it's time to MAKE A FIRE! Now, on a lot of Prepper Websites they make a real big deal out of making a fire from primitive means, going down as far as spinning a fire drill between your hands.  I never mastered that one.  Then there are bow drills, fire pistons and flint and steel too!  Or if you have a sunny day you could use a Magnifying Glass.  There are any number of ways to make a fire.  I don't bog down in this sort of shit.  For my forseeable future, I will have the essentials of fire making available, a Bic Lighter and some Lighter Fluid, Kerosene or Gasoline.  Amazing how fast you can get a nice Bonfire going with a Bic & Kero! lol. "Tinder?  We don't NEED no fucking Tinder!" Try not to torch yourself or start a forest fire though when you do it.  Lighter Fluid is safer than Kero or Gas, it has a lower vapor pressure and doesn't light up as fast.  I will have upcoming I Spy Doom videos on making a fire and outdoor grilling.

At the beginning of course when you light it up, this is a TOTALLY unsuitable fire for cooking, and grilling in paticular.  Way too hot at the grill surface, even for Pittsburgh Rare.  You gott wait until the fire burns down some and you get some coals for more even heat distribution.  Usually takes about a half hour if the wood is dry.  You feed in a little wood at a time until you have the heat hitting the grill around a temp you can't put your hand above it for more than a second or so, and this is about right for fast cooking Pittsburgh Rare.  If you like a more medium level and not so blackened on the outside, then either wait a bit or raise your grill surface higher above the the heat.

Once you have your cooking heat adjusted, the next issue is the cooking surface.  Do NOT use the grate provided in a public camground as your cooking surface, and not because it might have Germs on it.  Those have all been sterilized by heat, in fact not just sterilized but incinerated.  It's because these grates are just grossly too large, and stuff will fall into the fire below, even big ass hamburgers you patty up.  If you work with a big enough steak you are pretty safe, but even here I prefer to use an add on like a BBQ basket for the steak.  Makes it simple to flip, and EZ cleanup too. For open fire grilling in other forms of meat, you don't need to use a grill at all, sometimes big Forks or Spears work better.  Hot dogs are done easily on a spear, Bratwurst or Italian Sausage also.  You can buy commercial industrially produced ones, or just make one out of a skinny tree branch.

All the rest of open fire cooking besides meat should be done with some surface between the food to be cooked and the fire below.  I will go over that in a future post or video on outdoor cooking, along with demonstrating the techniques on the I Spy Doom videos that I publish in the middle of the week to supplement this series.

Once your cooking and eating tasks are done for the day and you are esconced at a nice campsite, there's not a whole lot to worry about.  You're in a FOR PAY site and have the RIGHT to be there (paid to Da Goobermint), which the little ticket you post in your windshield says.  The local Gestapo do NOT patrol these places.  Actually even the camp host (old retired guys who stay all summer for free and collect parking fees) doesn't patrol them at night, so if you drive in after midnight and leave by around 6AM, you can park it for free.  I do this on the up and up though and pay my $15 when I stay overnight.  Once you start paying, this is not true Boondocking of course, but it is Semi-Boondocking as long as the cost for the nightly fee is less than what you would pay to rent a monthly apartment space in the neighborhood.  So if rents in the area are going for say $900/mo, that is $30/day.  If you can buy a campsite for $15/day, you are 50% Boondocking.  If you only take such For Pay site every other night, then you are up to 75% Boondocking.  For myself going out OTR. I would probably be in the 50% range for Boondocking most of the time. 4 nights in FREE spots, 2 nights in For Pay campsites and 1 night in a Bates Motel room to charge up all my batts and do my laundry, etc.  Assuming the campsites come in at $15/night and the Bates Motel room comes in at $60/night these days, that is $90/week or around $360/mo, approximately half my current rent.  If the budget demanded it, I could cut the Bates Motel room to once every second week.  There is a lot of flexibility here with this style of living. Rent is the NUMERO UNO fixed cost for the Min Wage Worker or an old guy living on Social Security. At Min Wage, Rent in most places is at least 50% of your fixed costs for living. If you can cut your rent down to 1/2 or 1/4 what it costs for a "normal" living arrangement, you can start to save some money.  The main reason I saved money during my trucking years OTR was not because I made so much money, although the income was pretty good prior to 9-11.  The reason was because I had no RENT!  I wasn't paying money to some Scumbag Rentier who owned properties he was renting out to poor people.  I lived basically free in my Freightliner.  Because that was a Bizness, all the fuel was tax deductible too!  In a Van or other rig arrangement not done as a bizness that is not true, but really your fuel costs are not that much right now to do it, maybe $4/day is my estimate, I'll see at the end of the week how much I spent on fuel.  Looks like around $30 right now. If/when the fuel costs go up, this price won't be accurate.  If/when the fuel becomes unavailable, the lifestyle won't be possible at all.  But that is not true RIGHT NOW.  So for today, I go OTR one more day, and enjoy a little bit of nature before it is gone at the End of the Age of Oil.

