Arches National Park, Utah

I drove a beautiful stretch of highway through Utah today and am now camped on Bureau of Land Management land that is free to camp on and only about 20 minutes from Arches National Park, which we went to today. It was 100 degrees today but nice and breezy at Arches so it didn’t seem that hot. Cooling off right now at our campsite with one of those iCool towels that I keep wet and in my refrigerator so when I put it around my neck it totally cools me off. I didn’t even need to use my fan. My aunt and her friend decided to stay at a hotel tonight because of the heat. I much prefer camping on wide open BLM land in my own comfy bed in my van, especially since cool here at night🌛

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Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks in Utah

On our last day exploring the North rim of the Grand Canyon we pulled over to watch a herd of bison. The next day we headed to Zion National Park which was extremely hot (115 degrees) so we decided to see the sights from the free shuttle bus that travels throughout the park. It wasn’t air-conditioned but they had lots of windows with a breeze flowing through when the bus was moving. It was so hot we all ended up staying at a hotel that night. The next morning we took off for Bryce Canyon National Park and are now camping for free right outside the park in the national forest at higher elevation than Zion, so cooler weather. When the weather gets hot we just head for the hills. We can see an RV park in the distance from where we are camped where people are paying to be crammed in right next to each other, which I thougt was funny. If they only knew about the free camping in the nearby beautiful forest. We have seen several deer near our campsite. There is a huge wildfire not far from us where we can see a cloud of smoke in the sky. We are keeping an eye on it just in case we have to evacuate since it isn’t contained yet. My aunt’s friend works at Bryce and went on a hike with us along the rim of the canyon yesterday, which was a beautiful hike 🌳IMG_8213.JPG

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Living in a Walmart Parking Lot and the Grand Canyon

A few nights ago we stayed overnight in a Walmart parking lot in Lake Powell, Arizona and since we parked in the back of the building instead of the usual front we made ourselves at home. We kept our doors open, put out chairs, put out a solar panel and one of us even did yoga in the parking lot since beautiful scenery behind the Walmart – she got some funny looks from people that drove by but we didn’t care. The yoga girl usually sleeps in a tent so I let her sleep on my van floor which worked out good. We didn’t want to make ourselves to at home by putting up a tent 😁 We passed some beautiful scenery on the way to the North rim of the Grand Canyon. We found a great camping spot in the national forest right outside Grand Canyon National Park that was free and a close drive to the East rim of the Grand Canyon (where I go for a phone and Internet connection) and not too far away from the North rim of the Grand Canyon. We went to the North rim yesterday. It is less crowded and more peaceful than the South side of the Grand Canyon and has a mostly shaded trail along the rim that we hiked, so I was glad to visit there 🌳

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Monument Valley, Antelope Canyon and Lake Powell

The last two nights we camped at a really nice free campground at Navajo National Monument in Arizona. It was well maintained with bathrooms, garbage cans, picnic tables, water and paved sites. We were surprised it was free since most places in Navajo Nation charge for everything. Yesterday we drove through Monument Valley and went to Monument Valley Tribal Park ($20 a car load) for the best views of Monument Valley. I had a picture of Monument Valley on my screensaver for years not knowing what it was or where it was so I was excited to finally see it in person. In the park I saw a sign of two characters peeing and pooping with a slash across it showing not to, which made me laugh. I guess tourists pee and poop everywhere but a toilet since this is the second ‘no pooping’ sign I have seen this week that wasn’t near a toilet. Today we hit the road headed towards the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Along the way we stopped at Antelope Canyon to take a tour, so worth the $48 per person fee. The only way to see it is if you take a tour since it is on Navajo land. It was absolutely beautiful. We then drove to Lake Powell which was beautiful but hot at over 100 degrees. We are now hoboing it staying overnight in a Walmart parking lot behind the building. We have a nice view of the surrounding area from our back windows and since close to the building we get free wifi 🌻IMG_7844IMG_7862IMG_7934IMG_7959IMG_7971IMG_8066

