We awake to bitter cold our last morning at Borrego Springs.
After a brief walk-about, followed by coffee for me and kibble for the crew, I fire up the PTV and turn the heat up high. Bridget and Spike snuggle up inside while I do what’s necessary for us to hit the road.
By the time I put the stabilizer jack on the hitch, my fingers are nearly numb.
The early rays of the sun stream across the desert. We drive into town and go around the farmer’s market already bustling with shoppers in Christmas Circle. Heading southward on Borrego Springs Road (Rte. S3), I turn off the heater. The crew nods off. What a beautiful, windless day for driving across the desert!
We pass the metal sculptures of horses and elephants, south of town.
Gradually neat, adobe homes with desert landscaping disappear and Anza Borrego Desert State Park spreads out before us like a great, tan blanket. I bring down my window. The two-lane road straightens toward the horizon.
Then the road climbs steeply up a mesa.
In a roller-coaster moment at the top, the road vanishes into the sky. Then, in the next instant, the road reappears and we sail downward, swoop across a wide wash, and sprint up the next, steep ridge. Gosh, I love this life! The freedom to do what I want, when and where I want! Distant mountains frame the desert sand, rock, and scrub with soft, watercolor-blues and purple. No people anywhere around, yet it doesn’t feel empty here. What a feeling of freedom crossing this expanse of land!
I turn east onto Highway 78.
As we approach Highway 86 which will take us south through Westmoreland, Brawley, through Imperial Valley, and eventually to Interstate 8, I’m treated to one last glimpse of the Salton Sea, a sliver of blue beyond green fields of vegetables.
Entering Brawley the Vons supermarket appears on the left.
Hmm . . . I shopped there on the way to Borrego. I pull into the lot, and Bridget and Spike wake up, yapping loudly. “Okay! Let’s go for a quick walk around the parking lot!” The crew loves this little adventure.
Inside the store I discover, much to my miserly heart’s delight, that the store is having a massive, Saturday-before-Christmas sale.
Prices are substantially lower than any I’ve seen for months.
I decide to stock up on those items that are painfully priced in small town groceries . . . coffee, cereal, chicken sausage and hot dogs, soup and other canned goods, dog food, bird seed. The tally comes to almost $170. I buy a roasted chicken, hot off the rotisserie and on sale for $5 . . . a treat to share with Bridget and Spike for waiting so long in the PTV. The leftovers will be our supper tonight at our new camp!
The parking lot is jammed with shoppers.
I open up the BLT, put several bags of groceries on the floor, and climb in to put away the refrigerator items. “Hello? Hello? We like your trailer!” a woman’s sing-song voice calls out. I look out the open door to see a smiling couple pulled up alongside the BLT.
Before the crew and I leave the parking lot, I receive compliments and inquiries from three different parties . . . the couple and two individuals. All three have large RVs which they want to sell in order to buy something smaller.
There’s no place to park near the water dispensers.
I find a shopping cart, load it with eight empty, one-gallon jugs. On the way back to the PTV, pushing the precious water, I marvel at how happy I am.
This reminds me of the early anglo settlers of Texas whom I’m reading about in Michener’s book. They worked and struggled so hard for food and water! How happy they must have been when they obtained fresh meat and good water! I experience a small trace of that gladness with our overflowing larder and plenty of water to last us a long time.
After the crew and I have feasted on the chicken and the leftovers are stored in the fridge, we walk around the parking lot again. Taking the time to give Bridget and Spike some exercise and diversion pays off. They sleep all the way to Yuma, their bellies digesting the roasted chicken as we roll down the interstate.
Actually we stop a few miles west of Yuma.
I turn off Interstate 8 at Exit 159 for Ogilbie Road. Crossing over the highway, we travel a few miles on a paved road, cross railroad tracks, and see the sign for American Girl Mine Road. This is it! We take the dirt road back toward the mountains and find our new home in a flat, open area away from the clustered RVs.
