From peaceful desert camp to contamination and destruction in the Mojave

November 2, 2013

I’ve named this quiet, isolated camp southwest of Death Valley . . .  Camp Desert Retreat.

1-DSC01269As much as I’d like to stay a few more days, the crew and I break camp and head further south on Route 395.

1-DSC01272(Today’s photos were taken from Camp Desert Retreat, unless noted otherwise.)

Why the sudden departure after two nights?

Dog food.  Lone Pine didn’t have an acceptable brand of dog food and now the crew’s supply is running out.  Oh well, having experienced this site and liking it, we may come back some day.

1-DSC01270It’s a place that refreshes my soul.

1-DSC01266Okay… quick transition coming up!

For those of you who like to follow along with your California Benchmark atlas . . .

Turn to page 103.   Here’s our itinerary:  Route 395 takes us past China Lake Naval Weapons Center, across Indian Wells Valley, past Inyokem and Ridgecrest.  South of Johannesburg is the ghost town of Atolia, which sprung up around a tungsten mine.

Somewhere in the Mojave Desert . . .

We come upon an impoverished town (I didn’t catch the name) which is not more than a few dilapidated buildings along Route 395.  Its point of interest is a store of used goods, curiosities, and antiques.

1-DSC01273I pull over across the street in order to take these photos of the Rattlesnake Ranch band.

1-DSC01275As we approach the tiny town of Hinkley, several people stand alongside the road holding signs expressing their protest against contamination of their desert property.

HP2You may remember Hinkley’s problems with groundwater contamination.

Hinkley’s problems continue.

“The town of Hinkley, California, located in the Mojave Desert, had its groundwater contaminated with hexavalent chromium starting in 1952, resulting in a legal case against Pacific Gas and Electric and a multi-million-dollar settlement in 1996.  The legal case was dramatized in the film Erin Brockovich, released in 2000.”  — Wikipedia

I lifted the photo of protesters, dated October 13 of this year, from The People of Hinkley website which explains their woes, past and present.

About six miles north of Kramer Junction, an enormous array of solar panels appears.

Hundreds of solar panels!  The sunshine glinting off the panels is blinding.  I don’t stop for a photo.  A short distance past that area is this big, mysterious-looking structure.

1-DSC01276Gas is $3.69 a gallon at the Pilot Station in Kramer Junction, so I fill up the tank.  I consider running into Subway for a sandwich, but there are so many tractor-trailer trucks at this busy intersection that I get us on Highway 58 and head east to Barstow.

Barstow . . .

What can I say?  It’s Barstow.  I’ll leave it at that.  I stop at Von’s and stock up on groceries, including the very important bag of dog food.  On the way to pick up Highway 247 to go south out of Barstow, I buy propane at U-Haul, the same place where I bought it last year.

Our destination is Sawtooth Canyon Campground.

The crew and I camped there last year for several days.  It’s a good, free campground.  If we can snag a campsite on this Saturday, great.  If not, we’ll camp in the dispersed camping area across the road.  I remember how excited I was to find it last year.

Highway 247 (Barstow Road) takes us over the end of Daggett Ridge.

As the expanse of the desert opens up in front of us, my heart sinks.  Oh, this is terrible! What a mess!   At first glance it looks like the desert is cloaked in heavy fog, all the way to the Ord Mountains.  Dust!  That’s a cloud of dust!  Several plumes of dust move this way and that across the desert, going for miles.  Damn OHVers!

Okay, I interrupt this story line for a brief message to a very small segment of my readership.

I don’t care if you love your OHV and you’re offended by the paragraph above.  This is my blog and I include my honest feelings.  At the sight of the desert air turned into a cloud of dust (and what follows in this post), I am not happy.  In fact, I’m disgusted.  Those are my honest feelings.  So don’t start with the personal attacks.


Having said that . . .

Sawtooth Canyon Campground is full.  I go over to the other side of Highway 247 to boondock.  I find the area is pretty much ruined for camping.  Regardless of the kiosk at the entrance reminding people to stay on designated routes in consideration of the desert tortoises and their habitat, the place has been turned into an anything-goes, OHV playground.

The first campsite I come to has a wonderful, panoramic view of the desert. 

It’s been turned into a large, dirt parking lot.  Seven trucks are presently parked there.  All but one have an OHV trailer hooked behind.  Trash is scattered around, including an open garbage bag spilling its contents.

The next campsite is also a parking lot. 

The vegetation is completely gone, leaving a large, bare area.  One pick-up truck sits there, two American flags sticking up from behind its cab.  Four young “men” are on top of the hill of boulders, pushing a boulder and hooting and hollering while the boulder crashes down the the hill (Goblin Valley State Park revisited).  I stand next to the PTV, watching and listening.  Please, please, boulder . . . Land on their truck.

All in all, they push five boulders off the hill, until finally they become bored with the activity.  Gee, watching things fall is entrancing for a baby in a high chair.  Time to move on to more complex activities, guys . . . like putting your beer bottles in a trash receptacle.

I don’t drive very far because the road is bad.

It’s a sand box, torn up by OHVs . . . . loose sand about a foot deep, along with deep ruts due to subsequent erosion.  I back up and turn around.  It’s too late to go looking for another place to camp, so I find a fairly level spot and park.  While doing so, I hear several  gunshots.  What is this?  Testosterone gone wild?  Engines continue to rumble and whine across the desert, sand flying behind them.  I guess Stoddard OHV area isn’t a big enough chunk of the desert for them to play on.

I don’t have any photos to verify what I see.  I don’t want to subject my camera’s lens to all the dust.  (I’m trying not to think about my lungs.)

I apologize to those of you who read my blog for an escape. 

Unfortunately there’s no escaping stupid, destructive behavior, even in the desert.

On that note, I’ll close this post.  Long live the desert tortoise!



