Living in a tent SUCKS!

Okay – it only sucks sometimes.

We have been living in tents since November of 2017 (with a couple of months spent living in a travel trailer in Texas in Rico’s parent’s backyard) and for the most part, we have really enjoyed it.

But…

There are times when it is really challenging!

We are currently on our 5th main tent and we’re about to have to replace it again. We’ve decided we’re not going to get another one like the last three because they’ve all had the same issues. The zippers on the doors stop working, and the front loop for the tent stake tears, causing the nylon part of the tent to rip. We’re done with that tent! Hasta la vista, baby!

Wind is also a HUGE factor. If you’ve read past blog posts, you know what I’m talking about.

The Tent Killing Winds Part One

The Tent Killing Winds Part Two

The Tent Killing Wings Part Three

There is also a video about it on our YouTube page. Please subscribe to our channel while you’re there!

After the current main tent was recently battered and beaten by the wind, and since it is already needing to be replaced because of the zippers and strap, we started looking for something smaller and more suited to high winds. We still haven’t found what we’re looking for but we are on the hunt.

We also need to make sure it is big enough for our bed, because we are currently sleeping in what used to be the secondary tent, and it’s ALL bed. Not fun when you have to change the sheets.

Speaking of sleeping, when one is housing themselves in a tent, one must make certain the bed is the absolute best! Ours most certainly is. It’s a Coleman Cot with a built-in air mattress and it is the most comfortable bed I’ve slept on in years! (I’m not getting any kick-backs for recommending this bed – I just want to inform y’all)

We have had to replace the air mattress one time, but we got a cheap one from a big-box store and it works great. It also comes with a battery powered air pump that makes inflating and deflating the bed super easy. The only drawback is that it’s pretty heavy.

Hopefully, we’ll find our forever tent this time around. I’m getting sick of replacing them for sure!

Hope to see you out there on the road!

Big Love,

Lainie

A Day In The Life…

Good morning all! I thought I’d let you get a peek inside our world of boondocking. What is boondocking? It’s a term for those who camp without hookups or any typical camping conveniences (i.e., bathrooms, water, electricity, etc.). It’s also called dispersed camping or dry camping.

 

Lainie Phone 11.9.17 040

Morning:

Wake and head to the toilet – for us this means exiting our sleeping tent and schlepping over to the bathroom tent next door (or across or behind, depending on how we set up the camp), making sure to let the dogs out at the same time. We have a nice RV portable toilet, but many people use a bucket or something similar… that would not have worked for this girl, so we have a “real” toilet. After using the toilet, I clean it (there is no water in the bowl, so I like to add a little bleach water before I “flush” it), and then wash my hands.

Next, I round up the pups and give them their breakfast, after which I check the weather (extremely important whilst camping). If all is right with the weather, I usually sit back and read the news, scroll through social media, and watch a video or two. If there is something bad forecasted in the weather, I let Rico know and we get busy addressing whatever issues need to be handled before the inclement weather arrives. (It should be stated here that we ALWAYS check the weather before bed, so we’re usually well prepared before morning, but weather forecasts have a bad habit of changing rapidly, so better safe than sorry.)

Once Rico and I are fully awake, Rico cooks breakfast. Our typical morning fare is eggs with some sort of protein on either tortillas or toast. Sometimes we have oatmeal and fruit, or bean and cheese tacos. When the weather is bad and Rico can’t cook, we have sandwiches because they’re easy. Sometimes I do the dishes after breakfast, but more often I don’t, much to Rico’s annoyance.

Afternoon:

Laundry

After breakfast, we plan our day. Here are some of the activities that we have to choose from:

  • Go to town to do laundry
  • Go to town to get ice
  • Go to town to get groceries
  • Go to town to dispose of our trash
  • Go to town to dump our toilet
  • Go to town to busk
  • Scavenge for firewood
  • Practice music for busking
  • Edit videos
  • Upload videos
  • Blog
  • Write things other than the blog (i.e., music for Rico/novel for Lainie)
  • Visit with our neighbors and/or camping companions
  • Make art
  • Go sightseeing (where we are now, that is mostly going to the hot springs)
  • Play with the dogs
  • Research where we are going next
  • Take a nap… or two… lol

For the town runs, we always combine activities, but laundry and showers rarely happen on the same day because they both take a lot of time.

