I go outside at daybreak and watch the sky change.
Bridget and Spike are still asleep. No one stirs outside the campers on a nearby ridge or over at the flat area next to the hill. I pick up the camp chair blown over by a wind gust during the night. A small coyote trots by. The hummingbirds zoom around their red apple feeder. I sneak back inside for the camera. Bridget lifts her head but she’s too sleepy to get up. Good. I want to catch this sunrise before the crew wants their walk.
(The sunrise photos in this post have not been edited, other than straightened. The sky really is this spectacular, morning after morning, here above the Anza Borrego Desert.
Wednesday, December 12 . . . (12/12/12!)
We stay home all day. I continue washing and polishing the BLT. I watch Nina and Paul pack up their Class A and head toward San Diego. I’ve enjoyed almost daily conversations with Nina. I joined them both at their rig at sunset last night and we said goodbye . . . or, I should say, “until we meet again” as we most probably will.
Later two couples come over as I’m polishing.
I hear them greet Spike and Bridget by name so I know they’re readers of this blog. I’ve forgotten their names, of course. I can remember two — sometimes — but four is more than my brain can hold. They’re camping on the ridge that Nina and Paul vacated.
Returning from walking the crew in the late afternoon, Lee drives up!
She tells me she camped two nights in Blair Valley which is at 2,500 feet. The cold convinced her to go back to lower elevation. “It’s less than 800 feet here,” I remark.
“Did you make that list for me?” she asks, referring to the great boondocks and campgrounds I found this year. (Lee doesn’t go online, except for emails from her phone.)
“No, I didn’t because you left and I didn’t know if I’d ever see you again.”
“How long are you staying?” she asks. I tell her probably another week.
“Well, Lee, I’ll let you get settled for the night. It’ll be dark soon.” The crew and I walk back to the BLT and shortly thereafter we go in for the night.
That evening I write three pages of my favorite campsites with directions for her.
Thursday, December 13
After watching the sunrise you see above, I go in to make coffee. Funny, Lee’s gone again. I had assumed she was going to camp here last night. She must not like it here, what with no solar power or generator. Well, the nights are long without electricity. I guess she’ll show up again to pick up the campsite information.
By the time I finish a cup of coffee while checking the blog, the crew is up. I put them in their suits and we go on a long walk.
I take photos of rigs as we go so you can imagine yourself camping here in your own home on wheels.
We pass another Casita on the way back to our camp. Look at all the space for boondocking in the Peg Leg/Clark Dry Lake area. And there’s no 14-day limit!
It begins to rain.
Almost imperceptible sprinkles, but it is rain. I can’t remember the last time it rained on the BLT. The crew is snoozing now. I love listening to Spike’s breathing. These walks really wear him out. Bridget is doing so well, considering her ligament injury a few months ago. Sometimes she has a hitch in her step. I’m thankful she doesn’t show any signs of pain or discomfort. It would be terrible if the three of us couldn’t walk the desert any more.
I fix myself a second cup of coffee and start blogging.
Now that I’ve finished this post, I think I’ll have a bowl of corn flakes, watch the clouds float across the mountaintops, and figure out what the crew and I will do today.
The first thoughts that enter my mind are “Good Morning Sunshine” truly a beautiful way to start the day. Enjoy the beauty and weather! It certainly isn’t snow!!
Turns out it’s not a sunny day… dark and drizzly, something unusual for me and the crew.
Amazing sunrise! I really appreciate the pics of the other campers. It really gives us a look at what you see.
That’s why I posted those pics… so you can have a bigger picture of what it’s like here.
Wonderful sunrise photos!
Hi Sue. Did you get a lot of rain last night? No leaks I hope. I checked on my new BLT in our driveway in Azusa and no leaks. Your posts about Anza sure look inviting. We’ll have to go there sometime. I notice you mention solar power a lot. Must mean I should probably look into that too. Do you happen to have a schematic of yours? I saw the photos of your setup. It’s ok if you don’t. Just curious. Stay dry!
I’ll post the schematic that Mick drew up. Not today though. There’s heavy cloud cover now and I’m being careful not to use up my power.
We didn’t have rain last night, except in the nearby mountains. I only know that because we crossed some small washes that were damp. Leaks? In a 2011 Casita? I should hope not!
Great pics Sue, I love living in the desert. You left the “yipes” edition before you saw my semi-brilliant post. I was just too late, I reckon. Enjoy the day(s)!
Which Jim is this? I can’t relate what you’re talking about until I know which Jim.
