We have had quite a few learning experiences in the past week since leaving New Mexico. We had decided to try our hand at boondocking, also known as dry camping. I have also heard it referred to as Wallydocking, since it is common for RVers to dry camp at Wal-Mart. Basically it means to park anywhere with no amenities. Since we are fully contained with water tanks, a generator and batteries we thought it was time to try it out for a longer period of time, instead of just overnight. We also had found a really good deal on new tires for our rig in Tucson.
Arizona is packed in the winter, something we didn’t fully appreciate before going there. RV parks and state parks are all booked way in advance. Snowbirds flock from the North to park their rigs and enjoy the different activities going on in the area; Rock and Gem Show, Rodeo, and the Family Motor Coach Association rallies to name a few. The weather and outdoor attractions also attract a lot of visitors in the winter. I couldn’t find a site for us to stay for more than a night or two, so I figured this would be the ideal time to boondock. Since Clay works from our moho (motorhome) we need to stay places at LEAST a week at a time.
I found a Bureau of Land Management spot between the Sonoran Desert and the Chihuahuan Desert about 45 minutes south of Tucson at Las Cienegas Natural Conservation Area. The reviews I found online were incredible as were the photos, they raved about the Savannah style grasslands and it being a wonderful place for dogs with no stickers to get caught in paws. They claimed the roads were manageable and there were even class A motorhomes seen there and it had cellular service.
So we drove almost 5 hours to Las Cienegas. Neither of us had driven I-10, Pearl Harbor Memorial Highway, through Arizona and we were both delighted by the views.
However it had started to rain in the area, the roads were dirt and after some scary driving moments we decided not to stay. It also seemed as though all the spots were full of campers. The reviews were right though, it was beautiful and we would have liked to have stayed there. We also saw a few rainbows as we looked over the horizons.
Luckily they were also right about the cellular service and I was able to go online and find us a spot Cochise RV Resort about an hour away in Benson, AZ. We arrived and parked easily in our site and then the hot tub. I don’t think either of us could have been happier with the ending of a long and disappointing day. Our spot was spacious and the weather was sunny. We enjoyed some cable television, a free dinner one night and took advantage of the clean showers and hot tub a couple more times.
However we could only stay for 4 days before a flock of 29 RVers with reservations moved into the resort. Now what? Arizona was booked, I could barely find us places to stay a night much less a week. Check out was Thursday and we packed up and headed to Tucson to get our new tires, unfortunately there was a parade blocking the road to the tire shop! Clay and I had to laugh at our luck and waited in a parking lot patiently for the road to clear. We spent the day driving around in the car with the dogs site seeing, we walked around University of Arizona popular area of 4th street and Congress and had lunch with our pups on the dog friendly patio at The Garage.
After picking up our rig from the shop we headed over to the Desert Diamond Casino about 10 minutes away for some more boondocking. Not ideal but we knew we could stay for a while if needed, it was free and it bought us more time to figure out where to go next. Friday I planned for us to go to Catalina State Park for some hiking and sunshine, it was just what we needed.
The saguaro cactus are pretty neat and all over the place. We got to cross a stream, saw a great horned owl in its nest napping, and got some much-needed exercise. We certainly worked up an appetite. Clay found us a great little Mexican food spot called Perfecto’s where we feasted! The cheesy guacamole crisp was soooooo delicious. I cook for us 95% of the time so eating out is always a special treat.
Anxious to get settled in our new location we decided to head to Lake Havasu on Saturday. One thing we learned from the casino parking lot is to park on the end where nobody can park next to you, we had to listen to a semi truck generator all night. I didn’t let that spoil my mood though and early Saturday had crepes for breakfast with my childhood friend Claudia, who I haven’t seen in person since I was maybe 10-12 years old. It was SO nice to see a familiar face and meet her daughter, wish we could have caught up more but the road was calling our name. Photo courtesy of Ellie (sp?) her 6-year-old. We then began our trip West to Lake Havasu. The area was pretty beautiful and driving the 10 miles on a crazy road to get to Black Meadow Landing was promising. However we were crammed in like sardines with a bunch of retirees, couldn’t reach our sewer hookup and felt trapped in general, so we decided to leave ASAP. The wild burros in the area whooping and hollering all night only helped us leave sooner.
Pretty area, terrible site. We finally have settled in about an hour south at the Lost Lake Resort near Blythe, CA. It is beautiful and I love it, I will share everything about it in my next blog post, see you then!