Roadside Camping

Snowstorm over the Providence Mountains in the foreground, Granite Mountains in the background

Cost to roadside camp in Mojave National Preserve for 6 nights: $0.  Cost of waking up surrounded by mountains: priceless.

Our roadside camping spot in the Mojave National Preserve. Click to view larger version.

This is the first time we’ve had a chance to do some roadside camping in our RV.  That’s when you just pull off the side of the road and camp.  Usually there’s a requirement to park at least 200 feet from the road.  Here in Mojave National Preserve, there is the additional requirement that you can only park in existing camping spots, indicated by a fire ring on the ground.  A fire ring is 3-4 foot diameter ring of rocks in which to make a fire.

The downside of roadside camping is there are no facilities.  You have to rely on the electricity, water, and sewer in your RV.  This is also known as boondocking.  When we boondocked in Joshua Tree National Park, we lasted four days before we filled our grey water tank and nearly ran out of fresh water.  So far we’ve gone 3 days and could probably go another full day, however we are switching sites tomorrow morning and will dump/refill as needed.

When we were in Joshua Tree, we were in a campground with about 30 sites.  So we had to keep the dogs chained up, we could only run the generator during certain hours, we had to make sure our RV shades were closed at night, etc.  Here in Mojave we are camping in the middle of nowhere, miles from the nearest person, so we don’t have to worry about any of that.  Of course it can seem a little eerie being far from civilization with nobody around in case there’s an emergency, but we are quite used to that at home and especially at Little Wolf, and we actually prefer the isolation.

Roadside camping is not allowed in national parks, but we hope to do more of this when we visit national forests and preserves on the rest of our trip.

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