We drove our RV, Gordito, into Mexico – to San Felipe. It was not an entirely pleasant experience, but at least we learned what to do and what not to do when driving an RV into Mexico.
Firstly, you must get your FMM (temporary visa) BEFORE you go through the Mexican customs line with your RV. This means that you can get it online well before you travel, or you must stop right before customs to go into the FMM office to get one. Don’t skip this step like we did. You’ll have to go back and get it anyway, so do it before you get into the country.
As of this posting (May 2022), the Mexican gov’t requires everyone who visits the country to have an FMM – even if you are only gonna be there for a few days. The FMM office is usually off to one side right before you have to stop and get your RV searched. Look hard, or you’ll miss it like we did. AND: It is not called the FMM office.
And yes, they will most likely stop you and want to walk through your RV (and look inside cabinets, etc.), your toad, your trailer, etc. after you go in and get your FMM, get back in your vehicle, and drive into the customs line. However, they were super nice and polite during the inspection, and it took hardly any time at all.
We drove the two hours to Pete’s Camp without incident on a quite decent road, even though it was really windy. We took Highway 5 south from Mexicali, which has one military check point along the way. Again, they were polite and nice, and after telling them our destination, they waved us through. Note that they did not require us to show our stamped FMMs, but we learned that they sometimes do.
We did finally make it to San Felipe. And it was so worth it. We stayed at Pete’s Camp, which is just north of the town of San Felipe, and right on the Sea of Cortez. It was a bit spendy for our taste, but again, so worth it. Each site has its own canvas shade area and full hookups.
The beach is right there. And it was fabulous. Each day, the tide worked its way out and then back in. And when it went out, it went way out – almost a quarter of a mile. But that meant it left some excellent sand bars for walking and exploring. The beach was clean and smooth and beautiful.
I got in at least one – usually two – long, solitary walks a day, as I made my way down the beach in either direction (beach for miles). Introvert heaven! Pete’s Camp was clean and well taken care of. It had the restaurant and gift shop up on the hill, and bathrooms (take your on TP each trip) down on the beach. They wanted payment in cash or pesos only.
I can highly recommend Pete’s Camp for introverts – with some caveats. Don’t go on weekends, Mexican (or American) holidays, Mexican spring break, or the “on” season (when it’ll be full of Americans escaping the winter in the U.S.).
During the week, it was heavenly and almost empty. We were there in late April and most of the time had the place almost to ourselves. However, when Friday evening rolled around, that completely changed. The place filled up with locals and other Americans.
And not only did it fill up, it got loud. The folks at each site turned up their music (loud, loud, loud!), so that we had to listen to competing music all weekend. There was the music coming at us from all directions, kids running everywhere (including through our site), loud sand toys (side-by-sides, ATVs, etc.) constantly creating more noise and dust, and even fireworks all weekend. It was not pleasant for this introvert.
However, come Sunday morning, nearly everyone but us left and it was all quiet again. So, lesson learned about Pete’s Camp. We heard it was pretty much the same at all the RV parks in the area. One RV camp manager told us, “It can get wild and loud on weekends, but we keep it under control,” whatever that meant. LOL
On our way back, and at the military checkpoint, they stopped us and wanted to walk through Gordito. We welcomed them in, as they were super nice – and so young. Just young boys in the military. And still, very polite.
We made it back to Mexicali, and then into Calexico, CA with no problems. However, this time, instead of making our way out via the West border crossing (where we came in), we opted for the East one. And if and when we go back to Mexico in that area, we will definitely choose to enter via the Calexico East border crossing. It was bigger, newer and more easy to navigate in an RV. Not only that, but it does not empty you out right into downtown Mexicali, which is tight, tight, tight for an RV with toad.
Another note about the Mexican customs crossing. They insisted we needed to have registration for our tow dolly. We readily showed them our (specially purchased Mexican) insurance and registration for the RV and Prius, but they also wanted the same for the dolly. They advised us to go back into the U.S. and go to the DMV and get it registered, b/c it might be asked for further on in our trip into Mexico by other officials. We explained that it did not need registration in the U.S., and therefore, we not only didn’t have it, but would be unable to go back and get it.
We tried to explain that even if we went to the DMV and asked for such a document, they wouldn’t administer one, b/c it’s not required in the U.S. Finally, they waved us on, telling us it might cause problems later. It did not. No one asked about it.
IMPORTANT: Even though cannabis is legal in many states in the U.S., it is illegal to cross the border (either direction) with cannabis products of any kind into Mexico – even CBD lotions, etc. Likewise with guns, ammo, and even pepper spray. Do your research before going. Keep in mind that they have the right to use drug- and weapon-sniffing dogs at the border.
Also: Remember to purchase your Mexican auto insurance before going. I used my own insurance agent in Colorado, and she emailed me the documents before we crossed over so I could print them. We had to get insurance for both car and RV.
And last, but certainly not least, our T-Mobile phone/service was all but useless once we crossed into Mexicali. Yes, we had our phones on “roam,” but it did no good. That meant we couldn’t use our GPS to get to Highway 5, to San Felipe, to find the FMM office, to call anyone to ask for help finding that office, or to do some translations (our Spanish is muy malo). Service was spotty to nonexistent. (Remember at the first of this post when I mentioned the unpleasant part?) It was super stressful.
What’s the remedy? Get a paper map. Study the route beforehand, etc. If your Spanish is not up to speed, look at online photos of the specific border crossing you plan to use and the lines you need to be in – both entering and exiting. Also look at photos of the signs pointing you to the office in which you get your FMM. Check out that office’s parking lot photos. Is it big enough for your RV? Have it all planned out before you get there, so you don’t stress yourself out like we did.
Even with the difficulties we had, I can still say it was worth the trip and stress – b/c the beach and sea were so excellent. If you decide to drive your RV into Mexico, prepare well and know it’ll be worth it.
