Journey Through the Desert: RV Solar Panels & The Road Less Traveled

Gustav Emilio

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As the sun dipped below the horizon, painting the sky with a mesmerizing palette of oranges and purples, my RV rolled onwards through the vast expanse of the desert. The journey between Los Angeles and Las Vegas can be a true testament to the beauty and solitude that the desert has to offer. While many choose the convenience of a quick flight or the predictability of Interstate 15, I decided to take the scenic route, and it turned out to be an unforgettable adventure.

Embracing the Unknown

Navigating the desolate roads between Los Angeles and Las Vegas provided me with a unique opportunity to experience the serene beauty of the desert. Along the way, I made stops at some lesser-known gems, such as the Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch and the abandoned Calico Ghost Town. These stops, steeped in history and folklore, offered a glimpse into the lives of those who once called this harsh environment home.

The Power of the Sun

One of the most significant challenges that many RV owners face is maintaining a reliable power source, especially in remote areas like the desert. This is where solar panels come into play. By harnessing the power of the sun, I was able to recharge my RV battery, ensuring that I had electricity for all my needs without having to rely on a generator.

So, how big do solar panels need to be to recharge an RV battery? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. It depends on your power consumption and battery capacity. As a rule of thumb, for an average RV setup with a 100Ah battery, a 200-400 watt solar panel system would suffice. This setup would allow you to recharge your battery daily, given an average of 5 hours of sunlight per day.

Keep in mind that your specific needs may vary depending on your RV’s size, appliances, and energy usage. It’s essential to evaluate your power consumption and choose a solar panel system that meets your needs. Additionally, investing in a quality solar charge controller will help regulate the voltage and current from the solar panels to your battery, ensuring its longevity and efficiency.

As my RV journey between Los Angeles and Las Vegas unfolded, I made several stops to take in the unique attractions that the desert had to offer. These are just a few highlights that made this trip truly special:

Zzyzx Mineral Springs and Healing Center

One of my first stops was the quirky Zzyzx Mineral Springs and Healing Center, located within the Mojave National Preserve. This intriguing site was once home to a health spa built by Curtis Howe Springer in the 1940s. Today, the abandoned structures and the tranquil Soda Lake offer a fascinating glimpse into the eccentric history of this desert oasis.

Kelso Dunes

The Kelso Dunes, also situated within the Mojave National Preserve, offered an exhilarating experience. These towering sand dunes, some reaching heights of over 600 feet, provided a challenging yet rewarding hike. The panoramic views from the top were breathtaking, and the unique phenomenon of “singing sand” — the sound created by the shifting sand particles — was a sensory treat.


Another noteworthy stop was Hole-in-the-Wall, a geological wonder located in the Mojave National Preserve. This area is characterized by its distinctive volcanic rock formations, which have been eroded by wind and water over time, creating numerous holes and tunnels. I spent a few hours exploring the Rings Loop Trail, which took me through narrow canyons and up ladders, providing a thrilling adventure and a chance to marvel at the power of natural forces.

Route 66’s Ghost Towns

Taking a detour off the main highway, I ventured onto the historic Route 66. The iconic “Mother Road” is dotted with ghost towns that were once bustling stops for travelers. One such town was Amboy, home to the famous Roy’s Motel and Café. Although the café is no longer operational, the vintage neon sign still stands tall, offering a nostalgic glimpse into the golden era of road travel.

Valley of Fire State Park

Just before reaching Las Vegas, I decided to visit the Valley of Fire State Park. The vibrant red sandstone formations, contrasted against the desert’s muted colors, were a sight to behold. The park is also home to several ancient petroglyphs, which provide a fascinating insight into the lives of the native people who once inhabited the region.

Each of these stops added depth and variety to my RV adventure. The desert’s vastness offered countless opportunities for exploration, solitude, and reflection, making this journey a memorable and enriching experience.

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