The crew and I are northward bound!
We’re on Highway 85 when we approach a checkpoint. A young, uniformed man waits for me to stop at the rumble strips. I bring down my window and say hello. He’s curious about the PTV, peering through the window toward the back seat. The crew barks. “Oh, you’ve got dogs.” I can see he’d like more information, so I offer some.
“My two dogs and all my possessions are here on wheels. I live in the travel trailer.”
This throws him off a bit. “What do you do for a living?” he asks.
“I’m retired.” I reply. “I like to travel.”
He hesitates a moment. “So. You’re a transient.”
“Yes, I guess you could say that.” I hold back a giggle at his word choice. I’ve never been called a transient before! (I find it’s not a good practice to laugh while being questioned by someone in a uniform.) He asks me if I’m a citizen of the United States, the standard question, before sending us on our way.
The drive to Gila Bend goes quickly.
It’s about 45 miles. It’s another 35 miles to Buckeye where Highway 85 intersects Interstate 10. I spy a Shell station off to the right. Yay! This is the place that has free dumps! Once that task is completed, the crew and I head east toward Phoenix, take the loop north to Highway 6o, and continue northward to Wickenburg. I’m so pleased with Bridget and Spike. They don’t make a sound.
It’s Saturday and Wickenburg bustles with tourists.
We don’t stop. We’re on a mission to locate our boondock site! Continuing northwest on Highway 89, we come to the town of Congress and meander over to Ghost Town Road. The BLM land is northwest of town.
The day’s journey was about 150 miles.
It took us about three hours going around 60 mph and stopping to dump tanks on the way.
The first thing I notice as I pull into the BLM area off of Ghost Town Road is five or six big Class A motorhomes parked in a tight cluster, as if they’re in a campground with hook-ups. That’s not for me!
As we pass through that area I see a couple of tents pitched next to the motorhome group. Two vehicles squat alongside the tents, doors wide open, radio blasting. A guy sits in the front seat of one of the cars with a beer bottle in his lap. He’s sitting bolt upright with his eyes closed, obviously in a stupor. A glance at the other car gives me a glimpse of a woman’s bare behind. Oh, Lord help us. Gotta get away from this mess!
The PTV cautiously carries us onward.
We go up the dirt road through prickly pear cacti, palo verde, and mesquite toward the mountain. No one is camped back here, and it’s quiet.
We come to a lane off to the right. I stop, get out, leaving the crew, and walk to investigate. I come to a big site but it’s too close to the lane. I continue on. Around a bend I see another offshoot road leading to a clearing. It has a tree! I hurry to look. Yes, I like this! This is nice!
Spike and Bridget sense my excitement.
After riding asleep since morning, they’re ready to get their paws on solid ground. Spike bugs me for a walk while I try to set up. He’s full of energy. Okay. Let’s go, guys! As we walk away from our campsite, I turn and take a photo.
I can’t stop smiling. What a great success! I revel in my accomplishment. I researched, made a decision, brought us safely to new, unfamiliar territory, and parked us in a beautiful, free campsite . . .
And I did it all by myself!
Darby Well doesn’t count as MY first .boondock
When the crew and I were caught in a snowstorm in New Mexico, Al and Kelly (The Bayfield Bunch) felt sorry for us and invited us to camp near them in the warm, Arizona desert.
I’ll always remember how they helped me transition from campground rver to boondocker. Together with Rick, they helped me pick a spot and get settled.
I had guides to that boondock . . .
Now I’m on my own!
This camp is my first independent boondock and I’m absolutely delighted with it!
I leave the BLT hitched to the PTV overnight.
I want to make sure this is the place where we want to camp for several days, and also whether the BLT is in the best position in regards to the sunrise, sunset, and such.
We explore the surrounding paths and roads. There are so many different trails. That will keep the crew happy!
When we return, I’m so hungry I cook up a big spaghetti supper with a green salad. Bridget and Spike fall into deep sleep right after eating.
I try the laptop and see there’s a strong Verizon signal. Great! After dark I turn on the television and run the channel scan. Thirteen channels! I pull up the blind and see the lights of Congress in the distant night. The stars shine brightly above.