As you can see, we have a lot of activities to choose from, and every single day includes a nap, for sure.

Lainie Phone 2.14.18 141

Lunch is usually something quick and easy, and we often skip it and have a light snack instead.

Evening:

Once the sun heads toward the western horizon, Rico starts making a fire and preparing to cook dinner. Our meals are often shared with those around us, which is really nice. We enjoy the community feel of these dinners, and everyone pitches in groceries and/or helps cook or tend the fire. I usually get stuck with the dishes (which I detest), but sometimes Rico does them for me (which I greatly appreciate).

rico phone 1.16.18 384

After dinner, we hang out around the campfire and talk about life on the road, past adventures, and future destinations. Rico usually gets out his guitar and we sing songs or just listen to him play something beautiful. It’s really nice. Sometimes we pass the phone around the fire and allow each person to choose a song to play for everyone. You wouldn’t believe some of the songs we’ve heard… from Opera to Irish folk tunes and everything in between.

Night:

We also like to stargaze, and we’ve seen a lot of falling stars. We are super in tune with the phases of the moon now that we’re out here away from the cities. With nothing to block our view, and no bright lights to compete with the beauty of the night sky, we’ve been awed by the things we’ve seen in the heavens. We even saw the SpaceX rocket boosters fall away earlier this month. We thought it was a UFO at first… lol. I’m sure we’ll see one of those eventually.

Lainie Phone 2.3.18 001

We are usually in the tent by around 8pm, and in bed by 9 or 9:30. No late nights for us because once the sun is up, so are we. I expect this to change as the days get longer.

When it’s cold, we have our little heater that we huddle around before climbing, fully clothed (sometimes in multiple layers), beneath a mound of blankets. The dogs snuggle up to us and we keep each other warm.

So, that’s a typical day in our lives. We don’t have jobs, we live without a clock or a calendar, and we try not to plan things too far ahead. We are truly free to live life as we choose, bound only by our budget, which isn’t too bad. We have the time and the talent to make a living out here on the road, and the freedom to do that is worth all the struggles we face.

Yes, I’d rather have a real flushable toilet and a hot shower on board, but I don’t mind doing without those creature comforts in order to live this life of freedom. I have a very comfortable bed, a nice tent, a great portable toilet, plenty of clothes and jackets to keep me warm, a great man to share these adventures with, and I’m unencumbered by the trappings of a “normal” life. To me, this is bliss.

We’re heading to Slab City, so stay tuned for pictures and fun stories from our adventures there!

Big Love,

Lainie

 

 

Thoughts on Going Home

Rico wrote a song years ago about a guy we had met who was a nomadic musician. One of the lines is “Sometimes you just wanna go home.”

I’ve been feeling that way a lot of late.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE this nomadic life… but sometimes the thoughts of a real roof over my head, a flushable toilet and hot shower in the next room, a comfy couch, and cable TV are a bit distracting.

These thoughts usually hit me in moments when we are having difficulties ( The Tent Killing Winds – Part Three ), or when I’m up in the middle of the night, unable to sleep, and bored. I think back to our last home in DC that we loved so much. I think about all our friends and wonder what they’re doing. I think about my children and how much I miss them. I scroll through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, trying to catch up on what everyone is doing, and inevitably get depressed because I’m not with them.

But then, usually while sitting at a beautiful campfire, or watching an incredible sunrise or sunset, or just spending time with Rico and the friends we have made on the road, I come back to myself. I realize this journey is a necessary one for me, and I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that it is good for me, no matter the difficulties I face.

These thoughts are especially pervasive when I’m not feeling well. But then I remind myself that pain is a constant part of my life no matter where I am. If I was in a house, I would still be in pain, still have gastrointestinal issues, and still need to take meds and get rest.

I also realize that any time we feel the need to be with family and to enjoy some time in familiar places, we can always turn Pearl’s nose East and head back to Texas. It’s as simple as that. So, for now, we’re going to continue our journey.

