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2018/19 Winter in Arizona Recommendations


TheLongWayHome
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New RVer going full-time, but not going until November 2018. Looking for recommendation for RV sites in Arizona. Will plan to scout them out while at the Escapee Boot Camp Feb 2-4. Large RV - 45' with truck (HDT) and car. Pull-through is always nice! 50A FHU. Appreciate any other Arizona guidance beyond the RV locations.

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There is actually a lot of variety in Arizona, even for the lower elevation places that are comfortable in winter.  You can be close to or in a large city, you can be rural, you can be in a campground with lots of activities, you can be somewhere where you are on your own.  Price can also come into play.  There are lots of places along the Colorado River/California border, from Yuma (SKP park) through Quartzsite to Bullhead City.  People like Gila Bend, Casa Grande (SKP park), Congress (SKP park), Phoenix metro (Surprise, Goodyear, Fountain Hills, Phoenix, Tempe, Mesa, Apache Junction, Gold Canyon), Tucson area (Florence and Tucson), Benson (SKP park), Camp Verde area (Sedona) and Ajo/Why.  In these places there are large and small campgrounds that can handle your size.  You also do not have to sit still, especially if you can dry camp (boondock).

Edited by Bill Joyce
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13 hours ago, Bill Joyce said:

There is actually a lot of variety in Arizona, even for the lower elevation places that are comfortable in winter.  You can be close to or in a large city, you can be rural, you can be in a campground with lots of activities, you can be somewhere where you are on your own.  ....

Thanks Bill. A lot to investigate!

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Boondock in the desert around Quartzsite or Yuma.  Very large pull thrus.  Lots of room to park.  Great sunshine.  Wonderful sunsets and sunrises.  Fantastic night skys.  Free for up to 14 day stays.  $40 for a one month stay.  $180 for up to 7 months. 

The down side.  You supply your own electric via generator or solar, living off your battery.  You need to get fresh water and have a service come by and pump out your holding tanks.

Probably not what you wanted, but it is an option for many.

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Coyote Howls, BABY!!!

We'll buy a one-year space. there, even if we only spend half the year. Being able to drive up to our hand-picked spot, set out the panels and relax will do lots for my peace of mind. Better than wasting time at something like RTR. Massaging egos has never been my thing...

Edited by OldMan
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On 1/15/2018 at 9:47 PM, OldMan said:

Coyote Howls, BABY!!!

We'll buy a one-year space. there, even if we only spend half the year. Being able to drive up to our hand-picked spot, set out the panels and relax will do lots for my peace of mind. Better than wasting time at something like RTR. Massaging egos has never been my thing...

I learn something new all the time.  This is the first time I have seen commercial, long term dry camping site for rent.  $550/a year. 

I guess they give more amenties than the BLM LTVA areas for $180 for 7 months.  I do see in the Coyote Howls website that they have WiFi. 

The LTVA offers a centrally located dump, fresh water fill and trash disposal.   Park anywhere in the LTVA area you wish. 

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6 hours ago, Al F said:

The LTVA offers a centrally located dump, fresh water fill and trash disposal.   Park anywhere in the LTVA area you wish. 

At the Howls, you just pick your favorite open spot. I'll be looking for shade for the rig and a place I can set up the panels and get the juice flowing!! Then a nap. Naps are gifts. The Howls has a dump/water station at the more connected part of the park. More expensive, too. I think they're free.

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1 hour ago, OldMan said:

At the Howls, you just pick your favorite open spot. I'll be looking for shade for the rig and a place I can set up the panels and get the juice flowing!! Then a nap. Naps are gifts. The Howls has a dump/water station at the more connected part of the park. More expensive, too. I think they're free.

Not much shade in the desert southeast of Ajo, AZ

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The Howls has some. Check out their gallery. Besides, WTH is going to stay there in the summer? Not me. But it's be nice to have an inexpensive place to land in the winter, with lots of cool things to go see and do in the toad. Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is just awesome. I can just put the panels on the roof (so the sun can see them but no one else). But part of my golden years will be spent at the Howls. Soaking up solar energy like it's going out of style.

