I’m not in the RV right now. I’ve written about that in the previous post. This is a time for art and writing. I’m dedicating these weeks to that. I’m signing up for classes in nearby towns. Signing up for a drawing class, creative writing and still life in acrylic. Still looking for more. I want to learn…to prepare for the next chapter in my life. If I can find a place to teach others, I’ll do that, too.
I can never get a photograph that does this painting justice. Right now it is leaning against a wall so that when I enter the house, there it is. And it still takes my breath away. But it doesn’t photograph well at all. Perhaps I need to buy some oil paints (mine were sold two summers ago) and work on it some more.
That’s it for this Monday evening. I hope you’re well and happy. Remember to “relax and dream up a good life”…Jim Carrey.
I’m not actually sitting on a house. In it, though, yes.
I’m enjoying this newest adventure. Taking care of my friend’s (hi, Reen!) house is wonderful. Her house is comfortable and well built. It feels solid and is a great place to spend the cold winter months. She has a humidifier that’s keeping me healthy. Normally I have all sorts of sinus problems in the winter, but not this year. Never realized how important a bit of humidity could be.
I got here the day after Christmas. Reen left her Christmas tree up so I could enjoy it. I hung my hand drawn ornaments on it. My friend, Stephanie (Hi!), made me two ornaments. She hand-painted them so that if you look on the inside of the ornament you see a winter scene and if you look at the outside, you see a desert scene.
I love the way the tree looks with her red hanging candles, Stephanie’s hand painted glass ornaments, and my cardboard ornaments.
I’m getting settled in. I’ve made a little workspace for art and for my laptop. The bed is comfortable. Einstein loves the fenced yard and I love being able to just open the door and send him out there. His favorite activity is to smell everything in his environment. In fact, I don’t think he’s ever been as happy as he’s been since arriving here. All the people and traffic are overwhelming for me, but I’ll adjust.
January 27th, 2020
More days have gone by. I’ve ventured out many times and have indeed adjusted to things. I admit that I loved the western side of the country. More wide open space, fewer people. I had found many favorite places there. I suppose that’s the place I love the most. I’m here now and I’m making the most of it. Finding new favorites. Getting to know the people. There’s exploring to be done here. I never thought I’d find adventure still…without my RV. I have.
I love it when I’m outside and the church bells are ringing. There are several churches that ring bells. Yesterday I heard them at 6:51 pm. Not sure why that exact time, but it was lovely. Maybe it was their call to parishioners to hasten to the evening services.
The houses here are a feast for my eyes. I love houses. Homes. The house I’m staying at has been in this family for 65 years. Three boys and one girl grew up here and the girl still lives here. It holds many memories. Even though the house has been updated a bit, it still bears the character of who it has always been. I can almost hear the rumbling overhead of three boys playing, laughing, shouting. I can imagine the mom and dad down here watching a program on television. I wonder what Reen was up to? Maybe she was working on one of her beautiful pieces of needlework or reading a good book. She might have been listening to records. Its an honor to spend time here. When I’m out and about, I look forward to getting back here…to my home for now.
I’m going to spend this coming week looking for a gallery so I can sell my artwork. I’d love to earn a bit of money. I have framed paintings, one original framed zentangle inspired piece (an Oriole on a celtic-type background), a number of unframed originals, and many limited edition prints and notecards. They’re all looking for a good home and would love to be displayed and appreciated.
My life is slow paced still, as it was in the RV. For now there is no planning of the day’s route. No researching campgrounds and gas stations. My days are rather slow and relaxed. I spend a lot of time listening to music, reading, writing, and doing art. In the evenings I play online games with friends. Jonathon, Lilli, and Knight are working to improve the Guildhall that we have in Guildwars 2. I’m proud of their efforts. It takes time and materials. Yesterday Jonathon and three others invited me to help them with a dungeon…the most difficult one in the game. I started out on my tough and powerful Revenant, but ended up bringing in my petite Sylvari thief so she could make everyone invisible to run through dangerous minions and creatures. We were all in Discord, so we could talk and discuss our strategies. I loved it.