We’re planning on visiting Slab City this week, and will probably make our way to the West Coast and Mexico by mid-March. I hope you’ll follow along on our journey via this blog, our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter feeds, and YouTube.

Our YouTube Channel

Our FB Page

Our Twitter Feed

Our Instagram Feed

‘Til next time… Big Love,

Lainie

Lake Havasu City, AZ – Part 2

The best-laid plans of mice and men…

Yeah… I fell again. Rocks… I blame it all on those darned rocks so prevalent in the Arizona desert. Anyway, I am a beautiful array of purple, green, and blue bruises on my right side and quite sore. Thankfully, it seems I was spared any broken bones.

That being said, we haven’t busked in Lake Havasu City yet, and we probably won’t. We are also delaying our departure to Joshua Tree National Park and Palm Springs to give me a chance to recuperate.

Right now, Pearl (the Mini Cooper) is getting a check-up and oil change and I am looking forward to another shower and hydro-massage at Planet Fitness later, after which I will visit the local Wal Mart to purchase a new air mattress. The one that came with that wonderful Coleman cot is torn beyond repair. I really liked it too but it seems it was no match for the desert (you know, cactus and stickers out the wazoo!).

I’m doing all of this because it is easier than being back at the camp packing things up. Rico is doing that, thankfully. I’m so sore, that bending or picking things up brings tears to my eyes. Sitting in an auto-repair shop and going to Wal Mart is a breeze in comparison (sort of – only the occasional wince), and that hydro-massage will be amazing I’m sure.

Here are a few pictures Rico & I took around the camp:

Rico Phone 1.30.18 085

Most of our companions have departed for other adventures, and once Rico and I and Garrett leave, the Craggy Wash area where we’ve been for the past two weeks will only be a memory. I’m sure we will all return there eventually, as it has been a great experience, but leaving now is somewhat bittersweet. It was truly hard to say goodbye to all our new friends as they left one-by-one, or two-by-two, but we are already making plans to meet up again in the early summer.

I’ll try to keep you updated on our wanderings as much as possible (finding a signal in the remote areas where we camp is difficult at best), and I’ll be sure to check in as often as we are in town and can get free Wi-Fi.

Until then, we hope to see you out there on the road!

Big Love,

Lainie

2018 RTR – Our Tribe

When we arrived at the RTR, we were welcomed by a wonderful group of people who quickly became friends. We felt blessed to immediately find a tribe.

Garrett welcomed us first and introduced us to Miss BJ, James & Kim, Jim, and Tina. Shortly, we added Leon & Jan, Rick, Sara, Theresa, Tony, and Kathie.

As the RTR progressed, we got to know these wonderful people very well and began sharing meals together. Everyone was pleased to discover that Rico is an excellent campfire chef and that he really enjoys cooking for everyone.

Jim and James are great at building and tending fires, so we were all pleased to be able to gather around the campfire each night to laugh and talk. They even encouraged Rico and me to play and sing, so we did… no need to twist our arms!

We also found a wonderful group of fellow musicians over at the music RTR area. G, Rivers, Mel, Omaso, George, and so many others lent both their space and their talent to make our evenings spent around their fire very memorable.

When we left the RTR, Rico and I headed up to the Lake Havasu City area to meet up with our camp tribe. We’ve been here a week now, and we have really enjoyed getting to know these awesome people better!

Garrett, Tony, James, and Jim know everything about everything, and how to fix almost anything! Theresa, Tina, Sara, and Kim love to pitch in with the cooking duties and, man, those ladies are good cooks. BJ, who left us already, was a fantastic bread baker and teller of good stories. We all miss her a lot.

Tony… well there aren’t words for that old codger. We just love him, period. He’s sassy and sarcastic, curmudgeonlingly adorable (is that a word?), and an expert on most subjects. And the guy is as generous as they come. He left the other day to head home, and we miss him already.

rico-phone-1-29-18-461.jpg

Theresa left today for the Grand Canyon and then back home, and she will be greatly missed. She is sweet as pie (and those delicious no-bake cookies she makes), her stories are funny, and her generator has provided lots of coffee in the mornings that most of the camp will hate to do without.

