Those of you who’ve followed my blog for some time might wonder what on Earth I’m doing in Nevada. How did I end up here instead of pursuing my Cali-girl dreams? At the start of 2020, just as I was ready to put my #California2020 plan into effect, my biggest client announced that they would no longer be working with clients based in California. They made the decision based on California’s new gig law and applied it across the board, even though it didn’t actually apply to me.
Since then, I have thought of and treated Nevada as my back-up plan: the state I planned to hunker down in until I can escape to California. However, the first month in Nevada completely opened my eyes to how absolutely unique and beautiful the state is.
My First Introduction
Though I was seeing Nevada with new eyes, this wasn’t my first time visiting the Battle Born State. In fact, Nevada was the first desert state I ever set foot in. It paved the way for years of desert adventures through New Mexico, Arizona, California, Utah, and Colorado. The only states with deserts that I have yet to visit are Idaho and Oregon and they are not exactly far away.
However, the first time I visited Nevada, I stayed on the strip. Sure, my friends and I took hiking trips. But, it’s one thing to visit nature from the city and quite another to live in nature. When I invited my friend to my campground, even he had to admit that after a decade of living in Nevada, this was all new to him.
The Second Introduction
Even before the pandemic, I had decided that when I moved to Nevada, I wanted to stay in rural areas. I wanted nothing to do with city life, come what may. The first night alone at the campground, I started to question if that was wise.
You really feel that isolation when the campground goes pitch black at nine o’clock and the only sound is the wind howling outside your window. In fact, one week into RVing, I weathered 65 MPH winds in my RV for three nights. For comparison, hurricane speeds start at 74 MPH.
Needless to say, my RVing trip was off to an adventurous start — perhaps more than I had intended. I will never forget the RV rocking so much from the wind that I had to head outside in 30-degree weather, with strong gusts of wind, and re-hitch the RV up to the truck. What usually takes me 15 minutes alone took me one hour with help.
And yet, here I am telling you that I absolutely love Nevada and I am proud to call it my new home state. So, what exactly do I love about the state currently playing diva in the 2020 elections?
The Scenic Drives
On my first trip to Nevada, I saw three main highlights: Red Rock Canyon, Lone Mountain, and the city lights. This time, as I drove into the Nevada mountains, explored rural towns and visited national and state parks, the Silver State never ceased to amaze me. Sometimes, on my drives back from campgrounds to the city, I would become so enamored with the scenery that I would stop too often and end up getting to the city much too late.
If you have never been to the desert, then you may not understand my infatuation. The pictures won’t do the Nevada desert justice, but it is the most beautiful of America’s Desert Southwest. Sorry California, but the diversity of Lake Mead alone beats even the beauty of Joshua Tree National Park, which has held the top place in my heart until now.
I spent my entire month in Nevada either in the mountains, surrounded by them or both. It’s an amazing experience.
The Rock Formations
My parents spent my first two days in Nevada with me, after we drove 2,000-plus miles across the country together in just three days. Mom described the rock formations in Nevada in this way:
They’re so beautiful. It’s like someone picked them up and put them exactly where they are for us to see.
I am new to offroading and stick to areas that are within my skill level, but Nevada is full of surprises. I once got down to a road that had my front wheels up in the air. All I could see was the lake and a drop off to the side. I just had to cross my fingers and guess where the road was — but that’s a story for another day. Needless to say, however, I am not one of those people who splurge on an offroad beast and beat the pavement with it. My big boy Samson is living a full life and he is the absolute best adventure ally I could have ever asked for.
The sunsets in Nevada are incredibly beautiful, but I could argue that point almost anywhere in the desert.
I was in Nevada for about two weeks before I finally spent time at the good spots on the lake and I regret that. It is absolutely beautiful out there on Lake Mead, if you’re willing to take a few long drives or risk offroading through washes.
Californians will always be my favourite Americans. I rarely meet one I dislike. They are the most open and welcoming people I encounter when traveling. I came across the Cali couple who owned this rig on my birthday and came running off the trail waving madly because I had never seen anyone else towing with an FJ Cruiser. They made my day! I have also met wonderful people from Colorado, Idaho, and Nevada itself.
I can never run out of things to do in rural Nevada. Whether it’s camping on top of a mountain, kayaking in Lake Mead, or biking on trails….it’s got my thirst for adventure covered.
On my first visit to Valley of Fire, I met the only other Black woman I have met on the road so far. She worked for the park and told me about an annual camping state pass that allows me to stay at any state park for free up to 14 days. When I hit my two-week limit, I simply move to another one. I bought it that very same day and have put it to use. There are also tonnes of free camping spots on state and federal lands. In fact, I spent almost my entire time in Nevada on federal lands.
A Temporary Goodbye
As much as I love Nevada, Samson, Shadow, and I left for Arizona the day before the Presidential Election began. I’m currently in one of Arizona’s most conservative blocks. Yes; I get mean-mugged all day by most of the people here and I have not seen a single, other Black person. My neighbours are Californians and their plates seemed to have earned them the ire of the locals, as well.
So, why am I in Arizona in the middle of a nail-biting election and at the height of racial tensions? Well, rural Nevada is lovely but not having a proper phone signal is not. I also have zero intentions of spending winter camping in the mountains. So, for now, I am heading south. I will likely be in Arizona and California for the rest of the year.
The good news is that I’ll have reliable access to WiFi for the next few weeks, so I plan to spend some time catching up on posts. I can’t wait to share more about my time in Nevada, as well as some of my adventures in Arizona. If you have specific questions about my travels or my rig, feel free to drop them in the comments below. For more timely updates, consider following me on social media.