I'll be taking a cross country trip via the I-40 corridor, mostly on nearby byways, and was wondering what free almost wilderness car camping opportunities there are. Anything along that route I can avail myself of?
Are you a member of the Auto Club? If you are, they have good books on camping. If not, maybe stores that sell camping equipment might have books on that. Sorry, I don't know of any on Route 40 offhand.
Have fun on your trip.
Free is hard to find
Here's a website with some free camping information but, unfortunately, it is geared for those with an RV and not for car campers. http://www.freecampgrounds.com
Here's a link to <a href = "http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0937877417/roadtriamericare/103-8704435-0158248">Don Wright's Free Campground Guide</a>
that you can buy used at Amazon.
Foghorn Outdoors has a couple of books that list campgrounds as well at http://foghorn.com/ In some of the editions I've looked at, there have been some free campgrounds listed but there aren't that many.
Hope this helps you a bit.
Thanks, I'm even wondering about roadside camping in the National Parks - I won't be driving I-40 so much as skirting it.
National Parks will not usually allow camping outside of their official campgrounds. However, National FORESTS usually DO. If you get yourself a map that shows national forests and BLM lands (available at most map stores), you can usually camp on forest lands at no charge. This is just like back-country camping -- there will be no facilities whatsover, so you need to be self-contained -- you carry everything in, you carry everything out. No tables, no latrines, no trash cans, no water. You should check with the Ranger District office in whatever areas you decide you'll be camping in to find out about any special rules or restrictions.
It's not necessary to buy $2000 worth of camping equipment to be able to do this -- a simple backpacking rig is quite enough for simple overnights. You can eat your meals cold out of an ice chest, and take care of personal hygiene at roadside businesses -- service stations, etc (or follow the advice in the next paragraph!).
I carry a plastic tub and RON (remain over night) kit for shaving, teeth brushing, etc, at least one 5 gallon water container, a quick drying travel wash cloth and towel, a folding camp stool, a folding cot, a small indoor-outdoor type rug (to place beside the cot for my bare feet), sleeping bag, pillow, etc. I usually sleep right out in the open and rarely bother with a tent, although I carry a small one for rainy nights. You also need a small folding "entrenching tool" (SHOVEL) -- as you'll need to bury any human wastes.
I choose the spot carefully, and preferably in daylight -- you want to know what's around you and if you wait until after dark, you can be very surprised in the morning with what you find you're in the middle of. This isn't always a good thing! You can usually find a suitable spot in the appropriate areas by taking a side road off the highway and driving down it a few hundred feet. Bob
There is none
Roadside camping in national parks is prohibited, unless it is in a designated campground.
On the other hand, your route will cross US Forest Service lands and as long as the individul forests are not closed (like for fire danger) you can often find off-highway pull-outs to sleep overnight.
Thanks again. The info about national forests is very helpful. I'm chomping at the bit.
One technical aspect
Just FYI -- horses normally champ at the bit whereas humans chomp food, so it is relatively unlikely to find either humans or horses chomping at the bit...