Saturday, December 8
I feel an immediate kinship with fellow Casita owners. I suppose it’s that way with any RVer, regardless of what type rig. Well, the crew and I are at the grocery store in Borrego Springs. As I fill up gallon jugs at the water dispenser, I notice a Casita parked alongside the building.
A tall, slim lady with long, silver hair steps out of the tow vehicle.
As she walks toward me, I greet her with “Hi! I have a Casita, too!” I notice from her plates she’s from Colorado. “You do?” she replies with a smile.
Her name is Lee and she has a brand new Casita.
“I used to have a Scamp, but it was too small, so I got this,” she remarks. I ask her where she’s camped. “At the state park, but it’s getting too expensive. Where are you camped?”
I explain what the Peg Leg dispersed camping area is like, and she decides she’d like to camp there, too. I offer to show her where it is.
“Do you like to camp with a group or off by yourself?” I ask. She says she doesn’t want to camp next to anyone.
Not long after that, Lee follows the PTV into the Peg Leg (Clark Dry Lake) dispersed camping area.
I lead her to the wide open area that’s empty except for the BLT. After I point out where the sun rises and sets, we part and she drives off to find her own special spot among the creosote bushes.
Late in the afternoon the crew and I walk over to the group of RVers.
I guess they have a daily happy hour, because I find them sitting around a fire ring, just like they were the day Spike ran over there. As I approach with Bridget and Spike on-leash, I hear one of the men say, “That’s the lady who was here the other day looking for her dog.”
“Hi, everybody! Spike has been wanting to come back to visit you, so we’re here to sniff around your campsites.” They laugh. “I’m hoping a visit will keep him from sneaking away again.”
When I go to bed, I look up through the window and see a zillion stars and what I think are satellites. Do you know that Borrego Springs is officially designated as an International Dark-Sky Community?
Sunday, December 9
I guess the sight of Lee’s shiny, new Casita gives me the ambition to finish what I started. Yesterday I cleaned the bugs off the BLT with Bounce sheets and then washed her by hand.
This morning she gets waxed!
I only do the upper half of one side before the sun is too warm on the fiberglass to continue. I’ll do a section each morning until the job is done
Lee pays us a visit.
We sit in camp chairs with Bridget and Spike on the mat, talking about the places we’ve been and our Casitas. Lee has been a full-timer for over a year, the last two months in her Casita. She expresses the desire to get solar power so she’ll be equipped to do more boondocking. As she leaves, she says, “It’s nice to meet someone, a woman, doing this alone.”
Note: I finally have the financial pages up-to-date! Well, all except September. I can’t find the September receipts so I’ll have to reconstruct the month’s expenditures in other ways. Posting these reports is good for me because it forces me to keep track of my money. I hope it helps you, too.
Thats great that you showed Lee a free camp area. It looks pretty nice there. I cant wait to get out there myself. I sure do want to check out some casitas. Am hoping that Reno (near me) has a rv show soon so I can look at some. Still trying to decide. RV or camper. My current car will not haul a camper, unfortunate !! I liked the 20 ft. rv I lived in for 2 years but sure can see the benefit of having a seperate vehicle. Do you ever worry about leaving your rv in places when you go away in the PTV for the day???
No, I don’t worry about leaving my RV behind. Of course, I keep the hitch lock on. Even when boondocked, it would be difficult to steal the BLT without being seen.
Casitas are sold factory direct, you will not see any at an RV show. However, if you contact Casita they can put you in contact with owners that are willing to show you theirs.
Thanks Ed. I have seen a few listed here in California. Will have to take a look one day.
Love the new “high tech” headline photo. Do you notice more charging with the panel tilted? Thanks for the great photo tours of Borrego Springs. Low cost living in California … amazing!
Definitely more charging with the panel tilted… around 27.50 volts coming in at 2:14 p.m. Pacific time. It’s very easy to tilt the panel and to take it down flat for when we go places. I’m an expert at it now.
Yes, I’m definitely in California’s low-rent district (free!) and loving it!
I can definitely confirm that tilting makes a huge difference in winter. It will boost your solar output ~40%. The sun is just so low in the winter…
The solar installers in Yuma told me that same thing.