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14 hours ago, OldMan said:

The Howls has some. Check out their gallery. Besides, WTH is going to stay there in the summer? Not me. But it's be nice to have an inexpensive place to land in the winter, with lots of cool things to go see and do in the toad. Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is just awesome. I can just put the panels on the roof (so the sun can see them but no one else). But part of my golden years will be spent at the Howls. Soaking up solar energy like it's going out of style.

Just checked the gallery.  Some limited shade in the FHU area in the "west" section.  None in the low priced "east" section.

As best I can tell, w/o more info from Coyote Howls is:

West side:   32.269964  -112.741520

East side:  32.263202  -112.731411

Plug the above GPS coordinates into your favorite app with satellite view capability and have a look.  

Anyways, about the shade, there is little to no shade in the vast majority of boondocking/dry camping spots in southern Arizona/New Mexico. 

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In the winter, I'm thinking it's not really much of a concern. In the summer, hell to the yeah, but winter? CHARGE MY BATTERIES, MR. SOL!!!

Today is a great example of a winter day in southwest Arizona...high of 74, low of 48 with partly cloudy skies. https://www.wunderground.com/weather/us/az/why/85321

OK, so not as much charging today, but not none, and my two, 250 watt 36v panels will charge my batteries more than enough. Over-building your system, in the case of solar in an RV, causes no harm to the batteries because the charge controller shunts extra power into the inverter. More for the AC-driven devices. Fire up that HAIR DRYER!!!

It's kinda like when you have solar on your house. I don't know about other states, but in California, in the case of electric utilities, any surplus power you generate must be bought by your electrical utility.

In my case, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) would be required by the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to be bought BY PG&E. Instead, since you're off the grid, on bright summer days, NOT in Arizona, you really can run more 120v, AC items than you can at other times. By all means, make the best use of the surplus power available. It wasn't free. How much did your solar setup cost you? Batteries included...that's all a cost. A net-negative revenue item.

Edited by OldMan
Bad writing from me, the moron.
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21 hours ago, BlueLghtning said:

I thought Desert Trails really packed them in. We stayed next door at Justin's Diamond J and enjoyed our stay there. Either way, it was a nice area to stay. 

Yes they do but they have tons of activities, a pool and at least in the past it was quite a bit cheaper. We loved the sort of funky ambiance.

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On 1/13/2018 at 6:38 AM, Al F said:

Boondock in the desert around Quartzsite or Yuma.  Very large pull thrus.  Lots of room to park.  Great sunshine.  Wonderful sunsets and sunrises.  Fantastic night skys.  Free for up to 14 day stays.  $40 for a one month stay.  $180 for up to 7 months. 

The down side.  You supply your own electric via generator or solar, living off your battery.  You need to get fresh water and have a service come by and pump out your holding tanks.

Probably not what you wanted, but it is an option for many.

Thanks Al,

I'll cruise through the area next week to do some scouting. Any specific locations in the Yuma and Quartzsite area to look at. Never been there and would like to maybe try it this time next year (2019). I understand there is a festival at the end of January (this coming week), including a HAM festival (I'm a HAM too). I believe Quartzsite goes from a village to a "major city" in Winter. Must be interesting navigating that (Google must be confused!!).

Gerry

 

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21 hours ago, TheLongWayHome said:

Thanks Al,

I'll cruise through the area next week to do some scouting. Any specific locations in the Yuma and Quartzsite area to look at. Never been there and would like to maybe try it this time next year (2019). I understand there is a festival at the end of January (this coming week), including a HAM festival (I'm a HAM too). I believe Quartzsite goes from a village to a "major city" in Winter. Must be interesting navigating that (Google must be confused!!).

Gerry

 

If your interest is to visit Quartzsite during the peak time in January, probably the BLM free 14 day boondocking area La Paloma Rd area several miles north of Quartzsite on SR-95.  We didn't visit the town of Quartzsite on our current travels through southern AZ & CA, so have no personal knowledge.  We had little interest in fighting the crowds.

