So we’re back in the boonies, the outer reaches of the desert, the nether-regions of the wild. Many would say we’re back where we belong and rightly so. After a month of luxuriating in Sam’s Spa our skin is soft as a newborn kitten’s backside and far too pretty for the boondock-worthy winter image we’ve crafted for ourselves. It’s back to the leathery texture of the desert we go.

But here’s the big secret -> this is really just another kind of luxury. We may not have full hookups or unlimited water that flows magically from our taps or the comfort of an electric heater, but we have this…..

Yes, we have wide open views sweeping across the mountains, a ginormous site, miles (upon miles) of desert which is all ours to explore and all for the grand price of absolutely zero. Polly can roam around freely and we can frolic in the desert to our hearts’ delight, plus we get to have sunset drinks with a view many would pay millions for. It’s not too shabby this boondocking life.

We’re actually back in an old-time favorite of ours…the little town of Borrego Springs. This was the very first place we drove when we started our RVing adventure almost 4 years ago, although back then we knew nothing about boondocking and stayed in a private park in town. Despite this miss-step, the place grabbed us and somehow we’ve been coming back ever since. The town is not exactly hopping with only around 3,500 people and a few blocks of “downtown”, but it’s set in a valley surrounded by mountains and 600,000 acres of Anza Borrego State Park. Plus it has hidden gems such as Ghost Mountain & the Story of Marshall South , the most excellent Slot Canyons, and fabulous Monster Art In The Desert. There’s even lost gold, right down the road! Everytime we come we discover a little more and leave a little more in love (isn’t that the basis of every great relationship?)

We’ve also met some amazing people here. In fact I’d venture to say that Borrego Springs was one of the first places we discovered the unexpected surprise of “RV community”. Much of our Borrego travels have been inspired by The Bayfield Bunch and we finally met them here last year (in fact if you really want to learn about this area just knock on over to Al’s blog and type “Borrego Springs” in the search function and you’ll get 8 pages of hits!). We also met Kathie & Bob (quite by accident), ran into RV Sue, had dinner with the lovely Beluga right here at our very spot, met Pam & John (the same day) and even got invited to try Richard and Ginger’s bed (now, how boondocking neighborly is that?). And I’m sure there’s a bunch more people I’ve forgotten to mention.

Oh, and where are we exactly? We’re at Clark Dry Bed in one of our usual haunts. Our particular site is very scenic, but not exactly “big-rig” friendly and requires a bit of finesse to get into. On the plus side that means it’s almost always empty, so when we arrived yesterday we simply drove up and slipped in like a well-worn glove. Paul will stay here while I go off to Europe (fear not, I’ll be blogging the whole way). No doubt I won’t be able to resist taking more pics of this area before I leave so you’ll get at least one more post from this spot too. Ahhhhh….the boonies. I’m a happy gal :)

P.S. For those of you receiving this blog by e-mail for whatever reason pictures are NOT showing up on the e-mail version. Haven’t figured this one out yet, so please click on over to the main blog for today’s pics. Sorry!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the product links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. That said, I only ever recommend products or services I personally use and love! Wheelingit is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

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95 Responses to Back In The Booooooooooooonies!!

  1. A little bit of heaven! Enjoy! Looking forward to your new adventures this year:)

    I receive your blog through my email and all the photos are there.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Really??? You’re getting the photos! Man, how strange. They’re not showing up in either mine (outlook) or Paul’s (gmail) account. What account are you using?
      Nina

      • Sue Malone says:

        I don’t get the photos in email either, Nina, but of course they show up fine when I click to the website. Probably a good thing, actually, since they don’t have to download to gmail. Either way, its all good. You travel safe to your homeland, I’ll be looking forward to your stories.

      • Liz R says:

        I’m in the same boat. Not getting the pics until I head to the website. Worth the click to get there though. Your pics are always so beautiful and make the story that much better. Have heard a lot about Borrego. My dad’s RV (which I now have custody of) has been there many a winter. Hope to find the time myself to venture out more and get over that way.

        • libertatemamo says:

          Yeah, sadly I think the picture problem (in e-mail) is across the board (apart from John & Pam I guess LOL). Not sure why the pics aren’t coming through. This transfer business is tough! Nice to hear your dad has been here too. We’ve met people who’ve been coming to this area for over 20 years.
          Nina

          • Samantha says:

            Hi, I also didn’t get any photos in my email so I’m glad I clicked onto your page – beeeeyooooootiful pictures!

          • libertatemamo says:

            Yeah…same thing happened to Monday’s post (no pics in the email there either). It’s something to do with the new platform.
            Nina

      • I use gmail. Everything has been fine with your switching. I never missed a beat.

