Desert Dwelling

There are pros and cons to just about anything in life and that definitely applies to living in the desert southwest.  First let me start by saying, the desert is not for everyone.  For some folks it’s an acquired taste, there are those that fall in love, and for others they never quite get used to it.

RVingAs a former Midwesterner, I was always fascinated by cacti.  So moving to the desert southwest in the 90’s was an anticipated adventure, as was the city itself….Las Vegas.  I embraced all the new sights, flora, and creatures native to the southwest.  Lizards aren’t exactly a common sight in northern Illinois.

With a decided lack of moisture, the desert gets dry and dusty.  Add in some four-wheeling activity and the dirt really starts to fly.  During our lengthy stay in the desert boonies near Quartzsite, Arizona, we experienced a regular dose of desert dirt.  RVing

travelYes, the dirt and dust would definitely be the number one thing I dislike most about the desert.  The extreme heat would be a close second, but then again, we try not to be in the desert in the summer.

We left Quartzsite last Friday and have been happily set up in a Regional Park on the north side of Phoenix.  Ah, it’s nice to be hooked up to electric and water.  Our first day back in civilization was spent cleaning.  I vacuumed, then I vacuumed, cleaned the vacuum cleaner, and vacuumed some more.  I took a shower followed by another shower then gave the dog two showers.  I’m still not sure if we’ve rid ourselves of the buckets of desert dirt, but at least it’s a start.


This is what my printer looked like after just 3 days!!!

I did clean routinely while boondocked but the dust just kept returning.  My laptop and printer are black with a smooth finish… match for the desert dirt.  The dirt won hands down.  A wet rag was used every third day to wipe down everything inside the rig.  I’m not sure why I bothered because it wasn’t long before the dirt was back making my attempts futile.

free camping

plenty of room to spread out – camp fee ‘free’

Yep, boondocking isn’t for sissy’s or especially anyone who’s even a tad O.C.D., but the vast, open terrain is a draw….a unique beauty.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t share some of the pluses the desert southwest offers; sunny skies, the most unusual and interesting vegetation, massive amounts of public land for our enjoyment, no mosquitoes (no need to hurry and close the screen door for flying insects – few and far between), the most gorgeous sunsets and sunrises (even the Florida fans in our group struggling with the desert, couldn’t argue with that).free camping

free campingAt first glance, the desert may seem baron or even dead, but never have I experienced an environment more alive than the desert after a rainfall.  I’m in awe of the plants and animals that don’t just survive but thrive in this harsh terrain.

Desert dwelling?  I love it.  It’s not for everyone, but you won’t know unless you try!

“The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experiences”. – Eleanor Roosevelt


37 thoughts on “Desert Dwelling

  1. I love the desert too! I took a wildflower class from UNLV when I lived there and the flowers in the desert (if you know when and where to find them) are spectacular. Your camping by yourself out there looks fun (except for the dust). Achooo!

    • It was during my years of living in Vegas that I began to appreciate the beauty of the desert. I love it when the cacti are in bloom. Yes the dust was a draw back and hubby achoooed lots but the sunsets made up for it. Spring in the desert is a fav time of year for me.

  2. Hi Ingrid

    We have lived in Wyoming, Florida, Louisiana, Guam & North Dakota and have traveled all 50 states. They all have their good places and bad places but we love the desert and that is why we have lived here for 40 years. It is a different but beautiful setting if you approach it with an open mind. We love watching the Superstition Mountain change colors during different times of the day. Sometimes during a storm the Mountain can look very spooky and intimidating. If we decide we want a change of scenery we can be in mountains and forest in a couple hours. Enjoy your writings and pictures.

    • You guys sure have gotten around. You are so right about having an open mind and I know what you mean about the Superstition Mtn and it’s changing personality. It really is a spectacular site, but then Arizona has lots of spectacular scenery we are just beginning to explore.

  3. I have always been fascinated by the desert landscape. I think it’s partially because of the uniqueness of it. Cacti are so cool, and those Saguaros really have a ton of personality. I also felt that way about the red rocks in the Moab, Utah area– it feels so different from any environment I have ever seen. It makes you feel like you are stepping into the Planet of the Apes! I guess it’s the change that can make you appreciate a new landscape.

    • Far cry from NOLA isn’t it? From one extreme to another I’d say. Yes ,Planet of the Apes. When we visited Death Valley last year hubby and I were on the look out for dinasours….felt so prehistoric. Love Moab and hope to return one of these days. CO remains my fav though!

