Nevada’s Lunar Crater and More!

In this final video from my four-state, two-country road trip, I leave Death Valley and make the trek eastward toward my adopted high-elevation homeland of Utah. Along the way I check out some historical sites in Death Valley, a ghost town in Nevada, an incredible crater out in the middle of Nevada called Lunar Crater, and more! (Click here if you can’t see the video below.)

And here are some pics from the day’s adventures:

Fast-Setup DIY Awning for SUVs, Vans, or Trucks

In an older video, I shared a quick and easy way to setup an awning on the side of you vehicle, but today’s video shows my preferred method. It’s faster to set up and more secure than the clamp method.

(If you can’t see the video below, click here.)

The tarp that I use in the awning is this one that I got from Walmart (and other colors are now available online too). I’ve seen them at many Walmarts in the camping section.

Hiking Gear, Horse Skulls, Rock Art & More

In this video I embark on a 33-mile day hike in Death Valley National Park. Touted as Death Valley’s “premier backpacking route,” the Cottonwood-Marble Canyon Loop takes in slot canyons, petroglyphs, natural springs, wild horses, wide-open valleys, and more.

If you’re interested in finding out more about this hike, this (scroll down to the Cottonwood-Marble Canyon Loop section) and this (a PDF) are good places to start.

This is another vlog in my series from January and February 2017. I left northern Utah, where I live, and traveled down through southern Utah, southern Nevada, western Arizona, southern California, and back through central Nevada, all while camping and adventuring out of my 2011 Toyota RAV4.

(Click here if you can’t see the video below.)

And here are some pics from the adventure:

A Campground Database, Useful Apps, SUV Curtains, and More

Here are a bunch of SUV RVing-related things that readers and viewers shared with me this week. Thanks guys!

Got something else that you think the SUV RVing community might find useful? Shoot me an email and let me know about it.

A Campground Database

One video watcher and book reader (hi Linda!) passed along a website for finding campgrounds. It’s called Hipcamp. It’s along the same lines as Campendium and but doesn’t appear quite as good as either of those for finding free places to camp. I browsed some of the areas that I’m familiar with and found that it only has established paid campgrounds. Sometimes that’s exactly what you want, so this is a good website to know about and to add to your arsenal. Check it out and tell me what you think.

Some Useful Apps

A new email subscriber to the blog (hi Gennaro!) recommended a few apps that he’s found useful on his road trip adventures (all are free except Goodreader, which is $4.99):

  • MAPS.ME – Offline maps for many places in Europe and the US. (iOS & Android)
  • GoodReader – A document reader. Gennaro uses this to read PDFs and magazines. (iOS only)
  • SkyView Free – A stargazing app. (iOS & Android)
  • Kindle – For reading ebooks (including mine!). (iOS & Android)
  • iFirstAid Lite – First aid illustrated and explained. (iOS only; Something similar for Android is First Aid Emergency & Home.)

A Clever Curtain Solution

Video watcher and fellow YouTuber Florida Girl Adventures has an FJ Cruiser and came up with a clever way of hanging up curtains in her SUV. She attached the hook side of a Velcro strip to blackout curtains and found that the Velcro stuck to the headliner on the inside of her vehicle. See the setup in action in this video (the curtain part starts at about 2 minutes and 17 seconds in).

Multi-Use Toilets

And finally, another reader/viewer (hi Richard!) sent me a link to an interesting product on Amazon. It’s the Cleanwaste Go Anywhere Portable Toilet, and Richard pointed out that it could be used as a small table when not being used as a toilet. In a space as small as an SUV, it’s always good when items are multi-use. The Reliance Products Fold-To-Go Portable Toilet is in the same vein.

(Note: This blog post contains Amazon affiliate links.)

A Crazy Slot Canyon Hike in Death Valley (Grotto Canyon)

In this video I hike one of the coolest slot canyons in Death Valley, Grotto Canyon. This is what I would call a technical non-technical canyon because you need to be comfortable with scrambling and rock climbing, especially as you go higher up the canyon. Climbing shoes certainly would certainly have helped tremendously for the more tricky dryfalls. (Click here if you can’t see the video below.)

The obstacle names I use in the video (First Obstacle, Second Obstacle, etc.) are not official and were taken from this website.

In addition to the video above, here are some pics from the adventure:

Looking into Grotto Canyon from the trailhead
Looking into Grotto Canyon from the trailhead
My SUV parked at the trailhead
My SUV parked at the trailhead
One of the Grotto Canyon obstacles
One of the Grotto Canyon obstacles
The biggest Grotto Canyon obstacle
The biggest Grotto Canyon obstacle
Grotto Canyon
Grotto Canyon
The Fifth Obstacle
The Fifth Obstacle
View from the Fourth Obstacle bypass
View from the Fourth Obstacle bypass
View from the Fourth Obstacle bypass
View from the Fourth Obstacle bypass

The Poor Man’s Winch

One of my SUV RVing fears is getting my vehicle hopelessly stuck in sand, mud, or snow when I’m out in the middle of nowhere. I’ve toyed with the idea of getting a winch for my SUV but haven’t pulled the trigger because frankly, there are other things I’d rather spend that money on. But I recently found a YouTube video titled Poor Man’s Winch – Using ratchet straps for winch duties (it’s also embedded below if you’re reading this on the blog). The guy in the video talks about using ratchet straps as winches and demonstrates several possible uses that include getting a vehicle unstuck, removing a downed tree limb, and moving a large boulder.

He recommends the Quickloader brand of ratcheting strap. The selection on Amazon is OK but a bit confusing (browse them here), but it looks like has all of Quickloader’s straps for sale. The yellow one used in the video will hold 10,000 pounds, has a 27-foot strap, and costs $50. The red ones range in price from $20 to $30, depending on the one you get. One of these seems like a great thing to always have in your car for emergency purposes, both for yourself and for any other people you may encounter as you travel.

Here’s the video:

What do you think? Is this a good winch substitute for those of us on a budget?

One Week in Joshua Tree National Park

I spent more than a week in the Joshua Tree area of Southern California, and this video is a compilation of things I saw and did that week. Joshua Tree is one of my favorite places in the country, and I hope this video helps convey why.

Also, I’m not entirely sure why, but this is one of my favorite videos I’ve made so far, so be sure to give it a watch. (Click here if you can’t see the video below.)