On our travels sometimes we needed a place to stop for just one night to break up a long drive in between destinations. Some of these stops have ended up being in really fantastic scenic locations and we had a hard time saying goodbye in the morning. Here’s a few of our favorite one night stands:
Mojave National Preserve- We camped for a night at free spot called Sunrise Rock in the Mojave Desert. A beautiful spot behind a big rock with a giant white cross Veterans Memorial. Near our campsite there were huge lava tubes we climbed on and took our big binoculars to scan the area for wildlife. I only saw some desert rabbits but the sunset was amazing and it was very peaceful. On our way into Mojave we passed a huge solar project out in the desert, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System. Really neat to see how scientists and engineers try to harvest the desert sunlight into usable energy. It was an excellent stopover on our way to Death Valley from the Grand Canyon.
Red Rock Canyon State Park, Kern CA- Our climb out of Death Valley took a lot longer than we expected and as the sun was setting we were still almost five hours from our previously picked out destination for the evening. We saw the sign for Red Rock Canyon and made the decision to stop for the evening since it had been a really long day. We pulled in and found a brand new campground surrounded with scenery reminiscent of the Flintstones. There were hardly any other campers there so we picked an easy pull through site and got out the camera to get some shots of the interesting rock formations and the gorgeous sunset. After a really rough day on the road it felt like an oasis in the desert just for us right when we needed it most. A piece of road trip magic bestowed on us from the travel gods.
Saddle Mountain, Tonopah AZ- We needed a one night stopover in between Joshua Tree National Park and Sedona, AZ. If we are stopping for just a night I still try to find something interesting to do in the area if we have time. I started looking at Campendium.com for a boondocking spot and came across Saddle Mountain. It had five star reviews and was right on our path to Sedona. What really caught my eye in the reviews was that the El Dorado Hot Springs were just a few minutes from the campground. A hot soak sounded awesome and they had private soaking spots for $15 per person for an hour. I called and made a reservation for a private soak for two at sunset and we headed to Saddle Mountain. The site was great! It was free, and we were the only campers there. Also, there were tons of huge Saguaro Cacti everywhere! We walked around the area taking pictures of the huge cacti and then went to the El Dorado for an awesome soak. The El Dorado Hot Springs had a rustic 70’s vibe with chickens, cats, and peacocks running around. The soaking tubs were separated by old fences and the tubs had amazing hot spring water flowing into them. They also had an outdoor shower for people to use when they were done soaking, which we took full advantage of since we had been using the camper shower a lot recently. It was a very rustic outdoor shower with just a string and occupied sign to keep people from walking in on you and only the open air above. The stars were out and they had lots of twinkle lights in the trees and the whole experience just made my soul happy.
The true magic of the road really came to life in the unexpected places we happened across on the way. They always showed us we were on the right path and let us know we needed to keep going, there is always more to see, explore and experience.