Dispersed Camping West of Yuma
I know what you mean. It’s exhilarating to be behind the wheel going in a new direction. And there’s something about being in a new place and anonymously pushing a shopping cart around that brings an idiotic grin to my face. Can’t help it. One day on my last trip, I was shopping in some en route Wal-Mart, probably smiling madly, and a fellow shopper exclaimed “now there’s someone who is happy to be alive!”. How perceptive of him.
You know what I think it is that makes shopping in a new town a happy time… the feeling of not being rooted there, or stuck there… The shopping isn’t the drudgery of a monotonous, routine life… It’s part of the adventure!
Merry Christmas to you and the crew!
Merry Christmas to you, too, Dedra! I’ve enjoyed hearing from you these past months.
I took time to read your posts from 2011 and you & canine had me laughing about your first boondocking in Ajo….especially the coyotes yupping near your BLT in the wee hours…that would make to jump a foot off the bed too LOL. When I first moved to west Phoenix, it was not developed so we had a lot of coyotes, rabbits, quails, etc including rattle snakes (found one in my house and two in front yard). I loved it then but now we have houses and industrial parks all around us and the I-10 was built. I still hear an occasional coyote probably roaming the Salt River bed about a mile south of my house.
You sound like you’d enjoy some time out in the desert boonies, Rita!
Footloose and fancy free as the saying goes. It is good to be happy. Stay that way! :))
Cathie in Oklahoma
You, too, Cathie!
We’ve made the decision to sell Beastie and the MotherShip and get a Casita/smaller trailer that we can pull with Geris Escape Pod and not do anymore workamping. Partly YOUR fault! you’re having too much fun!!!!
Good for you! Hey, I didn’t invent “Less is more.” I just live it!
Yes, you do RV Sue, and you’ve made that life attractive to like-minded folks.
Make sure and look at the Parkliner while doing your research. They are a new company out of North Carolina, and are producing very nice trailers. I have decided to get one as part of my “happily ever after”
It is a sweet little trailer!
Wait till you see the Fry’s grocery store in Yuma. It’s huge. They even have a chinese takeout counter – right next to those rotisserie chickens that Bridget loves (I think Bridget would like a whole chicken for Christmas! Maybe she would share with her buddy Spike.). I love going shopping there! I hope you enjoy the Yuma area.
I think I was in that Fry’s the last time I was in Yuma… lots of “gourmet’ items, huge bakery, produce arranged like art . . .
I have been in the Fry’s on the east side and tomorrow will try the one closer to ‘downtown’. The east side market is huge with a great produce department. I also found the staff to be very helpful considering what time of the year it is, I’m sure they are looking forward to the end of Holidays. The east side store has fuel if you use their Reward Card, the ‘downtown’ store does not.
I won’t be coming by today. Feel like staying at home getting odd jobs done and snoodling with the crew . . . just so you know not to expect me.
I don’t expect you, we will cross paths when it happens. HA
As I said above I’ll be going to Fry’s tomorrow morning to get groceries. Then on Tuesday I’ll be in Algodones in the morning to get my teeth cleaned.
I hope you have a nice quiet Christmas and a Merry One. Mine will be a little more special that many in the past with a flock of sheep across the road that provides some Southern Arizona Christmas views.
How bucolic… sheep in the meadow at Christmas. I wish you a peaceful Christmas, Ed.
I likewise love moving day, which is what we call it. We are just home from a five day RV trip to the beach and I’m pining already for the beautiful coastal views we left behind. We’ll be heading to Palm Springs right after New Years, for a week in our RV, and based on the temps there currently, I’m hoping for day times in the low 70’s during our visit.
Our 2417 TrailManor rig gets much attention as well, primarily because as a hard sided folding trailer, it’s such an odd little entity. It’s so petite inside I get a bit embarrassed showing it to folk coming over from larger rigs for a peek, but it has everything we need, and more importantly, fits our somewhat limited mechanical and driving capabilities. In a pinch we can even push it’s 2,500 pound bulk into position, a nice bail-out option we sincerely appreciate.
It’s a wonderful thing, having an RV that fits you perfectly. I’m finding a lot of people with those large rigs are wishing they had something small. You certainly are getting a lot of fun living with your lightweight TrailManor. That’s fantastic!
