My Einstein has responded very well to the IV fluids and anti-nausea medicine. He is hydrated and now his body will be able to work to flush out the small piece of stuffed toy cloth that is in his stomach. The doctor said I can call back in a couple of hours and, if he is still doing great, I can go and get him. I’m going to stay here in Medford, Oregon for a day or two to make sure he’s okay. Then we’ll press on for Washington.
While I waited to find out about Einstein, I felt so lost. We spend so much time together in this little RV that I never realized before how much a part of my life this dog is. I wondered if I would want to go forward with my journey; my adventure…without him. What would I do without him? It has been so quiet and the life he adds to the place seemed replaced with an unbearable stillness.
Just knowing that he’ll be here again soon makes the air itself feel more full of life.
Einstein ate a piece of the fake fur tail a toy squirrel and it has lodged in his intestines. Don’t know how large or small, but it is keeping him from being able to digest any food. He stopped eating and drinking today. I took him to a veterinary hospital along my route and he is being kept there overnight. I’m beside myself.
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.
October 9th, 2017 was the day Einstein lead me off on our great adventure to discover our country. After much planning and research about what to take, how to store it, good places to camp, and how to be safe, we hit the road.
We had planned to leave Saturday, October 7th and spend three nights in Ohio, visiting family. Because the solar generator didn’t arrive until Monday, we had to alter the plan. Once the generator arrived, we piled into the truck and off we went, leaving at about 8:00 in the evening. It was dark and I don’t like driving the DC beltway after dark, but I felt we should be on the North side of DC the next morning, to avoid rush hour traffic. We pulled into a Cracker Barrel and spent the night in their parking lot. The next morning Einstein and Emma had breakfast, water, and a walk. I went into the restaurant for breakfast. Perfect. (Thank you, Sue!)
The next day we arrived at Sherry Ziccardi’s. She is a gracious and loving hostess and friend. She had the bedroom all made up for me, but understood that I was trying to get used to sleeping in the trailer. It was a good night. The following morning she sent us on our way with bags of leftover stuffed peppers, corn on the cob, apples, and bottled water.
We arrived at a campground near Goshen, Indiana just after dark the next evening. The “RVing Women” convention I was there to attend was being held at the Elkhardt 4H Fairgrounds, but the gates wouldn’t open until the next day. There were several others from my chapter (Mid-Atlantic chapter) at the campground. We talked a while, getting to know one another. The following morning, we all caravaned to the Fairground. Arriving together assured that we would get campsites together. It amazed me that a fairground had over 250 full hook up campsites right there on the grounds. There were maybe 350 campsites all together. Impressive. I was located with the Mid-Atlantic chapter of the RVing Women organization. The women in the group were amazing. From the very beginning; helping me, watching over me, teaching me a new card game, which we played and played and played. Maureen (Reen) made me coffee every morning and often we had breakfast together. During the day we all attended seminars on tire safety, RV maintenance, fire safety, how to take care of holding tanks, and so much more. We participated in chair volleyball, which was a blast.
The Mid Atlantic chapter had a spaghetti dinner together outside on picnic tables. In one of the buildings there were vendors selling all sorts of great stuff for the RVing life. Two different evenings there were dances and I actually danced! I stepped out of my comfort zone and just flat out enjoyed every moment. A bunch of us went to the RV museum. Some of us went on a tour of the Newmar Motorcoach factory. Goshen is where most RVs are made. There are an untold number of factories/assembly plants. It was great to see exactly how they’re made. I understand that its a great place to live and work, with plenty of jobs. Newmar, in particular, is a Mennonite company.
It was difficult to say good-bye to my new friends. I am still amazed at how many women hit the road to explore and have adventures. I was very encouraged and inspired. Finally, on October 23rd, Einstein ushered us into the truck and we set off on the next leg of our adventure. I felt warmed by friendship and equipped with knowledge about what to do and expect over the coming weeks and months.
…forgot. I bought a hat in Goshen. Einstein barked at it for five minutes.
Meet Emma. She joined us for our next camping trip. I had concerns about bringing her along. She doesn’t get along with other dogs. The campground was very full and there were many dogs around that weekend. She also is not good at going to the bathroom while on a leash. She turned out to be a delight however. She was good for Einstein. They adjusted quickly to the trailer, even playing together. Both dogs claimed the couch. Einstein prefers it for comfort. Emma prefers it for the view.
Maybe it’ll work out.
Einstein, Emma, and I all took a vote and it was unanimous – it was a great weekend. We met up with friends at Round Lake campground. I think every single space was occupied, but there was so much to do. The camp store is awesome, too. Between all of us, we had, I think, seven dogs. Imagine all the scents Einstein and Emma tracked down. As for my nose, the scents I enjoyed most were that of S’mores and pie iron pies cooked over campfires! I think we went to Tommy’s Pizza twice and three times to the Springhouse Tavern. Eighteen holes of miniature golf helped burn off a few of those calories. In the middle of the weekend, I got to spend time with my dear, beloved friend, Laurie. It was as if no time at all had passed.