Yes, rvsue, you did good, girl, real good.
Excellent! I’ve never met Al and Kelly, but from Al’s blog, they sure seem like the best.
A friend who’s getting ready to hit the road for the first time asked me, “How do you get to be self-confident?” My answer – by doing things you’re afraid of or nervous about.
Congrats – it will get easier and easier and soon be second nature. As for the bare bum, always always trust your instincts. As a fellow solo woman traveler (there’s an interesting phrase), that’s one reason I prefer to boondock waaayyy over there, back where nobody ever goes. 🙂
I couldn’t get away from those tents and motorhomes fast enough! I felt sorry for the folks in the Class As. Just because they want close neighbors doesn’t mean they want to listen to loud music someone else chose.
Good advice to your friend. I also analyze my fears. Once I give them a thorough “going over,” I can see how silly they usually are.
A compass would allow you to determine the best direction to park in for the best position in regards to the sunrise, sunset, and such, and then you wouldn’t have to move the next day. Just a thought.
Thanks, Fred. Good idea. I’ve been meaning to get one. Fortunately it was late afternoon so I could tell where sunrise and sunset would be.
You did GREAT!! I’ve been following your blog for a while. It is great information for me, who is planning on RVing full-time and the majority of that time will be boondocking … hounds included. I follow every post of your blog and enjoy your stories, pictures and the dogs.
Thanks, Steve! One thing I was going to include but forgot . . . When you’ve got dogs with you and you’re facing setting up camp, it’s a good idea to let them out to walk around a bit just before you get to your destination. Then you’re not distracted with their crazy barking while trying to back in and do all the other tasks at a new camp. That one thing has taken the stress out of arriving somewhere after a long drive.
It’s great that you have a canine crew, too! Pets add so much.
Hi Sue – I’m in Puerto RIco and immediately thought of you today when our threesome sat down to eat at the restaurant Mi Casita. I did everything you can imagine to try and buy a menu to send you, but to no avail. The best I could do was take a picture of the menu.
If I had your email address I could send you the snapshot. Thinking of you…
Oh, Jody, you’re so sweet! And I didn’t know I had a reader in Puerto Rico!
Sue. I’ll “see” your Puerto Rico, and “raise” you a Vienna, Austria.
The internet is still something that I find mind boggling from time to time. Probably a side effect of my generation.
Oh, and about the lady’s “bare behind”. Don’t you wish there were some things you could just, “unsee”?
Hi Bob in Vienna!
I’m pleased to see you’re still stopping by my blog.
Yeah, I couldn’t turn my eyes away fast enough. No telling what was going on in that car!
I love your blog…..I love the pictures and your commentary. And I love YOU, my Sister RVSue!!!! You make me smile and sometimes giggle…and sometimes a tear comes to these eyes…today in gladness that you are happy.
I was so pleased with myself yesterday I couldn’t stop smiling and talking to the crew which is a cover for talking to myself actually. “Isn’t this great, Spikey?” “Look at our pretty yard, Bridget!”
Now I’ve revealed the biggest reason for camping alone . . . so no one will hear me talking to myself!
Looks like a great place. I am sure you and the crew will enjoy all the new sights, sounds, and it sounds like some new critters too. Will be anxious as you post more photos of the things you and the crew discover on your walks. http://www.tripswtihtwo.com/blog/.
The chipmunks, jackrabbits, and cottontails are all around. I put out birdseed last night and it was gone this morning. I have a sneaking suspicion the resident chipmunk ate it, as I haven’t see many birds at all. A gila woodpecker landed in our tree, that’s it.
Another step forward, Kiddo!!!!!
And ain’t it fun!
Seems like you have been traveling all around my home, here in Phoenix. Now that the weather is getting really nice, be careful when out walking with the crew. It is rattlesnake season. They love the warmer weather and are coming out now. Looks like cooler weather for the next few days. If there is rain, the desert will smell so good! Enjoy….
