I enjoyed meeting some more of Brian’s family members. We went to a barbecue at his sister’s house a few days ago. The last two nights we camped on Lake Arcadia in Edmond, Oklahoma since Brian had a couple of days off of work. We had most of the place to ourselves. It is off season for camping here. We took a nice hike yesterday and were sore this morning. We decided we want to workout more and I decided I want to eat a little healthier. Brian is a good influence on me with his healthy eating. I eat healthy for the most part but I love my sweets and bread. We just finished working out at the YMCA. I went as Brian’s guest since he has a gym membership his mom gave him (great vandweller gift). I was pretty impressed with how nice it was. We also took showers there. A lot of vandwellers buy gym memberships for gyms with locations throughout the U.S. so they can workout and have a place to take a hot shower when they are on the road. I may do the same.
I am in Oklahoma City right now where Brian is from. We are staying in a spare room at his dad’s house, so no van beds tonight. I enjoyed meeting and talking with his dad. It is wierd to be staying at someone’s house with access to hot showers and a real toilet when I am so use to sleeping in a van and using my van ‘toilet’ (I will blog about my ‘toilet’ one day). I am perfectly happy though sleeping in a van and not having hot showers or a real toilet. Brian’s dad asked me questions about being a lawyer and how that works with me working remotely so I thought I would go into that here in case anyone else is wondering. I have had the same clients for many years. I have an office address in the state where my clients are at where I receive my mail that has a receptionist and offices to use when I am in town which I rarely need to use. I use my cell phone as my work number. My son lives there and picks up my mail to go over the phone with me via Facetime and then scans some of my mail to me and sends out checks and other documents for me. I have a printer in my van (it gets power from my solar panels) to print and mail out letters and documents which can be done from any post office in the U.S. I have a laptop and use my hotspot from my phone for the internet. I communicate with my clients through email and phone calls and I provide all legal opinion letters and documents to my clients via email. I electronically sign and electronically file my lawsuits and other pleadings with the court. I electronically serve pleadings on other attorneys. Most of my cases (I don’t have many since I work less than part-time) settle without me even having to go to court but if I do have to go to court I found out that I can just hire another attorney to go for me, which I recently did. I just work for myself with no employees. I will have to go back there for some of my work though. If it wasn’t for advances in technology I wouldn’t be able to work remotely as lawyer living out of my van while traveling throughout the U.S. I love technology! 📱💻
We are camping at Lake Murray State Park in Oklahoma right now. We are enjoying our beautiful lake view from our campsite. We had our campground to ourselves last night and just one other person is camping here in a tent tonight. I fed some geese at our campsite this morning and then all their friends came over and wouldn’t leave us alone. Brian had to shoo them away. We took a nice walk up to a tower on a hill across the lake from our campsite this afternoon. I can’t believe there are hardly any other people here enjoying the beautiful lake and great weather. The evenings have been cool and the afternoons sunny and warm🌞
We skipped going to a Texas beach because the weather was bad and it was out of the way. We drove through Texas hill country that was beautiful and cute small towns on the way to Austin. I didn’t realize how much I’ve been use to small towns till I drove through downtown Austin, which was a bit nerve racking, even on a Sunday. We stayed at a hotel in downtown Austin last night so we could explore the downtown area more. We checked out the downtown entertainment area last night and we took a nice walk along the river today. It was nice to have hot showers (I took two) but I don’t want to stay at a hotel again. It goes against my hobo values of living simply and I prefer sleeping in the van where everything is with me and I don’t have to bring my belongings up and down the stairs between the hotel room and my van. I had to make several trips because I kept forgetting stuff. Also, I would rather save my money for unexpected expenses and to pay down some debt than spend it on hotels. I work less than 10 hours a week because I prefer to have more free time than working more to have more money – I have turned down work for that reason. I prefer to be time rich than money rich and I’ve always been happy with living a simple life without a lot of things. My passion has always been exploring new places and having new experiences and living the van life is perfect for that🌻.
