After all this time on the road, we’ve gotten used to a certain amount of variability in the campgrounds at which we stay. We love some places; we tolerate others. We find some places to be warm and welcoming, while others feel much less friendly. We conclude that certain campgrounds can legitimately call themselves “resorts,” while others, well… not so much.

Oftentimes, we question whether our feelings, good or bad, would be different if some individual factor were altered – the weather, the price, the front desk person who checked us in.

We’ve been thinking about all of this recently because, over the course of just a few short weeks in February, our experiences at four different campgrounds ran the gamut from love to hate and everything in between.

Lost Dutchman State Park

The Superstition Mountains at Lost Dutchman State Park

After leaving Tucson, we headed for Lost Dutchman State Park just northeast of Phoenix. Like Catalina, it is very popular with RVers and extremely difficult to get reservations during the winter. I was thrilled when I scored an extended stay during February, but we were disappointed when we arrived to find our site was in the least desirable section of the park. It wasn’t terrible, by any stretch, but we had pretty high expectations based on others’ experiences, and, unfortunately, what we found was very different than what we expected.

The park apparently added our loop (containing sites 75 to 104) after the rest of the park was built, and they crammed as many sites into a tiny space as they could. Whereas other loops offer huge private sites with gorgeous views, the sites in our loop were much smaller, built right on top one another, and, oftentimes, were completely unlevel.

Map of campground loops at Lost Dutchman State Park
The arrow points to our loop. Now look over to the right and compare the other loops – with enormous spaces and lots of privacy.

Anyway, while we were a bit disappointed with our site, the rest of the park was gorgeous. The benefit of the rather wet winter we experienced (and kept experiencing) is that it left our surroundings incredibly green….

The Superstition Mountains on a rainy and foggy day

The park offers several trails that leave right from the campgrounds. These walking trails lead to the larger day use section….

Walking trail at Lost Dutchman State Park

And if you hike those trails up into the Superstition Mountains, you get some beautiful views of the valley below….

View of valley below Superstition Mountains at Lost Dutchman State Park

We also used the park as a jumping off point to drive the famous Apache Trail – a 40 mile road that cuts through Tonto National Forest between Apache Junction and the Roosevelt Dam. The trail is steep, windy, and, oftentimes, features large drop offs with minimal guardrails. While the road does not require four wheel drive, most of it is unpaved and there are several fairly rocky parts.

I also headed off to Boyce Thompson Arboretum one afternoon for some horticultural goodness (thanks for the tip, Laurel.) This is the largest botanical garden in Arizona, offering numerous walking trails, sub-gardens, and quiet places to relax and enjoy the surroundings. I only wish I’d been able to visit about a month later when things would really have been in bloom, but it was still very pretty and well worth a visit.

Overall, we’d return to Lost Dutchman in a heartbeat. We’d just make sure we were a bit more discerning with our campsite choice.

Black Canyon Campground

As any regular reader of this blog knows, I’m a big proponent of having reservations and planning ahead. I think it reduces our stress and helps us avoid questionable campgrounds. That point was driven home when I failed to make reservations for President’s Day Weekend and, by the time I realized that the gap in our calendar was over a holiday weekend (a rookie mistake for fulltime RVers), there were almost no sites available anywhere in Phoenix. I finally found a commercial campground halfway between Phoenix and Sedona and was happy to get anything.

Unfortunately, as one might expect, the campground wasn’t great. The roads were uneven and full of ruts, there was little organized landscaping, and weeds had pretty much overgrown everything else. RVs and cars were parked haphazardly and tarps and tents were mixed in with everything else. It just felt chaotic. More noticeable, there was junk. Everywhere we looked… junk.

Even with all of that, we probably would have stayed. We’ve certainly stayed in similar places. However, we both got a bad vibe from some of the residents and on our second day, when I took Thor out, as I was walking down the road, I could feel someone staring at me. I turned around to find some guy, sans shirt, standing in the doorway of a run down trailer just staring at me. Not the friendly, “wave to your neighbor!!” look, but rather the one that comes with the theme music from “Deliverance” playing softly in the background…

To which I responded: “Yeah… NOPE! We’re outta here.” We bugged out the next day, eating the cost of two more nights we’d already paid for.

