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A Scary Boondocking Story

Years ago, on our first RV trip, we found ourselves boondocking on BLM land in Arizona in a place that fits the description, “the middle of nowhere”. The story of what happened there is one I’ve often repeated since – whenever we’re asked if we've feared for our safety or had any bad experiences when camped so far from civilization.

The desert in this area has a solid rocky base, perfect to drive over. We’d chosen to camp about 200 feet in from a quiet paved road. There was not a building or other RV within view. 

It’s Sunday morning about 9 am. We are just up and getting dressed, when Randy looks out the window to see a big old beater of a car driving off the road and crossing the desert toward us. Picture this car – its vinyl top peeling and two large dark figures in the front seat. Randy summed it up in three words: “We’ve got trouble!”

But he’s a brave man, my Randy. He says, “Turn on the phone to see if we have a signal. I’ll step out to see what they want.”  I'm not even fully dressed. I find the phone but no cell signal (I’m not surprised). My heart is in my throat as I peek out to see what's happening. I can see Randy but his back is to me. The driver, a man, is talking to him but I can’t make out the conversation. I turn to reach for the canister of bear spray we carry for protection, regretting deeply that we never did get around to testing how to use it properly.

Suddenly I hear the car start up and begin to drive away. I rush to the door, to find Randy bent over. Oh no! What’s happened?

As he straightens up, I quickly realize he is was only bent over in laughter. And he hands me two gifts: the Watchtower and Awake magazines. Proof positive that followers of the Jehovah's Witness faith really are willing to go to the ends of the earth to spread The Word.

This really happened, folks. And it truly was the most frightening situation we’ve ever found ourselves in during our 18 years of boondocking. If you’re looking for real practical boondocking safety advice, I provide a very comprehensive list of considerations at https://www.frugal-rv-travel.com/Boondocking-Safety.html.

We’re always looking for member stories to publish on this blog. Whether you have a scary, funny, happy, or inspiring story to share, we’d love to hear from you. Please use the “contact us” link to send it along. We'll add a link to your personal blog or web site if you have one, and give you 3 months of free guest privilege credits for every story we publish. 

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Comments

  • geowalther

    geowalther   

    Really well written and congrats on being careful with your grammar. So, did you convert?
  • OurPlace

    OurPlace   

    Marianne: It's an entertaining story and well written. Unfortunately, as a professional personal security consultant, it makes me cringe to think that you weren't, and perhaps still aren't, better equipped and trained. Bear spray is ok but you really should know how to use it! And your husband is the one who should have had it in hand along with Plan B and C. Any form of self-defense is better than none but only if you are trained properly and have practiced putting it to use and have a survival mindset. People who think that nothing bad will ever happen to them simply because nothing ever has stand a higher chance in our current culture of being victims due to that state of denial. Don't live in fear, live in readiness. Happy trails.
    GoGetchaSomeNature

    GoGetchaSomeNature   

    Completely agree. It's a shame to see proof of how naive and irresponsible people are when camping in remote areas. I carry a gun when we dry camp in Arizona because it's legal. Whether you're an Arizona resident or not, whether you have a permit or not. That being said, in the event described above, I still would NOT have gone outside to meet ANYONE. People are also naive to think only bad guys drive junky cars, or that bad guys ONLY drive junky cars. If you're remote camping and someone you don't know pulls up in a new Mercedes, it doesn't mean they're OK. If they are unknown, they are unknown. Even though I'm armed, if a vehicle pulls up outside and we're remote camping and all alone, our door stays locked and we communicate through a window, where we can see them, but they can't see us. My gun stays in hand, and the door stays locked until we're convinced either needs to change. Trusting strangers is great, but don't make yourself a victim by not taking any precautions.
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