        • libertatemamo says:

          So strange. Paul’s gmail isn’t showing any images at all. It seems most folks are seeing no images, but a very select few ARE showing images and it’s completely random. I’m hoping the Jetpack people (the plugin I’m using for e-mails) will resolve this soon.
          Nina

  2. Nina, Paul – congratulations on your return to the desert. My wife and I love your blog. We are saving our pennies to buy our own Beast and are counting the days until we too can hit the road as full-timers. We have been doing tons of research, and your postings are always eagerly devoured. Your photos are worthy of a coffee-table book. Thanks for sharing your journey with us! – Steve

  3. Jerry b says:

    Those ocatillos at Anza are really photogenic at sunrise. We love it there.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Yup, I love using them as silhouette for sunset/sunrise shots. We’ve got one right outside our RV site which is quite a treat.
      Nina

  4. Greg says:

    Hi Guys,
    My wife and I have been following your site for a while now and really enjoy the opportunity to enjoy some wonderful photography, information and stories about RV living. It looks like your in a great spot for this time of year :) Thanks for taking us along!

    • libertatemamo says:

      This is definitely the perfect time to be in the desert. Wouldn’t want to be here in summer, but right now…glorious!
      Nina

  5. Lois says:

    Love love love Borrego! What a great place to be and your pics are fabulous! (They don’t come through my email; I see them when I click over to your website. I’m using gmail.) Have fun in the desert! I really enjoy following your adventures :)

    — Lois

  6. Diann in MT says:

    Hi.Would you please explain the CA state parks fees you pay to stay long term. After visiting the home page, it appears that many fees pertain to various activities. We just want to stay like you do. We are not CA residents. Thanks.

    • libertatemamo says:

      We’re not actually in the State Park here (although exactly WHO this land belongs to is a big question…I keep getting mixed info). This just happens to be a well-known spot for winter boondocking and most people learn of it by word of mouth.

      Most of the rest of this winter we’ll be on BLM land and that’s free just about everywhere in the US (typically 14-day camping limit, although there are exceptions). If you want to learn more I’d advise reading through my “boondocking” tab on the blog. I have a ton of posts and info in there on how to find boondocking sites, what the limitations are and how to manage your resources when you get there.

      Nina

      • Dave'n'Kim says:

        So to get it straight, (sorry, DON’T want to sound like we’re stalkers!) did you wish to stay where you are for more than 14 days, but feel you’d better move on (because of ownership/rules suspicions)? Or were you going to move on anyway? And then, keep moving on (to BLM sites) ‘each 14 days’?
        Just making ‘mental notes’ in case we do become full-timers next year and follow these wonderful suggestions from your blog!
        Best of Luck. Dave ‘n’ Kim

        • libertatemamo says:

          When we’re on BLM land we always move after 14-days. It’s a good length of time to stay and fits well with our tanks (we are *very* comfortable running 2 weeks on our tanks), plus it matches the BLM rules. However this particular spot (where we are now) is not BLM. It’s either private land or in transition (we’re not sure…I can never seem to get a straight answer on this one) and it doesn’t have any “set” camping limit (for now). So, we’ll be staying 3 weeks here. Once we leave here we’ll be heading to BLM for most of the rest of winter & we’ll be moving every 14 days.
          Nina

    • libertatemamo says:

      I should also mention that Anza Borrego State Park DOES officially allow boondocking anywhere in the park (for free) for 14 days as long as you stay within 1-vehicle length of the road, don’t trample vegetation and stay 100-feet away from any water source. It’s one of the only state parks I know that offers this.
      Nina

  7. Ralph says:

    Love the pics. Really show the expanse of the desert. You’re back in your “element” and I’m sure you are lovin’ the solitude!

  8. Bob Nuttmann says:

    I love Borrego this time of year. We have been getting regular rains so the desert blooms may be good in 6-8 weeks.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Believe it or not there are a few of the washes that are in bloom now! Read in the local newspaper that the base of Indian Head is already seeing blooms due to some early rain and mud slides in the area. Very unusual! I may go out to try and catch them.
      Nina

  9. Sherry says:

    Oh boy 6 to 8 weeks for desert blooms. I’m marking my calendar. Next year at this time, I want to be where you are. Well not in your exact spot since I’m not a stalker but you know what I mean. Holidays in the desert, I’ve never tried that. Safe travels abroad. How long are you gone???

