Moving On… It happens every 2 weeks

As boondockers (camping somewhere without water, toilet, electric, showers, etc.) we have to move camps frequently. Most free sites (BLM land, National Forest land, etc.) only allow a 14-day stay, which means every 2 weeks or so, we have to pack up and move. This also means a lot of my time is spent researching new sites and driving to them to scope them out if they are close enough.

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The worst thing is to arrive at a site we haven’t been to before and find out it doesn’t meet our needs. It is either full, or the road in is too treacherous for the Mini to make it, or it has no shade cover for the tents or has no cell signal or something else that makes it unsuitable. That’s why I like to go investigate it first.

When we do find a good site, the move takes about three days. Day one is packing everything up (we don’t have a rig, so we have a lot of stuff in the tents). Day two is actually moving and setting up enough of the site so that we can cook and sleep, and day three is finishing the setup. So in a 14-day period, 6 days are spent moving. It gets tiring for sure, but it’s free, so we do it.

The best thing about moving every 2 weeks is the adventure of exploring a new site. And, if we move far enough, we also get to explore a new town or city. That’s always so much fun!

However, most of the time, we make short moves. It’s just easier, and since we’re not on a schedule, for the most part, it is our preference. Right now, Rico and Eric (my brother from another mother) are working in the town of Buena Vista, Colorado at a restaurant for the season, so we need to stay close. We’ll probably have to move at least 2 more times before the job is finished, so I’m currently scoping out our next site.

After the guys finish working, Eric will head back home to Texas for a bit, and Rico and I are thinking about going over to Utah to see the National Parks there before it gets too cold. I’m really looking forward to that.

We had hoped to see more things in Colorado, but the job was too good to pass up, and we really needed to save up some money before winter. There’s always next summer, right?

The area we are in now is amazingly beautiful. I had been here before as a child, but Rico had never seen it. On his days off, we have been exploring. We’ve been wanting to go up to Maroon Bells near Aspen, but the smoke from the wildfires west of us has been hovering over the mountains, and we really want to see the Bells in all their glory, so we’re waiting it out.

We are going to go see The Royal Gorge over in Canon City (pronounced Canyon) and make a trip to Colorado Springs to see all the sites there. It’s really great that we’re so close to so many awesome places!

Before we head out to Utah, we’re definitely planning to drive through Rocky Mountain National Park if we make it out of here before the first snowfall.

Stay tuned for awesome pics headed your way, and be sure to go subscribe to our YouTube Channel so you can keep up with all our adventures!

https://www.youtube.com/buskingbohemians

Big Love,

Lainie

The stress of the nomadic life

Most people think living life on the road is the ultimate dream. I sure did… until we actually did it.

I’m sure living this life would be more than amazing if we had an income like so many of the nomads do. We aren’t retirement age, and my disability claim is “pending” (which I’m told could take YEARS!!! what???) so, we have to rely on our ability to hustle and make money any way we can, which is often extremely difficult.

Busking is fun and SOMETIMES profitable, but more often than not, we don’t make enough each day to cover our expenses. For example, we went last week to both Leadville, CO and Salida, CO. In Leadville, we made 9 bucks. In Salida, we made ZERO.

It all depends on the place you set up, the people in the area, and whether or not your music is to their liking.

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At the Traveler’s Campfest (where we were camped) we played around the “campfire” (burn ban, so there was no actual fire… we just circled around a field) and they passed the hat for us. We were SHOCKED and THANKFUL for what we received there. It was enough to cover our expenses for the next week. PLUS, the other nomads just kept coming to our campsite and just giving us cash… 5 bucks, 20 bucks, 50 bucks… they were all sooooooooooooo generous that it really touched our hearts.

Now that the Campfest is over, we’ve moved to a new site with our tribe and Rico is looking for a job in a kitchen. We’ll stay here until it gets too cold and save money for the next leg of our journey. We’ll also continue to busk because you never know when or where you might just make a few dollars.

If you are considering the nomadic life, remember that it costs money – not as much as living in a traditional house or apartment – but it still costs money. My advice to you, if you are in this place, is to make sure you have enough saved for an emergency fund, have a plan to cover your expenses while on the road, and DO YOUR RESEARCH!!! There are plenty of YouTubers out there who have made all the mistakes already, so make sure you subscribe to their channels and WATCH THEIR VIDEOS so you can learn from their mistakes.

Rico and I thought we were really ready when we left DC last November, but we have discovered that there is a HUGE learning curve to this lifestyle and mistakes will be made… sometimes costly ones… Better to be prepared than to be stuck, so do your homework!

Hope to see you all out there on the road!!!

Big Love,

Lainie

Here’s the link to our YouTube channel. I’d appreciate it if you would go hit subscribe ūüôā

https://www.youtube.com/buskingbohemians

 

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.

 

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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

The Tent Killing Winds – Part Three

Yes! It happened again! Despite all we’ve learned along the way, we were again caught unprepared to deal with high winds. We thought we had taken all the precautions necessary and prepared the campsite the best we could, but all of that was no match for those infamous Santa Ana Winds… I don’t actually know if it was the Santa Ana Winds, but they were devil winds none-the-less, and they wounded Big Betsy. We still don’t know if she will survive the ordeal.

