My first day boondocking. I’ve been waiting for this experience since I first started dreaming about full-timing five years ago. When I purchased Cas and Bertha, I had fully intended to buy solar equipment and other boondocking gear at the start, but then I decided I couldn’t take it at my vet tech job any longer and I hit the road with about $1,500 less in the bank that originally planned. That was what got cut out.
When I imagined what boondocking would be like, I thought about laying in bed at night with the windows open, watching the stars. I thought about sitting in my camp chair in my pajamas reading, with no one nearby to care about what I was wearing. I thought about being able to step outside my door, picking a direction and start walking, and immediately being surrounded by the beauty of nature.
Well, lows here in Quartzsite have been in the mid 30’s to low 40’s, so no sleeping with a window open. In fact I put the reflectix up in the windows at night to hold in heat so I don’t see the stars in bed. So far, I’ve been camping near groups, so no sitting outside in my pajamas either. Then, I have to be careful about where I take my walks, so as not to invade other’s privacy.
But these are temporary circumstances, easily rectified if I had a mind to. Even here in the bustling RV metropolis of “Q”, there is plenty of open space to go park in, far away from others, where I could enjoy a morning cup of cocoa in my pajamas or a leisurely stroll without seeing another human being. I could drive south to Yuma, where temperatures are a bit warmer for nighttime star viewing, or invest in a colder weather sleeping bag or be less stingy with my Little Buddy heater.
For right now though, I’m happy where I am. I’m getting to meet a lot of folks in person finally who’ve I’ve been friends with online for years and am thoroughly enjoying my first two rally experiences. And just because I’m camping with groups, doesn’t mean I can’t also get out and do some exploring. On Wednesday (the 13th) I left the Casita and started walking east, where the land is designated day use only and no overnight camping is allowed.
The desert around here is very rocky, what folks call “desert concrete”. You can drive over it safely, it’s a hard surface. Where you see sand is where care is needed, it’s not likely to be packed down and trying to drive over it can result in sinking and getting stuck.
Saguaro cactus are the most showy plant out here, but there is a surprising amount of vegetation for a desert. Green barked palo verde trees and at least one other type of tree (ironwood maybe?) stand alongside dry washes, waiting for rain. They don’t grow as tall as trees in wetter climates do, but they’re still undeniably trees. Creosote bushes still have some leaves on them, brittle tiny green spades that break off when touched.
Barrel cactus with their distinctive red spines and cholla with their furry appearance are easy to identify, but smaller ones remain a mystery. Lizards dart between thickets of brush at my approach, too fast to catch more than a glimpse of. Far from being a wasteland, the desert is surprisingly alive.
About twenty minutes into the walk, a thick line of vegetation stretches ahead. It’s a wash, a really big one.
I wonder what it looked like during the rains last week. Judging by what I saw flowing across the road in Maricopa, I bet it was quite impressive. In some places, the ground is still visibly damp, but any puddles have long since soaked into the ground.
I sit along the edge overlooking the wash and be still for a while. A light breeze plays through the trees, and high wispy clouds drift over the sun, dappling the mountains in the distance. All is calm and peaceful.
Yep, the wait was worth it!