My Prescott NF Campsite & the Friends I Share it With

My current camp in the Prescott NF looking toward the north. You can barely see Steve's camp on the left.

My current camp in the Prescott NF looking toward the north. You can barely see Steve’s camp on the left.

In today’s post I want to tell you about our new camp in the Prescott NF and invite you all to join us here if you are nearby. Like I’ve been telling you, the desert around our Ehrenberg camp had gotten much too hot for me to be able to stay there–I don’t cope well with heat. And having settled on a tentative plan  for the summer I knew which way to move that was along the right course. Flagstaff, AZ has become my normal jumping off point in the spring because at 7000 feet it’s high enough to be nice and cool. It’s also a straight shot to go Northeast into the Colorado Rockies or North into the beautiful National Parks of Utah. Beyond that, it’s one of my favorite  places in the country! The last two summers I put my trailer into storage at the same place in Flagstaff and will do so again this year. However it’s still in the 50s during the day and 20s at night and that’s just too cold for me. That means we need an in-between spot. Last year I went to Cottonwood which is at 3000 feet, but the Rangers there are very strict and really soon after we arrived it got too hot so it really wasn’t a good choice.

Steve and Zeke in their camp. You can see his TV antenna; he gets 24 stations with it in the middle of nowhere!

Steve and Zeke in their camp. You can see his TV antenna; he gets 24 stations with it in the middle of nowhere!

So this year my old friend Steve and I went back to a camp we were at in 2013 and knew we liked. At 5100 feet it’s 2000 feet above Cottonwood and 2000 feet below Flagstaff, so like Goldilocks and the three bears, that means it’s just right! We can stay here for 4-6 weeks and by then it will be getting hot and Flagstaff will be the perfect temperature. You can read my review of this camp in my post from 2013:

Because I’ve already written a review, I’ll just give you the high and low lights of this camp:


  • At 5100 feet the elevation is perfect for great in-between temperatures, not too hot, not too cold.
  • Because it’s high enough to be green with Juniper trees and their are low mountains around it, it’s a fairly pretty camp.
  • With my cell amplifier and antenna I get a good Verizon 4g cell signal. On the other hand, my friend Al was here and got no signal at all and so only stayed overnight and hen left. I highly recommend the Wilson Sleek cell amplifier. You can get it from Amazon here: Wilson Sleek 4g/3g Cell Phone Booster Kit
  • Gas is surprisingly cheap. It’s less here than the last time I gassed in Phoenix and it’s been going up, not down. It’s $2.29 in Chino Valley.
  • It’s isolated, there is no one anywhere near us. There is also very little traffic because the road is rough. For me, that’s a plus, but I know for some people being this isolated is a negative.
  • For the most part it’s very quiet. We’re far enough away from Highway 89 to almost never hear it.
  • It has very good over-the-air TV. Steve gets 24 channels, including all the major broadcast stations. Get his antenna from Amazon here: Antennas Direct ClearStream Long Range UHF/VHF Antenna


  • Shopping is far away. The nearest grocery store is a Safeway in Chino Valley and it’s 20 miles away. On the plus side Prescott, AZ is only 35 miles away and it has everything you could want including a Walmart and Costco.
  • The road in is a little rough, and with enough rain will be impassable. Some friends came by and thought it was too rough for their Class C RV.
  • I can’t make a phone call with my Verizon Smartphone and without an amplifier it has poor internet. Oddly, my friend Suanne has  T-Mobile phone and she can make calls no problem; usually Verizon is best, but not always.
  • If you like people around, you will probably find it too remote.
Suanne's camp tucked under a tree. She lives very simply, but she also averages 45 mpg!!

Suanne’s camp tucked under a tree. She lives very simply, but she also averages 45 mpg with her Prius!!

If you are Nearby, Drop-in to See Us! 

