A Month in a Minivan: Day 10

Change is in the air. The maps are out. I’m making lists. It’s almost time to get back on the road.

I use a Paper Map to Start

It’s not going to be easy to leave Quartzsite. I’ve been here since Christmas Eve. I’ve made memories, and more importantly, friends. I’ve drank from the communal cup at the RTR, the WRTR, and here at the Circle. I also have a recovery community in Quartzsite; a group of people
I can turn to if I need support. I’m extremely comfortable here.

This is the first time I’ve stayed anywhere longer than three days since I left home. So, leaving feels a bit like removing myself from a garden, after my tap root has sunk quite deeply into the earth. I’ve had time to grow here, and grow I did. Now, the task is to remove myself gently, so I can be successfully replanted.

My first task is to  care of “business.”  Right now I know where all the important stuff is locally: water, laundry, showers, trash disposal, wifi, bank machines that work with my Canadian bank card, and where I can purchase Pippa’s dog food and chews. I’ll work through each of these in the next couple of days and complete them here in the familiar landscape of Quartzsite and area.

I’ll fill my water tank and jug. Update my computer and phone software at the library. Do a BIG load of laundry that includes almost everything I own, plus  bedding, and take $100 out of the bank so I have cash for emergencies or if I’m somewhere my cards don’t work. I will look at my route and make sure to pick up dog food either in Yuma or Lake Havasu on my way out.

There is some uncertainty about  my “leave date”.

Although I have a two week pass here on BLM land that ends  Feb 14th, the weather forecast is calling for rain on the 13 & 14 so I may leave a couple days early to avoid packing up my outdoor camp (my canopy, solar panels, table, chair and tarps) when everything is wet. If it rains like last time (a month ago) it’s NOT the sort of rain to take lightly.  I’d much rather get the van packed before any desert weather drama. Once it’s packed, the weather won’t bother me; it can rain for days, and I would welcome it! We are safe and warm and self contained with everything we need, and can live quite contentedly inside the van while the weather passes.

So, my process looks a bit like this:

Study a map of Arizona. Study a map of New Mexico. Start googling “things to see in New Mexico”. I also google “unusual things to see…” and enjoy looking at what comes up. Usually there are things that tickle my fancy that I can’t imagine missing. I will also google hot springs and yoga retreats for this chapter. One of my favourite sites to find interesting things to see is Www.atlasobscura.com

As I find things that interest me, I will make a list of them. Once I have a good list, I will begin looking at their locations, and mark them on the paper map. After that, I will “pencil in” a very general route. Which I know will change, but will serve as a very loose plan to get me through the state. I am giving myself up to a month in New Mexico. SLOW. I’m going to go SLOW.

I don’t worry too much about camping anymore – I use the ALLSTAYS and Campendium apps on my phone as well as “freecampsites.net” on my tablet, and I can usually find something on the day I need it, or sometimes the day before. At this point in my learning curve, it’s too much “micro-planning” to worry about where I’ll camp in this early stage of planning. I’m comfortable enough with the tools to find inexpensive or free camping quite easily and without stress on a day to day basis. Having now had the taste of free BLM camping however, it would be hard to return to expensive campgrounds! I’m loving my boondocking scene!

Today, my task is to relax and slowly make this transition. This isn’t easy. Once I have determined “it’s time to head out” it’s tough to stay in place and do these final tasks. My mind is now wandering somewhere down the highway, and my body just wants to join it!

Words from my Favourite Philosopher











7 thoughts on “A Month in a Minivan: Day 10

  1. Wow, thanks for the atlasobscura link! That site looks very very interesting and I will be using it on future road trips! (I’ve dreamed of living in my vehicle for years but heavy debt is blocking my way just now.)

  2. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every one of your posts and, when I get caught up on grading papers (I’m an English teacher), I’m going to go back and read your blog from the beginning. A large glass of tea and my iPad, reading your posts — sounds heavenly! My one question is that when I click on the “free camping.net” link, I go to a “this domain name is available” page. What is the name of the page?

    1. My goodness Patti, I’m really touched! Anyone who does THAT amount of required reading wanting to read MORE is a real compliment! Huh. I just checked on that link…let me see if I can fix that! Thanks so much for letting me know!

  3. Hey Kit,
    I’ve enjoyed following you on your Feb blog journey. I was at the RTR in my van for the first weekend. I’m going out a bit at a time to prepare for my Campground hosting gig this summer in the Santa Fe National Forest. I live in Los Lunas, which is in the center of New Mexico. I know NM pretty well and love hot springs, so if you need some on the ground reporting, reach out to me privately.

I love to hear from you :)