From this free boondocking beach on the Nevada side of Lake Mohave…
… we launched our inflatable kayak on calm waters.
Within less than an hour, the winds picked up and forced us to paddle hard against whitecaps, returning to shore where we discovered that several groups of families had arrived. They had set up shade shelters and tents, unloaded jet skis and other water craft, and were settled in for the weekend.
It was Friday afternoon and what had seemed like a quiet beach, which we were certainly willing to share, was quickly transforming into something totally different. When a van load of 12 people pulled up right beside us (I guess they liked us?). We decided it might be time to move on.
This is just what happens at beautiful free camping areas on the weekends. And, why wouldn’t it?
The Best Thing about an RV… the Wheels
We moved on and spent the following 3 nights at a less popular but equally beautiful boondocking location. This was the perfect opportunity for Randy to test our first-ever experiment with a solar panel, enjoy a campfire, and for me to catch up on emails (we had an amazing cell signal).
Valley of Fire State Park
Best of all, we spent a day hiking at Valley of Fire State Park; the park entrance was only 5 miles away.
It would have been much a better day to paddle than the once we chose; when we returned to our site, the lake was like glass.
The weather told a different story the following day when we headed out to Gold Butte, an area of BLM land we’ve long wanted to explore. The sign welcoming us was brand new. President Obama declared this a National Monument just 4 short months ago.
America’s Newest National Monument
As we reached Whitney Pockets, our first destination in the park, the dark skies burst open. We had planned to travel further but found a campsite and hunkered down to watch the deluge of rain, hail, and more rain. Our plan was to find an area of delicate fins, “Little Finland” that we’d seen photos of online. We’d carefully written down the directions we’d found but, on the ground, they made no sense and the roads, rough and rocky to begin with, were now wet and muddy. We asked some local visitors we met, who had no idea of the directions either and, without access to the Internet, we decided this was as far as we’d come. When the rain cleared, we made the best of it. Whitney Pockets is, in itself, a worthy destination with a unique landscape and interesting ruins to explore.
A local person who was hiking reminded us that this land, now designated as a National Monument, was also in the news a few years ago. You may recall hearing about the rancher who had been grazing his cattle on this very BLM land for many years, yet refused to pay any fees associated with that privilege. Before the ordeal went to the courts (where it is still not fully settled), there was an old-west style armed stand-off between his supporters and the law. In fact, we drove by the Bundy ranch homestead on the road to the monument. This bit of recent history might explain the logic behind this sign that we saw just outside the monument.
Nearby there was another very interesting one; it read, “Zika Virus Present”. We presumed the owner felt it would work better than a traditional “No Trespassing” sign.
Days on the road at time of writing: 26
Camping costs to date: $18