Dead Horse Ranch State Park

We were already planning to visit Dead Horse Ranch State Park after our upcoming stay in Sedona. When we decided to leave Black Canyon early, I checked the state park’s website and, fortunately, there were some spaces available. I moved some stuff around to make it work financially and we headed for the park. This ended up being a great plan. Not only did we break even, but our views went from rundown trailers surrounded by piles of junk to this:


Rancho Sedona

Next we headed to Sedona and found yet another weird campground. Not “scary weird” mind you, but rather “nuts weird.”

See, the problem with places like Black Canyon is that there are no rules, or the rules aren’t enforced, so everything quickly goes to crap.

On the exact opposite end of the spectrum is Rancho Sedona, a place that is so obsessed with making the place nice, that they make it feel like a prison camp.

They love rules. And not only do they love having rules, but they want to tell you about their rules.

All of them.

All the time.

Everywhere you go.

On flags and on signs and on leaflets and banners.

Rules, rules, rules.

And, more to the point, they treat you like an absolute idiot when they’re telling you about the rules.

The rules start before you even get to the entrance… 4 signs in a row telling you not to park or wait on the road outside the front entrance to the campground:

The way this campground works is, when you call to make your reservation, they tell you your site number and give you directions so you can drive straight to your site. They want you to drive in and get parked before going up to the office to check in. But it is vitally important that you not arrive before check-in time. And check-in time is 12 noon.


You got that???

No? You’re too dumb to be able to figure out when it’s 12 noon? Well, here’s a big (apparently custom made) clock outside the front gate to help you:

If you fail miserably and get here before noon, they’re gonna direct you exactly where to go.

And because you’re such a bleedin’ moron, there’s a bright yellow sign directly across from the clock sign showing you – once again – where you need to go while you await the magic hour…

…and a reminder that you are only allowed to proceed to your site after 12:00… Just in case you already forgot. Dipshit.

Also, no trespassing.

Ok!! At this point, you’ve waited until 12:01 p.m., you have successfully not parked on the road, and you have not trespassed. Congratulations! You have made it past the first 7 signs. Time to enter the campground!!

When you find your site, you’ll notice management has added a helpful stake at the back of the site to make sure your tail end doesn’t hang over their nice grass. More importantly, the sign notifies you that if you do what you usually do – carefully tie a blindfold over your eyes before throwing your house in reverse and punching the gas as hard as you can – running over everything between you and whatever wall/tree/lake stops you – you will bear the cost of replacing their $2.00 stake. So be careful, you clown.

Alright, you’re in your spot and you’ve destroyed nothing. Good work! Time to head to the office so you can – you guessed it – hear about more rules!!!

So. Many. Rules.

See the part at the bottom about the dogs? If you actually have a dog, they have a separate document with these same rules (I think, I didn’t actually read it…) that you have to sign and return to them so they can keep it on file. From what I can gather, dog owners are not to be trusted with rules. Management needs to spell the rules out, multiple times, CAPITALIZE A BUNCH OF THEM, underline some stuff, and use many exclamation points!! Then, they gotta make the dog owner sign it, all legal-like….

This is in addition to requiring the pet owner to pay an extra daily fee for the blessed privilege of even being allowed to have a pet in the first place (Don’t worry, we made sure Thor peed on every inch of that place. If we’re paying for it, he’s peeing on it.)

Anyway, we’re not done. They’ve got extra rules stapled to the original rules. And they helpfully put those extra additional stapled rules on yellow paper so you can’t miss them.

“Please be advised that all guests will be expected to go inside, climb under the covers, and turn their lights off at 10:00 p.m. And NO READING!!!!!”

Alright, you’ve gotten into the park, you’ve parked in your space, and you’ve gone over their enormous list of rules (including such classics as “don’t shoot shit from your campsite.”) You’ve gone over the regular rules, additional rules, and pet owner rules. You have initialed and signed each page of rules, had your signature witnessed and notarized, participated in a bloodletting ceremony presided over by a shaman, and acknowledged the biblical-style consequences that will rain down upon your sorry ass if you screw this up. You are now – officially – checked in.

