|Full Moon at Oasis RV Park at Aztec Hills, Arizona, the Sonoran Desert|
Inside the restroom-shower facility, the continuous sound of trickling water attracts my attention. One cracked toilet commode has a leaky trap; however, the toilet even though cracked is not leaking onto the floor. The next commode is uncracked and silent, but the seat is bandaged with white duct tape. The room is clean, worn, and waiting. The RV park likewise--worn, casually lived in, and friendly--as is the manager (and perhaps owner), a later-middle aged, gray-haired, energetic woman whom I had to telephone when we arrived because the office was closed. "I live in town," the manager's voice had said. "I'll be there in seven minutes."
Arriving in no more than seven minutes, my wife and I were efficiently processed, the lady pointing out several sites available and asking us which one we wanted. "Are you leaving early tomorrow, and which way will you be heading?" she asked. When we said we'd be driving east to Iowa, she provided directions and then said the accommodations building was always open. Guiding me to the pull-through, she gestured me to stop when the trailer was properly aligned with the hookups. Registration was completed from a clipboard, outside and covid-safe, and a quick run-through of hookup procedures were provided as she pointed out the specifics of the space we chose. We were home for the night.
On my wife and my recent trip from southeastern Iowa to the city of Carlsbad in southern California's San Diego County, we spent five overnighters each way in our sixteen-foot Airstream Basecamp. Out of those ten overnighters, one was in an Iowa state park, one in a federal national forest campground, two in Kampgrounds of America facilities, and six stays were in private RV parks. Only one camping spot was used both out and back. Our routes out and back shared some of the same roads but also were each unique in both stops and travel, especially in our Midwest and High Plains sections. The states we crossed were Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California. Some of the states, such as Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas, we just nipped a corner. My favorite joke of the trip was my wife's as we passed through Texhoma, Oklahoma, which is right on the border of Texas and Oklahoma. "Because they're right of the border, they took half of each state's name to make their town's name--TEXas and OklaHOMA," I said. "That's better than OKLA-ASS," my wife said. That gave us a good laugh as we traversed the city both on the trip out and back. We spent thirteen days driveway mooching at my wife's parents' house, plugged into their home 110 system to keep our 12v refrigerator running and our batteries charged.
|The view from Ocean St., Carlsbad, California|
|A CampInn at Carlsbad State Park Campground (with a 6-month in advance reservation)|
|Driveway mooching for thirteen nights in Carlsbad, California|
I researched our routes out and back, using Google Maps. First I found the quickest route, and then I began modifying that route; for instance, I didn't want to drive through Kansas City, Missouri, and re-routed north and west through the Topeka and Wichita, Kansas, area. We decided in Arizona to skip the elevation climb through Flagstaff and to take the Phoenix route. That ended up taking in some 6,000-foot elevations on the Mongollon Rim anyway, but on the route out we weren't sure how our Nissan Pathfinder would pull the trailer. (We are happy to report that the rig worked quite well.) On the way back, we kept to our lower Arizona route to avoid wildfires. We also routed a Phoenix pathway to avoid construction shutdowns on Interstate Highway 10. What we discovered is that there are many small, older RV parks around, many of them near small, rural towns, and that these small RV parks are friendly places that meet a variety of patron needs. They may not be the best locations to commune with the great outdoors, they may not be the poshest spots to camp, and some may be more cramped than you like. However, we were able to enjoy our cruise across America, having a specific destination each day after driving usually six to eight hours each day.
When finalizing our destinations, I'd look carefully at the Google Map photos and read reviews. Our daily distance traveled was between two hundred and four hundred miles, the usual being closer to three hundred. Using the three hundred mile gauge, I'd find a town on or near the quickest route and then search for "RV parks near" and then type in the town. I also would google "campgrounds near" a town but sometimes the campgrounds would be further off the travel route, more in the boonies. These sites, I'm sure, were probably more scenic, but our main focus was getting down the road. RV parks seemed to be nearer the main roads.
Below is a list and brief description of the campgrounds and RV parks we stayed at during our there-and-back-again journey. For travelers wondering about travel opportunities, these descriptions may provide a sampling of the possibilities out there.
Nine Eagles State Park, Lamoni, Iowa
All Seasons RV Park, Wichita (Goddard), Kansas
|Tucumcari KOA, New Mexico|
|Oasis RV Park at Aztec Hills|
Oasis RV Park at Aztec Hills, Dateland, Arizona
|Safely nestled in for the night at Canyon Point|
|Canyon Point Campground|
Canyon Point Campground, Forest Lakes Estates, Arizona
Hidden Valley Mountain Park, Tijeras, New Mexico
Seven Winds RV Park, Liberal, Kansas
Mill Creek Campground, Paxico, Kansas
|A convenient gravel overspill truck lot on the other side of Love's|