Snow, a Hot Shower and Working at a Truckstop

As I was headed to my next destination I  saw flakes of white stuff hitting my windshield. It took me a minute to register that it was snow. I just wasn’t thinking about driving through an area that has snow to get to a destination that doesn’t when not that far away. I was raised where there is no snow so I’m not use to that. Kind of freaked me out as I have never driven through snow before. It was a light icey snowfall although it caused traffic to slow down. Today I took a hot shower at the truck stop I stayed at last night. It was my first hot shower in over a month. I’ve been doing a lot of urban parking with my van and in the cities I have been to there hasn’t been any truckstops to get showers. If I was going to be in the urban areas longer I would have purchased a gym membership since gyms have showers. A lot of urban van dwellers purchase gym memberships mainly for that reason. Over the last month I’ve been taking cold showers at the beach or washing my hair in my sink and then using baby wipes and a sponge bath for the rest of me. Flying J Truckstops have the best showers. You get your own bathroom with a vanity, toilet and sitting area and a huge shower that is very clean and better than most peoples bathrooms in their houses. They give you soap and towels like a hotel does and they have music playing for you. Now that I am back on the road I should have no problem finding truckstops with hot showers. I really enjoyed the long hot shower I took. It’s the simple things in life that bring the most pleasure.  I have been hanging out at the truck stop all day because I’m trying to get caught up with work while I have cell service and therefore internet because where I’m headed I’m told has spotty cell service if any at all. One of the downsides to working remotely on the road is that I need decent cell service because I use my phone as a hot spot for the internet so I can work. If I don’t blog for the next several days it is because I don’t have cell service 📱

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All Beached Out

Over the last several days I have been to several California beach towns. Laguna Beach was beautiful. I enjoyed walking on the boardwalk in Newport Beach. Huntington Beach is pretty nice too. I have been doing my urban camping on residential streets like I did in San Diego. There is lots of street parking in California. I try not to park directly in front of someone’s house because they often feel that is their area even though they don’t own the street. A lot of homes here don’t have driveways to park on. I don’t want to give them a reason to call the police if they suspect I am sleeping in my van since illegal to in most beach towns. Since I am in a cargo van though most people don’t suspect anything. Worst case scenario I have to pay a ticket usually only around $50 which is no big deal to me, especially since I don’t pay rent or a mortgage. As much as I love the beach and parking my home just blocks from the beach over the past three weeks I am ready to move on to a different backyard. A forest or a desert maybe 🌳🌵

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Van Life Gathering

Today I went to a Vanlife Gathering on Fiesta Island in San Diego that they have once a month. There is a huge van life culture in California. There was a lot of awesome vans and van dwellers at the gathering. I knew some of the van dwellers already from my travels. There was also some RVs there and a converted school bus with a roof top deck that I got some cool pictures from. A friend of mine that was there planted a garden in the front section of his step van. Another van dweller had chalkboard paint on the outside of her van that she invited everyone to write and draw on. I wrote ‘Freedom’ on it because I feel so much freedom living and traveling in my van. We had a delicious potluck and a campfire. I had such a great time. I love the van life and the people that are part of it!😍

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Meeting Family

Today I met a family member that I have never met before. My second cousin that I visited while traveling in my van in Michigan that I saw for the first time in over twenty years texted me to see where I was at as she often does. After I texted her back that I was in San Diego she texted me back “Shut up! My niece lives there in her van!” I did remember hearing that her niece lives in her van from her mom when I met her mom in Michigan but I didn’t remember where she said she lived. Her mom was married to my late other second cousin (I think I got that right). I think that makes my second cousin’s niece and my other second cousin’s daughter my third cousin, not sure though. Anyway I finally met Julia today at the beach. She didn’t have her van with her because it needs a new battery but I showed her my van. Julia and her boyfriend were super nice. I am so glad I met them. It is nice to know there is another van dweller in our family that also enjoys a life of simplicity, exploring new places and adventure. I told Julia I always like to take pictures of views out my back van doors with my van doors in the picture and she said she does the same thing and texted me the last two pictures below of places she has had views of outside her back van doors. When I set off on my van adventure over a year ago I wasn’t thinking about looking up family members I have never met before or haven’t seen in decades but it has been a nice addition to my adventures traveling in my van 🚐