    • libertatemamo says:

      The desert blooms are amazing. We were lucky enough to see them in Borrego our very first year in the RV, although it was a late bloom that year. Just fabulous!!
      Nina
      P.s. I’ll be gone around 2 and a half weeks

  10. Sue says:

    No pictures either place for me! Fix it quick, I need to see those desert shots! (actually, on your official site, I see tiny, thin sections of what are probably pictures, but nothing recognizable).

    Sue

    • Sue says:

      Those little slit pictures finally, finally loaded completely and I can see them now.

      By the way, who(or what) do you think is buried under those stones?

      Sue

      • libertatemamo says:

        Glad you finally got to see them. I’m thinking it’s someone’s pet, although we did find another grave today that was definitely for a human (clearly marked). Lots of hidden stuff out here.
        Nina

    • libertatemamo says:

      Hmmm…is your connection slow (I.e. Everything is loading slow for you) or is it just my site? Just trying to gauge if this is a site-specific problem I need to look into.
      Nina

    • Gunta says:

      Sue, I’ve been working with WordPress on a bug that seems to be really random where images show up as slits or really tiny. Apparently only a few people are experiencing this and it is completely random, so the engineers are having a problem pinning it down. Have you been having this problem elsewhere, or just here at Nina’s?

      Nina… no images in your email, but I always click on your blog so I can hit the ‘like’ button…. only, you don’t seem to have a like button anymore! What’s with that?
      LIKE!

      • libertatemamo says:

        Ooooops! Totally forgot about that like button. I’ll see if I can go find it again. Thanks for that reminder!
        Interesting about that bug. I will go and try to look it up.
        Nina

        • Gunta says:

          If you’re interested, here’s the back and forth I’ve been having with one of the folks at WP re: the ‘bug':
          http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/images-too-small-2?replies=4#post-1521169

          • libertatemamo says:

            Very interesting exchange Gunta. Of course you’re seeing this on wordpress.com, and now that I’m on the new platform (self-hosting through wordpress.org) I’m part of a different “group”. But hopefully if they get it fixed for wordpress.com, they’ll port the fix over to the rest of us too.
            Nina

          • Gunta says:

            I wasn’t actually intending this for you, but WP is looking for other examples of this weird random bug, so when Sue mentioned her “slit pictures” I thought I had located someone else having the same problem. Do you have some way of contacting her and asking?

            Another thing that’s weird about your new platform is that I signed up to get replies, but that had me inundated with all the gazillion replies to your post. Is there a way to just get only your reply to my comment. Or did Sue get my question if she didn’t sign up for follow-ups???

          • libertatemamo says:

            Just FYI…they won’t accept my site on wordpress.com as an example because I’m no longer on that platform (I’m self-hosting now). I have to use another forum now for all my wordpress issues.
            Don’t know anyway of only seeing individual comment replies. I think I only get one option on the new platform (enable comment following or disable comment following). I will double-check though.
            Nina

          • Gunta says:

            Sorry for the confusion, but it’s not YOU that I’m trying to get to about this image problem. WP is looking for other WP bloggers having the same issue that I am. Apparently only a handful have complained (me included), but it’s such a random thing that the engineers are having a problem pinning it down. They were looking for other WP people to contact. I plan to ask Sue if she’s had the tiny image problem ONLY at your site, or whether it’s happening at other WP sites. As you noted, it likely doesn’t concern you since you’ve moved on.

          • libertatemamo says:

            Oh duh…you’re trying to contact Sue. Sure, I’ll e-mail you her e-mail address info.
            Nina

          • Gunta says:

            Duuh… just realized that clicking on Sue’s name brings me to her site. I’ll take it from there… (know you’re busy getting ready to leave the country!)
            BTW safe and happy travels when you do head out!

  11. spurandgair says:

    Nina, congrats on porting your blog over to the bigger time – awesome! We are still enjoying your writings and trying to keep up! You all never seem to set still and always have something great going. Keep up the good works!
    Steve & Gari

  12. Debby says:

    No pics on the email here either but they’re fabulous on the website – especially love the one with your pink jacket! Looking forward to seeing you again soon. Bon Voyage

  13. Paul,aka Keepinontruckin' says:

    Photos coming through bright and clear in my Outlook e-mail.
    Also discovered I no longer have to enter password to comment. Interesting.

    • libertatemamo says:

      That is so strange! So at least some people are getting the photos in their e-mail. Very strange. Can’t seem to figure this one out.
      Nina

  14. Gaelyn says:

    Sweet looking desert to leave Paul in.

