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

An explanation of my extended silence

Dear Friends:

I wanted to let all of you know why I have been silent for so long here on the blog…

In March, while in Southern California, I had a severe relapse of my Multiple Sclerosis. Rico and I made the difficult decision to leave the road and return to San Antonio, Texas so I could try and recover and get back into remission.

We stayed with Rico’s parents and Rico got a job. I tried to write and paint, but I mostly just slept.

After the weather became too hot for me to bear, I started a gofundme to help us get out of Texas and to cooler temperatures.

We are now in beautiful Colorado where the nights are consistently in the upper 40’s and the days don’t get above the mid-80’s. The humidity is also very low, so I am doing much better.

Rico is again looking for work, and I’m recuperating. We are living in the tent again and roughing it, but life is so much better here!

I will be posting some old videos from our travels in February and March, as well as some new ones from our current adventures. I will also be blogging again, so keep an eye out for updates.

Thanks for hanging with me through the silence!

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

Problems & Decisions, Decisions & Problems…

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While we love our nomadic lifestyle and the freedom it provides, it does come with a few difficulties. Trying to keep everything organized, making sure we have enough ice, water, groceries, and supplies so we don’t have to go to town every day, untangling paracord, trying to keep everything clean, and making sure the dogs don’t get into something they shouldn’t are the everyday things we deal with.

However, there are other things we have to deal with that are on a much larger scale. It doesn’t matter whether or not you are in a sticks and bricks house, an RV, a car or, like us, in a tent… there are always going to be problems you have to deal with that involve your dwelling place. Sometimes they are easy to figure out, fix, and handle… other times, they are downright difficult.

The tent situation is on the more difficult side. We know we are going to have run-ins with wind and rain and other types of inclement weather, and we realize having a plan in place for each of these events is important, but figuring out the solutions for each scenario is more difficult than we anticipated. Especially with our limited budget. After the last tent killing winds episode, we felt we needed to address the problem.

Ideally, we’d have an RV, but that is a mere pipe dream at this time on our journey. So the questions remain:

  • How are we going to handle bad weather?
  • How can we protect the tent during windy weather?
  • Where do we sleep if we have to collapse the tent?
  • Where do we put our stuff if we have to collapse the tent?
  • Where are we going to put the toilet?

Bad Weather (i.e., rain, thunderstorms, snow):

  • If in a flood-prone area, get to higher ground immediately
  • Double tarp the tent
  • Put toilet and supplies in tent
  • Move everything indoors (tent, car, or trailer)
  • Make sure we have all our stuff charged up (phones, laptop, tablets, battery pack)
  • Have food, water, games, etc. handy

Windy Weather:

  • Collapse the big tent and secure it
  • Empty trailer and stash everything
  • Tarp all stuff stashed outside of trailer
  • If wind forecast is for moderate winds, leave bathroom tent up
  • If wind forecast is for high winds, collapse bathroom tent and secure it
  • Organize trailer and car for sleeping

The last windy weather we had, we followed the above protocol. Rico slept in the trailer, and the dogs and I slept in the car. We put the toilet in the front of the trailer for ease of access, and Rico had the buddy heater since I could start the car and use the heater if I got cold.

Everything seems to work well, though schlepping through the blowing sand to use the bathroom at 3am isn’t fun. Another drawback is that everything is covered in sand and it’s really, really hard to clean. We feel we’ve got a good working plan, but it will certainly need to be adjusted as time goes on. We also have the second tent we’re using for the bathroom, changing room, and storage, which we could sleep in if the winds aren’t too bad. Meh… it’s a work in progress.

By the way, for those of you who follow our videos on our YouTube channel, you know we were dealing with possibly replacing Big Betsy (tent). We did replace her with another of the same exact tent, but it seems a little bigger if that’s even possible… We named this tent Brutus, hoping the wind will be intimated by that name.

Our YouTube Channel

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As you can see… we’ll probably be implementing the wind plan in the morning. If any of you have any other suggestions, please comment. We’d appreciate it 🙂

‘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

Joshua Tree National Park

We arrived in California and had a lot to do before we could find and set up our camp. We had to exchange Big Bertha for a new tent, as she had several tears and her zippers were toast. We had a bit of a problem, but Dick’s Sporting Goods finally came through and we left with Big Bertha’s twin, which we dubbed Big Betsy.

By that time, it was dark, and we were hungry, tired, and dirty, so we opted for a Motel 6 (cheap and pet-friendly). Our goal has always been to avoid paying for lodging or eating out, but sometimes circumstances don’t allow us to keep to our higher intentions.

The next morning we were ready to go in search of a campsite. We had heard from some friends that there was good BLM camping near the north entrance to the park, and since we don’t want to pay to camp, we decided to go check it out.

We headed Pearl up the road to Joshua Tree National Park and had a little difficulty climbing the mountains (which makes me question Pearl’s ability to pull the trailer through the Rockies, but we’ll cross that mountain when we come to it… hopefully).

We finally arrived at the Oasis Visitor’s Center and I went in to get maps and information while Rico walked the dogs. He found a beautiful Oasis that we’ll go back to in a couple of days, and I am really looking forward to that. I acquired the maps and a lot of helpful information from a Park Ranger, and then we met back at the car to discuss our options.

I discovered from the Ranger that the BLM land was over an hour away from the park, so we felt that wasn’t an option. I also found out that there were only four campgrounds inside the park that didn’t require reservations 48 hours in advance, and because I have an access pass, they would only cost us $7.50 per night.

We decided to go check out those campgrounds and see if we could find a spot before heading to the south end of the park and the BLM lands located just outside the south entrance.

We really loved the scenery we encountered as we drove through Joshua Tree National Park. It is incredibly beautiful in a desert sort of way. I must admit, I wasn’t expecting to love the desert as much as I do, but I find it to be oddly peaceful and somewhat mesmerizing in its simplicity.

After discovering that the first-come-first-camped sites were all full, we headed toward the south entrance and the BLM lands located just off of I-10, which is where we were earlier in the day. We laughed at the fact that we’d just made a very long and time-consuming circle, but were both glad for the experience and the sites we saw.

We found a great spot right away, close to the road (which usually isn’t ideal) with a tree and a full signal. We decided to look a little more and almost got stuck on the rutted road several times, so we opted for the first site.

It didn’t take us long to set up Big Betsy, and we had the camp functional by the time the sun painted the skies over the mountains a delicious shade of peachy pink. Rico made us a simple meal, and we settled in for the night, both of us tired from the long day.

The dogs were tired too, and it wasn’t long before we were all tucked into our beds, anticipating the beautiful day ahead.

Here are some great pics of Joshua Tree National Park for your enjoyment:

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Stay tuned for The Tent Killing Winds – Part 3! Yes… Big Betsy bit the dust.

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 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:

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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:

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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