  4. Your images capture the beauty of the desert. The OCD bit cracked me up. I love the entire SW region, but yearned to be back closer to the ocean the whole time I lived in Utah. The desert is a place I enjoy visiting, but not to stay.

    • I would love to hear about your Utah adventures. As much as I enjoy the desert, it’s not a place for year round. I’m camped next to LuAnn (paint your landscape) and she loves Oregon. Hope to make it there one of these days soon!

      • My Utah adventures were rather mundane… I worked until my husband had a spinal injury and I had to take care of him full time. This was from 1980 to 1994 when we moved to Oregon for the milder climate. Though we did manage to do quite a bit of exploring the Four Corners area before the injury. I’ve blogged some of those travels in the past.

  5. I live in the High Desert among Mountains – gotta love dust and dusting that is for sure. The desert is very much alive and certainly has seasons too. I love the quail and the coyotes. Sagebrush makes me sneeze when in bloom, but love the other flora and fauna. Great Post – Happy Hump Day:)

    • My home in southern CO is high desert without the beautiful saguaro cactus of Arizona. I love the quail running around my campsite and routinely feed them to lure them closer. Thanks for stopping.

  6. The beauty of an RV is that you can always change the scenery! That being said, the desert is definitely one of the most beautiful landscapes on the planet – especially when it’s in your photos.

    • Change the scenery AND the neighbors! The desert does have a unique beauty. Bear encountered a teddy bear cholla …. his version of accupuncture. Quite the adventure!

  7. What lovely photos.. and I agree the desert is not for everyone… definitely for me… as barren as it seems as full of life it is… there is always something phenomenal to witness and see… and just sitting in one spot can bring so much to your very door step… the heat I love.. the dust.. well it gives me a reason to waste water in the evening when attempting to wash it off… but accept that during the day, you are going to be covered in dust, but at least it’s clean dust, not like the cities… I love this blog of yours… gives me goose bumps in anticipation of our next trip….

    • When boondocking, water is a precious commodity to use sparingly. So once we returned to civilization I emersed myself in the wasting of water… You are so right about sitting in one spot and just watching….the desert is alive.

      Trying to figure out our next location…..oh, the preasure of finding something exciting. I have an idea or two up my sleeve 🙂

  8. Being from the northeast, I find the western part of our country so fascinating because of the ever changing landscape. Where else can you drive 30 miles and go from desert to a mountain top with skiers and snow! From desert cacti and sand to soil and trees. Yes the desert does bring dust but oh, how I love each and every cactus. I think my favorite part of the desert areas is the 360 degree views. In the north there is always a tree covered hill in the way. Out here there are mountains all around.

    We are just having the best time with the beauty in rocks. Yes, we are returning to FL next winter but will leave as soon as possible to return to my wonderful west.

    Your post shows the many beauties of the desert. Great photos!

    • We’ve thought about FL for next winter. I used to go to Clearwater a lot. But the west continues to call…..oh, maybe it’s our son that calls…lol. I so agree with you on the diversity of the west. We still have so much to explore!

  9. Beautiful images, Yes ! Desert dwelling probably not for us, but we will just visit once in while to enjoy its unique beauty especially as you said, Arizona sunrises and sunsets. Nicely done and well described and captured.

  10. Like you, I find the desert a wonderful and unique experience..We have never boondocked…I am the sissy…We stayed near Ajo, AZ for 2 months one Winter and I fell in love with the vastness and beautiful views…No, it’s not for everyone…but we were hypnotized by it..and will return some day…

    • I love the freedom and solitude of boondocking. It takes some work and planning but well worth it. The views, enviornment, and wildlife (not talking about Al) are an amazing experience not found in RV Parks. It’s especially fun to boondock with friends….nothing like it. Go for it….come on, ya only live once!

    • Glad you enjoyed it……yeah, let me get all covered in desert dirt….lol. It’s been a fun ride especially since I’m all cleaned up now and back in a campground with services. More adventure to come!

      • LOL, well you were there already! But I know what you mean; I don’t mind getting dirty (for a little while), but I like it when I’m all clean again!
        Do you live full time in an RV? Or just seasonal? Sounds fun and interesting, but again, I’m glad you take me there so I don’t have to. Like my comforts too much!

    • We might get rain Saturday. Does that make you feel better? Sure don’t miss the dreary skies of the midwest. I’ll try and send a little sunshine your way 🙂

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