pampas.overland Check-Ins

Date Place Comment
Cloverdale RV park & campground

Easy off the highway, about 5 minutes away. No problems getting in. We paid $20 to pitch a tent. All sites are electric, if you don't require shore power, just tell them and you'll pay less. Bring cash, as credit card is 5 more dollars.

There is a heavy Christian/religious theme set by the owners. You decide if that's your cup of tea or not. Other than signs and some special rules, no one said anything. One of the rules is zero alcohol drinking.

Bathrooms by the office are a bit on the dirty side. Some showers are out of order, so are some toilets. Very strong sulfur smell in the showers' water, it's like rotten eggs, so you may want to skip showering here.

It's a very convenient one night stop as you travel on the interstate. There is very little around and this is one, of not the only option.

Verizon/Visible reception around 3 or 4 bars, with excellent data speeds, I'm getting 105Mbps down and 15Mbps up, with a 75ms ping on OpenSignal.

(we try to report on cell service for people trying to work off grid; IG: @pampas.overland)

Sunset Bay Campground (Recreation.gov)

Easy access, all pavement. Honor system, payment online only. Friday night around 7pm 2 trucks parked, one someone fishing, another one at the end blasting music looked like it was a couple getting busy. There were 2 aggressive dogs without collars and without owners in sight, yet they looked well fed, can't imagine they were stray... careful if you have pets. Pit toilets, men's was impossible to use, disgusting.

Verizon/Visible good reception, 100ms ping, but around 3Mbps up/down, so not good for remote working for me, but good enough if answering emails or social media.

No mosquitos at this time of the year, even by the water. Honestly an ok place to overnight of needed.

(we try to report on cell service for people trying to work off grid; IG: @pampas.overland)

Red Cloud Campground of Cibola Nat. Forest (Free)

Excellent access, packed and maintained dirt road. Careful with animals, we saw a coyote and a fox right by the road. We also saw roadkill. Drive slow, high beams at night.

Free campground, good pit toilets, good pads for tents and fairly leveled ground for rigs, though I had to mount my Jeep on rocks to be fully leveled.

No one at this time of year, seems to be. Absolutely no reception, not even text or calls. If you have an emergency, some reception on the road a couple minutes heading East.

Honestly super pretty, lots of trees, which is not abundant in this area.

(we try to report on cell service for people trying to work off grid; IG: @pampas.overland)

Elephant Butte State Park

This place is massive, several loops/areas, some with electrical and water, some with structures for shade. Showers seem to be open just in the comfort station near the main entrance. For us, the interesting part is the primitive camping areas, which are massive. Lots of people down to the edge of the water, just be mindful of sand, as it may get deep in some areas.

Cell reception and data pretty hit or miss, you need to camp on the higher areas for best speeds. We found an area with good internet in the dispersed area south of Rock Canyon, overlooking the water. Verizon/Visible 100ms ping, 45/10 down/up, excellent for remote work.

(we try to report on cell service for people trying to work off grid; IG: @pampas.overland)

Wild desert camping

Easy access, hard packed surface. Weak reception on Verizon/Visible. my phone connected to band 13, which most boosters could improve, but didn't try mine. Got high ping 130ms and 1.5 Mbps up and down. See attached pics for tests.

Coordinates take you to one fire ring. There are at least 3 other little driveways that you can go onto, this is a big area. Turn on satellite view on Google Maps to get a better picture, specially if you arrive without daylight.