I assumed you see the email address, but I am living in the phoenix metro area and had to give up my adventures due to the wife and my medical situation. From now on I’ll post as AZ Jim.
Also I caused a stir over my slab city observations!
Oh, THAT Jim… Thanks for letting me know. It’s kind of a pain to go look up email addresses of people who comment.
I’m low on power today due to no sunshine so I could lose connection at any moment.
Hey, apparently I caused a stir, too. It’s very easy to do, I’ve found.
I found your comment in the previous post. No offense intended in my reply.
No offense taken Sue. BTW Your pictures keep me busy changing the backgrounds on my computer. Ride easy…
your sunrise is amazing. the very first picture reminds me od waves crashing on a shore. makes it hard to get in the car to go go work instead of heading out that way. glad Lee showed back up. I also liked the photos of other campers. shows that it can be done without a high priced rig or it can be. just however you can manage it. be safe and happy.
From tents to huge Class As… It’s all here!
Hey, Sue! Please post that list of your favorite campsites (with directions) for the rest of us! You clearly have good taste, and I’m eager to know more.
Btw, for anyone who likes short-term boondocking, I’m able to easily go 5 days without any supplemental power or water (without a generator or PV panel), just relying on my one Interstate battery. I’ve gone as long as 8 days, but that took conservative behavior. I have a 13-foot Casita, and I don’t use appliances or TV, so it’s mostly lights and water pump–and occasional heater. I do read by electric light for hours each night, so I’m not suffering for my battery. 🙂
Blessings for the journey!
Carol… That’s a big job. It’s against my nature to scrawl down notes online like I did on paper for Lee. One of these days I make a drop-down menu of state-by-state boondocks. Until then, you’ll just have to read my blog. I wrote about every boondock!
Thanks for sharing your experience with battery power.
Do you have a scanner? Could you scan it in and e-mail it?
Here’s another idea. Pull down the monthly financial pages from the header. Each one has a recap of the camps we made during that month. Once you have the camp name, do a search on my blog and on the internet.
I was gonna ask too if you could post that list.
I just love your pictures. Amazing.
When I hit a day where I’m stuck for something to write about I’ll write about some boondocks, okay? Seems repetitive, but it sounds like that’s what you and others want to read.
Sounds like something you could put in a book.
Susie from Destin
Ahhh … The Weather God painting the sky. And you caught it perfectly, perfectly well. So much hue, so beautiful, so stunning.
Thank you… God’s amazing paintbrush . . .
Beautiful sunrise photos, truly. We leave on Monday for six days of beach time in our TrailManor and I’m so looking forward to it. Here at home it has been crazy, hectic holiday-season busy, and the RV’ing respite will be very much welcomed. We expect some rain during our trip, so I’m loading up on books and old movie DVD’s to cozy up with during the rainy indoor times.
At any point in the future that you might be so inclined, I’d be interested in hearing how you manage your weekly food planning. We have an eight week trip planned for this upcoming summer in the Pacific Northwest, and menu planning is proving to be just a bit of a challenge due to the limited storage and prep space in our fairly petite rig.
Hi Tamara… I wish I could remember where you’re located.
My menus are very simple. Lots of soup, some rice with vegetables, chicken sausage or turkey hot dogs… nothing to write home about (or blog about, for that matter!).
Have a wonderful break . . .
I’m based in S. California, and the beach we are heading to is San Elijo State Beach in N. San Diego County. 🙂
And thank you for the menu insight. That’s not too far off from what we do on our long trips. I can be creative and prepare foods at home for our short jaunts, but the simpler the better seems to work best for us on our longer journeys.
When cooking for one person, there’s less waste with simpler eating. Cooking with more ingredients leads to a fridge and cupboard jammed with stuff not used up fast enough. Oh, and thanks for the info on where you are and where you’re going. It’s nice to be able to place people.
Sue: My name is Russell….I’ve been reading, actually FOLLOWING, your BLOG for the past 6 or 7 months….I NEVER read Blogs, but I’ve gotten to the point that, when I go to my received e-mail list, I’m anxious to see if there is mail from you….I’m a kind of loner and can’t even picture myself doing this but…I do. I’ve told my daughter about the way you describe your trips, areas where you’ve been and the pictures you show… I can’t think of any other person, other than my wife, that I would have done this with…..I think it’s due to your vivid and sometimes comical, descriptions….keep up the good work…I’m NOT a full timer, not even a sometimes timer, but I do hit the road somewhat frequently for a month or two, which I intend to do after the first of the year. If you have have a list of the various places you’ve camped from the beginning of your new life I would be interested in reading it…it might induce me to go to some of them myself. Anyway, be careful, enjoy your new life and keep the BLOG going.
