From FL to Myrtle Beach, had to find an overnight stay. After almost 7 hours of driving, we stopped at this precious little gem. MUCH better than a truck stop, don't you think?? :-)
Before leaving in the morning, we walked 3 miles on the trails (listed below), then rode our bikes about 12 miles on the other trails. We saw over 20 alligators, numerous birds (herons and Anhingas), a lot of frogs and unfortunately, numerous deer flies that drove us nuts. However, surprisingly we did not encounter many mosquitos here during this visit.
Stay Details: Santee Coastal Reserve, McClellanville, SC
* This is a small FREE campground in a beautiful reserve which lies inside the Francis Marion National Forest. The campground is total dry camping, meaning there is no bathrooms, water or garbage for people. You have to be totally self-contained. There are about 8 sites that are First Come, First Serve, and there were 3 left when we arrived. There were several beautiful trails in the area, a boardwalk over the marsh, and the possibility of seeing quite a few different animals. We walked the Marshland Trail, the rode our bikes on the Cape Trail and Eldorado Trail.
* The Eldorado Trail leads to the ruins of the Eldorado Plantation which was build in 1797, was hit with a canon ball during the Civil War, then ended up burning to the ground years later. It was a very interesting piece of history.
During our stay at Long Pine Key, we met up with Maria, Steve & the kids. It was great to see them after a year of traveling!
After resting and working on her camper for a day, we visited Wooten's Airboat tours. We bought the package which included the airboat ride, swamp buggy ride andgator park. The airboat ride was phenomenal!! Buggy ride.. Not so much. It was still fun being all together though.
The next day we all went to Key West. Visited John Pennekamp State Park and took a kayak tour and small hike. Mark had to work on his class halfway to Key West, so we found good cell signal, and the kids went on their way. They went shopping in downtown, then we met up again to get our pictures taken at the Southernmost Buoy.
We visited the beach, the kids swam in the ocean, and we found a spectacular sunset! After that we satisfied our hunger at a Mexican Restaurant.
Stay Details: Long Pine Key Campground; Homestead, FL:
* This is a beautiful campground nestled inside the Everglades State Park. The sites are dry camping only (no hookups), and are spaced pretty far apart. The kids parked oposite of us, and we were close enough to comfortably share the picnic table and refrigerator. We were also right next to the bath-house, so it was convenient for everyone.
* We walked the Anhinga Trail in the morning, and we saw a large alligator, and many Anhinga's along the way. It was a nice short trail for the kids.
* The only problem we had was some other campers were screaming at eat other until 2am, but the rangers were quick to take care of the problem in the morning.
We set up this location a month ago, knowing it was within 30 minutes of our friends from MI. To our surprise when mapping it, it was only 4 miles from their home! So, we set up camp for a few nights, and visited with Jeff & Kathy for 3 days! What an awesome time we had together, and so great to see people we know from MI. :-)
We visited Shell City, browsed the venders, enjoyed the animals at the zoo, and played miniature golf. Jeff won! :-). In the evening, they even introduced us to a Bingo extravaganza! What a beautiful blessed day together!
The last day, we drove to Sanibel Island to enjoy the beach and special treats.
Stay Details: Racer's Retreat (North For Myers, FL)
* This was a Boondocker's Welcome location, so it was a free stay with an elderly couple that are very involved with racing cars. There were 5 other RVers in their back yard with us. They have a gated entry so we were secure, and also had some electric and water available for those who need it. They are well loved and very nice to their visitors. We would highly recommend a stay with them if you're traveling by.
This is a wonderful museum that is also a "Harvest Host" and a "Boondocker's Welcome" location. They allow RVers to stay overnight at their location in hopes that they will visit the museum. Of course we did just that, and what a museum it is!! They did a wonderful job putting all these articles together, and even had several pieces that we've never seen before, including Abraham Lincoln's Hearse, and a Batman section with real and replica cars.
Tallahassee Auto Museum had 6 other travelers in the very large yard with us this night. The gates closed at 5:00, and we were all snug and safe. We highly recommend staying or even visiting this museum. They have a lot to show you, and the stay at night is very peaceful.
(See more photos on our ARIZONA page)
We found this spot on Campendium, and after reading the reviews, I wasn't sure if we were going to find a spot or fit into the spots we did find. We could only go so far, so after passing the 5th cattle guard, we pulled over and rode the bikes in to scope out a spot. Low and behold, there were 2 areas that MAY work, and a few spots to turn around if they didn't.
It was difficult to put the rig into position, but even though a bit frustrated, Mark did an awesome job. Once it was in position, it was also work to level the rig, as we were 8" off. We put one side up on blocks, and the other side we dug a little hole so the tires would go down. Came out to 1/4" off, so we called it good and hit auto-level.
