Exploring Nevada | Boondocking at Poverty Flats

As a new RVer, I spend most of my time at RV parks. The plan is to get a feel for the RV and how it works, before taking off into the wilderness to boondock solo. Even so, one cannot boondock on theory alone. On Halloween, I decided to go camping at the Valley of Fire. I planned ahead and hitched up from the night before. As soon as I woke up, I strapped Shadow in the car and we took off.

Unfortunately, too many other people had the same idea and I could find nowhere to camp inside the state park. That search for a camping spot inside the park also lead to my first incident of having to back my RV down travelled roads. Luckily, I am pretty decent at handling my trailer, backed into another dirt road, and got turned around without mishap.

I had a feeling I would struggle to find a camping spot, so I had another option in my back pocket. I headed out of the park and toward the Mormon town of Overton. A few miles outside of town is an overlook known as Poverty Flats, where you can camp for free on public land. I had to tow uphill on gravel and dirt, but it was well worth it.

The Current Boondocking Setup

People often ask me about my power setup in the RV, especially when it comes to going off-grid. If you are a seasoned RVer, you can skip to the next paragraph. For everyone else, my RV is equipped with three sources of power: shore power when I am plugged in, battery power when I am not, and propane when needed. I also have a 100-watt solar panel and a solar generator that I use to power my electronics, such as my laptop and phone.

I had also recently purchased a portable picnic table for boondocking, because I didn’t want to sit on the same bench everyone else did. I have seen RVers put their sewer hoses on top of picnic tables and then saw people sit down to eat there the next day. No, thank you — and especially not during a pandemic. My picnic table has a 400-pound rating, weighs only 20 lbs and folds up so small that I can throw it in the back of the truck. It also has a lifetime warranty.

My Boondocking Companion

Another question I get often is how well Shadow takes to life on the road. When I took Shadow camping that day, it was the first time I had moved the RV in a month. I fully expected him to hide in his favourite cubby holes, once I got it set up, but he came out to take a peek at his surroundings. He is much braver these days, but still hates the sound of people talking outside and diesel trucks starting up.

He was also pretty social at bed time, which wasn’t always the case, at the time. Now, he snuggles up under the comforter or spends the night wreaking havoc in the RV.

The Campground

The campground itself was much bigger than it looked from the road and where I parked was just one small section of it. The view was also amazing, especially at sunset. People at the campground were mostly conservative and did not seem to socialize outside of their groups. Even so, one solo RVer did chat me up and invite me over for a glass of wine while we watched the full moon. I brought my own glass and my own wine and drove the truck over in my Halloween costume. We sat outside.

We chatted for a while and he was good company. However, he had way too much to drink and I high-tailed it back to my RV in my truck before things got too weird. I know my limit and can hold my wine, so I was fine. That weird little incident aside, it was beautiful out there. Check out the view.

The RV Mishaps

The decision to go boondocking wasn’t a test of my off-grid ability, but rather, a test of the RV. Sadly, it failed the test and I had to leave at the crack of dawn. I mentioned the solar generator earlier to show that I had no real dependence on the RV to power my devices. I also use battery-powered lamps in the RV after dark, because I find the lighting much too bright for my taste. In spite of this, my battery died during the night.

When it died, I learned the hard way that the RV furnace and the fridge cannot work without battery or shore power. It needs electricity to ignite the flame. I had to turn the furnace off in the night to stop it from clicking on and off as it tried to re-light. Then, the fridge started to do the same by about 5AM. The awning that I left out also became a problem in the morning. It took forever and a day to get it in, even after plugging the RV into the truck. Needless to say, I learned a lot about my RV’s capabilities and the things I need to fix.

Right now, I’m a snowbird who spends the majority of my camping time with full hookups. However, if I decide to do this beyond the spring, these are just some of the issues I need to address for safe and comfortable travel.

From Nevada to Arizona

After leaving Poverty Flats, I spent one more night in Nevada before heading to Arizona. Unfortunately, my time in the Grand Canyon State has not been pleasant. I still wake up grateful every morning that I am on the road and living my dreams, but I am twice as grateful that I’ll be in California before next weekend.

In the next post, I’ll share what it’s like to be a Black woman in a small Arizona town, during high racial tensions and a highly contested election. As a preface to that, I would like to say that I spent the majority of my time in Nevada as the only Black woman among Mormons, other Conservatives, and Moderates. I was treated extremely well.

In fact, they begged me not to come to Arizona. After my arrival, they became so concerned that they called up a friend’s RV park in California and had them reserve a spot for me. I’m heading there in a few days and they will meet me there a week later. For now, I’m in the middle of a flag war with the Confederates next door, but I’ll work my way up to that post, because it will be heavy on race relations and redneck politics.

In spite of all this, I’m still glad I came. I met at least two decent people while here that I plan to maintain contact with and my new favourite hiking trail of all time is at Lake Havasu. Can you believe it’s not the Grand Canyon?! The sunsets here were also incredibly beautiful and I enjoyed the labyrinth of dirt roads for riding my mountainbike.

I look forward to sharing the good, bad, and the ugly!

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22 thoughts on “Exploring Nevada | Boondocking at Poverty Flats

  1. I’m happy for you that you enjoy your own company. I think I could, but not camping. Lol

    I’m sorry they treated you so badly. Sounds like you landed in a hotbed of racism. Arizona did vote for Biden!!

    Safe travels!!

