About us

Florence Lake in the Sierras

Our combined knowledge of dispersed camping is here to make your personal camping experience richer and more fun. Together, our camping has ranged from sleeping in a 2 man tent while backpacking in the Sierras, to the bed of a 4×4 pickup truck, to the luxury of a truck camper.

Exploring the backcountry in our 4 wheel drive truck is our favorite mode of reaching remote areas to boondock. We don’t find camping in a developed campground, parked next to a huge RV with its generator growling, as our style of escape. If dispersed camping in the wilderness is more to your liking, then we have lots of info here to help you plan your next camp out so you can “know before you go.”

Camping from the desert to the Pacific coast

Back roads along the rugged California coastline are near and dear as they afford breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and a milder climate. Camping along the coastline is beautiful year-round, whereas camping in the desert is most enjoyed in the cooler months – November through April.

We love the desert, which is not where the majority of folks desire to camp – so perhaps you are in the minority with us and understand the call of the desert with its varied geology, dark starry nights, blessed quiet and surprising oases (yep, the plural for oasis). Discovering old mining camps with its rowdy history is always a treat, as Pres likes to figure out how the antique boilers and stamp mills operated.

“There is something infectious about the magic of the desert. Some are immune to it, but there are others who have no resistance to the subtle virus and who must spend the rest of their lives dreaming of the incredible sweep of the dunes, of golden mesas with purple shadows and tremendous stars appearing at dusk from a turquoise sky. Once infected, there is nothing one can do but strive to return again and again.” – H. Wormington

The Sierra Nevada mountains offer a wide range of landscapes from dense forests, to bare granite peaks, cold rivers, and serene lakes. We mainly camp there after the snow has melted. Hiking, fishing, kayaking and checking out backroads are favorite activities. We share these varied places of adventure with you, as recorded here at our online basecamp.

Our journey as campers

Backpacking the John Muir Trail
Janice backpacking in her younger days

Together we have over 107 years of camping experience that forms the foundation of this blog. That may make us “old” to some of you, but you get to benefit from the experience that comes as a result of our collective years. Pres started backpacking at 5 years old, pretending to pour “gas” in his boots when he became tired and “out of gas” from hiking.

I, Janice was not raised as a camper, though I grew up loving the outdoors, riding horses or building my own treehouse. My introduction to camping began when a handsome young man invited me to a college group’s rock climbing trip in Joshua Tree National Park.

After asking me to marry him, our first vacations were backpacking in the Sierra Nevada mountains, usually along the John Muir Trail. As our family grew with three children we tent camped and hiked with them, later introducing them to backpacking as they got older.

After our kids were grown we discovered sleeping on an air mattress inside a camper shell on the back of our truck as more comfortable and did this for nearly 20 years. Most recently, we have purchased a truck-mounted camper and are loving the luxury it affords as we plan to travel across the U.S.A.

Fixing equipment and driving 4x4s

I, Pres grew up backpacking, fly fishing and skiing with my father. My Dad grew up in the construction camps for building a chain of lakes in the Sierra

4×4 road in Big Sur

Nevada mountains, while my Grandfather worked as the paymaster for the Southern California Edison Company. My Dad’s love of the outdoors followed in me as a young kid.

My experiences on my cousin’s cattle ranch – where I worked summers and throughout the year while in school – taught me the operation and maintenance of 4X4 vehicles from ¼ ton hunting Jeeps to 10-ton horse/cattle trucks.

Later, I got my Class A (Class “1” then), license and drove tankers for a while. My job in earlier years as an operating foreman of a 100,000-acre cattle ranch seeded my love of off-road driving. This ranch was in the Diablo Range of Merced County, California and afforded many challenges for a burgeoning 4X4er.

I have always been in the installation/maintenance/repair field as I have a love and respect for equipment of all types. I retired as Plant Manager for the California Men’s Colony having oversight of all trades, including water treatment and wastewater treatment plants.

My love of equipment transfers to our camping experiences of late and keeps me busy either maintaining or upgrading for our adventures. Of course, physical issues crop up as we get older, but that, I have seen, is another opportunity to be creative in modifying the way we do and think about things.

For the love of creation

Lake Sabrina in the Sierra Nevadas

The outdoors from ocean to mountains is what many of us claim as a source of energy, solace, and mystery. We love to share experiences and to learn from others as we all have different perspectives that need a broader scope.

As always in life, we have faced many challenges, some of them directly due to our love of the outdoors. The miracle of our rescue from drowning in the Kern River directly influenced Janice’s desire to write and thus the birth of this blog.

Our journey as campers has been an evolution and we desire to continue camping as long as we are physically able. Our heart is to share our love of camping with baby boomers as well as the newest generation of campers who utilize the latest technology.

The back roads provide an escape from daily life to renew the soul with God’s creation. The wilderness gives us the perspective to “be still” and a thrill in our heart for the awe of its beauty. We will be sharing adventures along with lessons learned, in hopes that you will be encouraged to discover “making trax” of your own.

Hilarious book giveaway!

Book by Patrick McManus

I laughed until I cried, reading these witty tales of outdoor misadventures.

Enter my drawing to win this book, by simply subscribing to my FREE camping goodies newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Just leave a comment on any of my blog posts for your chance to win.

Drawing held June 2nd. The winner will be notified via email.

The winning copy will be mailed to any address in the U.S.A.  For out of country, I will need to charge postage for media mail.

Or, order and read yours now! Available on Kindle too.

Don’t know where to find those special sweet spots in the back country away from noisy traffic and campgrounds?

I’ve researched and put together a FREE list of my favorite apps and map links to make your next camp out the remote retreat your wild heart longs for.

I want to find
my perfect campsite!