The Professor Goes West//Day 7//Campsite Necessities

Day Seven—Saturday, May 26, 2018

Today was a long day in the car. We woke up at 6 am and left the camp about 8 am. We did not stop until we got to Phoenix. The drive out of the North Rim park gave us stunning views of the canyon mostly due to a recent forest fire. We descended from the plateau to a vast “painted” desert. Our road led us along the Vermillion cliffs. When we crossed the Colorado River to go south it was just a medium river in a small ravine. The desert was hot, flattish, and bleak.

Flagstaff was mountainous again and reminded us of Up North. As we came out of the mountains, we finally saw a saguaro cactus—the classic ones—they grew in a little forest. We met our old friend Greg H. for lunch at Rock Springs Cafè. The green bean fries and the bourbon pecan pie were particularly good. It was nice to see Greg again and chat about everyone we knew from Ann Arbor. Phoenix (from our view) was a desolate wasteland of cacti, sand, and sunshine. All the rivers were dry—we were not sure why one would voluntarily live there (though we are open to arguments why it is a great place to live).  

The south western desert of Arizona was bleak with oppressive sun through the California haze. We grabbed a fast-food supper in Yuma. At the border of California we had to stop and list our fresh produce to an inspection agent. Then we hit the real sand desert with blowing sand across the highway. In Imperial Valley we were 64 feet below sea level, and then at it grew dark we entered into a treacherous 64 mile wind tunnel over the Santa Rosa Mountains. Halfway through the mountain wilderness we were stopped at a border patrol checkpoint that woke all of our children with a flashlight. We were let through since we are all U.S. Citizens. We finally arrived at La Mesa, California at the home of some friends. They have a lovely yard full of succulents and cacti and an elaborately decorated home.


Today, I just want to give a basic list of campsite necessities besides the tent and things that go with it. These are things that we have needed to cook meals, make coffee, wash dishes, and other items that make things go smoothly. The dishes we chose based on the food we planned to eat. Most of them came straight from our kitchen, though some we bought just for camping. We fit all but the Coleman stove in an 18 gallon tub:

  • Wash cloths
  • Towels
  • Bar of soap
  • Coleman Two burner stove with propane
  • Two lighters
  • Oven mitts and hot pads
  • Percolator Coffee pot
  • Tea kettle for boiling dish water
  • Sauce pot
  • Large pot for pasta
  • Mesh strainer
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Rubber spatula
  • Plastic spatula
  • Tongs
  • Can opener
  • Wine screw (we forgot this and bought one at the Grand Canyon)
  • Paring knife
  • Enamel or Travel mugs
  • Washable plates and cups
  • Forks, Spoons, and Knives
    Disposable paper and plastic products (for an easy breakfast on mornings we left early)
  • Paper towels and napkins
  • Two tubs for washing and rinsing dishes
  • Dish soap and sponge or rag
  • Long skewers for marshmallows
  • Vinyl tablecloth with a flannel backing for the picnic table
  • Tablecloth clips
  • Rope for hanging wet towels and clothes
  • Clothes pins
  • Trash bags for dirty laundry and trash
  • Citronella candles

Here is a short list of things that we also brought for camping, but that we ended up keeping in the door pockets of the car. They were easy to grab when we needed them, and hard to lose since we always had a spot for them!

  • Sunscreen for hikes
  • Bug spray for hikes and the campsites
  • Hand sanitizer for before meals or for after using facilities
  • Baby wipes for wiping dirt of hands before using hand sanitizer
  • Lots of flashlights for walking around at night at the campsite**This post contains affiliate links.**