johnandmandi Check-Ins

Date Place Comment
James Canyon Campground

Open and mostly as described. The two RV sites are across from one another and one is definitely big rig friendly. We stayed in the smaller of the two in our 20ft van with room to spare, by our estimate a 24ft rig could have easily fit. Lots of day users during the Saturday and Sunday we stayed but we were the only ones camping both nights. The highway is close but very few vehicles overnight, could run a fan for white noise if needed.

Best spot near Bryce Canyon

This place is in wrong location - it is located at 37.64219, -112.19992

Sand Creek Campground

Very nice spot and still $20 for dry camping. The owners helped us locate a mechanic to replace our radiator after it failed near Larb Pass. Decent bathhouse and the wifi is good until evenings when everyone gets on it. The Mexican restaurant, Chak Balam, next door is pretty good (owners are from Acapulco). Worth the stop, especially if you’ve been wild camping a lot and are in need of a good ‘chores’ spot.

Capitol Reef Gorge

We aren’t desert people but the out and back drive in the gorge was definitely worth it. We also hiked to the water pockets which were neat.

Newspaper Rock Petroglyphs

Decent panel of petroglyphs just outside Canyonlands. Very popular stop with pit toilets. Fixed gps coordinates and had to say referencing petroglyphs as emojis is disheartening…even as a joke.

Garnet Ghost Town Secret Spot

Great spot which is located more than 1/2 mile from the ghost town so it’s legal according to the rules posted at Garnet. We drove up from the 90 and left by driving to the 200. Access from the 200 is easy but if you’re planning on driving the Americas the route from the 90 is a good test for you and your vehicle. We have a diesel 4wd 1 ton van but never used 4wd and we drove up in the rain. High clearance was necessary for a few sections and light vehicles may need 4wd for some of the steep grades. It was a fun reminder of all the roads we drove during our trip to the end of the world.

Big Spring - Ozark Scenic River

National Park campground in the Ozark National Scenic Riverway. Reservations are accepted but there are designated first come first served only sites and any reservable site that isn’t booked, dates are posted on site posts, can be occupied by paying cash via the onsite envelopes. 4 loops, one has electric, all have central water and access to bathrooms. A shower house is separate, located on the campground access road, as is a dump station. Booking online costs $22 for electric and $19 non-electric, paying onsite costs $19 for electric and $16 non-electric. There is access to the current river, spring fed, for swimming and tubing. Big Spring is located near the entry to the park but is for viewing only, swimming is not permitted in the spring. A lodge with restaurant is located within the park but we did not visit it. Great park and a welcome reprieve from the heat.

Koomer Ridge Campground

National Forest Campground with $20 walk to sites (parking separate), $25 standard sites, and $30 double sites…all first come first served. Central water, several pit toilets, one bathhouse with showers (warm to hot depending on usage), and several onsite trails to sandstone arches and ridge views. It’s a great basecamp for exploring the Red River Gorge, the Sky Bridge is quite beautiful on a clear day. The campground is very busy on the weekends but was tranquil during the week, we stayed 6 nights spanning a weekend. The Brick cafe located 2 miles from the campground is a great stop for coffee, ice cream, a muffin, and decent wifi when they aren’t busy.

Lilly Pad Hopyard

Local microbrewery near the Lilly Bluff area in the Obed National Historic River. They also have primitive camping available onsite ($10 per person) but are currently only opening the campground for holidays. On tap while we visited were Grapefruit Shandy, Tennessee Cream Ale, Little Black Dress Stout, Ferocious IPA, Hug Gone Bad Passionfruit Sour, Yoga Pants American Pale Ale, viking Honey Rye, and a Daisy Duke Blonde. $5 a pint. They also have nacho’s ($5 vegan, $10 pork), Savory Bread Pudding Muffins (they call them puffins $5), and sweet puffins ($3). This place was recommended by a local ranger, the Tennessee Cream ale and chocolate puffin were fantastic.

Bear island primitive campground

Gravel road in was decent, we averaged 35-40 mph, with a couple washboard sections but nothing bad. It does seem the road is being maintained since we came across a small crew improving one section. Campground has two areas. One small loop with one pit toilet and another larger section where the sites were spread along the access road with several pit toilets spaced throughout. We had one bar AT&T but LTE was spotty. I-75 is close by with continuous traffic noise and air planes route nearby. We enjoyed our stay, still $10 per night, just don’t expect only the sounds of nature.

Pine Glen

Still $3. The only amenity is a row of three pit toilets which are average. There is a creek on one side of the campground but no campsites are directly on it, the first few are across the road from it. A very tranquil place, great spot.

Organic Market

New location for the Saturday Organic Market. Textiles are also for sale as well as food vendors. Still worth the visit if you are in SMA on a Saturday.

Museo del Desierto

Agree with Tucks entry. We very much enjoyed this museum, especially the outdoor section with animal habitats including coyotes, wolves, and bears (like a small zoo). Normal admission is 160P per adult (discounted rate for children and families but I didn’t take note of the exact price), there was a promotion when we visited for 100P per adult. Separate parking fee, spaces for cars and large vehicles or buses, we paid 45P for 3 hours. Hours are 10:00 - 17:00.

Nuevo Laredo, Columbia Crossing

USA —> Mexico

We payed a $3.50 toll to cross the bridge then parked in the small lot before the migracion building. At the Migracion office we were given the FMM form to complete before having our passports and our forms stamped. We then proceeded to the Cajero (Banjercito) to pay for our FMM (558 Pesos each or $58.55 for the both of us) and to complete our Temporary Import Permit. We provided a copy of our vehicle registration, driver’s passport, and driver license. We were asked to write a phone number and email address on the copy of the driver license. The cashier printed out our TIP, had us review/sign it, then we payed ($59.16 since our van is classified as an RV). We payed everything on our credit card. Upon completion we returned to our van, affixed the TIP sticker to our windshield, then proceeded to the vehicle inspection area. The entire process took about an hour due to a line at the Cajero, only one of the three teller windows was open.

