Our Extreme RVing Snowbird Season

An RV Snowbird Season of Extremes

Ever since heading south for the winter in October, we’ve been experiencing quite a few extremes—like never before during our eight plus years on the road.

Oh, the weather outside is frightful…

Extreme Cold & Wind

The most memorable—and miserable—extreme to date, has to be those few days with temps in the teens and wild winds we spent all alone on the Nevada plains. Thankfully it only lasted a couple nights, but it did force us to keep our satellite dish down. With no cell service, and not a soul in sight, the scene did get a bit eerie at times.

Basin and Range BLM Monument, Nevada

Even Wyatt wanted nothing to do with the weather outside. Inside was only slightly better. With winds ringing in our ears, and rocking the rig, we did learn that putting your slide in will help ease the seasickness. The more important lesson, however, is to just deal with it. You can’t mess with Mother Nature, and getting frustrated only makes matters worse.

Extreme Solitude

Our first day at Basin and Range National Monument was beautiful, until those winds picked up. Once the weather settled down a few days later our week long stay was quite enjoyable, albeit a bit cold. This is the most remote boondocking spot we have ever found! The whole time we only saw one rancher drive by, and a couple cars in the distance. Aside from that, we were completely alone, except for a few cows.

Basin and Range BLM National Monument Free RV Boondocking

Boondocking like this has to be my favorite part of this lifestyle. Returning to civilization after living so far off the grid for nearly a month was really quite a shock. We are much happier out there all alone, on our own—enjoying the peace and quiet, dark night skies, and natural beauty this country’s public lands have to offer. Even when it gets extreme.

Santa Claus has the right idea; visit people only once a year.
—Victor Borge

This life clearly isn’t for everybody, and it does take some serious preparation. As a park ranger told us before we headed into the boonies, if something were to happen out there, nobody may find us for weeks. I’m OK with that.

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More Extreme Boondocking

We’ve spent the past couple months boondocking for a week or so at a time as we’ve been heading south. An overnighter with hookups every so often is always a welcome break—for long hot showers and a chance to do laundry. The last few loads really piled up though!

Free RV Boondocking on The Pads, Death Valley, CA

We returned to The Pads, just outside the Death Valley National Park where rangers refer to it as The Slabs—not to be confused with The Slabs at Slab City. This may just become another one of our favorite spots. Why? Once again, you’ll find very few people there. Why? There are no services, no cell services, and not much of anything at all—just the way we like it!

When sharing some photos from these sites on the Faceborg, I actually started a rather lively discussion by not sharing my specific location. Someone actually took the time to find and share our approximate GPS coordinates! I don’t tend to share my exact location, when we’re there. If I did, we might end up with more neighbors. Though I wonder if we would, considering those who do actually enjoy camping in these spots might not want us nearby either. And those who don’t would never venture there anyway. But there I go digressing again…

Extreme Upgrades

We couldn’t enjoy this life we do—and continue to get work done—without the investments we’ve made in our RV upgrades and mobile technology. At the beginning of this year, we installed our 500w RV solar power system.

Free RV Boondocking on The Pads, Death Valley, CA

This summer, we were thrilled to become the first user on the new Insta-Sat network with our new RVDataSat Satellite Internet dish from MobilSat. The system has been working great! We put it to the true test at Basin and Range, by intentionally using up all our bandwidth before heading in to no man’s land. Once in the middle of nowhere, we locked onto our satellite, purchased more bandwidth and got right back to work.

Now, we’ve added the new VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) option available from MobilSat so we can make and receive calls via our satellite dish. We’ll be talking more about that for sure…but the first question everybody always asks about upgrades like this is, “What’s it cost?” My answer has always been, “What’s your budget?” As Dave Ramsey told us, this is a cost of lifestyle decision.

Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.
—Henry David Thoreau

Extreme Highs

Altitude, that is. While we spend most of our summers in the Rocky Mountains above 8,500 feet, we’ve headed the other direction this year. Way down in fact, to 200+ feet below sea level. Death Valley National Park is an impressive place. The overlook at Dante’s View was one of the most breathtaking we’ve seen, and the drive has some of its own hair raising turns.

Dante's View, Death Valley, CA
Dante’s View, Death Valley, CA

But personally, when I ran up the hills from Furnace Creek campground, I got a greater kick out of the obvious change in elevation. And let me tell you, it’s a lot easier running uphill below sea level!

Furnace Creek, Death Valley, CA
Furnace Creek, Death Valley, CA

That’s quite a ways down, considering our first stop this season was in Leadville, CO above 12,000′ to hang out with the Odaroloc Sled Dogs.

Free RV Boondocking Leadville, CO
Free Boondocking in Leadville, CO

Extreme Drives

Four or five hour drives make a long day for us. We usually like to keep the longest days on the road under six hours. But when we left the Pieoneer in Pie Town, NM we arrived at the Pioneer Casino in Laughlin NV more than eight hours later after 500+ miles on the road.

long haul 2015

I haven’t reviewed all our full-time RVing maps, but that was likely my longest day behind the wheel.

Extreme Soaking

I would have loved to find a hot tub to soak in that day! But most hotels don’t care for people parked in their lots for free to use their amenities.

Joyful Journey Hot Springs Spa

We have, however, found quite a few new places to soak along our way this year. Not since our days workamping in Truth or Consequences at Riverbend Resort, have we enjoyed soaking in hot springs so often. I’m writing this from the Fountain of Youth Spa and RV Resort, with it’s many clean and chlorinated tubs to choose from. But I must say I prefer some of the more funky places, and people we’ve found.

We started off this year boondocking at Joyful Journey in Colorado, with wonderful views from the spring fed pools, as storm clouds rolled by. More recently, we had full hookups and all the soaking we wanted at Bailey’s Hot Springs in Beatty, NV near Death Valley.These were much more enjoyable than the Wild Tub we discovered in Tecopa, CA.

This natural spring fed tub is on BLM land down a narrow dirt road with some seriously soft looking sand in the “gravel lot” we read about in the Shunpiker’s Frugal Boondocker’s Guides. The area was quiet and pretty, but the tub itself is rather tepid—and probably much more enjoyable in July or August. If the summer heat isn’t too extreme.


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