Live Cheap on Federal Land in the Desert ~ Imperial Dam LTVA


Good evening from Senator Wash Reservoir.
We just got done taking a dip in the lake… It’s been a beautiful day… The clouds
cleared out, warmed up nicely and the sun is shining again! We’ve been here for
almost well… About 10 days now! And you probably have noticed when we go and get
fresh water and dump our trash and stuff… That there’s a lot of camp set up over.
There are folks that are there for the winter…. So it’s BLM land and it’s called
the Imperial Dam Long-term Visitors area! And it’s a very fascinating place
because it’s full of people, pretty much living dirt cheap. If they don’t have a
payment on their Motorhome and they live in tiny because they’re living in
an RV! So it’s very fascinating and people get very comfortable! But it’s
only 180 dollars to stay there for seven months during the winter! That’s a heck
of a deal. Let’s head on over! Alright guys! We figure the wind picks up
as soon as we get over here… But we have made it to the other side of the lake
which is the Imperial dam long-term visitor area and…. There are several areas
here. Like this one precisely is called South Mesa… Generally speaking it’s all
the same area. Now we’re staying on the other side of the lake which is part of
the Recreation Area. Which has a 14-day max day!…. So we mentioned that you can stay here through the winter months. Specifically… September 15 through April 15. It’s $180 for that time period. And you’re able to use their dump
station, trash cans and water, potable water facilities while you’re here!…. The
water is not the best tasting in this part of the world so… Odds are you’re
going to want to get your drinking water from somewhere else. But it is safe to
drink! Yes. But it’s nice to be able to… Right
here in the campground, refill your tanks so you can do dishes and take showers and flush the toilets…. So there’s nobody here right now….But some of you guys
may have seen there’s these tanks that people dump their holding tanks into. And
roll them behind their vehicle… I’ve even seen somebody pulling one on a bicycle,
motorcycle, golf carts and… So they dump their tanks and wheel that right over to
the dump station. And dump it over there! So they don’t have to break down camp
every time their tanks get full…Same thing for the water, you can do what we do….
Which we have three and five gallon tanks that we bring over here and refill.
But I’ve also seen people here with like 50 gallon drums and they fill them up.
And then they must have a pump back at their RV…That’s the way they do it I think!
Especially if you’re going to be in an area like this…. For the whole winter!….
Speaking of areas like this, there are… LTVAs scattered throughout the West… A lot of them are just small areas. But this one’s
a big one! And I know there’s that another big one up in Quartzsite. But no
offence, you go to Quartzsite for people not for the environment. This is hands-down
awesome! I could stay here for an extended period of time. Obviously it’d
be nice to be down on the lake where we’re at in the recreation area but… You
can easily drive your vehicle down to the lake and go swimming… They have amazing
views! There’s mountain vistas all around… The lake, the desert here is really
pretty with the rock formations and the plants. It’s, it’s just a lovely place! And…
You’re only about 25 minutes from Yuma where you can go get groceries and… It’s
a full-service city…Gasoline…It has everything you could need!… So we’re here kind of towards the end of March and there aren’t as many people here. But you
can see that they’re set up to handle a larger population. There’s eight water
base… Seven dumpsters and four dump stations…. There’s something that’s really
cool about this area is that people get so settled in. And they get very creative
with the rocks and the vegetation in the area. They’ll like make planter beds
around the brushes and the ocatios. And arrange their rocks to make a driveway.
It is really cool! And I imagine there’s a great community of people out here… Alright a couple closing thoughts… This is boondocking which means you’re
going to have to supply your own source of electricity. Whether you get that
electricity from a generator or solar… Just be prepared to generate that
yourself! I did see a Schwan’s truck out here doing deliveries today. I would
not be surprised if propane trucks don’t come out during the peak season. When
there’s like thousands upon thousands of people here… Okay! We’re going to fill up
our water bottles and close this video out…. We really enjoy sharing awesome
places. And this is a pretty awesome place because you can live tiny and live
cheap and have fun! Which is what life’s all about…Thanks for watching and we’ll see you tomorrow