Kaibab Lake Campground is just a few minutes north of Williams, Arizona, on your way to the Grand Canyon. Williams claims to be the “Gateway to the Grand Canyon.” It is a small and quaint little town that still has most everything you’d need if you decide to camp here awhile.
We chose this campground because it isn’t an RV park and also isn’t boondocking. It is somewhere in between the two. They don’t have any hookups, so it’s like boondocking, but all the roads are paved and the sites are marked and already set up, so it’s also quite orderly like an RV park.
It is situated in the forest and is quite beautiful. The sites are far apart, there’s a lake, they have vaults (bathrooms), trash cans, water faucets with drinking water, plus it’s only one hour south of the Grand Canyon. If you’ve ever visited the Grand Canyon, you know that the closer you get to the Grand Canyon, the more expensive everything gets. So it was nice to find this spot that wasn’t too expensive, but still gave us access to the park.
I can highly recommend this spot for introverts. It’s quiet, beautiful, close to – but not too close to – town, the sites are far apart, and it’s easily accessible for all. It has back-in sites, pull-throughs, and double pull-throughs for those traveling with a group. It is also great for tents, of course. We paid $26/night (cheap by RV park standards), and I think the double sites were $40/night. Even though there were quite a few campers while we were there, it was nice and quiet. We were there in early May, and it did get chilly at night but was great during the day.
In colonial times, the British built golf courses in India to offer them the same recreation as back home. But they did not foresee the monkey problem. Monkeys loved to take the balls and run off with them. They tried all sorts of things to keep the monkeys from taking the golf balls – including building tall fences, luring them away, cutting back the jungle, trapping them (the list is long), etc. As time went on and they had tried dozens of cures, they finally concluded that there was nothing to be done to keep the monkeys from the golf courses.
And that is what Kevin and I are doing now, I feel. We are playing the ball where the monkey drops it. We don’t know where he will drop it, when he will drop it, or if he will even drop it at all. He might chew on it first, or even swallow it. We just don’t know from minute to minute.
In other words, there are no guarantees. We are traveling and coping and learning and adapting. We had to stay in Yuma, AZ recently much longer than we wanted to for repairs to our RV, Gordito. We like full hookups, but don’t like to pay too much for sites. We like the amenities of RV parks, but not the noise and crowd. We are now trying to figure out how boondocking works for us. Our list is long too.
All this to say that there is a new flexibility requirement with this lifestyle that I, as a recovering control-freak, am attempting (most of the time, unsuccessfully) to navigate.
And I am certain that this part of our journey is just as important for me (us) as seeing the sights and traveling the land. It feels monumental for me to radically accept that I am not in control of pretty much anything except how I react and respond to what and who is around me, to realize that I want freedom more than I want to continue that fight.
So yesterday I danced with trees. We are now near Williams, AZ in Kaibab Lake Camp Ground, and it is beautiful here. And it has been hella windy (yes, I said hella). The tall, straight, pine trees protect us down below from the gusts, but we can hear the wind in the treetops. I can see them sway and hear them creak – which is one of my all-time fave things on our planet. So yesterday I grabbed onto a nearby tree and let it take me dancing.
It was like following a micro-blues lead on the dance floor – only a thousand times better. I could feel the subtle shifts and sway. I could hear the “music” (wind through the treetops). I had to focus and get quiet inside to be able to follow. I had to ground. I had to settle. I had to wait for the next gust of wind. I had to be patient and trust my lead. I had to let go of any judgements about anyone walking by and possibly seeing me hugging and dancing with a tree. I had to stop trying to control anything. I had to let go while still holding on.
And it was one of the most wondrous things I have ever allowed myself to do, one of the most beautiful gifts I have ever given myself. I highly recommend it. It’s a great lesson in following, in allowing, in just Being.
I have no profound end to this rant. Maybe it’s just about allowing – on the dance floor, in life, in our hearts, in our minds, in our dear bodies. I don’t really know. I am still learning, and we are simply doing our best to play the ball where the monkey drops it.
After leaving the Yuma area, we traveled north to Laughlin, NV (Bullhead City, AZ) to meet Kevin’s brother for a late lunch. Then we made our way to Nevada Telephone Cove Dispersed Camping area, which is on the banks of the Mohave Lake. It is only about ten miles northwest of Laughlin and camping is free. It is my understanding that if you go to the Arizona side of Mohave Lake, you have to pay for camping, but please do your own research to make sure. I found it, once again, on FreeRoam.
While the site is only about 10 miles from Laughlin, be advised that 4.5 miles of that distance is on a sandy, gravel, washboard road with some twists and some steep grades (short though they are). So be prepared to have your gizzard jiggled out for 4.5 miles. We have a 27’ Class-C (who gets a bit cranky on washboard roads) with a toad, so had an issue with one steep hill. Gordito began to spin down into the sand. We did make it, though. On the way out the next day, we unloaded the car and I drove it out ahead of Gordito, and he made it just fine.
We are discovering that most BLM lands are accessible by gravel (usually washboard) roads, so if that is the price we have to pay for peace and quiet and privacy, then so be it. It is worth it.
We arrived there late Friday evening, knowing it would probably be busy/crowed with weekenders. And we were correct. Telephone Cove (TC) is simply a stretch of beach on the shore of Mohave Lake where you can stop anywhere and camp. There wasn’t a place on the shore, so we circled around and got a primo spot on the opposite side among some shrubberies (you are required to say that with a British accent, ala Monty Python style – LOL). We put our door facing the mountains and not the lake, and so got privacy that way. The ground was level enough to not have to use levelers – for just one night, anyway.
We noticed rigs bigger than ours when we got there, so don’t worry about getting in. If we did it, and they did it, you are bound to succeed. There was one site right on the shore that was obviously un-manned but “saved.” Not sure of the rules on BLM land for that sort of thing, but we thought it was really bad form. We could have camped on the shore were it not for that.
