I figured this would be a good day to finalize my mini-vacation, wrap up the story, put it behind me and get back to what's happening in real time.
There was a lot of good things about my mini-vacation which can be summed up by saying I had a great time, and can't wait to take another one.
The people I met along the way were interesting and great company. The camper worked as well as could be expected considering the limitations of what it is. one of my biggest complaints is putting the top down and tucking in the canvas sidewalls which is a time-consuming pain in the butt. Now it's not nearly as bad as rolling up a wet tent and putting it in its storage sack, but it is annoying and I wish there was a better way.
The solar system did not live up to my expectations, and one night I even ran out of electricity. I haven't figured out what the problem is yet. It could be the solar system and battery bank are too small to run my laptops. Or there wasn't enough sun, as there was some cloudy days. But whatever it is it didn't live up to my hopes and will require further investigation.
I'm reconsidering if I actually need my spare fuel tank that sits in the bed of the truck. Due to the ease of being able to get into any tiny little gas station during my travels, and the considerably better fuel mileage that I get while carrying the Bronco, the chances of running out of fuel are far less than while dragging the Arctic Fox behind me.
Being able to turn down a dirt road to some primitive boondocking site without the fear of coming to a one lane dead end is the best thing about the little Bronco. I can drive around the mountains without the fear of getting myself into a situation that I can't get out of and that's worth an awful lot to me.
So all in all, there's a few things that need fixing, a few that need adjusting, and a few that need to be figured out, but nothing that would prevent me from taking another trip. The limited electricity is the most debilitating thing at the moment so that will get most of my attention. It might mean more solar panels and or batteries, or it might be as simple as a lifestyle adjustment but at the moment it's a mystery.
I have found that for me electricity is the key to successful boondocking. a lot of the time when I'm talking to someone about boondocking, and they have tried it and didn't like it, their complaint often comes down to a lack of comfort brought on by a limited amount of electricity. If your DC power supply fails, or is extremely limited, your furnace doesn't work, your refrigerator doesn't work, your fans don't work, in other words it gets very uncomfortable very quick and the only solution is a hasty retreat to an RV Park where you can plug in and make the pain go away.... For a few dollars of course.
That makes sense to me in the humid south, but in the dry West I think it just requires a couple more solar panels and a battery or two to bring on the comfort so that may be what I end up doing.
between this trip and my shakedown cruise I believe I have shown that a place to boondock for the night can still be found even during one of the most crowded tourist seasons I think I've ever seen in Colorado. I always found a safe place to boondock, and I never had to use an RV Park. one of the reasons it works for me is, I'm not picky. I can sleep in a truck stop, I can sleep in a Walmart parking lot, I can sleep in the woods out in the middle of nowhere, none of that bothers me as long as I feel safe, and I won't stay any place that I don't feel safe.
Old train station,Canyon City Colorado
A doe walking down the sidewalk, downtown Canyon city Colorado.
the Arkansas River, somewhere between Salida and Canyon city