For years I have been touting the benefits of Google Earth. Through the years I have used it to:
- Find boondocking campsites
- View RV parks and campgrounds in advance to see how they are laid out, look at the access and if there are rail lines nearby.
- Use it to find easy-to-access fuel stations in advance
- Find parking garages my truck can access with the ATV and motorcycle in the bed
- Locate car washes tall enough to accept my travel trailer
- Determine the true length of a campsite
- Discover little-known attractions along my route
- Find shady places to pull off the road for a break
- Plot routes to old mining camps, slot canyons, and other out-of-the-way locations
In many places the resolution has become so good, I can count the boards that make up the roof of a building in an old ghost town or mining camp, see tire tracks that confirm vehicle access to boondocking sites, gates on dirt roads, and best of all—manmade rock fire rings confirming where others have camped before.
And in most cases, the old adage of “a photo is worth a thousand words” could not ring truer.
However, there is another old saying that “looks can be deceiving” which came to mind recently when I pulled into a boondocking campsite that is frequented by equestrian enthusiasts.
What I thought would be a fire ring (via Google Earth satellite imagery) was actually a circle of horse apples instead! Evidently, this is a popular spot for horses to stand around and make deposits.
To my wife, “Remind me to clean my glasses next time I look for a boondocking site containing a fire ring.”
Seeing round mounds of horse manure from space, just another adventure in RVing!
Have you ever had a similar experience where reality failed to match expectations? Please share in the comments.
See also: Why You Can’t Always Trust Using Street View Online
Dave Helgeson’s many roles in the RV industry started before he even had a driver’s license. His grandparents and father owned an RV dealership before the term “RV” had been coined, and Dave played a pivotal role in nearly every position of an RV dealership. He and his wife Cheri launched their own RV dealership in the Pacific Northwest. The duo also spent 29 years overseeing regional RV shows. Dave has also served as President of a local chapter of the Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), worked on the board of advisors for the RV Technician Program of a local technical college, and served as a board member of the Manufactured Home and RV Association. Dave’s reputation earned him the title of “The foremost expert on boondocking,” bestowed by RV industry icon, the late Gary Bunzer (The RV Doctor). When he’s not out boondocking, you’ll find Dave in the spotlight at RV shows across the country, giving seminars about all things RVing. He and Cheri currently roam in their fifth travel trailer, with Dave doing all the service, repair and modifications to his own unit.
Welcome to the wonderful world of photographic interpretation! As a former career military photo interpreter I got a good laugh over this one. I could tell you stories, but then… you know the rest.