March 4, Friday
It’s another sunny day here at Picketpost Mountain.
In the morning I work on the blog, then take a break around noon for lunch and to go for a walk. Sometimes I head west on ATV trails, sometimes I get on Happy Camp Road (no lie, that’s what Google Maps calls the spur road I’m on) and walk towards east towards the power lines and the construction. That’s the way I go on this particular walk.
While no one else has stopped out here to camp, the ATVs still zip by on the spur road regularly. I figured there’d be little to no ATV traffic on the weekdays but I was mistaken, luckily I’m parked far enough back from the road that it doesn’t bother me and if you ever decide to come camp out here I’d recommend doing the same. Some of the traffic is also due to the road construction. White trucks with equipment loaded in the bed or in a trailer pulled behind are not uncommon.
I could take a million photos of the mountain with different foregrounds and be tempted to put them all on here. I hope you all appreciate how much restraint I’ve shown but limiting it to just the best couple, it hasn’t been easy.
After today’s blog post on the arboretum goes up and I spend an hour or so on comments and e-mails, it’s back out for another walk in the evening. This is how my days have been going out here. Two walks, a long lunch spent reading, and work on the computer in between. It’s a nice balance.
The sunsets here haven’t been as spectacular, which is why there have been fewer sunset photos. Tonight’s isn’t anything special either, but Tuesday’s wasn’t bad.
March 5, Saturday
I went to my first renaissance faire in college and was hooked. I fulfilled a dream two springs ago when I was hired to perform at the Georgia Renaissance Festival, but I have another dream on my bucket list of seeing ren faires in as many states as possible. Today’s visit to the Arizona Renaissance Festival marks my ninth faire in eight different states.
Besides Arizona and Georgia, the other faires I’ve been to are: Bristol (Wisconsin), Minnesota, Chippewa Falls (also Wisconsin, and now closed sadly), Carolina (which is in NC), Bay Area (Florida), Kansas City, and Sherwood (Texas).
Today I was at the gates in time for opening. A lot of the performers and vendors follow the faire circuit from place to place, so despite this being my first time I knew several people here which is part of why I made the trip. It was cooler than it has been and clouds rolled in in the afternoon which made it a very pleasant day to spend outside. I said hi to everyone I knew, caught my favorite shows, and perused the shops (and didn’t buy anything!). By the time I got home I was losing my voice, which for me is always a sign that I had a great time at a faire – all that cheering and singing.
March 6, Sunday
When I wake up bright and early at 7 I think about packing up and heading out today, but I’m just not feeling it. That system that started moving in yesterday afternoon is hanging around, the sky is overcast and west of here there are wind advisories, not a great day to be traveling.
Instead I take a long walk along the powerlines in the morning. Picketpost mountain looks a lot different in this lighting, mysterious and foreboding. The color is washed out of everything.
I have Happy Camp Road all to myself. It’s still early for the ATVers, and their absence means more wildlife. Quail scurry between clumps of brush, and a flash of white signals a cottontail darting out of the way. To the north the Superstition Mountains run together in unbroken line.
It would be easy to continue from this camp north into those mountains and beyond. Maybe stay near Theodore Roosevelt Lake for a while, see Sedona which always looks so beautiful in photos. Move from there into Utah. But no, I spent last summer in the Rockies and I did Utah the year before, I want to see the Sierras this summer.
But wait, where are you going to be working?
A lot of folks have been asking me that and I’ve been very reluctant to answer though I came to a decision last September. In short, I’m hoping to not work-camp this summer. I’m working hard on my writing (of which that article for Escapees magazine is a part) and am planning to go to Amazon a month earlier this fall, and I’m hoping those two things combined will make it possible.
The idea first started percolating in my head last summer when my parents told me they had a hotel reservation at Yellowstone the first week of August… but it was going to be this year, not last year when I was working there. My brother also took time off and was going to be joining them. The last time the four of us had a family vacation together was back when I was in high school, and I decided it’s something I wanted to be there for. Being a former employee, I have a potential “in” for a camping spot in the park and if not I know of free camping options not too far outside of it.
Maybe it won’t work out and I’ll have to find a job halfway through the summer, but that won’t be hard to do. In 2014 when I worked at the renaissance festival I didn’t line up my summer job ahead of time and waited until faire ended in mid-June to find a job for the rest of the season and it turned out fine – there are always people who quit mid-way through the summer for one reason or another and leave openings.
It’s also possible I’ll get bored with boondocking or find a job I really want while I’m traveling which could change my plans. But for right now, I’m tentatively planning on heading west into California and when it warms up exploring the Sierras, then moving east towards Wyoming later in July so I can spend that first week in August with my family. Then I’ll take a month moving south through Colorado and northern New Mexico, and I’ll get to Texas in September for another busy fall with CamperForce.
If there’s something you think I should see along the way feel free to share. I will be on a tight budget (free boondocks wherever possible) and there’s a lot I won’t be able to get to, but I’ll keep track of the advice for future trips and other people who read this blog may find your tips useful!
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