About this time last year, November 9, 2012, I wrote with great enthusiasm about the dispersed camping available south of Barstow, CA.  I’ve added a footnote to that post.  Sadly I cannot recommend it for camping any more.

“Free dispersed camping across the road from Sawtooth Canyon!”


This entry was posted in Simple living and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

137 Responses to From peaceful desert camp to contamination and destruction in the Mojave

  1. Barb George says:

    Damn Damn and Double Dog Damn!!! I hate that!!!!!!!!! And to anyone wanting to whine about it, put ’em up man… just put ’em up!!!! (speaking like the lion in the Wizard of Oz).

    Hoping they leave, soon!

    Hugs from Hoquiam,

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Barb,

      It’s Sunday morning and the parking lots (former campsites) are empty. A haze of dust still covers the desert. I expect the OHVers and various fools will be back.

      I appreciate you sharing my sentiments.

  2. Chuck Hajek says:

    OHV users are bringing on such a BAD name for themselves. They are gonna’ get banned and then go boo hooing they’re being discriminated against. Nuff said!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Funny you should say that, Chuck. That’s exactly what I was told (read “Rear View Mirror” for details) when I camped at Sawtooth Campground last year. In fact, the OHVers were kicked out of Sawtooth Campground in an emergency measure due to the rapid destruction taking place.

  3. Rita from Phoenix says:

    OHVers have no respect for anything. I recently confronted a young man spinning his OHV in the dirt part of the neighborhood park next to me spewing up sand and gravel. We had just won a battle with horse owners, who also misused the park, to stay on designated horse trail and not treat the park as a horse arena (they were spinning their poor horses and raising huge amounts of dust). The city closed the park for 6 mos until the misuse of the park was investigated, discussed at neighborhood meetings, and an agreement settled. The city was violating a country ordinance regarding air quality so said city had to fix the park, put water spinklers along side horse trail to keep hooves from kicking up dirt. This is the first year I’ve not had to pay an expensive coil cleaning to my A/C. No OHVs are allowed on city streets and a lot of open areas have been banned from OHVs prob due to destruction. Our city river beds were being used at one time by OHVs but not anymore…thank heavens!!! How sad to hear another desert has been destroyed, air quality ruined, and the countless wild life affected. It makes me sick.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Wow, Rita… You’ve been “through the mill” with people and their thoughtless behaviors. All that trouble because of it.

      I can hear the OHVs outside our door as I type this. They’re driving up and down the road as fast as they can go.

      It’s too late in the day for me to pack up and leave. I’m going to stay inside and read. I’ll try to ignore what’s going on around us.

  4. OMG Sue! I will never understand why folks can’t just sit back and enjoy the natural beauty that surrounds them without feeling the need to re-arrange it all ??? Sheeesh!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I don’t get it either. The scary thing is . . . I do believe the stupid people are reproducing faster that the rest of the population.

    • Dedra says:

      I so agree with you.
      Sit listen to the birds, nature, if you can get far enough away from people.
      Then to top if off they turn on the radio full blast. Why go RVing, stay home.
      I do not what to hear your noise!
      Thank you for your blog Sue & crew!

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        You’re welcome, Dedra. I consider when a person comments here as a way to say thank you to me. 🙂

  5. G says:

    Well said RVSue and I concur with your sentiments. It’s sad how people can destroy natural habitats as long as it isn’t costing them money out of their pockets.
    If they are that hell bent to run their OHV’s all over the place, they should form clubs, buy large tracts of land and have designated areas that they purchased, to enjoy their ‘sport’. But don’t use public land that wasn’t intended for such abuse so they can destroy it and move on to other virgin territory to ruin…

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      That’s what really makes this intolerable, G.

      Adjacent to this area is a large… and I do mean LARGE… section of the desert designated for OHV use. They don’t need to form a club and buy land. Public lands have already been set aside for their activity. . . Stoddard Valley, Ocotillo Wells, Imperial Sand Dunes, Dumont Dunes, Jawbone, Olancha Dunes . . . to name a few in California alone.

      You made an important reference … “virgin territory”… That seems to be what some of them look to destroy.

  6. Richard Myers says:

    Hi Sue,

    Back in the day I rode dirt bikes and raced motocross. To practice, we would go to the designated trails in state parks. In MA, one must purchase a special license to ride on those state owned trails. The trails for motorized vehicles were specially marked and anyone caught disobeying would be dinged both by the rangers and the other riders.

    I am in my 50’s now and have not ridden in over 20 years. While I thought we were being respectful by staying on marked trails, age has changed my mind. Even staying on the trails, it is difficult to defend the noise, dust, and contribution to erosion. So I now think that any areas set aside for motorized use should only be for that use and the majority of recreation areas should be for people.

    Sorry those hooligans ruined what was once (and will be again, if left to heal) a beautiful spot.


    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Rick,

      It’s encouraging to be reminded that people, including myself, look back at youth and “see the error of our ways.” At least you stayed on marked trails. Here I see circles around bushes and rocks.

      It reminds me of native American peoples living on reservations. Now we are doing the same thing to wildlife. There’s a ‘Desert Tortoise Natural Area’ on the map near California City. I’m glad there’s a place reserved for the tortoise. However, like the native Americans’, it’s a small portion of their earlier habitat.

  7. DeAnne in TN says:

    It’s almost a shame that you didn’t take pictures. Before/After pictures with only one year in between would be a valuable lesson. I would have loved to show it to my students. Unfortunately, for many of them the lesson would have been lost.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, DeAnne,

      You have to be careful. You may find out the school superintendent or your principal is an OHV enthusiast! 🙂

      • DeAnne in TN says:

        I teach in a rural school where 90% of the kids own OHVs and hunt or fish something every weekend. I get to see pictures of all the bucks and does every Monday. We get many broken bones and stitches from accidents. But, at least they all do it on their own land.

