That is what they call it now – camping off the grid. No water or electrical services available.

It might be in a state or provincial park, or in a Walmart or Cracker Barrel parking lot (if you have an RV.)

In the 1970s we used to go off grid in the Vermont state parks, Their pristine beauty and great locations made up for the lack of services. They had decent washroom and shower facilities but the campsites were rustic. A lot of folks used tents so we were grateful for the off the ground comfort of our Serro Scotty trailer. It would be hugely different today.

Back then: It was like being in a tent on wheels. The only electric lights we had were 12V powered from the battery in our car. The propane tank gave us cooking and limited refrigeration facilities. We had a furnace if it got really cold. No A/C obviously. Generally you went to bed when it got dark, although we had a Coleman lantern for outside use in a dining tent. Mostly all that did was attract bugs. We had no indoor plumbing, although we finally got a small chemical toilet for night-time emergencies.

Today: Judging from what a new Class B coach would be like, boondocking seems more like staying in a luxury hotel. You have your own wet bathroom with shower and toilet. The power supply comes from large Lithium batteries which run an inverter for 120V or 12V as needed. The batteries can be charged by the alternator in the coach’s motor, by a separate generator, or even solar panels. A/C is standard as well as heating. Fridges can run off propane or 12V. You can have an electric induction stove, a microwave, a flat-screen TV. Everything is computer-controlled from a touch panel.

Mind you, it will cost a pretty penny for all these modern conveniences. Even after inflation is taken into account, you would pay 5-7 times as much for a Class B motorhome than you would for a simple travel trailer like our 1970s Scotty. In fact, such simplicity isn’t really available in new travel trailers either. A typical 20-foot travel trailer in 2020 would cost twice what our old Scotty did (in today’s currency.) For that extra you’d likely get A/C, furnace, microwave, TV and a washroom of some sort. You’d need to provide a beefy tow vehicle as well – nobody’s hauling a travel trailer today without a big SUV or pickup truck.

Back in 1976 we used to drop off the trailer, set it up and then explore Burlington with our car. We took a few longer trips but it was mostly a point to point thing.

I think that wouldn’t be the case with a Class B since you’d need to drive your camper into the city. Probably we would just stay at the campground unless we went with tow vehicle – travel trailer. That said a Class B would be great for travel vacations. All self-contained, short wheelbase, easy to handle in hilly country. All it would take would be $$$.

But let’s face it folks. Life has passed me by when it comes to any sort of camping or RV travel. In fact, there’s no sort of travel I can do now. I don’t want to have a park model trailer parked at a campground somewhere in rural Ontario – I already live in cottage country, and I have A/C and washroom facilities right at hand.

Just let this COVID nonsense be over, and then point me to the nearest Holiday Inn.

Published by Ray MacDonald

Ray MacDonald is a retired food scientist who lives in Almonte, ON.
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