This was our first time boondocking or dry camping and it did not disappoint! If you saw our last post about Encore Pine Island RV Resort (laugh), you know why we took off to dry camp. Here’s the video about leaving that campsite for this one again:

In Florida you can find free camping in the Florida Water Management Districts. The idea originally came from these awesome people and then we figured out the rest of the details about specific places to camp for ourselves. The various WMD sites are not consistent and there is a different reservation process (or none) depending on the district. Based on where we were and where we wanted to go, we chose the Southwest district and specifically the KICCO recreation site.

The intimidating part of this process was trusting it the first time. We made a reservation for the dates we wanted and got a confirmation and a document to print. It had some basic common-sense campground rules, a lock combination for a gate at the property, and that was about it. We were basically in suspense until we got to the general area, found the right road, reached a gate, and found that the combination we were given actually worked! From there it was a normal camping experience. Well, except for the herds of cattle.

road to the campsite

Driving towards the campsite: we have learned to unhook our Element and use it to scout ahead of the motorhome!

 

Notes on Boondocking

Boondocking itself was easy for the amount of time we were trying it: 4 days. Our Bounder has plenty of capacity for fresh water, and our black tank takes over a week of not-even-trying-to-be-careful usage before it fills. While we can fill our gray tank in a few quick days when we aren’t being careful, we also found that we can stretch it out quite a bit. A few items we’d added to the Bounder in advance proved to really help with our water usage:

  • Replacement faucet aerators that restrict flow to 0.5 gallons per minute
  • An Oxygenics shower head that flows half the amount of water our original shower head did
  • A shut-off valve for the shower head line, so we can leave the water at a good temperature and just cut the flow while soaping up
  • A collapsible tub that serves multiple purposes: to catch the initial shower water that runs cold (which we usually put in the dogs’ water bowl) and to put in the sink to collect dish washing water to throw outside rather than down our drain into the gray tank

The rest of the boondocking situation was a matter of power management, which we mostly covered in our earlier post about batteries. One sentence summary: whenever our batteries got low, we turned our generator on for about an hour until the charger indicated the batteries were full again.

Back to KICCO!

Pros

  • The price is right
  • Camping with literally nobody around is about as peaceful as it gets
  • Amazing night sky views
  • Plenty of space to stretch out, and hiking trails nearby
  • Cattle roaming freely in the same space as you

Cons

  • Cattle roaming freely in the same space as you
  • Poop from said cattle gathered all around
  • The larger RV-friendly campsite is in a totally cleared space, so no tree shade…could be awesome if we had solar but in our case it just made the RV hot while the sun was up

Area

The strangest part of the KICCO experience involves realizing what the land is: old ranch property that somehow made it into the hands of the state. Other nearby ranchland, however, remained private: the Westgate River Ranch and Resort is the adjacent property…in fact you have to drive down what looks like their entrance road and under an arch with their name on it in order to make it to KICCO Grade Road and continue towards where the gate into the WMD land is. And it’s a strange experience: the ranch resort is highly developed and looks like a pricey way to camp and explore the old Florida ranching lifestyle…while just down the road is totally free camping that most of the people who stay at the resort either don’t know about or wouldn’t trust trying. While we were really curious to know what it would be like to stay in one of their Luxe Teepees, we were happy with our option.

boondocking with cattle

Our buddies for the week

 

prepping a fire

Prepping a fire with an audience of cows watching