Saturday, February 19, 2011

A whimpy version of 'boondocking'

When I traveled from Florence, AZ in late December to head over toward the greater LA area, I chose the most southern route as I had not had the opportunity to drive I-8 beyond Tucson. I wanted to see what that section of the most southwestern interstate had to offer by way of scenic views and interesting stops along the way --- not too much. 

Boondockers parked off the main road
One of the more interesting  sights along the drive through the greater Winterhaven, CA area, was seeing all of the rvers parked in the desert setting – dry camping or . . .
'boondocking' as it’s known. I had heard about this ‘boondocking’ thing and would see a lone rv’er (or two or three) from time to time as I was driving from one area to another – usually in AZ or CA.

I was always curious about that
approach to rving and became even more so after reading about it on various blogs.  While I would wonder about it, I was sure it would never appeal to me as a choice for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that I’m a solo, female rv’er!!  Add to that, the fact that I have no onboard or detached generator and I’ve never used or filled my fresh water tank (probably needs a bleach sanitizing for sure!).  Lately, however, I've become more curious about it and I made a mental note to add that little ‘adventure’ to my list of things that I'd like to try -- I just have to figure out how to do it without a generator (maybe rent one for a few days?)! Let me note here, though, that I'd never venture out to try this by myself -- I'd make sure I was joining one or more friends that I know and trust.

After completing my fun volunteer time in Sierra Madre and then spending a few weeks with my ‘temporarily transplanted’ daughter, I found myself with 7 to 10 days of ‘me’ time. I opted to head back down to the Yuma area to spend some time in that area with a friend, Lew, who would be in that vicinity around the same time.  And he’s an experienced boondocker – hmnnnn…. what a nice coincidence!!  I can get a good look at this whole ‘new to me’ approach to rving and, at the same time, have a personal tour-guide to the Yuma/ Winterhaven area including a day trip over the border into Algodones, Mexico. Finding an rv park with an opening for 7 to 10 days was proving to be a challenge but I finally found the neatest place located in a more remote area of northwest Winterhaven. I found it listed on my Passport America cd - then checked them out online. I’ll admit to being abit ‘wary’ – mainly because of it’s location away from the busier area of Yuma and Winterhaven.  At the same time, for me, its location off the beaten path was a big part of it's appeal. My friend had suggested a couple rv parks that he knew about that were not too crowded or noisy but he had no knowledge about this particular place. I googled the name of it ‘Gold Rock Ranch RV Park’ hoping to find some reviews that I could read and, whaddaya know. . . .  there was a link to the Bayfield Bunch in the search results.  I do read The Bayfield Bunch's blog from time to time and always enjoy their posts.  So I clicked on that link to see what they had to say. The link took me to a blog post they had written with accompanying photos that Al took of the various yard landscaping (on sites
occupied year round). As usual, Al did a great job with the photos he took and posted -- take a look at them on their blog if you have a chance.  I sent a quick email off to them to get their viewpoint on the park in general and ask about some safety concerns  that I had (leaving my rv unattended for 8 or more hours while doing the tourist thing, etc.).   I received a reply explaining that they had been boondocking in that area and had gone over to the Gold Rock Ranch to do their laundry.  While waiting for the laundry to wash/ dry, they had walked the rv park to take the photos.  Their overall view of the location was assuring to me.  I had found other reviews online that helped me feel more assured so I decided to book a site
My site
for a couple of days -- I could decide about staying or leaving once I got there.  I ended up staying a full ten days and was able to use my PA discount the whole time. Overall I was delighted with my stay there. The couple 
currently managing the facility for the owners were friendly and helpful. For me it was the best of both worlds – I had my whimpy full hookups but felt like I was in the middle of the desert.

1.5 mi down this road to the rv park!!

This park is located 9 miles north off of I-8 (on paved asphalt) and then 1.5 miles down Gold Rock Ranch Rd. on packed desert washboard dirt/ gavel. The night sky viewing was astounding – the next best I’ve experienced since hitting the road back in August of 2008!! The one park light located fairly close to my rig didn't impede my experiencing the full darkness that you true boondockers have so I still have the full effect to look forward to!!
Even though I’m considered to be a pretty ‘adventurous’ gal by many of you who know me and that holds true for most of the folks that I’ve met out here on the road, I will admit that there are times when I’m hesitant about doing some things or going to certain places by myself.  For instance, I’ve been stopped dead in my tracks with venturing off on my own to hike in most of the areas that I’ve visited. It’s very frustrating and I can get very down about that but I take seriously all the warnings that I’ve read/heard from ‘those in the know’.  I’m so happy that I was able to research enough, read reviews and get feedback from the Bayfield’s, so that I felt comfortable venturing off to this park and having a near boondocking experience !

View of entrance/distant hills from my doorway
 I’ll write more about my visit to the Yuma area in a post to follow. I'll preface that post with a saying (or variation of a saying) that we’re all familiar with. . . . . ‘We never know what each day will bring’!!


E Squared and Mui said...

We'd like to try boondocking someday ... after we get more comfortable with the concept itself. For now, give me a camp with hook-ups.


We were happy to read that you enjoyed yourself at Goldrock.

Thanks for posting about it.



So glad your stay at the Gold Rock Ranch went so well. You had kind of disappeared off the radar screen there for ahwile & we didn't know how you were doing. We just rolled by there a few days ago from a couple nights on Ogilbe Road to Borrego Springs. You should come on over to Borrego. Very safe here plus a great little town to feel totally comfortiable in. Lots of great outdoor nature type things & programs going on. Great place for boon docking with lots of space & no hassles. Nice to see you up & blogging again:)) Take care.....AL:}