The area offers a vault (bathroom), a huge dumpster for trash, a few trees and shrubs, and a boat launch. There were plenty of toys present: side-by-sides, jet skis, boats. Due to it being the weekend, we expected this. The sign there stated that you can stay up to seven days in a row.
The lake was cold, and the breeze was hot – nice combo. However, it was so hot that we had difficulty getting to sleep later, even with all the windows open and a (hot) breeze. It finally did cool down sometime later in the night. This is when we decided to invest in some smaller, rechargeable (maybe solar), clamp-on fans. We ran the generator for a bit so we could use the air conditioner to cool us down before going to bed, but we are hesitant to run it too much, because we know peeps want peace and quiet. However, we noticed several other rigs running theirs, and from our camp, we could not hear them. I think we just need to get used to running it more when we need to.
I would highly recommend TC BLM area for introverted boondocking – especially during the week, not on holidays, and not in summer (kids are out of school and on vaca with the fam). Please note that we were there in mid-May. On our way out the next morning, we saw LOTS more folks coming in with more toys for weekend fun, so introverts beware. LOL
What’s your fave rechargeable (maybe solar?), smaller, clamp-on fan for camping?
After several days of waiting on RV repairs in Yuma, we are FINALLY(!) on our way north (and hopefully to some place cooler). We could have gone ahead and driven Gordito as is, but he had a few things that needed to be done and now we can feel more confident about getting to where we want to go safely.
However, we only got as far as a few miles north of Yuma to the VFW Bureau of Land Management (BLM) camp because it was late when the shop finished with Gordito. But we were determined to leave and break the holding pattern we had been in for nearly a week. So around 6pm we pulled into the area. And after beginning to feel like we were being held hostage in a bad version of a low-budget horror film about being unable to exit a hot city with little to no T-Mobile cell coverage (even with our cell phone booster), we were happy to have made it even this short distance away. At least it’s progress, right?
I was surprised to find that I actually liked the VFW BLM land. Yes, it is right next to I-95 and a railroad track – so it is somewhat noisy. But hey, that’s what earplugs are for. We heard a few human voices, but not many, and nothing loud. The area is mostly flat with some native, shrubby plants scattered throughout. RVs and vans were parked at intervals – but not too many (remember, it’s hot as hell already in Yuma even though it’s only early May), because most everyone else has, wisely, bugged out.
At the back of the area are large trees, and we managed to snag a spot right against the trees, thus putting us in the shade (hard to come by in these parts!). We put our front door facing the trees instead of the camp area and have a lot of privacy that way. It’s so much nicer than the one photo I saw on FreeRoam. I took some photos the next morning to include here and on FreeRoam if it’ll let me add some. I’ve only used the app a few times so far, so I’m not sure of the possibilities.
The VFW BLM has no services, to include no dumpsters, no water, no dump station, no electricity. So, pack it in; pack it out. Anyone can stay; you don’t have to be a veteran or anything (even though I am a veteran). At the entrance, it said to register with the camp host, but we never figured out who or where that was. And considering the week we’d had (stressful!), we were exhausted, so drove in and parked. No one ever said anything to us about it, so…
The site was very level, so that no leveling blocks were needed. Although I’m not sure we would have bothered anyway, considering we would only be there for one night. The ground is mostly rough sand, so in high winds it might be dust-stormy around here, but it was good weather for us. I expect it would be hot as hell – even in the shade – during the day, but we got there late and left early, so it was mostly cool breezes through open windows for us.
Even with the highway right nearby, there was plenty of wildlife – birds, crickets, bunnies. And because there were so few folks here and everyone was parked with plenty of space between, this introvert felt quite comfortable. I didn’t like the lights at night, however. I like to sleep with no lights outside at night. People-made lights ruin the nighttime, IMO. There were a few lights near the entrance, around the VFW venue (building) there were really bright once we went to bed.
Google said VFW BLM was only 2. 6 miles (8 minutes) from Yuma, so if you stay here and need to shop or go see a movie, you’re well placed to do just that. It’s kind of the best of both – outside the city but with the city close enough for comfort.
I would tentatively recommend this place for introverts – probably dependent upon the season. Do some more research about other times of the year if you plan to make this a destination. Keep in mind how hot it is here, too, in the summer. In the winter, this would be a perfect stopping place, IMO.
As boondocking goes, this is only our third time trying it. Once was last year and in a Wal-Mart parking lot. So that one doesn’t really count for the introverted boondocking experiment. However, the other two times have been successful as far as this introvert is concerned. I could get to really like this.
What are your favorite boondocking (and good-for-introvert) places?
This place is southwest of Tucson, AZ. It is located, according to their flyer, on the ancestral lands of the Tohono O’odham (Desert People). It sits on 21 acres with two miles of walking paths through various habitats. It houses 230 animal species, 1200 types of plants, has a comprehensive regional mineral collection, and world class art exhibitions (again, directly off their flyer). Check their website for days, seasons, and hours of operation.
As far as introverted appropriateness: We got there right when they were opening – at 8:30am – on a Saturday morning, and we were one of only three vehicles present. We got our tickets and were ready to go in. However, we decided to wait until it warmed up some. The tickets were good for all day. It was in the 40’s and at the museum’s higher-than-Tucson elevation, the wind was whipping around, and even in the extra clothes and coats we had on, we knew we would not be comfortable walking around outside for several hours. If we had been able to stay and go through that early, it would have been perfect.
We came back right after lunch when it had warmed up some and not only was the parking lot full to the proverbial brim, there were three full-size yellow school buses present. So needless to say, it was really really really crowded.
However, this museum is totally worth seeing. Despite the large crowd, we took our time and spent probably three hours going through the entire museum – inside and out. They have an aquarium; a reptile and amphibian hall; an Earth sciences center and cave; an area to see an ancient Arizona Sonorasaurus; a mountain woodland; a desert grassland area; desert loop trail (complete with a coyote); a place to see and pet stingrays (do stingrays LIKE being petted?); a cat canyon (containing an ocelot, bobcat, and gray fox); a kid’s play area; a bee education area (complete with solitary bee hotels); riparian corridor; free-flight aviary featuring desert species; an underground area (for burrowing animal observation); a free-flight hummingbird aviary; touch-less water bottle refill stations; as well as restrooms, restaurants, gift shops, coffee bar, etc. Please note that some of the restaurants/shops were not operating as per usual due to Covid protocols.
