Not Just a Sunset

So far, the boondocking experiment has been going amazingly well. My 100w of solar is getting the job done, I’ve learned to stretch my holding tanks and propane for 3 weeks. I’m having a blast, and I’m not breaking the bank.

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I’ve been at the dry lake bed near Joshua Tree (the town) in southern California for five days now. As my social media followers already know, there have been some pretty great sunsets the past couple evenings. The abundant wispy clouds in these golden hour shots taken on Sunday don’t promise a good sunset, but make it much more likely.

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My chair is already put away for the night because of the risk of strong wind, so I grab my poi and practice as the sun slips lower in the sky, camera in pocket and ready to capture the magic.

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The show starts to the east, pastel and demure.

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Then to the west, gold filigree spreads over the bottoms of the clouds.

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The sky over Cas becomes a riot of peach streamers.

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The clouds over the San Bernardino mountains are on fire now.

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It’s just a sunset, but it’s not. I’m not the only person standing outside watching, other campers are doing the same. Does it move them the way it moves me? Headlights from distant traffic on Highway 62 continue to roll by. Do they appreciate what’s going on outside their windows, outside the bubble of their routines?

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Colors darken and begin to fade. From start to finish the show is only 14 minutes long. Such a short amount of time for something so uplifting.

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Maybe you’re not in a position to go full-time RVing right now, or maybe you wouldn’t want to even if you could. But I’m telling you, no matter how busy your day is, it’s worth it now and then to set aside the to-do’s and take 14 minutes to enjoy where you are and simply Be.

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Becky

At IO I teach people how to ditch the status quo and travel full-time before retirement, and share stories of my adventures (and misadventures) to inspire future nomads and armchair travelers alike. Included at no additional charge: seizing your dreams, living boldly, and making a difference.

56 Comments

  1. Jill Dudley on March 24, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    Hi Becky, I a new follower and I am enjoying your writing and pictures. I’m in my first year of full-timing and am in my first stint as a camp host. I’m planning to winter in Arizona this year. Best wishes.



    • Becky on March 25, 2016 at 10:42 am

      Congrats Jill! I know several people who camp host and really love it, I hope you do too. Arizona is a great place to winter. Enjoy!



  2. pamelab on March 24, 2016 at 6:10 pm

    Hi, Becky – You have some beautiful photos here. Very nice of you to share for those of us who are not in the desert at present. You seem to be able to conserve and not need a lot of solar, etc. to be comfy boondocking. I’m happy to know that, because when I get out there, I will probably not have solar on top of my vehicle and will opt for the suitcase, like you have.
    Thanks for sharing all the good info, too.
    Happy Trails to you.
    Pamelab, still in Houston



    • Becky on March 25, 2016 at 10:41 am

      You’re welcome Pamela, the suitcase is honestly doing better than I expected, I’m very happy with it! Hope to hear from “Pamelab, no longer in Houston” soon! 😉



  3. Holly on March 24, 2016 at 5:18 am

    Hi Becky, it was good to meet you in Q, your writing and photos inspire me.
    The sunsets and sunrises are what make the daytime worthwhile to me. Once it starts happening it’s hard to turn away, thank you for catching the magic.



    • Becky on March 24, 2016 at 4:29 pm

      You’re welcome Holly, it was nice meeting you as well and thanks for reading IO, I’m glad you’re enjoying it. 🙂



  4. Joe on March 23, 2016 at 10:26 am

    I’m soooo glad I decided to Be before I have Been! Lol



    • Becky on March 23, 2016 at 11:26 am

      Haha, that’s a funny way of putting it Joe.



  5. Sheryl on March 23, 2016 at 9:48 am

    Hi Becky
    Thanks for sharing your pictures and reminding each of us to find that place in our own lives where ever we may be. Sunsets and sunrises are wonderful ways to get and stay in Life’s perspective.
    Regarding your boondocking, again thanks for the feedback and yea on the 3 weeks plus the solar. How do you feel about driving off and leaving Cas alone? What precautions have you learned this season from the boondockers? Now that you are one…how does this work for you?
    I just bought a Casita Liberty and plan on boondocking when not working/volunteering.
    Thanks
    Sheryl



    • Becky on March 23, 2016 at 11:24 am

      I worry a little when I leave the Casita behind while boondocking, but not as much as it would inconvenience me if I had a Class B or C instead and had to move my whole house everytime I wanted to go somewhere. I follow my gut instinct, if a place doesn’t feel safe I don’t stay.

