It takes about a half hour to pack the van. Not bad, considering how I tend to explode out of it when I settle somewhere. A mat, table, camp chair, water jug, dog kennel and my solar panels all need to find their places once again. I take time to tidy as I go.
Each time I repack, I have a good look at what I carry with me, and where it goes. Is it easily accessible? Are there things I no longer need, or don’t use that can be let go?
At this time, I’m happy with my set-up. I added a small table this year and it slides perfectly on top of my solar panels, under the bed. My new mat also fits there, completing the Tetris puzzle. I’m really happy having both, and use them every day. I notice my clothing is expanding, making the bins harder to get in and out from under the bed. That’s probably the area that is hardest for me to keep from “growing.” I make a mental note to go through them soon, and downsize.
I eat breakfast of cottage cheese, pears, apples and banana with a bit of maple syrup, soaking in the view of Picketpost before we head out. I feel mixed about leaving. It’s been a special 10 days.
I’ve delayed my departure for New Mexico, opting to visit more of Arizona first. My friend Kim and I will caravan together for another week, exploring places neither of us have been, and I’ll be introduced to a couple places he really enjoyed last year.
A note for those of you wondering about the cost of life on the road:
A person who loves being outdoors can live in nature for the winter in Arizona and spend ZERO dollars on accommodation. BLM land is free to enjoy and is plentiful. It has a maximum stay of 14 days in one location, at a time. After that, one must move at least 25 miles from that location. Many have established circles they travel that meet this criteria.
National Forests are also free, with a 14 day maximum in most places. State Trust land has an annual fee of $15, but you can stay only a total of 14 days a year. On top of these locations, there are inexpensive recreation areas or free casino parking lots, Walmarts, and a number of large chain gas stations that allow overnight camping. Additional costs of course include gas, food, entertainment and vehicle costs. These vary widely on the road, just as they do in regular housing situations. There are people out here living on less than $600 a month, and many who live on pensions of $1000 or less.
Today we made a stop in the little town of Globe, wandered through some antique stores and went in search of ingredients to make corned beef and cabbage to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. We improvised significantly but ended up with a fair facsimile of something someone who is Irish may have once eaten in a pinch. Ha!
I didn’t want to stay far from Globe, as I want to visit the San Carlos Cultural Centre on the Apache Reservation tomorrow and learn about their community, their work to protect the environment and ancestral lands. So, we drove a bit south to National Forest land and discovered an awesome spot; beside a fast-running little river.
We took a long walk, enjoyed our corned beef and cabbage, found Javalina tracks and enjoyed a fire right beside the water.
It’s lovely to be among trees and to hear the river; we are at a bit of an elevation and can see a powdering of snow on the visible mountain peaks. It’s cool but enjoyable to be outdoors.
I am a happy camper.