Take a scouting of the new area and look for railroad tracks. Camp as far away as you can or you may have a heart attack thinking a train is coming right through the BLT at 3 AM. While at Yuma go shopping at the Big Bazar just south of the freeway. It was a huge Flea Market with paved parking lot that had a hundred vendors under a waterproof roof. I haven’t been there since 2009. Look for a pair of warm winter work gloves in your size, a Super Duper Trash Picker Upper tool and a 5 gallon plastic bucket with pail handle. If you have any dough left over look for a awning screen for your privacy patio. Then make a note to Santa for a rain cover for your Fantastic Fan tell him he can pick one up at Camping World for around $35. You can afford all of this because you are getting such a cut rate down in Mexico to get your teeth cleaned.
Hey, Joe! You want me to spend more money! Aaaack!
I saw the train go by as I was scouting for a place to camp here. I’m far enough away that it doesn’t bother me. Unfortunately someone has been running their very noisy generator for five hours straight and it really is getting on my nerves. You know how sound carries in the desert when there’s very little to soften it? It might as well be under my window. If that thing runs all day, I’ll have to move.
Ear plugs and headphones help tremendously with buffering the generator noise. I can’t stand it when folks run their generators too long or fire up their loud diesel engines at 5 am but the above-mentioned items really contribute to my tranquility.
You may need to get a Noise Polution badge or T-shirt and go have a talk with your neighbor. If that fails threaten to sick the dogs on him.
I don’t have the right kind of spunk for those tactics. I avoid confrontation whenever possible… one reason I have wheels under my house.
Like you, I really love the desert! I really enjoyed our short visit to Ajo last year! The desert just has the aura of freedom and adventure for me! Welcome back to Arizona and it’s amazing deserts!
Merry Christmas Sue! Hug Spike and Bridget for us. Scotty is here, layong near Chuck and I and DoogieBowser and Radar are stretched out on the couch! Spoiled Rotten! 🙂 Geri
Merry Christmas, Geri! I can see you and Chuck relaxing with your Hound Herd.
Thanks for the nice trip. I was right there with you. I know you will enjoy your new spot (and I will too). Have a blessed Christmas and New Year. Barbara (Florida)
Glad you joined us, Barbara, on our latest trip. Merry Christmas!
Sending you, Bridget & Spike warm Christmas greetings from Golden, B.C. Canada. Really look forward to your blogs. You are a brave lady and know how to enjoy your life. Looking forward to our return to Arizona after the New Year.
Arizona in January must be very inviting to you, coming from B.C. Have a happy holiday and safe trip south.
Your happiness and freedom are awesome. It’s wonderful when most of your days are that way.
Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm for life.
Happy and free are the way to be! Nice to hear from you, Susan.
I see in your slide show you have ocotillo in the area. These are so pretty when they bloom. A very MERRY CHRISTMAS to you RVSue and Crew. And a HAPPY NEW YEAR. may the coming year be very good to you!
I drove past Ocotillo Wells on the way here. That part of the desert has a lot of ocotillo. The one in front of our campsite has two blooms on it. I saw a hummingbird go over to it this morning.
Ocotillo Wells had a 4.0 earthquake yesterday midmorning. That is not a very big one but you might have noticed it.
Oh, and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, Shawna!
You have such a way of describing your surroundings….it’s almost like we’re sitting there with you.
Love the expression on Spike’s face!
Why not stock up while the prices are good! Ya never know when you’re craving something and you’re in the middle of the desert..or just don’t feel like driving to town.
Have a wonderful evening.
Thank you, Cindy and Jules,
Yes, it’s a good feeling to have a well-stocked cupboard, otherwise known as the PTV.
I’ve been following your posts for six months now. We have traveled many of the same roads you have in the last year and I’ve enjoyed your descriptions and insights so much. I just wanted to thank you for the gift of your writing and keeping me in touch with life on the road.
Happy Holidays and have a very wonderful new year.
You’re welcome, Marilu. I’m happy you travel with me and the crew. I wish you the best for the holidays and 2013.
