We are excited to begin our first really big road trip as RVers. If all goes to plan (and we know it won’t) we’ll be on the road for about 10 weeks, drive over 3,600 miles through four states in the southwestern US, and experience some incredible events.
As a rite of passage we began our big trip in Quartzsite AZ during The Big Tent RV show. In this area, dry camping is done on either free BLM land or in long- term visitor areas ( LTVAs) which are large desert areas that offer limited trash, sewer, and water services on-site.
There are no assigned spaces and very few rules. You just find spot in the desert and make it yours.
It’s $40 for two weeks or $180 for the entire season, so it attracts quite a variety of people!
RVers come from all over to take part in various events. Some come for the rock and gem shows and some come for the entire winter season to enjoy the near-perfect weather. We were here for four days of the ten day RV show and that was enough.
If you like swap meets, fair food, and riding ATVs, this place is for you. Set up around town you’ll find temporary bars, makeshift grocery stores, and lots of vendors selling rocks.
While I’m in a boot while walking to try to heal my sore foot, the doctor cleared me for biking. So, we enjoyed a little mountain bike riding through the desert and of course some beautiful sunsets.
However, camping in the desert with no services amidst a lot of dusty ATV traffic gets old quickly.
Still, Quartzsite in January is “the place to be,” and we enjoyed the RV show, swap meets, and the festive atmosphere.
After four nights we headed south seeking a bit more tranquility.
We found what we were looking for at Squaw Lake which is adjacent to the Imperial Dam LTVA site in Winterhaven, CA.
Originally we planned to use our 14-day LTVA pass that we bought for Quartzsite. However, the Imperial Dam LTVA, located near the Yuma Proving Grounds, offered separate fee areas that were more picturesque and had more services. Squaw Lake Campground is basically a parking lot turned into a campground. With asphalt, showers, and flush toilets, it is worth the $7.50 per night. And the views were worth a million bucks.
Squaw Lake is connected to the Colorado River and is teeming with bird life. Over our three days here we soaked in the tranquility and beautiful views.
Our kayak would have come in handy here but instead we explored the nearby LTVA by bike and Steve got in some good long runs.
Look at the picture below. You can see all of the RVs that dot the landscape in the LTVA behind Steve.
The LTVA here is huge and broken into numerous neighborhoods. The campers here come back year after year. They even have a little “liberry,” a converted old Airstream, where you can exchange books.
We met people from all over who are basically doing what we’re doing: roaming from place to place and enjoying whatever adventures present themselves We’re sure there are more adventures ahead.