The second day at the Joshua Tree BLM camp, we were joined by one of our tribe members, Deni. She is a joy, and we are blessed to have the opportunity to spend time with her. We all discussed the upcoming wind forecast and began prepping for the night. Deni is in a van, so all she needed to do was make sure everything was inside and find a safe place to park for the night (away from any trees, which are few and far between, so it wasn’t too difficult).

We, on the other hand, are in a tent, as you all know by now, so we had a lot of preparations ahead of us.

We put everything we could in the tent, trailer, or car, and then set to the task of shoring up Big Betsy for the event. We made sure the tent pegs were securely in the ground, secured the rain-fly, and even wrapped the tent with extra tarps. I cleaned out the car, moved the seats back as far as possible, and got it ready in the event we needed to sleep there. Next, we put the dog’s crate and the toilet inside the tent, had dinner (delicious quesadillas), and then hunkered down for the night. Everyone was inside and battened down by 6:30 p.m. as the winds came whipping down the mountain.

About 1 a.m. I got in the car because the wind was deafening and I couldn’t sleep. Rico and the dogs joined me around 3 a.m. because Big Betsy had given up the ghost. We were both exhausted and feeling very defeated. I shed some tears, and we discussed our options. We purchased the warranty on Big Bertha, so we knew we could get Big Betsy replaced, but we were really questioning our ability to continue on the journey in a tent.

How would we handle the wind situation going forward?

What if we ran into worse storms?

Should we go home, get jobs, save up money for a van, RV, etc. before hitting the road again?

Should we abandon the plan altogether?

We knew we were both tired and frustrated, so after looking at other tent options and researching the weather for the coming week, we tabled the discussion until we had rested.

The winds finally died down around 11 a.m., so Rico shored up Big Betsy and we all took a long nap.

Poor Deni, safe in her van all night, had been so concerned about us that she didn’t sleep either, so she slept the afternoon away as well.

By 4 p.m., we were all up and moving, though still exhausted. I was in a depressed state, and Deni saw that, so she set about to cheer me up and encourage me to continue our journey. I am truly thankful for her words because they did the trick. Rico had already made the turn from defeat to “let’s do this!”, and Deni helped me take that turn also.

Turns out Big Betsy held up better than we first thought… only a tent pole bent and one little rip in the velcro that holds the tent fly to the frame… so she’s fixable. I’ll call the manufacturer today to see if they’ll replace the pole or if we need to replace Big Betsy entirely.

This was our camp before the winds…

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Now all the tarps are gone, as is the shower tent, and we’ve patched up Big Betsy as much as possible while we wait to hear back from Field & Stream and Dick’s Sporting Goods (they have been no help thus far).

We’re also working on a contingency plan because, although Pearl is awesome as a car, she is terrible as a bed, so we need to find another option in the event that we have this happen again… which I’m sure it will. Better safe than sorry, right?

After we get these issues figured out, we’ll go back to enjoying the journey. We’re heading to Slab City in a couple of weeks, and going to busk here in the area until then, so stay tuned for more exciting adventures!

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:

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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 ūüôā

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

2018 RTR Part II

I’ve heard that the 2018 RTR had between 2500 and 3000 people in attendance, and I believe it! I am still amazed at the number of people out there on the roads living free and unencumbered.

We saw all sorts of rigs from the super expensive, massive RV’s to the smallest little trailers. We saw homemade rigs and van conversions, and we saw people like us, living in tents. We also saw people, a lot of them, living in their cars or SUV’s. It is still surreal to me.

To think that so many people feel compelled, either by necessity or a strong case of wanderlust, to live life on the road is still hard for me to grasp. It is truly a counter-culture, and it is so refreshing to me.

We met some incredible people (Bob Wells and Carolyn Rose are two of them) and learned so much from the seminars and the people we camped with. I am still processing everything…

We really enjoyed the seminars and I was pleased to find out they were using a PA because I could sit right in front of my tent and hear everything just perfectly.

After the orientation and being made aware of the “rules” of the RTR, and learning that music wasn’t allowed in the main camp where we were, Rico decided to try and organize a Potluck Jam at the music camp. He made a sign and posted it on the bulletin board, and we waited for Friday with much anticipation.

On Friday, we grabbed a bag of chips and some trail mix and headed over to the music section. One of the guys we met early on (Omaso) had told us how to find the music fire, and after a couple of missed turns (it’s difficult to navigate effectively in the desert), we made it. The awesome people who were camped around the music fire (G, River, Mel, George) welcomed us like old friends and people began arriving. It did our hearts good to host another jam. We had been missing interaction and fellowship and JAMMING with fellow musicians since leaving DC, and this was just the thing we needed.

We opened up by sharing a song and a little bit about ourselves. After that, Rico strummed a simple tune and we went around the fire asking people to sing a little about themselves and whatever they wanted to say. It was a lot of fun.

After that icebreaker, people began stepping up to play and joining in when others played. A lot of people brought food to share, and G’s lady, River, cooked a delicious Thai meal for everyone. It was a wonderful night!!

More RTR 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