That is so cool!
What is so cool? Meeting Lee? Yes!
How lovely to share information on where to camp, your experience and wealth of knowledge.
I’m sure she is smiling…..it’s calming to know someone else is out there “BTDT” and is traveling around the US living on less and enjoying life more. What an inspiration.
isn’t it funny that I was outside the grocery store right when she parked there? I wasn’t at the store long and I certainly don’t go there every day. Makes one wonder . . .
LIfe is full of “meant to be” moments!
Sue, you make me wish I was still able to do what you are doing, but we’re kinda tied to medical facilities here. I love remembering my days in some of the same areas you travel. I’m not old and neither is my wife but our bodies are, so I live voraciously thru what you and the crew do. Breath deep and take it all in while you can lady….Riding along….
I’m glad to have you and your wife “riding along” with me and my crew. I’m sorry you’re off the road these days, Jim. It must be difficult at times.
I am riding along too. I enjoy every minute of it.
I can’t help but thing things that happen in such a sernedipitous way are meant to be.
Love the line “we’re here to sniff around your campsites”. I can just see the 3 of you sniffing things out. Great visual!!
A few minutes earlier or later by either of us and we wouldn’t have met.
If my wife and I come out there to where you are this week, would you wash and wax our Jayco Seneca for us? LMAOROTF
Dream on, Patrick. Dream on . . .
Just started following your blog after we officially met Nina and Paul on our way back through the park. They pointed you out and we looked up your blog.
Boy, that Casita is shining beautifully! Enjoy your stay.
Thanks for following my blog and for the compliment on the BLT’s shine. You motivate me to finish the job! Enjoy your travels.
You have become such a celebrity, I am surprised Lee didn’t know you are the famous RVSue and Crew! I hope you introduced her to your blog! You have a wealth of information stored within each post you have made and I feel sure it would help Lee a whole lot to read from day one! You have been a source of inspiration to so many… including Chuck and I! We are considering downsizing… all the way back down to a Casita again! HaHaHa! Geri
Lee doesn’t get on the internet. She uses her phone to get emails and that’s it. I told her I use the internet all the time to find places to camp and get answers to questions. I did give her the name of my blog and encouraged her to give the internet another try.
Both of you in a Casita again? Don’t downsize too far! You know, Bill and Ann just upsized from their Casita . . . I don’t know how two people can live in a 17-foot trailer. Of course, there isn’t a trailer made in the whole world that’s big enough for me and another person!
Inspiration? You always say the nicest things, Geri.
Oh darn! I was hoping she would have a blog also. I could always use more blogs written by single women following their RV dreams.
Go to Hitch Itch for all sorts of blogs, many are solo women.
Good suggestion, Jack!
That is where I found you.
Thanks Jack, I’ll check it out.
I have found that cleaning my solar panels with Windex gives my battery more power quicker. I had a Solar Oven once and it worked good but the dang thing was so big it took up a lot of room in my camper shell so I sold it. I bought it at Solar Bill’s in Quartzsite. Hope to see you at the Casita Rally at Dome Rock in Quartzsite this year.
Chuck and I will be at Dome Rock this year, Jan 10th to the 17th! Sure hope Sue can make it! It would be good to meet you too Joe !!!
You’re right about the Windex. It does make a difference. I can’t reach the entire panel because my ladder is too short, so I have to wrap a cloth around my squeegee, squirt it with Windex, and wipe the panel that way.
I don’t know if I’m going to Quartzsite this year. I don’t know what I’m doing next week!
I’ve considered a solar oven also. Besides taking too much space, what did you think? I still have years before I will be traveling, but want to replace microwave space for a cabinet inside a Parkliner.
The solar stove works great when the sun is out…good when it is partly sunny. It has a big thermostate inside the oven that you can see through the clear door. Just keep an eye on the temperature. If it is getting too hot turn the whole stove a little away from the sun to help lower the temp. If you need more heat turn it towards the sun. It is SILENT and sometimes I would forget I was cooking something ha. My wife used it more than I did. Pot roast is soooo good when cooked in it. The stove is all automatic. To use just open the flaps and point at the sun. I think Solar Mike at the Slabs makes them for sale. His will probably be cheaper than store bought.
