But I expected that, so I had only planned to stay for two weeks. We ended up staying for three weeks because I was waiting for packages to arrive. When the Ranger came into camp again last week that left no doubt it was time to go. I was in town when he was there, so I didn’t speak to him, but apparently it was a pleasant encounter. However, I don’t want to take advantage of his generosity, so I wanted to leave as soon as we could. So we moved last Saturday, 12-8-2013.
The rule on most BLM land is you can stay for 14 days and then you have to leave for 14 days; but the rules are different in different Ranger districts. In Quartzsite you have to move at least 25 miles and be gone for 28 days before you can return. But what you have to understand is that there is very little BLM land that has enforcement; there is way too much land and too few Rangers. Only areas that get a lot of use will have regular patrols from Rangers and the area around Quartzsite is very, very heavily used, thus the heavy enforcement. So all you have to do is go to an area where there is little use and you won’t have to worry about visits from Rangers. But where was that?
Last year we found a great place near Ehrenberg, AZ. It is 17 miles west of Quartzsite on Exit 1 of Interstate 10. There is a map to camp at the bottom of the post.It has most of the things I look for in a camp:
- It’s close to a town with good shopping. Here we are only 7 miles from Blythe, CA (just across the border in California). It has an Albertsons, K Mart and a Smart and Final (which has great prices).
- There’s a park in Blythe that has free water and plenty of trash cans so that easily solves two of our main problems.
- It has a very good 4g Verizon signal.
- The tiny town of Ehrenberg has a Laundromat, which is nice, but it also has $6 showers, which is wonderful!
- We have good privacy with few other people around.
- It doesn’t matter to me, but there are quite a few over-the-air Broadcast TV signals.
- Most importantly, there is zero Ranger enforcement! Along the road to camp are numerous camps with people who have obviously been living here for a long time. They were here last year and I seriously doubt if they have ever left by the looks of their very trashy campsites. Beyond that there is a Canadian couple down the road from us in a 5th Wheel trailer who told us they had been coming here for 6 years and they have never seen a Ranger, even though they spent 6 months in the same spot. They are back again this year.
- It’s not very pretty. It’s the stereotypical flat, ugly desert with very little vegetation. Al’s first comment when he got here was that it looked like we were on the moon! To offset it’s plainness it does have a great view of the lights of Blythe at night. I really enjoy sitting in the trailer and seeing the lights twinkle at night.
- The wind is worse here than in Quartzsite, probably because we are so near the Colorado River. Twice we’ve gone to Quartzsite when the wind was blowing hard here (making it cold and unpleasant) and it was barely blowing at Quartzsite at all.
But, overall I think the pluses more than offset the minuses so we will stay here until the first week of January when we will go back over to Quartzsite for the RTR.
Right now there aren’t enough of us in camp to have a big Christmas dinner, so I’m not sure if it will happen or not. I’m more than willing to do it and prepare a ham for it. If you are interested in having a tribal family celebration let me know and plan on coming over. The more the merrier!!
Here are directions to camp:
- Take Interstate 10 to the California-Arizona border.
- Get off on Exit 1 in Arizona and turn south toward the Flying J.
- You’ll come to a T; if you turn right you will go to the Flying J, so you are going to turn left, down the frontage road. Before you do check your odometer and I’ll give you mileage to camp.
- Drive 1.5 miles and you will come to a Y in the road. To the left is a gravel pit so take the fork to the right and take the wide gravel road up the top of the hill.
- Drive another 1.2 miles (a total of 2.7 from the T) and you will see a road with a BLM marker on it heading off toward the mountains on the left. Turn down it. I’ve put a reflector with blue and yellow ribbons on it.
- From the turn-off you can see my trailer just a little bit up the road.
That guy in the broken down trailer is pretty depressing. With the way the economy is going we’ll probably see more and more of it.
No email address on your site. Getting tired of people buggin you? Still showing 93% finished. What’s up… must be lot of work.
RT, there are multiple RVs like his, that was just the only one I put in the post. Have you been to the Slabs? It is filled with rigs just like that! To be fair though, it also has many expensive rigs, just like here.
It’s ironic that we were hassled so much for taking up “Residence” at the Coconino NF when that was nowhere near the truth, but here people are literally setting up Residence and trashing the place and no one cares. I think you are right though, I think we are at a permanent turning point in our economy and it is going to become very common all over the country.