(we try to report on cell service for people trying to work off grid; IG: @pampas.overland)

Bulldog OHV wild campsite

As others already mentioned, there is a gate with a numeric padlock, and a sign that mentions you need a permit. This permit costs $6 as of this date and is good for 6 months. Here's the process to buy the permit, you can do it from your phone before you go in as there is solid LTE in the area:
- go to recreation.gov and create an account if you don't have one, it's free, then log in
- search "bulldog" (the name of this place) in the search bar and the result will be for the "Tonto National Forest OHV Permit" or something like that.
- go through the reservation/purchase process
- you'll get 2 emails, one related to the reservation, one will be a receipt, none will have the gate codes
- on the recreation.gov site, go to the main menu and find "my reservations", and find this reservation, probably under "upcoming"
- tap on "print permit", browser may ask to allow a pop-up
- this will download a pdf to your phone, that pdf is the permit, and on the first page it will include a list of dates and what codes open the gates per date range, apparently the code gets rotated once in a while

Internet connection is quite solid. I'm at the 4th or 5th spot and have almost full reception with Verizon/Visible. My ping is around 90ms and I am seeing 40 Mbps down and / 11 Mbps up. I'm connecting to a tower that's very close by. See attached pictures.

****Beware of off road vehicles**** I used my tent on the first night, well off the road in the campsite, and placed my vehicle + my trailer shielding me from the road too. This did not stop 2 ladies from driving their side by side right into my site. Woke up all of the sudden to motor noise and a wheel braking feet from my tent, where my dog and I were sleeping. They backed up and just shouted "sorry". Other than the light of day, I am not sure how I could have been any more visible, as they had to drive straight to my rig and trailer to reach me. Off road traffic has been constant on this Saturday night, with people driving their side by sides very fast on the road. Absolutely anyone can drive those, so take measures to protect yourself, as people are oblivious.

(we try to report on cell service for people trying to work off grid; IG: @pampas.overland)

Williard Springs

As others said, this is a good spot. Wide open spaces, no one is on top of each other and you can barely hear anyone else.

Access is good, road is a bit broken, but it's old packed gravel so coming in with bad weather should allow good traction. One word of advise on something that happened to us: at the very beginning, just past the cell tower, there is a big clearing with fresh gravel and mountains of gravel to the side. We arrived late and with an ice storm, so visibility was bad. Beware there is a big hole in the middle of this wide open area, like a compact car size hole, and it does not have much of anything marking it properly. To the side of this hole, there is a narrow "lane" formed. We drove on that as if we were going out and our trailer caught a massive pothole on the passenger side. It's more of a washout broken by water, and it's deep and sharp. We bent a rim and spent the night in that clearing, then fixed everything in the AM. So be very careful coming in and out at night, use high beams and go as slow as you can go.

Regarding internet, Verizon/Visible full bars, 80ms ping on open signal and between 20 and 30 mbps up/down. Amazing for remote work, and reception continues for quite some distance on the road, past the last animal gate.

(we try to report on cell service for people trying to work off grid; IG: @pampas.overland)

Mather Campground Dump and water Free

Free potable water here. Several faucets and even hoses.

Dispersed Camping

This is a great area. Pit toilet and trash bins close by the tower. Easy access, many spots around. Absolutely no flies in late September.

Verizon/Visible ok. There is a tower right here but my phone is connecting to a tower straight south on Route 180, so don't assume that tower proximity will help.

We are seeing ping between 100 and 200 ms, so for anyone with low latency needs it may not be the best area. Download and upload have been pretty good, 10mbps+ and reliable for the past 2 days.

(we try to report on cell service for people trying to work off grid; IG: @pampas.overland)

BLM Land

We camped here for the night. Road is ok but be careful with the sides, it's sand and you'll get stuck.. we buried our front axle and had to lock the transfer case to pull out in reverse.

There was Visible/Verizon data, and it was fine, couldn't test much of it as it was a quick overnight for us, but I think it would be fine for remote work.

(we try to report on cell service for people trying to work off grid; IG: @pampas.overland)

Piute Reservoir state campground

Ok Verizon/Visible service. Not full bars, but data has been high and ping normal, very usable for remote work. Sometimes it disconnects from band 13 and goes to band 66, and data gets a bit slower, but ping still good and connection still usable.

Access is easy, no marked spots but you can see some fire rings. It's $8 a night. We are getting some pretty gnarly wind gusts, but may not be like this all the time.

See attached pictures for service.

