Departed Quartzsite, Arizona on Wednesday, April 5th after getting a few last minute chores done.
Day 1: Driving
Not too much driving. We left fairly late and were tired too so we went to Walmart in Parker then to nearby blm. I love deciding where we stop on the road rather than preparing every detail, you can discover so many more things that way and keeps things exciting.
Night 1: Big River BLM, California
Quiet place, lots of space between others that were there. The terrain was incredibly rocky though, which our dog Tod didn’t like, so we decided to only stay a night.
Day 2: On the Road Again
Went back to Walmart today to exchange a camping chair and pick up a few things we forgot we needed. Then did a bit of a longer drive out. Saw some burros along the way and some pretty mountains, including one that reminded me of the grinch’s mountains in whoville.
Night 2: Oatman Boondock BLM Site, Arizona
This place is known to see mountain goats as well as some wild burros. It was very windy when we arrived! Lots of abandoned gold mines around here, and tons of plants. This site is within the Mojave Desert, which is primarily situated in southeastern California, United States, and also extends into southwestern Nevada, northwestern Arizona, and southern Utah.
Day 3: Driving Route 66
Up a long winding road up a mountain, a very scenic and very narrow roadway. Among the route are beautiful landscapes and some tourist spots and sights. At one part, there’s a stone staircase up the mountain where you find this huge stone basin filled by a natural spring, which housed many goldfish. It has apparently been a tradition to keep this little bowl stocked with goldfish, and even had a little fish food container for visitors (though this was empty when we visited) but anyway, still said hello to the goldfish and wished I had brought some blueberries up for them.
Night 3: Down a Winding Road
We were really excited to explore Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge for a camping trip, but when we got there, all the spots were already taken. Even the overflow area was full! So we decided to check out this off-road gravel road nearby that didn’t seem to get much traffic. It was pretty desolate, but we kept driving until we found a spot that looked perfect. We ended up camping in this quiet, peaceful canyon that was surrounded by beautiful mountains. The only downside was that there was a lot of garbage around, which was a shame. But overall, it was a great experience and we had a wonderful time being out in nature.
Day 4 and Night 4: To the end of Canyon Road
As the morning light gently illuminated the desert landscape, we ventured back onto the gravel roadway in search of fuel. Continuing down the road, we stumbled upon a once-lively lake that had since dried up. Despite the loss of the water, the ground remained soft and devoid of prickly cacti and abrasive rocks – a refreshing departure from the harsh desert terrain we had grown accustomed to.
Day and Night 5-7: Still here!
Earlier in the day, there had been a group of others camping in this secluded area, but they left in the afternoon, leaving only us, and we couldn’t spot anyone for miles around. Although the sand was too loose for rollerblading, Tod had a blast running around, and I enjoyed feeling the warm sand on my bare feet as I walked around the free, open land.
Day 7-9: Off to Caliente
While we were in Caliente, Nevada, we decided to stay at Young’s RV Park for a couple of nights. We had to do some laundry, so we used the coin-operated machines that were conveniently located right across from our full-service site, which had water, sewer, and power. It was our first time ever plugging in, and it was quite an interesting experience to have power readily available.
Day 9: Visit cathedral gorge in Nevada
This state park had hiking, picnic areas, and even campsites – full hookups available at some! We decided just to have a quick hike and look around before continuing our journey.
This park is worthy of its own blog post (click here), but in summary, it used to be all underwater, and over time eroded in this interesting way to create these formations, tunnels, hallways and more. Very interesting and unique! The corridors were cool despite a clear, sunny day. Some corridors don’t see the sun at all!
Night 9-10: Utah lake
This free campsite by the Utah Lake, by Salt Lake City, was a quiet and beautiful spot. Unfortunately, like many free sites we have visited in the US, it was quite littered with glass, shotgun shells, and other things you really don’t want to see in a campground. Other than that, it was a decent spot with a beautiful view. This would be a lovely place to visit when it’s warmer.
Night 11-12: Galena Gulch
This campground in Montana is just off of the highway, so it is a little noisy, but still one of my favourites. We stopped here on the way south last year for a night, and were chased out the next morning by a blizzard. We stayed two nights this time, and once again were chased out by a blizzard.
The campground is free, unmaintained, and spacious, including a nice picnic table and fire pit with grill at each site. It has a stream that runs through, behind the campsites, which is shallow and rocky, so lots of beautiful water flowing sounds – a nice meditation spot.
Day 13: On the Homestretch to Canada
After being chased out of Galena Gulch by a snowstorm and the promise of cold weather, we began on the homestretch to the Canadian border (Sweetgrass USA/Coutts Canada). Hit some poor weather with snow through one of the cities, and rain for much of the rest of the drive.
Night 13: Welcome to Canada!
After a long drive, we spent the night in the truck lot at Coutts, Alberta. We were snuggled up to by lots of truckers.
Our journey back to Canada was definitely an adventure, but it was so much fun to take our time and enjoy the ride. We stopped at a few new places along the way and even revisited some old favourites. Now that we’re finally back in Canada, we’re excited to be reunited with all the things we’ve been missing: sipping on Tim Hortons iced cappuccinos, having the comfort of free healthcare, and most of all, reconnecting with our Canadian friends at our beloved summer camp spot. It’s great to be home, eh!