Thursday, September 21, 2023


We paid $40 to stay in this RV park. Would you?

(Denio Junction, NV) – We often get feedback from readers about the high cost of RV parks. “We only need an electrical hookup and a few hours to overnight. Who wants to pay RV park prices for that!” Some reacted favorably when truck stop king Love’s, announced low-cost, full-hookup RV parks at some of their locations. Most of them scaled in at around $30 to $35. But here in the middle of nowhere, we paid $40 to overnight in what some reviewers describe as a “junkyard.” Would you?

$40 at the end of a long, hot, nasty ride

Our $40 stay was the culmination of a long, hot, nasty ride. We’d overnighted at the Hickison Petroglyph Recreation Area on a portion of Nevada’s well-dubbed “America’s Loneliest Highway.” The plan was to blast north and west, through Winnemucca, Nevada, and into a wildlife refuge close to the Oregon border later that night. As it was, we picked our routing on what turned out to be one of the hottest days on record. Our tow vehicle objected, of course, and an hour into the trip, the air conditioning went on the blink. As in, “Blink! It’s on!” and “Blink! It’s off!” More off than on. As the day wore on, the temp in the cab was pushing 110 degrees.

We’d called the refuge, in vain, to check on campsite availability. We never got more than a busy signal, but we’re typically of optimist perspective. But after several hours of largely upgrade climbing and swilling down lukewarm water, life was taking its toll. We came to the turnoff where, 25 miles down the road, was the refuge. And the sun was threatening to go down. What if there weren’t any sites available? We pulled into what appeared to be the only commercial establishment at the crossroad, and looked on Google for RV parks.

When the call went through, one of us (yes, ladies, guess which one) flippantly asked, “Do you have any room at the inn?” After a pause, the woman on the other end of the line said, “The motel is across the road, right by the gas station.” We got that settled out, and within a couple of minutes were looking “across the road” for the RV park. We did spot a big signboard that touted the park in question—but we didn’t see rows and rows of RVs. Maybe they were in the back?

Bate’s Motel?

RV park “office” and support structures across the road. R&T De Maris photo.

A few yards off the street we pulled up in front of a well-worn mobile home. A woman popped her head out, pointed to a row of electrical pedestals nearer the highway and said, “Just pick the one you want. My husband will be out in a minute.” Her sense of good humor that she’d left us with on the phone hadn’t departed, and we circled around behind a few abandoned-looking rigs and pulled in. At the same time, thoughts about the “Bate’s Motel” ran through our heads. But sure enough, sewer drop, freeze-proof hydrant, and 20/30/50 amp electrical at each site.

As promised, the husband of the same good humor as his mate popped out, gave us a grand welcome and took our credit card for our $40 overnight. Being boondockers at heart (and largely in practice), shelling out $40 to park would normally be a tooth-clencher. But after five hours in triple-digit heat, the idea of plugging in the A/C and getting some shuteye erased those qualms.

The water is a hit

P & L Denio Junction RV Park on Nevada’s Highway 140 ain’t much to write home about. But funny, here we are, writing about it. There’s no competition from other RV parks for hours and hours around, and desperate folks like us must be the family bread-and-butter. We thought we were the only souls in the “park” itself, but when we woke up early the next morning, another family had their fiver parked a couple sites down.

To the outfit’s credit, P & L’s management will surely make you feel welcome. And believe it when they tell you they’ve got some good-tasting well water. We filled up our tank and our gallon jugs. Not only was the water tasty, but for the first time in months, we actually drew COLD water out of a tap. That in itself was probably worth the $40.

Don’t be frightened by strange reviews like this one we found on Google. Originally posted in Russian, Google Translate gives this rendition: “Everything would be fine, BUT RADAR!!! I already dumped them, SO HERE AND NEAR THE PARK THE DAMNED aliens have been set!!! I can’t walk!!! location – 1 star!” 🤣 We think maybe this guy’s air conditioner didn’t work at all.

Like the industry says, “Life’s an adventure. Go RVing!”



  1. Did the HWY 50 run two years ago. It truly is an interesting route. But man are the roads in Nevada smooth. We almost stayed at Hickison Petroglyph Recreation Area, but pushed on to Ely. There we stayed at Ward Mt. campground. Very nice gravel sites, and dry camping.

  2. We just went thru Denio Junction, headed East then South. Came from Junipers RV west of Lakeview. Dusty dirt road to the RV Park but nice small FHU park. Town of Lakeview is delightful with a car wash & a Safeway. Kept going to Winnemucca where there are numerous full hookup RV Parks. We would have preferred Ely where the Valley View RV has delightful shaded sites, but too far for one day in the heat. Next day made it to Baker NV where Whispering Elms is a tiny full hookup RV Park across the street from the Great Basin NP Visitor Center. A bit dusty but nice folks and sooo convenient to Lehman Caves where advanced reservations are required @

    • Hi, “other” Diane Mc.😉 I read that yesterday and that’s why I decided to add the link to their website, for others who might be curious. Not what I was expecting either. Have a great day! 😀 -Diane at

      • I got snowed in at that RV park for three days and lived to tell the world my story. Also there are some really great natural hot springs not to far away, three in fact.

        • Thanks for the info, Andrew. I’m glad you lived to tell the story.👍 Have a great day! 😀 –Diane at

  3. Heck Yes I’d pay that!

    Although I’m a dedicated Boondocker in that situation I’d pay whatever to get some AC to my AC.

  4. I think this probably happens to just about everybody. I will say I am presently in the planning stage for a “quick” trip across country. I was about to include taking 50 across NV which we have done in the Spring when I remembered as similar experience and opted for a major interstate

  5. For an overnight spot after a long day, you bet I’d probably pay $40 for the level ground, chance at a long shower and bountiful electricity. In fact, I might be inclined to ask about their weekly rate.

    Google Earth shows you were in a great area to disconnect from the drive and explore old mining activity. Imagine using your “junkyard” for base camp and taking the toad up into the hills to explore late 1800’s diggings. Heading over to a creek bed to try your luck panning for gold or hunting opals. The sunset

    TLDR: The price of mustard is always outrageous and unappealing when you don’t have a hotdog but is quickly revalued when you try to eat a dog without it. Ditto with FHU RV sites.

  6. Absolutely! Like you, Russ and Tina, when you need a place to stay you get a little less picky 😉 . We found some of the nicest places to overnight are the little, small, holes in the wall. BTW, we are also fans of Loves RV Spots.


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