78 thoughts on “Live Cheap on Federal Land in the Desert ~ Imperial Dam LTVA

  1. Imperial looks great. Had solar installed on my 37' fifth wheel for boondocking, but really wont' start until this summer. For water, I was thinking a 50 or 76 gallon portable bladder in the truck bed might work. I'd need a water pump, because it's too heavy. I assume I can get a portable pump, or utilize the surflow pump on board. The pump I have drew antifreeze into the system, so I guess it will draw in water. Also, I'm thinking a 35 gallon tote with a macerator screwed onto my sewer line. I assume the macerator works on the tote and that it works off a 12 volt socket. These are my thoughts. Does this sound reasonable? You mentioned some other type of rolling tote?

  2. Looks like a nice place. I wonder if the Long Term section books full in the winter?

  3. Hi guys great video and a beautiful place to hang out. What is the cellular reception out there ? We have Verizon. Thanks much and "Increase The Peace. 😎

  4. I had to google schwans to find out what you were talking about.

  5. Awesome video! You just can't beat a drone for the ultimate overview. It's great how you started from underneath your awning & went over the lake. Google Earth is great, but it just doesn't give you the same perspective that a drone can.
    Pretty sure I stayed there for a week back in the early 90's when I lived in a motorhome. It was fascinating to see a small village of RVs with people from all different backgrounds who got along with each other.
    Thanks for the tour.

  6. Nice video, Have ya'll done any hiking or gem stone hunting in the washes while you've been there… If you do you might record it… Glad your having a great time and thanks for all the info…

  7. If you havent seen it check out NJ Outdoors video Super Cool amphibious ( to 3' ) german RV. Woelcke T5 Autark 4 x 4 VW. Talks about shipping to S. Amer . Will ship from Halifax back to europe. super neat.

  8. Sorry guys just looks like and ugly desert to me. Not my cup of tea. But many folks disagree. I like a lot of green wherever I am camped. Just me I guess.

  9. Thank you both. Excellent information. Picture/ video superb quality. Y'all have a great channel.

  10. Thanks for the video. My wife and I stayed at Imperial Dam for about six weeks, from mid December through mid February with a short respite in San Diego. The BLM also has a deal for $40 for 14 days, and that is renewable, you don't have to leave or anything. It's probably my midwest upbringing, but I didn't find anything wrong with their water at all, we drank it as is. Of course, we had the runs for a month, LOL, just kidding, it was fine. I didn't even think about it so it tasted fine too! I loved the hummingbirds, coyotes and wild burros there, we put up hummingbird feeders and I got some video of them. It was a great place to hide out to let the worst of Winter pass us by on the cheap!!

  11. have you guys seen this yet ? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKhOa9UecLQ

  12. Thanks for sharing. The drone footage give a much better view than google earth.

  13. Maybe this a STUPID Question(I'm new at this)but if you stay the 14 day limit, but want to stay longer, but don't think you will or want to pay the $180.00,for 7 months,do you pay and come back anytime during the 7 month period, or pay stay 2 months and get pro rated for the time you don't use or what?

  14. Water and electricity hookups included? You hit a jackpot. Guess what I will do for a sabbatical.

  15. very cool place. Now on my list of possibilities when I retire next spring.

  16. being on a fixed income that would be an awesome place to stay to help offset the rest of the year. $25.40 per month, you just can't beat that!

  17. Wow. Thanks for this. I've heard a lot about Imperial LTVA so it was nice to see it.

  18. never been there got to check it out. thanks

  19. OK.. I most be dumb..What state are u talking about? I never heard you say ;"oh, we're in Texas??? " So what state are you in?

