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

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 Friends & Family Tour

It’s been a very long time since I posted… can’t believe it’s been over a month! So much has happened during that time, I will break it all up into several posts so you don’t miss a thing.

First of all, we spent a very enjoyable 6+ weeks with friends and family in Texas. We saw almost everyone we wanted to, got to enjoy celebrating Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the ringing in of the new year with the ones we love the most, and even got to do a little site seeing, music, and art. Rico even decided to shave his facial hair – all of it – much to my surprise and chagrin.

lainie phone 1.12.18 090

So much happened, I have decided to show you in pictures. Enjoy!

When we first arrived in San Antonio, we were instantly whisked away to the birthday party of a long-time family friend. A good time was had by all… except the poor piggy.

We had a great Thanksgiving celebration – twice!

And an awesome visit with Rico’s father, brothers, nephews, and other family members. He has a BIG family!

We also got to hang with friends, make some art, make some empanadas, smoke some really good food, eat some really good food, do a little site seeing, participate in San Antonio’s First Friday, and play some music.

lainie-phone-11-29-17-084.jpg         lainie-phone-12-9-17-008.jpg  Rico Phone 12.10.17 242

And Christmas was off the chain! We had three!!!

lainie-phone-1-12-18-028.jpg             lainie-phone-1-12-18-016.jpg

But the time came for us to leave. Though we were very excited to get on the road again, we knew we would miss all our loved ones back in Texas.

Where will the road lead us? Stay tuned to find out!

lainie phone 1.12.18 091

Big Love,

Lainie

The Texas Thang

There are certain things about Texas that only Texans truly get. Here are a few:

HEB  – the best and most wonderful grocery store on the planet.

HEB2HEB3HEB4

HEB1

The produce section is amazing and everything is so fresh! In addition, the meats are beautiful, cheap, and delicious, and there is actually a tortillaria there where fresh tortillas are made all the time! Yum!!

Blue Bell Ice Cream

Unless you’ve tasted it, you just don’t know. Here is my favorite:

bluebell

The Texas Hill Country

One of the most beautiful areas of Texas, it includes my favorite town (New Braunfels) and my favorite waterpark (Schlitterbahn – the original one). The drives one can take on a lazy afternoon through this beautiful part of the Lonestar State are stunning and guaranteed to bring peace to the soul.

 

Buc-ee’s Gas Station

A gas station? Yes… but not just any gas station… It’s an entire experience, and the bathrooms are amazing!

Naegelin’s Bakery

The oldest continually operational bakery in Texas, and a place I’ve been visiting since I was a toddler. It is amazing and tasty, and chock full of memories. Just the aroma takes me back to my childhood and visiting the shop with my grandmother, who always made sure I had my favorite cookie before we left.

Tex-Mex and Texas BBQ

Yeah… there’s nothing to compare.

These are a few of my favorite things about Texas and just a small sampling of the wonders and exciting experiences to be had here. For those of you who have never been here, make sure you put a visit to the Lonestar State on your bucket list!

Big Love,

Lainie

 

The Good Citizen

We departed the peace and tranquility of the Florida Panhandle and headed West for Texas. After trying to find a spot for the night at a roadside park in Mississippi off of Interstate 10 (we had read on freecampsites.net that it was allowed), and discovering it was okay for RV’ers, but not tent campers, we did a quick internet search. We found a nice enough State Park in Louisiana that wasn’t too expensive and wasn’t too far. I called ahead to make sure there would be a spot for us and informed the Ranger that we would be in after dark. He assured me it would be fine and gave me instructions on what to do to find a campsite. He said we could pay in the morning once the office opened.

With everything set, we hit the road and made it to Tickfaw State Park around 7 p.m. It was a nice little out of the way park not too far from the Interstate, but far enough that it was really quiet.

We set up our tent in record time (we are getting pretty good at setting up in the dark), and had a quick bite to eat without making a fire. It was cool, but very humid and muggy, which is to be expected in Louisiana. We took the dogs for a walk and then went to bed, tired and road weary.

I woke up at around 4 a.m. feeling achy and awful. I knew the humidity was affecting my MS, despite the fact that it wasn’t hot at all. Everything was wet, and I don’t mean damp, I mean wet. It was as if it had rained, even though I knew it had not.

Rico and the dogs woke around 5 a.m. and I suggested we go ahead and break camp. I wanted to get out of that humidity as soon as possible before I started having an exacerbation.

We quickly packed up the very wet tent and the few things we had taken out of the trailer and the Mini the night before. We were on the road, without breakfast, by about 6 a.m. We discussed how to pay for our night’s stay, and I figured I could call in later once the office opened and take care of it then.

With plans made to find a cheap breakfast spot on the road, we made our way to the exit. Upon arriving, we found a locked gate, no one in the office, and no way to get out. I was shocked. What if there had been some sort of an emergency? What would we have done then?

