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Old 09-21-2022, 12:05 PM   #1
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Southwest Boondocking

I壇 like to head southwest from NY around December 1, needing to end up in southern coastal Georgia around January 15. I知 looking to make a first day push to get below the snow line as quickly as possible. Once I知 beyond the likelihood of snow I知 looking for some help in focusing in on those areas that might be the best areas to explore.

I purchased my TT with the intention of doing some serious boondocking and I知 outfitted with solar and lithium batteries. My dream is to have photographs to contribute to the 鏑ittle RV Big Landscape thread! That was a bit tongue in cheek, the more serious version being that痴 the sort of camping that takes my breath away, and the sort of camping I致e always wanted to do. I prefer the majesty of nature over cities and tourist attractions.

I can go anywhere. My only parameters are my 6 week schedule and wanting to be warm. I知 not looking for specific coordinates, as I understand that information is not necessarily meant to be shared on a public forum, but I am looking for areas to consider as I知 starting to make my plans.

I知 thinking southern Texas, particularly along the Gulf as I head back towards Georgia, and New Mexico and of course Arizona. I致e been intrigued by Quartzite, thinking Quartzite would be a bit more tame in December than when the masses descend in January.

As I知 starting to do my research and put together my trip, I would be most grateful if someone would share some suggestions of areas to research, or areas to avoid. Warm is subjective. Although I like hot, I知 OK with mid-50痴 and above for daytime temps.

This will be my first experience with boondocking on BLM land, although not my first experience with dry camping, which is what I mostly do. This is a big country and choosing where to go feels overwhelming. Some suggestions to help start to focus my research will be greatly appreciated.

Also - if someone feels moved to generously share specific locations that you壇 prefer not to post publicly, feel free to PM me. I致e read horror stories of formerly pristine locations destroyed by being publicly shared. Although I am looking for help I respect that some things are meant to be discovered more discreetly.

I知 a little bit nervous, but a lot excited. If you壇 like to take a BLM rookie under your wing I would be most appreciative.
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Old 09-21-2022, 06:17 PM   #2
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Texas is difficult to find boondocking spots because much is privately owned. However, there are nice public campgrounds. The Big Bend Nat'l Park and State Parks are scenic as is the Davis Mtn. area & the state park makes a nice stay. Do the observatory programs while there.

There's the beach area of Padre Island Nat'l Lakeshore if camping on the beach would be something you like.

Guadalupe Nat'l Park has a dry campground and some nice hikes.

https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/p...ties/campsites

New Mexico, to us, is too cold in winter but there's White Sands Nat'l Monument to explore and moonlight ranger hikes are great. There's Organ Mountains BLM area and some state parks at the I-10/I-25 area. You don't want to get too far north in NM or you could run into snow.

Arizona: Along I-10 you could visit Chiricahua Nat'l Monument - very unique rock formations. The campground is very pleasant.

Then there's the Benson/Tombstone/Sierra Vista area which has some public lands. Kartchner Caverns State Park has an excellent cave tour & campground. Nice birding in this whole area if that interests you.

If going to Quartzsite it would be great if you could be there for the 'big show' in January. If so, I would highly recommend you join the Escapees RV Club $50/yr, I believe, and then pop into the Boomer's BOF - there are about 100 RVs who get together during the show for 2 weeks - parking in a big group in the desert - all free. People come & go during that time and the group puts on incredible fun... seminars, activities (4x4 drives, scenic drives, kayaking, geocaching, etc.) & you don't need equipment. Folks are generous with letting you tag along, if room. One year there were even hot air balloons and paragliding. There are also potlucks, breakfasts and total fun by boondocking out in the desert. All the folks love boondocking & love to talk about it. You could get any question answered about RVing and any help you may need. It's a wonderful group. We attended their rallies for about 7 years and hooked up with smaller groups throughout the West during our travels. We met life-long friends through this group. Also... even though it's called 'Boomers', all ages are members!

South and north of Quartzsite are some public lands down to Yuma and into California along I-10 and north to Havasu City. Some nice places to explore. Near Yuma we liked to stay at Mittry Lake BLM. South of Quartzsite is Kofa Wildlife Refuge which has nice boondocking and pretty scenery.

This may get your juices flowing!
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Old 09-21-2022, 06:53 PM   #3
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Quartzsite: Slow in November, picking up in December, crazy in January, then everything slows way down again until mid-April, after which it's empty. I've found these average temps to be accurate:

Month High / Low(ーF)
January 66ー / 39ー
February 71ー / 44ー
March 79ー / 50ー
April 86ー / 56
May 95ー / 65ー
June 105ー / 75ー
July 109ー / 82ー
August 107ー / 81ー
September 101ー / 73ー
October 89ー / 59ー
November 75ー / 46ー
December 65ー / 38ー

The BLM land just south of town contains several of the most popular spots. If you go to the La Posa South area - 5 miles S - you get a good water source, and dump and garbage facilities, for $40 per 14-day period or $180 for the 7-month season. If you instead choose the free areas, you end up buying water and dump services in town.

It's one of my favorite spots as a snowbird.

https://www.blm.gov/visit/la-posa-lo...m-visitor-area


(I should add: even in January, I've never been forced into a crowded situation at Q. You might have to drive a little further on the interior roads, but it's so darned big it never comes close to "full." Last year, before January, my nearest neighbor was about 600 yards away. When the Jan crowds came in, I had some people fill in to within 200 yards of me. But they were only there for two weeks. To fill and dump outside of January, no line. During January, I might wait 20 minutes.)
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Old 09-22-2022, 05:52 AM   #4
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Yeah! Thank you Bobby and TwoGypsies for responding! Just the sort of information I was looking for! You got those juices flowing! I致e printed out both of your comments and I知 looking forward to sitting down with an atlas to get a sense of where everything is and how to coordinate a route. Once I know where I want to go I値l tackle the routing part.