It’s a long story about the websites but the bottom line is it has taken MUCH longer than I had anticipated. My main goal was to migrate the forum away from it’s old host because it was so terrible. My mistake was to try to do them all at once because the forum ended up taking such an extremely long time. I should have moved it then moved everything else one at a time. That way there would have been much less disruption.
I just haven’t put my email address back up yet, no hidden agenda.
Hi Homer and Bob….again…you have the best words about everything most folks want/need to hear…Happy and I will be at the RTR at QS in January…can t wait…will be sooo exciting and informative…at last get to see/meet/talk and oh yes pet the dogs…hope I don’t become a pest with all I need to know before I take myself away from living in a house…have a Merry Holiday…Happy n Oakley in UTAH!!!!
Oakley, I’m really looking forward to meeting you!!
The locals are all telling me that the “snowbirds” are down by 2/3 of what it normally is this time of the season. So, the BLM rangers don’t have as much to do and will be making rounds more often, looking for something to keep them awake. If the entire winter is this way, you can bet they will be checking for violations more frequently.
I’ve also been told by those in the know in town, that this is the last year for the Big Tent and it will only be here for ONE show, not all the other shows it normally houses during the winter.
The local officials also did a lot of infrastructure work on the town sewers, and are passing the costs off to the RV Parks… which will cause many of them, those who did not shut down this year, to go under from this season of reduced visitors and increased costs. Quartzsite could become a ghost town if this continues.
It could get better than this, for sure.
Chalene, you are so right. Every vendor I get in a conversation with hates the local government and especially their high taxes and costs to the vendors. All those vendors get a sewer hook-up and the city raised the rates on them by a lot so all those costs have to get passed along to the consumer. But the prices are already high so the vendors have to eat them and many can’t make any money here so they will simply stop coming.
Only time will tell how it turns out.
I just posted a Quartzsite update but it’s not here????
Charlene, my spam blocker had blocked you as spam, probably because you have too much web info on your sign-in.
We are at war with spammers and the blockers have to be more strict to keep them out. We are all the losers.
What’s up with posting stuff to your site???
I don’t know what you mean Charlene?
I always love getting your blog-posts..someday I hope to join those of you who live like this. In the meantime as I was reading todays post I got to thinking about the folks who live in that trailer you pictured. I bet they NEVER thought that living wayyyy out in the boonies they would have hundreds of people maybe thousands of people(Don’t know how many followers you have)looking at the mess they live in. Made me decide to get going today and finish cleaning up the front yard :> Thanks for the push I needed! You never know in todays society who is looking over your shoulder. Good lesson to learn. Thanks for taking the time to put all this info out there for those of us who are just getting started on this journey. Merry Christmas to you and yours!!
Hi Nancy, it’s amazing how many of us are just a paycheck or two away from being homeless. When the economy crashed in 2008 so many people went over the edge very quickly and lost everything. So the caption on that photo should have been “There but for the grace of God go I!”
He was also right on the main road and everybody who drives by looks at his camp. Maybe that is one of the reasons why I always get off the main road–I crave my privacy! My camp tends to be messy as well, but I’ve been working on that.
To clarify about my “on the moon” comment. I’ve camped at the Ehrenburg site before. Twice I set up at the bottom of the hill (where there’s a bit of a wind break and more vegetation), twice at the top, but not far from the dirt road that feeds the area. Bob’s camp is much farther out to the east, past the folks who’ve been there forever, past most of the vegetation, smack in the middle of a barren patch of “desert concrete.” Like the moon. Only there’s no wind on the moon. 😉 There are areas with a few bushes/trees that could mitigate the wind and add some atmosphere, but Bob chose otherwise, for reasons that suit him. Which is cool.
Al is exactly right, there are several nicer places around. My friend Steve is within eyesight in a MUCH prettier spot along a wash under a big tree. Al’s camp was also much prettier and may have less wind. There are several reasons I chose this site instead of those:
First and foremost is privacy, I don’t want people around and as little traffic as possible and this gives me that. Al’s campsite just had too much traffic and too many people around. It was also close to the freeway so I would guess it was noisy. I WILL ALWAYS drive past a great camp to a mediocre camp if the great camp has too many people or too much traffic.