There are three of us here now, Suanne who travels extensively in her Prius, Steve who I’ve been traveling with for the last three years, and myself. My girlfriend Judy isn’t here because she has family obligations this summer back on the East coast. She wants to spend some time with her elderly mother and her daughter is expecting a third child later in the summer. Normally we travel together but this summer we are on our own.

Some people worry that if they become a nomad they’ll be lonely and won’t have friends, but for me it has been just the opposite! I’ve made more deep friendships since I became a “hermit” than I ever had while I was living in a city in a house! In fact Judy and I are rarely alone; usually someone is dropping in to stay for a day or two  or sometimes for weeks and even months! And that’s just fine with me, the more the better! Steve and Suanne are perfect examples.

One thing we do often is have meals together. In this case I made a meat loaf in my Sun Oven.

One thing we do often is have meals together. In this case I made a meat loaf in my Sun Oven.

I met Suanne  five years ago in April, 2010 in my Pahrump, NV camp. There were about 15 of us there in an informal gathering (it was the precursor to the RTR, which started the following year). I had posted that all were welcome so Suanne dropped by on her 6 month, 30,000 mile road-trip across the country and Canada in her Prius. I can’t tell you how impressed I was that anyone could live for that long in a tiny car like a Prius! She showed us exactly how she did it and we were all amazed by her creativity and use of such minuscule space. In the years since then our paths have crossed many times as she continued taking long trips all over the country. Up until this year she has been a traveler only taking long distance trips but for this winter she decided to be a snowbird and stay in one spot so I’ve had the good fortune to spend time with her and get to know her better. That’s the BEST part of being a vandweller. Check out her blog here:

The meat loaf cooking in the Sun Oven.

The meat loaf cooking in the Sun Oven.

I first met Steve in fall of 2012 when he came to see me in the campground where I was hosting in the Sierras. It was October and he was just beginning his new life as a boondocker. We’ve been camping together on and off ever since and shared dozens of camps all over the country. In a very real sense we’ve become like brothers.

There are dozens of other people in my life just like them. But that’s not what I’m happiest about. Right now there are hundreds of other people who have formed just as deep a bonds by meeting through the RTR and camps I’ve opened up. I can’t possibly be close to all of them but I don’t need to be, they have each other.

It was delicious, even if I say so myself!

It was delicious, even if I say so myself!

The reason I say that is to encourage all of you to get out to the RTR if you possibly can and also to join my forum and make connections. My camp is open to all of you to drop in! Hopefully you can meet like-minded people and make your own deep connections. In the summer we scatter to the wind so the opportunity to gather decreases, but next fall and winter we’ll gather together again so plan to come join us in my camp before the RTR and after. You’ll make you own friends and go off and make your own camps filled with your friends where more people can join you and see their dreams come true.

You can start today by joining me in this camp. The only thing we re missing is you! Here’s a map. See you soon!

The great thing about the West is you can get such dramatic differences in weather in very short distances.  In this case, by moving a mere 250 miles, it's 20 degrees cooler. In 6 weeks it'll be too hot there, but I can move another 60 miles to Flagstaff and it'll drop another 10 degrees.

The great thing about the West is you can get such dramatic differences in weather in very short distances. In this case, by moving a mere 250 miles, it’s 20 degrees cooler. In 6 weeks it’ll be too hot there, but I can move another 60 miles to Flagstaff and it’ll drop another 10 degrees.



I've been a full-time VanDweller for 12 years and I love it. I hope to never live in a house again!

44 comments on “My Prescott NF Campsite & the Friends I Share it With
  1. Avatar DougB says:

    Wow, Steve’s TT looks like a 24-footer with the rear body hacked off! Does he use the projecting frame rails for anything? What made him decide to move from a van to a sizable TT? I recall him doing pretty well in there.
    DougB recently posted…Maximal MinimalismMy Profile

    • Avatar Lucy says:

      I was wondering does Steve pull the travel trailer with his van ?


    • Bob Bob says:

      Doug, that’s basically what it is! The previous owner was rear-ended so he chopped it off. Steve is just using the back for storage.