I do not like zoos, because I am not a fan of capturing, housing, keeping (usually in an artificial environment), and showing off wild animals simply because humans want to look at them. So, I had some issues with seeing their wild animals caged for the public’s amusement. They were wonderful to see, I appreciated their beauty. But mostly it made me sad. But all zoos make me sad. So, keep this in mind when you visit the museum. The non-captured wildlife portion of the museum would be worth seeing in and of itself, so I can still recommend the place – for introverts and extroverts alike.
And if you are an introvert, simply choose your day and time (and watch the weather) wisely and it could be a really great experience for you. In fact, it would be spectacular to see the (again, mostly outside) museum in the quiet with the morning desert sky as a backdrop.
If you’re an introvert, or you know one well, you know that introverts need extended periods of alone time to recharge and be able to do life well. It is nothing personal. We are not trying to get rid of our friends or partners, we just need to recharge to be at our best.
And it can be difficult to get quiet, alone time in an RV and on the road. Here are a few things I (and my partner) have tried so far that have worked for us. I will update this post as I discover new ways to accomplish this goal.
Continue a Tried and True Routine
When we are traveling, we do our best to keep the routine that worked for us at our home. He has a gym membership that is a nationwide chain, so that he can continue to work out whenever he needs/wants from wherever we are. Mornings, he goes to work out and then showers and changes and begins work for Instacart. These are the same things he did at home that benefited both of us. He gets his workout and makes money; I get alone time in our home (which is now an RV).
I have my own schedule that I am quite strict about, so that I can get everything done that I need to while he is gone. I meditate, make my morning smoothie, walk for 20-30 minutes, do some crunches and stretches, shower, and get to work on my computer. At some point I fix a salad for lunch and stream a video while I eat. Then I clean up lunch stuff and get back to work.
If you haven’t needed to do this sort of thing with your traveling companion before traveling together, and therefore can’t continue the same routine, consider coming up with a mutual plan that works for both of you. You get to be just as creative with this as you wish.
Go for a Drive Alone
This is a simple one, but it does work for me. Thank gawd for GPS, b/c I often don’t pay much attention to where I’m going when I need to get out for a drive. Make sure you know where you are staying and/or the address, so you can get back to the site using GPS. This seems like a no-brainer, but when you’ve been traveling a while and you’ve moved around from park to park, all the park names begin to blur together and sound alike. Are we staying at Desert Oasis, or Desert Sands RV park? Take the brochure the office gave out when you checked in so that you have the address with you. Better yet, leave it in the car.
Go to Favorite Places Alone
Do some research in the area and see if there are things available that you like to do or see and then plan to go alone. The idea is to be alone amid “crowds” in public places. My fave places are botanical gardens and fabric/quilt shops. Check out their hours, and maybe even call ahead, to find out when their least busy times are. Be the first one in the door when they open, or plan to be the last one out when they close – whatever it takes to be there when there aren’t many other peeps there. Wear your headphones or earbuds, even it you aren’t listening to anything, to encourage folks to leave you alone. Take a book or device and sit and stare at it – even if you aren’t reading, to get some much-needed lack of attention from others. If you encounter loud people or a group close to you, ignore them, sit and let them go ahead, or change your course and find a quieter spot. Introverts already know this, but don’t make eye contact with anyone. Make it clear you are not interested in interactions. One thing that nearly always works is sitting quietly and closing your eyes. Folks tend to leave you alone, b/c they think you’re meditating, or they think you’re too weird. LOL
This has the added benefit of giving the extrovert some time alone in the RV also if they need/want that.
Go to the Public Library
Nearly all places have a public library. Most places have several branches. Do your research online and pick one to go to. Unless there are activities planned, most are quiet, still places. They usually have free wifi, and you can work online, read a magazine, read your own book you brought with you, or simply sit and be weird enough to not be bothered. LOL Most allow you to take your water bottle and snacks in with you, so that you can hang out a while. Of course, there’s always a bathroom handy too.
Be “Weird” Enough – But not too Weird
Most folks think introverts are weird b/c we are not like them. We do not need noise and action and people to feel okay. In fact, those things can wear us out. So some folks will find it weird that we like to sit quietly and not talk and not move around and not interact with whatever is going on around us. In nearly all settings, if you are quiet and still, wear your headphones/earbuds, and close your eyes, peeps will leave you alone. They will think you’re weird, but most will avoid you. The trick is to be “weird” and different enough to be left alone, but not so weird that someone calls the authorities. Perhaps don’t start talking to yourself out loud while doing this. LOL Maybe you have never tried this, but I encourage you to think about trying it. It works when overwhelm threatens and can buy you a few minutes – or even longer – to regroup.
This can also work in your RV with your travel companion. Maybe you both agree on the rule that when headphone/earbuds are being used, interruptions need to wait. Maybe when one of you are at your computer, the rule is that you are working and don’t want to be interrupted. Hours and days for work and leisure and un-alone-alone time (sitting in the same space but respecting silence and not talking to each other) can be agreed upon also.
Yes, I refer to simply going outside at anytime you can safely do so and not be bothered, but also use this if you are at an event and it is getting to be too much. Is there a patch of grass or a tree nearby outside? Have a look around as you are entering to ascertain the possibilities. Even some strip malls in cities have a patch or two of grass in the parking lot – or a tree or two. If you are really lucky, there will be a park nearby. Go outside and hug a tree, or just sit on the grass and lean on a tree. Again, close your eyes for a while. Go inside and rest. Please keep in mind when doing this type of thing that you may have no idea what has been sprayed on the grass/vegetation and also remember safety first. Make sure it is safe to be outside alone – (unfortunately) especially if you identify as female.
