Spilling The Beans

After a fantastic hike among the rocks at the back of Sawtooth campground on Wednesday the 6th (the pictures in the previous post), it rains for the rest of my stay.

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Not all day, never very hard, but the sky remains overcast and and the air is chill. Because of the lack of sunlight I ration my power use and don’t spend much time on the computer. Unable to get out and explore, it’s not an exciting time to blog about, but the plants sure are happy! I’ll be happy for them, this is good news for the drought.

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Saturday, April 9

I depart the Lucerne Valley area bright and early (okay, still cloudy so not exactly “bright”) and set a course for Acton, CA. First I drive north on 247 to Barstow, then get on interstate 15 which swerves southwest through Victorville. Just past Victorville, I exit onto 18 going west which merges with 138 through the small towns of Llano, Pearblossom, and Littlerock. Instead of continuing into Palmdale, I merge onto 14 heading south. This may sound complicated, but it really isn’t a tough drive.

For a while the sun pokes through the clouds, but there are storms brewing the mountains which is where I’m headed. The clouds cover the horizon like a blanket and it’s a race against the clock, will I make it to my destination before the sky opens up?

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I’m on 14 for only a few miles before exiting on Soledad Canyon Road, which follows the Santa Clara River right along the edge of Angeles National Forest. The road twists and turns through a narrow valley filled with cottonwood and other trees. Glimpses through the canopy reveal mountains all around, but it’s impossible to get a picture while I’m trying to watch for my stop.

Finally I spot it on the right, the Acton KOA. I’d made reservations just case it ended being busy on the weekend, but it wouldn’t have been necessary this time because of the weather. The first drops of rain hit the windshield as I get Cas backed into site #2. I get sprinkled on while unhitching but it waits until I’m all hooked up to start in earnest. Phew! It rains the rest of the day, and I stay inside.

Sunday, April 10

I rise with the sun before my alarm goes off at 7, this is unusual. Maybe it’s the fact that the sun is actually out. Taking advantage of the opportunity, I get some pictures.

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For $45 a night, I have to say I was expecting more from the KOA. The grounds are tired looking. The paint on the playground is fading, the RV sites are dirt and not real level, and the shower house is old. It’s the location that drives the price up I’m sure, it’s hard to find RV parking closer to LA than this, and I imagine this is a popular weekend destination for the city folks.

It’s not all bad though. I have virtually no Verizon signal here due to the mountains, but the park WiFi is actually quite good and while old, everything is clean. There are a lot of cottonwoods for shade and the area is very pretty.

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Speaking of location, the KOA lies right along the Pacific Crest Trail, which I’ll admit was a big incentive for choosing this park over others in the area. Someday I’m going to go backpacking on a trail like this, but not today. Still, it’s fun to be able to say I’ve been on it. I hike a short ways south up into the national forest. Just high enough to get a pretty amazing view of the valley.

Click for larger image

Click for larger image

The clouds have moved back in, and the air smells of rain. The PCT winds it’s way up through brush, the terrain becoming more arid higher up. The urge to climb to the top and see what’s there is strong, but I have other things to do today. It’ll have to wait.

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By noon I’m driving down towards LA to meet three ladies that I don’t really know. Originally the plan was to meet at the KOA, but a phone call changes that. It’s just as well, as the forecast is calling for storms and getting three people and two dogs into the Casita would be a real clown car moment. Instead, we convene at one of their houses then take a walk through Lake Balboa/Anthony C. Beilenson Park. I have a good time and am there for well over three hours. On the way back home the promised rain comes. For those keeping track this makes four days in a row.

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Tuesday April 12

After five days of rain, the sun finally comes out today and in the evening my “home” visit is completed! That means I can leave tomorrow for more remote (and cheaper) locales.

Okay, I’m ready to spill the beans about what I’ve been up to and why I came down towards LA. Are you ready?

spilling-the-beans-acton-ca (11)Well, a couple weeks ago when I was still at Joshua Tree I submitted an adoption application with a dog rescue. It’s been very hard to keep it to myself but I wanted to make sure I cleared the first few hurdles before sharing.

Adopting from a rescue is often much more involved than adopting from a shelter, it certainly was in this case. I’m going to do a how-to post on the whole adoption process at some point and what RVers should take into consideration when thinking of adopting a dog (despite springing this out of the blue, I truly have given it a lot of thought and have been watching this rescue since 2012 when I first hit the road) but this one is more travelogue style to get you caught up to date.