  8. Geri Freitas says:

    You are too kind about Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) riders. Personally, I dislike even mountain bicycle riders who zoom down dirt trails with no regard for me or for my little dogs. Hey, bicyclists, ring a bell or announce your presence please! OHVers need to go away altogether–there are plenty of paved roads (non-highways) for their fun and noise; and mountain bicycle riders need to save the speed for paved roads only, and slow down on wilderness trails. Okay. I’m done venting (and when hiking on trails, will continue to always defensively look behind for offending cyclists).

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Geri,

      I could include motorized bikes and other “play” vehicles as part of the blame for what’s happening here. They certainly add to the noise pollution. One just passed by here.

      I understand what you’re saying. Even pedal-powered bikes can be a hazard if not ridden responsibly.

      As for what’s going on with OHVs… There’s something about sitting upon all that noise and power that removes any sensitivity toward others, even to the point of endangering animals and wrecking the environment.

      I’m not lumping motorcyclists in with this group. I have witnessed many times their consideration of other motorists and pedestrians, and bikers tend to stay on the pavement. Of course, there’s good and bad in all these groups.

  9. Reine in Plano says:

    The biggest problem with the OHVers in the desert is that the damage they do WILL NOT heal on its on any time soon. They have disturbed the ecosystem and it will take decades to repair. In one of the parks in Arizona they showed pictures of roads in the desert that were decades old, NOT in use but still visible. The desert doesn’t look fragile, but it is.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You are so right, Reine. When we were in Utah in a desert area, the hills were scarred with OHV tracks. There were signs all over prohibiting OHVs. My guess is that the OHV craze came on so fast that people and agencies charged with protecting our public lands could not respond fast enough. An awful lot of damage can be done by one OHV in one single day.

  10. mockturtle says:

    I couldn’t agree more. And I feel the same way about jet skis. 🙁

  11. Cinandjules says:

    Oh no ……one of those days!

    It all comes down to respect or the lack of. I don’t think you offended any of us and again it’s your blog and most importantly your opinion/beliefs.

    I too don’t understand the fun of tearing up the landscape or body of water. Oh well ….not my cup of tea!

    Sometimes I think it’s young testosterone mixed with alcohol….not a good combination no matter how you add it up.

    Try to enjoy your day ….

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Cinandjules,

      Some of it is the craziness of youth. However, I don’t think these expensive trucks, trailers, and OHVs are purchased primarily by young people. When I see kids on OHVs, they’re led by adults (30-40 age group seems prevalent.)

      It’s mid-afternoon and the activity around here isn’t as heavy as yesterday. They’re roaring up and down the road, but there are only two trucks in the campsite-turned-parking lot.

      Strange how things appear in life… On the same day I encounter people upset over contamination of the desert by a corporation, I come across this OHV destruction of the desert.

      • Connie & Mugsy (MN/AZ) says:

        Great point actually… we humans can be so destructive. Both the young and foolish… and the overly greedy adults who run big business.

  12. Linda in Texas says:

    I share your disgust. Here in Texas, it’s destruction of river beds and surrounding vegetation. I’m sure wildlife flee the areas, never to return. Very sad.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Linda,

      It’s a widespread and difficult problem. OHVs are very helpful vehicles for farmers, ranchers, and anyone who needs to cross a large piece of land. Driving an OHV on your own property is one thing…. Tearing up public land is another.

      Yeah, plants and wildlife. . . It can’t be good.

  13. Sierra Foothill Mama says:

    Deep breath. Should I respond? Let me think. What can I say? Oh well, here goes…

    As with anything else folks should remember that people should not be lumped into groups that are vilified for the actions of some of the people in that group. There are many responsible people who enjoy OHV actives. I do agree however that the individuals that you are describing are clearly wrong and they deserve to be admonished (fined, thrown in jail or whatever for their CRIMES). You are very right that there are designated OHV areas nearby that they should stay there to “do their thing”. Destruction of the environment is never okay. Travel on existing trails in appropriate areas is okay.

    My husband and I are members of Cal 4Wheel and our local 4-wheel drive club. Whenever we off road in our Suzuki we follow the Tread Lightly principles and we always return home with more trash than we generated. My husband works with the US Forest Service and BLM to document and stabilize old desert mining camps. This summer we did some work in the Sweetwater Mountains with the blessing of the Bridgeport ranger. While we were on that trail my husband admonished two groups of motorcycle riders to stay on the posted trails. He pointed out that their behavior would rightfully close off the area for everyone.

    Off roaders also do good things. Every June our 4×4 club puts on an event in the Sierras where we give 40 to 60 individuals who are developmentally disabled or mentally ill rides on a 4×4 trail high in the mountains. Jeeps and other 4×4 vehicles come from all over to give these special people an exciting outdoor activity. The Forest Service supports this event and Smokey Bear welcomes our guests before leaving on their adventure. A barbecue under the tall pines caps off the event each year.

    So, please, please when you talk about the disgusting behavior of these individuals do not put them in a group with me. I do not want to be associated with them either. There are many off road enthusiasts that you never notice because we enjoy our recreational activities in a respectful and appropriate way. In the 60s and 70s we backpacked, in the 80s and 90s we canoe camped miles from roads. Now we continue to enjoy the great outdoors in a new way, with the same respect, leave no trace manner.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Sierra Foothills Mama,

      I’m happy to read another side of the OHV story. I admire the efforts of you and your husband to make the world a better place while OHVing. Oh, how I wish all were like you!

      As I wrote in a reply (above), there are good and bad in all … groups. Thank you for making it clear that not all OHVers are disrespectful of the environment and inconsiderate of other people.