“Wow. That was stressful. Let’s take the dog for a walk….”

Nope… not down there…

And not here either…

I appreciate the picture of the RV with the circle/slash over it. Words can be confusing after all. Thanks for clarifying things, Rancho! Maybe next time, you can hand out scratch and sniff booklets!!

These “No RV” signs were posted on the far side of the campground right before a private road with residences. That private development had its own enormous “No Trespassing” sign with a bunch of small print that I didn’t care enough to go look at. The bottom line is, the neighbors don’t want outsiders in their fancy neighborhood… and they, too, love themselves some signs!

“Ok then! Where can we take the dog?”

“How about here on the map… There’s a creek! That should be nice!”

“Oops, guess we can’t get to the creek by going through this area….”

“Or this one….”

“Oooh! Look! There are large flags! That must be the entrance to the creek!”

“Uh oh… more signs…”

There are 3 signs that say “Creek Entrance,” (because if one is good, 3 is better!) and then this:

“Ok, well, this is all getting exhausting. Let’s check out this other pretty green lawn over here…”

I mean, are a lot of random strangers showing up at this RV park in Sedona to play volleyball? Cuz I kinda find that hard to believe…

“Alright. What else is around here? OOOOH! Look at this. Four large comfy looking benches around a fire pit! Sweet…”

“Uh oh… what does the sign (on each and every bench) say?”

“Oh, I see. It’s a community fire pit where no one’s allowed to have fires. Of course! That makes perfect sense!”

“Hmmmm. Maybe we can go out the front gate of the property and find a place to walk the dog. Oh look, another sign. Do you think they own stock in a sign company or something??”

Wow! Could this place talk down to their customers any more? It’s like if the school librarian from my elementary school (Ms. Mitchell – God, she was terrifying…) got together with the North Korean army to open an RV campground. WTF?!?!

And the worst part of the whole thing is this place is EXPENSIVE! Like, really expensive. Like $60 – $80 per night expensive.

$60 – $80!

Per Night!!

For a parking space!!!

I KNOW!!!!


I have a hard time believing people who are dropping that much cash on an RV site in ritzy Sedona are causing so much trouble that they need all these signs plastered everywhere.

I can count on one hand how many times we’ve had neighbors who kept us up at night because they were partying outside. Most RVers are pretty respectful, and certainly, most who are paying these kinds of numbers aren’t also doing kegstands at 3:00 a.m.

More to the point, I’m amazed that the park’s customers are OK with being treated like juvenile delinquents. Frankly, it’s kind of insulting. We certainly didn’t like it… and we’re not even mature adults!

Anyway, it was completely bananas.

And we were about to be marooned in this crazytown for several days, as we faced our biggest weather event yet! More on that next!


Where we stayed:

Lost Dutchman State Park, Apache Junction

Black Canyon Campground, Black Canyon City, Arizona

Dead Horse Ranch State Park, Cottonwood, Arizona

Rancho Sedona RV Park, Sedona, Arizona



  1. Ha! Nice overview of your sites. While I know I will never need this info ???? it is interesting how different they are. The creepy one disturbed me. I’m glad you left. The pictures of the desert and the botanical garden were gorgeous! I’ll just go visit those places and stay at a nice, comfy hotel ????

    • You keep saying “never” but I am not convinced…. 🙂 The desert and gardens were truly lovely. It’s incredible how much life exists out there… Right now, there’s a “super bloom” going on that we are, unfortunately, missing. Tons and tons of wildflowers blooming everywhere! I’d love to see if some day. Anyway, the desert is beautiful and I have no doubt that you’d enjoy it. Especially if you were staying in an RV… 🙂

  2. OMG…this was hilarious but also sad being from Arizona. Glad some of your spots were good. When we were waiting on the sale of our house in Cave Creek, we stayed in a “cheap” park in North Phoenix, close to the freeway because I was still working. We settled, cause it was cheap…we were still paying a house payment, taxes, & monthly campground rate+ electricity and it was summer!! Needless to say the park was a little sketchy with cops there every weekend. An experience I would not like to revisit!

