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 with category 'Free Camping'
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!
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.
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.
Our Thanksgiving plans had us on a northward trajectory and we weren’t quite sure where to head after the Phoenix area. Watson Lake in Prescott is on our list as a great kayaking destination so that was in the running but ultimately we decided we should go there in warmer weather. We had heard great things about Lake Havasu and the reviews for camping at Craggy Wash BLM were pretty positive so we decided to check it out for ourselves.
Let me just say, Fall is an absolutely spectacular time to visit Arizona: the temperatures are ideal, crowds have thinned at popular swimming spots, and the occasional rain creates more green spaces and flowering plants – we saw grass growing in the desert! After our amazing week at Indian Bread Rocks we continued northward and spent a week in Scottsdale so that Brad could put in some face-time at the office. His employer is based there and with our visit being in late October it was a super convenient place to have our absentee ballots sent so that we could vote in the Midterm elections.
So we actually first learned of this spot from fellow RVers Drivin & Vibin. It was probably a year ago that we watched a video of their favorite free campsites and Indian Bread Rocks was on there. I added it to our adventure list back then, not knowing when we’d fit it into our travels, but sure enough as we were leaving Albuqurque after the Balloon Fiesta this year, we saw that it was the perfect time to visit this area.