      I also appreciate the fact that you presented the good side of OHVers without getting angry with me for my post or by making a personal attack. From what I’ve learned of you and your husband, you’re not that kind of people. 🙂

      It’s a shame that the idiot OHVers cast a shadow of shame on all OHVers. Again, thanks for taking the time to give us a more balanced picture. Keep up the good work!

    • Diann in MT says:

      Sierra Foothill Mom, you are in an excellent position to activate local and state OHV enthusiasts to put an end to the destruction of the desert ecosystem, home to fragile life forms, flora and fauna.
      You and your husband’s work to maintain sane and shared habitats for the environment and OHV enthusiasts is commendable. Please use your influence to change things in this wonderful and special part of the world. Thanks for what you guys do already!

      Sue and other outraged readers,
      I share your anger. I find our times troubling. More violence and less concern for “the rules” that make life safe and sustainable for the majority are troubling markers of our current society. We can’t depend solely on the hard work of Ranger Jim, but we can hope that concerned citizens like Sierra Foothill Mom and her associations will make a difference through lobbying local authorities and state legislatures to make the needed changes.
      Thanks for bringing this travesty to the attention of your small piece of the universe, your faithful blog readers, rvSue.

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        Excellent contribution to this discussion. Thanks, Diann, for taking the time to write it.

      • Sierra Foothill Mama says:

        Thanks Sue. I totally get what you were saying and some folks do need to have a big rock fall on their their truck (or head).

        I enjoy following your blog and though we have never met, in some weird way I consider you a friend. And friends should always be honest with each other in a respectful manner.

        We share so much, our love of the outdoors and enjoyment of quiet and beautiful places. Some day, when we retire, we hope to live the wandering lifestyle. Our dream is much like yours except having a two person sized trailer towed by a jeep so we can camp far from the crowds.

        In my experience, the loud disrespectful OHV folks do not as often camp too far off the beaten path. They are wild pack animals who do not want to get too far from their cold beer, loud “music” and comforts of the pack.

        I am very glad that this discussion has not too much of a hateful tone like the fish netting discussion did. I like to follow your travels and posts not only because I want to be you when I grow up. I also follow you because you are a thoughtful person that I admire.

        Thank you for today’s post and all of your posts. Sharing your life and travels with all of us is a gift I appreciate.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          You’re welcome, Sierra Foothills Mama.

          I’m glad the hateful people revealed themselves in the fish netting discussion. I hope the reaction of my readers and myself will keep them away from my blog for as long as it exists.

          Always a pleasure to hear from you . . .

      • Connie & Mugsy (MN/AZ) says:

        This reminds me of back in the 50s and 60s when hot rods and street racing was all the rage. So many young people killed and lives ruined. Many smallish towns started a car racing club… with organized races on a dirt track… small prizes and trophies. And any member who got caught racing on a street was immediately out on their ears. It helped a lot of young males with too much testosterone and too little sense to survive to maturity. It all comes back to the idea of “it takes a village” and people like Sierra Mama… and my dad who helped start one of those racing clubs. (even though my mother wouldn’t let him drive…)

      • Sierra Foothill Mama says:

        Thanks Diann. I sound like an advocate because I am and I do when I see an opportunity.

    • DesertHawk - Las Cruces, New Mexico says:

      I concur with Sierra Foothill Mama, I’ve had several 4 Wheel Drive Jeeps & a IH Scout II through the years & now have an ’90 Suzuki Samurai (which I look forward to using once I’m back to par).

      Never used them to run full tilt across the desert tearing up the country side. Stayed on the established jeep trails. Enjoyed peaceful drives out in the back country, seeing what might be just around the bend or over the next hill. Very enjoyable. Usually alone with my family. Allowing our dog to lead the way.

      Over time many of the trails began to be torn up from those you have described. Speed junkies wanting to get a little more adrenaline pumped into their brains. Instead of gently climbing a steep hill, they speed up it often digging up berms with their over powered monster trucks. Making it more difficult to transverse the hill for others who follow.

      My daughter & son learned to drive in our ’79 Jeep CJ-7 out in the backcountry desert trails around Las Cruces.

      It is a shame for anyone to be so blind & short sighted to be out tearing up such a fragile environment as out deserts. Creating unhealthy dust clouds in the process. They do not have an apparition for nature and/or the desert landscape.

    • Barb in Washington state says:


  14. Sherry says:

    Good ones, bad ones. I still don’t get it. Why so much noise?? Are there no rules protecting this area at all where you are Sue?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Sherry,

      There are brown, metal “sticks” in the ground, similar to the ones used by the Forest Service to mark roads. The sticks let OHVers know which roads they can drive on (OHV symbols on the posts).

      If no brown post, OHVers shouldn’t be on that road or area. However, there is ample evidence that OHVs go off these designated roads. I see fresh tracks on roads and ground that is definitely and clearly off-limits to OHVs.

      Of course, no agency can watch every single road, hill, bush, rocks, etc. every minute of every day across our deserts. So, as is a fast-growing attitude in our culture — If you probably can get away with something, then it’s okay to go ahead and do it.

  15. Kim says:

    Agree wholeheartedly about OHVs. And Barstow.

  16. Mick in TN says:

    A few years back OHVs looked a bit different but all we did is tour the logging roads of NY and VT.

  17. Glenda in OZ! says:

    Your post today just makes me sad. I appreciate that people should be free to pursue their activities but where it disturbs the environment and is destructive, then it is wrong, very wrong. I am so sorry to hear that a place you found so delightful during your last visit is now intolerable.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Glenda,

      It was near “intolerable” here yesterday (Sat.) . Not so bad today. I have hope that the weekdays will be okay, because there’s still a lot to enjoy here, once you look past the destruction. This part of the desert is green and there are interesting plants, as well as the view.

      I’ll take some photos for tomorrow’s post. We need something positive after this post!

