I am still at Craggy Wash with three friends. We thought about going into Lake Havasu for New Year’s eve but most of the parties are fancy and none of us really have fancy clothes. I’m used to the van life where I don’t dress up or wear make up. I gave away most of my work clothes and only saved two outfits that are more business clothes than fancy clothes for the rare times when I have to go to court or meet a client. We have been enjoying hiking, hanging out by the campfire listening to music, watching movies together or just talking together so that’s what we are going to do tonight. We all decided though that we probably won’t make it to midnight. Looking forward to the new year in my new van life😊
I have been camping at Craggy Wash (BLM land so free camping) in Lake Havasu, Arizona for the past two nights with three friends I met while camping in Ehrenberg, Arizona. We are camping in a wash between mountains where rain water runs through. There is rain coming but we are at a slightly elevated level and on a higher road but we stocked up on food and water just in case the lower roads flood and we need to wait for the water to receed. This is a beautiful place to be stuck for a few days. We went on a nice walk as the sun was setting and had a nice campfire and watched a movie outside. As I was watching the movie and looking at the campfire and the great people I was with I thought several times to myself how awesome my life is.
I am still camping in Lake Havasu, Arizona with two friends. We went to the London Bridge today that was originally located in England that was falling down because of increased traffic over it which is what the nursery rhyme ‘London Bridge is Falling Down’ comes from. A real estate developer bought the bridge from London for millions of dollars in 1967 and brought it brick by brick to Lake Havasu to rebuild it with reinforcements under it to attract tourists to the area, which works since we went to it today and walked along the water ways around it.
Last week when I was rained in I used a paint pen to put my favorite lyrics from the song Free Bird by Lynyrd Skynyrd on my sink area – ‘I must be traveling on now. There’s too many places I got to see…cause I’m as free as a bird now’. I remember hearing that song when I was in Australia in my 20s camping on an island with some other travelers I met from Canada and Germany. I declared the song to be our song because we all loved traveling. It is still my song. I left the river area this morning and am now in Lake Havusu, Arizona camping on more free BLM land with two friends I met in the desert camping area. When I was leaving the river area this morning I saw these fields of small trees with white willowy things hanging from them so I had to stop and get out of my van to see what they were. They were cotton trees. I never even knew cotton grew on trees. I am learning so much road tripping across the U.S. We also stopped at the Parker dam and some nice scenic outlooks on the way here.
I have been wanting to stay overnight on a river just so I could say that! I went to a Christmas potluck dinner yesterday at my desert oasis. I made fudge on my one burner propane stove in the van. I met some nice ladies at the potluck that are camping on the Colorado River that invited me to their campsite (more free camping on BLM land). I was ready for a change of scenery so now I am living in a van down by the river at their campsite. I love that I can just decide on a whim where I want to live each day. Another friend of mine joined us today and we are planning on going to Lake Havasu, Arizona tomorrow. Sometime tomorrow I plan on getting some work done 😏. I am so happy I discovered this life. So much freedom and great people to meet!
I miss my family at Christmas but I am enjoying spending Christmas with my new vehicle dwelling friends. We had a nice bonfire last night drinking hot apple cider by the fire and we had coffee and sweets this morning at what I call ‘the fancy RV’. Our topics of conversation at our get-togethers are so different than what I usually hear at Christmas get-togethers. We talk about the best place to get hot showers, how to conserve water, new destinations to go, how we make money while living full-time in our vehicles, and ‘potty talk’ (how we go to the bathroom – self composting toilets etc. I will spare you the details😉). I let my family and friends know not to send me any Christmas gifts because I have no room for them in my van but I was happy to receive a blanket with family photos on it from one of my sisters and brother-in-law. Great gift for a van dweller! I noticed that hardly anybody drinks alcohol or smokes cigarettes out here which I thought was pretty cool. A friend of mine and I were joking around the other day that we are not living up to the stereotype of what people think that people that live in their vehicles full time are like. I am joking around about the stereotype by calling myself ‘hobo lawyer’. There are people here living out of their cars, converted cargo vans like me, camper vans, truck campers and other RVs. Some have been forced to downsize out of homes and apartments for financial reasons but most of us, like me, have chosen this life for the freedom to wander and simplicity that comes with it. I love this way of life and meeting other people that feel the same way. Since we are way out in the desert it’s very dark out here but you can see the lights from the closest town way off in the distance and I always think to myself ‘they don’t know what they’re missing’.
