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Snowbirds: Boondocking Sedona

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My Sedona camp with it's stunning view. You can see my trailer to the far left.

My Sedona camp with it’s stunning view. You can see my trailer to the far left.

For the last month I’ve been struggling with a  classic problem that most snowbirds face which is that different elevations and latitudes rarely change temperature at exactly the same time. For example, if we are in the Arizona desert in the Spring and its becoming uncomfortably hot in March, the high country is still snowed in and uncomfortably cold. That’s exactly what’s happened to me in the last month except on the reverse end of my annul migration; heading south for the winter.

The storms we’ve had have given us the gift of gorgeous light!

We’ve been camped in Flagstaff for awhile and was becoming easy to see and feel that Fall was in the air! We’d already gone through one major storm that brought cold nights and a ton of rain and now the weather forecast was for another one to hit us soon and another cool-down to follow. That’s generally the way Arizona works in the fall, a massive storm will blow through and drop the temperatures, then they will stay down permanently with only a slight rise after they pass. Then, the next storm brings a permanent cool-off; that’s what I expected this time.
Another view of the Red Rock from near our camp.

Another view of the Rock Canyon from near our camp.

The deserts of southern Arizona were still much too hot for me because they were still in the high 90’s.  Sedona would be our next stop because it’s at 4000 feet and therefore much warmer than Flagstaff, but still cooler than Quartzsite. Plus, many of our friends had already started gathering there so I was looking forward to socializing with them again. So the first day of the storm (October 16th)  as it just barely starting to rain, we broke camp and drove the 60 miles to Sedona and found a nice camp just a 15 minute walk from the main group.
My friend Debra out for a walk near our camp. There's a white arrow pointing at her.

My friend Debra out for a walk on the Jeep/ATV trail near our camp. There’s a white arrow pointing at her in the center of the picture.

The storm lasted a long time and it was mixed rain and sunshine but it’s now it’s totally over and now we are in for a long stretch of perfect Arizona weather! On top of that we have a spectacular camp on a small knoll with an amazing view of the Red Rocks of Sedona. In my opinion this is one of the most beautiful places in the world because of the combination  of the amazing Red Rock formations and several rivers that flow through it creating beautiful canyons full of trees and vegetation. To back that up, we’re camped on a 4-wheel-drive road and we get consistent traffic of Jeep and ATV tours going by with people from around the world that came here for its stunning beauty.
Chili night at Roger and Cindi's trailer.

Chili night at Roger and Cindi’s trailer.

After my solo summer travels of spending 3 months alone almost the entire time it feels good to have so many good friends around. There were 10 of us in three different camps about 15 minutes walk from each other, but two succumbed to itchy feet and left a few days ago.
Will leading us in Yin Yoga.

Will leading us in Yin Yoga.

One of our group is a yoga teacher of a branch of yoga called Yin Yoga, but it isn’t the traditional yoga you’re thinking of, it’s different from any yoga I’ve seen before and I really like it! He’s been leading us in classes and I find it a lot more practical than any others I’ve tried. For quite awhile now I’be been concerned about how stiff I’ve been getting as I get older and I’ve tried to do more stretching in  my own but I haven’t been at all consistent, I’m hoping I can make this a regular part of my life.  I’ll do a post on it to give you an idea of what it is and how it works.
The day we got here, we went down to Red Rock Canyon looking for a campsite. We didn't find one this close to it, but boy am I glad we drove down there, it's simply gorgeous.

The day we got here, we went down to Red Rock Canyon looking for a campsite. We didn’t find one this close to it, but boy am I glad we drove down there, it’s simply gorgeous.

I’m posting this on October 25th and we will be leaving in the next week or so since our 14 days will be up–probably around November 1. I’m expecting to move to Quartzsite for part or all of November and then in December move to Ehrenberg until the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous on January 5-19. In the past I’ve noticed that the BLM Rangers around Quartzsite do almost no enforcement in November because there aren’t that many people in Quartzsite, then in December they become strict about the 14 day rule. In the middle of the month they get everybodies license plate and at the end of the month they make you leave. They do that because of the huge influx if RVers in January. I can’t risk that happening to me before the RTR, so I don’t camp there at all in December.
You can't refuse a campsite with a view like that!

You can’t refuse a campsite with a view like that!

As always, my camp is open to you and you are welcome to drop by where ever I’m camped in the desert! However, giving me some notice first will make it better for both of us!

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This is the "Y" at about mile 2.8 of FR 525C.

This is the “Y” at about mile 2.8 of FR 525C.

This is the road into my camp, FR 9549. It's a little hard to see, so after the "Y", go slow and watch closely to the right.

This is the road into my camp, FR 9549. It’s a little hard to see, so after the “Y”, go slow and watch closely to the right.


  1. fr33dom

    What a beautiful scenery!
    How the authorities determine if one stayed more than 14 days in a camp?