(we try to report on cell service for people trying to work off grid; IG: @pampas.overland)

Jouflas Campground at BLM Kokopellis Trail

We parked our camper in a big campsite half way on the road to Jouflas, which appears to be mostly for tents.

You can hear some of the highway noise, but not a big deal.

We have full Verizon/Visible reception, however, ping is high at times and it's not super reliable. I'm measuring a good 30 down 10 up at times, and 10% of that at others. Last night we could not have a reliable Zoom call, we'll have to test during the day. It appears to be a solid band 13 connection though, so most likely a booster may be able to improve it.

(we try to report on cell service for people trying to work off grid; IG: @pampas.overland)

Trail Gulch Rd BLM

No good reception with Verizon/Visible. Needed my booster and even then it was not reliable.

(we try to report on cell service for people trying to work off grid; IG: @pampas.overland)

Knowles overview campground

Stunning place. Amazing views. Access is 4 miles of a rough road, which is rocky at parts, and loose dirt/sand at others. We pulled a pop up trailer and took it slow, but never had to go into low range 4x4. Some loose dirt/sandy places require some gas, but it's never deep enough to bog down.

Unfortunately, we could not make Visible/Verizon work reliably here. There is a band 13 connection and we tried to boost it, but ping was too high and the connection would come and go. Could have been our antenna position, not sure.

(we try to report on cell service for people trying to work off grid; IG: @pampas.overland)

Safeway

Water dispensers inside the grocery store. We hit all gas stations and no one allowed using their spigots. One attendant mentioned it's a whole town thing. Refill here for 49c a gallon.

(we try to report on cell service for people trying to work off grid; IG: @pampas.overland)

rooftop tent park n camp

Great place, we arrived Tuesday night and there was only one spot open. There were still embers in the fire pit, so I'm guessing we were very lucky.

The forest road is a wash board, so consider airing down sometime after the gravel starts, it will rattle your teeth off otherwise.

I have 4 to 5 bars of Verizon/Visible. For those with boosters, my phone is currently connected to band 66, which of I'm not mistaken is a renamed band 4. My booster doesn't tune into that band but so far there has been no need to use it.

We pulled in with an old Grand Cherokee, no lift, and pulling a normal pop up trailer (no lift either) and we were fine. Just take it slow. So far I've heard at least 2 normal height cars banging their oil pan on the ground, so again, take it easy and know where your wheels are and it should be ok.

Quick update: I've been able to work remotely from here. I'm getting around 10Mbps down/up, sometimes half or a third of that. While slow, I notice it's very reliable. Mostly band 66 in my case (Verizon/Visible) but I saw it switching to band 2 too, which was also ok.

Plenty of sun while we were here, I use 60Ah a day more or less and my panels made up for it in little time. Very good spot.

(we try to report on cell service for people trying to work off grid; IG: @pampas.overland)

John Martin SWA

Cell service quite unstable on Verizon/Visible, we had a hard time trying to use it for work.

(we try to report on cell service for people trying to work off grid; IG: @pampas.overland)

FS 10 / Mt. TABOR

Our particular spot was big, somewhat leveled, about 4 hours of sunshine through trees in August in case you have solar, you just need to move the panels around if not fixed on the roof. Full bars on Verizon/Visible. I was getting 30 Mbps down on my phone, and was able to work remotely for several days.

Some trash, some broken glass, some nails on the ground. Please help clean up.

(we try to report on cell service for people trying to work off grid; IG: @pampas.overland)

Camp, FSR 71

Awesome site, very private, elevated. There is an unmaintained driveway to get to it that needs a vehicle with some clearance. Reception almost non existent on Verizon/Visible.

(we try to report on cell service for people trying to work off grid; IG: @pampas.overland)

Kelly Camp Trail Dispersed Camping (FREE)

Beware access is closed until season opening on May 1st. Verizon/Visible not good here.

(we try to report on cell service for people trying to work off grid; IG: @pampas.overland)


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