I love camping in all manors of wilderness, forests, mountains and seashore but the wide open spaces of the where you can see both the sun rise and set hold a special peace for me. It’s like my chest can expand more and I can fill my lungs with the freedom. Yes, I too have come to love and appreciate the desert. Wishing you peace and continued happiness for Christmas and the exciting New Year!
I wish you the same! I’ve enjoyed hearing from you these past months. About those wide open spaces… You know how spectacular the night sky can be when seen from the desert. I looked across the flat desert to the horizon and saw a very bright star slightly above the horizon, as if it were shoulder height! I’d never seen anything quite like that before. . .Merry Christmas!
Sounds like you three are having a great time!
Nothing we do is very great, but we have a great time doing it! Enjoy the holidays, Teri!
Hey There Sue! Hi Crew!!!
You know, I never found the desert to be that wonderful–UNTIL I started reading your take on it!!! I cannot wait to spend some time in it!
As for the generators–why do people do that? I just don’t get it. I hope you find peace!
Much happiness to you at this special time of year. Holiday Blessings!!!
Chuck converted our generator from a gas fuel to propane! The generator is now almost noise free, you have to be standing within 3 feet from it to hear it. It does not cost much to convert from gas to propane and we feel it os worth it. We just don’t like the thought of carrying jugs of gasoline around to feed the generator! Maybe if more folks knew that a conversion from gas to propane was possible, there would be more quiet generators next door! Sue saw and heard ours last year at Quartzsite as the gas generator across from us about 50 yards could be heard loud and clear!
Hi, Barb… I wish you much happiness, too, at Christmas and in the new year.
I don’t understand generators. The weather is perfect so there’s no need to run an A/C. What are they doing? Microwaving popcorn all day? Ironing clothes? Styling their hair? Sheesh. It stopped for about three hours (when they went out and fired up the ATVs) and now it’s droning on again (5 p.m.). I’ll probably move in the morning. Everything is perfect except that, but I’m super-sensitive to noise.
I know I shouldn’t gripe when I have such a good life . . . Oh well….
Hi Sue: I am still decluttering but I have made great strides this past fall. Donated all to Salvation Army. I am sure my donations helped some stay warm, fed, clothed and entertained, etc. No tree this year. Gave all my old decorations away also. Just a few lights and tea candles is all for me, Izzy and Skippy (cat and bird) this year. The older one gets, the more the need to get down to basics and make new memories. A vehicle, a small camper and the open road is calling my name. You, Bridget and Spike help keep the dream alive. Love reading all the comments. Very helpful information. Best wishes to you and crew for the new year. Enjoy your stay in Yuma.
You bring back memories. I remember hauling the fake Christmas tree and boxes of decorations out of the attic and the good feeling when I dropped them off at Goodwill. “A vehicle, a small camper and the open road is calling my name.” Good for you for hearing the call!
Yes, the comments on my blog are a gold mine of information. If I were to attribute one thing to the relatively problem-free 18+ months on the road the crew and I have enjoyed, I’d point to the blog comments.
Enjoy the holidays!
I just started reading your blog. We have 3 dogs who love to travel although we have not yet tried RVing. I am reading Michener’s _Texas_ now myself. I look forward to reading more about your travels!
Welcome to my blog, A.R.! Glad you are with us.
You may not know this but I did not camp one day (other than as a child a few times with parents) before buying my travel trailer and hitting the road fulltime. If you already love to travel, you just might fall in love with RVing. It takes you to quiet places where you can do things like read great books! I’m almost done with Texas . . . hate for it to end.
Wishing you and the crew a Blessed holiday season. You named areas I remember traveling thru with my family many (many) moons ago and so long to see again. Planning for this time next year. No shoveling snow!
Go where there’s no snow, that’s my motto! I’m glad old family memories were brought to mind… Good luck with your planning. I wish you a wonderful 2013!
Bitter cold and wheels under our respective homes. Tsk. Tsk. Tsk. But it happened to me also, ten days ago in Big Bend NP.
Durn cold snuck up on me . . .
WoW, Sue, it looks nice n’ safe there, I had no idea bout th area, jus herd stuff lone ago, well say hi to Spike n’ Bridgit, n’ nice photos too
Lots of people camp here, Rusty, but it’s always a good plan to stay alert, no matter where you are.
