Torrential rainfall and flooding rivers, midwestern tornadoes, the likelihood of a busy hurricane season, the possibility of power shortages and resultant urban brown-outs, and the predicted increase in home turf terrorist attacks, and you might be wondering how to best handle all these threats to your well-being.
Lucky for us road warriors, we already possess one of the ingredients for self sufficiency during a crisis–our RVs. With our at-the-ready, fully stocked, mobile shelter we can be independent of supportive tethers like electricity, water, and communications when the infrastructure fails all around us. We have waste water and sewage storage tanks, generators and solar panels for electricity, a holding tank full of safe drinking water, a stocked pantry, a computer with wi-fi access to communicate and obtain updated news and information, and maybe even somewhere in our cavernous lockers a means of repelling zombies.
But though our survival-mobile is set and ready to go, it doesn’t answer the question of WHERE to go when the s**t hits the fan, the sky is falling, the waters rising, our cities darkened, and the enemy/aliens/terrorists are out there looking for us.
If heading for the boonies comes to mind, you’ve hit on a viable and sensible choice. If it’s floods you’re escaping, head for higher ground, a no-brainer. Tornadoes–head East or West out of the tornado zone. Hurricanes, head north, etc. But what do you do if you are not a fulltimer and you don’t want to just leave your home to the elements or to those who take advantage of the aftermath of a crisis.
This might call for urban boondocking (more like dry-camping, but I won’t quibble), where you can be close to and able to look after and protect your home–if you can’t for various reasons stay on your own property.Urban boondocking requires a different set of rules and skills than boondocking in the wilds of the desert or national forests, where you can be as expansive and obvious as you care to.
In urban boondocking, you:
- Need to avoid the watchful eyes in a residential neighborhood, those who view a strange vehicle appearing on their street for several days at a time with suspicion, a possible threat–especially when left over night.
- Assume a low profile so as to not arouse the suspicion of passing police patrols, that could order you to “move on”.
- And, what may appear contrary to these aims, is to not appear as if your RV is abandoned or not occupied, becoming a lure for break-in artists.
- Going in and out of your RV is OK, though don’t do anything that looks like you are living there, like putting out your slides, camp chairs, or barbecue. Don’t hang out outside your rig: either stay inside out of sight or leave.
- Keep the blinds closed to the curious, and to hide what would appear as someone living within. At night keep inside lights as low as possible, sound from a radio or TV at the lowest level.
- Try to stay out of residential neighborhoods, instead choosing industrial areas, where workers leave the area after 5:00 and are not threatened by somebody parked in an RV.
- Move around, not staying in the same location for more than a couple days at a time.
- Parking lots for stores open 24 hours are good bets, as are park-n-ride lots, transit (bus, train, or airport long-term) parking lots, warehouse areas, and boat marinas.
- There will be others out there doing what you are, so look for places they park without a problem, even move in close by where you both can keep an eye out for each other’s rig.
As you become more experienced with urban boondocking, you will pick up clues and tips of how to be unobtrusive and un-threatening. And of course, these skills can be valuable also when visiting and exploring a city for a few days when no campgrounds are available.
For more on the art of boondocking, check out my eBook, BOONDOCKING: Finding the Perfect Campsite on America’s Public Lands