  15. Suzanne Schleck says:

    We have been full timing for over two years. Anza Borego is still at the top of our list of amazing places. Spring there was magical with the pristine desert in full bloom. We also hiked to several palm laden hidden oasis pools that were heavenly. I can’t wait to go back and boon dock in your suggested locations. Thanks for all the great info as usual.

  16. Carol says:

    We are really on your tail this year! We were in Bandon while you were there, cruised down 395 to the Alabama Hills (and on to Death Valley) in November and will be in Joshua Tree right before New Years! From there we’ll go to Dohney Beach. Unfortunately, my blog is terribly out of date because when we’re not on the road I’m in the classroom teaching. Can’t wait to read about your favorite places around Joshua Tree, one of our favorites! Love following you. Wishing you safe travels to Europe!

    • libertatemamo says:

      How fun! If you followed our route you’ve had some sweet drives. I see you already replied again and figured out were in Borrego, not Joshua Tree….I love both spots though!
      Nina

  17. Carol says:

    Closed my ap and realized I was missing up my deserts! Be sure to check out the Mud Caves if you haven’t. Anza Borrego is crazy hopping with boondockers on New Years. We loved the sculptures!

  18. Mark says:

    Great post! Been following your guys for some time and can’t wait to get on the road to experience what you both have. Put down a deposit today on a motorhome, so one step closer. :)

  19. Leigh says:

    We love it there. Hope to see you in January.

    • libertatemamo says:

      We’ll be hanging around the whole SW all winter. Will probably be in a Yuma by Jan, back at our usual spot. Maybe we’ll see ya there?
      Nina

  20. Jeff says:

    Speaking of beds, your experience getting a mattress topper has proven invalueable. Shortly before taking off in November, we replaced the old topper with a new one from Costco. Sleeps so-o-o much better. No more HOT spots, and the support is much better.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Oh I’m so happy the lesson was helpful to others! Can’t believe we went almost 2 years without a topper (how did we survive?). It’s made all the difference to sleep with one.
      Nina

  21. Dianne & Tom Wartman says:

    Hi Nina and Paul… we have been following your blog for quite some time, and are currently your “neighbors” here in Borrego Springs parked not far off S-22 at Rockhouse Trail. Actually, we’ve met… you came to a happy hour gathering at Nancy and Dave’s at Saguaro SKP in Benson last March, Nina (Paul didn’t make it), and we were there. We would love to get together for a visit… when are you headed to Europe? Best regards, Dianne & Tom

  22. peter says:

    No pics in e-mail but web site is perfect. That Borego place looks great so I think we will try to get over there after quartzsite..Nina, have a great trip home and great Christmas with your other family….Cheers

    • libertatemamo says:

      Thanks will do! I hear this place gets hopping with RVs on New Years. Will be interesting to see what it’s like. I’ll gave Paul report back to me.
      Nina

  23. Diane says:

    No pictures in my gmail. Had to come to the website. It was worth it. Great shots!

  24. Tommy Green says:

    Looks like there is others in your area, from your pictures, off in the distance, is that right? Does the area get patrolled by park police?

    • libertatemamo says:

      Yup, quite a few folks out here. We’ve even got neighbors in the back (who also happen to be bloggers, imagine that!). We’ve never seen this area patrolled. The actual status of who owns the land here is confusing. According to most folks it’s private land and whoever owns it doesn’t mind the campers, but I also heard from another boondocker a few years back that the State Park was trying to acquire it (in fact these guys told me they’d talked to a ranger who confirmed it). Don’t know if that deal fell through or what, but we have never (touch wood) personally seen any rangers here.
      Nina

  25. Michael says:

    We have been camping in that area since the mid 80’s. Started out tent camping in the slot canyons. 4 wheeling in. We go to the Palm Canyon state campground 3 or 4 times a year now, since we’re only 2.5 hours away. Probably in our top 2 local camping areas. In March we were out scouting out spots where you are now, since we want to start boondocking. Had planned on spending the last week of the month there to see in the new year. If we make it, are you up for some margarita’s with chips & dip?

    • libertatemamo says:

      Sure! I mean I won’t be here, but Paul will be around and I am sure he will be up for a happy hour (he always is). It’s gorgeous out here right now.
      Nina

  26. Teresa says:

    Hi…love following your blog….we are staying at a rv park on the coast of California right now and my hubby wants to do the same thing as you are…boondocking in the Anza-Borrego Desert. Not sure how the whole camping for free thing works, but I guess I am about to find out., Who knows we may run into you. Will check out your boondocking tips for more info.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Have a read through my “boondocking” tab for some of the “how to” posts. That should help you get started. I’ll probably also link to a few of these posts in my next post on the blog. Lots of new people signed up who probably haven’t read these older links so I think it could benefit several.
      Nina

  27. Brandon says:

    I might be able to she’s light on the Email problem. Gmail and Outlook are really good at blocking attachments unless you ask them to show images. I constantly hand the click on the “show images” to see images on my email. Beautiful pictures!