A few minutes later, a car approached and a kind young man offered to open the gate for us. I went back to thank the driver and was surprised by her surly response. She said I was being very crappy. I asked why she thought that.

“It’s very crappy to stay the night at a State Park and then try to sneak out without paying.”

“I’m planning on calling to pay once they open,” I replied.

“Sure you are,” came the snide reply.

Believe me, it was all I could do to keep myself from calling her all sorts of names and snatching her up by the hair. Instead, I said, “Thanks for not judging.”

Her passenger got back in the car, and she put it in gear and hollered out the window, “Thanks for being a good citizen.”

I’ll admit I did flip her off and yell those nasty names at her quickly departing car.

I was incensed! We, like the Lanisters, always pay our debts (eventually) and I had no plans to stiff a State Park for a comfortable, albeit wet, night’s sleep. I was angry that this woman had judged us so harshly without even knowing our circumstances.

We left the park and headed toward Houston, stopping for a great breakfast along the way. I was still fuming a few hours later when I called Tickfaw to pay my bill, and I let the Park Ranger know what had happened. She laughed and said, “Some people…”, and thanked me for my honesty and my payment.

I felt like a good citizen…

Big Love,

Lainie

 

The Florida Panhandle

After leaving the comfort and warmth of Venessa’s lovely home in Savannah, Rico and I were hoping that Florida would offer us good weather, beautiful sites, and no troubles. We were not disappointed!

The first night we stayed at a KOA in a little town called Perry, which is located about halfway between Jackson and Tallahassee. It was uneventful and quiet, which is what we wanted.

The next morning, we continued our westward trek and decided to stop for a couple of nights at a lovely State Park near Destin. We knew for sure we didn’t want to be ON the beach, but we wanted to be CLOSE, so we chose to stay at Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park. It was a lovely little park and very quiet. We enjoyed our days there, and the beautiful scenery was a bonus.

Once we hit the road again, we decided to turn south and check out the famed sugar sand beaches and turquoise waters of the Florida Panhandle. We found some public beach access in Destin and took the dogs down to the water’s edge for a romp in the sand and surf.

Juno didn’t mind it much, but Jack absolutely hated it! He isn’t a water baby, but we’re hoping to convert him soon.

The water was crystal clear and the sand so white it hurt our eyes as the sun reflected off of it. We were pleasantly surprised to find out that a water taxi (boat) stop was right where we were and watched in amazement as the boat just “drove” up onto the sand, allowing passengers to depart or get on. It was pretty cool.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We wanted to linger longer, but we also wanted to make Louisiana and our next stop before it got too late, so we reluctantly said goodbye to that gorgeous beach. We will return to Florida soon and explore as much as we like when we’re not on a schedule.

As we headed down the road in the Mini Cooper with two tuckered out dogs, we were both filled with the warmth and sunshine that Florida had provided. We headed toward Interstate 10 and home, with a stop in Louisiana in between.

Big Love,

Lainie

The Sights & Sounds of Savannah

We really enjoyed our stay in Savannah, GA in the company of a dear friend, Venessa. She was an excellent hostess and even cheffed it up for us, feeding us delicious meals that warmed both our hearts and our bellies.

We were rather disappointed with the weather (and very sick of the rain) because it didn’t allow us to explore the Savannah area like we had anticipated doing. However, we now have another reason to return (the first reason being we want to hang with Venessa again!).

Skidaway

On Saturday, Venessa cooked a FABULOUS meal, and then we headed to Tybee Island for a taste of the nightlife and some Karaoke. It was a great night, with loads of laughter, fun, good music (and also terrible music), and memorable moments.

Our first stop was Benny’s Tybee Tavern, and we all fell in love with the place instantly. It was decorated with typical kitschy beach themes, and there was an already drunk group of girls from Tennessee celebrating the upcoming nuptials of one of the girls in their party. They were hilarious and provided a lot of entertainment throughout the evening.

 

benny's

Lainie Phone 11.20.17 010

Rico, Venessa, and I put in several songs apiece and enjoyed the other “entertainers” while we waited for our turn. It was a good time, but we were ready to explore more of the island nightlife after a while.

Our next stop was Doc’s Bar, where they had a live band. We grabbed some drinks and settled in to hear the band’s last set. They were pretty good, and we enjoyed their brand of 70’s rock covers.

lainie-phone-11-20-17-011.jpg

After Doc’s we were all pooped and headed back to Venessa’s very cozy home. We really enjoyed our respite in the care and company of Venessa, and we certainly needed it! Even the dogs were ready to get off the road for a few days.

