Over the summer, my wife and I bought a 2016 Winnebago Minnie Winnie 25B to go full-time in. We’ve been heading down the west coast for the past few months, looking for a spot to stay for the winter. Then we came across the BLM long term visitor areas, and thought that would be perfect! We’re only a few minutes from town and have easy access to everything we need supply-wise.
We both work from home, so we went for it and got a Starlink internet setup. Hotspots can work, but we wanted to have that extra freedom and safety to have coverage in even super remote locations.
We also have 2x400W portable solar panels to plug into as well as 2x110W panels for a smaller solar generator that we run small electronics from. We’re able to run our fridge and everything on solar during the day, and it gets cold enough at night that we can just flip the fridge off, but with dogs and blankets it’s not so cold that we need to run the furnace. Cooking is done over the fire pit outside. Our water heater is propane only, and we try to just flip that on as needed.
Any other tips or suggestions for desert boondocking?
We stay in the Quartzsite LTVA each winter for a month or more. We enjoy it. However do not under any circumstances leave your dog in a pen unless you are right there with them. Don’t even walk inside for a glass of water! Coyotes take numerous unattended dogs every year. Make sure you don’t camp in a wash, and be very careful driving in them – lots of sand. The place gets absolutely crazy in January, and even Starlink might have trouble managing the congestion. Some people head to the Imperial Dam LTVA near Yuma to get away during the crowds, and crowds there will be! Don’t plan on eating out or making a quick trip to the grocery store during the RV show or the QIA Pow Wow (a rock and gem show with vendors from all over the world). There are lots of activities in town. We participate in the OHV group, and I like the quilt guild too. Very active rock, jewelry, crafts, and art groups too.
ETA the LTVAs are pretty safe. The free areas right near town are less safe. Criminals like a quick getaway and to blend into crowds. Scadden Wash is near town and right on the highway – bad combo. Dome Rock area seems to get some crime each winter too. While no place is crime free, long termers get to know each other and look after each other. This is our 8th season, and I have never been tempted to get out the guns except for target practice fun.
Do you ever take the spare out of the passenger seat or just make the wife ride in back?
Stay strapped and keep your stuff locked up.
Have you looked at a watermiser? It is a valve you plumb in to put a “recirculate” on your shower. With my instant hot water I just flip it to recirculate, let it warm up, then you can take warm, military style showers. My trailer has a small tank but this efficiency has let me go a week or so before needing water.
Seems you have your power figured out. We also have a 2000 watt inverter generator for cloudy day back-up: https://www.championpowerequipment.com/product/100478-2000-watt-inverter/
Have two 5 gallon water bottles for drinking/cooking/coffee water with a battery operated pump on them. https://www.walmart.com/c/kp/5-gallon-electric-water-pump
We also have a couple of 6 gallon jugs to haul water to refill our tank. Got tired of holding them up so I got one of these: https://www.harborfreight.com/12v-dc-transfer-pump-290-gph-63324.html?_br_psugg_q=12+volt+pump Experience says to use a reinforced hose on the suction side of the pump as it will flatten a cheap hose.
To further conserve water I made one of these: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9eBK6xM9ok&t=55s although I used a two gallon sprayer. Also makes showers much more fun.
I’m just here to read the tips.
Converting your fridge to a 12v compressor type will save you so much electricity. I converted mine last week and wow, what a difference. It only draws about 84 watts, about 1/3 of what the gas absorption 120v used.