I’m keeping an eye out for snakes. We walk mainly on two track trails and the vegetation is sparse enough to give a good view of the ground. We stay away from piles of rocks. The day will come when we encounter one, I’m sure.
I was just thinking the very thing when I saw the word ” birdseed “. As much as the birds love you for it, so do the rodents, and the snakes love the rodents. Be careful and your ears sharp for that rattling sound, they will be out soon if this weather keeps up.Our dog is very nosey and curious, so for this very reason we have her vacinated every 6 months for rattlesnake bites.
There’s a vaccine for rattlesnake bites? Are you sending me on a snipe hunt, or is this true?
The Good Luck Duck
Yes, there is a rattlesnake bite injection, and it is extremely expensive! Over $3oo.oo, but worth it. The dog will still get very sick but it helps.
Welcome home!!!! You need one of those bumper stickers… Home is where you park it!” Looks like another beautiful spot to explore!
Thanks for the welcome, Geri!
Good move…but watch the overnite weather….dipping into the mid 30s where you are right now. At this time of year its all about Elevation – Elevation – Elevation ……you went UP a little over 1000 feet in your journey north
Hi, Greg and Jean,
Yeah, it’ll be in the low 30s by Monday night/Tuesday morning. I’ll fire up the Wave3 and cuddle the crew.
I’ve been following you since you picked up your Casita. It’s so much fun to see your confidence growing and to see our stomping grounds from new eyes.
I’m glad you’re enjoying our escapades!
Sue, how/why did you decide to go to this BLM area as opposed to all the others in AZ?
I wanted to go north as opposed to east or west . . . and I wanted to go somewhere I hadn’t read a gazillion blog posts about! How’s that for a silly reason?
You know Al & Kelly are somewhere nearby right? Hangin’ out with some very cute cows. The photos of Pheebs and her new friends are so cute……
Yeah, I read their blog daily. We exchanged a few emails today, orienting ourselves to each other’s camp. Their Pheebs is a big furry bunch of exuberance!
Wish we could do the same. Sounds great!!!!!
I wish you could, too!
Congratulations Sue on your latest accomplishment. You never know what you can do until you’ve done it! I always look forward to reading your blog.
Again, you are an amazing person, wonderful new spot for you and the crew. Can’t wait to hear about your adventure here and the pictures. Take care and have fun your nothern ontario reader
Thanks for the kind words. Stay warm and safe!
Hi Sue,A transient?lol… Sounds like another days adventure. You did good. MMMMMM Are you an American citizen? Yes officer I am from Kentucky.Can you tell?lol Ya”ll come ,Ya”ll here now??/lol. As usual I enjoyed reading your blog. keep on writeing…Joe
Being a transient isn’t like what I imagined! Glad you enjoyed the blog.
you may know by now, but the bayfield bunch are near you. they mentioned about ghost town area in latest blog. Hope you enjoy the site and keep us all posted.
Hi, Barry! Yeah, we’ve been in touch. I drove right past the area where they are camped on my way here.
Congratulations on your first official boondock, Sue! You sound thrilled and proud, and rightly so! I can only imagine what that kind of independence is like. What an inspiration you are.
The area looks wonderful with those hills all around, and it’s so nice to have your ‘own’ tree. Will there be as many flowers blooming in this area? Years ago we stayed in Benson, AZ (in a Burro!) while we birded SE Arizona on day trips. We even hiked in the Chiricahua Mountains!
Thanks, once again, for sharing your adventure with us. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!!!
I want to see those mountains, too, someday. Maybe next fall on my way back to Darby Well. . .
There aren’t very many flowers around here. I do miss seeing new flowers every day! Every spot has something to offer . . .
Chiricahua Mountains National Park is spectacular !!! Check it out Sue !!
I may have been looking down on you from today’s walk up the Weaver Mountains NE from Congress. It’s a nice piece of desert.
I respect your privacy yet offer an invitation to Yarnell.
I extend an invitation to you to stop by my site. Come over tomorrow morning (Mon.) if you can. Al and Kelly are going to visit.
(See, everyone, I’m not totally antisocial!)