If you don’t have a toad like we do, remember, depending on where you are, you can use Lyft and/or Uber to get around. You can also use the public transit system where you are or even a taxi. Also, I understand some RV resorts/parks have shuttles to help you get around. Check their website before booking.
Throw an Introvert Party
What is an introvert party, you ask? It’s sitting in silence. Some RV parks have activity calendars and a newsletter that goes out to all residents. Consider creating some quiet time by offering to lead a “meditation” or a self-care hour – or whatever you decide to call it. Schedule it with the office, and they will put it on the calendar. Then you show up to the (hopefully, quiet) spot they provide for classes with your requisite pillow (and maybe a yoga mat too) and “lead” the meditation. Sure, you’ll have a couple of moments of talking with takers when the class first starts, but after that you simple instruct them to sit on their pillows and be quiet. Maybe you share a quick breathing technique you use, maybe you play an intro meditation on your meditation phone app – or maybe you just sit. Keep it simple. Set your timer for one hour, tell folks to stay as quiet and still as possible. And tada, you have just created an hour of quiet for yourself too.
This has the added benefit of helping out other introverts that may need this time/space. Perhaps you make an introvert friend and decide to sit in silence together at other times too. LOL
Let me know what works for you, as I am always looking for more ways to be more fully my introverted self. I will add more to this post when I discover more ways to be introverted while traveling in an RV that work for me. Happy introverted travels! 🙂
Please note that in any post I write about being an introvert, I will never tell introverts they need to “get out of their comfort zone,” “learn to be more social,” or “learn to fit in” or any other similar BS that suggests that there is something wrong with being an introvert and that you need to buck up and get over your introverted self and try and act like an extrovert.
As an introvert, if you are looking for ways to become more like an extrovert to better fit into our (admittedly) very extroverted world, you’ve come to the wrong place, my friend. I attempt to happily be my introverted self – without shame or explanation – and make the world work for me. Not the other way around.
I am an introvert, and I sold my house to live with my partner (an extrovert) in our renovated RV, Gorditto, until we find a new house in a warmer climate. We began this journey on 2/11/2022 and have no idea how long it will take. But also, I don’t feel we need to be in a hurry. I am doing my best to navigate the experience of RVing as an introvert in a way that continues to meet my needs.
My partner and I have been together for several years and have mostly figured out how to live with each other’s -vertedness. Living in an RV together means we are mostly sticking to the same routine we had at home. He gives me plenty of space and time alone in Gorditto in the mornings while he works out and works for Instacart, he goes out to do things without me, and we go out together sometimes to do a few things together. When he’s out, I meditate, workout, write, read, do my introverted things. It works in a RV the same way it worked in a house – so far, anyway.
I am finding it challenging to be an introvert in an RV, however, mainly because of other people (right) outside my (now) tiny world. We are both over 55 years of age, so we often opt for RV parks of that specific kind. And what we are finding out is that these places are super social. Currently, we are in one such park (that is highly rated online) where the RVs are packed in like proverbial sardines, close on all sides with very few (no) privacy barriers between spaces. We found out when we arrived (we booked online) that most of the sites are, in reality, filled with mobile homes, with only a small percentage of the sites being used by actual RVs.
We are on a corner, so only have folks on two sides instead of four. However, we are also on a corner nearest the clubhouse where all the amenities are housed. That means that everyone and their literal dog come by here. And because we are right next to the clubhouse and on a crossroads, people congregate right in front of our space to and from the clubhouse (pool, hot tub, mailboxes, library, pool tables, craft room, showers, office, etc.) to talk, catch up, make plans, say hello, etc.
So, while we have a bit of breathing room on the front of our RV that is open, it is seldom empty of people. If I add the noise factor into all of this, I would need to point out the many golf carts constantly whizzing by on their way to and from that same clubhouse.
If we had a different space in this park – maybe toward the back of the place, I’m sure our experience would be different. Yesterday, my partner (the extrovert) actually said, “I tried to go to the pool and cool off and relax, but there were just too many people there. And they were all talking the whole time. This place is too noisy. There is some sort of noise going on all the time. I think I’ll book our next stay at a state park or something instead of an RV park.”
My partner’s sister sold her house and began RVing full time several years before us, and we have benefited greatly from her experience and advise. Thank you, sis-in-law! It is telling, however, that when she talks about her experiences, she mentions that her favorite part is all the wonderful people she has met along the way. When my partner hears this, he gets excited to meet those type of people. I get wary. LOL
We are aware that boon-docking is possible on BLM lands for more privacy. We know that state or county campgrounds are sometimes more aesthetically pleasing than RV parks. We have a membership in Harvest Hosts also. But we also like full hookups, so we don’t have to watch the tank levels.
We are just beginning this trip, so it will take us a while to figure out what works for us best – for his extroverted needs and my introverted ones.
I will attempt to successfully navigate this trip (however long it turns out to be) as an introvert and report on my successes and failures, to hopefully help you out too. I will also make a list of RV parks we’ve stayed at and how they measure up as far as introverted needs go.
Let me know what has worked (is working) for you as an introvert full-timing in a van or RV, especially if you are traveling with another person – and especially especially if the other person is an extrovert.
I will only review places that we have stayed at or have first-hand knowledge of. I will keep adding to the list, with as many links as possible, so you have as much info as possible.
Curt Gowdy State Park in WY (visit in 2021): The location is somewhat remote and the landscape is beautiful. However, very few trees are located near RV sites, so very little shade for RVs. Trees were there, just not at the RV sites. The tent sites were placed close to trees. No internet, of course. Good for introverts b/c it is out and away from towns. There weren’t many people there, so we had lots of room. Not sure how it would be with more peeps. We were also there off-season and basically no one was on the lake. Plenty of space to wall and hike. Electric hookup only, and they had no dump station. The nearest dump station was several miles away in the next town, therefore, we could only stay a couple of days. It had some other issues too: no TP in the vaults (bathrooms), vaults instead of bathrooms, overflowing dumpsters for trash, no other amenities . We had to haul our trash out with us. Conclusion: Great place for those accustomed to boon-docking and that don’t need a dump station very often. Good for introverts in many ways due to being so remote. Beautiful landscape.