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San Diego Zoo🦁🐒🐘

Usually I don’t like going to zoos because I love animals too much to see them in captivity. However, I made an exception for the San Diego Zoo since I have heard so much about it. I went with a friend to the zoo today. The animals looked well cared for but some of their enclosures seemed too small to me. It really bothered me to see birds that were at the top of their netted area that looked like they wanted to fly out of there but couldn’t and this tiger that was pacing back and forth because no decent area to run free. There was this gorilla that backed himself up to the glass enclosure I guess because he didn’t want to see us. Maybe most of the animals grew up in the zoo so they don’t know they are missing roaming free in the wild. I couldn’t be stuck in one place all the time because I know what I would be missing. I love roaming free in the wild wonderful world we live in 🌎

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Still Stealthin’ it in San Diego

I spent Thursday through Sunday in the Pacific Beach section of San Diego stealth parked on a street a few blocks from the beach. On Saturday I met up with an ex-boyfriend and his friend for a walk on the boardwalk. I spent yesterday on Fiesta Island on the bay. I blasted my music with my van doors open to the bay. I missed being loud and having my van doors open. Sleeping overnight on city streets where it is not allowed requires me to be quiet with my van doors closed. Last night I stealth parked not far from Fiesta Island in a college neighborhood. This morning I took a hike in the mountains and then drove downtown to Seaport Village on the bay for lunch. Tonight I met up with a friend I met over a year ago at the last RTR and with friends I met recently in Slab City. We all live full-time in our vans.  I started this blog keeping pictures of me off the blog on the slim chance a client would see it and then realized I was being too paranoid so I started putting pictures of me on here. But then when I was in New Hampshire I met this lady who recognized me from my blog so I took all of my pictures off here. Well now I am back to not being paranoid anymore and basically not caring if clients see this blog. The bottom line is that I can do my job just as easily working from my van while traveling as I would sitting in an office and hopefully they would realize that too. My favorite way to wear my hair now is putting my hair in braids because it works great for van dwellers like me that haven’t washed their hair in awhile. It got super windy and cold here today. I am warm now snuggled up in my sleeping bag stealth parked for the night getting ready to dig into some girl scout cookies I bought earlier 🍪

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Cliff Hiking and Sea Lions in San Diego

I am really enjoying San Diego. A couple of nights ago I stayed overnight on a residential street in a really nice neighborhood in Sunset Cliffs. The next morning I drove a block away to the Sunset Cliffs Natural Park and backed up my van and opened my back van doors to enjoy a view of the ocean while working. At 9am the university higher up on the hill played Star Spangled Banner on their loud speaker, which I guess they do every morning. As I was listening to the song and looking out at the ocean I thought my life is awesome and we live in such a beautiful country. After I was done with work I took a long hike along the cliffs climbing over a lot of rocks which I enjoyed. Today I saw the sea lions at La Jolla Cove. They were so cute pointing their noses to the sun and they made cute sounds. As I was driving this winding road in La Jolla I saw an area I could pull over at that had stairs going down to the ocean off of the cliff so I parked, walked down the stairs and walked on the beach below and walked over all these rocks. I then found a nice parking spot on Mission Bay at this park and backed up my van to have a great view of the bay and boats going by out my back windows while I got some work done. I have had some great views from my office/home/van lately 🏖⛵️