  18. Bev says:

    Hi RVSue! We owned an ATV for about six years and enjoyed many back-country rides, especially in Utah. We enjoyed seeing wildlife and geological formations that riddled our mind. We never understood speeding about or adding miles per day to your ATV for bragging rights. I can’t tell you how many times we traveled with folks; got back to our camp and would ask: “Did you see that hawk dive for its prey?” No. “How about the deer standing in the wash next to the road?” No. We also picked up a lot of garbage left behind by others. As another mentioned; the people you encountered make it bad for others who can enjoy ATV’s in a responsible way. There are always 20% who impose on the other 80%–Pareto’s Theory.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Bev,

      I’ve often wondered whether OHVers (ATVers) see the beauty and wildlife around them. There’s always trash to be picked up. I’m glad you did so.

      You reminded me that there are people who drive their OHVs slowly so they can see what’s around them. And some people are unable to get out in the countryside any other way. I wouldn’t want to discourage or disparage those folks in any way. That’s a good use of an OHV.

      Your percentages are more optimistic than I would state them for this situation. Maybe that’s indicative of my mood. I was so disturbed by what I saw yesterday that I couldn’t write a blog post.

      • Cinandjules says:

        Your post was neither positive or negative but rather a wake up call to all. For those who totally respect and enjoy the landscape and those who are “in the moment having fun” and may not realize their actions/behavior may be detrimental today or in the future.

        It’s not mine or yours…..but an area that we all can share!

        Just a friendly reminder…from rvsue and her crew!

  19. Reba Johnson Cargile says:

    Hi Sue,
    ESPN and their extreme sports gig is a big influence on this behavior!

  20. klbexplores says:

    To add another perspective, when I bought my house 14 years ago the house next door was owned by a 85 year old man who in his youth raised race horses on the 5 acres. After his death the property was sold out to a young family. The ORV’s followed. The peace and quiet that I loved valued and indeed needed was long gone. I was recently visiting a neighbor in the neighborhood and the children are now about 6-12 years old and ride for hours after school every day and non-stop on the weekends. Yes, they are destroying their own property but it impacts all those who live nearby. I escaped in the nick of time. What fine upstanding (and considerate) people they will grow up to be. Blessed be for wheels on our trailers!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, klbexplores,

      What a nightmare… To own a home near that. I have the very strong suspicion these are children who hardly ever do their homework and their teachers are questioned about why the test scores aren’t higher. Oh, it’s depressing.

      Tomorrow I’m going to take photos of some of the neat cacti I saw on our early evening walk!

    • We had the same experience at our home and so did my daughter. From peaceful neighborhood to roaring engines and dust non-stop day after day. Thank goodness we are now retired and full-timing and the “wheels” allow us to move when the “neighborhood” becomes intolerable. We plan to trek out west next fall (exploring Florida this year) and visit many of the places RV Sue has blogged about. Although we don’t boondock (our rig isn’t really suitable for it) and stay in campgrounds; we still live by the “leave it as you found it” (or better) theory. However, even in campgrounds people ignore rules. Loud music, loud engines, speeding golf carts, and enough “toys” that they overflow and crowd out their neighbor. We are considering of going getting a smaller rig to so we can camp in more isolated areas.

      The best thing you can do is politely remind people of the rules. If you get an attitude back for your effort, record their license plates, take a few pictures as evidence and report it. Maybe if more people did that, more OHVers would be held responsible.

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        I didn’t blog about it, but I DID report some OHVers (with photos) to the forest service for the damage they did at Delmoe Lake (smashed two concrete picnic tables among other things).

        The forest service was very appreciative and what I sent to them via email was included in a press release to the Butte, Montana, newspaper. A reporter came out to Delmoe Lake shortly after I sent the evidence. The crew and I had left the day before.

        I received an email from the forest service thanking me and informing me that the perpetrators were given a citation and that the photos would be helpful if the matter went to court.

        • Diann in MT says:

          Thanks Sue for protecting Delmoe. Plan to visit there next summer!

        • Sierra Foothill Mama says:

          Thank you Sue for taking action. It is only when responsible people help the authorities will things change. Vandals or environmental damage we must speak up or we will allow them to win. I can understand why you may not want to mention it. Thanks for sharing.

  21. BuckeyePatti says:

    Arghhh, I was hoping one of those boulders would land on their truck, too! ID-GITS. The cute pic of the Rattlesnake Ranch band made me smile and saved the post 🙂 Interesting conversation from responsible OHV’rs and thanks to them for following the rules because they understand the consequences. What is it about “following rules” that a lot of people don’t get these days? (My mind drifts to politicians, bankers, irresponsible OHVers, too many others to list). Okay, off the soapbox and back to your regularly scheduled programming…

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Patti…

      I try to keep my blog upbeat and fun. Sometimes though I feel like I shouldn’t hide the truth of what I experience.

      I know what you mean about following rules being unimportant to a lot of people. I hate to say it, but it’s going to get worse if my experience with young people is any indication.

  22. Trip and Lisa says:

    I got my hand up,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,and my question is,,,,,,,,,,,,,,how can you leave Kramer Junction and head west on 58 to Barstow Ms. Sue?.That’s kinda the long way to get there ain’t it?.Or was it a trick to make sure we’re not just lookin at the pictures but actually reading?.So,is there like a prize for commenting Ms. Sue?.
    Sorry Sue,as one who has been thru there dozens if not hundreds of times over the years,long before Pilot built their place there,I just had to ask that after I re-read your post several times.Thanks for those memories Sue.
    But,Had I not survived that heart attack two years ago to the day ( Nov 2,2011 ),I wouldn’t be here to hold my hand up,lol.
    Best thing about that heart attack was I got that entire Helicoptor all to myself for a whole hour.
    I shoulda got up earlier so I coulda been first,,,,,,,,,,,,,dang old people,he he he.
    Have a really,really,really great week Sue.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Trip and Lisa,

      I can’t tell you how many times I’ve reversed east and west when writing this blog. Usually I catch it. I’ll edit the post and put Barstow back where it belongs . . . EAST of Kramer Junction. LOL!

