Monday, January 14, 2013

Free Camping at a Gift Shop

It was getting late in the day as I roamed through the Petrified Forest National Park. I needed to start thinking about where I was going to spend the night. I asked a Park Ranger about camping nearby. He told me the National Park didn't have a campground, but there were 2 large private owned gift shops at the South end of the park that offered free camping. Free camping always appeals to me as long as it is in a safe place and no regulations against it. I decided to check it out.

As I approached the exit to the park, there they were, just as the Ranger had described. They are on opposite sides of the road. As far as I could tell they had both closed for the day, perhaps even for the season. It appeared I would be the only camper, which was ok with me. After looking the situation over, I couldn't tell if this was 2 separate business or one business spread out on both sides of the road.  The signs indicated 2 business, The Peterfied Forest and the Crystal Forest,yet the design, layout etc. appeared they were one. That part was confusing, but not important for free camping.

I picked the one with the tepees. There were even electric hook-ups. Perhaps they do charge  a fee for the electric if campers prefer a hook-up. 

During my tripping I have stayed at National, and  State parks...National Forest, BLM, Wall-Mart, truck-stops, ferry landings, privately owned campgrounds and probably others, but never a gift shop. This was a first, and if you are at the Petrified Forest and in need of some sleep, I highly recommend the gift shop or shops whichever the case may be.

Both gift shops are visible in this picture

The campsites even had a huge stumps of the petrified wood at each site

The next morning this rabbit was trying to get a drink  in the parking lot, there really wasn't any water there but it was moist.