    1. Arizona voted for weed, haha. Most of the people I know who voted blue did so to get weed and free health care. They’re not necessarily liberals. They’re self-serving individuals who still have really conservative values. I did meet a handful of nice people in Arizona though. Now, I’m back in Cali where almost everyone is nice.

      And thank you! I’m really happy I enjoy my own company as much as I do or this would be really hard at this time of year.

  2. I am not surprised that the Mormons treated you politely. Mormons have very intriguing theology about black humans which you might explore. As for Arizona, the sooner you can get out of there the better.

    1. I haven’t heard anything about their theology on Blacks. Point me in the right direction and I’ll look into it. ☺️

      Also, I may have an address for you soon now that I’m back in Cali. I’m on a Reservation and they don’t get mail, so I’m going to reserve a PO box nearby. 🙂

  3. Time to get a small generator. And or bigger battery (s), another solar panel, or don’t run the furnace and fridge at same time, or…??? Lol… I don’t think I would be very comfortable with all those Confederate flags around either. And I’m a white guy landowner. Lol it’s okay to make mistakes while out camping because they make for good stories. I’ve made many mistakes while out hiking camping climbing and yes they make for good stories but unfortunately a few of those have left scars.

    1. I’m thinking about the generator, but haven’t decided what to get. I could get a bigger solar generator, but I’d still need a small backup. Haven’t decided if that would be gas or propane. Inergy and Goal Zero makes much bigger solar generators that you can plug the RV directly into. I’ll also definitely need to replace the battery. It’s not that the battery is inadequate; it’s “broken”. It’s one of those that require refilling with distilled water and he says he’s never done that. 🙁

      Yes, the Confederate flags don’t exactly create a welcoming environment and the people are sh!tty too. An old White guy fell outside a few weeks ago and would not take my hand. He sat there on the concrete until a White person showed up and then I still had to help him up. The look he gave me afterward was priceless. Arizona needs to be sawed off the west coast and copied and pasted next to Georgia. 😭

      1. If you get a gas generator make sure it’s a quiet one. I understand Honda makes really nice ones but they’re really expensive. Lol… arizona. Yes I would replace the battery as soon as you can.

      2. Arizonans really seem to HATE Californians, by the way lol. So do Nevadans. I’m constantly asked to defend why I want to go there or why I love the state. When I want to shut them up, I tell them that California is still the only state where I have never been made to feel unwelcome or othered because of the colour of my skin. They never have a response for that. 😂

        I’ve heard Honda makes the best generators as well. They’re also much pricier than others. Luckily, I had downsized in not just size but energy consumption, so I don’t think I need more than a 2000 watt generator. I could probably even go smaller than that if I wasn’t keen on running the air fryer! Are the propane generators quieter?

    2. Also, I’ll be in Cali in a few days, but not your side yet. Maybe I’ll get to hear those stories in person. ☺️

      1. By the time you get here the whole state will probably be locked down and not admitting anybody without a 14-day quarantine. Lol

      2. There’s already a quarantine recommendation in place. I will have been there for a month already before heading up to JT though, so wouldn’t apply to me. 🙃

  4. The RV life sounds very isolating, yet very rewarding all the same. There’s a certain romantic element to having a drink outdoors and catching the sunset, which I greatly appreciate (although sans inebriated RV traveler, please!). Looking forward to your next post on Arizona and the racial tensions during the 2020 elections; it’d be fascinating to learn more about it from your perspective!

    1. It is VERY isolating, which is what makes it ideal during a pandemic. I spent Thanksgiving alone for the first time in 8 years and that was an interesting experience. I’ve gone to see my parents for Thanksgiving since before I moved to America. Even in college, I usually celebrated with the landlord and his family, so maybe it’s longer than 8 years. Maybe more like 10.

      My fingers are itching to share my experiences in Arizona. If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask me!

      1. Of course! I guess I have a few questions: would you say that Arizona is majorly conservative, with smaller pockets of liberalism? Especially with what happened in the 2020 elections, I was very surprised that Arizona turned blue for the first time in 24 years! And would you say that the racism (if any) was subtle or obvious, compared to widely-diverse cities like LA or NYC? Just some thoughts to get started!

      2. I haven’t ventured into Arizona’s blue pockets just yet, but several of my friends who had reached out to tell me that it wasn’t much different in Phoenix and Tucson.

        That said, while Arizona votes conservative, I don’t think it is. I think they’re culturally Libertarian. Libertarians are not, by nature, racist (at least, I don’t think so) but Arizona mixed racism with that libertarian mindset and it’s a dangerous cocktail.

        I went to Lake Havasu expecting it to be more welcoming and people were not pleasant to me AT ALL. Not to mention all the confederate flags I saw flying on boats and cars. They are VERY OBVIOUS with their racism, hence my flag wars with the Confederates parked next to me.

        I have never experienced racism in New York or California. Also, on the road, Californians are among the nicest and most amazing travellers on the road. When I’m in the middle of nowhere and see Cali plates, I feel safer. For about two weeks here, the only people who talked to me were from California.

        I’ll definitely expound on these more in my post! Thanks for asking. ☺️

      3. Thanks for the detailed insight! Coming from LA, I constantly forget that much of the US isn’t liberal as it is. Heck, it wasn’t until I moved to small towns in France that I experienced conservatism (albeit in the French way). I’m glad you find Californians amicable; I know we’re a good bunch! 😉

        Looking forward to your actual post on the matter. Thanks again!

      4. If you ever want to be reminded, look on the voting map. It’s terrifying how few areas are blue and how many are red. 😆

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