We stayed at a Walmart parking lot last night. There was a lot of RVers doing the same thing that it looked more like an RV park than a Walmart parking lot. A lot of Walmarts allow people to stay overnight in route to their next destination because they know most of the people will come in and buy food, etc., which we always do. We are volunteering at a music festival in Kerrville, Texas in May so we stopped by the festival headquarters today to check it out since it was on our way to our next destination. They let us drive their golf cart around to check out the area and they told us we could camp for free in their meadow, which is what we are doing tonight. We also took a nice walk around the area. Brian is joining some of the locals for poker pretty soon. We are headed to a Texas beach tomorrow.
There is a border crossing in Big Bend National Park, Texas to cross over to Boquillas Del Carmen, Mexico. A river separates the U.S. from Mexico. We took a rowboat across the river for $5 each round trip. You could swim across if you wanted to. A lady from the New York Times was on the U.S. side and asked us if she could videotape us going across the river which we agreed to, so she put a tripod with a 360 degree camera on it on the rowboat to record us going across the river. On the Mexico side we saw a lot of mules and a small dog herding some goat. We had a nice lunch there and then came back since not too much to do there. It is just a small tourist town. The border crossing gets such little traffic that the park rangers man that immigration desk on the U. S. side. They put my passport in a machine that sent a copy to the immigration office in El Paso, Texas and then a lady from the immigration office there called to ask me questions while I looked up at a security camera that she could see me on. We are in Fort Stockton, Texas now doing laundry. We are headed to other parts of Texas tomorrow. We are going to decide where sometime tonight.
We are loving camping at Big Bend National Park in our new secluded camping spot. My cell service and internet is a little spotty here but it worked good enough for me to get some work done this morning. I worked while sitting on my van bed with the back doors open with a nice view of the mountains while listening to Brian playing the violin. I don’t know of any law office but mine that has that. I feel bad for the other lawyers that have to sit in a boring office. They have a bear box at each of the backcountry campsites to put your food in so bears can’t get to it, which is more important for people tent camping that don’t have a place to store their food. We have our vans to store our food but we made use of our bear box. Brian has been cooking some delicious meals in our bear box using it as a table and to block the wind. We aren’t allowed to have campfires at this park so last night we put a propane heater in our bear box and sat in front of it for heat with my laptop next to it to watch a movie. We took a short hike today and Brian picked wild flowers for me that I put in a basket in my van🌺.
We have been camping at Big Bend National Park for the last two nights. Big Bend gets its name from the big bend in the river around the bottom of Texas between Mexico and the U.S. We used my America the Beautiful pass for the both of us and our vehicles to get into the park and then it was just $12 for a permit to camp in the back country for a week, which is primitive camping down a long gravel road with beautiful views of the mountains. I wasn’t able to post anything the last couple of days because no cell service. We are at a cute little town called Terlingua outside the park at an internet cafe right now. Our first night at the campsite was a little scary because there was a big hail storm. It left some dings in the hoods and roofs of our vans but it looks like my solar panels are okay. In the third picture down on the right you may be able to see our vans in the beautiful valley we camped in. On Valentine’s Day morning we took a walk and found a heart shaped cactus. I had a very nice Valentine’s Day with my sweetie❤️.
I am used to my ‘hobo shower’ (or what I have heard another van dweller refer to as a ‘whores bath’) which is just washing up with soap and water in the van sink or with baby wipes. Today though we treated ourselves (me and my boyfriend Brian) to a Flying J truck stop shower which is like a spa for us. The truck drivers earn points for free showers when they buy gas at Flying J truck stops. When we went to pay for our showers a truck driver offered to redeem his points to give us free showers. A truck driver behind me in line said they earn a lot of shower points that they can’t use them all. I thought is was pretty nice of the truck driver to redeem his points for our showers. They are usually $12 and really nice. It has been a month since I’ve had a nice hot shower and a week since I washed my hair. My hair doesn’t get as oily as it used to because I don’t strip the natural oil from it every day with shampoo. I usually have to wash my hair every 4 to 5 days in the van sink but I put baking soda on the oily parts of my hair on the 4th day this time so I could wait longer to wash it, which worked. We are camped out at a Walmart parking lot in Fort Stockton, Texas right now. I need to get a lot of work done in the morning so my office is going to be in the Walmart parking lot. My office and my home is where I park it😄.