    • Yup, there are no shortage of ‘questionable” campgrounds out there, that’s for sure! I think we just take for granted that we rarely get stuck in them, but that’s just because I do a ton of research to avoid them. But it’s certainly tempting to just save a ton of money once in a while “We can stay at that place for a month. How bad can it be???” HA! I often wonder what people did before the advent of the internet. RVers must have ended up in terrible places all the time because what can you tell from a phone book listing? Nothing… Ah the internet… the cause of and solution to all of life’s problems. 🙂

      Oh, and other than these two places, we’ve loved everywhere we’ve stayed in Arizona! It’s honestly one of our favorite states!

  3. Oh, my, what a hoot! You do have to love how VERY different each park is. It was all these things plus planning where to go next that got to me after eight years. Thank goodness for RV Park Reviews, Campendium, and Google Earth to help us make our campsite decisions. I only wish Google Earth could show us the levelness of sites…LOL! Thanks for laughs! We had great fun reading about your Rancho Sedona description. We always stay at Dead Horse to visit Sedona. We’ve always had great experiences there. Sure hope things smoothed for you after your fun times at Rancho Sedona!

    • Yup, I’ve gotta admit, the campground planning process definitely wears you down after a while. Right now I’m working on summer, 2019 plans and winter, 2020. And as soon as I’m done with those, it’ll be on to summer, 2020. It never ends…. We were just talking the other night about how nice it would be to just set up for either winter or summer in one place and not have to deal with the mad rush. We’ll see…

      Dead Horse Ranch really is a perfect solution to the Sedona problem. It’s a great park in its own right, it’s conveniently located, and it’s not far at all from everything in Sedona. It will be our go-to spot when we return.

      And I agree – it would be great if we could get accurate info about site quality, but at least we can get individual pictures these days. It’s getting better all the time!

  4. I’m getting a No Screaming sign of my own. Never really thought I’d need one, but obviously my RVing duration has been deficient to date.

    • Why stop there? I think all of us could use our own personalized “Rancho Sedona Sign Collection” See, the thing is, you don’t actually have to have a NEED for the sign. Just post them anywhere and everywhere! They really just add so much character to any environment! 🙂

  5. That was a great post, Laura! The campground with the crazy number of rules/signs—-you know there has to be just one person behind all of that. I wonder what this person’s life story is (I really do!), to be so controlling, territorial and rigid (the complete opposite of welcoming, accommodating and relaxed). We’ve all run into those people in our lives, and its usually in group situations: school, work, group tours. That’s why, as a single woman, I like solo traveling over group tours. The person driving me crazy on my solo trips is usually myself!

    • Yup, we were talking about this… Figuring it was one person who just couldn’t be flexible at all who has to enforce their rules on everyone. I’m sure all of these signs were the result of one individual guest’s bad behavior, but to force everyone else to look at all this all day, especially, like you said, in an environment that should be relaxing and enjoyable? That’s just short sighted…. It’s amazing how one person can really change the entire dynamic of a group or a place. Unfortunate, really…

  6. I admit, I like a park where rules are enforced (for those idiots who have no idea of how to behave appropriately in public) but the signs at Rancho Sedona are ridiculous and annoy me just looking at them! I’m trying to figure out what you were allowed to burn in that firepit…
    It’s SO HARD to know what a campground or RV park is really like until you’re actually there. I spend far too much time on RV Park Reviews, Campendium, reading other people’s blogs (thank you for your excellent campground reviews!), looking at Google Earth…and it’s still kind of a crapshoot. I do have a personal list of “best campsites” for all of the places we’ve been…but it’s all in retrospect, LOL.
    Your photos of Lost Dutchman SP and Dead Horse Ranch SP are beautiful. And I’m so glad you enjoyed the Arboretum!

    • So true. I spend so much time researching these places and sometimes I wonder whether it’s even worth it. If we’re just passing through for a couple days to check out the nearby area, does it really matter what the campground is like? As long as it’s safe and convenient, who cares, right? But… then you have these experiences and it’s a reminder that yes, for that couple of days, this is our home and I don’t want to be stressed out or annoyed or treated like crap at my home. Like I said above, thank god for the internet and all the resources we have available to us. I knew about the rules thing with Rancho before we even went; I just didn’t realize it was gonna be quite so ridiculous. But at least we had some idea what we were getting ourselves into. 15 years ago, every single place would have been a mystery….

