This is a test for those heading south for the winter. I will ask some questions and I want you to raise your hands if it applies to your RV Lifestyle.

  1. When I’m traveling I have a destination and drive long days until I get there.
  2. I never get distracted or stop to explore places I pass through on the way to my destination.
  3. When on the road I stop overnight at the campground or Walmart that is closest to the freeway so I can get going fast in the morning.
  4. After I settle into my winter RV resort/campground I stay put until I leave to head back north.

If you raised your hand to all four, may I suggest that this year you try something entirely different, to paraphrase Monte Python. Never fear, though, I won’t try to talk you into dilly dallying around as advancing winter storms swirl menacingly in your rear view mirror.  But once you get past the pine tree and mountain pass section of your trip and drop down into the creosote, Joshua tree, and long-straight-road part, ease off the gas pedal and consider a pause to take in a different part of the desert for a few days before you move on.

red_rock_canyon_sp2For example, from Central California, heading east from Bakersfield on CA58, when you cross over 3,793-foot Tehachapi Pass (expect snow flurries and fog) and drop down into the town of Mojave 1,000+ feet lower you have entered the Mojave Desert. Turn left (north) on CA14 for 40 miles to the Red Rock Canyon State Park campground for camping under towering sandstone cliffs, on the crossroads of a thousands of years old Native American trade route, by buttes and cliffs with colorful white, red, pink, and brown layers (some of Jurassic Park was shot here), next to fun-to-explore vertical slot canyons where Coopers hawks and other raptors nest, and close to the unique 2,087-foot tunnel Burro Schmidt dug by hand through the solid rock Copper Mountain (and where legend says his gold stash is still buried), and your first evening under-the-Milky-Way star show concert by the melodious serenading coyotes.

There are lots more places like this in the Mojave and Sonora Deserts. You can learn about them and about life in the desert, along with some unique boondocking and camping locations, and find lots of links to additional information, and tips for boondocking in the desert in my new eBook, Snowbirds Guide to Boondocking in the Southwestern Deserts.

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  3. Ken

    Sure would like to take a ride on old route 66, and this time see the view.

  4. Mark

    Amen Sue!! Amen!!!

    Getting off on the backroads is a great way to really see America too.

  5. Sue Damaske

    I recommend not driving through. My family and I take as many RV trips as vacation time permits. We have gained an appreciation for being an American, by stopping along the way. Detour through Pikes Peak, America is beautiful, the Petrified Forest amazing, Montezuma Castle wow, the Appache highway great road side stands, standing on Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon, pictures do nothing, no to mention Death Valley, the caverns, the small stores (Gallup, Albecquere….. People make this country great and stopping to enjoy the littles things and history of the country make us Proud to be American.

  6. Big Bob

    it is always a good idea to take pause and watch parts of the day. i do not get rising at dawn and running with the bulls to rush through that day just to ultimately pull up and camp.

  7. Sure do wish I could throw in the desk job and enjoy the stars!

  8. Thomas Becher

    when we leave Wi,we are full bore ahead until we get to AZ. When we leave for home we take the roads less traveled and it may take us 3-4 weeks to get back home, stopping to see the sights or going back to see what we missed in our hurry to get to our destination. Many times I think, Why was I in such a hurry to get there when such and such was only —– miles away. Then I read about something and say to myself, I went by that, why didn’t I stop? When we left the rally in Albuquerque, we took 60/84 east thru Nm and Tx. Interesting to see the country not from the super slab.

  9. Bill

    Bob, you’ve got the right idea. That’s what I want to do.

    The dog is voting for it, now if I could just get the wife on board I’d be in good shape.

  10. The Kelso dunes is a place we’ve boondocked. Then be sure to see the old train station. The park service has done a wonderful job of restoring it. My late husband and I worked at Mojave National Preserve when it will still boarded up. We got a peak at the inside and helped shut out pigeons that were roosting in the rafters and making a mess. The Preserve has so many neat things to offer. It’s well worth a stop.

  11. GMAs

    I am still thinking about .. if I should I raise my hand… 😀