Juniper Hill Camp!

Friday, March 29 (continued)

We leave Bloody Basin Road behind, cross to the west side of Interstate 17, and travel a dirt road over gently rolling hills.  This is public land (Bureau of Land Management).


1-P1030232The vast emptiness soothes my nerves and I find myself poking along at no more than 30 mph.

After about five miles we arrive at the ghost town of Cordes, abandoned by everyone except the Cordes family in the 1950s.


I don’t stop to nose around private property.


Instead I quickly take these drive-by photos and turn right at the stop sign.

1-P10302381-P1030241Before and after Cordes, good places to camp appear.

I stop at a potential camp and let out the crew.  A photo cannot convey the glorious feeling of standing alone at the top of a knoll overlooking this grassy landscape, a cool breeze caressing my face on this otherwise hot day.


The land is empty except for cattle and animals that live in the wild.  If it weren’t for the cactus plants, this would seem like Montana, rather than central Arizona.


I want a cozy campsite, so I keep going.


We travel to the little town of Spring Valley at Highway 69. 

Interstate 17 is a few miles to the east.  Rather than face that mess again, I turn us northwest onto 69 to drive twenty miles to Dewey.  At the intersection with Highway 169 I find a shady spot, go back to the BLT, and retrieve some sliced turkey for me and the crew.  I open up my laptop, turn on the Verizon card, and study the online Prescott National Forest map.

The map shows lots of camping on the north side of Highway 169. 

I take it to the east.  I turn onto Old Cherry Road which surprises me by leading into a neighborhood.  As soon as I’m on this road, a sign appears announcing that the forest road I need is not accessible from here.  The sign also includes other information that only a local would understand. Great.  You coulda told me all this BEFORE I turned here.

In a very tight spot, I turn us around and get back on Highway 169.  Further east I find another forest road that looks promising.  It quickly disintegrates into deep ruts and rocks, and it looks like a favored location for drive-by trash-throwing.  Again, a tight turn and we’re outta here.

It must be at least 3 o’clock and I’m weary.

Well, this side of Interstate 17 is no good.  Lots of forest roads on the east side.  Maybe we’ll have better luck over there.  We cross the interstate and Highway 169 turns to dirt.  After exploring the horribly rutted, washed out, winding, hilly, unmarked forest roads with no place to camp, I finally drive up a slope to a sweet, secluded spot by a very large juniper tree.

I hereby christen this camp Juniper Hill Camp!


Later, worn out but happy, I turn my camp chair toward the west, and with Bridget and Spike at my feet I watch the sun set on this long, but memorable day.

1-P1030251 Below our camp and beyond the trees, the lights on the interstate reveal Easter weekend travelers continuing to make the mad dash toward their holiday.


Note:  Our Juniper Hill Camp is approximately 12 winding miles west of Camp Verde and 12 interstate miles north of Cordes Junction.


About rvsueandcrew

Fulltime nomad
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49 Responses to Juniper Hill Camp!

  1. Pat Kitchen says:

    Hi Sue. Love to follow your travels and happy that you found a place to settle down for the night, if not for longer. We are @ an RV park at Logan Martin Lake in Cropwell, Al. Stayed here 3 days and will leave tomorrow heading east to visit adult kids in South Carolina, after an Easter morning service at Our Lady of the Lake, which is just across the street.
    Hope your Juniper spot turns out just right for you and the pups. Safe travels. Pat K

  2. Rob says:

    I’m glad you found a spot..

  3. Ed says:

    I’m a few days behind in reading your postings and have not read all the Comments since you asked for help with adding a map to your blog. This should get you started, If you have problems email me and I may be able to help. This is from Google Maps:

    You can embed a simple map, a set of driving directions, a local search, or My Maps created by other users. Here’s how:

    1. Ensure that the map you’d like to embed appears in the current map display.
    2. Click Maps Link Button at the top of the left panel.
    3. In the box that appears, copy the HTML under ‘Paste HTML to embed in website,’ and paste it into the source code of your website or blog.