It doesn’t rain much here in the desert but when it does it can cause flash floods in lower lying areas. It rained a lot here last night and today and I got a flash flood alert on my phone last night so I didn’t sleep so good. There is some more rain coming. I am on higher ground though so I will be ok and there’s so many little rocks on the ground around me that helps with the mud. However, there is a lot of low lying areas between where I’m at and near the road to get out of here so I am very glad I ‘supplied up’ yesterday with buying food and water. I only go to town every five days or so because I have to go through driving over a lot of little rocks and dirt roads that are very bumpy to get out of here and down a hill and we are a little ways out here in the desert. I am happy to be stuck out here in my desert oasis though if I need to wait for roads to dry out. I got everything I need here.😀
Since I do not have a new destination to post about (as I will be staying in my desert oasis in Ehrenberg AZ for several weeks) I thought I would let everyone know what my life is like as a van dweller. I was recently asked “where do you get your water?” I buy several gallons at a time of drinking water from the grocery store and then fill a six gallon jug under my sink with water for everything else. Since this area is an RV destination there are places you can go to pay to fill up your water jugs. What I mostly do though is just fill my empty drinking water jugs with water whenever I get a chance from places such as facilities at national parks that I go to, rest areas or any other public place that has a water spicket (I feel like such a hobo stating that 😉) and then add the water to the jug under my sink. Sometimes I will book a campground and while there fill up the water jug. Believe it or not the six gallon jug under my sink lasts me at least three weeks, as I don’t run the sink water constantly while washing my face, brushing my teeth or doing my dishes. I also always have a one gallon jug of water set aside for washing my hair every 4 to 5 days with my solar shower (it is a container I feel with water and set outside to get hot that has a shower nozzle on it). I use just a little water on a washcloth with soap inside my van to wash everywhere else. I also sometimes use baby wipes like most of the other vehicle dwellers do to freshen up (we are a bunch of big babies😁) The first time I went 4-5 days without washing my hair it was super greasy but it doesn’t get greasy after 4-5 days anymore because my scalp is used to it and I don’t have to use conditioner anymore because I’m not stripping the natural oil from my hair every day with shampoo. My hair has never looked better. I had no idea that van dwelling would be good for my hair. Today I splurged on an $8 hot shower at the laundrymat (yep, the laundrymat). Since there are a lot of vehicle dwellers and RVers out here in the desert without water hook-ups some businesses have installed showers to make some money. Truck stops also sell showers such as Flying J or Loves. Honestly though, my baby wipe sponge bath hair solar showers got me just as clean as the $8 laundrymat shower, so I will pass on the laundry mat shower next time. I like not paying for something if I don’t have to but I spend money where I see fit. There was a guy begging for food today outside of Burger King who pointed to his two friends saying they just needed a meal to split between them. I won’t give money to panhandlers because it is often used for drugs and alcohol but this guy genuinely just wanted some food so I bought all three of them lunch and wished them a Merry Christmas when I handed the food to them. It made me feel good inside and they were very grateful. One of the guys even bowed down to me. I would much rather spend money on food for someone that is hungry than spend $8 on a shower. I am sitting in my van now listening to the relaxing pitter patter of rain outside (it sometimes rains in the desert) getting ready to write out some Christmas cards to hand out tomorrow to my new vehicle dwelling friends.
(you can scroll down to the bottom of this page to click on the previous post title and do the same thing with that page)
Just took the daily walk with the rest of my fellow vehicle dwellers and a few of us are getting ready to start a campfire. Awesome group of people I’ve met here. Best neighbors I have ever had. When I lived in a home without wheels I never really hung out with my neighbors but I have a lot more in common with the people I have as neighbors now. Every day feels like a vacation kinda like Summer camp for adults, well after doing my work for the day anyway.
I went to Salvation Mountain today that is at the entrance to Slab City in California. Resident Leonard Knight created this beautiful mountain and other works of art near it from items he found discarded in the desert along with a ton of paint, to show his love for God. He worked on it for two decades and it is now a designated National Folk Site. He passed away a few years ago so there are other people maintaining it now. Leonard and his mountain were feautured in the movie Into the Wild that you may have seen. I also went to another part of Slab City called East Jesus where a lot of artists also created art from items discarded in the desert. There is no shortage of discarded items in Slab City because they have no garbage pick up. It’s called Slab City because of the slabs that remained there after the military abandoned the area. It is a city created by people that just moved out there because it’s free government land to live on with no rules. You would think names like Salvation Mountain and East Jesus would make it a nice place. Not so. I was going to stay there a few nights until I drove around. It is mostly people living in falling apart RVs and some RVs with missing sides to them and missing windows and a lot of shacks people created out of pieces of wood, plastic and discarded items (definitely not artwork) with ‘occupied’ or ‘keep out’ spray painted on them and lots of old tents with tons of garbage surrounding them. I wanted to take pictures but it didn’t seem right plus I was a little scared somebody would see and come after me. I met a nice guy there that said I could park between his truck and this group of men called the ‘goonies’ (not sure what they are about). I am sure there are some more nice people there but a lot of people I saw looked pretty scary to me. I was told there are a lot of drug addicts and crime there but there’s a snowbird population that comes down in the winter that sets up their own area where they have a neighborhood watch. I tried to find the snowbirds or anyone else that looked like they were a decent group of people to park near but after driving through a lot of the area I decided to trust my gut instinct which told me ‘Get the f— outta here’ so I did. Sorry my gut curses sometimes. It was worth going there though just to see Salvation Mountain. I love that mountain. Maybe I’ll go back to Slab City one day with a group and we can form our own neighborhood watch. I am back camping with my people in Ehrenberg, Arizona now, where I feel safe.