      I can see where Nov. 2 is a special anniversary for you. I’m glad you’re here to tell us about it.

      You have a great week, too!

  23. Don in Okla. says:

    Hi Sue and Crew
    So sorry to hear of your unfortunate camp site situation. I hope you can get the heck out of there and soon!!
    But I am having the best time thanks to you. I am reading all of your past blogs starting clear back in 2011!! It’s great!!
    Best wishes to you all.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Don,

      You got an out-loud chuckle from me with “I am having the best time thanks to you.” What a kick to be able to do that to someone I’ve never met!

      Thank you for reading my blog from the beginning and for telling me about it. 🙂 Glad you are with us!

  24. Elizabeth says:

    So sorry Sue…people are so selfish these days. I guess we are seeing a window on what to expect in the future. Be it out in nature, or politics or whatever…so much selfishness it is sickening!! I am tired of dealing with certain people myself…hermit existence looks better all the time…or at least the part time hermit like life you are living!! I hope tomorrow things settle down!!
    We just came over the Blues today, between Pendleton and Baker, Oregon…snow on high spots, along the road, but fortunately ok on the road…and now SO COLD!! We are on our way back to NC to downsize more…at some point we might get some kind of rig to go about in as well. I am so glad to leave the apt we were in the last 6 months!! Most neighbors are fine…but we lived under some doozies…heh, 2 weeks ago I had had it with the jumping, dropping heavy things, clear up to 1 am…played a couple songs at very high sound level (one was Trumpet Voluntary)…heh, was quieter after that. People…

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Elizabeth,

      I can understand your relief to be out of that apt. I’ve lived with noisy neighbors in more places than I want to remember. It’s enough to drive a person mad. At the moment I don’t have any neighbors at all which suits me fine!

      I’ve given up trying to keep my Elizabeth readers straight. One moved to West Virginia, another went to California, another lives in the Yakima Valley, you’re going back to North Carolina after being in Oregon. Is this all the same person? LOL!

      Have a great day, Elizabeth!

      • Elizabeth says:

        Well, when we first “met” here Sue, I was in NC, then to VA for 5 months, and we just finished up 6 months in WA (during which I made a trip to CA as well as a couple trips to ID), and yes, now we are back to NC for a few months maybe…vagabonding without a rig…heh! It is what can happen when you have kids on both coasts.

  25. Varmint says:

    Greetings, Sue! Just a thought for you, since I didn’t notice anyone else say anything….that strange-looking building with the large “bubble” on top appears to be a weather-tracking radar. Could be something else, like for aircraft, but weather is my first guess.

    Sorry to hear about your bad experiences. Enjoy the good, forget the bad whenever possible. We have all the time we need to enjoy the good, but not nearly enough to worry and fret about the bad.

    As usual, thanks for sharing your journey with us!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Varmint,

      I do believe, from what I found online, that you are correct about the “bubble” building. It was used for weather in the past. I’m not sure what it is used for now. Maybe it still is.

      I can’t “forget the bad” when idiots are driving their noisy machines outside my door. Fortunately they aren’t here right now so the crew and I are able to “enjoy the good.” There’s a lot that is good around here.

      You’re welcome, Varmint. It’s my pleasure to share our journey with you…

  26. Cheryl Ann says:

    Sue, hubby and I are like you…we don’t like other people and we TRY to avoid them! HA~ It isn’t always easy! We try to find a forest road and take it and usually have it to ourselves, or a deer or two. Sorry you ran into that MESS! I feel your pain. I also try to avoid people in my photos. I think the little town is Johannesburg…we pass through it on our way to the Sierra country. Randsburg is the mining town further up the hill.
    Cheryl Ann~ I find it troubling that the off-roaders destroy sections of the desert here, too, even desert tortoise habitat.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Cheryl Ann,

      I hope you and your husband continue to find solitude and wildlife in your travels down forest roads. It is such a delight to come upon these special places.

      Ah, the poor desert tortoise has no defense against OHVs.

  27. wheelingit says:

    What a bummer especially after finding such a nice and peaceful camp the day before. Sadly I’m with you on OHVers. We avoid their areas as much as we can…there is just never any peace and quiet, and the nature is almost always destroyed. I can understand why most rangers want to limit their range. Hopefully it’s just weekend folly and they will clear out today.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Sunday was better than Saturday and I’m hoping, as I type this on Monday, that today will be better yet.

  28. wheelingit says:

    Oh forgot to mention that strange bubble looking thing is the Camp Boron federal prison. How do I know this? My handy Benchmark map of course!

  29. AZ Jim says:

    I too hate OHV’s. I know their some responsible riders, but the one’s I’ve run across were jerks who polluted and trashed as they went. Speaking of the “rock rollers”, I saw a video of two guys rolling a huge boulder off a hill and it DID go into their own truck. I thought it hysterical. It’s these few bad camp locations that make the others look even better. Nippy at night here now.

    • AZ Jim says:

      “I know there are some responsible…….. Oldtimers.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Jim,

      It would’ve been such sweet justice to see one of those boulders hit the roof of their truck. What a great photo for this blog, right?

      This isn’t a bad camp location. That’s what is so heartbreaking. It’s a beautiful desert environment with lots of greenery (creosote bushes) and joshua trees and various cacti and mountains and hills and even flowers in November! And then there’s the view…

      Now that the noise is gone I can focus on what is good here. The crew and I take walks away from the mess around us.

      It’s going to be nippy here, too, for a few days.