  20. Of course you can't stay there for the full seven months. Probably mid-November through February and a sprinkle of March – well, unless you are a lizard. The super-heated days cannot be good on those glued, screwed, and caulked rigs made with parts provided by the lowest bidder. I have plans to travel to one of those LTVAs in AZ in a future "winter" season as I have a friend that crawls about with his tongue hanging low in that area and we have not seen each other for over 30 years. As you may have guessed, I hate heat. GIve me a cool mountain breeze with 40° temps and I am a happy camper – but I am very taken with Ehrenberg, AZ. For some reason, my brain is telling me to go to one of those RTR rondezvous events. Be well.

  21. You are 4min. into your 5min video before we hear you say "Yuma" so I have to guess you are in Arizona!!!! We don't know where senator wash or imperial dam is.

  22. Do you ever have any concerns leaving your RV unattended while away in those places?

  23. you ought to see it in october.. not march the end of the season. you can charge your cell phones at the bathroom. NO propane trucks come out..!! These people obviously are NOT well informed on boondocking at Imperial dam.. (not lake)

  24. If you pay the fee to stay in the LTVA area , does that also include staying in the regular non LTVA areas? I want to pay the fee but stay the 7 months in a BLM non LTVA area that's just next door

  25. Very neat place. It's nice to see another option rather than the typical Quartzsite locations.

  26. Why would anyone drink tap water when they could pay six dollars a gallon for little bottles at the Walmart? That's just crazy.

  27. Sorry but the water is NOT safe to drink, the US government is lying as usual, the only water which is safe and good for you any more is making your own distilled water.

  28. Federal? It’s state land not Federal our Federal Government can’t own and land but in a Washington DC. But that’s cool looking place to chill

  29. Can you live in a van in the LTVA places or do you have to have an RV or big motorhome?

  30. that's awesome. thanks for showing us. I will definitely go visit for 14 days just to see it! it looks so gorgeous! maybe i'll see you guys there so I can say hello & thanks!

  31. I'm not one to support BLM. Those people are the only reason we have so many restrictions on public lands. One should be able to stay in federal land for free as our taxes already pay for maintenance.

  32. Hi guys,

    Please can you tell me where I can get a Full list of these type of places that are available in America????

    I was watching a few other videos today, Bob Wells, I did not know these types of places were around!

    How do I find a full list of these type of places in different states???

    I'm from Britain, currently in Wyoming and wanting to live in an RV Etc for a while until I find land to buy for a cabin build.

    Many thanks!

  33. Fantastic price for 7 months!!!!

    Great that they have garbage dumps, and water Etc, how safe are these types of places??

  34. TY,Called Blue Boy tank.And yes a 55 gal water barrel is the way to go if you spending all winter there.Have fun,Do a video at the Q?TY73s

  35. Silly question but can you kayak in that area ? Is fishing allowed? Is there place to ride atv?

  36. That land was origionaly used by migrant farmers who lived in their cars or tents while working the fields, I know because I lived there in the fifties, as a child of migrant farmers (field workers).

  37. You never said what state you were in. I am guessing that you are in Arizona? If you could give better more thorough information it would be very helpful.

  38. Thank You, for a great video. btw do they allow tent camping in LTVA imperial dam?

  39. this is just looking for thank you can you tell me the name of the place and the name of the town that is near by

  40. It's great, except it's Commiefornia. I like firearms and freedom, not compatible.

  41. You must have been there in the Spring. You should have been there in the winter if you want to see how it really looks with all the people!