Farther away, going south on US-95 towards Yuma.  At about 23 miles Palm Canyon Rd, and about 30 miles is King Rd.  Both are wide level graded roads going to KOFA NWR.  Along the roads there are numerous boondocking areas.  In the section between US-95 & the NWR boundary the BD areas are very large, some will accommodate 20 or more 40' rigs.  Inside the NWR sites are much smaller, suitable for 1-2 rigs.  Parking limited to within 100' of road.  

In the Yuma, we stayed at Mittry Lake about 7 miles north of US-95 on Avenue 7E and 1 mile on gravel.  There is BD parking on the edge of the lake, but quite a bit of dust from passing vehicles.  We stayed on a raised hill about 200 yards back from the lake.  Great view, but you do have quite a few neighbors within 20-100 yards. 

Since you are member of Escapees, you can subscribe to "Days End" listing.  Days End lists free or low cost camping and boondocking areas all around the USA & Canada.  In the southern AZ & CA areas Days End has 50-100 places to stay.  There is a nominal fee of $15, if memory serves me correctly, to subscribe to the list, but is free after that if you supply a small number of feedback reports each year.  More info here:  https://daysenddirectory.com/#/

Right at the moment we are boondocking in Anza Borrego Desert SP in southern CA.  Great sunny weather.

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Thanks Al for the great insights and advice. I will check them out on my scouting trip.

2 hours ago, Al F said:

Right at the moment we are boondocking in Anza Borrego Desert SP in southern CA.  Great sunny weather.

It's sunny in  Colorado too, but 18 degrees and several inches of snow on the ground!! Hopefully this time next year we will be looking and feeling somewhat different. :D

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I just spent last week in Quartszite boondocking with the Xscapers off Plomosa Rd north of Quartszite. Even as crowded as it gets leading up to the big RV show, there was plenty of room out there and very accessible via HDT's. It was only our 2nd time boondocking and we loved it. The little Honda EU2000i generator certainly made it more enjoyable too vs always having to us our Onan 5500.

This week, we moved south to Winter Haven, CA (just across state line from Yuma) and are boondocking off of American Girl Mine Rd. Again lots of BLM land and great boondocking. 

In Quartszite, there are about 6 different BLM areas and an LTVA area south of town. The BLM areas are free for 14 days. The LTVA is $40 for 14 days or $180 for 7 months. The advantage of the LTVA area is there is water and dump right there. However places like the RV Pit Stop just north of town have everything you need (Dump, Water, & Propane) all in one stop.  

Quartzsite-blm-map.jpg

 

 

 

 

Edited by BlueLghtning
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58 minutes ago, BlueLghtning said:

I just spent last week in Quartszite boondocking .....  

Quartzsite-blm-map.jpg

 

 

 

 

Thanks Dan. Will take a look next week (AZ scouting trip). That area (AZ/CA border) will also be our boondocking shakedown when we finally get going in December/January (2019).  Slowly moving from our time in Hutch, but had a few setbacks. The RV is now in design and build will not happen until Oct/Nov.  Looking for the HDT next.  And a ton of other activities (sell house, downside, retire, ...) before we get to November. It will fly by - as I'm sure you remember.

Gerry

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  • 1 month later...

My wife and I spent our first winter after retirement(originally from Vermont, now Full Time) in the Benson area. We decided that we liked it so much, we went home that spring and sold everything and went full time. The next year out west and to AZ, decided to split it up and get a taste of some different areas. We started off with a 2 month stay in Casa Grande, then 1 month in Yuma, and than back for 2 months in Benson. Yuma won and we've been back there the last 2 years. Already made reservations for next year. The Yuma just made sense for us. Algodones is less than 20 miles away. Dental work. Glasses. Prescription drugs. The Colorado River and adjacent fisheries was the cure for what ailed me, after having to sell my bass boat and severely curtail my fishing by going full time. I now travel with an inflatable pontoon boat powered by a 30lb thrust trolling motor and have become a regular at Mittrey Lake in Yuma. The park we stay at, Fortuna de Oro is in the Foothills and offers everything my wife and I enjoy: Pickleball for me and an active sewing group for her.  So I guess you might want to try something similar- research areas of AZ, and then pick out a park in areas of interest. While in that area, check out other parks. Eventually you'll find what you like. Good luck.....

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