    • Bob

      I agree fr33dom, this is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been! It’s also considered by many to be a deeply spiritual power-place.
      They are usually out driving around and notice you, usually they will write down your license plate and the day they saw you. If they have strict enforcement then they will stop and tell you the clock has started on your 14 days. That’s one of the advantages of getting off the main road, you don’t get noticed as often.
      Sedona is such a popular area that usually the enforcement is very strict here, but so far this fall we haven’t seen anyone.

  2. Bill

    Gmornin Bob! I have a hip pain problem that is caused by sitting too much, leg amputees fall into this trap. My doctor said it is a loss of range of motion and that the only help would be physical therapy with Yoga being the prefered way. Is the Yoga instructor coming to Quartzsite with yall?
    Great post and pics!
    Bill n Sadie plus Mic

    • Bob

      Bill, he is coming with us and he loves to share his Yoga! In fact we are planning classes for the RTR. We are still doing it as a group here and I’m sure he will be willing to continue them once we get down there.

      • Bill

        That’s great Bob, u do make new and interesting things happen!
        Bill n Sadie plus Mic

        • Bob

          Bill, I do live in “interesting” times!

  3. david

    Another great post, Bob. A true story about your daily life while incorporating valuable information for us wanna-be’s( or gonna-be’s).

    • Bob

      Thanks David!

  4. Iris

    Looking forward to seeing you all in Quartzsite. I got here on October and it’s been really nice. I only seen the ranger once.

    • Bob

      It’ll be good to see you again Iris! Yeah they don’t usually do much enforcement this early. It looks like it’s finally cooled off so I’ll be down there soon. See you then!

  5. Rob

    A nice post Bob, the arrow showing Debra out walking was a nice touch. The nuts & bolts behind living on the NF-BLM lands is a help for my planning, others too I’d guess.

    • Bob

      Glad to help Rob!

  6. Jan

    Love this site. Will have to check it out if in area during right time of year. Thanks. Did you need more than 6-inches clearance? Roads looked good in photos.
    Was it dusty from traffic?
    Lucky you guys. Yoga classes!

    • Bob

      Thanks Jan, we are lucky! Most of the roads can be driven by any car. The little road we are is a little rough, but there are plenty of others any car could go on.
      No, so far dust hasn’t been an issue for us.

  7. fr33dom

    You guys are very lucky when it comes to boondocking.
    You have plenty of unmolested nature protected and loved by the people and the state.
    When my time comes, boondocking might be a little problem in my area, why, average of 75% of our population are living in the countryside and they are not used to boondocking much less vandwelling.
    One thing, insurgency problem creates war between gov’t forces and their opponents in different groups.
    During camping I might accused of siding with ‘leftist’ or gov’t intel and be a subject of harrassment.
    Anyway that scenario will not prevents me to pursue RV life. Planning is the key and I will cross the bridge when I get there.
    Safe boondocking to all.
    For the love of RV living,

    • Bob

      The U.S. is still a place of remarkable freedom and stability, too often we take it for granted until we hear from people in other countries who don’t have it.
      I wish you the best in seeking the RVing life!

  8. Al Christensen

    Sedona was very nice, but you know me, I had to move along.
    Though it has been in the 80s the few days I’ve been in Quartzsite, there has been a nice breeze making it feel cooler. And there’s hardly anyone here yet.

    • Bob

      Al, October is early in Quartzsite, it seems like people get there later every year.

      • Al Christensen

        And that’s a good thing.

        • Bob

          True, Al!

  9. joe

    Man you sure are having the time of your life Bob, I just cannot afford to do what you do you really are very lucky guy to do what you do or maybe smart may sound better I love reading your road trips I learn a lot from you I always tell others what you do and they say you are doing what you love and they all would like to travel also but money work ties some of down from doing so any way I sold my scamp trailer I got 3500 for it it had a broken frame I called scamp and the shop guy said I got a great price for it so now Iam in northern Colorado I am trying to decide what to buy I may just hold on to and use my van for now if you have any ideas what to do trailer wise any pointers you have will be great happy trails to you hope to meet you some day keep up the great story’s

    • Bob

      Joe, I don’t really understand your question, are you living in a van now or in a house? Are you wanting to go out on the road?
      If you already have the van I’d say just move into it. Add a bunch of insulation and a Mr. Buddy heater and you can handle winters in Colorado.When you can afford it you can tow a trailer later with the van.
      I hope that helps, if not, make your situation a little clearer and maybe I can help.

  10. hotrod

    I imagine that my first few years will be a learning exercise. Sometimes I will pick the right spot at the right time. Other times so much. But I sure the it won’t be dull or boring. I would like to eventually have a routine that offers comfort in the know how I will spend a season. Then branch out when that gets me down. I am very excited about the possibilities. Thanks for the information.

    • Bob

      hotrod, that’s basically exactly what I did, in the beginning boondocking has a steep learning curve but then it gets easy over time.
      I loved it all and I bet you will too!

  11. Lightfoot

    Wow! Sedona looks gorgeous. You’re making the “learning curve” for us wannabe’s a lot less steep, Bob. Already have tons of great info from you and then you add more. Can’t really say “thank you” enough.