  7. I have been reading your blog from the beginning (I am a former fulltimer) and was just reading your August, 2018 musings about two years on the road. When you mentioned San Diego as a place to settle, it brought me back to one night when we were on the road in Montana and a woman started up a conversation with me and it turns out she was from Sequim, WA. She described it to me and it sounded like nirvana. So the next time were in that area we went to Sequim and it was exactly as she described. Mountains, ocean, lavender farms, small town, ferry rides to Seattle or Victoria British Columbia. Anyway, google it some time. It does not have the rainy climate as all the other pacific northwest cities do and the explanation is that it falls in a “banana belt” climate. Loving your blog.

    • Wow! Thanks for reading and thanks for your comment! I have heard of Sequim, Washington, but I’m not sure where. I will absolutely check it out. We haven’t made our way into Washington yet, so it’s on the to-do list. I am hopeful that, at some point, we’re going to go some place and there’s just going to be this magical moment where we say “this is where we want to stay long term!” We’ve come close in a couple places, but nothing has ever quite ticked all the boxes. But I do believe it’s out there somewhere. In the meantime, we’ll keep wandering around the country checking places out and I’ll absolutely add this town to our list. Weather is a huge factor for us, so if it’s really a place with all the beauty of Washington, but without the rainy season, it could be wonderful!

  8. Your post is hilarious, and unfortunately, so true. I think the same thing when you walk into a nice establishment in a decent area, and a policeman is standing there guarding the door. The first thing I think is, “Wow, they must have a lot of crime around here.” I might even say this to an employee nudging my shoulder toward the policeman who is usually staring into space. 

    So the RV park with all the rules would make me think, “Wow, they must have a lot of rowdy people around here that need to be told to “Straighten up and fly right!” (quote: Bart Simpson).

    Thank you for sharing this info. We are just like you about making reservations. We are not ones to go out there and wing it. And we will be sure to avoid these crazy RV Parks. 

    • You’re exactly right. All of these signs just make it seem like the place is not a nice, quiet, relaxed place. And yet, the only places we’ve been that had rowdy partiers were state parks where teenagers and college kids were going to party on the weekends. How many drunk college kids are going to fancy RV campgrounds in Sedona? About zero….

      Another one that is a red flag for me is when I see a huge “No Refunds!!” sign at the front desk at check in. It automatically makes me wonder why so many people would be looking to leave early. And yes, having a security guard at a jewelry store or a bank certainly makes sense. But if I see one at a gas station convenience store, I wonder how often the place gets robbed and look to exit as soon as possible.

      Anyway, all the campground planning and research is a pain, but if it keeps us out of places like these, it’s well worth it!

  9. hahahaha! I think we’ve all been to each and every one of these campgrounds at some point! We’ve left places for similar reasons and laughed at the variety of rules campgrounds feel are necessary to list. I always think that they must have had trouble with someone in the past to make some behavior or another a “rule”. One place noted, in capitol letters, NO SLEEPING ON THE PICNIC TABLES – EVER!”

    Other rv parks will benefit from the “training” you received at Rancho Sedona. I’m sure you now understand how to be perfect guests and will never step over the line and disturb your neighbors.

    We often use to see what sites are what and it’s not unusual for me to have multiple windows open trying to see what the site looks like, what it looks at, how “cozy” it is. Unfortunately it can’t tell whether a place is level or what the clientele is like.
    Ah well, one needs a little excitement in life.

    • Wait… I can’t sleep on picnic tables??? Dammit! I love doing that! Bunch of party-poopers. 🙂

      I feel like these campgrounds could just combine all of these various rules and signs into one simple rule: “Don’t be an asshole.”

      That’s it. That’s all they need to say. None of this stuff is complicated or unique enough to merit individual rules and signs. Just remind people to not be an asshole and everyone will be happy.