The views at this place are spectacular! We walked the area and found recent evidence of cows, Mountain Sheep, and some dog or cat-like medium type animal. We were at the top of the hill overlooking the rest of the campers, so we set up the cameras to face the mountains, in hopes that we'll see some kind of wild animal activity.
The local cows moved in on day 2, keeping their distance yet welcoming us with their presence. :-)
Stay Details: Indian Bread Rocks BLM; Bowie AZ. (32.240677, -109.506086)
Well we had a new favorite yesterday.. Now we have another new favorite today! Lost Dutchman State Park, just east of Phoenix is one of the beautiful places to camp at a state park. The beautiful mountain right behind us, the many walking and biking trails, the ammenities, and the wonderful staff made this place top-notch.
We chose to dry camp at one of the newer spots which was located closest to the mountain for spectacular sunset views! There are modern bathrooms and showers here, a dumpster at the beginning of every loop, a camp host on every loop, and a dump station so dry campers get take care of tanks (included in cost of site).
We met up with some CMA friends and had a wonderful visit. We met up with another CMA couple in the campground and visited with them too. They happened to be camping across the loop from us! What a small world! :-)
Critters: We caught several mice or desert rats on the camera throughout the night. A screen shot of one is listed on the AZ page.
Stay Details: Lost Dutchman State Park; Site 124. 6109 N. Apache Trail, Apache Junction, AZ. (33.452576, -111.479417)
Time to say a temporary 'see ya later' to our new found friends, and make some headway east. We like to stop before it gets dark, so we chose Saddle Mountain because of the reviews. I was really glad I read more reviews before we arrived because someone suggested a better entry for larger rigs. I can't believe the spot we found! This is absolutely my new favorite place! Why? Because of the view, the ease of entry, and the ground is not dirty/dusty/yucky!
There is supposed to be Saddle Mountain Petroglyphs somewhere nearby, but after riding our bikes on a very rocky 5-mile terrain, we didn't find it. It was getting dark anyway, so we headed home. Maybe tomorrow or next time.
Critters: Most days, we have cameras set out at night to watch for animals. Last night we are pretty sure we caught one of the Arizona Ringtails on our camera video! It wasn't a great video because it was too close, then went by again in the distance, but all the features of this animal matches the ringtail exactly! We are very exited about this even though it wasn't a great video of it!
Details: Saddle Mountain BLM Dispersed: (33.460627, -113.061973)
* Note: If you are planning your stay with a medium-large rig, you'd do better by entering at GPS location 33.464515, -113.062337. There was a little dip here, but not bad. The roads are VERY good for dispersed camping, and the sites are huge. If you go to the other place listed in Campendium, you will have a very bad, rocky road with smaller sites.
Finally Boondocking in Quartzsite with our Reflection buddies. SO nice to have some space for the dogs to run.
What is boondocking in Quartzsite? La Posa South distursed camping area has over 110,000 acres for people to just find a spot, park and level. No numbered spots, not close neighbors, and beautiful scenery.
The Quartzsite RV Show has been on our bucket list for years! All the talk of all the RV's and RV toys. We even heard that if you buy some kind of upgrade, the company installs it for free while you're at Quartzsite! We did see evidence of this, as someone bought new slide toppers for their RV and the company was installing them right at La Posa camping area, which was 5 miles north of the show.
We headed here with friends we met in California, but I must say the show itself was a bit disappointing this year. Because of Covid, there were a fraction of the poeple, as well as a fraction of the RVs to tour. Most of the venders were selling items that weren't related to RVs at all. We did end up buying an Internet package which we've been looking for, for quite some time.
Quartzsite show grounds are pet friendly, so we took Pica with us to walk around. When we toured the campers, Pica was a trouper and ran up and down every single set of steps we did. I must say, that after looking at about 20 rigs (even the million-dollar ones), I am VERY happy with what we've chosen, and have no 'wishes' about something that may have been nice to have. My continued gratitude to my wonderful husband for providing such a good 'home' for our journey. :-)
This is La Posa South dispersed camping area at sunset. We really love this place, and love the sunsets the most. We will NOT miss the dust.
Well, we decided to catch up with our friends a little, so welcome to beautiful Quartzsite, AZ!!
First I'll start with some 𝐒𝐭𝐚𝐫 𝐓𝐫𝐚𝐢𝐥𝐬. It took an hour outside on long exposure to capture this, and Mark wants to ask you all some questions about this. (Sorry, the plane lines kind of ruined my trails, but I still think the picture is cool!)
The rest of the pictures are my attempt to bring our friends & family back home a little warmth. Hugs to all!
Stay Details: Plomosa Road Dispersed Camping Area (33.7488, -114.2162)
Stay Details: Joshua Tree South Dispersed (33.6745, -115.8019)