Sunday, January 31, 2016

Happy New Year!

Scoopy proudly displays her Seahawks flags at Borrego Springs

I promised myself that I would write a "Happy New Year!" blog post before the end of January and of course, I waited until the bitter end. So that giant squeaking sound you hear will be my blog uploading just prior to the expiration of my self-imposed deadline. 

When last I left you, oh, about four months ago, I mentioned that my next blog would be all about our experience with our new solar panels we had installed last summer. So, yeah, that didn't happen. And really, it's probably just as well, because with six whole days under our collective solar boondocking belt at the time, we only thought we knew stuff. But now . . . NOW we really do know stuff . . . about our solar. And boondocking.

With the exception of two nights with partial hookups, Steven and I have been living completely off-the-grid since New Year's Eve and we're still going strong. I know, right? Never in a million years did I think I'd be happy boondocking for such a long time. I figured the most I could stand would be about a week, and then I would want to head into town for a week with luxurious full hook ups. I had read accounts of folks staying out for weeks, even months at a time, and no sir, that was not for me. Until it was.

The thing is, boondocking is kind of addictive. There is something incredibly satisfying about being self-contained. We generate our own electricity - mostly solar, with a little help when needed from our generator. All the water we need (notice I didn't say want...) to get by for a couple of weeks is on board, our residential refrigerator is full of good stuff and there is plenty of wine stashed away. The views out our windows are amazing in every direction and our neighbors are a respectable distance away, no privacy screens needed here. There is great hiking right outside our door. And did I mention that all this is free? Well, almost free. We pay to wash our clothes at the laundromat in town, and occasionally we pay the day use fee in the nearby state park and use the showers. (Sooooo nice!) But mostly, it’s free.

Make no mistake, our kind of boondocking is, by anyone’s definition, still considered "glamping". We have our DirecTV, our Internet connection and phones. But still, there are trade-offs. Each day there is a part of me that wants to pack up and bolt to town. Oh, what I would give for a long, hot shower! A nearby dumpster for easy disposal of our refuse would be a luxury! I could use the microwave, wash our clothes, turn on every light and plug in All The Things!! That just sounds sooooooo wonderful. And it is. But then I think about being crammed into a tiny space with neighbors just to my right and left, and views out the front window of row after row of other RVs, seen through privacy shades and I say, “No, thanks!”.  Because for this we'd pay a good chunk of change, like over a couple of hundred bucks a week.

Currently we are parked just off Rockhouse Trail, about six miles east of Borrego Springs, a well-known and beloved boondocking area that is part of the Anza-Borrego State Park, California's largest. For the most part we haven't been alone in our adventures. For the first three weeks of boondocking our friends Clarke and Elaine along with their friends Michael and Liz comprised our merry band of travelers. Together we enjoyed Rockhouse Trail and also a week in Quartzsite, AZ. Yep, we did the Q! We shopped in the Big Tent and managed to meet up with a few folks, but after six days, Steven and I were eager to return to Rockhouse Trail. So we did. We've been here nearly two weeks and anticipate staying a couple more. Clarke and Elaine couldn’t stay away, either. They arrived yesterday intending on staying a couple of days or so. Tomorrow we will make a trip into the camping area of the state park to dump our tanks and take on fresh water. We'll probably go take a nice hot shower, too. Thrilling!

I guess I will save my solar blog for another day, and I won't wait four months to write it. Pinky swear!

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Michael, Linda, Elaine and Clarke hiking to the Snake in the hills above Rockhouse Trail

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Happy hour in Q. Every night brought great conversation and fantastic sunsets

A rainbow shines on Borrego Springs. As seen from the Montezuma Grade.

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The gang at our evening gatherings: Clarke, Elaine, Michael and Liz

Another hiking selfie at Rockhouse Trail

Bill & Jodee Gravel came out for dinner in Q!

Our gang with Chris and Cherie from Technomadia and Becky from Interstellar Orchard

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A snake, a rainbow and Tara, who came from San Diego to visit for the weekend.