Einstein brings me his ball and we do a bit of tugging about a dozen times a day. He always wins. I don’t have certain times to eat…just whenever. For the last three days I’ve made chicken sandwiches, along with some raw carrots, and a couple of Splits (pretzels). I love naps and manage to get one of those about every other day. No particular time…just whenever I’m sleepy. I don’t watch TV, but today I watched an old 1958 movie called “To the Moon from the Earth”. (Hope I got that right). I love old black and white movies.
I guess that’s about it for now. Its not as exciting as my adventures in the RV, but to me, its wonderful. I enjoy having time to myself to think and do creative stuff. I’m happy. Very happy.
Yesterday I drove away from my desert. I don’t really OWN it, but it felt like it was my very own desert. It was hard to leave. Even though I’d only been there from January 15th to the 27th (not counting the days I had to dash over to Phoenix to get my generator fixed), it seemed I’d been there always. It was my first time to actually dwell in the desert.
Eighteen months ago when I started full time RV living, I talked and thought about boondocking. I was going to do lots of it. As I traveled around, I found myself wanting amenities the way I sometimes want comfort-food. I was still trying to figure out just what I was doing living in an RV; what I wanted to get out of it. I was always looking up places to stay off-grid and it was an awesome goal, but at that early point of being on the road by myself, I found that staying in the parking lot of a Walmart or a Cracker Barrel was as much of a boondock as I cared for. Going into the desert and meeting up with women from RVing Women was a great way to introduce myself to the idea of really doing some off-grid boondocking. I watched what others did and asked questions. I’m an introvert so I didn’t ask as many questions as I wanted to. But I did better than I had expected. I came prepared, too. I had empty grey and black tanks, a full fresh water tank, bottled water, full propane tanks, food that I would cook and some that I wouldn’t need to cook.
I just wasn’t sure how to handle being out there and taking care not to drain my batteries, get so cold at night that I couldn’t sleep, how to keep myself entertained, or making myself get out there and socialize. I’m an on-line gamer. I play Guildwars 2, Final Fantasy XIV, World of Warcraft, and Heroes of the Storm. I have friends that I play with and we switch from game to game. I don’t play all the time. I have days when there’s not much else to do and I might play for several hours, but that’s rare. Many of my gaming friends are kind of like me…they’re artists or writers. I haven’t met any that are Nomads yet.
While in the desert I found out that you can stay on BLM land in that area from October till April 1st. I seriously considered paying the money and staying until April 1st. I wondered what I would do with my time out there in the profoundly silent desert. I had good cell signal, much to my surprise. I’m a Digital Nomad, meaning that I spend a lot of time doing things on my computer to earn money or just for the fun of it. Would I be able to still do that out there? With my generator I could probably do some of that, but I would not want to run my generator all the time. It uses gas and, even though its inside the basement of my RV, its still quite noisy. I turned on my generator when the sun went down and it gave me a couple hours to spend using my computer and running my electric fireplace. Without the generator I could use lights and I was able to charge my phone. I didn’t use my heated blanket or run the electric fireplace without the generator. The in-house batteries kept my refrigerator going. I learned a lot about conserving energy. I learned that at first its hard to be still and not be using my phone or computer. I felt edgy and restless. As the days passed, I developed a routine appropriate for that life and I got used to doing different things – reading, sitting outside, going for walks, taking a trip into the small town of Quartzsite, cooking, and sometimes just plain taking a nap.
The United States has lots of deserts. Some are sand…and evidently some are just not. I never knew there would be so many stones. There was no sand anywhere…only stones, rocks, and fine dust. As I drove to and from my RV, my Jeep bathed everyone I passed with a cloud of dust. “Sorry! Sorry! Oops! Sorry about that!”