Gears RV park and Café in Aguilar, CO (visit in 2021 and 2022): Great place right on I25. We have only stayed there one night at a time on our way to other places. That being said, it was quiet (except, of course, for the highway noise – which is to be expected), the rates were fair, full hookups, the staff was helpful and kind, and the BBQ at the cafe was to die for. I can’t say much about staying long term. No trees or privacy, but the sites were not super close to each other (I thought they were close at the time, but have learned with experience that they, indeed, were not – LOL). Conclusion: not enough info to form too much of an opinion. Would totally recommend it for a night or two, though, on your way to and from other places.
RJ RV Park in Truth or Consequences (visit 2022): Nice folks. They provide showers, laundry, bathrooms, fair price, full hookups, and wifi. No trees and the sites are close together, however it was very quiet. We enjoyed our few days at this site, but it would not be a great place for introverts long term, due to lack of privacy. The best part of T or C is all the hot springs places to visit. I highly recommend the city/area just for that. Conclusion: The RV park is not for introverts long term, but definitely worth visiting the area for the hot springs experiences. We went every day. Our fave is the funky rooftop tub at the Charles Hotel and Spa downtown.
Faywood Hot springs Resort and RV Park in Faywood, NM (visit 2021): We LOVED our visit to Faywood, and wished we could stay longer, but had other places already booked to get to. There are plenty of trees, most of the sites have some room between them, the setting is rural, full hookups, showers, bathrooms, clubhouse/meeting area, great staff, all ages welcome, plenty of shade. I highly recommend this place for any and everyone. This place is an oasis out in the middle of a pasture, basically, which appeals to every little part of my introverted soul. LOL There only a limited number of sites, so it is quiet and restful – not too many peeps around. Keep in mind that the nearest town is 20-30 minutes away. There is a clothes-optional side (not my cup of proverbial tea), and clothes-required side – both for the hot springs and everywhere else inside those areas. There are lots of pools of hot springs of varying temperatures and sizes, some accessible 24/7 for those staying overnight. The settings and landscaping around the pools are rustic, native, and idyllic. There is the star chair a short hike away, which is basically a cute handmade chair built for two (situated on a hill) that is canted toward the sky for watching the (huge!) starry sky at night. There is also a spiral (not actually a labyrinth, as advertised – but who cares? It was wonderful) on the hill to walk through. I was able to walk/hike to these areas without seeing anyone else.
My Yelp review: Great place. I loved being out in the middle of nowhere with hot springs, but be aware that the closet towns are 20-30 minutes away. The gated facility has cabins, full RV hookups, and tent sights. It has a clothing optional side and a regular side. Some (not all) of the hot spring tubs (made of concrete, rock, and mortar) are clothing optional also. They have showers, bathrooms, laundry, and gift shop. Loved walking up to the rock circle and star chair. Peacocks and chickens roam around peacefully. And there are a LOT of birds and bird song in the area – loved that! The grounds and terrain and atmosphere were mostly peaceful and charming with trees and plants enhancing the placement of tubs, paths, etc. I loved that I could walk around at night in the moonlight to different tubs with the help of their solar path lights and not have to take a flashlight. You need reservations to get in, so call ahead. The only reason I am giving this place 4 instead of 5 stars is b/c of some noise issues with children. I prefer a very quite, meditative place – just my preference. The hot spring water was wonderful in all the tubs: “very hot,” “hot,” and “cooler.”
Conclusion: As RV parks/resorts go, this one was heaven for this introvert. Please do check out the chemical analysis of their hot springs water on their website, also, if that sort of thing is important to you.
Zane Grey RV Park in Camp Verde, AZ (2021 visit): We stayed three nights here in mid-November 2021. It was in the low 40’s at night, 70’s during the day. Cold to cool mornings and evenings. I wore a stocking cap and gloves for my morning walk each day at 7 – 8am. Sunny days. They also offer cabin rental. The cabins are up by the road, so not sure of the noise level up there. Camp Verde is very close and is a charming town to explore.
Pros: The camp was clean and orderly – immaculate, even. Long, narrow (but not too narrow) sites. The hookups were in a good position within the site and the water pressure is adequate. Lots of trees and shrubs to provide some privacy between sites. We used a pull-through site. They provide a plastic (therefore no grills allowed on them) picnic table, so bring your own table if you need somewhere to set your small grill. They provide free wifi, but only for the first 2 weeks. I think. Not sure about this. They have you sign-in using your own email address and create your own password, but they have you “purchase” the 2-week plan for $0. So, do you pay after that? Not sure. If you plan to stay longer and want/need wifi, you might want to call first about this. They provide showers, laundry, and bathrooms for guest use. The showers were wonderful – clean and nice and roomy with plenty of hot water. Shower/bathroom areas are obviously cleaned with vinegar, with I consider a good thing, as I am sensitive to bleach and strong cleaner odors. They have private (roomy, wooden) stalls with locking doors for each shower with plenty of places to hang stuff, nice fabric shower curtains, and a small bench in each stall. They provide a fire pit and group game area near the office with nice outdoor furniture. All areas are covered in pea gravel and are raked daily. The road through the camp is dampened with water each day to cut down on dust. There are trails that lead to the creek and run along the creek. Once around the whole, big loop (at a fast walking pace) took about 15 minutes. They also have a pet walking area, which I didn’t explore. They have twinkle lights wrapped around random trees throughout the camp, which provides light at night and looks quite charming. They go off at some point to facilitate sleep. I go to bed early, so they were still on when I went to bed each night, however, they are off during the night. Friendly, helpful staff and management. They escort you to your site when you arrive, meaning you follow someone on a golf cart to your specific site.
