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Part of the full time RV life is finding the next place to park. We needed somewhere to stop on our way to Texas. Boondocking in Yuma Arizona ended up our best option.

Where are you going next. It’s a common question we get. Our answer is always the same, “Wherever we want.”

It is a great way to live. We love the full time RV life and generally have a broad idea about the direction we are heading or a deadline to be in specific place. But when we Finished our week at Disney we had an idea that we’d like to spend some time in Texas to visit 4 different family members and get up to Wisconsin by the time it got warm.

How do we decide where to park?

We spent a few days at the Salton Sea, and were trying to decide how to get to Texas. How many stops would we make? As we tried to decide where to go after salton sea we had four items to keep in mind.

  1. We were still not in the mood to drive 3 days to Texas. 
  2. Sebastian was disappointed about not being able to swim at the Salton Sea
  3. Wherever we are on Wednesday night, we need to stop until Saturday morning. Lynn sees clients all day Thursday and Friday so the RV needs to be set up with a strong internet signal those days.
  4. Is there a Thousand Trails Resort or RV park nearby? Or are their boondocking locations nearby? Spending money to park at an RV park regularly becomes prohibitively expensive. 

We decided we would head somewhere in Arizona for Lynn’s work days. However, all the thousand trails resorts in Arizona are age qualified – you have to be over 55 to use them. That left us with boondocking locations. After a brief search on Campendium, we found Mittry Lake Free Campground just north of Yuma Arizona. 

Our Site

Mittry lake is BLM land and is operated by is jointly managed by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the Arizona Game and Fish Department. We drove the 3 hours to the campground. We were initially a little anxious after arriving. Many of the old boondocking spots right on the lake were now marked for day use only.

They had created a larger parking lot for RV use near the main boat ramp, but it was just a gravel parking lot. Not our ideal location. We took the CRV exploring. We continued past the main boat ramp on a dirt road heading north toward the Yuma proving grounds. There were several great camping spots further up the road, all of which had great views. We finally reach a smaller boat ramp with parking available right on the water. It was beautiful.

Problems at Mittry Lake: Bugs Snakes and Generators

Sebastian we a little wary to get in the water, but we assured him that even though it was muddy that it would be safe for swimming. In fact he swam the first night without a problem.

Except for the bugs. Bugs are probably just going to be a problem when boondocking in Yuma Arizona. am an outdoorsy guy, but the bugs were real bad. All kinds. Tiny little biting flea like things, flys, mosquitos. It was pretty bad. We learned quickly that the screens on an RV are tricky to keep sealed.

Day 2 Jennie and Sebastian were swimming while Lynn was working. Sebastian kept asking if the water was safe and Jennie assured him that the only thing in the lake were talapia. “You checked your phone?” He asked her. “Yes I checked, there is nothing else in the water.”

He placed his faith in her omniscience and went in the water, to be charged by a swimming rattlesnake just moments later. 

So there are many breeds of snakes that swim regularly, but rattlesnakes do not often swim unless they really have to. This one seemed to have the need to swim, maybe because he wanted to eat a 4 year old boy, I’m not sure. But that was the end of the swimming. 

Boondocking in Yuma Arizona promises plenty of sun. However, we had been 5 days without plugging into shore power and it became clear that solar was just not going to keep up for long periods of time. We bought a cheap open frame generator. I spent hours trying to get it to work without any luck. Our inverter kept overheating and shutting down. After 3 days of wrestling with the generator/inverter combo it turned out that the inverter was defective so GoPower sent a replacement to our next destination.

Flexibility

We had to be flexible since leaving was not an option until Lynn was finished on Friday. Seb spent a lot of time rafting and digging in the dirt. We had bug wars.We did spend some time exploring. We found lots of lizards. We looked for but did not find any scorpions. We got to touch a cactus. And Jennie took Sebastian to town all day Friday to play indoors at an indoor playground.

Running low on battery power and itching to the point of bleeding we decided to leave right after work on Friday night and do a late night drive to Tuscon.

Bottom line, if you are looking for a boondocking location near Yuma Arizona, Mittry Lake is worthy of consideration. The bug problem is seasonal and if not, come prepared. Full time RVer’s with kids have a few more limitations as kids may be at risk from snakes and scorpions. It was a beautiful spot to stop, I’m hopeful that the bug problem may be seasonal. This would have been a great overnight stop but spending several days there with a 4 year old was a little hard.

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Lynn Owens
lynn@jenniea

Lynn Owens

Lynn is the co-founder of Forever Homes, and Owner of Canyon Lakes Family Counseling Center, a Mental Health Clinic, where he specializes in treating adopted and foster children. He has over 20 years experience in Residential Care, Foster Care and adoption. Combined he and his wife have parented about 100 kids.
Lynn Owens
lynn@jenniea
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