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Famous "Go Anywhere" Traveler Caught in Boondocking Scandal

I think I had honored my guest, Glenn of, a week before he showed up in Gunnison, CO. The bolts that hold the travel trailer to its frame were loosening -- and credit that vital discovery to my friend Mark (Box Canyon Blog). Since one of those bolts was under the shower stall, it was necessary to remove the shower stall. But hell, why not just get rid of it! You can see I was already under the influence of Glenn's philosophical penumbra, despite him still being a couple hundred miles away.

What horrors would be revealed by removing the shower stall? Tools, money, or cellphones, that were lost years ago? A rodent nest and one pissed-off mama rodent baring her teeth at me? How about ghastly water damage and mildew?

Oddly enough I found nothing except the bolt that needed to be replaced. It was no small miracle that a plastic tub of just the right size was found at a well-known big box retail store. Then I rigged up a cloth shower curtain that hangs into the plastic tub. The flexible plumbing stayed the same. After taking a standard navy shower, I lift the plastic tub out of there and dump the dirty water into a sink.

This can't be claimed as a huge success at downsizing, but it will be, eventually. That plastic tub could be temporarily laid down on the floor in front of the kitchen sink. Thus you could take a nice navy shower without allocating space for a permanent shower stall. (I also got rid of several feet of shower drain plumbing which used to chop up storage space under the bed.)

Very well then, I had honored my visitor where it counts: with action rather than words. But would I learn that much from his famous Vanagon? He considers it "self-contained," but I don't. In fact I wish I had a nickel for every time I got excited about a smaller RV, only to see the bubble burst when they finally admitted that there was no toilet or holding tank; then they give the standard van-camper spiel about sponge-baths, baby wipes, or paying $5 to take a shower at the city swimming pool.

To make it even more challenging, Glenn is basically an urban boondocker. That is an activity I deign to, occasionally, when the back-country is pure mud. Still, if 10% of what he did to his customized and ingenious rig was useful to me, then he is worth learning from.

He got into town and we had a marathon BS session at the coffee shop. Because of the rain and mud we both went off in the evening and found our own urban boondocking sites. My site was known to me; I got a great night's sleep there, and that is no small miracle in any town or city. 

In the morning I had many hours to kill before the danged City Slicker would wake up. So I did some errands. While driving around I wondered what sort of place he had found last night.  After hearing him boast of  the "go almost anywhere" qualities of his rig, it was easy to imagine him finding a rare and exotic niche; perhaps it would be representative of an unknown category of places! I was really curious.

Well, as long as the engine was warm I might as well drop in at a certain well-known big-box retailer and do some routine errands. I was not emotionally and philosophically prepared for what I found:

Camp anywhere, go anywhere indeed! Another bubble burst. Still, it was his first night in town, and he soon redeemed himself.

The best way to benefit from Glenn's example is pull out of of the muck of phony pragmatism; ignore dissimilarities of his camping style and yours; and look for the larger significance of his project.

1. He did a rare thing in tackling a ball-buster of a project, instead of the mainstream RV approach of comfort and security worship. These are the very things that turn the "RV Adventure" into a non-adventure.

2. His project would be called an "existence theorem" in mathematics class. Metaphorical existence theorems are very important in the real world. Some people won't try a difficult project until somebody else has demonstrated it to be feasible.


Tesaje said…
I'm with you, I want to have the shower capability as when I'm hot and sweaty, nothing but a water shower actually gets me feeling clean. Navy shower is fine, but I want it to be a shower. I have that in my van along with all the other accoutrements of comfortable RV things. What I don't have is a lot of empty space. Glenn's version is a little too streamlined for me if I have a choice. But I do admire his get it done attitude.

The go anywhere van can do Walmart just fine ... Walmart is somewhere. ;-)
Walmart is Nowheres-ville, camping-wise. (grin)
Tesaje said…
True. But it will do when all you need is a place to park for the night. But I agree, it deserves a bit of ribbing.
Anonymous said…
We're at Blue Mesa. I hope to drive the back country north of Crested Butte and Gothic....up to Emerald Lake. Has there been a lot of ran in the area? Muddy back roads?
We recently had some battles with critters trying to nest. Thank goodness we caught'm hurry!
Yes there has been heavy rain the last few days. Last night we had one inch, and I was camped in the arid sagebrush country! Your guess is as good as mine about how localized that was.
Tesaje, I too admire his tenacity and "aim high" attitude. His end result doesn't fit my style of camping, but so what? It's the guts that matters.
Ms. Minimal said…
Awww.. man, busting on Glenn like that... :) Congrats on downsizing the shower... less is more.

Ms. Minimal
Bon vivant said…
I understand your comment. I questioned Glenn's use of 'stealth' years ago when he installed close fitting curtains in his Chinook and received no reply, AFAIK. Stealth, IMOH, is sleeping under their noses w/o them smelling you. This could NOT be accomplished with limo tinted Vanagon windows. At least anywhere Vanagons are recognized for the culture they often represent. I use baby wipes at times and appreciate them. I have a "holding tank" and the most expensive RV toilet one can install. But, if I had a Westy I'd just use a canister type and it'd do me fine. I've slept at a Walmart once in 4 years and that was unplanned. I do use gyms when I'm urban and they fit me fine since I see little point in using my water and shower when I need a workout anyway. I think Glenn did a very fine job on his Vanagon and know why he stated he'd not do it again because I've BTDT. That said, I can spot a stealth van a block away, so I'm sure I've been clocked a few times despite hiding all the telltale signs.
Hey what about giving Mr. & Mrs. Q a shout out for their parking spot
Work shop & support during the last 6 months