See you next week for Part 4 of Boondocking the Last Great Frontier, and WATCH YOUR MIRRORS!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Support the Diner
Search the Diner
Surveys & Podcasts


Renewable Energy


" As a daily reader of all of the doomsday blogs, e.g. the Diner, Nature Bats Last, Zerohedge, Scribbler, etc… I must say that I most look forward to your “off the microphone” rants. Your analysis, insights, and conclusions are always logical, well supported, and clearly articulated – a trifecta not frequently achieved."- Joe D
Global Diners

View Full Diner Stats

Global Population Stats

Enter a Country Name for full Population & Demographic Statistics

Lake Mead Watch


Inside the Diner

5 Ways Wasting Food Hurts the Environment (and 5 Ways You Can Fix It)It’s the secret shame of many Americans: The half-forgotten perishables in your refrigerator and pantry that are now turning pretty colors or giving off the fragrance of a corpse.Th...

Borealopelta, discovered accidentally by Canadian miners, is one of the most spectacular fossil finds of all time.In March 2011, a construction worker...

The Trump Administration is attacking the very bedrock of ocean – and environmental – protection in the United States… and we need to fight back.We won’t stand by while the Administration silently sacrifices crucial marine life, healthy ocean ecosyst...

Behavioural evidence suggests marine organisms are not just ingesting microplastics by accident but actively seeking them out as food[img]

Is Bill Cosby having a hard time finding new lawyers to defend him at his second trial on sexual assault charges in November?It looks that way given that his lead attorney, Brian McMonagle of Philadelphia, said earlier this month he would bow out of t...

Diner Twitter feed

Knarf’s Knewz

5 Ways Wasting Food Hurts the Environment (and 5 W [...]

Borealopelta, discovered accidentally by Canadian [...]

The Trump Administration is attacking the very bed [...]

Behavioural evidence suggests marine organisms are [...]

Is Bill Cosby having a hard time finding new lawye [...]

Diner Newz Feeds
  • Surly
  • Agelbert
  • Knarf
  • Golden Oxen
  • Frostbite Falls

Doomstead Diner Daily 8/15[html] [...]

Our fathers and grandfathers fought these people b [...]

Yes, saying both sides are responsible for a murde [...]

Trump And Charlottesville: Too Little, Too Late | [...]

5 Ways Wasting Food Hurts the Environment (and 5 W [...]

Borealopelta, discovered accidentally by Canadian [...]

The Trump Administration is attacking the very bed [...]

Behavioural evidence suggests marine organisms are [...]

Is Bill Cosby having a hard time finding new lawye [...]

Quote from: azozeo on August 14, 2017, 05:17:04 PM [...] [...]

Quote from: Golden Oxen on August 06, 2017, 04:57: [...]

There are unintelligible messages from Karpatok an [...]

Quote from: K-Dog on July 20, 2017, 01:36:05 PMOil [...]

Quote from: luciddreams on August 05, 2017, 06:29: [...]

Quote from: RE on August 05, 2017, 01:00:20 AMThe [...]

I have taken a lot of abuse on my opinion of what [...]

The database has been upchucking a lot of old post [...]

We got another treat to old posting from the Diner [...]

Alternate Perspectives
  • Two Ice Floes
  • Jumping Jack Flash
  • From Filmers to Farmers

This and That - Vol. 1 Lines in the Sand By Cognitive Dissonance   When I was younger I would get in [...]

We Are All Going To Die! By Cognitive Dissonance   This one is short and sweet folks. The subject al [...]

Have You a Positive Personal Practice? (Part Two) By Cognitive Dissonance   My apologies for how tar [...]