    Adjust map size

    If you’d like to adjust the size of the map before you embed it, click Customize and preview embedded map, select your preferred size, and take a look at the preview map. Once you’re happy with what you see, copy the HTML that appears in the box at the bottom of the window.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks very much, Ed. I’ll see what I can do.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      BTW, somewhere else on this blog you commented that a decrease in reader’s comments about buying Amazon through my links does not mean that there are fewer orders. I wasn’t basing the decline in orders on reader comments. I get a daily report from Amazon and I noticed the number of sales and the money value of sales decreased in March as compared to February. A decline is to be expected, I suppose. I’m hoping it stabilizes soon. Or better yet, goes back up!

      • Connie & Mugsy says:

        For instance, I have stopped ordering things for awhile as I contemplate heading back north for the summer and delivery addresses become problematic until I actually get back to my northern home. That could be a small part of it.

  4. Jason says:

    Happy Easter Sue and k9 kids!
    Jason from NY

  5. katydid says:

    Hi Sue,
    After that long day’s worth of treking, I hope you have a good night’s rest at your cozy new Juniper Hill campsite. Goodnight Spike, sleep well Bridget!
    Katydid, south of Chicago

  6. Rattlesnake Joe says:

    I’ll bet Bob Wells would know of hidden just right spots to boondock on BLM land. Give him a call on your cell phone next time. He wrote a book dealing with just this subject and has tons of info at his command. But he may swear you to secrecy not to reviel these spots so you can’t tell us, but that’s okay at least we can look at the pretty pictures of your new secret spot. 🙂

  7. Pat says:

    Hi Sue,

    Glad you found a nice spot to settle. Enjoy!!!!!

    I’m still in Tucson, but will ne heading to NM in about a week. I have had enough city life……lol

    What are your plans for the summer?

    Pat, Tucson

  8. cinandjules (NY) says:

    Phew….that seemed like a doozie of a drive. Neat old cars and Coke signs.

    Juniper Hill Camp looks nice and secluded. So on BLM land you can boondock anywhere you find suitable?

    Enjoy your evening.

  9. Chuck says:

    Sue, Glad you’ve settled in, looks beautiful and peaceful! Our rule is also….”Never travel on a holiday weekend”. Have a restful and Blessed Easter. Chuck n Geri in NM
    The kidz say hi to the crew!!!

  10. You never know what you’ll come across in your travels do you? I’d love to have the old car in the smaller image. Was that located near Cordes Ranch Sue? Glad you found a spot.

  11. Cheryl Ann says:

    Happy Easter, Sue and your crew! I’m glad you found a nice spot. I love the junipers up in our local mountains. I often search for them. Some are quite large, like yours!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      We’re back in juniper and grass country again. The temperature is slightly cooler here than at our last camp. High 70s and low 80s. . . just how I like it!

  12. DeAnne from TN says:

    I love our…er, I mean your new spot. That tree will provide a little shade, and was that grass under the tree? How nice. We look forward to hearing about your stay.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Yes, that’s grass! This environment is different than the last camp. There’s still cactus around — prickly pear — and the juniper replaces the palo verde. Lots of grasses.

  13. Barbara Goodman says:

    Happy Easter Sue and Crew from Woofs n Paws……

    K-9’s Lizzy, Ming, Mi-Ah, Gracie the cat, and me the leader of the pac, Barbara

  14. geogypsy2u says:

    Not only were you out driving on the holiday you moved. OMG. Well enjoy your new view for Easter.

  15. Grace says:

    Hi Sue, Glad you found a nice place to camp. It was fun to follow your route on my Benchmark Map. I’m always so appreciative when bloggers give such great information on where to camp. Thank you and enjoy your sweet seclusion and quiet Easter.
    Grace (in Tucson)

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      If you followed our journey to this camp on your map you saw how I went out of my way to avoid Interstate 17. Except for the late search on bad forest roads, the drive was very enjoyable. Happy Easter, Grace.

  16. Kay says:

    What beautiful pictures RVSue! So sorry to hear about Spike’s hearing. I wonder, do they make hearing aids for dogs? When I take my Rowdy in to have his “manhood” modified I think I will ask that question!

    I can’t wait to hear what the Crew comes up with at this location. When I saw the picture with the cows, I was visualizing Spike looking out the window and saying “keep going RVSue I need a break from cows” LOL.