    • libertatemamo says:

      That’s a good guess, but I don’t think it’s the problem here. When I was running on the old platform the images would show up on my outlook mail if I clicked on “show images”, but on the new platform I don’t get ANY images in my e-mail at all (not even an option to download them). The ONLY image that shows is my bottom one (the “share the love” image which is directly inserted into my posts). It has something to do with the way I’m displaying my images (I’m using a “tiled gallery” for everything but that bottom image) and the Jetpack plug-in (which is what drives my e-mail delivery). It’s actually a known problem by the Jetpack team…they just haven’t announced a resolution to it yet.
      Nina

  28. Tommy Green says:

    One other question do you ever do any metal detecting or even gold panning? I really enjoy the blog!

    • libertatemamo says:

      We have not, but I think it would be fun to try. There are groups that get together and do this in Quartzsite, and I’ve met RVers who travel to old mining sites and do it too. I may go check it out next year.
      Nina

  29. Thanks for the mention Nina. Isn’t Borrego Springs just one of the greatest little places ever. We hope to slip over again in March. So much to see & do in Anza-Borrego & it always feels like home to us now. You are very close to our friends Jean & Skip at the moment. They have a Class A & a Tracker. You are also close to another old friend of ours. We met ‘Butch’ the first year there & he took us around & showed us many of the sights. He’s a wealth of knowledge about that area & hangs out in his 5th wheel Alpha every winter there for awhile. He’s an Escapee member. Nice fellow. He’s camped close to Jean & Skip at the moment. ‘Sassy’ is there near Jean & Skip as well. Thanks again for the mention & oh I love it when someone blogs about their love of the boondocking lifestyle…….:))

    • libertatemamo says:

      LOL…do you have satellite eyes or what?? The 2 RVers directly behind us are Sassy on the Road and Skip & Jean. We actually met them all yesterday as we were bicycling by. And I have an inkling the guy to our right might be “Butch”. Guess everyone is right here :)

      March should be an awesome time to come. All indications are it will be an early bloom in the desert this year.

      Nina

  30. Ray Burr says:

    We visited area a couple times last winter and totally loved it. Headed back again this season. Great place for photography and hiking. Love all the sculptures and the slot canyons. This year I hope to get out to Fonts Point. Looks amazing.

  31. Dan says:

    I gotta ask. Did you guys sweep the stones to the perimeter of your campsite or was it that way when you arrived. Is a push broom an essential tool for boondockers? ;)

    • libertatemamo says:

      Actually I cleared those rocks LAST year and it looks the same this year. I keep a collapsable rake that I bought at Quartzsite for $7 in the rig for just this purpose. I like to leave our sites looking neat and clean.
      Nina

  32. Brenda says:

    Nina, your new blog is great. I like that the search button is now at the top, and your menus are clearer. Congratulations. We’re now in New Mexico but headed to California later this winter and hope to go to Anza Borrego. Enjoy your reunion with family during the holidays.

  33. Sherry says:

    Gorgeous pictures Nina. They make us all want to be right where you are. You may fill up the desert with your fans! :-). Safe travels and happy visiting
    to you.

    • libertatemamo says:

      LOL! I’ve already met 4 couples here who either know us or I know them (through blogs). I think it’s going to be a super social Christmas for Paul!
      Nina

  34. Sheila says:

    Do you know if the post office at Borrego Springs accepts general delivery mail? I need to get mail sent and we were considering a campground, but if they accept mail maybe we’ll come over that direction for a little while. We’re on the east side of the Salton Sea right now. Went to see Salvation Mountain and Slab City.

  35. Mike Maples says:

    We found Borrego springs thanks to you last Feb. Absolutely loved it. The picture on the front page of our blog is a little canyon we found while boondocking there. Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to you and yours.

  36. John Lowe says:

    Thanks to you guys, we started boondocking outside Borrego Springs last year. Our most recent stay was over Thanksgiving where we were joined by my parents in their RV. The Clark Dry Lake area is awesome and the slot canyons to the east are so cool to explore. Great job on the blog, well written with great pics.
    JL

    • libertatemamo says:

      Awesome! I always love to hear from folks who’ve gone boondocking based on our recommendations. Glad you enjoyed the area!
      Nina

  37. Sheila says:

    Nina, safe travels and enjoy your family visit!

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