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I ❤️ San Diego

San Diego is one of my favorite cities. There are beautiful beaches, cliffs, laid back beach towns, lots of outdoor areas to explore, lots of free overnight parking for me to stealth park and nice locals. For the last four nights I slept in my van on residential streets only a block from Ocean Beach which is a laid back cute beach town. There are tons of van dwellers here, most young surfer hippy types. I met one of them. They hang out in the beach parking lots in the daytime to surf and then drive to the residential areas to sleep in their vans overnight on the street since the beach parking lots don’t allow you to park 2am to 4am. You are not supposed to sleep overnight in your vehicles but the police don’t enforce it unless you are causing problems. I still keep it on the down low so I don’t have to worry about moving. The first three nights I stayed in the same spot on the street because I could walk to the beach, stores and restaurants. It was in the younger party crowd section close to the bars so a little loud on the weekend. I was in my van and heard this guy yell to his friends “I have to pee. I am going to hide behind this van”. I tried not to laugh too loud when I heard him peeing next to my van. I thought it would be funny to open my door and freak him out but then he might of been startled and peed on me. Non van dwellers don’t expect anyone to be in a cargo van late at night. Since being mobile allows me to change neighborhoods when I feel like it I moved to a quite family neighborhood last night. In Ocean Beach I got a tattoo of a bird to symbolize being free as a bird traveling in my van and a butterfly in memory of my mom who loved butterflies because they represent a new beginning. I wanted the tattoo for awhile now and finally found a tattoo artist whose work I loved. I am super happy with how the tattoo came out. Buying marijuana for recreational purposes (not just medical) became legal in California on January 1, 2018. As I was walking down the street a huge bus stopped to take tourists for free to their marijuana dispensary since there were none on the beach. I already bought some at a dispensary in another part of California. Hey its legal!😁 I did the same thing in Colorado where it is legal. Today I explored the beautiful Sunset Cliffs. I backed up my van to have a nice view of the cliffs and the ocean out my back windows while I got some work done. I couldn’t ask for a better office view. I then took a nice long walk along the cliffs. What a wonderful life!

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San Diego Beaches

The last two nights I parked overnight on a street that was only a one minute walk to Imperial Beach next to a wildlife area with a view of  Tijuana, Mexico in the distance on the hillside. The only downside is the sound  of helicopters in the area watching the border since the area is backed up right next to it. You are allowed to park overnight but your are not allowed to sleep overnight in your vehicle so I put my black cardboard cutouts in the windows and used a dimmer light at night. Today I spent the day parked right next to the beach in Coronado. I enjoyed walking around town and checking out the beautiful Coronado hotel and marina that I have only seen in pictures until now. I tried swimming but it was too cold. I took advantage of the shower in the beach bathroom to wash my hair. I seize opportunities when they are presented to me. You are not allowed to park overnight on Coronado beach so I just drove a few minutes down the road to park on a residential street. I have to keep it on the down low that sleeping in the van again since not allowed to do that here either. At night is when I play on the internet and watch tv shows or movies on Netflix with my computer and earphones. I have enjoyed walking on the beach everyday. It has been nice to be on the beach since I have only been in the desert the last four months. I think it is funny that I have been sleeping in my van for free just minutes from the beach next to all these expensive homes. I would much rather sleep in my van than in any of those expensive homes because my van bed is comfy and my home has wheels to take me somewhere new and exciting whenever I feel like it! 🚐

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I am Leaving Slab City Tomorrow??

When I first started camping with the group I am in at Slab City, California someone in our group everyday would say they were leaving the next day to go to a specific destination. I said several times I was going to Baja, Mexico with a caravan I found, Holtville Hot Springs or San Diego but a week later I am still here and so is everyone else in our camp. We started setting up hammocks between our vans in our circle that we made and stopped talking about leaving. We are enjoying concerts and campfire parties in our area which is the nicest part of the slabs. Last night we went to a local camp run by a nice lady called Dreamcatcher whose camp is called Wanderland with a platform with lights strung everywhere and dilapated RVs surrounding it probably going back to the 70s that haven’t moved in decades with a disco ball in the middle, cool music and very unique locals hanging out. After we got back to our camp there was a loud explosion and a huge fire right next to the camp we just left. Against my better judgment I walked over there with three others and we ended up in a bad area with shacks and what they call ‘zombies’ here (drugged up tweaker meth heads) coming out of the woodwork and people yelling at us for walking in their ‘yards’. I kept telling our group to stick to the streets and they wouldn’t listen to me and I didn’t want to walk the desert streets alone. People create their yards out here with rocks, tires and other nearby garbage (no trash pick up in Slab City) to mark their property boundaries that they take seriously. We got back safely to our camp and I vowed to stick to the main desert streets, preferably in the daytime, with large groups from now on. The firefighters had a hard time containing the fire. The explosion was caused by someone lighting their propane heater that ended up burning down their trailer and a lot of the area around it. I was glad to hear the guy got out okay. Just another crazy day in Slab City. I plan on leaving Monday to go to San Diego, but plans are never taken too seriously around here. One of the many joys of this nomadic lifestyle is the many choices we have such as where we want to go, how long we want to stay there and where we want to go next🗺

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