Second is I like the view of the lights of Blythe at night. This camp has that. All the vegetation here is along a wash and a wash by definition is the lowest area around (water flows downhill). No view of the lights along most washes like Al’s and Steve’s.
Third, the higher you are the better the cell signal. This was the best cell signal I could find. I’m on a little ridge above a wash and I’ve gone down to it and the cell signal dropped by 2 bars. It’s also better here than at Steve’s. So I stay right here.
Fourth, I worry about Homers paws and we are on a patch of dirt, not rock, and there are roads leading in and out we can walk on so he isn’t on the rocks tearing up his paws.
So every campsite is a trade-off and I’m reasonably happy here. The wind has been a problem but that’s true everywhere along the river.
The red glow of the sunset still make a place look magical….. if even for a little while.
klbexplores, that is called “Alpenglow” when it is on a mountain and is one of my favorite things in the world! The further north you go the more pronounced it is and it is much better when there is snow on the mountains. One thing I truly loved about Alaska was the Alpeneglow. Anchorage is surrounded by tall mountains to the East and most clear winter nights they would glow an amazing pink every sunset. I never got tired of it (but boy was I sick of the winters!!)! Here is a photo from there. This is not photoshopped. It is a standard sunset in Anchorage just as my eye saw it.
Every time you spend money at a vendor in town, mention to that vendor that having to stick to a strict 14 days stay because of ranger enforcement causes you to leave and no longer spend money at their establishment.
CAE, that’s a good idea. I know that the BLM and Forrest Service do have to work with State and local authority. The problem is most places want stricter enforcement, not less. If the local people put pressure on the government then maybe they will push for less enforcement. It can’t hurt!
The problem with Quartzsite is the local government is out its mind. Seriously, everybody here HATES them, and they don’t care. They are doing everything they can to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs and they may have succeeded. Many vendors and snowbirds are seriously looking at going somewhere else.
The key is to figure out where they are going to move and move there first!
I wish I could jon. My guess is the Big Tent and vendors would go to Yuma which has an infrastructure in place and is already VERY popular with snowbirds. But only time will tell.
My best Christmas wishes to you, Bob. As I mentioned in a previous reply I am now 80 and crippled with lumbar arthritis. I roamed in a small Class C for over 30 years and spent a lot of time at Quartzsite. In all those years, I probably paid less than a dozen times to camp. However, I always found the months of Dec, Jan & Feb way too cold for comfort. The group I traveled with (WIN) used to wrap up heated rocks in newspapers from the fire pit and put them in our beds. (and, hopefully, a desirable companion) QS is about 1800′ in elevation, if I remember correctly. That’s way too high for wintertime desert comfort. I always preferred the area on the East side of the Salton Sea. In the early days the Slabs-people were much more tribal and welcoming, as well as cleaner campers. There is, however, many BLM areas you can explore in the area. I always loved the slabs because of the warm water that flows into an upright before channeling it under the canal. A person can climb down the ladder and enjoy the most luxurious shower a person can take — all for free.
I drifted and roamed, but I always kept and rented out a small house in a small beach town — which generated my traveling income in the years b/4 my Social Security income started. And, when I got too old (Ah, these Golden Years), I had a place to spend my final years — in warmth and comfort. There are, proverbially, many ways to skin a cat.
Again, best Wishes — and thanks for your interesting travel site.
Hi Robert, wow, you have had a great life! I’m sure you look back at your life and are grateful you lived it to it’s fullest!! I’m not sure what I am going to do when I reach your age and I can’t be on the road anymore. I own some land and I may settle down on it. I’ll just have to wait and see.
Your right, the Slabs is warmer than here, partly because of it’s elevation. Here are their elevations:
Quartzsite 900 feet above sea level
Yuma 140 feet above sea level
Slabs -140 feet BELOW sea level.
So the Slabs is warmer. But there are several reasons I’d rather camp here or in Yuma.
1) The air quality is terrible at the Slabs. It doesn’t bother me but I have friends who should NOT go there, so they can’t come to my camp.
2) last time I was there the cell signal was marginal.
3) Your 18 miles away from the closest real town with shopping or real grocery stores.