Cons: The wifi is incredibly bad. Do not expect to work online from this park using their wifi. Also (maybe due to the location?), our mobile hotspot didn’t work much better than their wifi while we were there, even though we used it successfully (we have a cell phone booster) everywhere else on our trip. We had to go into town to a library and use their wifi to get some online work done. You pay for the immaculate look of the park by having to listen to leaf blowers, rakes, and maintenance folks on their golf carts most of the day (granted it was autumn at the time we were there, and the leaves were falling, and they were trying to keep ahead of them). This is not a place to sit outside during the day to enjoy the quiet. We went to shower the first morning at 8:15am and they were closed for cleaning from 8am to 9am. Is it just me, or is morning the worst possible time to have showers closed for cleaning? The leaf blowing started promptly at 9am. Again, this seems a bit early in my opinion for folks who might like to sleep late (I don’t, but some do). Sites were not horribly unlevel, but we needed more leveling blocks for our class C front wheels than we had with us. Guess we need to purchase some more. Shrubs and trees between sites (for privacy) are more abundant toward the front of the camp and in those sites. Our site was more toward the back of the camp and there are fewer trees and privacy between sites back there.
Trails: The Creek Loop Trail is a good, level walk on mostly sand and dirt with some fallen leaves on top. The creek is beautiful. Trail #2 is not so simple. It is also without hills, but you will want some hiking shoes/boots for this one, most probably. The trail is all on the former creek bed, so almost the entire trail is smooth river rocks of various sizes, making for very uneven terrain. With fallen leaves on top of smooth river rocks, you will want to watch your step – especially if there is moisture and they are wet. Trail #2 could use some maintenance/grooming in order to make it a more friendly walk, even though I did enjoy the scenery and trees on both trails. Conclusion: Not for introverts long term, b/c of the noise and the sites are too close together. However, the park is outside of any town and the two trails can provide some alone time for introverts.
Enchanted Trails RV Park and Trading Post (2021): We stayed here one night on our way home in mid-November. We called that morning and got a site for later in the day, no problem. Low 30’s at night, 60’s during the day.
It is conveniently located right next to I-40, so it is loud – which was expected. Clean and tidy place with cute vintage trailers and cars that were fun to look at, as well as other vintage touches throughout. The wifi sucked, but we are finding that that is pretty normal for RV parks.
Friendly and helpful staff. Very level sites. Full hookups. Loved the solar lights posted by each hookup area. We arrived at night, b/c we got caught in a traffic jam due to road construction, so the light was helpful as we hooked everything up in the dark.
Dusty and dry – which is to be expected b/c it’s the desert. They had trees for shade, but not a lot – which is to be expected b/c it’s the desert.
They provide showers, bathrooms, and laundry for guests, although we couldn’t get the door code to work for us to get into the showers. We tried the wrong door? Not sure, so we showered in our RV, b/c we just needed to get going. I think they also have a pool, but assume it was closed due to it being November.
Would stay here again as a quick one-nighter right next to the highway. Conclusion: Not so great for introverts for long term use due to traffic noise and lack of privacy in the park between sites.
Justin’s Diamond J RV Park (2021): Pros: Full hookups and big sites. Trees for shade at each spot. Relatively level sites. Beautiful views of the AZ landscape. Lots of wonderful trails to hike. The trails are well maintained and beautiful to walk. Laundry, pickle ball court, mini-golf, and mail boxes to receive mail. They honor Good Sam’s discount. Good price. Well maintained grounds, landscaping, and sites. Friendly and helpful owner/staff.
Cons: Very noisy due to the highway being so close (probably not so bad at the back of the park, however we paid a “premium” price for a pull-through, and they are all at the front of the park near the road). Also very noisy due to shooting range/skeet shooting a few miles away. On Sunday morning at 8am, the pops from gunshots started sporadically and very quickly became a constant barrage of gunfire for over and hour and a half. This is NOT a good place for those liking quiet on a Sunday morning. Weekday mornings were not quite as bad. The hookups are right at the street edge of the pull-through sites, meaning you cannot pull your rig very far into the sites. No showers or bathrooms for resident use. Conclusion: the gun shot noise is pretty bad on Sunday mornings, but okay the rest of the time. This park might be okay for introverts if you were able to get toward the back of the park and not by the road, however, be advised that most of the sites on the back are for permanent residents and may not be available for part-time RVs.
Turquoise Valley’s RV Park (2021): We stayed two nights at this park near Bisbee, AZ. Full hookups, showers, restrooms, laundry. Quiet and restful atmosphere. Showers and bathrooms were clean and well-maintained. It has tall, skinny trees – so very little shade. However, it’s the desert, so a lack of trees is to be expected. Friendly, helpful staff/owner. Located almost right on the Mexico-AZ border. Weather was 40’s at night and 70’s during the day (November 2021). Great rates. Large, level sites. Nearby Bisbee has a cute, touristy downtown – great for walking around and shopping. It has a reputation for fast internet. I must admit I don’t remember whether it was or not. Conclusion: At the time we were there, it was very quiet even though there wasn’t much privacy for each site. It would be only okay for introverts, but would do for short periods, probably.
Siesta RV Park (2021) Las Cruces, NM: This place is showing its age, however, it has great views and full hookups for a wonderful price. The water pressure is high, so use your water pressure regulator for hookups. Each RV spot had a tree and most had a picnic table. It is in a great location that is just outside Old Mesilla. We biked very easily to Old Mesilla for the farmers’ market on Sunday morning. The manager, Mike, was very friendly and helpful. It has dated laundry, bathrooms, showers (also great water pressure!), and a small shop – all of which could use an update, however, everything worked fine. Over all, I consider our stay there a good one. Conclusion: This park was quiet and restful, even it dated. If you got a site toward the back side, it would be more private, and the views are great out the back of the park.
