April 8, 2019
Many, many people are jealous of our wandering ways. Even others that full time or do lengthy part time stays in their RV marvel at our comfort with not knowing where we’ll be going, what we’ll be doing and (the biggie) where we’ll be staying. We have to admit it is REALLY cool to live this way and not stress over it BUT there is a price to pay.
We’ve had difficulty finding sites in the Southwest during Spring Break… which apparently runs pretty much all of March and April. This was a surprise to us. We were used to schools being out all at the same time either the week before or the week after Easter but what they call “Spring Break” in the Southwest seems to include elementary school, middle school, high school, college, Canadians, Europeans, Asians and tons of American “snowbirds.” In other words, EVERYONE is vying to stay and tour around in the moderate weather during those two months.
We seemed to always find a site but our last minute decision to visit Grand Canyon brought us to that title above: 5 Sites in 5 Nights. I managed to book three nights in Mather Campground right there in the heart of Grand Canyon National Park BUT it was on three different sites so every morning we drove the RV and the car out to a parking area, left them, hopped a shuttle, played for the day then returned to grab the RV and check back into Mather. It was inconvenient but no biggie. The biggest problem was that these were all dry sites (no hookups) and we were running on our batteries all night. We couldn’t really put our portable solar panel out in the parking lot each day so we had to run the generator to recharge our batteries… and I hate running the noisy generator.
But, I digress. Back to the subject at hand…
Our plan as we drove to the canyon was:
Night 1 – Mather campground, first site
Night 2 – Mather campground, second site
Night 3 – Mather campground, third site
Night 4 – NOT A CLUE (a Friday night, hoping someone cancelled and we got a spot- it was unlikely and it didn’t happen)
Night 5 – Desert View campground (first come-first served campground that opened Saturday for the season so we hoped to jump in, and did)
We were pretty much stranded for Friday night until I asked a Ranger out at the Watchtower and they told me about a National Forest disbursed camping area just 1 mile south of the Desert View Road. John and I wandered out there in the Subaru to check the condition of that dirt road, found it to our liking and returned with the rig on Friday. It was actually my favorite site at the Grand Canyon (AND we had awesome cell signal). We later discovered there were more disbursed NFS camping areas just outside each entrance of the park so we would have found something no matter what. Our motto is – no worries. I have an easier time with that than John does, but he’s getting better.
There was a serious silver lining to all of this. John has avoided going off into the National Forest disbursed campsites but he loved the site we found and happily settled in there. He no longer cringes when I nudge him to consider an NFS site so there will be a lot more beautiful, remote and random campsites in our future. I can’t wait!