What a nice comment. I appreciate the compliment of you following my blog. It’s great to hear from you.
I wish I could be humorous every day, but I’m not a comedienne. I write about my days, humorous or not. Sometimes I can find humor in a day, other times, not.
Actually there is a list of where the crew and I have camped. There’s a recap at the beginning of each month in the drop-down menu under Financial Reports in the header. Someday I’ll do a more comprehensive job, but if you find a camp you’re interested in listed under a month, there’s a place “Click to read November adventures” (or whatever month) so you can go directly to my posts about that camp.
Outstanding sunrise shot!!! You know it’s so funny…I took a parting “distance” shot of your rig the day I left too. Great minds think alike? And I must say I already miss Bridget’s little wiggly butt and Spike’s hello. Hope you aren’t getting too rained out today, and look forward to seeing ya down the road.
It’s constant drizzle here. You left on the right day. Sounds like you got where you were going all right. Bridget will be pleased when I tell her you referred to her butt as ‘little’. 🙂
It’s a cute butt haha…oh, and I happy Lee drove back and you met up again. Always nice to come full circle on stories.
I always speak out loud now for Bridget and Spike…I think I’ve been following you too long :O) When you snuck out to snap some photos I recited out loud in Bridget’s tone, “Alright! Sue’s sneaking out…I can roll over and get a few more winks!”
Beautiful sunrise! And thanks for sharing your daily menu, I see my days being more centered around my surroundings when we take off, instead of running a pressure cooker but I’m going to need a casserole on occasion. I started saving your stops when I can on a Google “places” map….because I too think you hunt down the best spots ever!
Yep, you’re showing symptoms of RVSue Syndrome, making out-loud voices for the crew. When you start licking the ears of family members (as Spike is wont to do), you will be experiencing the dreaded Spikey Disorder.
No oven, no casseroles, which is fine with me. I’ve made enough casseroles in my lifetime! Although I do miss my slow cooker occasionally…
I’m going to guess my TrailManor wins the award for least amount of storage in its class (because it swings down for towing it has no overhead storage, save one removable cupboard), but I did find space for a small two person crock pot I picked up at Walmart for $10 and change. I have a handful of simple recipes I keep in my rig, and cut them in half to fit my small crockpot. I use crockpot liners ($1.97 for a box of four liners, again, at Walmart), which pretty much eliminates cleanup concerns. Any leftovers remain in the liner bag, and simply get dropped into a unused ziplock bag for fridge storage. Minimal mess, minimal cleanup, minimal storage space, but maximum meal coverage.
Ooh…. I miss those easy crockpot meals!
I think you have enough power to run your crockpot on sunny days.
Use the power meter and monitor the power closely the first time. If your battery voltage drops below 12 volts stop. Start at 9 – 10 AM on a sunny day. You won’t hurt anything. You will need to use your PTV inverter.
I was looking at Google Earth and finally found Clark Dry Lake. Thought I saw an old runway on it. Looked it up and It was an old Navy emergency field. Plus there was an early radio telescope array at the north end. Thought it interesting.
Dave 04 PleasureWay
That is very interesting, Dave. Didn’t know that!
Love the blog. On the great places to camp I have an excel spreadsheet to write notes on fulltimers’ favorites. We are planning our pull out to fulltiming no later than May. These notes will help us a lot and save us from the not so wonderful spots I hope. Thanks for helping us along.
You’re welcome. You sound like a well-organized planner. To tell the truth, there aren’t many “not so wonderful spots” . . . You’ll do great!
I’m not an RVer but I have done some heavy duty camping throughout my life including wilderness hiking/camping. On regular camping (not wilderness), I prepare big batches of food and then freeze them for later use i.e. beef stew, cooked seasoned meats with sauce, etc., When needed, I simple defrost & warm. I cook rice & pour meat/veg/sauce (golden mushroom soup sauce) over that have been defrosted and warmed. It’s better than frozen foods or meats in packages. I also cook big batches of chicken enchiladas, then cut them into squares to freeze. Sista & I traveled & camped last year to Glacier National Park and never really had to cook except to warm things up. I even grilled burgers ahead and freezed them to be warmed and put on bun later. This suggestion might help for meal preparation and planning.
That’s a great idea, Rita. Glad you shared it here.
Glad you enjoyed your morning. Spectacular pictures.
Enjoy your day.
