• Alexia Droz

BACK IN THE USA! Part 1


We crossed the border back into the USA on March 19th, exactly 3 months after leaving Squamish, and after 2.5 months spent in Baja California.




It was a bit weird being back in the USA, and we needed a few days to readjust after all this time in Mexico.


We spent our first night in the parking lot of the Golden Acorn casino (some casinos offer free overnight parking), it was windy and cold. In the morning we started by washing the van as it had not had a bath for a very long time, later, we made our way towards Palm Springs for some warmth and also because we wanted to check out some mid-century modern architecture







We roamed around Palm Springs for a bit then made our way north to 29 Palms and then Amboy Crater near Route 66.














We went for a fun hike at Amboy Crater, and then we continued on Route 66 towards Oatman, Arizona, which Is well known for the wild (and very friendly) donkeys roaming the streets.



The donkeys will literally stop the passing cars to try to get some food!




We continued eastbound towards Kingman, and found a short hike thru a canyon that led to a small hot spring.




In Arizona, we came across this lizard, called a "Gila Monster", we didn't know it at the time but it is very rare and venomous!


We continued onto Prescott, AZ where we spent a couple of days at a Forest Service campsite, there, Alexia was able to log in a couple of mountain bike rides in the national forest.



































The weather in Prescott turned quickly and the temperatures dropped suddenly so we decided to head south towards Phoenix for a bit. In Phoenix, we went to REI to return a camp stove we bought back in December as it was not working properly, we also each bought a pair of trail running shoes to replace the ones we had completely worn out while in Baja. Since city living isn’t exactly the most fun when in a van, we moved on again and headed further South to Tucson where Alexia wanted to ride a few mountain bike trails on Mt Lemon. We camped in the desert and enjoyed the sunny and warm temperatures Tucson has to offer.





Unfortunately, the first mountain bike ride in Tucson didn’t quite go as planned. Lorenzo (Laurent) dropped me (Alexia) at the top of the Bug Spring (black diamond) trail for what was supposed to be a 13km point-to-point ride.



About 4km into the ride, I got a flat on my rear tire which unfortunately turned out to be unfixable on the trail. Because cell service is limited on Mt Lemon, we agreed beforehand that Lorenzo was supposed to pick me up way down the road at the Molino campground (about 10km away). When I realized that the flat wasn’t fixable, I had just enough cell service to send a text message to Lorenzo to ask him to pick me up to where the trail crosses the main road at the halfway mark, and I started making my way down the trail pushing my bike hoping he would get my message. Fortunately, he did get the message and I was able to meet up after a very long hike with a bike…






That evening, we went to Tucson and we found a shop that had the right tire in stock so it could be replaced quickly. A couple of days later, I was back on the same trail and this time, no flat to spoil the party!


After Tucson, we made our way to Bisbee, AZ, and what a great place it is. We absolutely love the funky bohemian vibe of Bisbee. We love the artsy ambiance, great stores and cool historic buildings. Near Bisbee, we dropped by Lowell, which is essentially one street, with vintage facades and cars.











From Bisbee, we headed north along the eastern border of Arizona/New Mexico, thru Apache National Forest. As the altitude went up, the temperatures dropped… a lot, like below zero at night and single digits during the day… so we had to keep moving! We are not big fans of the cold so we made our way towards Sedona, where Alexia went on a couple of mountain bike rides and visited our friends Pam & Jeremy (@mtbnomads).




Sedona is an insanely busy town. Its setting is beautiful, there are many hiking and mountain biking trails… but it’s absolutely overrun with tourists, RVers and vanlifers…so all the BLMs free camp spots around town are pretty much full, all the time. I (Alexia) still managed to go on a couple of mountain bike rides, including one with Jeremy to the famous HiLine (a double black diamond) trail.



From Sedona, we headed back to Phoenix for a quick fix on the van before heading back north towards Flagstaff where we camped in the volcanic area of the “Cider Cones” and had some fun with the van!




Since once again the weather was cold in Flagstaff, we moved on to Page where we camped on the Utah side but we felt like we were on the moon!


The next day we attempted to find a remote campsite near Lake Powell, but we ran into a couple of issues: the water levels at Lake Powell are the lowest they have been ever, which means you need to drive further, and that you will get into deep sand way before getting close to the water. In other words, we got stuck in deep sand. It took us a couple of hours and a lot of digging to get unstuck, we then decided to move on to higher and firmer grounds for the night.






to be continued...






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