  30. Pauline says:

    All boils down to RESPECT….or the lack of it. We have allowed people to get away with showing NO respect to anyone or anything. Anything that is destroyed is the problem of someone else. I get so annoyed at people who are not teaching their children respect. It may seem too simple a solution but we have to start somewhere. Teach your kids to say, Excuse Me, when they run into you the grocery store, instead of…Get Out of MY Way.!!

    By the way, I remember the Mick on the doodlebug!!! He needs to show us the picture of him in his track shorts. 😉

  31. Rattlesnake Joe says:

    We got wheels to go somewhere else but the problem is that where ever we go we run into the madness that has taken over our country. The madness comes from our inability to control our own lives. The governments have taken over and we are at their mercy. Deep down we know we don’t control the governments, they control us. We The People are Tax Slaves and our country is being taken over by International Communism. So where does one go now days to escape the tyranny? May I suggest the open sea. It seems to be the last place of freedom on this planet. Sell everything you own and buy a yacht

  32. Rattlesnake Joe says:

    before it is too late. Put a Water Maker, solar panels, wind generator, gel batteries and a compost toilet on your new home. Then stock it up for a very long voyage to the South Pacific. Live on your boat. It is just like RVing but with out the wheels and you won’t have the restrictions you do now. Experience the Freedom of sailing off to anywhere in the world you want to go. Last one to Bora Bora is a rotten egg…

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Joe… Isn’t there a forum somewhere that you could use to express your views on the government?

      No religion or politics here please. Thank you.

  33. Barb in Washington state says:

    I find it extremely maddening and sad about the OHV’ers that you encounter on your travels. My husband and I spend about 5 months out of the year (we’re going to head south in December)and we spend some time at Glamis (Imperial Dunes) and also Johnson Valley near Yucca Valley CA. We boondock in Quartzsite as well and in the Phoenix area and Wickenburg. we have a RZR side by side, and encounter some of the trash you have spoken of. It irritates me because they give all of us a bad name 🙁 We only ride in areas that say are for OHV’rs. It makes me very angry that others just drive over what they aren’t supposed to. I like the above comment about getting a yacht, but I’m afraid I’d be seasick the rest of my life lol Sue, I sure love reading your blog 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Barb,

      I know there are people who ride various forms of quads who are considerate of people, animals, and the environment. I don’t know what the answer is re: the selfish buffoons who make all OHVers look bad with their destructive ways.

      You can try to educate people but, you know, the idiots will always be with us, and new ones gain access to OHVs every day. It probably has to get a lot worse before it gets better. Let’s hope there won’t be permanent losses to the environment before that happens.

  34. Barb in Washington state says:

    Just saw this in my Facebook feed…from the Bureau of Land Management there are some good folks 🙂

    Bureau of Land Management – Arizona

    The OHV Ambassadors led 10 riders on guided tours around the Boulders OHV Recreation area during the last two weeks. The events are called “Show Me Rides” and engineered to help visitors new to the area or new to the sport of Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) riding.
    The Ambassadors volunteer to teach peers all about public lands, proper riding techniques, Tread Lightly! outdoor ethics, laws and ride locations were among the topics the Ambassadors taught that day.
    The next Show Me Ride is Nov 16, 2013, at 9:00 a.m. at the Table Mesa Recreation Area’s Little Pan Staging Area.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      It’s a commendable effort. Somehow I don’t think the kind of people who throw trash, tear up plants, screw up roads, gouge the land, speed recklessly, write graffiti on rocks, and rev their engines just for the noise…are the ones who would take advantage of an opportunity to become better riders. I know that’s a negative attitude but unfortunately, it’s probably realistic.

      Oh well, it can’t hurt and God bless them for trying.

  35. Dexter says:

    Sue! You’ve inspired me to get off my duff and hit the road! I have a few questions if you don’t mind. Are you ever concerned for your safety? I wonder about animals and humans interfering with you when you are out in the boonies. What is the age where a senior discount is acceptable? Where to you find the cheap/free camping areas or what what publication do you use for that purpose? I love reading your blog. It’s like I am right there with you and your crew although it sound like that’s the last thing you would want! I too am a happy loner so be assured I will not be stopping by. Thanks so much Sue and look forward to your next blog.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Dexter,

      I don’t mind questions… I encourage them.

      No, I never have concerns about my safety, not for a minute. I don’t take wild chances with animals. The crew and I don’t take long hikes in cougar and bear country. We don’t go where rattlesnakes tend to hang out. I keep the crew close to home and supervised when we are in coyote country. As for people, I think it’s safe to say that criminals and troublemakers don’t go camping much. You find them in towns and cities.

      You can get a senior pass from National Forest or National Parks offices. You become eligible at age 62. This gives you free entrance to national parks and 50% off BLM and NFS campgrounds.

      I mostly use my Benchmark state atlases to find public lands. Then I google the area online. Sometimes I use and other, similar sites which you can find by doing a search for obvious words like “dispersed camping,” “free camping,” “boondocking” etc. Tack on the location to any of those words and it’s likely a lead on a secluded camp will appear.

      Now that I’ve been doing this for a while, I’m more able to spot potential boondocks just by studying the landscape and the roads, always looking for BLM and National Forest Service road markers.

      I like your phrase “happy loner.” So nice to hear from you . . . I hope you will continue to love my blog.

  36. Dexter says:

    Sorry I meant blog!!! lol

  37. stan watkins says:

    It ‘ Monday. Did you get into Sawtooth?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Stan,

      Now that I have a boondock on the other side of Highway 247 and the OHVers are gone, I’d rather be here than over there. It’s nicer here when no one else is around.

      • stan watkins says:

        I love Sawtooth and owe it all to you but I took a drive over where you are once and thought it too sandy but I didn ‘t have my AT tires then. Do you notice a difference with yours?

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Yes, I do notice a difference. I had to turn around in a soft area when camping near Lone Pine… no problemo.