Western Way RV Park Resort (2022) Tucson, AZ: We stayed about two weeks here, but only b/c we booked online and would have had to pay the full amount anyway. This is considered a “resort” RV park, therefore it provides showers, pool, hot tub, library, pool tables, meeting hall with dance floor, plenty of weekly events on their activity calendar, etc. This park is mostly a mobile home park with a few sites used by RVs. We were on a corner by the clubhouse, so we got LOTS of foot and golf cart traffic. The sites are super close, and we are packed in here like proverbial sardines. This is definitely a 55 and older park, in fact, I might call it a 70 and older park. Everyone is very social and the park-wide most seen afternoon activity seems to be sitting in the “front yard” and visiting. Conclusion: This park is definitely not for introverts – unless you could maybe get a site far away from the clubhouse, and I’m not sure there are any. The back sites may all be mobile home sites (not sure). This park is most definitely for older, senior extroverts. Those folks would be very comfy here.
Sunny Acres RV Park (2022) Las Cruces, NM: We stayed about a week here. The sites are big, they are not too close, and there are plenty of trees. Except for the 3 days of sand storms we had, it was a very nice stay. They offer bathrooms, showers, pickle ball courts and gear, and a laundry for resident use. It was quiet and nice. We were on the outside edge of the park, and I enjoyed not having folks on all sides of us. Conclusion: This park could work for introverts if your site is on the outside edge of the park.
Sans End RV Park (2022) Winterhaven, CA (just outside Yuma, AZ): We stayed a couple of weeks there in March of 2022. This RV park is just over the AZ/CA border in CA and right on the Mexico border. The park is just south of the little, sleepy (read: dying) village of Winterhaven, CA. I loved the small-town feel of the area. Candice, in the office, was super nice and super helpful. Weather was hot and windy most days with sand storms on those windy days, however, due to diligent efforts on the park’s part, the roads inside the park were watered down most days, so the dust storms were not right on top of us. It did get cloudy a couple of days, which cooled everything down quite a bit. It sprinkled rain one day.
The park itself was nice. It has plenty of palm trees, and they house plenty of wildlife (one of my fave things). I put out my bird feeder block (pls note that I did not get my block on Amazon, and I do not get any money from them. I just wanted to let you see what I use. I got mine at a local Wal-Mart) and watering trough for birds (large flower pot tray with a rock in it to keep it from blowing away) and wildlife and had plenty of takers. There were plenty of birds, lizards, and prairie dogs partaking in the seed and water I had out.
We had a site on the edge of the park that looked out over a field. That whole area around Yuma is mostly farms and fields. It was nice to get to look out our back window at some green growing in a field, and b/c we were on the edge of the park, we only had a person on each side of us. We had no one in front or back of us. The extra breathing room was great.
The park was well-kept, clean, and offers pool, hot tub, showers, laundry, game room, meeting room. The sites had some space between them and some grass in several areas. There were not any privacy screens (shrubs, fences, etc.) between sites, but because of the bigger sites, we didn’t feel so squeezed-in.
The park has an activity calendar printed out that Candice gave us at check-in, and it’s pretty full. There are lots of great activities on there. My partner, who is highly motivated by food (LOL), loved the weekly ice cream social, the morning coffee and doughnuts, and the Saturday morning biscuits and gravy treat. They have a stitching/quilting group weekly and even offer ukulele lessons each week. As an introvert, I did not attend any of the activities, but he really liked the variety of things to do. The one time I did venture near the swimming pool, I noticed there were only two peeps and lots of nice silence. So if you’re an introvert who likes pools, this one might work for you.
Drawbacks included two highways nearby and train tracks, so the noise level was pretty consistently loud. The wi-fi sucked, just like in most RV parks, but we ran into a problem we’ve only encountered once before (and probably for the same reason). Even our T-mobile hotspot would not work in this park. We called T-mobile several times to see what they could do to help us out, but they were never able to tell us why we had so many issues. I assume they simply don’t have good coverage in that remote area and just didn’t want to admit that. To get any work done online, we had to go into Yuma and go to a coffee shop or the public library. We did not get to stream any of our fave shows while staying there, and my partner and I had several conversations about how spoiled and entitled we are as American humans, to think that we have the right to stream whatever and whenever we want.
Conclusion: As an introvert, I did okay at this park. I didn’t like the noise but was able to deal with it. We had polite (quiet, nonsmoking) neighbors while there, so that probably helped. I wish the wi-fi would have been better, but I loved the terrain/environment. I loved the wildlife and bird watching. And although I am not a fan of wind and sandstorms, having grown up with them, I still liked our time there.
No wi-fi, but they do provide one shower per gender, two bathroom stalls per gender, and a laundry room. The facilities are very dated, but serviceable. The park is quite lacking in atmosphere. We are surrounded by rocks, pavement, and concrete. There are a few plants on the property, but not many, and none near us. As someone who values greenery, this is not an easy place for me to be.
This is a mobile home park with some spots for RVs. It’s a big park, mostly full of long-termers. Being near the entrance of the park, we get lots of traffic by our site (which also means exhaust fumes).
Weekends can be noisy, but most the time the noise level is not too bad. It is hot (not helped by all that rock, pavement, and concrete) and dry (it is the desert, so to be expected). Our mobile hotspot worked okay in the area, which is a good thing. It was nice to have Parker, AZ just a couple of minutes away for shopping. We had a difficult time contacting the office due to it seldom being open (and no one answered the door bell) when the sign said it was supposed to be, and the voicemail for the office was full. Pls note that the office only takes cash for payment.
Conclusion: There’s not much privacy there, but the price is right. Not much greenery either. And as we are learning with most RV parks, the experience is going to fluctuate due to neighbors (are they quiet? do they smoke? We are nonsmokers) and your position in the park (do I have rigs on all sides, just two sides, are there trees for shade at my site, are we on the outside edge of the park, etc?).