We wanted to meet more RVers or van dwellers that are boondocking (camping with no electric and water hookups) in the area so I posted on a forum for RVers and van dwellers the general area we are at and asked if there’s anybody nearby and got a response from someone called Wabbit who sent us his GPS coordinates and invited us over for a cookout today which was way farther back in the boonies than we are. We didn’t know what to expect. We got there and met Wabbit and his girlfriend Bambi. They ended up being a super nice couple. We had such a great time that our cookout lasted 4 1/2 hours. When we got back to our campsite we decided to go on a hike. There are so many beautiful wild flowers growing here, I think because it’s springtime. I always like to pick the wild flowers and put them in a little container in my van to enjoy. My favorite ones are these bright pink ones the grow on cactuses but I don’t pick those, because they are growing on cactuses. I never realized there were so many beautiful wild flowers in the desert. 💐
I went on another beautiful hike today with my friend that I have been camping with. I haven’t done a lot of hiking lately so I couldn’t hike as far as he did. I also realized that my fake Ugg boots and gym shoes just weren’t cutting it for hiking the hilly terrain over the last several days so I’m going to fork over the approximate $200 needed for some good quality hiking boots at the REI store when I go to Flagstaff. Not very hobo-like of me but I need some good hiking boots because I plan on doing a lot more hiking. Around sunset time we drove up to this spot called Airport Mesa (high flat area next to the airport) to watch the sun setting over the city, which was beautiful. The parking lot attendant told me we could stay overnight there but there were signs posted everywhere that stated ‘no overnight parking’ so we decided not to chance it and went back to camping in the forest which is just outside of town. I have another friend joining us on Monday for a few days. She is driving up from Tucson where she works and lives part time. I met both of my friends while on this awesome van adventure and I have plans to meet up with several more over the next few months. I am happy I found people that are just like me that love exploring new places, having new experiences, spending lots of time outdoors and do not want to stay at campgrounds. Wednesday morning we are going to Flagstaff to get supplies and then after that headed to the Grand Canyon. I am super excited about going to the Grand Canyon 🌼
I went hiking today on trails with views of Bell rock and Courthouse rock in Sedona with a friend I’ve been camping with that I met early on when I started van dwelling. They name the big rocks here. The Bell rock looks like a bell and the Courthouse rock I guess looks like a courthouse. Of course I had to get a picture of me in front of Courthouse rock. I would much rather be in front of Courthouse rock than an actual courthouse, lots more fun. You have to buy a Red Rock Pass to hang on your rear view mirror in order to park near the trail heads and for the free dispersed camping in the forest, although I never saw anyone checking for them. However, they also accept the America the Beautiful Pass as a Red Rock Pass which is great for me since I have one. That pass paid for itself a long time ago, so worth the $80 annual fee. It is starting to get hot here in the daytime so I may head up to higher elevation soon. I am really enjoying beautiful Sedona though 🌸
I went to this cool meteor crater site this morning, spent the afternoon in Flagstaff and am now in Sedona. I am scared of heights so I was little nervous driving the winding road along the cliffs leading to Sedona but the beautiful scenery made up for it. I met up with a friend of mine and we swung on hammock swings outside this place called The Chocolate Tree and then we drove to some forest land that is free to camp on. We found this great spot up on a hill with beautiful views. We took a nice hike and saw lots of flowers blooming. I am laying in my bed right now listening to total silence outside and I love it. I missed being out in the boondocks. I have a lot of work to catch up on tomorrow but at least my office will have beautiful views.
