This post is an overview of a few RV trips we’ve taken in the last year in our teardrop camper called Lil’ Gal. Join us as we seek out small campgrounds and birding hotspots.
About RV Trip posts
A few years ago I had another blog that was mostly about our travels and some nature-related topics. I had a very small readership, so I didn’t think too much about it when I took it offline and started this food blog. But I have had people tell me that they miss reading about our travels. When I mentioned my food blog to a friend who asked about my old blog, she confessed that she never cooks anymore but she misses reading about our rv trips. So, I decided to create a travel category and post some photos and comments about our wanderings. Here goes.
A little over a year ago we purchased a small RV camper. We’ve had RVs before, but they were larger and more like apartments on wheels. Here’s a picture of me with our big Class C that we used as our summer home for years.
Once we moved to New Mexico, we wanted to explore some small campgrounds that might be difficult to get into with a big RV, so we settled on the Little Guy Mini Max, a teardrop camper. Since we are two women, we immediately named it Lil’ Gal.
In future travel posts, I’ll make each trip a separate post, but this introduction to our Lil’ Gal camping adventures is an overview of the trips we’ve taken in the last year.
A bit about Lil’ Gal
Even though Lil’ Gal is small, it has an inside kitchen and bathroom. That was a requirement for both of us. With the propane stove, we can boondock – that’s camping without being hooked up to water or electricity – almost anywhere. If water and electricity are available, we use that, but being able to boondock opens up possibilities for us. We fill our fresh water tank before we head off, just in case we don’t have full hookups. Our propane tank and the nifty solar panel provide enough juice for us to cook and power the water pump. This means we can have a nice dinner and shower while we’re off-grid. That’s a plus after a day of hiking and birding.
I enjoy the outdoors, but I do like some creature comforts. A hot cup of coffee when I wake up is one of those comforts. I like that I can take a few steps and make a nice cup of joe without having to go outside. Ditto for the inside bathroom. I don’t have many pictures of the inside, but I’ll get more in future blog posts. Overall, it’s about 17’ by 7’. You can stand up inside – another huge plus. In some teardrop campers, you just crawl in and sleep. We opted for two little beds so we can have some room to get up in the morning without having to crawl out of bed.
The kitchen picture is from the day we picked it up. It’s so functional that it hardly seems like camping when you have a sink, microwave, and stove-top with two burners. If you think you might like a Little Guy Mini Max, go here to check it out.
RV trips so far
We’ve had the camper for over a year, so we’ve taken some fun trips in it.
City of Rocks
One of our first trips was to a nearby state park called City of Rocks. We went there to check out the features of our new RV and see what it would be like to boondock. Here’s a photo from that trip. It’s mostly a desert environment, but the huge rock features that were created by volcanos are pretty cool.
Blue Water Lake State Park
We spent a few days at this state park. We saw nesting Western Bluebirds there, and we did some hiking. We take selfies wherever we go, but I won’t burden you with too many of those. As you can see, we’re not youngsters but we’re still in decent enough shape to get out and do some hiking.
One day we drove northwest for a bit to El Morro National Monument. There’s a water hole there that I’m sure was like an oasis to the Native Americans who lived near there and to the Spaniards as they traveled into the American Southwest. It was also a regular stopping-off place for pioneers heading west to settle California. There’s a huge stone wall called Inscription Rock that has been signed by individuals from each of the above categories.
This campsite is run by the Bureau of Land Management in New Mexico. We got lucky and got one of the sites with electricity. The camp hosts were very friendly, but they had a few days off while we were there, so for a time, we were the only ones in the campground. We drove up to a town called Pie Town one day and got a couple of small pies. I got pear with ginger, and it was really good. It was a pretty drive along historic Highway 60 to get to Pie Town. We stopped and looked at some elk, all does and fawns, along the way.
Our little dog, Cookie was still with us on this and a few more of our first trips, but she has since crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Cookie loved being with us, and even though she was blind for the last year of her life, she still loved to explore. RIP Cookie. She was a good companion for 15 years and we miss her, but we travel on and continue to remember her. Here’s Cookie enjoying the various scents at Datil Well Campground.
The Luna Lake campground is in the National Forest. It has minimal facilities, but we did a little hiking and visited with a traveling friend who detoured on her way home to camp with us for one night. There’s not a whole lot to do there, but we did hear elk bugling. I had to go out to the car to get something in the pre-dawn hours and the sound of those elk make me jump out of my skin. I was a little embarrassed when I realized what the sound was and that the elk making it was probably at least a mile away.
Cave Creek Canyon
We’ve gone to Cave Creek Canyon three times so far. The Sunny Flats Campground there is one of our favorite places to bird and camp. We have another trip there planned for August of this year. This website says more about the area than I can cover here. Wherever you’re from, this area is worth the trip. That is, if you enjoy birding and hiking, or just waking up in a canyon with several species of hummingbirds visiting your feeder. Check out the weather and go at the best time of year. The monsoons are typically in mid-summer. That’s when the creeks will be flowing and the Elegant Trogons will be nesting. I’ll create a separate post for this location after our upcoming trip. I’m getting a new camera so maybe I can capture some pics of birds.
Eating on the road
This is an offshoot of my cooking blog, so it makes sense that I would post some examples of things we eat while we’re on the road. As you might imagine, there aren’t a lot of great restaurants in out-of-the-way places, plus we really enjoy preparing our own meals anyway. But without electricity, that can be challenging. We do have a fridge that runs on propane as I mentioned before, so it’s easy to make some things ahead and put them in the freezer. Here are some examples of things we’ve prepared ahead of time to take on the trip.
- Sourdough scones with granola – These make a really hearty breakfast with some fruit and yogurt on top. If we’re boondocking, we cut them in half and put them in the skillet on our propane stove for a few minutes, then add the yogurt and fruit.
- Mediterranean Pasta Salad – I usually make this the day before or the morning that we take off. After a day of travel, it’s really nice to open the fridge and dish up some of this pasta salad. Then we can sit back and enjoy the sunset.
- Lentil Chili with Farro – This is another make-ahead meal that we prepare before we leave and stick in the freezer. We can put it out to thaw during the day and heat it up in a pan. Add some cheese and Fritos and you have Frito pie, a camping classic, at least according to us.