Tina leaves for Texas tomorrow and I just don’t know what I’ll do without her sassy wit to keep me laughing. We’re threatening to follow her and camp out in her front yard.

The rest of us are staying put for a little bit, at least until the Lunar Eclipse, then heading our separate ways.

Rico Phone 1.29.18 417

From l to r: Theresa, Tina, Sara, BJ, Jim & Rico in front

Rico Phone 1.29.18 410

Front to back: left: Sara, Theresa, Rico and right: Tina, BJ, Jim

BJ, Rico & Jim            rico-phone-1-29-18-412.jpg

Rico Phone 1.29.18 413  Rico & Jim

Rico and I are going to Palm Springs and then on to slab city where we hope to meet up with some of our music tribe.

I’ll fill you in on the Lake Havasu sites and activities next time, (and yes, there will be busking!), plus more pictures of our tribe, so stay tuned!

Big Love,

Lainie

PS – there is about to be a couple of new videos up on our YouTube channel about our adventures, so go check it out 🙂

Busking Bohemians YouTube Channel

2018 RTR Part III – Meeting Bob & Carolyn

One of the most exciting things for me at the RTR was getting to meet the people who are directly responsible for us choosing this rubbertramp lifestyle… Bob & Carolyn.

For those of you who don’t yet know them, go check out their YouTube channels. If you are at all considering making the road your new home, they have a lot to teach you!

Cheap RV Living

Carolyn’s RV Life

While you’re at it, you might want to go check out and subscribe to our YouTube channel. We don’t have a lot of content up yet, but we’ve just begun this adventure, so stay tuned!

Busking Bohemians

Anyway, meeting Bob and Carolyn was one of the highlights of the RTR for me. I have been watching and learning from them both for years, so getting to say hello and thank them in person was amazing!

 

I was even part of one of Carolyn’s videos!

Lainie on Carolyn’s Video

Suffice it to say, we really enjoyed our time at the RTR, and we can’t wait to return in 2019!

More RTR stuff (about our new tribe of fellow rubbertramps) to come, so stay tuned!

Big Love,

Lainie

The 2018 Rubbertramp Rendezvous (RTR) Part 1

We arrived in Quartzsite, AZ on January 9th for the 2018 RTR in inclement weather conditions. It was cloudy and raining off and on, which doesn’t mix well with tent camping. We were certainly dreading setting up the tent in the rain, and we didn’t know what to expect in the way of campsites.

With trepidation in our hearts, we set off down the worst paved road I’ve ever driven down – worse than anything DC has to offer. Because we were pulling the trailer, we took it very slow, which only made the bumps worse.

At the end of that four-mile long pothole filled road was a dirt road that was marginally better. We only had to drive that road for a little over a mile, so we were optimistic. Because it’s the desert, we were hopeful that the road wouldn’t be too muddy and that we wouldn’t get stuck.

We finally made it to the first RTR sign, and since it said RTR Music, we turned right and headed in. We weren’t expecting a different section for musicians but were pleased with the prospect of camping near fellow performers.

After driving the entire length of the music section and not seeing anyplace that looked smooth and level enough for our tent (the entire ground was covered in rocks), we reluctantly pulled back out onto the main road and headed for the main RTR camp.

After driving down into the main section of the RTR camp and finding more of the same, we were at a loss as to what to do and where to camp, plus the rain was still coming down.

As we circled back around by the main camp area where all the seminars were going to be held, a guy in a white truck flagged us down. He had seen my disability placard hanging from the rearview and told us that we were in the section set aside for people with disabilities to camp.

Rico got out and scouted the area for a good tent spot. After deciding where to camp, I backed the trailer in (I’m getting better at backing!) and we started setting up the tent in the rain.

It didn’t take long, and the sun finally came out a little. We were even blessed with a double rainbow, which made me feel confident that our RTR experience would be a good one. I wish I had thought to get a picture of it…

I must say that we were very lucky to find the spot we did, and we are eternally grateful to Garrett for flagging us down! We met the most wonderful people in that spot and feel we have made lifelong friendships. I will get into more of that in a later blog.