      I, too, use campsite photos more and more these days. (Another one that’s come in handy is But yeah, no matter how much info you have about a campground, your idiot neighbor might insist on sleeping on the picnic table and destroy the whole place. 🙂

  10. Come stay with us! No signs, I promise. And plenty of room to park it on the side, with lots of privacy (with a view!). Jana from Lake Havasu

    • Hahaha! You know we’re headed east this summer, but next time we’re out here, we may just take you up on that! We’d love to hang out again!

    • Yeah, I know there’s a ton of great boondocking land around that area. Unfortunately, we knew there was really bad weather coming in, so that wasn’t an option. Dead Horse Ranch was great though, and probably where we’d go if we returned.

    • Yes, it always makes me feel better in sketchy situations to have a big German Shepherd by my side… even if he is kindof a dork at the moment. 🙂 Hopefully he’ll grown out of this phase soon and start acting more like the fierce Shepherd protector that we know he can be. … or at least stop acting like a doofus. I’ll take what I can get. 🙂

  11. This post is a perfect illustration of how it’s the strange/annoying/troublesome/tragic parts of RVing that make for the best stories. Dead Horse Ranch was GREAT and barely merits a paragraph! So thank you, from the rest of us, for staying at the weird and wacky RV parks so we can enjoy your stories without having to put up with the hassle.

    • So true. I felt bad giving Dead Horse Ranch such short shrift, but really, who wants to read 8,000 word blog posts extolling the virtues of Arizona’s state parks? Everyone who’s been to one, knows how fantastic they are. And you’re right: the best stories come from disasters, catastrophes, and weird happenings. If everything was sunshine and roses all day long, well, that would just be boring, right?

  12. I’m surprised your res was in that particular loop at Lost Dutchman. A couple of years ago, it was overflow and first come first serve. They keep changing things up, but it’s still one of my favorite campgrounds around Phoenix. Now that we’re in year 6 of full-timing, we like spending longer periods of time in one spot. This summer we’ll be on the move but it was nice hanging in one place for six months this winter, and our time flew which came as a shock to us. Keep those tales coming!

    • I think that loop would be perfect for overflow and walk ups. And really, it’s not THAT bad. It’s just bad in comparison to the other loops. I’m sure they’re just trying to accommodate the ever growing number of people who want to stay in the park. And that’s awesome… it just wasn’t great for us because of our expectations. And yes, I can totally see the desire to stay in one place for lengthier periods of time. All of this stuff starts to wear you down after a bit, so it’s nice to be able to just take a break on occasion.

  13. Had to check my Dec Lost Dutchman reservation to make sure we’re not in that loop. Will be our first time staying there, can’t wait. Loved Dead Horse Ranch SP too. Those other 2 places sound crazy.

    • Yeah, I certainly don’t want to scare people off from that loop. Compared to 90% of available campgrounds, it’s a gold star option. It’s only when compared to the other loops within the park that you notice the difference. But even a crappy loop at Lost Dutchman is better than a decent loop at any of these crazy campgrounds!

  14. You’re a lawyer. You know how this works. They probably did not have any rules when they opened, but then idiots proceeded to do each of the prohibited things. Maybe simultaneously. Things you would think you would not need to point out. But they did. And probably said, “I didn’t see nothin’ sayiing I couldn’t.” And now you have the lists.

    • Oh I know. If there’s one thing I learned as a lawyer it’s that people are morons. Actually, I learned that before, but being a lawyer really drove it home. In any case, if they want to have all their rules to protect against every possible version of moron, I’m all for it. I just don’t need to be confronted with all these rules everywhere I look. I mean, any good lawyer will tell you that you can get people to agree to anything if you just bury it in tons of fine print in a contract. 🙂

  15. You are just so hilarious, Laura!
    I think in our years of travel we have experienced a bit of everything that you just went through but not like that last crazy prison resort you were in. There are times that we ate several days of non refundable fees simply because we were unhappy with the site 🙁 and the neighborhood and it seems to be recurring quite often now too!
    Sometimes I could spend hours searching for the best spot, then I stopped myself because I felt overthinking it. Then we get a surprise upon arrival, either happily or with dismay.

