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.



  1. Scoopy looks so happy ensconced in the desert .. Enjoy the peace and tranquility.. Hopefully one day we will be 'desert neighbors'..

    1. Sue, I think you guys will love it here. There is a ton of stuff to do and see. You should make plans to come. Boondocking will certainly help cover traveling expenses!

  2. I didn't know you had it in you. But I should have guessed. So happy you are enjoying the boondocking. You are certainly well prepared and outfitted for it. Keep on enjoying, as I know you will. And seriously, BLOG MORE!

  3. Believe me, I didn't know I had it in me either! But since we made the leap into solar, it's just so doable. And yeah, I'll try to be better about blogging. :(

  4. So much fun to read your thoughts about boondocking -- much more fun than a technical solar post. :-) The longest we've ever "been without" is about 10 days. But we do love mixing it up, staying out in the boonies followed by staying somewhere luxurious like Santa Fe. Right now, I would imagine those nice showers at Anza Borrego SP feel pretty luxurious!

    1. Thanks for your kind words. I sure don't think it will take me long to get back into the swing of FHUs, but for now, the boondocking thing is working for me. (Of course, I can say that now that I am squeaky clean from my wonderful shower at the SP!!)

  5. That solar was the best investment you could have made. So nice to see you enjoying the boondock lifestyle.

    1. No one is more surprised than I am! We knew we had to give it a real shot and we're pretty happy with how things have worked out.

  6. You guys are our biggest inspiration for solar and boondocking! It was so great spending time with you - looking forward to our paths crossing in the future.

    1. It was super fun to meet up with you and Bill in Q! I know we'll cross paths again and hopefully for a longer time. Surprisingly, we are probably the most "solarized" rig out here right now. Lots of folks simply use their generators and maybe a panel or two propped up outside. I don't know if they have residential fridges or not, but it doesn't really matter. Honestly, you don't have to wait for solar to be boondocking! Just do it! :)

  7. Great sunsets and snakes. Looks like a good time for all of you.

    1. The sunsets have been amazing! And I don't know who's doing it, but the snake now has lots of company. All kinds of little critters popping up in those hills!