Hi Sue- Bill checking in..the new banner showing off hi-teck everything is just so…so…RVSUE. No AZ for K and I. Her mother just keeps having funny problems. Christmas will probably look like something out of NTL Geographic! More like a zoo story! Old age is not for sissi’s! Now where did I put my CANE! (haha). Luv ya, Bill
Old age is definitely not for sissies! I hope mention of a cane doesn’t mean your back problems are back (say what?). I guess I do have a distinctive look now with my solar panel on the PTV and the antenna flying above the BLT! I LOVE the look! The little egg from outer space . . .
Hi to Kathy… Hope things settle down with her mom so y’all can enjoy Christmas.
Yes Sue- I love the hi-tech look. Bet you get a kick out of showing everything off esp the custom battery box!! Boy did we luck out there! One of a KIND!
I’m feeling great. Walk and use the Airdyne that use to belong to my FIL. And K seems to be doing well with her breathing. That’s been a concern after her spell in Feb.
I’m spending xmas in Ruidoso with friends….main course ELK! TTYL, after new years! Cheers, Bill (no cane, really! Raise a little ocassionally)
Enjoy the holidays!
When you are ready to try another disbursed camping area, try the area around Shadow mtn (if this is right name, memory issues!) a hermit and his family lived on top of the mtn, yrs ago. Much history, still some evidence of there shelters. Plus the dispursed camping in the area is great. Indians lived in the area yrs ago and fun to check out their sites. Its on the hwy to Julian (pie capitol of the world). Good luck!
Hi Jack, I’m always interested to hear about a dispersed camping area! I’ve been told the road to Julian from here is kind of steep and winding. I’ll research it. Thanks for the tip!
It came to me what you’re probably talking about… Ghost Mountain. The South family lived up there, lived a hard-scrabble life, as evidenced by photos at the visitors center… toting water uphill, etc.
Sue, from looking at your photos I would say you are actually camped at what is known as the Clark Dry Lake Bed area. Peg Leg Smith’s is just around the curve heading for Borrego Springs & there are usually a lot of Canadians all grouped close together in there. I do not see any rigs close to you so I’m thinking you are at Clark. When we first went to Borrego Springs 5 years ago it had been suggested to us we might like a place called Peg Leg Smiths, but as soon as we saw all the rigs crowded in there we said ‘no way’ & backtracked a quarter mile to the much larger & expansive Clark Dry Lake Bed. If by chance you see a fellow with a white cowboy hat or touque walking a fawn colored dog in the early morning, his name might be Butch. Last time we saw him he had an Alpha fifth wheel. Really nice fella. He goes there every year. If you see him, tell him the Bayfield Bunch was asking about him & we may be over that way in January or February………….
Yes, I’m at Clark Dry Lake. I’ve been calling the whole area Peg Leg, just because it’s easier and I didn’t want to confuse readers, jumping back and forth talking about the two places which are so close together. I figure if a person finds Peg Leg, they’ll know about Clark Lake, too.
I agree, it’s too crowded at the Peg Leg monument area, and even the area across from Rockhouse Road has been too crowded (for me). That area has thinned out considerably the past few days.
Hey, I saw Butch today! Spike and Bridget had a barking fit. I went around to see what the fuss was and there was a guy in a white cowboy hat walking his fawn-colored dog! I’ll say hello to him on your behalf the next time I see him.
Sue, I am camped right now with three other solo women and there was another one here last week. Although we don’t have fancy Casitas, we are enjoying the lifestyle. One younger gal is just getting started… solar panels went up yesterday. She lost her job and then lost her condo…so decided to go camping. Now that she has met other like-minded people, she wants to remain on the road. Another gal has been living off grid overseas for the better part of the last seven years, but got homesick. She has just joined the tribe… and is considering how best to get set up for herself. A third is a retired nurse also travelling with two dogs, all that in a small van… but she is making it work. She has a portable solar panel to sit outside the van… and it mets her small electrical needs. The gal who left last week is a widow of four years and just needed to get away… and the RTR group found her out here and took her into the fold. She is also a retired trauma nurse… and after meeting us, has decided to go back home and sell her house. So, I’m sure they would all love to meet you if you come to Q this winter. I’ve camped over there where you are… in a big bad windstorm… could not see 2 feet away from the van.