    • Yup, I think we just have to build some of these lost fees into our budget. We really hesitate to leave but there have certainly been times we should have. Or, at the very least, we should have asked to move to a different site within the park. It just sucks that you have to pay up before you really know what you’re dealing with. Luckily, for us it’s been a rarity, but I wonder whether, as the demand for campsites continues to outweigh the supply of them, more campground owners will let quality slide as they charge more for less, just because they can. Let’s hope not.

  16. We’ve been lucky enough to have never arrived at a park and felt unsafe enough to make us to leave. Surprising since we do a fair amount of winging it. I do use lots of review sites and Google Earth (it would be nice if GE put a date on their maps, you never know when the images were taken) Hard to enjoy the “dark sky” when you have to be inside your rig by 10pm lol. I’ve been missing the west so much lately and your pictures make me miss it even more. We’ll be working in Wisconsin for the summer so I don’t know when we’ll get back. Thanks for the great park reviews and helping me add to the “Not There” list.

    • Hey,

      We don’t use Google Earth, but we do use Google Street View, and that DOES have the dates on it. The Google cars don’t always go into the parks, but sometimes they do. And if they’ve been through, you can definitely tell the date (it’s up in the left hand corner). We use it a lot to check out gas stations to make sure we can get in and out of them.

      As for the west, I agree: It’s wonderful out here and we are really not looking forward to heading east. Of course, once we’re there, I’m sure we’ll be happy to be back in that environment. Every place has its own special “something.” Speaking of which, we haven’t been to Wisconsin yet, but I’ve seen photos from other bloggers and I know it can be very beautiful in the summer. Sounds like a good spot!

  17. As usual, I’m reading, laughing, reading some more, laughing REALLY HARD, and, finally, reading the comments, where I laugh some more.
    As for us after 3 years on the road, we try to avoid RV Parks and private campgrounds. Too expensive and generally too crowded. We boondock more than anything. With a 37 foot Class A, it can sometimes be a challenge. But we love uncrowded camping and do the research it sometimes takes to find that right (and often free) spot. After 3 years, we can count on two hands, maybe a few toes, the number of “parks” we’ve stayed in. For ALL the reasons you have mentioned.

    • Yup, experiences like these make us want to get solar and go park out in the middle of nowhere. We haven’t pulled the trigger on that yet because we just haven’t been able to justify the upfront expense, but there are certainly times we consider it. In the meantime, our sweet spot seems to be the state parks. We are almost uniformly happy with them. They give us the utilities we want at a price we can handle and the space, convenience, and security we desire. The biggest problem is just getting a reservation in the first place. But when we can. they are almost always awesome. Who knows though? Maybe we’ll spring for solar some day soon and join you all away from the crowds. We’ll see….

      • We don’t have solar, although I did my own on our previous motorhome. Even with solar, you will still use your generator. Solar helps charge the batteries, of course, but batteries only run the 12 volt stuff in your coach UNLESS you have a high watt inverter. Unfortunately, once you use the inverter to run the 110 volt stuff, the batteries discharge fairly rapidly. You wind up recharging with the generator anyway because unless you have something approaching 1000 watts on the roof, and plenty of battery amp hours. If you have a residential refrigerator, you will need the generator. We have 6 storage batteries and one engine battery. We converted one compartment for the additional 4 batteries beyond what came from the factory. With occasional generator use, we can stay out boondocking for 2 weeks.

        • Yes, we have extra batteries for our fridge and an inverter. If we were to get solar, we’d likely upgrade the batteries so they’d hold more juice. It’s just a big outlay of money. And you’re right, we still have to run our generator even with solar, so it’s definitely not a perfect solution. We’ll see though. It would give us some flexibility which would be nice.

  18. Too funny! We’re currently at Hueco Tanks State Park in Texas. It’s a cool place, but the rules are a bit much. We can camp here, but have to get a “permit” to walk amongst the rocks. Only 70 permits per day are issued. I get why…I guess many years ago things got a bit out of control with rock climbers, hikers and such vandalizing the area. BUT, we have get a new permit every day…with both of us in attendance to sign the document. Plus to get said permit, you have to watch a 15 minute video and vouch that you watched it. THEN you are issued a card stating that you had watched the video. You must carry this card on your person at all times. Oh, and then one other thing: the place closes up and locks the gate at 6:00. We MUST stay in our SITE (not just the campground) from 6:00 P.M.-morning. A ranger even stopped us last night at 5:50, as we were walking the campground loop, to remind us to get back to our site by 6:00. Sheesh, this place is quite strange.