Will see. What’s morning?
Any time after nine!
Hi Sue, Bridget and Spike!
I’m so impressed! I wish I was there! (ok not too close) LOL
I’m still in the planning stage but would love to be on the road like you Sue. Great pics!
I will keep following your adventures. Where to next?
Julie in Oregon
Where next? I haven’t a clue!
Hi Sue- K and I are keeping track of you, just not talking much. Lots happening and learning more about the ‘green energy’ business. I know about where you are at. My first system was sold to a couple who live in (ready for this) Surprize, AZ. They saw my prototype at EB Lake about a year ago.
Lovely WX we are having. K is having some breathing problems so we are planning to go see ham radio friends in St David, AZ. (lower elevation). We’re in the MH mode! Stay cute. Love the new hat! Cheers BR, K and kids.
Always a treat to have you show up here! I’m sorry to hear Kathy is having problems. Give her a hug and my best wishes for her health.
Oh, the hat! You gave me the prototype! I’ll be emailing you … too much to say here.
Ahhh, YOUR spot. The area has an interesting history. Way to go gal.
MINE, ALL MINE!!!
Hi Rv Sue, I am new to this blog. Your photo today brings back memories for me. I lived fulltime in a 20 foot minnie winnie for two years. May 1994 to may 1996 . I only stopped the journey because of a major health issue. I boondocked a LOT. In fact most of the time. I sold stuff at flea markets and craft fairs (not able to retire yet at 40). Well, now fast forward and I am 57 and seriously thinking of fulltiming it again in the near future. So, looking up stuff online I came across your blog. Hey, my name is Sue too. Anyways, I Love your little trailer and one thing I want to ask. Since I lived 2 years in a class c motorhome. Are you glad you are doing it in a trailor??? Do you if parked in places like the current spot every lv the trailor and drive into town?? I know there are pros and cons about having the car seperate. Alltho I think if I stayed small again I may just go with a class c again. Possibley a little bigger cause I also have furry kids to bring along. Will tell you more about them later. Love your new camp spot. Beautiful !!!
O My gosh. Just noticed all my spelling errors. I do know how to spell but get typing so quick. LOL! Another thing is that in 94 when I rvd it was much harder to keep in touch with people. I had a giant cell phone ( they must have just come out) and it cost a fortune to roam so I ended up not using it at all and instead had a voice mail box for people to leave me a message if needed. Wow, so much easier to keep in touch now !!!
I loved reading your story! It’s very brave to fulltime before retirement, trying to make a living on the road. I’m happy to hear you may be back to boondocking again!
I am completely happy with my decision to get a travel trailer. At first I wanted a Class C and then I saw the fiberglass trailers . . . well. I didn’t like the idea of not having a separate vehicle from my house. And if you tow a car behind your Class C that’s two engines to maintain and so many tires!
Sure, I leave my Casita and go off in my van. I lock the door and the hitch.
I hope you will write here again, Sue. I’m interested in knowing about your future life on the road. Good luck!
Hi Sue, It may be about another year before I make the plunge again. But, am seriously thinking about it and looking into it. I only had the class c but it was small so I just drove it everywhere that I had to go. Also had a bicycle so sometimes parked the rv and rode the bike. I was in Key west for a few months and had a part time job.Parked at a park durring day and rode bike to work. Believe it or not I boondocked the whole time there (not easy in Key West but doable). Went once a week to stay in state park one night on another key so as to use dump, fill up water, etc..So, this will be a big decision as to class c again or trailer. Also, one of my biggest worries is that I know have 3 cats and a dog. I did travel with one cat before. I just wonder how these ones will do . Anyways, I am looking forward to following your travels. I also want to go back and read you posts from early on. Talk to you again soon.
Congratulations on your first on your own boondock! I’m jealous and would love to be boondocking now – well without the threat of snakes anyway. Hmmm may have to adjust my thoughts on non-winter boondocking.
Haven’t seen a snake yet. I have a terrible aversion to them, yet I’m not about to let them hold me back from enjoying the desert. Plus if I get the willies from seeing snakes, I can always go somewhere else.
