It’s nice to have the stress of the last two months behind us and to be back on the road again. It’s a little different from life in the Boldt. After a long day of driving you can’t just turn your seats around and relax. There are a few more steps such as one must put up the tent and set up camp. We do miss some of the Boldt creature comforts but now we can off road and go where there are fewer people just coyotes, owls, hawks, bunnies and road runners. This week we are going to share with you a few of our favorite affordable and free campgrounds!
Our first stop was Fall River Campground outside Sunriver, OR. Greg still had his 2nd vaccination in Bend to receive so we stayed a few days at this campground which is only $14/$7 a night. There are 12 camp spots on the Fall River with picnic tables, fire pits, and a pit toilet. We were surprised that almost all the spots were open and only three other spots were taken when we were there. If you have a Berkey filter this is a great spot for unlimited water, the river water is super clear and cold! There is a hiking trail up and down the Fall River that is a few miles long and if you are a fly fisherman this is your paradise! Our neighbor caught two rainbow trout and were super nice and offered us one but with the 30 mph winds we couldn’t get our stove to stay lit, so we had to pass (boo-hoo)! After two days of beautiful weather, the weather changed on our last night to 24 degrees Fahrenheit, and the next day was forecast to have snow and sleet, we decided it was time to head South!
We were planning on staying, at one of our favorite spots, at the Lava Bed National Monument Indian Wells Campground which is awesome and only $10/$5 a night but the weather stated snow, so we went further South to Eagle Lake Campground in California. This is a great boondocking location but make sure you have plenty of water and you are packing in and packing out, there are no amenities during the off season. It is a beautiful location at Rocky Point and free. During the Summer and Fall the North Eagle Lake Campground is open $14/$7 but this time of year it is still closed. We had planned to stay here for three days but the wind was 25-40mph and was impossible to keep our Eureka Camp Stove lit. We highly recommend do not get this camp stove at REI, we are returning it and sticking with the Camp Chef it has better sides and back to keep the wind out. In addition, you can use a converter and use a real propane tank and not ruin the environment with the tiny unrecyclable propane bottles the Eureka uses. After one night, we headed out to go further South to Walker Lake in Nevada where the wind was supposed to be only 15 mph. But of course, we got to Walker Lake and visited the 6 different camping areas where prices range from free to $6/$3 a night. Once again we ran into crazy wind, we tried to put up the tent at 7pm when the wind was supposed to calm down but it kept blowing over the tent poles and we gave up and slept in the truck for the night.
As a result, instead of a couple days at Walker Lake we bolted’ to our good old standby Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge, that is a beautiful location and free. We enjoy watching and hearing hummingbirds, hawks, owls, flickers, cranes, ducks, geese and great blue herons. The Campground host is wonderful! He is super friendly and cleans every camp spot by clearing the firepit, rakes the camp area and even cleans the picnic table with disinfectant. He maintains the cleanest vault toilets I have ever seen or smelled! We were able to get our tent up before the 50 mph wind gusts. We had the tent poles hit my head a few times during the night. The next day, we got to enjoy a 4 mile walk around the lake and have a few hours of sunshine and a fire before the winds came back in with a thunder and rainstorm for good measure. It rained all night, and coming from Oregon we know rain.
We woke up to seeing our breath and snow on the nearby hills. We decided we had enough, packed-up our wet gear and raced to Marana and a nice queen bed at Greg’s parents. We would have stopped at Burro Creek Campground (only $14/$7) near Wickieup, AZ but it was pouring down rain and you all know how fun it is to put up a tent in the rain. It has potable water, flush toilets, picnic tables with covers and firepits. There is a group camp area if you are coming with a group. We believe with climate change all the meteorology algorithms must be off as none of the weather predictions were correct. That is one thing we do miss from our van is pulling up and relaxing inside and not having to set-up camp. Only a few more months and our Overland Explorer Camp-M will be ready and we’ll be back in business.
One last addition, last night we went to Madera Canyon in Arizona. The Bog Springs Campground is an excellent stop for only $20/$10 a night with water at each camp spot, picnic tables, fire rings, bear box and a vault toilet. It was very quiet and very few other campers. From the campground there are a number of trails up the Madera Canyon. The area is known for its birding and did we see lots of birds: wild turkeys, hummingbirds, acorn woodpecker, warblers, trogons, flycatchers, Mexican blue jays, eagles and bats. In the evening we were infiltrated by a gang of 5 wild turkeys, two squirrels, 4 blue jays and 2 deer. They stared me down and were like–“hey woman give us food or else!” It was quite the sight to see them all together.
In our next post, we will share suggestions in organizing your toys in a cargo trailer and how to pack for overlanding adventures as we head to California, Nevada, Idaho and Montana for our next road trip. Thanks Mom and Dad for letting us crash for 10 days!