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Boondocking on the Hard Side


Maybe I was just a little premature when I decided to set up camp here outside Calvert,TX prior to installing any amenities whatsoever.

  • No Water
  • No Septic
  • No Electric
  • No Road

So right off the bat, I have problems with the battery bank which took a day to figure out.  The first three items on the list are a known boondocking quantity which I have learned to deal with in one fashion or another over the years. The last one – No Road – is more of an unknown.  In the past, I have dealt with marginal forest roads, rough ass gravel roads and roads with overhanging branches that required a chain sawing before I could pass.  There was also that one occasion when I had to tow the Old Girl into place behind a D6 dozer.

I did have a road issue here — the culverts were installed during a drought period when someone had a brain fart about the amount of water that could roll down this little creek.

The washed out crossing

Installing a culvert is just a little more than sticking a pipe in the ground and covering it up with dirt. If the pipe diameter is too small, the water is going to back up. A simple fact of nature is that water will always seek the lowest level. So if you are a savvy culvert installer, you ascertain that if the water backs up, it needs to back up above the pipe and back along the waterway from where it came. However, if you are a dumbass culvert installer of epic proportions, you have a point in your roadway that is lower than the waterway back up area. Guess where the water is going to go when it backs up? (Resigned Sigh)

Early Friday AM a romping, stomping cold front blew through here.  Daylight showed outside conditions in a steady downpour to be 38 degrees with a wind out of the north at 16mph.  The dog water bucket/official rain gauge showed 2″ thus far.  A glance down the road showed  me  the

Water flowing across the road with the Suburban safe on hard ground

negligent culvert install was biting me in the butt big time!

There was water running across the road!  I was barely awake and I was having to contend with another crisis.   My reaction was to get the Suburban across to hard ground before the water carved out a chasm.   I made it almost across before the tire grabbing goo mud stopped me.  I was directing several choruses of ” You suck, you suck, YOU SUCK!” toward the nefarious culvert installer from back in the day as I shoved the Suburban down into 4LO.  My day would quickly go from marginal bad to pure crap if I got stuck in the middle of a rushing creek during a torrential downpour.

My brother always says ” You have to have the right equipment for the job.”  and one of the reasons I have a gas guzzling Suburban behemoth is because of situations just like this.  The beast grunted, squatted down on the suspension a bit and pulled on through to the hard ground.

I waded back across the creek , shaking my head and wondering what the rest of the day had in store for me.  Maybe I should be more forgiving and tolerant but I find it hard to suffer a fool.

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2 comments to Boondocking on the Hard Side

  • Isn’t it bizarre how most people focus only on the immidiate job at hand and don’t look ahead. It’s like that not only in construction.

    Ha, I would have been stuck in that mess. The only reason I can even park close to my door is that it’s 19 degrees and the mud has turned into concrete.

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  • Almost makes you want a winch some days… but there wouldn’t be anything to hook it to when you finally do get stuck. Glad your river crossing worked out better than the night we sank 7 tons of truck+camper to the frame in mud!

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