    Cheers! Looking forward to your next story.

    • Ya know, I’ve heard of that place and that is just NUTS! Especially being restricted to the campground. I do not like that at all. It makes you feel so isolated and stuck. Nope, nope, nope. And the rest? Wow. Maybe the people who run Hueco Tanks also run Rancho Sedona because that is some serious overkill. Having to watch a video and limiting permits certainly makes sense, but once you’ve done it, I think you’re good. What a waste of time and energy. Just crazy.

      Anyway, I hope you are out of there soon and can get back to having a bit of freedom!

  19. Wait…didn’t you spend (how many years was it?) prosecuting people for breaking rules? And then asking, well demanding, a judge or jury to throw their asses in jail or prison for breaking rules?? I just don’t get it. You love rules. ha hahahaha! Miss you!

    • Hahaha. Yeah… But those rules were IMPORTANT! I think… Maybe? Anyway, they seemed important at the time. Now I don’t really care what anyone does as long as they’re not hurting anyone else. Man, I’ve just turned into an old softie, I guess. 🙂

  20. Oh man, that campground with all the signs and rules! You make it sound so funny, but I get the feeling it wasn’t that funny to be there! My favorite rule we’ve encountered so far is “no random driving”. I also love campgrounds with speed limits of, like, 7 1/2 MPH. I can’t get over not allowing fires in the firepit though. Seriously.

    • Oh yes! We’ve seen several of those weird speed limit signs. “4.5 miles per hour,” etc. They’ve always been on private properties, like campgrounds, except one time we saw one on a public street in Florida. I think it was a 17 mph limit or something really odd. In any case, none of it makes sense. Kinda like not allowing fires in fire pits….

  21. You know the funny thing is that we’ve visited friends who were staying at Rancho Sedona, and I didn’t notice a single sign, so either those are new, or I’m a complete space cadet (I’d say chances are 50/50 either way). Someone really missed their calling in Corporate America. We adore Dead Horse Ranch – we’ve maxed out stays there 3 years in a row and I find something new to love every single time.

    • I feel like there’s a high likelihood that all of those signs went up on one day. Like someone ‘just couldn’t take it anymore’ and felt the need to make the rules clear, once and for all. That is not ‘slow burn crazy’ in those photos. It’s ‘volcanic eruption crazy.’ ????

  22. Sign! Sign! Everywhere a sign, blocking out the scenery, breaking my mind! Do this, don’t do that! Can’t you read the sign?

    At least it was great bloggin’ material! I agree with Shannon, thank you for taking it in the shorts a few times so the rest of us may be spared. Now I’m nervous about how far out we’ve planned for 2019 :/

    • I cannot imagine a more fitting song than that one for this place. It’s like their anthem. Their annoying, irritating, in-your-face, delusional anthem.

      So. Weird.

      Anyway, yes, mark this one off the list. Glad I can help where I can!

    • Haha! I think you’ve got it just right! We’ve found all the AZ state parks to be fantastic. And Lost Dutchman is one of the best. RS is just not worth the crazy, especially when you can enjoy all of Sedona’s features by staying at yet another excellent state park: Dead Horse Ranch. Anyway, I hope you guys love it whenever you get there!

  23. Too funny! I stumbled across your blog a few months ago and was immediately drawn in by your sarcastic wit. My husband and I feel the same way about choosing a campground; it’s a freaking crap shoot! Every time we turn the corner to head into the campground we cross our fingers and pray it’s even close to the description on the website. And as far as all the apps go, I think the owner’s parents, siblings, and every cousin they know write those reviews because they are total bullshit. I always say, ” Someone’s 5 star “resort” can be your nightmare.” Lastly, we HATE sign pollution at a campground. We encountered that at a place called Racoon Hollar in Jefferson, NC. They had signs EVERYWHERE! It drove us nuts. Anyway, thanks for making me laugh this morning as I sit down to book some “resorts” for our cross country trip next month. Should be fun!


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