Nevada usually makes us crazy, and not in a good way. After surviving the chaos of Vegas whenever we visit, we typically blow right through the rest of the state to get to our favorite boondocking spots in Utah or Arizona. This fall however, we opted to do some exploring and we’re so glad we did. Three words sum it up: Basin and Range.
Fourteen miles off the beaten path, and then some.
Boondocking at Basin and Range
Last summer when Obama signed the proclamation declaring the 704,000-acre Basin and Range National Monument off limits to everything from fracking to bombing practice, I thought “Hmmm…sounds interesting.”
The Basin and Range area of southeastern Nevada is an iconic American landscape. The area is one of the most undisturbed corners of the broader Great Basin region, which extends from the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the west to the Colorado Plateau in the east. The pattern of basin, fault, and range that characterizes this region creates a dramatic topography that has inspired inhabitants for thousands of years. The vast, rugged landscape redefines our notions of distance and space and brings into sharp focus the will and resolve of the people who have lived here.
What really got me excited about this new BLM-managed monument was the description of dispersed camping opportunities:
There are no visitor facilities inside the Monument and no potable water, so you should plan your visit carefully . . . The area is remote, so you should make sure you have plenty of water, warm clothes in cool weather, good tires and at least one spare, and food supplies when you start your trip. Notify friends or family where you are going, when you plan to return, and check in with them when you return. Please stay on existing roads and trails when driving within the Monument. Motorized vehicles are not permitted in the Worthington Mountains Wilderness.
You won’t find hookups or cell service here.
To some, that sounds crazy but to us, our names were written all over it. So while we were staying in Las Vegas for Jim’s birthday celebration, I called the nearest BLM office to get more details and a ranger made it sound like paradise. She told me the monument is so new that she and her colleagues had just put up the highway sign. She also mentioned that like other BLM lands you can stay up to 14 days in the same spot, pretty much wherever you can park your RV.
“Oh, it’s so nice there. You probably won’t see another person. Just be careful if it rains, stay on the main road and get out if it rains hard or you will get stuck!” she said. And with that, away we went!
First we scouted it out with the truck.
Of course we scouted it out in the Dodge before taking the rig inside the monument. The road was surprisingly good and although we had to drive fourteen miles off road away from the highway to find a single level spot on hard-packed ground, it was worth the effort. We pulled in with the rig the next day and sure enough, for the next ten days we only saw two ranchers drive by, and a lot of wandering cows.
Wyatt protects us from mad cows.
The area is so quiet and still at times, your ears hurt from the noise of silence. Roads go on forever and it’s easy to see why it’s called “Basin and Range.” (click on photos to enlarge).
It wasn’t all paradise though.
The weather did turn nasty but it wasn’t rain that fell, it was a wind and snow storm that just about did us in. Huge wind gusts pummeled us for a couple of days, temperatures plummeted and we spent the coldest boondocking nights ever inside the monument.
We kept thinking “Man, we must be idiots!”
It was so cold that the next morning, slush came out of the water lines of our four season rig! We are so lucky our pipes didn’t burst. Now we have a new rule when it’s cold: shut off the water pump and empty the lines before bed.
Of course cell phone service is non-existent anywhere inside the monument but thanks to our RV Datasat 840, business and life went as usual for us. Plus, with our robust solar power system, plenty of food, water, propane and our Coach-Net Roadside Assistance Plan, was I worried?
Okay, maybe a little. I mean when the weather gets as bad as it did while we were there, you have got to stay calm or things will suck. This is the kind of place that if we froze to death one night, nobody would find us for at least a few weeks. The two ranchers we saw during our stay never stopped to see what we were up to, they were on their way to check on their cows. We saw a few cars in the distance that looked like maybe they were headed to a nearby mine, but they never got close to us either.
The perfect spot for an alien abduction.
At times, the place was a little eerie, and when the weather was wild it was almost terrifying when I let my mind go crazy with “what if” scenarios. But once the sun came out and we wandered outside to soak up the scenery, we couldn’t help but get sucked into the awesome rugged beauty of this area. Yes, it’s crazy to come to places like this, but at the same time, it’s the greatest reward we can imagine for our full-timing lifestyle.
Basin and Range hooked us. We’ll be back.