      I’ve written more about boondocking here:
      https://interstellarorchard.com/2016/03/11/finding-a-boondocking-rhythm/
      https://interstellarorchard.com/2016/02/09/solar-and-heat-for-boondocking/
      https://interstellarorchard.com/2016/01/15/first-thoughts-on-boondocking/



      • Biz Crate on March 24, 2016 at 10:08 am

        Becky and Cheryl-
        I feel complelled to add my thoughts to this question, as I get asked the same thing from time to time.
        I worry more about someone taking my personal property out of my driveway than hitching up and towing it away in the middle of the desert.
        One reason is the density of population. Someone up to no good would have a long way to drive to reap …what? ?..risk that a second someone is actually home or that I may drive up behind them as they dropped the hitch? In my driveway at home, anyone cruising around the neighborhood could find opportunity – but then they have much greater opportunity to case the situation before making a move.
        Secondly, no one would assume the property is abandoned just because it is sitting there. Look at Becky’s pictures. There is nothing that indicates abandonment: no dirt build up, no tattered screens, bent or broken equipment. Cas is well maintained, shining and waiting for her mistress’s return. So, even those with good intentions of keeping the desert clean of abandoned property would pass by, with the knowledge that the owner is close by or would be back at any time.
        As a current city dweller who hopes to amend my address soon, I get the question, I really do. Will I be concerned? My little bit of experience says no. No more concerned than I am when I lock up my house now when I head off to work each morning.



        • Becky on March 24, 2016 at 4:27 pm

          That’s how I feel about it too Crate, the part about an RV (and the RVer) being safer parked out in the middle of nowhere than in a city, and I’ve responded as such to other comments. That still doesn’t completely eliminate the worry, at least not for me. I’ve never owned a house before, only rented apartments. If someone broke into my rented apartment and trashed it, I knew the apartment wasn’t Mine, the biggest concern would be replacing my belongings which I could do over time.

          If someone broke into or stole Cas, the stakes would be higher because I’m emotionally attached and I don’t necessarily have the funds to buy another RV which I would have to do immediately or give up the lifestyle.

          But it’s all a matter of probability. The risk of Cas being stolen is relatively low, likely no higher than the risk of getting in an accident every time I get behind the wheel. I’ve calculated and accepted the risk, and have a backup plan. I think about it on occasion, but it doesn’t keep me up at night.



  6. LittleBittyLiving JanisP on March 23, 2016 at 9:14 am

    Incredible photos! CA/AZ sure know how to “do” a proper sunset!



    • Becky on March 23, 2016 at 11:16 am

      They certainly do Janis. 🙂



  7. Rejean Robidoux on March 23, 2016 at 9:07 am

    Magnifique photo!



    • Becky on March 23, 2016 at 11:15 am

      Glad you like it Rejean!



  8. Dawn in MI on March 23, 2016 at 8:18 am

    Good advice…for us to enjoy being where we are. But someday I want to be out on that desert watching a sunset for real. These were lovely! Thank you for sharing them!



    • Becky on March 23, 2016 at 11:14 am

      You won’t be disappointed with the sunsets when you get out here Dawn! Wishing you the best as always.



  9. Ron on March 23, 2016 at 7:47 am

    Becky, your writing skills are really blossoming, almost as beautiful as the sunset photos. Not everyone can see the beauty of the desert but what you are sharing must help them. Safe travels and enjoy.



    • Becky on March 23, 2016 at 11:12 am

      Yeah Ron, it seems like people either really like or really dislike the desert. Considering the cost of wintering in the desert compared to someplace like Florida, I’m glad I’m in the former group, thanks.



  10. Curt on March 23, 2016 at 7:29 am

    I saw your interview with the Technomads. Very cool to be solo in the desert. May I recommend the American classic for you and your followers, Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey.

    I read it when I was in high school, ignited a lifelong love of the American west and its deserts.



    • Becky on March 23, 2016 at 11:09 am

      I’ll at it to my to-read list Curt, thanks for the recommendation.



  11. Kim on March 23, 2016 at 7:13 am

    Beautiful!



    • Becky on March 23, 2016 at 11:08 am

      I saw that your latest blog post about helping Randy get his book of poems in print Kim, awesome. 🙂



  12. Furry Gnome on March 23, 2016 at 7:07 am

    Great sequence of pictures!



    • Becky on March 23, 2016 at 11:04 am

      Thanks Gnome.



  13. BoxinTheCompass on March 22, 2016 at 10:10 pm

    Thanks Becky…. I really needed a lovely sunset today



    • Becky on March 23, 2016 at 11:02 am

      You’re welcome!



  14. James Core on March 22, 2016 at 8:14 pm

    Becky: What camera did you use for the photos. Maybe silly to ask: often it’s the finger that presses the shutter!



    • Becky on March 23, 2016 at 10:35 am

      Haha, yeah James my camera is my old iPhone 4S, stock, no special app or lenses.



