Finding a Spot to Camp

I do not like paying for a camping place (except for New Mexico State Park Pass and the LTVA). I like to be remote. This is how I find a yummy place to stay for free. (This is lots easier out west.) The rules say stay for two weeks or less. (Do it. Don’t overstay. Pack it in, pack it out. Take only pictures. Leave nothing.)

How did I find this magical spot? Passion. I was hunting for meteorites. I made a map of the known meteorites found in the state. Then I overlaid that map with the state’s federal land (where camping for 14 days is allowed). That led me to a tiny dot on the map that said “Spring”. What? A spring out in the far away desert? And nearby there was a fabulous place to search for trilobites. Perfect. Getting there I was lost several times. Very nervous driving on sandy roads far from cell service, far from anything but desert. No buildings. No street signs. Almost turned around twice. Then I found the spring. I learned much about trilobites, about quartz crystals, about fears, about the transformative power of boredom. The physical maps, with Google Earth and the historical data of meteorite finds, led me to the above place. I stayed 2 weeks. Want to go back.

Apache Creek, best campsite

How did I find this magical spot? It was on the way. With the DeLorme New New Mexico map I picked out a 2 lane route heading south. This camp spot appeared on freecampsite.net. They listed 4 free campsites along this part of the route. It was on the physical map, also. Delicious free spot that even had a pit toilet, birds, huge trees, tables, and great hikes. Needing a place to spend the night along a specific route I found that camping spot above. I spent 2 weeks here 3 times. Hope to go back.

Dispersed Camping

How did I find this magical spot? I was confused, tired and lost when I stopped in the Forest Ranger Office. I was new to being on the road. The folks in the Office were exceptionally kind. They taught me about the Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUM). Each district in each Forest Service has these maps. The rangers taught me how to read the maps, which show where in the National Forest its OK to camp. For 14 days. For free. I have stayed in the area above 3 different times for 2 weeks each. Each time thanks to the MVUM map.

Toes truck camping at Mesa Verde

How did I find this magical spot? This was a wandering moment. I looked at the paper map of the area I was in, circled the BML land, and drove onto the first road I got to. Then drove further. Then turned left. Then left again. Then stopped for 14 days. Almost got stuck leaving. Thank goodness for 4wd. Haven’t been back, but the map has it circled.

Thank you freecampsite.net. Stayed here only a week. All of a sudden there were hordes of atvs. Drones. Campers. But a great week.

A collection of maps for truck camping out west

Still love the paper maps. With Google maps I can mark a good place to camp or have camped. That does work, if there is cell service or WiFi. (I seem to forget to download them.) Thanks to the Motor Vehicle Use Maps (these are free and great in paper, but awkward to handle) and the DeLorme maps and the Benchmark maps I can find my way around. Thanks to freecampsite.net I can always find a place. Another helpful site is campendium (some dispersed camping, mostly for RV’s). The rangers, the librarians and gas station employees have given me the best spots. Some too precious to mention.

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9 Responses to Finding a Spot to Camp

  1. Marlis says:

    Wow, lots of great info…and so fun to read!
    Great that you always seem to be entertained by Your explorations and the land around you. 💖 -Mar.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jane KingsleyAlder Dinsmoor says:

    The “transformative power of boredom” ? You are the one person I doubt has ever been really bored in her life and certainly not in a desert ! There are trilobites and troglodytes to keep you endlessly amused.

    Like

  3. Cindy Rogers says:

    Looks like some amazing camping!!! Hope you had a nice time in WC! Sorry I missed you ❤️

    Like

  4. Pip says:

    As usual thank you for the fabulous information and photos. Sounds like
    Everything is going well. King Regards pip

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mas Prema says:

      Hi Pip! Thanks for continuing to read the blog/story. I am still having fun on this trip. The truck, Lilith, is healthy. The new drive to Illinois is getting me excited to see new areas of the country. Are you able to travel?

      Like

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