At home again on Sidewinder Road

Saturday, December 29

Our campsite off American Girl Mine Road isn’t quite right.

After a few days I realize I’m not getting that “at home” feeling a good campsite usually gives me.  This dissatisfaction with our little, nondescript piece of desert real estate leads me to pack us up and search for another site.

American Girl Mine Road

I drive us closer to the mountains and find a spot I like next to a large palo verde tree.

I check the air card.  Four bars.  Good.  It’s nice here.  And there are some RVs not far away so when I drive into Yuma, the BLT will be within view of several people so no one will mess around with it.

It’s late afternoon, so I busy myself with getting us set up before dark.  Once all is arranged, including the antenna pointed perfectly, we go inside for the night.

That’s when it starts.

I’ve got nothing against a good vocalist singing along with guitar.  But I can’t stand a mediocre “vocalist” singing a song out his nose along with an equally painful guitar.

I rush to shut everything up tight, even the Fantastic Fan, in an effort to keep out the noise.  It doesn’t work.  After a few minutes of agony, I come up with a solution.  I turn on the television, ramp up the volume until  loud, very fast Spanish richochets from wall to wall of the BLT.  This, amazingly, is an improvement and gives me some relief.


Later, after the Eric Clapton wannabe is murdered by guitar-string (well, not really, but one can hope) and the TV is off, three quads (ATVs, OHVs, whatever) roar up and like giant, droning insects they circle the campsite (going between the palo verde and the BLT!), looking everything over.   I give them a dirty look through the window, and they rumble off, dust flying.  Hoo-boy.  This is not good.


It’s the start of New Year’ weekend, so it can only get worse.

As the above thought is rolling around my mind, an industrious camper gets out his sledge and anvil, or at least something to that effect, and commences to pound metal against metal.  What in the world? Gee, Honey, I think I’ll go out by the RV and make myself an iron wheel.  Call me when supper’s ready.” 

Can I pick ’em or what?

Sunday, December 30

At daybreak I’m outside packing us up. 

Since American Girl Mine Road seems to have drawn a  number of OHV enthusiasts, as evidenced by the FLAT BED TRUCKLOADS of these Out of Hell Vehicles, I tow the BLT back to Ogilby Road and take Sidewinder Road to the area adjacent to American Girl Mine Road.

A group camped off Sidewinder Road

A group camped off Sidewinder Road

I see another early bird puttering around his Class A.

Well, maybe this guy can help me.  I turn off the key to the PTV and walk over with a smile.  “Good morning!”  I call out.  He responds with a “Hello, what can I do for you?”

I explain that I can’t quite figure out how the camping works around here.  “I see BLM signs and it’s my understanding you’re supposed to camp within 150 feet of the marked road.  But, here people camp all over the place.  What gives?”


He points to a large area immediately to the west. 

“That land over there is private.  You can’t camp there.”  Anticipating my question, he continues, “Those two RVs camped there are friends of the owner.  Some other people were camping over there and he run them off.”

“What about right here?  Is this BLM?” I ask.

“No, this is private, too.  It’s mineral rights land.  You can camp here. ”

I tell him I like to be off by myself. 

I use the crew as a reason. (They do come in handy!)  “I don’t want my dogs bothering anyone.  How far in can I go?” I point to the middle of the desert area leading up to the mountains.

“See that fire ring?  You can drive over there, go across the little wash, and you’ll come to a flat road.  You can camp anywhere you want along that road.  The surface is good over there.”

“By the way, my name is Sue.”  I extend my hand.

1-P1010926“I’m Fred, ” he replies, shaking my hand.

He adds, “I’ve been coming here for three years, so I know where you can camp.  You’ll be okay over there.”

“Thanks a lot, Fred.  If you see me parking somewhere I shouldn’t, honk your horn, jump up and down, hoot and holler, wave your arms . . . so I know, okay?”

Now I’m energized to find our new campsite.

After checking a few possibilities, I land on a good, level place next to a tree so scraggly I can’t tell if it’s mesquite or ironwood, but it’s a tree nonetheless.  And there are bushes and two narrow washes to wind alongside the back part of the yard.  I walk around and realize, yes, this site has a good feel to it.  And there’s Fred over there to keep an eye on things when I’m gone.