I’m always ambivalent when reading arealy good book, I know I’ll be unhappy when it ends haven’t read Texas, or the one about the east coast, but I’ve read his Others loved Hawaii.I’m going to plug Michener into my Library e books for my Nok, and read what I’ve missed. Try Janet evanavith, her Stephanie Plum series, addictive!
love the pix of the crew.I’m dying to follow youMost of what iknow about the desert is the Mojave, in Summer, slim not impressed.I want to try your viewpoint.Keep on Rollin, Sue&Crew Jean
Hi, Carol . . . Marie, whom I met at Clark Dry Lake, gave me two Evanovich books! I haven’t started either yet.
I wish you a happy holiday and new year!
There is no better feeling than going down the road, I am glad you are so happy.
Hi Jean and Skip . . . Especially when the road leads you to a place you’ve chosen and look forward to seeing . . . It’s nice you have your friends for neighbors now.
Sounds like you’re going to have to make another move soon to get away from the noise. Lots of desert out there, so I’m sure that the three of you can find a peaceful place to have your Christmas in the desert. 🙂 Loved the Family Foto with Santa…
BTW… if you like Michner’s books, there is a British author whose name is Edward Rutherford, and he writes these massive historical tomes mostly about British history. I especially liked “Sarum”… and just finished “The Forest.” Very similar style writers.
I thought I’d move this morning and now this morning has come, I’m drinking my coffee while the crew snuggles back under the covers, and I’m in the throes of a major attack of laziness. Maybe the generator people will move instead (fingers crossed). I want to get back in those covers with my book!
Speaking of books, I’ll look into Rutherford.
I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and New Year.
I was reading your last post and just wondered if you realize how much you have changed in the last year. I can remember a lady that was freaking out about backing up, hooking up,dumping tanks and lord the two handed grip and dents in the steering wheel and seat when you had to go over a pass. I would call you a very competent full timer now !!!!!!
Thanks for taking us on the ride.
Yes, I have learned a lot this year. I don’t remember freaking out about backing up or hooking up, but the rest, especially mountain roads, oh yeah! I don’t think I’ll ever enjoy roads that drop several hundred feet on one side and go up as far on the other… one lane, dirt, switchbacks like ribbon candy, hate those roads! I still have to sing to keep my nerve… I think I’ll probably always get white knuckles over those!
So you think I’ve earned the right to be called a “very competent full timer!” Thanks, Ron. I’ve enjoyed reading your comments this past year. Merry Christmas!
There’s a high of 78 today in central Texas. Just sayin…
What good does that do ME!
Might start you thinking about your wheels.
Ahhh yes, you live a REALLY REALLY great life! I am glad to see how much joy it brings you and how grateful you are for it. It always cracks me up when I click over to your site to watch the slideshow – the look on Spike and Briget’s faces…. Always gives me a chuckle for MY day:) Thanks.
Can you imagine LIVING with these two nutcakes? Spike carries a perpetual look of guilt or evil plotting, and as for Bridget, she can put on the craziest faces. I can’t tell if she’s working out a calculus problem or planning mutiny on the BLT!
Read a quote that I would like to share. I think we can all get inspiration from it. “A certain darkness is needed to see the stars.” Happy holidays, everyone. Hugs from DeAnne and Roxie the Boston.
Did you feel the earthquake this afternoon – around 1:30 pm your time? Was centered south of Borrego Springs and was pretty strong there. Could still have felt it west of Yuma, according to my expert earthquake brother.
I hope that Peace be your gift for Christmas and your blessisng all year through Sue – as well as for your many, many readers.
No, I didn’t feel the earthquake. Actually, I may have felt something and thought it was one of the freight trains.
Thank you, Emily, for the Christmas wishes. Merry Christmas to you, too.
Sue and Crew – apparently my first comment has gone missing….. just happy that you’re enjoying the Yuma area. My husband got to stay there for an extended time, and when I visited, the desert was in bloom in early May – simply gorgeous. Enjoy, and Merry Christmas!