    • Bob

      Sedona is one of the prettiest places around!
      I’m glad to help!

  12. Scrap Wood

    Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
    Chapter 76
    “A man living is yielding and receptive.
    Dying, he is rigid and inflexible.
    All Things, the grass and trees:
    Living, they are yielding and fragile;
    Dying, they are dry and withered.
    Thus those who are firm and inflexible
    Are in harmony with dying.
    Those who are yielding and receptive
    Are in harmony with living.
    Therefore an inflexible strategy will not triumph;
    An inflexible tree will be attacked.
    The position of the highly inflexible will descend;
    The position of the yielding and receptive will ascend.”
    – Translated by R. L. Wing, 1986, Chapter 76
    “Human beings are
    soft and supple when alive,
    stiff and straight when dead.
    The myriad creatures, grasses and trees are
    soft and supple when alive,
    dry and withered when dead.
    Therefore it is said:
    the rigid person is a disciple of death;
    the soft, supple and delicate are lovers of life.
    The army that is inflexible will not conquer;
    the tree that cannot bend will snap!
    The unyielding and mighty will be brought low;
    the soft, supple and delicate will rise above them.”
    – Translated by Jerry C. Welch, 1998, Chapter 76
    “The living are soft and yielding;
    the dead are rigid and stiff.
    Living plants are flexible and tender;
    the dead are brittle and dry.
    Those who are stiff and rigid
    are the disciple of death.
    Those who are soft and yielding
    are the disciples of life.
    The rigid and stiff will be broken.
    The soft and yielding will overcome.”
    – Translated by John H. McDonald, 1996, Chapter 76
    “When a person is living they are soft and easy to bend.
    When they are dead, they become hard and stiff.
    When a plant is living, it is soft and tender.
    When it is dead, it becomes withered and dry.
    The hard and stiff belongs to the company of the dead.
    The soft and easy to bend belongs to the company of the living.
    A mighty army can to fall by its own weight,
    Just as dry wood is ready for the ax.

    • Bob

      Thanks Scrap Wood, I love the Tao Te Ching which is one reason I have so readily embraced Yin Yoga. It’s all about yielding and flowing with your body and not against it.

  13. Al Christensen

    I ran into Swanky this afternoon. According to her, the host at the Hi Jolly 14-day camping area said he’ll gladly issue another 14-day pass after your first 14-day pass expires—at least until the rangers start cracking down.

    • Bob

      I appreciate that, but if the Ranger goes by and writes down my license plate what the permit says means nothing.
      It’s not worth the risk to me, I don’t mind camping in Ehrenberg in December.

  14. Debra Dickinson

    It is such a pleasure, an honor, to be camped here with you. Thank you for all your help, and for all you do to promote this way of life. But most of all my friend – thank you for being you! I am so grateful for this experience, and am looking forward to RTR and to meeting even more vandwellers and fulltimers. What a life!

    • Bob

      Thank you Debra.

  15. Douglas

    I have always loved arizona and it’s myriad of weather and places. I have always had a deep love and respect for nature. Though beautiful and awe inspiring, it can harm you. If you don’t give it the respect it’s due, it will make you. The desert in the summer is very harsh. I have spent quite a bit of time in the desert during the summer, both hiking and sleeping.
    Sedona is a beautiful area, hence why it has been a tourist attraction for so many years.

    • Bob

      Douglas, you are totally right, the desert demands respect and will punish you if you don’t give it!
      My response is to run way from it,I’ve never been in the AZ desert in the summer.

  16. theresa

    I’m a single older women and am trying to learn as much as I can before spring when I plan on hitting the road. Do you feel this life is safe for a woman? I am a wanderlust person and will only have a guaranteed income of about 900. Great old bartender so I can work periodically.

    • Bob

      Theresa, this is the question I get probably more than any other, women wanting to know if they will be safe. I’ve known lot’s of women who have asked me that and then taken the chance and found all their fears were for naught, being a boondocker was far safer than living in any city. I believe you will discover that as well.
      The best advice I can offer you is to start out with a community to support you and help you with the learning curve. We gather in the deserts of Arizona in the winter so you can step right into a caring and supportive community November through April. If you could join us then, it would be to your advantage.
      If you aren’t already, I strongly encourage you to follow the blog by RVSue and Crew. She is an amazing and inspiring older woman who is living the life you want and doing it with joy and without any fear. If she can do it, so can you! Find her blog here:
      I’d also suggest you join my forum where you can ask any questions you have and express your fears and get supported by many women and men who are doing it and want to help you do it too. Join here:
      The best times of your life are ahead of you!!!

  17. Rancho Deluxe Ranger

    I’m down in Why, about ready to fry.
    Supposed to be 97 on Wed. 4/6. Moab is too busy around this time. I remembered this post of yours from last year and got the idea to go to Sedona. Thanks for the campsite area suggestion and map!

    • Bob

      Sedona is perfect this time of the year, you’ll be glad you came! Actually Moab is calm right now. Last week was the Jeep Safari and it was a zoo, but with them gone it’s a great time to be there–if the weather cooperates!

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