4) There are some pretty rough people in town–as well as some really great people. You can camp outside of town but if you do there are a LOT of drugs and illegals following the canal. We camped 3 miles out of town in a beautiful camp for a few months and every single day we saw many Border patrol trucks go by. Usually once a day they would stop and warn us this wasn’t a safe camping area because of drugs and illegals. There were enough if us we felt safe or we would have left. I must say I never felt worried in town either, but one of our group couldn’t breath in the Slabs.
If I want a warmer spot I’ll go to Yuma, but I don’t think it will happen this year.
If I’d known about the Sumerton Tamale Festival near Yuma next weekend I would have gotten my Mexican dentistry at that time. While I was there this week nights got down to the mid 40s. Not bad. And like everywhere in the region this time of year, it was windy most days.
Al, I have an appointment with a dentist on Tuesday, so I’ll head down there on Monday.
Oh, wow, Al! I wish I’d seen your post before I paid my campground fees up in Parker for the week! The tamale festival looks like great fun. I’ll make a note to myself for next year. I love tamales – and the best I ever had was at that farm stand on 95 above Yuma. Thanks for mentioning it.
m.a. I’m delighted to hear you are in the area! Hopefully I’ll get to see you again sometime!
I won’t be coming for Christmas. My husband just decided to come meet me in Phoenix that week. I hope to see you sometime during the RTR, though.
I’m sorry to hear that Linda, but I’m looking forward to seeing you again at the RTR!!
I hope you have had a change to enjoy your motorcycle,I enjoy your post on the slabs i have always wonder how safe it was out there it’s a shame now a days how a person or persons have to be so careful where you go years ago as long as a person mine there on business you were fine but these days you can get kill over $2.00, As for the elder man in his 80’s back when he was traveling around i’m sure he had to be careful to but not like now and he had a good point about when you have to come off the road and if a person lives long enought that day will come all the full time rv’er i ask this question to they say they have not thought that far down the road that looks like should be in the back of all there mines or they will end up like the people in the old trailer in your picture i wonder whats the % of people get into the full time rving dream sell everything they have then say in 5,10 or 15 years or stuck in this life stile and have no money and no hope of ever getting back in a home and the rv is all to pieces and there are just trying to survive, well mr bob be careful and thank you for the pictures and all your time you put into your website i real enjoy look at it ever evening to see whats going on with you.
Thanks for the thoughtful comment Jim!! Getting old is definitely a problem for vandwellers. I’m deliberately deciding to live while I”m young knowing that it may lead to a hard old age. I did buy a piece of land with the idea of living on it when I’m old so I’m doing some planning.
The road is more dangerous than it has been, but I think it isn’t nearly as dangerous as we tend to think. I blame the media for constantly bombarding us with fear and we have exaggerated the danger in our own minds.
WOO HOO! I left Ehrenberg this morning and headed to Yuma. I like Ehrenberg because of the TV reception. It is like being on another planet. I am calling my Van a ‘space pod”. Hahaha! I love the view overlooking Blythe. We are heading to the Salton Sea and will return to Somerton for the Tamale Festival on Dec 21st. We will join you for Christmas and bring a wonderful Tropical Fruit Salad, enough for everyone. I love the Imperial Valley! See you Bob, for Christmas!
“It’s a Wonderful Life”
I LOVE tamales! I’m in Yuma right now and I’m tempted to stay the week until the festival instead of going to The Steps near Lake Havasu, as planned.
Al, I’m headed down there on Sunday! Where are you camping? I’m planning to camp on Sidewinder Road which is actually in California. It’s exit 164 off Interstate 8. I camp there because it is as close as I can get to Algodones and still have my privacy. There’s lots of camps on the road to Alodones, but it’s too crowded for me. Maybe I’ll see you there.
I’m back at the Steps now.
Sameer, I’m heading to Yuma this week to go to Algodones, but I’ll probably only be there for a few days while I get my teeth worked on. Maybe I’ll see you there.
WIsh I were there right now. Really really cold up north here. So cold the coyotes came into camp and warmed up under my truck’s engine block when I got back from town.
Desert Rat, we are only a days drive from you, head on down!! Today it’s sunny and in the high 60s and overnight lows are in the 40s. Why suffer? Are you still working? I would think there wouldn’t be any campers by now.
You’re always welcome here!
