By Bob Difley
It’s snowbird time again – when we RVers leave the cold, rainy weather behind for the sunny and warmer regions of the country. And snowbirds, like all RVers, have different ideas on how and where to spend the winter.
Arizona is one of the most popular destinations for Western RVers, with Yuma, Tucson, and the greater Phoenix area among the most popular.
For boondockers, however, Quartzsite is the boondocking champion and a “must see” for RVers at least once before hanging up their wheels. You can visit Quartzsite and stay at one of the town’s hook-up campgrounds – but to really get the flavor of the place, head to one of the Long Term Visitor Areas (LTVA) instead.
The BLM has authorized LTVAs as designated camping areas for seasonal visitors with rates of $180 for the entire season of September 15 through April 15, with the added perk that you can move around between LTVAs for the one seasonal fee. This is a great deal for new visitors to the desert who do not want to stay in one place but would rather see other parts of the desert as well. You can also buy 14-day permits for $40 if you do not intend to stay for the season.
The LTVAs offer no hookups, but do have onsite trash containers, a water station, camp host, ranger patrols, central restroom area, and dump station. It is a good way to learn and practice boondocking, since the services you normally need are nearby. You will also find that LTVAs are near enough to supply centers – groceries, restaurants, RV repair, etc. – to make life easy.
There will be plenty of experienced boondockers around you also to help out if you have problems or questions. And as you know, RVers are quick and eager to offer advice and help when you need it. You might even end up invited to a potluck, music jam session, or campfire gathering of RVers – especially at one of the Quartzsite LTVAs where more than half a million RVers pass through during the winter.
So looking at the bottom line, if you decide to stay at an LTVA for the season instead of at a medium to hi-line RV resort, you could save enough in camping fees in one season to pay for a roof full of solar panels, a Blue Boy portable waste tank, and a water bladder – three of the serious boondocker’s additions to his rig – and by the end of the season you would be a member of the boondocker’s fraternity. And that’s a pretty neat – and independent – place to be.
You can find Bob Difley’s RVing e-books on Amazon Kindle.