Wolf Creek General Store Cafe

Average standard American food (lunch menu offers burgers, sandwiches, and a meal of the day, prices about $7-$10 a plate; also open for breakfast but we didn’t see the menu). Friendly staff and wifi was pretty good.

Rusty Bike

Open 7-3 every day, breakfast and lunch served all day. We had the country fried steak ($8.75) and sausage biscuits with country gravy ($7.75) and both were delicious. Very busy on Sunday at 10am, but well worth the wait.

Emporio del Campo

Family owned farm fresh restaurant/cafe and country store. We had a great handmade burger (5,500CP) and a baked beef empanada (1,500CP). They also offer fried empanadas, pastel de choclo, milanesa, pizza, and a couple breakfasts. We also had great real coffee and artisanal ice cream (sold by weight). The store sells locally produced meat, cheese, eggs, body care products, honey, jams, and more. They have a large parking area and speak english. Everything was fantastic and the family is very friendly. Hours Monday-Saturday 9-21, Sunday 13:30-21.

ACA - YPF Gas Station

This station is currently under construction so there is no space at the station. We saw a couple van campers parked in the driveway of the construction zone close to the highway and two motorhomes parked at the ACA hotel next door but we didn’t stay overnight.

Guardaparque Monte Leon

As of January 18 the park road is closed for at least 15 more days.

Parque Nacional Monte Leon

As of January 18 the park road is closed for at least 15 more days. Please be aware that when the park is open you must check in at the park office which is on the highway a few kilometers north of this access road.

Laguna Verde Wildcamping

Access to this spot is now blocked with a wooden post and rocks.

Small campground on the river

There is currently a locked gate with a CONAF sign stating that the trail is closed for maintenance.

Salto Pudu. Anticura. Rangers parking

Small parking area in front of a storage building right next to mirador and waterfall hike. We arrived around 4PM and did both short waterfall hikes on this side of the highway. Day use visitors were frequent, all quiet by 9:30PM. It was nice falling asleep listening to the waterfall, very tranquil night. Another small rig arrived in the night, we didn’t hear them, so two us stayed without issue. We also hiked to all three waterfalls on the other side of the highway. There was a printed sign stating adults were 1,000CP but no one was there to collect fees, it was a Sunday. All waterfall hikes were fairly easy and nice. Very clean bathrooms!

Lake next to the Paso Cardenal Antonio Samoré

Really nice area next to the lake. We arrived around 2PM and took an icy swim before hand washing a few items and cooking our vegetables before crossing into Chile the following day. A few day use visitors left before 9PM and one small car arrived late and spent the night, very tranquil. We walked the 1/2KM to the more secluded spot mentioned in another comment on this entry but decided against staying at it since it was a Friday, two cars later drove down to it and we never saw them leave. No rangers, police, or anyone official came by. The line for the border is visible from the beach.

Tinto Bistro

Absolutely delicious! We had the slow cooked beef (Needles & Pistols, 570AR), the slow cooked pork (Chau Chau, 590AR), and strudel (Todo con Vos, 270AR). There is also a cover charge of 45AR per person. Everything was very good, the pork was fantastic. There is also outdoor seating, so you don’t have to feel too fancy.

Confluence - Near Limay River

This is listed as a libre camp on a park map for Nahuel Huapi. We stayed one night very close to the river. Not the quietest due to the highway but not bad since we ran our fan for white noise. A decent spot as the signs near lake Traful mentioned fines for free camping in the park.

Mystica Natural

Small health food store with bulk spices and nuts, supplements, essential oils, body care products, almond and coconut products, and more. No meat substitutes. One of the best we found in South America. Credit card has 8% charge.

Camping Catritre

250AR per person, facilities are tired and the women’s shower block is being used as storage making the men’s showers shared at 30 min intervals. This was not explained to us when we asked about the showers upon arrival, we were just told the showers were open at 8PM, same time the electricity was turned on. The system is wood fired, doesn’t need electricity, but they keep the shower room locked anyway. Locals were allowed to take showers during the day but not day use visitors or campers, they tried to be sneaky about it but we could see the bathhouse from our camp spot...very annoying. We managed to get decently hot showers around 7PM, which is when they came and explained the men/women time slots but said it started at 6:30PM, not 8 like we were originally told. There is a sign saying all water must be boiled and another, posted in multiple spots, saying they aren’t responsible for lost or stolen items or robberies. The robberies bit doesn’t invoke confidence in an establishment located in and run by the local Mapuche community. We had a weird exchange when trying to leave, the guy at the gate wouldn’t open it saying someone else had to come, he did lift it after I demanded it (extremely forceful, we were over the place by that point). We were in need of showers and laundry, the only reason we stayed. We normally don’t advocate against a place but this one was not worth it, there are much better places in the 7 lakes district.

Hua Hum - Argentina Border

Chile —> Argentina

Very fast. Did require proof of insurance and checked our van, took lettuce, a cut onion, and opened butter. All took less than 15 minutes.

Ferry Puerto Fuy

Price change: 17,940 per vehicle, 980 per person. We arrived just after 8AM, had to wait for the cashier who starts working at 8:30, no problem. Visa credit cards accepted. Only 3 other vehicles on the ferry. Small store on board the ferry with a Nescafe machine, 2,000CP for any kind of coffee.


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