Hey Sue! I can just imagine what MY face would look like if someone called me a transient. I hope that’s not what your face looked like! You have every reason in the world to be SUPER proud of yourself today! It looks like you’re going to love this site and now…. the sky’s the limit!
I am proud of myself! Everything went so smoothly . . . I thank God for the internet. Fulltime boondocking without it would be very difficult.
Looks like a lovely spot…thanks for sharing again your experiences. We are still pondering if and or when for us!! Retirement is close now…May 32st.
We noticed several Army Corps of Engineers camp signs today while traveling through new territory in Virginia. One was shut down as noted at the sign. We have friends who often stay at them.
Elizabeth in NC
My little experience with COE parks has been positive. I really like their parks. I hope that park is closed temporarily for maintenance or something.
Countdown to retirement! Good for you!
I haven’t commented in a couple of months, or longer. However I read all your posts, most of them with a touch of envy. To see how much your self confidence has grown is amazing. Not sure I could do as well. To quote a commercial of long, long, ago: “You’ve come a long way, Lady!”
Looking forward to all your future travels.
I appreciate you sticking with my blog. I know what you mean about confidence. When I look back at my posts just six months ago, I’m amazed, too, at how far I’ve come!
See you sometime after nine this morning. We’ll bring the Pheebs:))
Bridget and Spike will love seeing Pheebs again! Cora is welcome, too!
Take the second right off the BLM road. See ya!
I imagine setting out on a new lifestyle as you have done is a little daunting as with any change in one’s life but sounds like you are getting the hang of it with a little help from your friends (Al and Kelly). Love the way you take such good care of the crew. Every day is an adventure and a learning experience. You are a modern day pioneer in the Southwest. Glad you got away from those drunken outlaws. LOL!
Pretending to be a pioneer is easy with a refrigerator, a heater, internet, television, cellphone, propane stove, water heater, toilet, and an engine to haul me and my belongings around! I would never had been a real Pioneer crossing this country. I would have stayed back East, at least until the railroads were operating!
The crew is my family, too. Thanks for cheering me on with your comment!
I feel like I’m late to the welcoming party. 🙂 But given the chaos that is my life at the moment, that’s not unusual.
I guess all of us on the road would be considered transients. Never thought of it that way before. Congratulations on finding another great spot for boondocking in the desert. I was surprised to find you gone from Darby. I kept thinking you would wait for full flower bloom and then follow it North. Looks like you might be early for it where you are now but I suspect it will show up just the same. LOL Really looking forward to the further adventures of you three “transients”.
I wanted to wait for the flowers at Darby! I felt like the crew and I were getting a little too comfortable and lazy. We needed to shake things up a bit, get on the road, and try something new. Maybe next year, after I circle around through Utah and other states, then down through NM this fall, and west across AZ (think Chirachahua!), we’ll arrive at Darby later in the year and stay later . .. gotta figure how to do that without getting caught in cold weather again!
Good luck smoothing out your chaos . . .
Congrats Sue on finding that great spot. Dixie says to say woof to Spike and Bridget.
We are in the Tombstone, Bisbee area gettin our cowboy/gunfighter fix.
Nice to hear you are still enjoying the Southwest!
Way to go! Your tree is wonderful.
I’ve never met a tree I didn’t like.
Great great. Wonderful spot. My friend Liz could use a fence like that for the beagle and chiwawa! Where did you get it and what does it cost, if you don’t mind me asking.
It was sure fun meeting you and the crew at RTR this year. Enjoy your wonderful spot. I’ll be in CO for the summer if you get up that way.
I bought the pens online from Midwest Pets. If you look in the Archives for May, there’s an entry “Dog Exercise Pen,” (or do a search from this page). You’ll see photos, price, weight, and other details there. I always have to say when anyone inquires about the pen, “It’s one of the best purchases I made in preparation for living fulltime on the road.”
For a chihuahua and a beagle you probably wouldn’t need one as tall as mine which I think is 30 inches, unless the beagle is a high jumper.