You, too! Stay warm in the Adirondacks!
What a lovely day you had! Such a beautiful and perfect description of the way a person can find her own rythym long term boondocking solo. When I read about the sunrises and saw the photos I had such a feeling of expansiveness and peace.
Alison PNW, that is.
“expansiveness and peace” . . . I like that.
I don’t have words to describe my reaction to those gorgeous sunrises. But they took my breath away. Thanks for sharing the majesty!
Hi Sue, Great sunrise pictures, we just pulled in this afternoon.We can see you from our RV.
Thanks for letting me know. No more running around the campsite in my underwear.
No worries Sue, you can run around in your knickers, we put our binoculars away.
Absolutely gorgeous pictures!!! Glad everything is going so well for you. It’s raining and very cold here in Las Vegas today.
Now on the 14th, the rain has stopped and the grey clouds are gone… Hope it’s better for you in Vegas.
Love all your posts and look foreward each day for new ones. I just have to chime in here and say I too ,think you should publish a book. I would certainly buy a book that listed good boondocking places and especially if it gave a good description with directions.Please reconsider.
I appreciate your confidence in me re: a book. I wonder if it would be self-defeating to publish a book about great boondocks. Would they become crowded and ruined? Probably some boondockers would want to throw tomatoes at the BLT and burn my book. My feeling is… these public lands belong to all of us. I’ll think about it.
The photos are so beautiful and I bet in person the sky was even more so! Not at all related, but my inquiring mind wants to know if you use a crock pot is it a big drain on your electricity? It’s said to use so much less when you cook, but that’s in a house. Just wondering. .. .
Anything that involves heat is going to use more electricity. I wouldn’t want to have a crockpot draining my batteries.
I thought the same thing about the sunrise when compliments came in about the photos. No photo can catch the full effect . . . Most of the sunrise photos were taken by me turning around, snapping as I turned. In other words, it’s a 360 degree experience. Glorious!
Oops, so sorry, just saw this note about crockpot electricity drain concerns – please disregard my prior comment reply accordingly! 🙂
Love the sunrise picture and all your pictures of Spike and Bridget!
Wanted to let you know of a product I use called “The Missing Link” that I order from Amazon for all 3 of my dogs. One a 10.5 year old rattie, one a 5 year old rattie, and another dog that was a rescue, hit by a car with extensive hip injury’s. My pack also includes a pug that just turned up at my home and I couldn’t find her owner so she is now mine. She is also an older dog so she started getting The Missing Link too. This product has really helped keep them moving about with no sign of arthritis, which I was afraid of, especially the one hit by a car. My sister also uses it for her older beagles and it really seems to help them. I was wondering if it may help Bridget with her leg injury. I don’t know what is in it, it’s a powder you just sprinkle over the food, mine don’t even know it there. This is just an FYI for you!
I bet it involves glucosomine (sp?) which I give to the crew in chewable pill form. I’ll research The Missing Link. Thanks for taking the time to tell us about it.
Aren’t ratties the greatest? Good for you, taking in the lost pug.
Your early morning sunrise photos , made me think of that old Cat Stevens tune of “Morning has broken” Dominick, Rochester, NY.
Hi Dominick.. I’m typing this at another sunrise. Yes, it does make you want to break into song. If anyone’s voice can break a morning, mine can.
Beautiful pictures!! Some day I hope to copy your lifestyle. You realize, of course, that your polishing and waxing the BLT is what caused the rain!
Hi Lana…Oh yes, but I love the way the water “beaded” on the BLT. Shows she’s protected from the elements.
I do appreciate people putting where they are located.
Amazing sun rises! Sue, you sound so peaceful & relaxed in this blog. Lee just moves around too much. Hopefully she’ll find her place soon and enjoy it as much as you.
The Casita is looking spiffy now! Now you can be seen across the desert 😉 I know, just what you wanted..hehe
By the way I’m Penny from Texas,the same one that has been commenting for several months now. I will try to put that in my future postings. I know that you like to know where people are from that follow you.
Enjoy your stay & all the beautiful sunrises and sunsets!
Hi Penny in Texas . . .Thanks for the location! Your example will remind others.
When returning from town and pulling off the main road (before the rainy day), the sun glinted off the BLT like a mirror in the desert. Sometimes I wish the PTV and BLT were painted in camo, but when they shine so brightly, I do love the look!