      He just got tired of living in the van. It really was the minimum set-up to live in so I wasn’t surprised. He saw the advantages I had of living in the 6×10 and wanted them. He also has two places he moves back and forth too so he doesn’t travel much.

  2. Avatar Nancy bee says:

    Hi bob!

    Thanks for the open invitation. I am coming north soon and do plan on coming by to visit and camp for a bit.


  3. Avatar jonthebru says:

    I appreciate how you people truly do “boondock”. Not to many Walmart or casino parking lots. Takes some planning but it is very doable. And having a convergence is imperative for security and social interaction.

    I will probably show up when least expected!

    • Bob Bob says:

      You’re always welcome jonthebru! Social interaction is important, but I’ve never been worried about security. You’re a 1000 times safer here alone than you are in a city surrounded by people.

  4. Bob — I’ll be in the area for a few days on April 15-16-17. I’d like to say hello. Any idea where you’ll be in that time frame?

    How’s the road in to the Prescott site for a 24-ft Class C?

    How well does the cell phone booster you describe work with a Verizon MiFi hot spot? I have that and ATT phone service.

    Richard Muller recently posted…Underwater!My Profile

    • Bob Bob says:

      Richard, I will probably have moved on by then but I’ll post where on the blog. I’m not a judge of RVs because I’ve never owned one. I’d be willing to try it but that’s not based on direct experience.

      I jumped from 1 bar to 4 bars with the amplifier and bigger antenna. I’ll do a post on it soon.

  5. Avatar Diane says:

    I will be working in the education department at Grand Canyon this summer and am looking at possibly living out of my van during my four month stay. I would like to be as mobile as possible in order to visit other National parks in Northern Az and Utah. If you are in Flagstaff when I get there I will swing by and say hello 🙂

    • Bob Bob says:

      Diane, I’ll probably be gone by the time you get there. There is dispersed camping right outside the Park, but I don’t know if the Rangers will let you stay there.

  6. Avatar Naomi says:

    First things first – what a gorgeous dog Zeke is!

    I’m impressed that Suanne lives in her Prius and also that she’s able to drive it on the rough roads you described. I assume it’s possible due to its relatively light weight and small size?

    Enjoy your camp.
    As always, thanks for letting me vicariously enjoy the low humidity and beautiful vistas. I hope to get out to the Salida, CO area for a while this summer. Can’t wait!


  7. Avatar judy says:

    Girlfriend Judy checking in 3200 miles from the hot Ehrenberg AZ camp I left March 16. Missing you all terribly even though I know I’m where I need to be for this summer!

    Yesterday was a rare sunny day near the 495 outer belt around Boston. This morning I woke to 36* inside my van & gray skies that are swirling with snow! While I can sleep cozy inside my van, I spend the daytime hours in the house. So I’m enjoying this snowy view & morning coffee at my daughters dinning room table.

    Tomorrow I lunch w/ an RTR friend in the area! Seafood and like minded conversation…excited!!

  8. OK, this will reveal just how much of a nomad newbie I am: What is RTR?

    Thank you so much for posting a link to Suanne’s blog. I have been living in a mini Prius (Prius C) and her tips will be helpful to me.

    I am also very thankful that there are places to go in different elevations of Arizona.

    Your blog is a wonderful resource!
    Jim at Growing Faith recently posted…Immanuel ExecutedMy Profile

  9. Avatar John Abert says:

    Hi Bob,

    We’re looking forward to meeting you next winter, probably around Quartzite somewhere. We learn something new in every one of your posts. For instance, I was under the impression that most government land has a 14-day stay limit. I don’t know if we will ever stay even that long, but learning about how to stay longer is always good information. There are obviously exceptions to that rule of thumb. Can you elaborate on that?