The beagle can’t even climb up into his own van, Liz has to heft him up from the rear. It’s too funny., Thanks.
Glad you’re having a great time and found YOUR spot. Smart to keep going past the creeps.
Let me give a second recommendation for Chiricahua National Monument. Costs money but $6 per night isn’t bad although like most national parks or monuments, you’re dry camping with water and bathrooms nearby but no dump station. It’s a destination with the nearest amenities-gas, dump, groceries – in Wilcox which is 36 miles away. And it’s really not “on the way” to anywhere. You pretty much go there and then come back to Interstate 10 but it’s a wonderful small campground and a really neat area and well worth several days stay.
Heading out next week for Petit Jean State Park in Arkansas to chill for a week. Can’t wait.
We can highly recommend a COE park in AR, Lake Greeson! AR has some beautiful state parks!!!
Geri, thanks for the recommendation for Arkansas. We scoped out Petit Jean last summer when we were on a car trip with my mom. This trip is a refresh, renew and regain the sanity trip after a busy time so we’re just gonna set up camp at Petit Jean and stay put. We’ll probably check out some of the other Arkansas places later in the year.
Sue, thanks for letting us “borrow” your blog to chat with other readers. We feel like we know everyone that posts.
Following every post. Thanks for the insight and inspiration. We hope to be joining the ranks of full time rvers soon…. Can’t wait. We too will have the critters along for the adventure, ours; Doberman (LAP DOG) and MinPin! Quite a pair. They also have a cat bro…. Should be interesting.
Can’t wait to find our first ‘real’ boondocking spot and hope it looks as good as yours there, great spot.
Be safe and keep up the good blog.
Wayne & Rhonda
Tobey, Dayton & Rex
Hello. Wayne & Rhonda!
I think you’ll do fine with your canine-feline crew. If I can handle two dogs alone, the two of you will be able to manage two dogs and one cat while on the road and camping.
Thanks for the compliment on my blog. I’m always happy to hear when someone is getting something of value from it. Good luck!
We drove out to see the old cemetery off of Ghost Town Road and spotted your campsite. We chose to honor your privatize and not drop in to say Hi. You are one of a number of brave single women that we have either meant of read their blogs for sometime. You are however the first one that has done mostly boondocking and not use commercial campgrounds. The “dump” at North Ranch has an out of order sign on it, but it is my understanding it is posted thus so people will come into the office. Continue to have safe travels.
Thanks for your understanding, Tom, and for the information about the dump station at North Ranch. I’ll call there before I drive over to empty tanks.
ALWAYS trust your instincts. They were “right on” this time. A great place for you and the crew, shade tree and privacy – with TV channels that come in and a cell signal. Pretty close to shopping – sounds like the Hilton to me! Enjoy your time here with the crew.
I missed reading your comment. Sorry . . . I wasn’t ignoring you, Debbie!
I’m traveling vicariously through your blog. You seem to have morphed into a true transient, lingo and all. What is BLT? What is PTV? What is boondocking?
I’m guessing BLT=Best Little Trailer, PTV=Perfect Travel Van, boondocking=wherever you can park it.
Keep blogging. You are raising the spirits of many, many fans.
Hello, Booksandbeach! Welcome to my blog!
You almost got it . . . BLT is Best Little Trailer, yes!
PTV is Perfect Tow Vehicle!
boondocking is … yes, wherever I can park it . . .relying on power from the sun!
We have friends currently staying in Quartzite whom will be going on this weekend to the Gypsy Journal Rally in Yuma. Are you thinking to go too? We used to get the Journal via snail mail. Their website is: http://gypsyjournalrv.com/ . Your blog is one I check every day. It is interesting to hear what all you are doing, photos, etc. Thanks for sharing. Maybe one day we will be on a similar journey. We are seriously considering that possibility!!
I’m glad you find my blog worth a daily visit. Thanks for telling me (and us) about the Gypsy Journal Rally. I might have been inclined to go if I hadn’t been at Yuma twice in the recent past. Thanks also for the link.
Good luck making the right decision and plans for living on wheels!