I play house all day.

1-P1010946By that, I mean I do fun, nesting stuff.

I stake down the patio mat.

Bridget, Spike and I search the washes for some white quartz rocks which I use to line the border of the mat.  I set up the camp chair and table.

I make some sugar water “nectar” and hang a hummingbird feeder on our scraggly tree.  I fill up the seed feeder and hang it up also.  Soon both are receiving customers.

Bridget, Spike and I share a lunch outside in the crisp air.  I read.  The crew sleeps.

It’s almost dark now. 

No guitar-playing, no singing, no motorized vehicles roaring by, no metal clanging.  A little generator noise, but that’s okay.  I can tolerate that.

Besides,  I’ve got that “at home” feeling!



About rvsueandcrew

Fulltime nomad
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73 Responses to At home again on Sidewinder Road

  1. Neita says:

    Oh wow! I didn’t expect to read about noise and craziness where you are. I thought that was relegated to the East Coast campgrounds … Honestly, there are times when I just don’t want to camp anymore because of all the noise. I’m glad you found a peaceful spot.

  2. Way to go. Glad you used your resources and found a “homey” spot. (Thanks to Fred.)

    I wouldn’t have wanted to camp in the first place you described either. I don’t like a lot of noise!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Funny how some noises are easy to accept and others are so objectionable. As I type this, the wind howls outside and is not annoying in the least. Same goes for the early morning train whistles . . .

  3. cinandjules (NY) says:

    Sheesh……..what a day or two! Glad you found peace and that “at home” feeling is with you once again. Nothing worse than having to listen to someone who thinks they can sing…or eating the dust of the OHV’s tearing up the land.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Yes, we’re in a good spot now. And the rain last night washed off a lot of the dust that the OHVers blew onto the PTV and BLT at that other camp. So all is well that ends well . . .

  4. Pat says:

    I was afraid you would have a lot of noise this weekend. That is a “party” area this time of year, anywhere close to the dunes. Glad you found a quiet site. Enjoy your peace.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I read somewhere that there are 85,000 acres available to OHVers in this desert (around Ocotillo and the Imperial Dunes). I’m hoping that’s enough room to spread them out enough so quiet places without all that airborne dust will remain for ol’ fuddy-duddy campers like myself.

  5. Dave says:

    Wow, how are you supposed to know just where you can camp in that area? From what I can see the land looks all the same with few signs. Private but with mineral rights..whats does that ,mean. Seems confusing to me.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      “How are you supposed to know just where you can camp in that area?” My thought, exactly, Dave. That’s why I had to find someone who’s camped here repeatedly and knows what’s what.

      Of course, as you know, “mineral rights” means the owner has ownership, not only of the surface, but of the minerals underground. Maybe Fred meant that the owner (whether an individual or company) has the mineral rights and doesn’t care about how the land is used as long as the right to mine the land in the future is secure. I didn’t ask Fred to explain due to the early hour and having just met him while interrupting whatever it was he was doing.

      It is VERY confusing knowing where to camp. Some “roads” which are really not more than dirt lanes are labelled with a post as BLM. You can camp 150 feet from the side of these roads. However, the roads disappear in a maze of tracks left by the OHVers or they simply disappear in a wash. Some lanes don’t have any designation.

      You either camp where other people are camped. Or if you want to be off by yourself, ask someone who knows.

  6. Connie & Mugsy says:

    Do explain the person with the multi-colored parachute… What the heck is it? And where did you encounter it? …inquiring minds want to know…

  7. Hotel California says:

    So are you getting yourself an OHV or not?

  8. SandiNature says:

    I couldn’t help but laugh. I know it probably wasn’t funny to you at the time, but I found your humor exceptionally amusing. It’s been called sarcasm, but I like to think of it as ‘humor at the expense of other people’. Sometimes people just do things that are so outrageous – like ” three quads (ATVs, OHVs, whatever) roar up and like giant, droning insects they circle the campsite …. looking everything over. I give them a dirty look through the window, and they rumble off, dust flying.” They deserve to be compared to giant droning insects! blahahahaha.

