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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Sneaking out of Fernley

December 30th, 2009

Somehow, we managed to get everything back in shape to roll and sneak through Donner’s pass in what Jenn is calling the ‘6 hour no-chains window’. Before we quit driving for the day, they had put chain restrictions back in place at Donner’s Pass and will probably leave them in place another day or two as they’re calling for 100% chance of snow at the summit today and tonight.

I think we got lucky with a weather window and it seemed like a good time to get the heck out of frozen Fernley. Jenn’s alternate route was going to keep us in mountains for quite a ways, which would have been cold! Also, apparently there were numerous closed roads connecting to that route, which didn’t seem auspicious.

Hopefully, we’ll be finding a longish term spot in the desert tonight. Last night next to the highway and the train got old early.

But It’s The Desert!

December 22nd, 2009

It snowed. And then it snowed some more. It snowed so much that Amazon/Integrity hired buses to bring in their staff from Reno. It was nice of them, but I wish they wouldn’t have called me at 1pm to let me know that they were going to do it.  I am not in Reno and the call woke me up a couple of hours earlier than I would normally get up. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I been able to go to sleep at my normal time, but we went to sleep a few hours later than scheduled. So, after 4 hours of sleep I awoke to this:

The snow is just starting. Fernley, NV
The start of the snow day in Fernley, NV

A light snowfall. I know. Its not a big deal. There isn’t much snow out there at all. Its about as much snow as I expect when there is snow forecast and usually its gone by the next afternoon. However, this was no ordinary snow day for us.

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Lay back and groove…

May 11th, 2009

…on a rainy day.

I guess we’re starting to see the ‘real’ Washington weather. Our first week in the state was pretty dry, but the past week has been rather damp or perhaps moist. In fact, you could say it has been downright soggy.

Last Sunday, we headed towards Mt. Rainier National Park from the north side. The park is still closed, but there is a lot of forestry land around the park which allows dispersed camping. We spotted at least one exceptionally nice boondocking spot on the main road into the park, but as it was a fairly well traveled road, any and all turnouts were occupied. Near the park entrance, we crossed a rather long one lane bridge across the Carbon River.

Immediately, the road turned to gravel and around the first bend, the road was constricted by a fallen tree and a couple of large boulders on the opposite side. This particular section of road was more mud, boulders and tree roots than gravel. We had around 18 inches of clearance between the jacks and the obstacles. Not too bad, but the angle of attack required getting rather close to the edge of the road. Normally, this wouldn’t be a large concern, but we’d already seen the edge of a couple roads washed away that morning.

With Jenn’s help in the form of ambiguous hand signals (does anyone know what two crooked fingers forming a ‘U’ means?), we managed to get through the constriction without any new dings or scratches. Not too far up the road, we found a somewhat obscured pullout that would be our home for the next week.

I think we had one sunny day, on Monday, followed by four rainy ones. We then figured we might as well stick around through the weekend since Washingtonians seem to enjoy camping and grabbed all the good spots on the weekends. Anyway, it seemed like a good idea to let that hairy bit of road dry out some as there was a drainage culvert right above it.

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Life in the back of a truck (part 4)

April 9th, 2009

This is part of an ongoing series on what it’s like to live in a truck camper fulltime. You may read other articles here:

  1. Part One – The fulltime lifestyle
  2. Part Two – Why a truck camper?
  3. Part Three – Weights & Dealing with them
  4. Part Four – Boondocking resource conservation

Gordon recently posed a question over at the Truck Camper Magazine blog that seemed like a great idea for the next part of our Life in the back of a truck series. He’s curious just how long his readers can boondock and what tricks they use to manage it. I got a bit long winded, but here’s my response.

The resources we have to work with are:

  • 46 gallons of fresh water
  • ~300 amp hours of battery in 2 Trojan T-1275 12V batteries
  • 60 pounds of propane in 2 30# tanks
  • A Honda eu2000i generator
  • ~4.5 gallons of gasoline plus whatever is in the scooter and generator (up to around 2 gallons if both are full)

Doesn’t sound like much, does it? Still, we manage to do fairly well when we find a place we want to stay for a while. It takes a little effort to conserve resources, but we manage to live quite comfortably for up to a two week stretch without running out of anything or breaking out a military desert survival handbook. Just how do we make these resources last and what sacrifices does it take, you ask? Well, read on to get a taste of the Hitek Homeless lifestyle!

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