Life on the Open Road (April 2006 - May 2008)

The continuing saga of a single fulltime RVer who travels the western US. This is part one of my journey, from April 2006, when the blog started, to May 2008, when the blog continues at

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I have been a full-time RVer for 18 years, primarily "boondocking," camping free without hookups, in the Western US. I am connected electronically with the world via satellite TV, phone and internet. My batteries are charged solely by solar panels. I welcome your comments and emails.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Leaving Salt Lake

We’ve had some input from readers who think we should not be giving out camping places that we find. What do you think? Comment or email us your thoughts on the matter. We’re torn.

After leaving the city yesterday, we headed out to Promontory Summit, which marked the end of a race between the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific to complete a transcontinental railroad. They actually ended up passing each other, but finally agreed on this site to join. We expected to see the original golden spike, but it’s in a museum in Palo Alto, CA. We were able to drive on a piece of the original train bed, which was a little scary, since we were towing Randy’s trailer.

Trains no longer go on this route; they now go through Salt Lake City and south of the Great Salt Lake. The reason for this original route was that steam engines needed fresh water in order to operate. There is plenty here, none there.

We visited nearby Thiokol where rockets are made. Then we began to look for a campsite for the night. We selected rural exit 16 off I-84 and drove northeast, trusting fate to provide a nice spot to park. We found a great one about a mile in, as you can see from the picture.

All day we had been noticing a ridge, which was the shoreline of ancient Lake Bonneville, which at one time covered the northwestern part of present day Utah. This vast lake broke out and drained itself about 14,000 years ago at Red Rock Pass south of Downey, ID, sending catastrophic amounts of water down the Snake River. We were surprised to learn that as huge as this spill was, ancient Lake Missoula dumped 30 times this volume into the Columbia River when a glacial ice dam broke not long afterward.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Pleasant Grove, Utah

Time for a "city fix" to do laundry and miscellaneous chores. The Salt Lake City area is all beautiful, with snowy peaks in the background everywhere you go. We're here with Barbara, Ron, Brenda, and Sally.


Sunday, May 14, 2006

Capitol Reef National Park

We spent the last few days traveling through one of the most beautiful, desolate areas in the US, the interior part of southern Utah. Routes 62 and 72 were unbelievable, with hardly any traffic. This morning, we went into the Cathedral Valley part of Capitol Reef National Park from the west entrance near Fremont. We had to drove up and over a mountain before dropping down into the valley. This part of the park has huge stone monoliths that come out of the desert floor like jagged teeth. We drove 60 miles on a dirt road, and the scenery was magnificent.


Friday, May 12, 2006

Camping in the Boondocks

We found a cool and lovely boondocking spot on BLM land 2 miles east of I15 at exit 95 and 100 yards down a dirt road. Miles from anywhere—you’d think we’d meet nary a soul. Yet in this remote spot no less than 10 people happened by.
An unseen motorist slipped in nearby to rest and left before dawn. Seven convicts in striped uniforms came through looking for cans. I engaged their supervisor who explained that the cans are of special interest and are kept separate from the other trash they gather. At days end he allows them to sell the cans and spend the proceeds at Burger King. Only low level offenders near their release date are allowed on cleanup crews. Inmates like the work and are paid $1.00 per hour, he said.

In the pm, a super-friendly Airedale charged in out of the blue and into my trailer. His owner hurried in to apologize.

Perhaps other boondockers have noticed how the world comes to you wherever you camp.


Monday, May 08, 2006

St. George, Utah

Thanks to Glen Nyberg, we have found a near perfect boondocking site–south of town on River Rd, into Arizona. 360 degree panoramic view–BLM land–free–and with good phone service. Best utilized during the month of April.

This gravel road winds its way through the mountains 70 miles to the Grand Canyon. The Mormons tried settlements here, establishing 3 towns to the south as ranching centers. All were soon abandoned. This vast area north of the Canyon is called the Arizona Strip, mostly dry and unoccupied.

Bicycling to a remote spot Saturday, I met two families from the notorious Colorado City, site of a polygamous cult. They came out here to target shoot and teach their children to shoot. Turns out one guy is Mr. Jeffs, brother of the leader of the cult. He answered all my questions about their lifestyle with surprising openness. Sunday, the newspaper headline read, "Jeffs declared FBI’s most wanted." (A cousin I presume)

I attended a "post Mormon" support group in St. George at the Holiday Inn. 35 people gather regularly to focus on their leaving the Mormon Church and the evils of religion in general. I couldn’t resist adding my views. Turns out there are similar groups all over Mormonland and a huge yearly conference held in Salt Lake.


Thursday, May 04, 2006

Diana's Flight East

I just returned from a week back East, visiting relatives. I spent 3 days with my son and daughter-in-law in Northern Virginia. My daughter and her family also flew in from San Diego. My granddaughter, Mara, was the big attraction. She’s 19 months old and talking up a storm. The picture is of our 4 generations, my father, me, daughter Corrie and Mara.

I then spent 3 days with my father in Pennsylvania. He is really into black-and-white photography, and insisted my pictures of the Wave would look better in black-and-white. I’m not so sure. Somehow taking the color out of something so beautiful seems like a sacrilege. But here is one of the pictures so you can judge.

While I was gone, Randy stayed at Government Wash, on the north shore of Lake Mead, about 25 miles from Las Vegas. It's a beautiful spot, and free!