TwoGypsies - you nailed areas I致e been thinking about. Many thanks for the depth and specificity. I知 towards the end of the Boomer age range so I値l fit right into the Boomers group. What does BOF stand for? Although I tend to prefer solitude, I occasionally come out of the woods to connect with others. I consider myself an extroverted introvert. 😊 The Quaertzite party starts mid-January? I have reservations in Georgia starting January 15. That might need to be the following winter痴 plan after checking out Quartzite during a more tame December.

I知 not attached to BLM or free camping. I知 looking for nature and a degree of solitude. National monuments and parks, and state parks are definitely great. I was already looking at the Texas spots you mentioned, TwoGypsies, so thanks for pointing them out to me and giving them a thumbs up.

I don稚 want to turn this into a political thread, so reader - please don稚 take it in that direction - but I started turning away from researching Texas (a closer trip for me) and turned to Arizona because of concerns about border conditions. I don稚 want any surprises in the middle of the night. Should I stay away from anything near the Rio Grande?

Trip is coming together! I知 going to order today detailed atlases of Texas and Arizona (once again thank you, TwoGypsies for steering me in that direction many threads ago! DeLorme or Benchmark?) and will have an InReach before I go. Other people痴 tragedies have taught me to be prepared. Now all I have to do is decide where to go!

I don稚 want to over plan, other than my first few days meant to just cover miles. Particularly the non-BLM areas you suggested, TwoGypsies - do you think reservations are needed in December? I have Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome as a backup, especially if weekends are crowded in public parks.

Warm thanks for your contributions, Bobby and TwoGypsies. Just what I needed to get started. I知 a happy camper!
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Old 09-22-2022, 06:11 AM   #5
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If you find yourself in Junction, TX 76849, there is free boondocking (3 day max) at the Schreiner city park on the Llano river. Junction is right on I-10 in west Texas so you may be passing through there anyways.
Also - The highway rest areas out on I-10 near Kerrville and Sonora have free dump stations.
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Old 09-22-2022, 06:42 AM   #6
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Big Bend NP has back country camp sites that are suitable for campers, at least one is good for a large motor home. When we went we stayed at the campground a couple nights and found a suitable sight, then went to book it. You have to book in person. It only costs a few dollars for 14 days max. Price is the same for one day or 14. We were there in 2018, it may have changed since then.
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Old 09-22-2022, 08:07 AM   #7
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Poor immigrants looking for jobs will stay far away from you since they don’t want to draw attention or get caught. The disgusting coyotes who bring people and drugs for pay across the border won’t bother you either unless you unexpectedly come across each other in the far back country. Stay in a campground, and you will be fine in any of the border communities. And I second the recommendations for Big Bend, Chiricahua, and Organ Pipe. There is a number of BLM sites between Organ Pipe and the town of Ajo that have free boondocking too. Six weeks isn’t very long to enjoy the southwest if you come from New York, and Quartzsite is a LONG way from New York.
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Old 09-22-2022, 11:57 AM   #8
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BOF = Bird of Feather (like-minded folks).

The Boomers' happening is during the Quartzsite 'big tent' RV Show time period; not sure the exact dates. The Boomers gather during a two-week period at that time.

The atlas I love is Benchmark.

Since you have to return to Georgia by Jan 15 that's going to be a lot of driving. You might consider Arizona more in-depth when you have more time. Just a thought.

Personally, I wouldn't be concerned about staying near the border; especially if you're in a campground. Many people live near the border. In my opinion, more things happen in the big cities!
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Old 09-22-2022, 12:37 PM   #9
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Re: Migrants in Quartzsite - The area is about 90 miles from the border, and there's really nothing in the way of services or help for people without resources, so crossers pick up transport north before they get to Q, and don't stop there at all. No reason to stop. I've never seen or heard of any problem at Q.

If I were poor and living in Mexico, I'd like to think I'd have the guts to do what they're doing to make a better life. But I'm not sure I'm that brave. We welcome them just like the Californians welcomed the Okies in the Depression. Hard life.
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Old 09-22-2022, 12:53 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Souljourner View Post
I’m looking for nature and a degree of solitude.
I'm starting to sound like a Quartzsite salesman, but those things are why I like Q so much. If you like hiking, across varied lonely ground, it's great. And, in December, no bugs, no critters, no rain, no killing heat . . .

Only downside is, lack of ground water. Colorado River is about 28 miles away, but it's sort of boring unless you go more north or south.

OK, I'll stop now.
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Old 09-22-2022, 01:09 PM   #11
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This is a picture I took when I went to Quartzsite. This is about 5 miles south of town, looking west. RV's are visible as far as the eye can see, well into the mountains there. Illustrative of just how much area there is, and how far out into the sticks you can go if you want. "Nature" amounts to wind, dirt, saguaros and mostly clear skies. The limit to your alone-ness is limited only to how far out you care to venture.

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Old 09-22-2022, 02:24 PM   #12
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OK, just for contrast: here's the view from my picture window looking east in La Posa South on January 24th. I'm on the SE corner of the area. Water and dump are 1 mile away.

If I drove up to the utilities area, I'd see a view similar to what was shown above.
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Old 09-22-2022, 02:34 PM   #13
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One shouldn't think of Quartzsite as beautiful. However, drive a few miles in all directions and there are beautiful places to explore.

Quartzsite should be thought of as 'an experience' - especially during the RV Show time.
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Old 09-22-2022, 07:55 PM   #14
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Beach camping around Galveston is not quite free, but $10/yr is close enough:
https://crystalbeach.com/BeachSticker/parkingCB.htm
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