|R&T De Maris photo|
Driving south into Quartzsite from Parker, Arizona this week, we did a quick survey of RVs heading north. More than a quarter of all vehicles rushing north were RVs. Apparently they felt April 1 marked the official end of boondocking for Arizona, and we saw plenty of license plates that indicated Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming were parts these folks were headed for. For some, it seems 80 degree weather is just too much to handle.
Still, there are folks who really do love the dry, hot summers. Can you successfully boondock away from shore power and keep cool enough to survive? Altitude is the key: Not all of Arizona is low-down, overheated desert. Some have found the Chiricahua National Monument in south-centeral part of the state an excellent place to beat the heat, along with providing some stellar views. The monument has a developed campground (length restrictions apply, check out the monument website and click on the campground link under "camping") but some RVers stay free in the Coronado National Forest, just outside the monument.
At the other end of the state, near Flagstaff, where the average high temperature in July is 82 degrees, Uncle Sam offers yet more places to boondock. In the Coconino National Forest there are plenty of developed campgrounds (with associated fees), visit the campground website here for more details. However, free camping is allowed in "dispersed" areas. As an example, take exit 326 from Interstate 17. A paved road leads south, and leads to dirt roads through the pines where dispersed camping is allowed at no charge.
Yes, it does take a bit of mind-set to camp out when temperatures push toward the triple degree mark, but it's certainly not impossible. But by heading up-country, even one of the nation's hot-boxes like Arizona can be summer RV friendly.