    I brought my motor home to the house yesterday. Rowdy watched me back it in and when I walked into the house he was jumping 3 feet in the air. I told him he had to be good or I would have to send him to boarding school to learn his ABC’s and 123’s, he barks and barks then lays down and put his paw over his nose. I think he was telling me he plans to be good!

    Enjoy your spot, it looks so peaceful.
    Happy Easter to you and the crew.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Rowdy sounds a lot like Spike . . . lots of spunk!

      Spike can see and hear enough to still enjoy life. He relies a lot on his nose to tell him who’s around and what’s going on. He can be outside when I open the refrigerator, and in he comes looking for a snack. And I don’t think it’s because I need to clean the fridge!

      Happy Easter to you and Rowdy.

      • Judie in Alabama says:

        So cute. I’ve lost most of my hearing too but my husband says I have “selective hearing”…can hear only what I want. lol They r both so precious and I LOVE ur/their canine comments. Glad u found a good place to camp. Woof woofs to Sprike and Bridgette from Killer.

  17. dawnkinster says:

    Glad you found a spot to settle. Love the mountains in the distance. Must have been exhausting though…how do you decide when to up and leave on spot of another? Have a great Easter…wherever you and the gang choose to spend it!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      How do I decide when to leave a camp? At the Congress Camp I know from my experience last year that the rangers take the 14-day limit seriously. In other words they do come around and check. I find 14 days usually is long enough at the same camp. I get anxious to experience a new place.

      I stayed longer at Ajo because the rangers don’t place much importance on the 14-days as long as you’re not causing problems. Also the choices for free and warm places during the coldest part of the year are not numerous. And I don’t tire of that part of the Sonoran!

      Usually, at the first thought of moving, I move so I leave the camp wanting to come back.

      You have a great Easter, too, Dawn!

  18. bythervr says:

    Hi Sue,
    On the bright side… Although you had to bypass undesirable places, before finding a place you would like to live for awhile, you are more likely to find the solitude you prefer. I have run the furnace in my trailer the last two nights to check that my batteries held up well through the winter; they did. I am anxious to hit the road; spring is here. I read your blog every morning and enjoy your every post. I love seeing pictures of the crew.

    All the best,

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Isn’t spring a wonderful invention! The flowers and the trees aren’t the only ones who “spring” back to life. I know you must be very anxious to get that trailer moving down the road. I’m glad your batteries are good to go.

  19. JOAN LATRELL ROBERTS (Phx Az, by way of Cambridge, NY) says:

    Happy Easter Sue, Spike and Bridget! So happy you have found a nice “little slice of heaven” just in time to enjoy another Arizona sunset. They can be stunners, can’t they? You are not far from my one sister in Prescott and another in Sedona, oops one more in Flagstaff! We Latrells are liable to pop up anywhere! Hope you enjoy a peaceful week-end.

  20. Rita from Phoenix says:

    I love the area you’re camped. We live in a remote area w/juniper, prickly pear and miles & miles of open range at about 6,000 ft elevation off Hwy 191 west off Interstate 40 north. Two sisters built their home not too far from one another there…I have yet to build my A-frame cabin. We grew up on this land & I love it…it’s so quiet & peaceful just like where you are at Juniper Hill Camp. My younger sister & I took a road trip & tent camped to& back from Glacier National Park….beautiful country and many interesting & historical sites. I hiked to Hidden Valley in three feet of snow. Take insect repellent for you & crew…lots & lots of biting insects. My sister commented ‘What are they thinking?” about the huge RVs in the area. I too wonder why anyone would drive a huge bus to see the country…never knowing they live in it full time LOL! I started reading your blog when I read the AZ news article about Rusty and his lost dog.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I love how pictures of my camps trigger memories in my readers. This is peaceful country in which to grow up.

      Lots of biting insects in Glacier NP? Darn!

      I’ll be seeing Rusty soon… stay tuned!

  21. libertatemamo says:

    Phew! That’s a lot of driving you went through. Glad you finally found a nice camp. Hope it becomes a place you can settle and enjoy for a while before having to move on again. I know after a lot of driving I just wanna veg for a while.

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