During the day, it was in the 60’s (in January!!!) so I got to open all the windows. How wonderful! However, I was never able to wear shorts or flip flops. The sky was almost always the deepest blue I’ve ever seen. I’d call it “Shelley Blue” – LOL. At night, it dropped down to the 40’s. I didn’t turn on my furnace, but I had lots of blankets on my bed. In the morning the temperature in the RV was usually hovering around fifty degrees. If it was colder than that, I turned on the propane furnace to warm things up enough so that I could do my morning chores. I had a full tank of propane and I have two small 20 lb tanks that I can hook up and they were both full. I could have been toasty warm all night long. I didn’t do that. I’m still learning and wasn’t sure how much of a drain it would be on my batteries to be running the propane furnace, as it uses electricity to blow out the heat.
There were days when the view out my window was just desert. Other days it was a plethora of RVs and women strolling along with their little dogs, stopping to talk with other women with little dogs. Occasionally there were big dogs, but mostly it seemed like little white dogs. Its an easy way to meet people…take your dog for a walk.
From the first evening to the last, the sunsets were spectacular. I think I took more photos of sunsets than anything else. They made me think of paintings. High five, God!!! Each one was as amazing as a painting in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC. I couldn’t stop looking at them as they deepened and then faded.
I think the things I’ll take with me about my experience in the desert were the quiet and the beautiful night skies. So many stars!!! One evening my friends and I were sitting around a campfire and someone nearby was sending up something into the air that defies explanation. Each one looked like a floating paper bag with a candle suspended beneath. There were quite a few, one at a time. It was so cool!
We sat there around the fire, talking about RV life, about things we like, things we have to figure out and overcome, and about the sense of accomplishment it gives us to fix things ourselves. We talked about nothing of consequence, too, and it was a fine thing…sitting there with the crackling fire and absolutely no other sound. Debbie wielded the little shovel, pushing embers around, positioning a log from time to time. We roasted hotdogs and it was fun. Really fun. The companionship for us, who are usually each alone most of the time, content with our solitude, was indeed sweet.
When I pull out onto the highway with my trailer, I feel so amazing. Airstreams are rare and draw a bit of attention. At one gas station I parked and was walking in to get something to drink. A group of people standing outside wanted to ask me all sorts of questions about the trailer. After getting my drink and going back out to the truck, an SUV stopped beside me and rolled down their window to ask me questions. The woman said, “I want to go with you!”
Indiana to Colorado and Points In Between
Since leaving Indiana, where I attended the RVing Women 2017 convention, I have travelled through several states, including Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, California, and Oregon. Except for California and Oregon, I merely passed through each state. I was trying to get to Seattle, Washington, so pressed ahead as best I could, setting miles-traveled-per-day goals for myself. At first I tried to be very spontaneous and would drive until I was tired and then would find a spot to stay overnight. Rest areas are possibilities, but when I found one, it was usually full of trucks. Truck stops are another possibility, but truckers prefer RVers stay away as overnight spots. They have fewer choices and our taking up valuable parking spaces means some of them have to keep searching for a spot. I respect that. I found a Cabela’s one night, but was not able to find any other RVers and was uncomfortable with being the only one so I moved on.
As I headed west, the weather got colder and colder. When I got to Wyoming I hit snow and by the time I pulled into a Walmart Supercenter in Laramie, there was ice. The first thing I did was go into the Walmart and purchase an inexpensive winter coat and some gloves. I also bought a dog bed. The two dogs won’t always share the couch and the floor gets very cold. I put the dog bed under the dinette and Emma took to it immediately. Einstein became quite jealous and laid with his back to me.
Because it was so cold in Laramie, I decided to start using campgrounds in the colder climates. That meant having to pick out a campground before leaving in the morning. It also meant having to go a fixed amount of miles and arriving whenever I arrived. No more stopping when I was tired.
When I made it to northern California, where I was to spend time with a friend, I was ready for a rest. A few days of good conversation and good food refreshed my soul.