My Heart is a Big Red Dot

February 24th, 2014

We have met a lot of colorful people and characters since we’ve been on the road. Often, I remember them much more vividly than the places. During a conversation about quilting tonight, I was brought back to one of our early adventures in the camper. It was the one where we tried our hand at “stealth boondocking” for the first time. I think it was this day.

Being in central FL, we decided to head to the beach and stay the night in a nearby neighborhood. We drove around for a couple of hours and never found a place we felt comfortable staying overnight. Finally, and way late a night, we just pulled into a Lowes parking lot. I heard every car that drove by that night. We expected to be rousted at any minute. Thankfully, it never happened.

All that is still in my mind somewhere, but what really stuck out the most was our first real interaction with another traveler. While having the hardest time trying to maneuver the camper in the extremely full, tiny beach parking lot, we saw a woman with a trailer so small it was hard to believe she could lay down in it. On it’s side, in plastic roadside marquee letters, it read “My Heart is a Big Red Dot”.

The woman, who was a bit forward for this conservative southern girl, beckoned us and told us of her travels. She said that, as she goes from place to place, she helps people deal with the grief of a passed loved one by helping them make a quilt from said loved one’s clothing. I must admit, I found it odd.

Her camper was dubbed “The Mantra Trailer”. She asked us what our mantras were. She told us that she had a recording studio inside of the trailer where she records people speaking their mantras. She invited us in. We declined. Apparently we weren’t the only ones. Later I found her blog and, it seems that she hadn’t had much luck with getting Floridians to open up and come inside.

I think back to that day and who I was. The road has really changed my perception of things and people.

mantratrailer


This image is from her blog. You can see the cab over of our camper behind her trailer. Her trailer had a recent someone’s mantra on it.

An Unwelcome Guest

April 25th, 2012

After few days of us camping in the location, our neighbor decided to drop by for a visit.

Unwelcomed Guest - Lost Valley, CA

Boondocking Computer

November 7th, 2011

My beast held up long enough for me to finally decide on a new laptop computer.  I have to admit, I could have picked one out sooner, but I was holding out for AMD to put a Llano A6 processor into a 11-13′ LCD laptop. It didn’t happen within the allotted time, so I ordered an ASUS Eee PC 1215B-PU17-BK. After much research, I believe it delivers the best ROI out of the laptops I compared.

1215B Pros:
8hrs+ battery life
40w power supply
Uses 6-11 Watt hours when idle (my current laptop is closer to 43w)
Uses 16-19 watt hours under load. (current one is closer to 70w)
Priced as low as $300

1215B Cons:
ASUS!
no spill proof keyboard
glossy screen

Johnny’s laptop, an ASUS EEE1005pe is a boondockers dream, but I cannot quite deal with a 10″ screen. If you can, you will be rewarded with up 14hrs (no joke!) of battery life with a 1hr recharge time at 40watts. It’s about as energy efficient as you can get. It’s perfect if you don’t do many CPU intensive tasks.

Anyway. My new laptop should be here this week. For some reason my $14.00 worth of “Amazon Standard Shipping” AKA SmartPost (bleh) is getting it from Kentucky to Colorado in nine days. Not exactly what I thought I was paying for, but it is what it is.

Once it gets here I get to experiment with operating systems. FreeBSD is what I prefer but there are still a lot of hoops to jump through to get it “mostly working” on a Eee PC. It appears that Linux has all the correct drivers, but I haven’t really used Linux since Slackware 7 and prefer FreeBSD. Hopefully, all will go well!

Rocking and rolling in Arizona

January 22nd, 2010

Whew! The weather has been pretty nutty around here lately. We spent a couple of days in Quartzsite putting up fliers for freecampsites.net and got rained on every evening. One mid-day shower caught us while out on the scooter. Fun!

Quartzsite is just not our scene. Two days would have been more than enough even if the weather had been great.  It was pretty crazy to pull into the BLM area the first night and see rigs lined up awning to awning just like a commercial campground. We had to go about a quarter mile deep into the area before we found a spot where we could get a mere hundred feet from a couple of neighbors. The next morning, we found out why the area was so ‘sparsely’ populated as the kids in the converted school bus had breakfast and blasted the MTV version of the Grateful Dead over the world’s crappiest PA system. Ah, well… at least it wasn’t polka.

This morning, we got up ‘early’ to try and make it back to Slab City by dark. Apparently, I was still on California time and not really adhering to Jenn’s schedule. Still, we got out at a reasonable time and then sat in mid-morning traffic at Quartzsite while the rain started splattering. The wind had not stopped in at least 24 hours.

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Welcome Back….

September 24th, 2009

That’s what the uniformed US customs agent told us after giving us the 3rd degree.

After our first three nights in the lower 48, we were greeted by another uniform. He proceeded to tell us that he really didn’t care about it, but he had to come and check up on us because one of the locals called the station and complained. We had stayed the night. The officer was as cool as he could be about it (well, other than telling the caller that it wasn’t against the law or their business). He didn’t say that we couldn’t stay or that there were any laws against it. But, it was obvious that it was time to move, and he chatted with us until we said that we were.

This is the first time in one and a half years of boondocking that we have ever had anyone knock on the door.  We hadn’t even been in the spot for 24hrs. There weren’t any signs stating that you couldn’t park or camp overnight. Heck, it was expected that you were going to park overnight as it was a large parking area, tucked in the woods, for a trailhead to two campgrounds. Are people in truck campers not allowed to park and hike in with their tents? I wonder what he would have done if we weren’t in the camper.

I know it sounds like I am ranting. I am not really. I don’t want to be where I am not wanted, nor does there have to be a law to keep me from those places (which there obviously wasn’t in this case). We knew we were only going to stay one night regardless as the area was quite residential. Its just that its the first time and I felt like writing about it.

And, after what we saw at the Bellingham Walmart……. well, you have to see it for yourself.

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