Quite a group of can-do women! Their fortitude, resilience, and imagination come through in your comment. It’s wonderful that all of you are together to share your experiences, to support each other, and to share happy times.
I was fortunate to have enough time and the wherewithal (namely a job) to save for the PTV and BLT. People say I’m brave and an inspiration. Me? I don’t come close to having the courage of the women you mention! I’m glad that you (all of you) have found that you “enjoy the lifestyle.”
Thanks for writing, Charlene. Readers can see from your comment that there are many ways to “make it work.” I send you and all women vagabonds my congratulations and best wishes for making a good life for themselves.
If you want to learn more about the Rubber Tramps in Quartzsite right now see Bob Wells’ blog… http://cheaprvlivingblog.com/2012/12/the-rigs-in-camp-now-which-vehicle-to-choose/
Coincidentally I was reading Bob’s blog yesterday and made a comment there. His post (link) is very interesting and informative. Thanks for putting the link here.
The fellas that were camped here with us have taken off to head over near the CO for a couple weeks and will then be returning to this area. It was odd watching the group drive off. Two gals are left here with me… but they have gone to town. The 5th wheel and other camper are still here, but I haven’t yet gotten acquainted with them… I’ve been busy building shelves inside my trailer. We all enjoyed a nice Thanksgiving dinner here… and there’s talk of an “end of the world” party at the new camp… 12/21??? It’s just a darned great lifestyle. I began making a ring (silver) but having returned to the Rock Club to finish it yet, hope to complete it this week and begin some new projects. What a great place this Quartzsite is. So much to do.
It does sound like you’re having a grand time.
Merry Christmass everyone n’ safe travels, woofoooff
The same to you!
I’m so glad a friend turned me on to your great blog today! I’m also a solo Casita gal, though not fulltime. We were ships passing in the desert; I was camped in Anza-Borrego for the second half of November (Palm Canyon, Blair Valley, The Springs, Palm Canyon again). Almost went to Slab City, but changed my mind at the last minute. Loved every minute of Borrego (well, almost)!
Keep up the great living!
I’m glad you found my blog… Welcome! I’m curious about the campgrounds you mentioned, and probably some of my readers are, also. I hope you see this and take the time to tell us about the campgrounds.
Happy to say more about the campgrounds. Palm Canyon is the main for-fee campground in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. It has a section with hookups ($35/night) and several areas for tent/non-hookup camping ($25/night). It’s beautiful, but annoying if you don’t have a reservation (I can say more on that if you want). Blair Valley is one of the “backcountry camping” areas within Anza-Borrego, in the south/central part of the park, along route S2–no fee, barely any services, but beautiful terrain, lots of open space and privacy, and plenty quiet; it’s at 2,500′ elevation, so was sometimes down to freezing at night in late November.
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The Springs at Borrego is a private RV resort in the town of Borrego Springs (which, as you know, is surrounded by Anza-Borrego Desert State Park). It has the usual–full hookups, showers, laundry–and some unusual: outdoor hot mineral baths, a wellness center, free chi gong and yoga classes, gym, reading room, and golf. Pricey by my standards at $58+/night, but fun for a short stay.
I’m curious about Clark Dry Lake; I see it on the park map, but it wasn’t on the official list of backcountry camping areas. Any idea why? Sounds worth a visit on my next trip down there.
I’ve posted photos from my trip on the Casita Owners group on Facebook, if anyone is a member.
One more thing! Do you know about Agua Caliente? It’s a county park within Anza-Borrego, toward the south end of the park along S2. It has several hot mineral pools, and campgrounds and hookups. Rates are reasonable ($24-33), and the place looks nice. I almost camped there after Blair Valley, but decided I needed to head north. Hope to return some day.
Great information. Thank you for taking the time to write it!
Friends of ours who live in Oregon own a 17 foot Casita. They took it on a 2 month trip to Florida and back and loved it. For the first time they are storing the RV in California this winter so they can use it year round.,
I’ve never met a Casita owner who didn’t love their rig!