I am joining Americas Mailbox today….would like to use you as a referral but need your full name and your box #. Get a free month or a $25 gift certificate. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks BadKat
Geri commented this AM following our night of RAIN, “it’s Sues fault we got the rain” and my reply was to get you back here to NM, we really need the RAIN ! And, of course, your company is always welcomed! And it appears that I am not the ONLY person to mention ‘book by RVSue’……but then you’d get all famous and we’d lose the great blog !!!
About the crock pot suggestion. Do a search for vacuum slow cookers. That’s what some full timers are using.
Dave 04 Pleasureway
Dave, I was just reading up on vacuum slow cookers but they make it clear there is a possible problem with formation of bacteria in using them due to food spending some time below safe storage temps. I was curious as to how they work and a little about the history of the theory of slow cooking. It seems you need to get all the contents up to cooking temperature then close it up in the vacuum chamber. They say the real old timers ( I assume on cattle drives for instance) used to put the food in a tight container (after bringing to cooking temp) and then packing hay around it. Interesting but I’m not sure I want to try it.
You are my Tioga George.
I am honored, Jack. Tioga George is my Tioga George.
I have been a reader of Tioga George for a while now.
I am a fairly new reader of your blog and am enjoying your posts and pics alot.
Not retired yet but someday in the next few years.
Is there any advice you can give a wannabe on what kind of rig to get?
There seems to be alot of pros and cons with class a, class c, class b, truck slide ins and also pull behinds. It seems to me the bigger rigs can have bigger water and waste water tanks so a soul could boondocks longer.
I appreciate your input on this subject.
Bill in Oklahoma
Hi, Bill in Oklahoma!
I can’t tell you what type of rig to get. That depends upon your purpose and style of living. What I suggest is figure out what rig suits you best for what you want to do and what you want to manage, and then get that rig with the biggest tanks possible. In other words, the size of the tanks shouldn’t be a determining factor.
I can boondock for two weeks without dumping tanks or taking on water. I don’t need to extend that time because dumping/filling tanks is not a big deal. Dump and water stations are plentiful and easy to find. I try to take care of tanks while in transit, but recently I had to take care of those tasks and then returned to where I was camped. I never want to camp somewhere for more than two weeks without leaving the campsite anyway. In fact, lately I’ve been leaving our camp about every other day.
Personally I think a person should hesitate before buying a rig that requires packing everything up whenever you run out of some important item or feel like going somewhere. I’d hate to have to pack up my outdoor rug, camp chairs, dog pen, etc. so I can go to the store for milk. Tioga George is successful with his Class C because he does a lot of his own maintenance and doesn’t have pets. Hanging around a shop or checking into a motel with dogs while extensive repairs are being done is not fun.
In my opinion, considering gas prices, a person should be careful not to buy “too big.” Choose the least of what makes you happy with the largest tanks. That’s my advice.
Hi Sue, My wife and I are registered in Oregon because we thought it was cheaper than any other state. So far Oregon has no sales tax. Did you check out Oregon compared to S.D.? Oregon requires we reside in that state for 6 months out of the year to claim residency and we have to prove it too! We thought S.D. was similar? Anyway we are on a tight budget and summer gas prices are killing us. From your financial page it looks like you live cheaper than we do. We thought staying put for one month in a full hook up RV park was the cheap way to go but your way is better. Besides your way is more adventurous and more fun. We’re going to try it your way for awhile and see. Have to put some Benchmark books on my shopping list. Is that how you find such good camping spots? Thanks for being there for all of us you are an inspiration. Rattlesnake Joe & Desert Rat Kate
Hi Joe and Kate,
South Dakota requires that you prove you resided in the state for one day. I asked the park ranger when camped near Hot Springs, SD, for a receipt for staying overnight at the campground. That receipt was accepted as proof of residency!
I can live inexpensively because I have solar power, I boondock a lot, if not boondocking I stay at inexpensive or free campgrounds with no hookups (using senior pass discount), I rarely pay for entertainment, recreation, restaurants, convenience store stuff, unnecessary trinkets, toys, jewelry, or souvenirs, minimal shopping for clothes and usually at thrift stores, simple eating with very little processed food, and less moving during the winter months.
Good luck to both of you, and thanks for the compliment. It’s good to hear my financial pages are helpful.
Thank you for the great sunrise pictures along with the different trailers and all the space to boondock. With no 14 day limit … that place would be my winter home.
You’re welcome, Steve. This is a good place to spend the winter months. I haven’t decided how long we’ll stay.
Did you get a chance to drop by the post office?
I got involved in other things which I’ll post about tomorrow, so I didn’t go into town. I want to wait until Monday anyway. It seems like I always show up a day early for mail.