Leaving Colorado and Headed to Arizona

For the last two days we have been camping in Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado. There wasn’t any decent free camping nearby and we were able to use my aunt’s senior rate of 1/2 off for camping in the park which came to $15 a night. With two of us at each site it only came to $7.50 each a night. The showers and free wifi were worth that. I really needed the wifi to get a lot of work done since spotty cell service to use my hot spot. The showers were nice but apparently people poop in the showers (eww!) because they actually have signs regarding it, so wierd. We drove up to the cliff dwellings in the park where Indians lived many years ago. I really tested my fear of heights driving up along the cliff to the campground and going on a tour of one of the cliff dwellings. I’m getting a little more comfortable with heights though. Headed out now toward the North Rim of the Grand Canyon with several stops along the way. Meeting up with everyone at a free campsite at a national monument that I found 🌺IMG_7756IMG_7760IMG_7771

From Santa Fe, New Mexico to Pagosa Springs, Colorado

Yesterday we took a nice hike and enjoyed the beautiful scenery in the Santa Fe Forest. There were several tepees made of branches scattered throughout the forest, unsure why. I left our beautiful campsite this morning and am now in Pagosa Springs, Colorado doing laundry and will meet up with the rest of our group afterwards at Walmart. Between destinations is when I always get my laundry and shopping done. We may stay in the area to soak in hot springs, unsure yet. One of the many perks of free dispersed camping in the forest is that you don’t need to make reservations at a campground, so no schedule to follow. There will always be somewhere to camp. We can just decide as we go, which is the way I like it 🌳IMG_7531IMG_7584IMG_7634

Santa Fe National Forest, New Mexico

I am camping in the Santa Fe National Forest at a free campsite at the top of the mountain that has restrooms, garbage cans, picnic tables and fire rings with a beautiful campsite next to a babbling brook that is relaxing to listen to, which is luxury camping to me. Most people that camp here camp the night before embarking on an overnight backpacking trip further up the mountain. The only way I can get cell service is if I walk up several hills in one direction. I also get wifi walking up several hills in the other direction where there is a ski school that is closed for the season. The office is open and the woman working there was nice enough to give me the wifi password so I can get wifi just sitting outside the building. I would love to post pictures of how beautiful it is here but my cell service and the wifi connection are not good enough to download pictures. I took a hike up the mountain yesterday and actually saw snow. My fingers swelled up and I realized it was due to the altitude, but the swelling went away when I got back down to our campsite which is still pretty high at 10,000 feet. I am not used to hiking up mountains so I am really getting my exercise between the hikes and the hills trying to use my cell phone and to have wifi so that I can work, etc. I am camping with three friends and my aunt and her friend that just joined us today. I an super happy to have my aunt and her friend here to  travel with us for a while. My aunt is sleeping in her minivan were she has a nice bed built inside and a nice kitchen she built at the back of her van to access from the outside. Her friend is sleeping in her tent. My aunt told me that she checked out one of the paid campgrounds in the forest and that our free campsite is much nicer. It seems crazy to me to pay for camping when there is free camping nearby. So glad I discovered all this free camping. I am the only person in our group that works but atleast with technology I can work remotely part-time while traveling full-time 🌺

Hullabaloo

The last couple of nights I have been camping in a new part of the forest in Flagstaff with a friend I haven’t seen in awhile and with several people I just met. Several of us went into town today to Hullabaloo which is this fun festival with a circus like atmosphere. They had some great bands, people doing acrobats on stage, people on stilts dressed like characters from the Wizard of Oz walking through the crowd and people walking around in all kinds of crazy outfits. They even had cool sayings taped to the walls in the porta potties. I had fun dancing with my camp mates at Hullabaloo and siting around a campfire when we came back 🌺IMG_7484IMG_7480IMG_7485IMG_7487