Boondocking Our Way Across the Great Basin on Public Land, California and Nevada

In the month of September, we moved fast, which meant we had multiple single-night stop overs to get lots of miles under the tires. Luckily, we found some pretty awesome public land where we could boondock along our route.

As we always do, we relied heavily on Campendium to help us find our boondocking locations, and while the first site was a little outside our comfort zone in terms of feeling 100% safe and secure, both sites fit our needs and got us through.

The first night we spent at Owen’s Gorge Road dispersed camping in California. As we pulled off the main road, we expected to quickly come across several camp sites, but instead, we encountered lots of smaller Forest Service roads that led off in every direction and were far too small for us to navigate while towing (and not knowing what we would encounter). So, while I am certain there were many spots available down these roads based on the reviews we read, we traveled a couple of miles down the main dirt road until we found an easily accessible spot.

Aside from a slightly uneasy feeling, we truly had no reason to doubt or question our safety at this spot, but we tend to trust those feelings and were ultra aware of our surroundings (especially when Will ran into town for gas and groceries). Where we were situated, it was hard to see the road, particularly anyone coming down the road, and there were a lot of previous campers who had not taken the “leave no trace” approach, which meant there was quite a bit of trash, making it difficult to have Bird outside. We had great cell coverage, though, so while we were a little hesitant about the spot, it was absolutely beautiful and absolutely free.

The second night, we were at the very dusty but incredible Gemfield Road BLM dispersed camping in Nevada. It was located directly off a main route, which we could see from our camp site but surrounded by the most amazing Joshua trees and desert landscape. This site is by far the dustiest site we have ever visited, and as soon as you stepped outside, you might as well have rolled in powdered sugar, as that is exactly the consistency of the dust. It covered absolutely everything.

We found a couple of camp sites fairly quickly and settled on the second 1 that gave us great views and ample space. There were trails leading off across the landscape in every direction, and as we explored, we continually saw lots of poop. Donkey poop. While several of the reviews we read had mentioned the “wild burros” that occupied the area, we were surprised to see so many signs of their presence. After dinner, we decided to further investigate to see if we could find them, and low and behold, we found a small group of them hanging out right down the road. What a treat!

One of the truly incredible things about being in the West is having the opportunity to take advantage of the public land and dispersed camping opportunities that abound. Having a resource like Campendium is a lifesaver for us, as we can have a sense for what to expect, in terms of landscape, accessibility, and cell service, and save some money while we are at it. We are also able to find quick stop overs that align with the direction we are heading to make travel days more enjoyable and keep us moving ahead on our journey.

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