Boondocking in AZ
Patricia: “I wonder where we’ll end up?”
Joe Banks: “Away from the things of man”
If you’ve never seen “Joe vs the Volcano” it’s a wonderful movie of life, purpose and going off the beaten path. And that, if you will, explains why we headed off the road in Quartzite, AZ and out into the “boonies” in our very first foray into the alternative world of “boondocking”.
In the US, you see, you may take any self-contained unit and park it almost indefinitely on government land, otherwise known as BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land. The BLM manages ~253 million surface acres across the US, in other words, a whole lotta land…and a lot of it is “out there”, or rather “really, really out there”. There’s 2 ways to go on BLM land:
- You may take your RV and park it anywhere for free on undeveloped BLM land for 14 days at a time in any 28-day period (and then you have to move 25 miles).
- You may park in designated “Long Term Visitor Area (LTVA) Sites” for up to 7-months at a time for a small fee.
The regular BLM land’s got nothing, just wide open land, so you need to come prepared. Some of the LTVA land has basic stuff such as a water area, dump area and maybe even a porta-potty, but otherwise it is also just a whole lotta wide, open land.
The whole practice of doing this and going off the beaten track has become such a phenomenon that it has it’s own terminology “boondocking” = the practice of parking your RV in the “boonies”. And, it’s become so popular during winter that some of the Long-Term Sites overflow with literally hundreds of thousands of RV’ers who create their own little cultural sub-phenomenon. Quartzite is one of those famous winter sites, and since we were driving by we just had to see it. This time of year most of the craziness is gone and so we were pretty much out there all on our own with a view worthy of a million.
So, as I sit here sipping my rum and coke, reclining in the deckchair overlooking the Arizonan wilderness, I ponder the things in life that are free. We are surrounded, not by the things of man, but by the sounds of crickets, a pack of coyotes howling mournfully in the background and the buzz of a hummingbird seeking the last pollen of the setting sun. Colors grow warm, shadows long and a gentle breeze follows the changing heat. We are, indeed, well out there!