Desert Camping has its good points and bad points. This is our first time doing this kind of remote wilderness camping in the desert. We love it! The scenery is absolutely amazing, specifically the sunsets and sunrises. The parts we don’t live are the cold and windy nights and mornings and the dust!! Dust everywhere!! The van is covered inside and out with dust. Oh and the thorns. So many thorns. Always have to be careful where you are stepping. We haven’t seen any snakes or scorpions or tarantulas yet but there are lots and lots of holes in the desert and who knows who is living down these holes. Again, it’s important to watch where you step. The wind also forces me to cook inside the van which really wasn’t part of the plan, however it does heat it up a little which is nice.
December 3. Drove a short distance. Maybe 45 minutes to another Passport America Rv Park. This one was great. We were in desperate need of showers and laundry and this place had both plus a clubhouse, pool, hot tub and sports complex. We had a nice relaxing day and night.
December 4. Heading up north of Phoenix today to go to West Marine. Greg needs a new fuse and new wire for where the batteries attach to the solar coming in. Every time we hook up the extra 100 watt solar panel, that fuse gets super hot so Greg thinks it’s because of the two sizes of wire that we have going in and out. So we will look into that today and then probably check out a casino on that area.
Oh Boy. Phoenix was a disaster!! The traffic was horrendous and they didn’t have our fuse or wires. And on top of that they have a real homeless problem which meant so many rules about where we can spend the night. We got a knock on the window from the casino security guard informing us that we could not park there. Which makes no sense since the casino is open 24 hours and we had been in and out of it spending money at least 5 times. So we had to batten down the hatches and be on our way. There was a LOVES travel stop that truckers stay at so we headed there. It was just a 5 minute drive. Once we got there we noticed a ton of “No overnight parking” signs. So strange for a LOVES but like I said, they are trying to get a handle on the amount of people wandering around that area causing trouble. So off we went another 40 minute drive to a rest stop on I-10. Beautiful rest stop with picnic tables and a bunch of other VanDwellers and car sleepers also. We set up the beds for the night and had a nice restful sleep and an uneventful morning.
We decided from here on out to steer clear of the big cities and stick with the remote locations that we love. So today, December 5, we are heading to Roosevelt Lake with a stop first to check out some ruins on the way. Another suggestion from a fellow full time RVer.
The Casa Grande Ruins was built around 1350 by the ancestral people of the Sonora desert. It was definitely worth the stop. And it’s also a National Park Monument which I love.
We decided to head over to Roosevelt Lake, Arizona. Had to go up and over a few mountain passes which is usually a little unnerving. But the views were amazing and it was great to see a body of water again. We got there late in the afternoon so decided to stay at the campground instead of looking for a dispersed camping spot in the National Forest. The campground was pretty basic. Showers were closed because of Covid but they did have flush toilets and running water and trash receptacles so all was well.
The next day we headed up to check out the rest of the area including some ruins and a huge dam.
From that hike, we went for a search of some National Forest Land in the area. We thought we were gonna be able to dry camp down by the lake but we couldn’t find a way down so instead we headed up and into the forest. And I use that word Forest loosely. The Forest out here is the desert. Doesn’t really look anything like a Forest. We found a nice spot off a dirt road and spent a couple of nights there. It was peaceful and serene Atleast until the Coyotes started yelping and the cows started moo-ing. This is open range land for the cows. We haven’t seen any actual cows yet, but we do hear them and there’s an abundance of cow poop patties everywhere.
We took a nice bike ride exploring the area.
December 8. Headed back to Tucson civilization and stayed the night at another very fancy RV park with Palm Trees. I also got the rest of the color cut out of my hair. Full head of natural Gray from here on out.
Headed west and South to The Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument which is basically on the border of Mexico. The campground was open but with restrictions. No showers and certain rows of campsites closed and other various rules that we followed. It was a great spot for the night . These Organ Pipe Cactus are MASSIVE.
I never knew this about cactus plants but there’s wooden spines in the middle of them.
The next day we took a 20 mile loop drive on gravel road through the desert to the Arch Canyon Trail. I just love arches so was happy to take this hike. We were unable to make it to the top because it got super steep up there but we were still able to see the arch and got some pretty cool pictures.
Tonight, December 10th, we found another great spot on the BLM land just outside the National Monument in a town called Why. They wanted to name the town “Y” because there is an intersection that formed a Y but the state of Arizona DOT said they had to have three letters in a town name. Pretty clever of them to name it “Why.” Our spot here is quiet and wide open. There’s many other campers taking advantage of this land but yet still plenty of space that we never see another human, just their camper in the distance. There’s an air force base nearby too so we get to see the fighter jets do there thing every once in a while. The skies here are absolutely beautiful. It’s peaceful and serene so we stayed three nights. Could have probably stayed a fourth night but felt the urge to move on.
As we venture forward from here, the BLM (free land) is everywhere. So our trip today takes us just 15 minutes down the road. Hopefully they will have a spot for us at the RV park. Shower time!! We will spend the night, fill up our water and food and then back into the wilderness. Life is good.