By far the most common question that we get as full-time RVer's is "What is your favorite place that you have been?". I know from other full timers that we are not the only ones that get this question and not the only ones that struggle with it. Our answer is usually something like "It is not one place or type of camping that we like the most but the variety of places that we get to live and diversity of experience that we like the most"
. Although that does exactly explain how we feel that answer usually seems to leave people a little disappointed. In this blog we will attempt to use "A Tale of Two Deserts" to better illustrate where we are coming from with this answer.
Although we have posted a little about our time off grid in Arizona we haven't really blogged about it. This year we decided to return to the scene of our first boondocking experience near Quartzsite, Arizona
. Well, there happens to be a huge RV show for the region yearly in Quartzsite and thousands of RVers ascend upon the area for the big show and to just have a big giant RV party. From what we could tell, this event was maybe a little bigger and more exciting a few (or 20) years ago, and most of the town looked like a strange mix of old hippy carnival combined with an assisted living facility on wheels. Out of a total of one month in the area I think we ventured to the show only one time and that was plenty. Not much to see actually, just a good place to fill and/or empty your tanks. Or buy some rocks I guess, if you are into that.
Regardless, if you are a full time RVer and you are not in Florida there is a good chance you are somewhere around this part of Arizona in January and there is a reason why. Especially if you are solar equipped
. So, it just so happened that quite a few of our Nomad friends also happen to be in this area of Western Arizona about the same time and we formed a small group that lived as a mini desert commune for a few weeks.
We choose some BLM land right outside of the Kofa National Wildlife refuge
. This actually was the perfect spot outside of some of the regulations of the refuge but close enough to visit and also far enough away from the Quartzsite nuttiness and congestion. Thanks to Eric and Jeanette of Jenericramblings.com
for scouting and finding this little gem for us all! Rufus and Hank especially appreciated your consideration of their paws and lack of Cholla cactus in the immediate area!
We collected dead wood and made great fires in the evening. We hosted a sports-ball watching party, we shared laughs, tools, experiences, meals, songs, herbs, and even skills like professional yoga instruction, jewelry making, e-commerce, guitar lessons, lock picking, personal organization, and even electrical consulting. We borrowed and bartered and all pitched in while living and working in an otherwise ordinary couple of weeks in all of our full-time RV lives. There were far more beers drank than showers taken and thankfully that also seemed ok to everyone in this group. Don't get me wrong though, this wasn't some sort of dirty hippy commune where we all just sat around all day singing Kumbaya. Ok maybe that is basically what we did do quite a bit, but that is not all we did, and we weren't all hippies! We clearly had a hipster or two among us!
We did a bunch of hiking and dog walking and Rufus was even very pleased to have the rare opportunity to be allowed to hang out with, and sometimes overzealously sniff some small dogs!
We even took a group road trip to an off-road bar appropriately called "The Desert Bar" which was completely powered by the sun. They had a band, some burgers and some old people dancing weirdly with completely straight faces as if they were being forced at gun point. You know the kind of place. Just in an unexpected out of the way ultra cool location in the middle of the desert.
Our overall experience boondocking with friends in the desert was amazing. Not just the desert experience of living off grid in an incredibly beautiful place but also the close friendships and network of support that grew as well as some new ones we got to form. I have a feeling that this is just the first of quite a few years of similar meet ups in the Arizona desert although just like an epic desert sunset, I doubt this one will ever be recreated.
So to answer the question, "what's the best place you have been?", our answer is most certainly not Quartzsite Arizona! Or is it? I guess one thing we have figured out is that the overall quality of an RV experience is what ultimately makes it great not just the location. The people you share it with is a big part and that moves this experience way up the list.
As great a time as we had, and as hard as it is to say goodbye to your friends, neighbors and a beautiful surrounding, we stunk, we were dried up and we were dirty. Living on less than 5 gallons of water per day is a great challenge but it was time to move on we needed to find an Oasis.