The first night was great, not too cold, and pretty uneventful. We were there a couple of days prior to the start of the RTR, so we had plenty of time to get our camp set up, which is what we did the next day.

Here are some pictures of our first couple of days in Quartzsite:

I’ve got so much more to share, so stay tuned!

Big Love,

Lainie

 

 

The Journey West

We departed the Texas Hill Country on January 5th and headed for an overnight stop in Abilene to visit Rico’s family.

On the 6th, we headed west to Roswell, NM and camped overnight in a really nice State Park – Bottomless Lakes. The scenery was beautiful, the accommodations were quite nice, and the price was right at just $14.00.

The next morning we headed into Roswell to take a look at all the UFO stuff. We really enjoyed the museum and I’ll admit, it made a believer out of me!

The doggies were sure thirsty, so here are some cute pics of them drinking out of the console:

lainie phone 1.12.18 174lainie phone 1.12.18 175

lainie phone 1.12.18 176lainie phone 1.12.18 178

We had a great time in Roswell, but we had to get on the road to Alamogordo so we could get our tent set up before dark. The drive was really pretty and we’ll be posting some of our GoPro videos on our YouTube channel soon, so be sure to subscribe – youtube.com/c/buskingbohemians – so you can see them once they’re up.

Once we got to Alamogordo, we decided to stop for ice before heading to the campsite. Rico was walking the pups, so I went in and got the ice. When I opened the trailer to put the ice in the cooler, I set my wallet on the top of the trailer, and… you guessed it… I forgot about it.

I can only assume it flew off the trailer once we pulled out of the gas station, but I didn’t notice it until we arrived at the State Park and I went to get my wallet so we could register. I was totally FREAKED out, as you can imagine because EVERYTHING was in that wallet. I was picturing all the trouble I was going to go through to replace my ID, etc., so I grabbed my phone and started to look up the gas station where we had just been on the off chance that someone had found it and turned it in. Lo and behold, there were a text and a voicemail from an awesome guy who had found it. He and his lady had spotted it scattered all over the highway, stopped to pick it up and gathered all my stuff, including my ID and debit card. They also found one of our Busking Bohemians cards, which has our phone numbers on it. That’s when they texted and called. I was so flabbergasted that it took me a moment to register what had happened. I called and spoke to the man, who then offered to drive out to the State Park and bring it to me. What??? I was blown away!!!

Here is a picture of the two angels, Gordy King and Donna Countryman:

rico phone 1.16.18 275.jpg

My faith in the goodness of humans was definitely restored that day!

Our camp that night was okay… not great… but cheap (only 10 bucks). I was a little disappointed in the amenities of this small park (Oliver Lee Memorial State Park), but for the price, you can’t beat it.

I had a little mishap at this camp. I was trying to pull out a tent stake, lost my balance, stood up and stepped back to try and regain my balance, and tripped over a pile of rocks, landing flat on my back. I probably cracked a bone in my right arm up near my elbow, but without insurance, it wasn’t possible to get it checked out. I swelled up and bruised a lot, but the pain was minimal (until I bumped it). Since the last time I cracked a bone up near my elbow (on my left arm) looked and felt very similar, I think it is probably fractured. The last time they just told me to wear an elbow brace and put my arm in a sling, so that’s what I did this time. I’m all better now and no worse for the wear!

After leaving Alamogordo, we headed to Tucson and stayed the night with friends, which was very nice. We took hot showers, did some laundry, ate some pizza, laughed, talked, and generally had a great time! Thanks, Annette and Clayton!

On the morning of the 9th, we woke up to cloudy skies, a rainy forecast, and a 5+ hour drive to Quartzsite, AZ for the Rubbertramp Rendezvous. We contemplated putting it off another day, but both Rico and I were anxious to get to the RTR, so we loaded up the dogs and our clean clothes and hit the road.

Stay tuned for more posts about the RTR!

Big Love,

Lainie