Three years ago today we officially began living on board our new home on wheels: Fendy, a 2003 Fleetwood Bounder. We had just sold our house in the awesome Friendly neighborhood of Eugene, Oregon. We said farewell to our neighbors, had a going away party with friends, and wrapped up all those pesky loose ends.
Archive of posts from 2019
What comes to mind when you think of Death Valley National Park: scorching heat? An endless expanse of dry brown earth? Depending on when you visit, it can definitely be insanely hot, but endless brown it is not! When we visited in late February we were stunned by the colorful badlands, diverse landscapes, and the beautiful weather! It’s truly a photographer’s paradise and we want to share with you some of absolute best places to see.
There’s just something so striking about the patterns that form in dry cracked earth – it’s pretty dang photogenic. That’s exactly what you’ll find here at Silurian Dry Lake Bed, just north of Baker, California. Be aware though, you will also find incredibly strong winds – so much so that we kept both our slides in the entire time and had to park in a way that shielded our RV door because otherwise the wind was ripping it out of our hands!
After spending a couple weeks in the Anza Borrego Desert State Park we were excited to get back over to the coast – this time to meet-up with my sister and our parents! We booked a stay at Lilac Oaks RV Park in Valley Center and had about a twenty minute drive each day to where they were all staying in Escondido. We hosted my parents for a couple nights in the RV which is always fun but sadly we had nothing but cold and rain and so we spent most of the time just hanging out and working on small projects in the rig.
As you might know, Brad and I live and travel full-time in our motorhome, visiting and photographing as many beautiful places as we can. Oregon is one of those states that is bursting with beauty and we find ourselves passing through every year. Even though we’ve explored a lot within the state, we’re always adding new places to the travel list and are always trying to see new waterfalls – there’s over two hundred! Be aware that the rainy season can be from October through May, but with the right attitude (and outdoor gear) the misty fog, rain showers, and sun bursts just add to the dramatic beauty of the landscape.
It was probably in December when my sister shared with me that a super bloom was expected in the California deserts this spring. I didn’t really know if our schedule would line up but it certainly stayed in the back of my mind. The heart of the super bloom was predicted for late February/early March and unfortunately we ended up having plans and reservations elsewhere during that time frame. We were however able to visit the Anza Borrego desert in early February to witness what was called the first pulse of the super bloom. The base camp for our stay near Borrego Springs was a popular free camping area called Rockhouse Trail Road.
The Anza Borrego Desert State Park in southeastern California is a dramatic desert terrain full of hiking, camping, badlands, slot canyons, and off-roading trails. Star-gazing is top notch and if it’s been a wet winter you just might catch the desert in bloom in the early springtime. One of our favorite free campsites is the Carrizo Badlands Overlook at the very southern end of the state park.
We had such a glorious stay last week in Cardiff by the Sea but with a maximum 7 day stay allowed at San Elijo State Beach it was time to change campgrounds. Luckily we only had to move just a few miles up the coast for a stay at the lovely South Carlsbad State Beach Campground. So similar to San Elijo yet oh so different – it’s just a completely different vibe. The Carlsbad campground was just more quiet, more relaxed, and they had a lot more available campsites. We’re not quite sure why so many more people gravitate towards San Elijo but we’ve got some guesses: it connects to a dog friendly beach, there are several great surfing spots nearby, and it’s a short walk to some nice shopping and groceries. Up in Carlsbad you aren’t nearly as close to the city and the beaches maybe aren’t quite as inviting, but it is equally as beautiful and since it wasn’t fully booked we had several days with an open view of the ocean, even from our ‘back row’ campsite!
As much as we love to boondock in the middle of nowhere, we still find ourselves drawn to certain destinations and we’re definitely willing to spend a little cash to be there. Whenever possible, our favorite option is to stay in state park campgrounds – there’s usually plenty of natural beauty, you’ll typically find much better rates than private RV parks, they are often close to bike paths, and when you’re along the California coast it’s just one of the best ways to be able to stay beachfront. We lived in North San Diego County for two years before we hit the road and we still love what the area has to offer: that laid back surf town vibe, beautiful beaches, healthy restaurants, great breweries and so much recreation.
Community. It’s something that nearly every person craves and you might think that moving into an RV and hitting the road sounds like a lonely endeavor – well, like many things in life, it will be what you make it to be. There are so many options for meeting other travelers: you might meet people at your campground or your neighbors out in the boondocks or you can go straight to the source and join an RVing group.
I’m not sure when I first saw photos of this camping area on social media but I immediately added it to my list of places we should visit. After a short stay in Tempe, we needed to stick around the area but we were ready to get back out boondocking and it was a great time to check out this spot. Brad discovered that this is one of the highest rated boondocking sites in Arizona on our favorite camp-finding app: Campendium, so we were really looking forward to checking it out.
We hadn’t quite figured out where we were going to be for Christmas this year but when Brad mentioned a free boondocking spot on the Colorado River I was quick to sign on. This spot is just a few miles from the Cibola National Wildlife Refuge, on the California/Arizona border.
Sometimes you just need a place to stay the night and we’ll always choose BLM land over a rest area or truck stop – those can be so noisy with semis coming and going. Out West, BLM land is plentiful and this spot was actually quite scenic, even though we were barely off the highway. One downside to this spot was all the trash around the site. There was a mattress and old tires, lots of broken glass. We collected the smaller items that we could in an effort to leave the site better than we found it – an important way we can help ensure that these lands stay available for us all to enjoy!
It surprised us to learn that the Desert National Wildlife Refuge – just about 30 minutes north of Las Vegas, Nevada – is the largest wildlife refuge outside of Alaska, at 1.6 million acres! Much of this is inaccessible of course but we enjoyed getting our ‘new’ Nissan Xterra, Frida, out for some 4x4ing to take in the sites. You don’t have to go too far down Mormon Well Rd. to reach the Yucca Forest, which is super impressive, but the road is definitely rocky and you’ll want a high clearance vehicle to do it.
As you might know from our previous St. George post, Brad had gotten our new car all set up to be towed behind the motorhome…except that when we went to hook up and leave, none of the lights were working on the car. This meant another week in town so he could troubleshoot the problem but it also meant we got to spend a little more time with family.