Leaving the civilization of San Diego, I made my way to a lack of civilization. It was a nice drive into the desert from the ocean. My next week or so would be spent at Sawtooth Campground, a really nice BLM campground about fifteen miles South of Barstow, CA. While it may not seem like a glamorous spot, it was a great week. I
am amazed that the campground is at no cost, absolutely free, while still having tons of amenities. There are bathrooms, each site has a shade canopy as well as concrete picnic table, fire ring and BBQ. The canopy was a perfect spot to hang the hammock, a location I managed to spend a lot of time throughout the week. The canyon in which it is located is amazing. Surrounded by jagged lava-like peaks and sheer cliffs. It’s a popular spot for rock climbers. Day climbers came out some days, which provided great entertainment. It was cool to sit and watch them scaling the walls. On the weekend a few families came out and camped, but for most of the time it was just CC and I and two or three others spread around the campground.
In addition to the canyon and campground there are miles and miles of four wheel drive trails in the OHV areas that are all over the area. Had the Rubicon out many times to explore. While some areas were just your basic dirt roads, we managed to find some great hills and rock climbing to some further learn the capabilities of the Jeep. While I fought for MANY years jumping on the Wrangler band wagon, I have to say I am very happy I gave in. It is very impressive how easily it handles everything from big wash outs to rocks. Maybe even a little too easy. To keep myself from getting into anything too crazy, I stay away from using the lockers unless absolutely needed and use it as a sign to turn around before I get into trouble. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, this Rubicon is absolutely capable to some crazy stuff without need for the lockers. So, I am adjusting my “turn around” trigger to more of a judgement call based on my own pucker factor alone and NOT what the Jeep is telling me.
Not much hiking, if any at all around the area. It was possible to make about a mile and a half just walking the loops around the camping area, so that became the daily morning and evening routine for CC. Made a couple of trips into Barstow to deliver mail and such for work, but not really much to explore or do there. The old main street section of town that is old Route 66 is pretty much lined with closed down businesses. Not sure what the major industry in the area is, if there is one, as there was not even a brewery to stop in a talk to locals. There was a really cool old rustic bar about half way between Barsow and my campground called, Slash X Ranch, but it’s main patrons where fellow off roaders of all types that stopped in for a cold beer. It was great idea after miles of dusty roads and I meet some cool people, but no locals. So I guess what Barstow is all about will continue to allude me. Toni always used to say that every town had a story, no matter how small, and I believe that to be true. Sad thing is, usually it is a brewery over a cold beer where I learn about most places…….maybe I have a problem……nah.
Heading out of the desert to the pines I headed to Williams Arizona. I spend a couple of relaxing days moochdocking with my old friend Chuck from my Roadrunner Four Wheel Drive Club days. He has since retired from work and purchased a place in Williams. Great plan and great place. It was a lot of fun getting caught up. Chuck showed me all around the area and we hung out in Williams on main street for lunch. It’s truly a Route 66 kind of place. Sitting on the patio at the BBQ joint and listening to the fifties music, looking up and down the neon sign lined Route 66 was very cool. Wish I would have come back into town at night, I had visions of the Disney Movie “Cars” with the glowing neon and quirky stores. Next time I guess.
It was on to Flagstaff to boondock and settle in for the next couple of weeks. I found an amazing spot in the forest just outside Walnut Canyon National Monument. Many fellow full-timers have used this spot over the years and I really enjoyed it. I used my entire fourteen day limit. It was a busy couple of weeks. I did make use of my National Parks Pass and visited Walnut Canyon. Only a couple of short paved trails, but it was far more
impressive that I thought it would be. The canyon is full of cliff dwellings from the early inhabitants of the area and is certainly worth a visit if you are in the area. On an exciting note, CC did complete a nearly three mile hike in Flagstaff area as well. A big accomplishment, as she was really down to just one to one and half miles. Getting her out a couple times a days for longer walks seems to be working, for both of us! There are of course many fine breweries in Flagstaff. On this particular stop I made stops at Mother Road Brewing, Dark Sky Brewing, Historic Brewing and Wanderlust Brewing Company. Dark Sky had some great creative beers, including a selection of about ten barrel aged brews. It warranted a couple different stops to get a real feel for the variety. Historic Brewing is my favorite, each and everything I had was excellent. Again, it took a few stops to get a real feel. I was able to reconnect with fellow full-time traveler Jase better know as Wanderwasi_Him on Instagram, his wife Lauri remained in Yuma with their Airstream. Jase is volunteering at the Overland Expo and came up a day early and hung out at my camp in his adventure rig (Ford F250 with Hallmark offroad camper). I managed to spend some more time with Jase at the Expo happy hour on Friday and we wondered and had some great conversions with some of the exhibitors. In addition to Jase, I had the opportunity to meet Jeannette and Eric of JenEricRamblings. We have many mutual friends and I had not crossed paths with them yet. So glad to have finally had a chance to meet. We had some great brewery visits and they treated me to some awesome chili and a campfire at their site just down the trail from me. By another happenstance, I ran into Eric Jacobs, known as the Nomadic Fanatic on Youtube. He was camped with a group of several other full time minimalist travelers just down the way from me. Eric is exploring Route 66 all the way from Santa Monica to Chicago and was taking a few days relaxation with friends. Having followed his channel since about 2013, it was nice to get to meet him as well. I always feel a little strange about going up and talking to “famous” folks. Luckily for me, one of the follow travelers had been camping in my spot for a few days and moved over to that group and invited me to come over. Spent a great evening and campfire meeting some awesome people. Never ceases to amaze me the diversity of people living this amazing lifestyle.
This is already getting WAY to long and I did not even hit on the Overland Expo West 2017, the main reason I was here. I will say it was awesome to see so many creative vehicles and products all in one place. I spent many many hours checking things out and taking to people passionate about overland travel. For those that may not know, overlanding is really about extended adventure traveling in remote places, usually through difficult terrain. If you are more interested, here is the Wikipedia explanation. This can be anything from an adventure motorcycle built out with boxes and storage for all your camping gear, up to gigantic self contained rigs capable of months in the middle of nowhere. For me, it is just about another way to explore. The highlight for me was discovering a replacement hardtop for the Jeep Rubicon made my Ursa Minor, that contains a popup tent sleeping area. It allows for access to the overhead sleeping from inside the Jeep and creates room that I could stand up inside as well. I have goals of being able to head out for weekend adventures in the Jeep
and being self contained and not sleeping on the ground. In addition to weekend adventures, I see extended trips in areas such as Baja Mexico in the future as well. Definitely have some great ideas of how I would build out the Jeep to handle such adventures now. Not saying it is in the near future, but it gives me something to dream and plan about for the future. Traveling full-time in the RV has really opened up my eyes to different ways to explore not only our own country, but the world. Enough of that. So one last night in Flagstaff, then I head off to our cabin in Forest Lakes to chill out a few days before heading out to Fort Benning in Georgia with my youngest son Patrick to meet up with our middle son Adam and celebrate the oldest Matthews graduation from Army OCS.This entry was posted in Blog and tagged arizona, beer, brewery, flagstaff, fulltime, gorving, kuhl, kuhlodyssey, livingthedream, nomadlife, overland expo, route66, rv, rvblog, rvlife, rvtravel, seneca, xscapers by Kurt Kuhl and comments are open.