I left the campspot about 2 weeks ago after spending a week in 14 inches of snow. I’ll hopefully be donw your way by mid-Jan. Looking forward to exploring some of Arizona and seeing you and Judy and the pup.
Good luck with the teeth. Never know when you might meet a dog you want to bite (hot dog, that is).
It will be great to see you again to!
I finally bit the bullet and purchased a 1989 Ford Econoline Hi-Top Camper Van (75K miles). A three-week maiden voyage starts next Monday, so there’s a good chance Casey (the canine companion) and I will stop by and say hello. I’ve done all the paperwork and now all I need to do is stop at Walmart and pick up supplies. I’ve been keen on meeting some of you, especially Bob. Had I not had any prior commitments for the upcoming weekend, I would have already left! Very excited to see what all this van dwelling is like.
Congratulations Mick!! You are in for a real treat with the freedom that comes with traveling light. The first part of next week I’m going down to Yuma to get my teeth worked on in Mexico and I’m not sure when I’ll be back. I doubt if I will be gone for more than 3-4 days. You’re welcome to wait here in camp, (my trailer is staying her). My friend is just south of us so you can meet him. You can barely see his van from my camp.
I’m looking forward to meeting you!
Good info Bob…busted my bubble though. I planned on staying at an RV park on the river in Blythe most of the time from January through March but I don’t like wind. After reading this blog, I decided to call them and sure enough they say the wind blows a lot there..Now back to square one. I did get my little solar suitcase fixed up with a long cord and another battery so maybe I’ll end up boondocking most of the time. Are you still planning on holding any classes at the RtR? Can I camp by you and learn? I will leave here right after Christmas..
Hi Bob…so glad to read your words…Happy and I will be at the RTR in Jan….cant wait…hope im not a pest with all the things I need to learn before I leave y house in April…excited to mee and greet all the folks that will be there…see you soon….Happy and Oakley in Utah!!!
Hi Bob. I have been living I a 14′ camper for a little over a year now. Mostly just parked in the back of someones lot. I am really loveing it. This Monday though I will be parking the trailer in storage and heading out in my ’89 econoline. I would really like to catch up with you for the holidays. I was thinking about heading to Quartzite anyway. After reading what was posted here sounds like I should head up around where you are. I’m in Salt Lake City and it has been very fridged lately. I drove truck for 7 years, so I guess I’ve been vandwelling for a while now. I would like to find more people like you and learn as much as possible about as much as possible. May I join you for Christmas? Let me know what to bring and I’ll get it. So much more I would like to discuss with you. Hopefully we can meet up to share ideas. Thank you for your time. Justin
Justin, You are very welcome to join us!! If I lived in Salt Lake I’d come down here for sure!! The reaoson to have a van is to be able to go where the weather is better, so come on down!
I’ll be gone to Yuma for a few days so I won’t be back to this camp until later this week. Maybe by the 19th. I’m not sure because I don’t know how long the dental work will take.
See you soon!
hey bob- been following your blog in stealth fashion for awhile(practicing for the road) Did you say at some point that you were thinking of having a gathering in Myrtle Beach in March? I’m considering the rtr in az but I would save my resources for Myrtle Beach if that was a reality. never had much inclination to visit az and m. beach is closer to Minnesota (8 degrees and snowing right now and I’m 62 and had it with 8 degrees!) If you have dates that you might be within a couple states that would be cool too. I’m a little hesitant about hitting the road in my 1981 class c which I’m slowly trying to refurbish. one mans trash is anothers treasure and all that jazz. Anna
Anna, I’m sorry but I thought we had a location all sewed up but it fell through; so it is unlikely right now that there will be an East Coast RTR. We’ll be glad to see you in Arizona though! I guarantee that it will be warmer than 8 degrees here!!
Hi Bob, good luck with the dental work. My plans have changed drastically. I unfortunately can not make it to Arizona. I am really disappointed. I am living in my van now but have to stay in Utah. Even Saint George isn’t much better than slc. Someday I will meet up with you and the gang. For now have fun and I will keep on top of the website. If there is anyone else in the utah area I’d love to meet up with them too.
That’s a shame Justin, you would have loved meeting everyone down here. maybe next RTR.
I’ll be there for Christmas, Bob. And probably before.
Great, Al! If enough people show up we will have a Christmas dinner again. This time we will have ham though,