Here I go...

Join me on my new adventure - Van Living!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Yuma Territorial Prison

I spent a couple of hours this morning at the Yuma Territorial Prison. It was six dollars for senior admission. They did a little show at noon. And right below the prison are some really nice walking trails. 

The prison was only open for about 33 years and almost destroyed when the railroad went through but it’s worth a visit if you’re in the area. Here are some photos.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Back to the Desert

Holy Moly, this week has been a wild ride!

I got to mom's to find her laying on the couch watching tv. She was just fine and admitted a few days later to crying wolf. She was just depressed and feeling helpless, and thank the gods, she really does NOT need me here right now.

We had a realtor out again to look at the house. He wanted to list it $20K lower than the last realtor. This put a bit of shock into her I think.

We went to look at the 2 mobile homes she was interested in buying. Upon closer examination, one was not up to her standards. The owner is shuffling his feet on selling the other. So we're back at square one.

I helped mom clean out some of her closets and her garage. We donated a lot of good items to a Church of the Nazarene who is having a rummage sale. She felt good about that and it saved us having a yard sale in mid-winter.

She talked to a neighbor about finishing off her garage. I'm not sure WHY she wants to spend even more money finishing the walls in a garage, but whatever... it's her money.

I'm hoping she's settled in enough now to keep her happy for at least 6 months until I return from Spain this summer. If not, we may have to hire someone to care for her because I can't deal with the chemicals in the house.

Yesterday I was in the middle of a full blown MCS reaction. She "forgot" and sprayed her shower with a very strong flower-y scented spray that has permeated the house. Between that, her fragranced sheets and towels, her hairspray, her incessant smoking (outside but the smoke wafts in as she insists on leaving the door open), the febreze clip she put in the car (!!!), the chemically laced food she eats, and the television blaring full blast from 8 am to 11 pm, I'm exhausted emotionally, mentally, and physically. To make matters worse, she's confrontational and angry when I try to explain that I need to sleep in the van to get some fresh air and quiet. So taking care of myself is nearly impossible here without a fight. The fight/flight response of the MCS puts all of my senses on high alert so smells, light, and the loud tv is literally painful.  I need to get out of here, and soon.

My son, Cameron, saved my life last night by sending me a ocean waves meditation and instructed me to listen to it over and over until my brain calmed down. He understands this condition and his advice was really helpful. It eased the pain and anxiety enough for me to make the decision to sleep outside.

Soooo... today I will spend time getting the van ready for departure. I'm heading back to Desert Hot Springs and will spend a night there visiting Joe and talking about the two Camino trips planned for the year. Then I'll head to Quartzite or Parker for the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous (RTR), after which I'm planning to go spend a few weeks on a Mexican beach.

Then... maybe I'll start my exploration of Route 66!  Whatever I decide to do, it will be fun.


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Playing Catch Up

A lot has happened since my last post. I'll try to catch up.

I had a great time on the Colorado River with Karylee and Sandra. I left Quartzsite and visited the London Bridge in Lake Havasu. Then I went to the Parker Strip and camped for a few days with my girls.

The first Saturday night I was there, we went to karaoke!  We almost had too much fun!

I had been talking about taking the van onto Route 66 and exploring, so on the way out of karaoke, finding this bag felt like a sign!

We met a new friend, Nancy, who was parked with her husband next to our camp.  During the week, we took a nice hike into the desert and up to a flag that was planted on a nearby hill.

Karylee does something called geocaching. I guess it's nothing new, but I'd never done it so it was fun learning about it.

On the way down the hill, we found a dump with old pottery and depression glass pieces. I had "hearts" on my mind . . .

Karylee and I walked to a nearby campground and used their showers.

I spent a lot of time practicing guitar. 

I just loved spending time with Karylee and Sandra. They taught me a lot about full-timing it in a van. I hope to hook up with them again later in the season.

This is the solar charger for my phone. 

Those beautiful cold mornings on the river were made even more special by a cup of hot coffee under the trees while watching the sunrise.

Karylee had her camp all lit up for the holdays!