  42. Thnk u for taking time to reply…..nice to know. Yall stay safe …blessed..and mostly loved..

  43. This is a review from the Imperial Dam LTVA website:

    We arrived here on a Saturday evening. There is an office trailer (which was closed), the camp host was off duty, and across the street was a collection box where it said it cost $10 for day use and $15/night. We thought "THIS CAN'T BE RIGHT" as everyone was saying that it is $40 for up to 14 days. So we decided to NOT pay and just find a spot and go into the office on Sunday, when it would hopefully be open, or talk to the camp host, when he is on duty.
    On Sunday morning the office was open. The volunteer said that luckily we didn't pay the $15 for the night, because that applies for just the campers down by the lake.
    So this is my ONLY complaint about this place: there was NO fee schedule posted anywhere outside on the office trailer and no instructions on what to do after hours. If we were too eager to pay, we would have thrown the money into the wrong collection box. We later discovered a sheet of lots of words and their pricing (almost in fine print) on their bulletin board next to the office trailer — but the bulletin board is so far away, that they should put a sheet right on their door, not in some disguised place far away.
    Soooo…. if you come after hours, don't worry about paying but go to the office the next day.
    When you'll pay, you will receive a decal sticker that goes onto your windshield and is good for either up to 14 days ($40) or 6 months ($180) on any of the LTVA's around. We intend to go to Quartzsite, AZ, to La Posa with this sticker, for example.
    The volunteers were super friendly, in fact it was the best and friendliest info we EVER received anywhere about the place we were staying.
    Next to the office trailer are 4 dump stations which don't have a curb, so your dump hose won't need to go upwards. Then further away is an assortment of garbage dumpsters, and even further away are 8 fresh water stations with a faucet on either side (so 16 faucets). They all work perfectly. This water is potable and tasting it without any filter, I must say that it tastes quite good.
    If you desire a hot shower, there is Squaw Lake a couple of miles away from the office. With the LTVA sticker you can use their day use area and go into their shower. They sell tokens. The volunteer thought it cost $1 for 9 minutes, but he wasn't quite sure (we haven't tried them).
    The place is HUGE. We were her mid-February and it was very windy. We wore sweaters. Didn't see any rattle snakes (too cold) but saw some burro poop. Apparently they sometimes come roaming around. There were MANY large 5th wheels and Class A's, and you would hardly know that anyone lives there because it was so quiet. But they don't camp, they decide to simply live here instead of where they have to shovel snow all day and night. So we would mostly see people who have dogs.
    Surprisingly, EVERYONE PICKED UP THEIR DOG'S POOP!! EXCELLENT. We hiked around a lot, walked through the "urban" areas and the outskirts of this place, and we hardly saw dog poop.
    We have AT&T and had to hunt a good signal down. The camp host said that they also have AT&T and it is very spotty. Yes, it was, but we were able to find a spot where we had connection for our cell phone as well as internet 24/7, uninterrupted. We were quite surprised.
    Although this place is BLM Land, they have a few rules, like dog poop pickup for example. Another one is no generator use after 10pm. If you don't want to hear the neighbors, just drive out further….. there IS space to be further out!! Most people though are quite comfortable to stick together densly. To each their own.
    Our van has quite low clearance and the main road is paved just beyond the office but becomes gravel later on. Not a problem. But the gravel road is graded out, meaning it has gravel pushed to each side. One has to drive over these berms to access the land where one can stay. So with our low clearance, there were a few berms that seemed to tall for us. But there is SO MUCH SPACE…… you WILL find space you can access!!

  44. The location is a bit confusing because on Google Maps, it looks like it is on the California-Arizona state border line, but is north of Yuma.

  45. I'm 38, minimalist gardener. All set for May-Oct in VT, got a ice fishing shanty on a trailer on my friends land, super beautiful, cheap. But I like to garden and it's a lot of work to do that in the winter around here. Easier to go hide somewhere like this and grow stuff in containers. I like that people have made creative planters from rocks. I wonder if humanure composting planters could sneak by. Would need a good carbon source, ripped up newspaper would work. Release the dookie, cover with dirt, ashes, or sawdust. Cover everything with alot of shredded newspaper and push it down, ready for the next intense wave of horrifying waste. No need to stir with a good mix of materials, it will compost in the planter. With a soil buffer overtop you could plant hungry crops like winter squash no trouble, or a dwarf tree, whatever. No smell, no flies, no weird leakage, just plants growing in big pots.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *