Let’s talk dirty

We always enjoy our time in Moab, Utah, but there is a down side to this unique and beautiful place.  It isn’t always easy to find a place to camp, even the RV Parks can fill quickly on weekends.  In general, we usually opt for a little more elbow room than most RV Parks offer and look for state parks, national forest campgrounds, or BLM land for boondocking…. all of which can present a challenge around Moab.  This is a popular place and outside of RV Parks the BLM campgrounds can be difficult to find an open spot, especially for larger RV’s.Moab Utah

Moab UtahKen’s Lake is usually our go-to campground in Moab, but our friends, Mike and Linda, snagged a boondock spot on some state land twelve miles out-of-town and were saving room for us.  We camped there last year as well and it’s all about luck finding room to park.

And even when you do find a spot, you can expect to have lots of company on the weekends, whether you want it or not.  This area is super popular with the OHV (off-highway vehicle) crowd.  Last year we had a couple of tear-drop trailers join us and this year it was a bunch of tenters.

There’s no boondocking etiquette around here.  If there’s open ground, it’s game.

Moab Utah

Friday night we had a couple of tents pitched between us and the road and another one in the rear. The rear tenter remained for a couple of days. Shy guy who didn’t engage in conversation.

Moab Utah

If you don’t leave Moab covered in “Moab Red” you haven’t visited Moab

The Friday night of Mother’s Day weekend brought plenty of rain.  And with rain comes mud.  Lot’s of mud.  Thank goodness there were no plans to move our RV’s because I’m not sure how far down the dirt mud road we could’ve gone. That mud gets slick and you sink easily.

The rain didn’t seem to deter anyone’s travel plans and there was a steady stream of traffic of folks looking for a place to camp. As the sun set, we were quickly surrounded by tents (well, that might be a slight exaggeration – at least 3 that we noticed in the dark).  All but one, broke camp the next morning.

Moab Utah

Al works on our broken generator. In the background you can see the campsite next to ours. Several tents and more dirt bikes and ATV’s than I could count. They had fun churning up the dirt…. regularly.

The rains on that Friday kept the four of us housebound and it was an entertaining feat just to walk from one RV to the other.  Once wet, the red dirt quickly turns to slick, thick mud.

Moab Utah

The mud is as slick as ice and all I could think about was not falling on my a*s…. not a pretty sight!

Moab red

My outdoor rug sunk into the mud when I stepped on it. I left a trail of mud on the steps. The bottom of my flip-flops were coated with thick red mud.

Paleo donuts

What do I do on rainy days? Bake! Paleo donuts, orange scones, and chocolate chip cookies

And when it dries, it turns to a concrete like substance.  Ever wonder how those ancient Pueblo ruins have survived so long?  Well, it’s pretty obvious to me – red Moab mud.

So as much as I love the open views and free campsite, it comes with a dirty price.  Once things dry out, it’s the dust devils you have to watch out for.

When the weather cleared, we took full advantage and enjoyed life around camp.  A campfire was built, drinks poured, and homemade treats were served.

Since the weather was so nice, we had our RV windows open and Mike and Linda had their door open as well.  While sitting around the campfire, that’s when it happened…. before we could process what was going on, it was over.Moab Utah

Moab redWe were sitting under our Laredo awning and watched a dust dirt devil swirl right past Mike and Linda’s RV open door.  Oh my gosh, talk about a trail of dirt left in its wake.

They had a thick layer of dirt covering the front half of their RV interior.  I think they’re still working on removing all that Moab red.

Moab Utah

Al, me, Linda, Mike

As much as we love our boondocking and admiring the views, it’s not perfect.  And although we didn’t have a dust devil enter our RV, we too continue to clean and find the fine red dirt in the strangest places.  But hey, with a camp like this, it’s worth a little dirt…. or in Mike and Linda’s case, a lot of dirt!Moab UtahMoab Utah

Moon Zion & Bryce: Including Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Grand Staircase-Escalante & Moab (Moon Handbooks)

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84 thoughts on “Let’s talk dirty

  1. Yikes, what a mess. Barb and I have a boondocking spot at Flaming Gorge that is a few miles off the road and if there is any hint of rain we have to get out before it hits otherwise we would be there until it dries out.

    • I watched your aerial video of that boondock site. We’re hoping to make it to Flaming Gorge next year and may want specifics on the location. Yep, have to be careful on those back roads but so worth the views and solitude.

  2. Looks like you had a BLAST! Glad you enjoyed. We have to go back and boondock when we aren’t on a schedule. I dunno…. we enjoyed Capital Reef more than Arches. HAVE to spend more time there especially!

    • I have yet to visit Capital Reef. We’re hoping to spend a month either in spring or fall to meander around Utah…. one of my favorite states.

      • Ingrid, we are really just getting started on getting-to-know Utah. some of us midwesterners are a little slow on the uptake. 🙂

  3. Mud – yuck. And that mud looks looks fun. But, you can’t be outside and avoid getting dirty – that’s half the fun. Enjoy your weekend and the adventures that come with it!

    • Yes Clay, all that dirt and mud are part of the adventure and to be expected around Moab. After all, it’s the weather that makes this place so unique and beautiful 🙂

    • Looking forward to your post on Jordanelle SP. Utah, like NM, is filled with so many hidden gems. So many places, so little time 😆

    • Smart move, especially with 3 dogs. I’m not sure what we would’ve done if Bear was still with us. That mud was unbelievable.

        • Oops… I am so sorry and yes, that’s exactly who I got you confused with. Well, we’ll just have to see to it you get to Utah. It’s an incredible state with such diversity and stunning scenery…. not to be missed 🙂

    • It depends on the situation. Usually everyone is out in the boonies to have a good time. We’ve been more concerned overnighting in a Wal-Mart parking lot. I guess it’s like traveling anywhere, a little street smarts and caution goes a long way.

  4. Moab looks like an interesting place to visit, but are there any walks to do there? Also, being from Australia, I have not heard the expression “boondocking” and am quietly wondering what on earth it means? Thanks for sharing your dirty story and love the photos! 🙂 Leah

    • Thanks for stopping by. Boondocking is a slang term for dry camping on public lands NOT in a campground. The western U.S. has a lot of Government Land (called BLM) that is open for everyone’s enjoyment with very few rules. As for Moab, there are hiking trails, mountain bike trails, and four wheeling trails. Folks from around the world visit here for it’s unique beauty. There’s Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. I’ve written more about the place last year and the year before. This time through we only spent 4 days.

      • Thanks for clearing that up for me; I never would have figured it out for myself. Over here, we would probably call your “boondocking” “off-road camping”, so you can add that to your knowledge base of Aussie terminology. Cheers, Leah 🙂

      • We have so many places on our must see list and I think we have added this region too! Sherry and I just started out and are making our way slowly to the Northwest.

        • Utah is an incredible state with so much diversity. Some areas are for summer visits and some better during spring and fall. One minute you’ll be sweltering in the heat and an hour or two down the road you’ll need your coats. Keeps us travelers on our toes and you won’t be bored. Welcome to the lifestyle and happy trails. If you venture this winter to the desert southwest, you’ll run into a bunch of bloggers…. us included 😉

    • Yes Lynn we were surrounded by beautiful scenery. Since we’ve been to the area several times before, we know what we’re in for…. no surprises 🙂

  5. Great article, and I know you are living it up in Utah. But I remember last summer you were in CO and I’m going tent camping. Can you recommend a couple/few of your favorite spots? It seems overwhelming to find water and quiet.

    • Thanks Cindy. We’ve already moved on to Colorado and are camped at the shores of Dillon Reservoir. Ridgway State Park and Lake Irwin by Crested Butte are two more that come to mind. Depending on what part of Colorado you want to explore and what you want to do, I may have other options. Feel free to email me at livelaughrv@hotmail.com for more ideas

  6. Haha, we’ve had our share of Moab and other red rock dust. It does take forever to get rid of it! I consider it a souvenir. 🙂 But I’ll take that any day over the slippery red mud. That’s why we choose fall over spring for our trips to red rock country. No rain! Your last landscape photo is especially beautiful, Ingrid.

    • Thanks Laurel. Yep, we’ve been through the area in the fall also, but were told Sept. is their wettest month. In late Sept. the grader was out in full force inside Arches NP from mud sliding onto roads and parking lots. I guess ya never know, and it’s all part of the adventure 🙂

  7. Ha ha! Great memories. I skipped all the mud pics in my blog post and painted only the ‘pretty’ picture of the area. You pulled back the covers and told it like it is .. the good and the bad! We will continue to visit Moab regularly anyway because we just love it there. I think Mike has finally gotten the red dirt out of all the nooks and crannies (while I’m enjoying a short visit in California with my daughter). Good times!

    • Last season when I posted about this spot and only showed the upside, I received several emails wanting to know it’s location. This time I didn’t want to sugar coat it. As much as you and I enjoy this place, it’s not for everyone.
      Good times indeed….. we may have to do another repeat next spring, BUT without the mud and dirt devil 😉

  8. Ingrid in that one photo I thought you might be sinking into quicksand next! I can imagine there are challenges with mud and dust out on the road. You seem to handle it with humor and a positive attitude.

    • I too thought I was going to sink. I failed to mention the sucking action of that mud and the squishing sound. One fall and I’d be stuck and eventually turning into a petrified Ingrid.
      There’s a huge difference between RVing on a vacation and living full-time in an RV. If the weather is bad this week, stick around and it’ll be better the next….. well, one can hope as that theory lately isn’t holding true LOL. Next option, pack up and move! With a house on wheels, that’s pretty easy. On that note, I think we’ll move Sunday as the weather at 9,200 feet is still a tad too cold for this former desert dweller.

  9. The dust was the one negative we had about being in that area, but it was offset by all of the positives – we just wiped down the coach inside from top to bottom.

    • We know when we’re done visiting Moab, we have a cleaning day in front of us. The sights and the views are worth the dirt 🙂

  10. I recall how the red dirt of Sedona was to deal with. Nice to have friends to distract you from the bad weather. Looks like some yummy treats you baked!

    • Yes, the red dirt of Sedona is no different than that of Moab. With such beauty though, I don’t mind the day of cleaning once we bid the place farewell. Yes, my little RV oven has been working overtime baking up some yummy treats…. a fun way to spend a rainy day.

  11. Last Time we stayed in Moab, we stayed in a RV park on the Outskirts of town just to avoid the mud and red dust. We still got the dust but no mud. LoL!

    • If it had been raining upon our arrival, we definitely would’ve stayed in a RV Park. There was no way we could’ve navigated that road in the mud. We still managed to have a fantastic time in spit of the weather.

  12. Ingrid! Highly entertaining photos and narrative! Great story! Being in the Northwest (for the next several weeks) makes us yearn for something a tad drier… like Utah. Love Moab… and thanks for the boon docking tips. Broken generator? Ouch.

    • Thank you Gene. The generator is all fixed including an oil change and new spark plug. She’s running like a champ right now as we’re camped at 9,200 feet in elevation at the shores of Lake Dillon, Colorado. 45 degrees!. I think it’s time to head on down the mountain in search of warm, dry temps 🙂

  13. You have a gorgeous spot, but we do remember the red dirt of Moab. Seems to get into every nook and cranny possible.

    • It’s been two weeks and after 2 major cleanings I’m still detecting grit here and there. But it is worth it. Love that scenery 🙂

    • I had trouble baking my scones yesterday since we’re camped at 9,200 feet. Remember elevation and altitude play havoc with baking and cooking. It’s been cold and rainy although beautiful, but we’re thinking of heading down the mountain Sunday in search of warmer temps. Will keep you posted 🙂

    • I can handle the ‘dry’ dirt, it’s the mud that’s a challenge and the thought of getting stuck scares me. We’ve seen too many vehicles get stuck at various points on this back country road. Oh well, all part of the adventure …. right 🙂

  14. What a mess! You are so right in your description of the red dirt when it gets wet. It truly does become concrete when it dries. Too bad about Mike and Linda’s MH getting “dusted!” I’ll take my large concrete site and patio any day. You sure did a great job of making the best of your wet situation:)

    • I’m sure your white Jeep is sporting plenty of ‘Moab red’ when you’re done exploring Shaffer Road and I can totally understand why you love your little spot at Portal. It’s tempting 😉

    • Yep, you would not like the hoards of folks boondocking at this place just north of the RV Park where you used to stay. It’s fine during the week but the weekends get crazy. You have to admit though, the views were pretty great.

    • Once that rug dried out, it took a good shaking, vacuuming, then laundry…. good as new. That’s why I used a small rug and we left our large one packed. Seems I’ve learned a few lessons along the way 😆

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