    Thanks for the laugh this Sunday night. I needed given my football team, the Raven’s, just lost their four game. Ugh. Our quarterback needs to go.

    Happy New Year! Keep us posted.

  9. patricka51 says:

    Oh well, sounds like you have had a time of it. We have passed the Ogilby Road exit many times going and coming from Yuma. Always wondered it it would be worth stopping and finding a place to camp. Most of the time we were on our way home or going to Fishers landing to see the Father-in-law.
    Have a Happy New Year. It’s been raining off and on here today so it’s on it’s way to visit you and the crew. Enjoy.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Patrick!

      Your prediction is correct . . . We did have some rain in the middle of the night last night. It was quite a surprise after the blue sky/white clouds of yesterday.

      This is a good place to avoid winter’s cold or to stay a night or two on the way to somewhere else. There’s plenty of room, that’s for sure! Some people enjoy exploring the mines and hills, although that’s not for me and the crew.

      You have a Happy New Year, too!

      • Carol Leonard says:

        I wondered why you don’t like to explore the hills? When we stayed at the Fountain of Youth Spa near the Choc Mts it was so much fun to explore the mountain paths & go to the Painted Canyon area in the Mecca Hills off Box Canyon Road. It is so much fun to see what is around the bend or over the rise or in the slot canyon. I know it can be dangerous to be alone on a hike but I am sure a lot of the campers near you would like to explore with you.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          But I don’t want to explore with other campers. 🙂

          I know exploring is a lot of fun. I’ve done a lot of that in my life. Even as a child I used to climb my grandfather’s mountain and have many wonderful memories.

          Right now it’s not something I want to do. I have to think of my crew. Bridget is fine on our walks if they aren’t too long. Often on the walk back home she hikes up the leg that was injured. This is walking on flat ground. I don’t want to push our luck having her climbing and scrambling up rocky, uneven areas.

          Then there’s Spike. He’s not a young pup any more. He starts out a hike with great energy and then he “hits a wall” and becomes winded. Sometimes I have to carry him home. Again this is walking on flat ground. Do I want to be up the side of a mountain when Bridget tears that ligament again and Spike is totally worn out? No.

          I have an abundance of enjoyment without climbing. People say I’m courageous. I don’t know about that. I do know I’m cautious. If I were to end up on crutches, I don’t know how I’d manage. It’s nice of you to want to add to my fun, Carol.

  10. Sherry says:

    Oh that kind of noise would drive me crazy too. Like you, I’d have been packed up and heading out. The human neighbors sound terrible but those clouds you’ve got for neighbors are really grand!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Sherry . . . Nice to hear from you!

      Isn’t the sky over the desert lovely? The sunrises and sunsets are on fire and then the daytime blues with puffy white clouds or gauzy strips of clouds . . . Some people think the desert is drab. Maybe so at this time of year. But when you include the sky, it’s anything but drab!

  11. gingerda says:

    I am thinking the same thing as what Dave said in his comment. How are you supposed to know where to camp? It all looks alike. I’m glad you found a better spot, and that it doesn’t get too crazy there with the New Years Eve celebrating. You should see my town (like the way I say MY? lol)…talk about crazy.
    I hope you have a happy healthy new year!!
    Ginger in Las Vegas

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Las Vegas on New Year’s Eve… Now that must be crazy!

      You’re right… The desert looks the same, whether state-owned, BLM, private, private mineral rights, whatever! That’s why I wanted to hear some information from someone who’s camped here a lot.

      Happy New Year, Ginger.

  12. Sra. Julia says:

    Weekend Warriors/Holiday Warriors sheesh, glad you found a good spot hopefully there won’t be any fireworks aficionados nearby especially considering you have fur kids to take care of. My old dog would did not like fireworks or thunderstorms she would try to hide under something to avoid the noise. Made for some interesting moments she was over 100 lbs. 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      In my travels since last summer I’ve noticed several signs prohibiting fireworks due to dry conditions. I saw firsthand what one person playing with fireworks can do when we were camped at Red Mtn Campground in MT… blackened hills and fields and the remains of a swing set where a home once was. So far I haven’t heard any fireworks here (12/31 morning).