Over the last several days I drove the iconic Route 66 through Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. It is now called I-40 but you can still see remnants of the original road and some of the original buildings. Today I went to the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona that is right off of Route 66. I met a father and son from England at the park who told me that it has been their dream for a long time to come to America to drive Route 66 together. The dad was bragging about the Ford Mustang they rented for their road trip and when he saw me in the parking lot of the visitor center he revved up the engine of the Ford Mustang and had a big smile on his face. I gave him a thumbs up. It made me happy to see them having such a great time together. Part of the park is called the Painted Desert. I sat on a rock and stared at the Painted Desert for a long time because it was so beautiful. Another part of the park is called the Blue Mesa because of the blue tinted rocks. 225 million years ago (we are on this earth for such a small blip of time so go out there and enjoy it) the park used to be lush vegetation with dinosaurs roaming the area. The petrified wood logs in the park were once beautiful trees from the dinosaur era that were covered with sediment and petrified underground which turned the wood into stone. It was so cool to see the stone in the middle of the wood. Due to climate change the lush vegetation is now the desert and lots of fossils were discovered. They have several dinosaurs in the museum that is part of the park. It was such a cool park to go to. I asked a park ranger if I could park overnight anywhere in the park and he told me there was an area right outside the south entrance of the park that I can park overnight for free so I am there right now. I may move on though to get some more driving in today. I loved my adventure today 🌻
Brian and I parted ways. He wants someone to travel in a van with him and he wants to spend the month of April and May at music and camping festivals in Texas. I enjoy traveling on my own in my van and exploring places I haven’t been before. I have seen enough of Texas. It was a fun van dweller romance that I do not regret. He is a great guy and I wish him the best. I am headed West towards Northern Arizona to explore Flagstaff, Sedona and the Grand Canyon. I stayed at a really nice rest area in Texas last night that had beautiful views of the valley. It even had a tornado shelter in the bathroom that was built under the ground. The temperature is so much cooler in northern Texas. I was in shorts and flip-flops in stifling hot Southern Texas and I woke up this morning in long pants and a sweatshirt in Northern Texas. I missed the cool weather. I love that I can travel with the seasons like snowbirds. I enjoy being free as a bird 🌷
I left Freebird (my van) at Brian’s dad’s house and Brian and I are traveling together in his van to try it out. Last night we listened to some bluegrass music at a bar/coffee house in Austin, Texas and stayed overnight in the van in the parking lot. Brian’s friend is also traveling with us in his van. Today we arrived early at the Old Settlers Music Festival in Driftwood, Texas. We have event and camping tickets but not parking passes for the van in the campground so to get in the campground early Brian’s friend told them “we are dropping off supplies at the honky-tonk camp” and we got in. Everyone likes to name their camp area. We are camping next to the Sketchyville Camp, haven’t met them yet. We don’t have a name for our camp area yet. Everybody is here early. The place is packed. I am looking forward to the festival music and meeting new people. Already met some great people🌺
This weekend I met up with my boyfriend Brian❤️ and a friend of his at a camping and music festival in Oklahoma called Soulklahoma. The first night it rained pretty hard. I was looking out my back van windows at people in tents and was very happy to be in my nice dry van. The weather cleared up but it was pretty much a mudfest with peoples cars getting stuck in the mud and I had to walk through a mixture of mud and cow dung to get to my van. (I still can’t get that stuff out of my toenails even after a shower – eww!) They had the event on property owned by several local farmers in a rural area outside of Oklahoma City. I had views of cows and horses from my windows which was nicer than my views of the truckstops and Walmarts I have stayed at over the last week. I liked the music but it was super loud bass pumping music until about four in the morning that my sound machine app wouldn’t even drown out so we left early even though it’s going on all weekend. Within the next few days we are headed to a music and camping festival in Texas called Old Settlers Music Festival. Brian is going to bring his violin to play since they usually have jam sessions around the campground. I am looking forward to it. www.oldsettlersmusicfest.org.
There aren’t any Walmarts in Memphis, Tennessee that allow overnight parking so last night I parked overnight at a truck stop in Mississippi about a half hour from Graceland (in Memphis). A guy working there told me it was okay because there are people living in their cars in the parking lot. I asked if it was safe and he said ‘well it’s a truck stop’. I thought ‘wow there’s people living in their cars in the parking lot’ but then I realized I would actually be living in my van in the parking lot 😉 I would like to think I’m in a different class of people though because I travel while living in my vehicle instead of staying in one area all the time. When I drove up to Graceland the sign stated it was $10 to park but the lady just waved me through while collecting money from everyone else. Afterwards I realized that she must’ve thought I was there to work since I have a cargo van, so free parking for me 😀 I loved visiting Graceland. For those who do not know that is where Elvis’s home is along with his cars, airplanes, a museum full of Elvis memorabilia and Elvis himself buried next to his parents and his grandmother. I still remember the day he passed away when I was a kid. Walking through his house I felt like I stepped back into the 70s. I loved the 70s decor. I could picture Elvis living there. I really enjoyed listening to Elvis’s music while I was walking around Graceland. His music is in my head right now. He is gone but his music lives on🎤
I am staying at a Walmart tonight in Alabama. Walmarts are my first choice to park overnight when traveling between destinations. They are often near the interstate, there are other van dwellers and campers doing the same thing that I can park near and I can go inside to stock up on groceries and other supplies. I also like rest areas since right off the interstate but a lot of states don’t allow overnight parking at rest areas. I took a different route than I did when I traveled from Oklahoma last month. This time I am going through northern Alabama to Memphis, Tennessee because I want to go to Graceland 🎼 and because I just wanted to go a different route to experience something new. After Memphis I am heading West to Oklahoma. I love that each day I can decide where I want to go and it can be somewhere new. Today was my son’s (boo-boo bear’s) first day working as a lighting technician on a cruise ship. He will be working the shows and the parties on the ship. He has his own cabin which he wasn’t expecting but is happy to have. He will be at sea for seven months straight before having some time off but will be able to go ashore at all the ports of call which are different depending on the cruise date. He found a career he is passionate about and achieved his dream job at only 20 years old. I also love that it involves travel. He was pretty much raised taking cruises. I’m so happy for him🤗