Keeping warm with my Mr. Buddy heater

About a week into my stay, I got a call from my mother saying she needed help. So I packed up and took off for Hanford.  We put my mother's house up for sale and are looking at a smaller place today. I hope to get her settled, so I can continue my van trip.

The morning I left, this was what the sunrise looked like. This photo is NOT retouched. It was just spectacular!

Sandra in her jammies
Saying goodbye to new friends
On the drive back to Desert Hot Springs, I passed this fenced enclosure COVERED with shoes! It was crazy! Some of the shoes looked brand new; others were old and worn.  How funny, huh?

I also passed this sign post. People in this area have a funny sense of humor!

Spent one night at Joe's desert home in Desert Hot Springs, then headed next morning to mom's house. Found her laying on the couch watching tv. It felt like the little boy who cried wolf. She seemed to be ok.

But in talking to her, she's overwhelmed with her large 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom house, so we've put her place up for sale and will move her into a smaller mobile home park. 

Mom's neighbor, Avery, with her pooch. 
Avery has been such a good friend and neighbor to my mother. I think they'll really miss each other. 

I've been walking in the mornings, and walked past this walnut grove. I love the fact that someone took the time to dress each tree for the holiday!

Once this business is taken care of, my van and I'll be back on the road.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Laundry Day

This morning was a chilly 38 degrees.

It was also laundry day. Luckily I brought a 50 foot line. I hung one in from a tree and one and from my van.

I separated my items and decided to do underwear first, then blouses, then pants, then socks. I did my sheet last because I wanted to let it soak.

I put about 3 inches of hot water in my black bucket and put in my underwear. After letting it soak for maybe 10 minutes, I used the plunger “washing machine“ that I purchased to agitate the clothes. It actually worked great and I’m really happy with it. I originally brought a top for the bucket. It went to my son’s beer making kit but I quickly learned that the hole for the handle of the plunger needs to be in the center not around the outside edge. Oh doh!  When you’re getting ready to do this van dwelling trip, there are things that don’t occur to you until you’re actually in the middle of the process.

After plunging the underwear then I washed each piece separately. It’s much easier to plunge one item at a time and to try to fill the bucket and plunge it. I think the clothes get cleaner doing one item at a time. Luckily, with this lifestyle, there are not huge piles of laundry.

After everything was washed I fed my water to a local tree and put 3 inches of clean water in the bucket. I wrung as much water out of the clothes as I could and then added each piece to the clean water.This would’ve been a great time to have my great grandmother’s wringer to wring those clothes out. But I managed OK.

I used safety pins to hang my clothes out. This was a trick I learned on the Camino Santiago. It’s especially handy for here in the desert where the wind can quickly ruin your wash by knocking it off the line.

So that’s it. My laundry is finished. The sun will come around this way in about an hour and I expect everything to dry quickly in the breeze.  It feels so good to have it done and I actually enjoyed this experience. And an extra bonus is that wonderful smell of clothes that have dried in the sunshine.  I’ll sleep really good tonight!

Ma Cato used to tell me I was born in the wrong century and that I would’ve been a great pioneer. I can remember her saying, “most people couldn’t live that way, Sis, but I believe you could and you’d be happy!”

I agree with her. I love being out here in the wilderness. And I’m happy to do these menial chores without the modern conveniences.

I’m using the rinse water to give my van a quick wash on the inside and get some of the desert dust out of it. So laundry day also turned into cleaning day and I finished by 10 AM. Not bad!

View from my van door:

Monday, December 04, 2017

Cornelia White House - Palm Springs

While in Palm Springs, I visited the Cornelia White House. This is the second oldest structure in Palm Springs. It was originally a bunglow from Palm Springs' first hotel and later the home of Miss Cornelia White, a New York Native who settled in Palm Springs with her sister, Sr. Florilla White, in 1913.

I loved loved LOVED this little house and would give anything to live in something like this today.  Perfect in every way!  But then, I grew up with all those grandparents and this felt "like home" to me.

Love this kitchen!
Cornelia White about a year before her death