      I look at my crew and remember your loss, Julia, and wish you comfort from your grief. Our canine pals are so precious and their time with us is way too short!

      • Timber n' me says:

        Sue,the county i’m in made it eliegal to shoot off fireworks, 1000.00 fine n’ 6 months in th’ gray bar hotel, if ya get caught, but i gess some don’t care cause they been shootin since Saterday nite. I when’t to town yesterday n’ saw that most are from California with their families of dirt bikes n’ such,,,,,,it’s a fad to come to th’ river and party th’ new year in,,,,,,,,,,,,glad ya got a good spot,,,,n’ Timber n’ I wish ya a healthy Happy New Year,,,,,be safe

  13. Rattlesnake Joe says:

    “If it wasn’t for the darkness, we couldn’t see the stars”. Now you appreciate the peace and quiet you usually have even more. Treasure these days, soak up the freedom like a sponge.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re absolutely right, Joe. Last week I griped about generator noise. Now, after all I wrote about in this post, the generator isn’t bothering me. I do treasure each day. This slow pace of winter is doing all three of us some good. Hope you are doing well, too.

  14. Sunny says:

    i am kinda looking forward to getting out there somewhere to boondock when I leave my brother’s place next week. Just don’t know guite where yet. Your post reminded me of some things to watch out for 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Even when looking out for the things that tend to ruin a boondock, sometimes they don’t appear until you’ve settled in. That’s when I say, “Oh, well. Time to move.” And isn’t it grand that we CAN move! Good luck planning your getaway.

  15. geogypsy2u says:

    You really have to pay attention to the gut feeling of “home” when on the road. Sure glad Fred steered you the right way. Any tree is better than none. Enjoy the desert.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      While on this journey I’ve learned not to shy away from asking people questions. Now I’m reassured that I’ve chosen a legal campsite. Enjoy your mountain.

  16. Rita says:

    Did you try Lower Sonoran National Monument SW of Tucson? Looks like they have disbursed undeveloped camping on BLM land. Apparently they also have a field office somewhere close to the monument….might be quieter and more friendly and homey. Maybe other RVers have camped there before if you inquire before deciding to locate there. Unfortunately, they have a 14 day limit according to the web site I was looking at. West of Yuma you prob get a lot of ATVs cuz the sand dunes are close by.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Rita!

      I’m holding back from going to southern Arizona. The nighttime lows around Yuma have been in the 40s. In Ajo and other southern AZ locations the nighttime lows have dipped into the low 30s. (according to That difference is considerable.

      It’s my guess there is no 14-day limit where we are now, since it’s private, and I haven’t felt the need to turn on the heater.

  17. PamP says:

    Funny – I never realized that sometimes when camping I do either ‘feel at home’ or don’t. You put the words to it. Enjoy the desert winter. Hope you can stay where it’s warm.

  18. Jack says:

    Thanks Sue, I didnt realize that area was that large. I prefer to be closer to a small community. Wellton cant compare to Borrego but its a fun place to knock around and explore. Best of all it has a library thats snow bird friendly and has a very strong WIFI!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      It’s good to know a place to stop between Yuma and Gila Bend. As you probably know, I don’t like to drive long distances in one day. Short hops are more fun.

      And a small town nearby is a plus, I agree. That’s what I like about camping near Borrego Springs CA, Lone Pine CA, Wheatland WY, Hot Springs SD, Virgin UT, Duchesne UT, Dillon MT, Ajo AZ . . . and many more.

      • Cherie says:

        Would love to hear which campsites were your favorite this past year, and why. Might make for an interesting topic to begin the new year. I wish you good health and great campsites in the coming year Sue & Crew.

  19. Elizabeth says:

    Well, maybe the bad singer’s neighbors in the town he lives in, are right glad to be rid of the singing for a time…never fails to amaze me how much courage some bad singers have…they do not seem to realize how poorly equipped they are!! (A lot of them in churches these days too…called THE worship team…heh)

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Many times I’ve consoled myself with the thought “At least I know that I don’t know.” And that goes for singing, too. At least I know not to!

