Recently my wife and I were returning from our annual fall RV trip through the Southwest. Once we decide to depart for home (Seattle) from our desert environs we typically make the drive up I-5 in three days spending a couple nights “camping” for free along the route. This year I figured our first day’s drive towards home would take us as far as Kettleman City, CA. A quick online search revealed no WalMarts along this section of I-5, which is always the easiest choice for an overnight stop. Next I went to my favorite resource for finding spots to pull off for the evening. Those of you that follow my blog on a regular basis know that I utilize GoogleEarth frequently. Logging onto Google Earth and zooming in on the Kettleman City businesses clustered around the freeway off ramp, I spied a large vacant lot behind the fuel stations and fast food joints. Vehicle tracks were clearly visible letting me know access with the RV would not be a problem. Capturing the coordinates and entering them into our on board navigation we set off for Kettleman City. After a long day of driving we took exit 309 for Kettleman City as directed by our Garmin Nuvi. Taking the next right and expecting to see the large vacant lot which would serve as our home for the evening, we were greeted by concrete ecology blocks, a construction fence and half framed buildings!
Tired and anxious to get off the road for the evening, it was time for “Plan B” I thought to myself (even though I didn’t have a “Plan B”), after a quick survey of our surroundings and spying other RVs parked along the access road behind the fast food chains, we found our own place along the curb and settled in for the evening. It ended up being a fairly quiet place to spend the evening similar to the WalMart lot. The ice cream from the nearby MacDonald’s was an added bonus. With the sunrise over the Sacramento Valley we were treated to the next morning being priceless. Expecting one thing and finding another is just another adventure in RVing!
Note: When reviewing the location on GoogleEarth for this blog entry I found new satellite images have been posted that show the barriers and new construction.
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.
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