          However, I wouldn’t attempt to drive in the sand here. It’s too deep and loose. I estimated it to be about a foot deep. In some places it’s deeper than that.

          I love my AT tires! I used to wonder why guys acted like they were in love with their tires. Now I know . . .

  38. Mindy Reed says:

    Ugh, where do I begin…I’m so with you about destroying our public lands. I do live rural and just about everyone around here has several ATV type thingies but they are mostly for farm work with the little truck type bed in the back for hay and equipment I’ve ridden in them and used them too and they are handy for farming/ranching. They do travel our dirt roads around here and with one glaring exception they are very mindful and go slow as many ride their horses in the “neighborhood”. Being born and raised in Oregon I’m a life long environmentalist (long before that word was around) and feel we are only stewards of the land and need to care for it, the water we drink and the air we breathe could be finite if we are not careful.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Mindy,

      Those OHVs, ATVs, quads, whatever… make life a lot easier for farmers, ranchers, orchard growers, nurseries, etc. Put a cart behind and they’re very handy. Some jobs aren’t big enough to bring out a tractor and a wagon.

      “Drive as a steward of the land” should be written on every OHV made, although the jerks who misuse them probably wouldn’t know what steward means. Huh? Who’s Steward? How come his name’s on my OHV? 🙂

  39. Marcia GB in MA says:

    Lack of personal responsibility, lack of respect for others and for the environment are the issues that will surely doom us as a species faster than anything else.

  40. rvsueandcrew says:

    Wonders never cease. For example, I finished the September 2013 money report today! (August 2013 and October 2013 remain to be completed.)

    Yours truly, RVSue the Procrastinator

    For those of you who are new to my blog: Click on Money in the header. A hard click will reveal links to Recurring Expenses and each month going back to and including Jan 2012. A soft click will show a drop-down menu of the same pages.

    • Cinandjules (temp in CA) says:

      WOW! You go girl!!!!!!!

      Such an inspiration for those who are wondering……
      Live that dash girlfriend!

      • rvsueandcrew says:


        • Connie & Mugsy (MN/AZ) says:

          Wait… “hard clicks” and “soft clicks” ?? That’s a new one on me. I know right and left clicks…

          • rvsueandcrew says:

            Some electronic devices are made so that it’s nearly impossible to use a drop-down menu. Hence, I give a choice . . .

            • Connie & Mugsy (MN/AZ) says:

              I have no “hard” or “soft” clicks on any of my computers or mousies (mice?), so I have no idea what they are – or how one would possibly do one. Is that a smart phone thing? (Will never have one of those.) Or is it a Mac thing?

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              It’s not that complicated. On my computer, if you click hard you open up what you are clicking on (the word “Money” for instance). On the other hand, a soft click will bring down a menu. Try it (above in the header). See if you can bring up two different looking things. If you can’t, forget it. It’s not important.

          • Mick says:

            Me Too???
            Soft click, hard click, blue click, red click, wet click, dusty click … what gives???

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              The “soft click” is more like a hovering. Don’t get your gym shorts in a wad. LOL!

            • Connie & Mugsy (MN/AZ) says:

              I tried all sorts of clicks and… they all gave the same response. Basically for me a click is merely a click. Hovering gets me nada. I am using a wireless trackball mouse. Are you using a touchpad system? I hate those built in systems and refuse to use them. They may allow “hovering.” 🙂 This blog is so educational!! (and if he does get his gym shorts in wad, we want another photo)

  41. Your posting reminded me of our time in Canada’s oilprovince Alberta. We used to own a big property there and these hooligans would ignore our fences completely. ATV ins the summer and skidoos in the winter. With their helmets on and plates caked with mud we never new who they were. Shooting and racing : the kids have to “let of steam” somewhere, someone told us once.
    Why on our property? They had rifles. We heard the poachers. What could we do? I felt helpless and hated it.
    The police was disinterested, it was too far out of town to bother to come out.
    As an RV’er you at least have a choice. Move on. That’s what I would do.
    Bullies seem to rule the roost everywhere.
    I want PEACE!
    Good to read that there are so many agreeing with you!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Bea,

      I’m sorry you had to put up with all that. What an annoyance.

      I decided to stick it out here through Sunday and see if the OHVers would leave once the weekend was over. They’re gone now. It’s peaceful here.

      If I ignore the damage that’s been done, I can enjoy the beauty that is left. The desert is green, the view is lovely, yellow and blue flowers are scattered about, along with cacti.

      I don’t feel like driving to a new camp. I have some catching up to do with online stuff and I get five strong bars here. So we will stay a few days and if our solitude remains, we’ll be happy!

      Nice to hear from you… I hope you find peace.

  42. Timber n' Rusty says:

    That building with the ball on top is a Tracking Station for Edwards Air Force Base

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Rusty,

      Here’s a link about it at The Center for Land Use Interpretation.

      • Connie & Mugsy (MN/AZ) says:

        I thought that looked like the old radar domes used by the US military… and it seems that I was right. Thanks for the linkie. We had one for years south of my home town, but it too has been decommissioned now. The old technology…

      • Timber n' Rusty says:

        I knew about the prison cause I and the Donkeys would pass by it on the way to a Rendezvous . I found out by some folks who stopped by who was riding the Green Tortes, a bus that takes long side trips for less, back in the day

  43. Willow says:

    Dear Sue,
    Thank you for your blog, sometimes problems like the OHV’rs seem overwhelming with their noise and distruction, I for one like the sound of silence also, if we all do our part however small to bring attention to this distruction of the land it will change.
    In the mean time it think I’ll make a nice pot of stew in my slow cooker along with some crusty bread and invite my good neighbors over for supper.

  44. rand says:

    “Just follow your arrow
    Wherever it points, yeah
    Follow your arrow
    Wherever it points ”

    Kacey Musgraves
    Country Music Awards

Comments are closed.