Have You a Positive Personal Practice? By Cognitive Dissonance   Those who dive deeply into unmaskin [...]

Dark Homes By Cognitive Dissonance   While we closed on the purchase of our mountain cabin in March [...]

Event Update For 2017-08-13 Th [...]

Event Update For 2017-08-12 Th [...]

Event Update For 2017-08-11 Th [...]

Event Update For 2017-08-10 Th [...]

Event Update For 2017-08-09 Th [...]

With a bit of ice on the floor depositers could almost ride the seeds right on in (photo by Global C [...]

Well, at least it was made sure that the Svalbard Global Seed Vault looks real pretty (photo courtes [...]

Now it's data that makes the world go round? It's comfortably accepted by many that what w [...]

I left off last week's post – "Money Doesn't Grow on Trees, Industrial-Scale Renewabl [...]

When you wish upon a star the Blue Fairy sends Tinker Bell, who plants a magic seed, which grows int [...]

Daily Doom Photo


  • Peak Surfer
  • SUN
  • Transition Voice

A Personal Forest"Every year on New Years Day I write down my annual electric meter reading, chart the milage of [...]

Is God Serious?"How ironic is it that having cornered some seemingly unique absence of reality, adherents cann [...]

The Gospel of Chief Seattle: Written For Television"No bright star hovers about the horizon. Sad-voiced winds moan in the distance. Some grim Neme [...]

Can Foodies Save the Planet?"Facing all of these grave threats, humans collectively have chosen to go insane."Having a [...]

Snowflake Summer"Why has academia descended into neo-fascist regimentation?"We didn’t give serious thought [...]

The folks at Windward have been doing great work at living sustainably for many years now.  Part of [...]

 The Daily SUN☼ Building a Better Tomorrow by Sustaining Universal Needs April 3, 2017 Powering Down [...]

Off the keyboard of Bob Montgomery Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666 Friend us on Facebook Publishe [...]

Visit SUN on Facebook Here [...]

In the echo-sphere of political punditry consensus forms rapidly, gels, and then, in short order…cal [...]

Discussions with figures from Noam Chomsky and Peter Senge to Thich Nhat Hanh and the Dalai Lama off [...]

Lefty Greenies have some laudable ideas. Why is it then that they don't bother to really build [...]

Democracy and politics would be messy business even if all participants were saints. But America doe [...]

A new book argues that, in order to survive climate change and peak oil, the global money economy ne [...]

Top Commentariats
  • Our Finite World
  • Economic Undertow

Lensman commented on Researchers have been underestimating the cost of wind and solar. in response t [...]

Name commented on Researchers have been underestimating the cost of wind and solar. in response to F [...]

Marcus T. Monihan : Yeah, but if enough PV panels are erected and connected to the grid, then at som [...]

I don’t have pets, but last night one of gods creations, a fly, flew into my apartment. I named him [...]

Look --- a refugee from DelusiSTAN has washed up on FW.... Gary ... here's a towel... and a bow [...]

Welcome to new day, added 's' to 'http' so everyone should feel more secure ... [...]

Just to be clear about all the different administrations mentioned; All the while not one thing that [...]

Clintons job was to keep the party going, BJs under the desk for all! Bushs job was to tell jokes an [...]

Hey Steve, why don't you look into becoming REs neighbor. After the great power down, you can l [...]

Think Vermont. All you need is a wood stove and an internet connection. I'll bet you have a lot [...]

RE Economics

Going Cashless

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Simplifying the Final Countdown

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Bond Market Collapse and the Banning of Cash

Off the microphone of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Do Central Bankers Recognize there is NO GROWTH?

Discuss this article @ the ECONOMICS TABLE inside the...

Singularity of the Dollar

Off the Keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Kurrency Kollapse: To Print or Not To Print?

Off the microphone of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...


Off the microphone of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Of Heat Sinks & Debt Sinks: A Thermodynamic View of Money

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Merry Doomy Christmas

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Peak Customers: The Final Liquidation Sale

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Collapse Fiction
Useful Links
Technical Journals

In this paper, we study the use of wheat land fallow production systems as a climate change adaptati [...]

Ambulance services are in operation around the world and yet, until recently, ambulance data has onl [...]

In this investigation, a numerical model expressing advection and diffusion effects is used to exami [...]

Follow on our