      • Elizabeth says:

        Heh-heh…hope the new spot will remain good and quiet!! One of the main things I so enjoy about our current spot in this barn apt is the QUIET!!

  20. LuAnn says:

    Happy New Year to you Sue! I hope you find beautiful “quiet” boondocking spots this upcoming year. 🙂

  21. Carol Leonard says:

    When on Ogliby Rd did you explore the ghost town of Tumco? I see by google maps there is the remains of the saloon & cemetary.

  22. Susan in Dallas says:

    Too bad Spike and Bridget couldn’t have serenaded the guitar strumming “singer” with a few howls while he was strumming. Although I sing in my church choir, I consider my best gift to be that I know when what I am singing is not right and I can then immediately switch to my Milli-Vanilli mode until I get back on track. Happy New Year to you and the crew! Hope there is some great boondocking ahead for you in 2013.

  23. DeAnne from TN says:

    Happy New Year to everyone. My resolution is to never make another one. Instead we should pursue what gives up happiness, share what gives us joy, and learn to appreciate what we have.

  24. Homeofmyown says:

    Happy New Year! Sue and crew. I’m still sorting things getting ready for my RV. It’s hard, not so much clothes and shoes, or family pictures, but books, hobbies (I like to sew, bead and knitt) and kitchen. I’m thinking my hobbies could be a source of income. The RVs I’m looking at are small, economical, I’m thinking a type c motorhome would best serve me. I want to be ready by Feb. 1. I am so excited to see this beautiful country and meet the people. Have a great day.

    • DeAnne from TN says:

      I won’t be retiring to my Parkliner for a few years, but I had (emphasis…HAD) two rooms full of craft things–jewelry, quilting, knitting, etc. I went through all of it, gave most to charity, and kept two plastic Tupperware bins for “retirement.” I have never felt better. I am no longer overwhelmed about which project to tackle next–I must choose from what is in those boxes. Of course, I can resupply those bins! 😉

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Homeofmyown . . . You may not see this reply. But if you do, I’d love to hear why you want a Class C.

      Happy New Year to you, too!

  25. suburbanlife says:

    As a shower singer who has tortured my family for many years, forcing them to throw cold water on me while in full, wet vocal flight, and enthusiastically unaware of what was coming, I think I may understand a bit of your discomfort with the wannabe American Idol camping nearby. By the way, a guitar makes a fine bludgeon for frustrated listeners to apply to the wannabe famous singer; and I do believe the wire garotte was invented by a disgusted recipient of vocal largesse by a bad singer.
    Being beset by ATVs is a surefire sign to vacate a site. I hope you and the crew sit out a comforting New Years Eve, sans fireworks. I have a good friend who drugs her Jack Russel with doggie Ativan on New Years Eves.
    My best wishes for an enjoyable and adventurous 2013. G

  26. Lynn says:

    Happy New Year! I look forward to your new adventures. Luv, Lynn Janie, Romeo, Kat, & Kitty:)

  27. Kathryn says:

    Happy New Year Susan!!!!!!!!!

  28. twoscamps says:

    Glad you found a peaceful place to greet the new year, Sue! This post made me LOL! The beauty of this lifestyle is that you can pack up and move on. Wishing you and the crew happy travels in 2013! -Maureen

  29. Jean &Skip says:

    Happy New Year Sue,
    You have had such a wonderful 2012, it will fun to top it in 2013.

  30. Rita says:

    Happy bright and sunny new year! Winter solstice has long passed and we are on the upswing for warmer weather 🙂 Soon you will be bound for new adventures north…safe travels to you, Spike and Bridget.

  31. JuliaG says:

    ~Happy New Year Sue, Bridgit & Spikey~ Wishing you all wonderful adventures, health and happiness in 2013~

  32. Your little piece of heaven for sure! You sound so much like me– I know just what you mean. when you comment on liking your “privacy.” I was raised by my grandmother and mom–two teachers who loved the peace and quiet. I currently live alone and never get bored. My husband lives 8 blocks away and we stay in daily contact, so I’m not really alone-alone but just enough to do whatever I want without worrying that he won’t like it.

    Wishing all three of you a Happy and Healthy New Year and keep those great blogs coming.

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