We stayed through Sunday and were sad to say goodbye to our friend and the lovely city of Savannah, but we will be back! We loaded up the trailer, the dogs, and the Mini, and pointed ourselves South to Florida, hoping to finally outrun the rain, wind, and cold. Were our hopes dashed? Find out next time…

Big Love,

Lainie

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The First Flight and the Stormy Night

After a restful three days in Kiptopeke State Park, Virginia, Rico, the pups and I headed down the coast to the Outer Banks (OBX for short). We were hoping for great weather and a much better beach camping experience than we had at Assateague. We didn’t get it.

We had an easy drive and enjoyed the scenery along the way, arriving in Kitty Hawk in the early afternoon. We toured the Wright Brothers National Memorial and found it interesting. The dogs were happy for time out of the car but didn’t seem to care much about man’s first flight.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

After learning a little more than we had previously known about how the Wright Brothers changed the world, we headed down the road to our next camping spot. Though the sky above was cloudy, we were hopeful it wouldn’t rain.

We stayed at Oregon Inlet Campground in Nags Head, NC. It was on the beach, but safely nestled behind some rather large dunes, so we were confident we wouldn’t have a repeat of the Assateague incident.

We checked in, picked a spot, and began setting up our tent. Rico then cooked a great meal of grilled sandwiches, and we fed and walked the dogs. Just as we were finished cleaning up the dinner stuff, it began to sprinkle. Thankfully we had decided to wait until after we ate to finish setting up our camp, so almost everything was still in the Mini and the trailer.

We grabbed the pups and headed inside the (very tiny) tent for the remainder of the evening. It was cramped but cozy and we were glad to have a place to stay dry.

We decided to check the forecast for Asheville, which was to be our next stop, and we are so glad we did. That’s when we found out about the N’oreaster that was set to blow into the Midwest and the Northeast over the next several days. After much discussion, we decided we weren’t properly equipped nor experienced enough to handle the frigid, windy, and rainy conditions, so we opted to head south the next day.

We were very disappointed at this decision because we had both really been looking forward to visiting our friends in the Knoxville area, as well as other friends in Wichita, KS. With our new path southward, we realized those visits would have to wait for another time.

One of the good things about our current lifestyle is that we aren’t tied to either a clock or calendar so we can reschedule and reroute as the weather changes.

We opted to head to Savannah, GA and visit a friend whom I hadn’t seen in over thirty years. Satisfied with our new plans, Rico and I decided to call it a night.

About midnight, we were both jolted awake when it began to really rain. As the wind howled mercilessly and the thunder rumbled loudly, we were both relieved that the tent was still standing. At around three in the morning, I woke again to a very wet blanket and realized the tent (the new tent… the second tent) was leaking. There wasn’t a thing I could do about it, so I scooted over and went back to sleep.

In the morning, when the rain still hadn’t let up, Rico and I hurriedly packed up the trailer and the Mini, loaded up the dogs, and set off to look for breakfast, since we couldn’t cook in the middle of a thunderstorm. My MS was flaring a little, and I wasn’t feeling too great. Rico was grumpy and wet, the dogs were shivering, and my feet were frozen. We were truly a sad lot.

We enjoyed a delicious breakfast and headed south through the rain, hopeful we would outrun the clouds. Twelve hours later (we had to stop several times because of MS-related issues) we pulled into Skidaway State Park on Skidaway Island just outside of Savannah. The rain had let up, and we were able to get the tent set up, eat dinner, walk the dogs, and get inside before the rain began again in earnest.

But… as we were setting up the tent, one of the sides caught on one of the poles and tore a big hole in it. Rico was able to tape it up, but it still leaked from both the top, where it had leaked the night before and the newly torn hole. Suffice it to say, it was a miserable and wet night.

In the morning, we were again ready to call off the trip. Two tents and two sleeping bags had failed us in the span of less than a week, Mother Nature was tormenting us with cold, wind, and rain, and we were sick and tired of being wet, cold, and grumpy.

We broke camp, had a cold breakfast, did some laundry, watched some Netflix while the laundry was going, and took the time to talk things through. What we discovered is that we don’t want to quit… we want to keep going until we figure this out. We weren’t born with the skills required to pull this off, so we have to learn, and we have to learn as we go. We’re going to make mistakes, things are going to break, the weather is going to be awful, and we’re going to be uncomfortable sometimes. My chronic health problems will interfere with our plans, the dogs will do things to piss us off or complicate our lives, and our equipment will fail us. All of this is inevitable – it’s all bound to happen once or twice over the next year – but we have to be prepared and we have to learn to roll with whatever life throws at us.

We are now in Savannah staying with my friend and having a blast in her very cozy, warm, and dry apartment. We’ll stay through the weekend and then head west toward Houston and San Antonio to spend the holidays (Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day) with friends and family. After that, we will hit the road again and be better prepared for whatever lies ahead.

Scenes from Savannah coming soon!

Big Love,

Lainie