When you live on the road in the U.S., there are just a few main regions that are suitable for winter living. Florida, South Texas, the Southwest (Arizona & Southern California), and Baja Mexico. We explored Florida our first two winters, mainly because we love the gulf beaches and I love the Everglades, but in 2019, we decided to explore more of the Southwest.
Obviously, the mild temperatures are the main reason Arizona is so popular in the winter. But all the federal public land (mostly BLM and National Forest) is really just as big a draw for many of us.
See, in Florida, the uninitiated/ unaware may spend $500-1000 per month on places to stay. In Arizona, we only spent $100 on “rent” the entire six weeks or so we spent there, thanks to boondocking on BLM land. Granted, off-the-grid living requires a few key pieces of equipment that we personally didn’t have yet our first two years on the road. But in 2019, we finally had a generator and solar panels, enabling us to “unplug” with ease.
Living off-the-grid in Arizona really suited us. Vast, open land.
A lot of people, sure, but so many great places to camp that we felt like we had several spots completely to ourselves. The nearest “neighbors” being a quarter of a mile or more away. Some camp areas we saw had hundreds of RV’s packed in like sardines. Basically giant, dirt parking lots. When we saw those we simply kept driving.
I have been in love with the desert landscape for many years, thanks mostly to Big Bend. Deserts are dynamic and dramatic. And everything that lives in that ecosystem is so well adapted for such a harsh environment… I find it endlessly fascinating.
And I’m not sure how typical it is, but we got amazing storms that rolled in throughout February, creating some beautiful light.
It was a dynamic winter in the desert. Layers of light drifted and danced across the landscape, creating artful scenes.
I found some really incredible locations that I am excited to explore a bit more. There really are incredible photographic opportunities everywhere across Arizona.
We’ve always said that if we make enough money in the summer and fall, we’ll go to Florida in the winter. If we don’t, Arizona. I’m rethinking that now as I reminisce.
I really do love getting beach and Everglades time, but wintering in Arizona is quite certainly in no way any kind of silver medal.
Should we continue to be so fortunate, to live this dream on the road, spending the winter months getting dusty, wandering the arid backroads, I will count it as gold. Cherished, borrowed time, in a desert wonderland.