    Stay well and travel safe.
    John Abert recently posted…Ed and the Aberts Video…with My ThoughtsMy Profile

    • Bob Bob says:

      John, most of the times when there are shorter stays it’s because its very close to a very popular location. Most often it’s close to a big city but somethimes it’s near a National Park. When we were at the Grand Teton NP there is a dispersed camping area that is the Bridger Teton NF and it is directly across form the Tetons and the best camp I’ve ever been in!! Because of it’s popularity, it has a 5 day stay limit.

      It’s rare, but it does happen.

    • Avatar Linda Sand says:

      Near Quartzsite, AZ, and a few other places there are also BLM LTVAs: Long Term Visitor Areas. These are fee areas with services. You pay $40 for 2 weeks or $180 for the seven month winter season and are free to move from one LTVA to another during that time or go elsewhere and come back. That fee gives you unlimited dump, fresh water, and trash services. If your vehicle is not self-contained they ask you to park close to the few portable toilets. I would go there for meets with RVing friends, fill my 40 gallon water tank, go visit the van dwellers, and fill everyone’s water bottles before leaving the van dwellers since I could go get more fresh water without paying again within the time limits of my permit.

  10. Avatar Lucy says:

    Is amazing that Suanne is able to live in a Prius because of the reduced space of said vehicle, I see that she carries @ large umbrella with her for shade & comfort, does she tow an small cargo trailer to be able to transport all her paraphernalia for I figure carrying all those goodies in her car will leave her out of the vehicle… just wondering.

  11. Avatar Curtis M. says:

    Great post Bob, looks like a nice area. Thank you for the link to Suanne blog, amazing what she has figured out using a car.:)


  12. Avatar Calvin R says:

    Suanne is inspirational. She defines the difference between “need” and “want.”

  13. Avatar tommy helms says:

    Mmmmm….I’m really want some meatloaf now.

  14. Avatar Jeanne B says:

    Hi Bob,
    Great post. I have made a lot of lasting friendships with like-minded travelers on the road, too.

    This site we’re at on FR 35 is pretty nice. Just past where we are is a little side road that looks like it would make a great spot for you and several others. And just past that spot the road is closed for grassland renovation, so it’s a very private spot. You should consider riding the motorbike over and scouting this road for future campsites.
    Enjoy this great weather we’re having!
    Jeanne B recently posted…Wordless Wednesday – Albuquerque Balloon FiestaMy Profile

  15. Avatar Ming says:

    Suanne is so impressive, both in being able to fit just what she needs into her Prius, and in being able to get it down dirt roads to the beautiful boondocking spots she posts about.

  16. Avatar Steve says:

    Will I find you, Steve or Suanne at either the Prescott or Flagstaff campsites late today or early tomorrow? Left Pennsylvania first of March been in Texas for last few weeks, about 300 miles west of Flagstaff now. I would just like to talk to you or one of your friends, if you’ve already left, about campsites etc….nothing major.
    Steve Lindley

    • Bob Bob says:

      Steve, I am so sorry to be so late answering you. No, I’ve moved on and right now I am in Moab UT. You are welcome to join me if you are still nearby.

      • Avatar Steve says:

        Hey Bob,how long will you be in Moab? I could be up there in the next few days but have to come back to Flagstaff in two weeks. Are there directions to your current camp somewhere on your blog? Steve

        • Bob Bob says:

          Hi Steve, you would be welcome to join us!! Here’s how to find the camp. At the top of the page on my website is a button that says “Find a Campsite” click on it and scroll down to the bottom of the page and there is a map with all my campsites (or at least all I’ve entered so far.

          Click on the the menu button which has the 3 bars. A drop down menu will have all the states I’ve entered campsite in so far. Click on the box by Utah. Where I am now at Moab Willow Springs Rd is the only I’ve entered so far. I need to put them all in soon.

          You’ll find a map to the camp, just zoom in and use the Sat view if that helps. Willow Springs RD. It is very well marked. Turn right on it, go across the cattle gaurd and and go about 3/4 of a mile until you see the only spur road to the left. We are down it.

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