  15. Rene Kipp on March 22, 2016 at 7:54 pm

    Sometimes as I’m driving home from wherever, I see a gorgeous sunset in the making. By the time I get home it’s faded and pretty much done. I can not wait to simply Be and enjoy more of them 🙂
    Rene Kipp recently posted..OCD Sufferers Beware!My Profile



    • Becky on March 23, 2016 at 10:30 am

      That was the situation I was in before I hit the road too Rene. I’d see it driving, but I was always in too much of a hurry to enjoy it. Hope your time comes soon.



  16. Vince on March 22, 2016 at 7:53 pm

    Thank you for sharing this and the reminder. Returning to the present moment is a practice and you can never be reminded too much.



    • Becky on March 23, 2016 at 10:28 am

      You’re welcome Vince. 🙂



  17. Christi on March 22, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    Oh wow!! Thank you for sharing!! They are so moving in digital format, I imagine they are breath taking in “real life.” Bet this makes all those long days at Amazon more than worth it! Enjoy, my friend!!!

    Christi
    aka Mississippi Chris



    • Becky on March 23, 2016 at 10:19 am

      Even better in person Christi! My phone can’t do wide angle photos, if I’d had a wide angle lens on a “real” camera I could have shown you what the whole thing looked like together instead of having to turn back and forth to try to capture it all.

      Yeah, the time at Amazon is worth it for days like this. 🙂 Thanks for reading!



      • Marilyn in Dania Beach on March 23, 2016 at 11:42 am

        Can your phone do panorama? That would show the entire horizon.



        • Becky on March 23, 2016 at 11:48 am

          It can Marilyn, but the distortion is such that it doesn’t make a great picture. Maybe the newer iPhones have fixed that, good suggestion though!



  18. Malia on March 22, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    That’s one of the coolest things about RVing, that we are more easily exposed to this kind of magic.



    • Becky on March 23, 2016 at 10:14 am

      Absolutely Malia!



  19. Beverly in CA on March 22, 2016 at 7:06 pm

    Love the pictures and the reminder.



    • Becky on March 23, 2016 at 10:13 am

      Glad you enjoyed this Beverly, thanks for following along!



  20. Rand on March 22, 2016 at 6:50 pm

    Friday night I tried to capture the sunset and the vast flat landscape of the “lake” — you nailed it! Think you’ve got the boondockers appreciation wide open spaces. Sunrise at Crossroads Cafe you might enjoy.
    Rand recently posted..ocea braMy Profile



    • Becky on March 23, 2016 at 10:12 am

      When I got my haircut a couple days ago the stylist said Crossroads Cafe was good stuff, I’ll look into it thanks.



  21. Norm H. on March 22, 2016 at 6:45 pm

    Making me homesick, again. Lol. Great pics! As always, thanks for sharing.



    • Becky on March 23, 2016 at 10:11 am

      You’re welcome Norm!



  22. Karen on March 22, 2016 at 6:32 pm

    I agree! I just wish I could get the same great photos of the beautiful star filled night skies!



    • Becky on March 23, 2016 at 10:10 am

      My boss and two of my coworkers at Yellowstone last summer had expensive DSLR cameras with the kind of lenses needed for those sorts of photos, the equipment was a couple thousand dollars if not more but it was their hobby.

      I remember going into work one morning when one of those coworkers had the opening shift and he was dragging like he was hungover, the three of them had been up until 3 am getting photos of the milky way. All of them are retirement age mind. I had to give him grief for staying up late and partying with his friends when he had to work the next day. 😉



  23. RGupnorth on March 22, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    Nothing like sunrises and sunsets. Best parts of the day.



    • Becky on March 23, 2016 at 10:06 am

      I’m a night owl so rarely am I awake for sunrises but yeah RG.



  24. Linda Sand on March 22, 2016 at 5:48 pm

    We are no longer RVing and Minnesota doesn’t have those sunsets quite as often as Arizona does but my living room chair faces west towards our patio door so I still get to enjoy some jaw-dropping minutes every now and then. Plus I get to share ones my still RVing friends post. Thanks for sharing this one with me.



    • Becky on March 23, 2016 at 10:05 am

      I’m from Wisconsin Linda so I know what you mean about mid-western sunsets. 🙂 I’m familiar with you from several of the RVing forums actually and am happy to see you here, hope you’re enjoying IO and thanks for reading.



  25. Jeff on March 22, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    Simply Be … good advice! The last picture is a perfect example of ‘fire in the sky’, AWESOME! Thanks Becky.



    • Becky on March 23, 2016 at 10:03 am

      You’re welcome Jeff. I’m telling ya, everyone was right about southwestern sunsets…



  26. Rick on March 22, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    Awesome photos and commentary 🙂



    • Becky on March 22, 2016 at 4:11 pm

      Glad you enjoyed this Rick.



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