In short, after I submitted my application on March 25th, my references needed to be checked which took a while. The day after I arrived at Sawtooth on the 1st I got a call from the head of the California/Nevada chapter of the rescue since that’s where I happened to be. Over that weekend we conversed back and forth to arrange a meetup for my home visit. A volunteer with the rescue needs to meet with potential adopters before they’re approved to make sure they’re good people and ensure their home would be a safe and positive environment for a dog.

spilling-the-beans-acton-ca (12)The chapter head happened to live in the LA area, so my home being mobile and all, I decided to come down here to speed up the process rather than trying to arrange for her to meet me elsewhere. Originally she was going to come out on Sunday the 10th to do the home visit which is why I arrived on the 9th, but she got a call about two dogs that needed rescuing in Bakersfield, so she couldn’t make the drive out since it was the opposite direction from the way she needed to go. Instead I drove down there, and I got to meet her and her dogs, and her two friends who are each fostering one dog that is up for adoption.

Since I know people are going to ask, I did not put my application in for a specific dog so I have no photos or anything to share yet. I figured I’d worry about getting approved first, and then see who was available and where. The two fostered dogs I met at the park were adorable, but neither was “the one”. I wouldn’t have known for sure without seeing them in person so I’m glad I got the chance.

Anyway, the chapter head came this evening, looked through the Casita (and can’t wait until the day she gets to retire and go RVing herself), and gave me the thumbs up. I’m still not approved yet however. Now she has to submit the paperwork to the board (this rescue is a 501c3 Nonprofit, rather like the Yellowstone Association actually) and they have to approve me. If they approve, I finally get the green light.

Hopefully, I’ll be hearing back on this final step within the next week. In the meantime, I’m still stuck in a sort of limbo. There is another dog not terribly far from here than I’m interested in seeing, so immediate travel plans might take me up that way, but I’m not going to rush there until I hear back from the board. Wish me luck!

* * *

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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.


  1. Kim on April 17, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    Great news Becky. You’ll provide a great home!

    • Becky on April 17, 2016 at 8:16 pm

      Aww, thanks Kim!

  2. David H. on April 16, 2016 at 5:24 pm

    Good for you Becky, glad to hear it. Seeing a post above questioning this made me smile recalling a conversation I had with an experienced dog shelter person just before I applied to adopt a rescue golden and become a foster home from my small apt. My friend said, “be prepared to give references, at least a phone interview, and a home interview…”, and then she laughed and said, “at some point in contrast you’ll think, ‘gee, it’s easier to bring a child into the world’.” Anyway, more power to ya, the obvious love in your heart, not to mention your background, will solve any issue am sure.

    • Becky on April 16, 2016 at 5:52 pm

      Thanks David. Yeah, also shares a lot of similarities with job hunting, haha.

  3. Rosemary Rizzo on April 15, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    Hi Becky
    Are you considering a Papillion?
    Too high maintenance and not my first choice in a hiking companion.

    Sounds like a very reputable rescue group.

    • Becky on April 15, 2016 at 9:20 pm

      Yep, Papillon. I’ll be explaining why this breed over another in a future post.

      • Jeff on April 16, 2016 at 2:04 pm

        We have a Papillon (Gracie) and she has been the best companion dog we have ever had. It seems as if her whole purpose in life is to make us happy. She was super easy to train, quiet, calm and travels extremely well. She has never in her 12 years growled or nipped at any human or other animal. Unlike terriers though she has never liked going on long walks and would always prefer to be on top of 3-4 pillows on the couch.

        • Becky on April 16, 2016 at 5:50 pm

          You’ve touched on some of the points why I like the breed Jeff. They’re sweet, smart, and loyal. Some do better at walks than others, I’ll be looking for a more active one. Sounds like Gracie is a great little travel partner. 🙂

  4. Lauri on April 15, 2016 at 8:24 am


    I think that is awesome news!!!! My doberman and I will be hitting the road as soon as the houses sell. We have been following your blog for awhile now and absolutely love it. You have been an awesome inspiration for us!!!! Best of luck on your new companion, once he/she finds you of course!!

    Lauri & Rufus

    • Becky on April 15, 2016 at 9:13 pm

      Great Lauri, I hope your house sells quickly and that your transition to fulll-timing is swift and painless. 🙂 So glad to hear IO inspired you, I bet Rufus is going to love seeing the country as much as you do, so many new smells and animals.

  5. Pretz on April 15, 2016 at 12:07 am

    If you are still in the Acton,Ca. area I think you would love Vasquez Rocks.It’s only a few minute drive from your KOA Campground.Fantastic scenery,trails & rock climbing.This weekend you may also enjoy spending sometime at the Palmdale/Lancaster Poppy Festival.The Comedy Channel says the weather will be perfect!

    • Becky on April 15, 2016 at 9:11 pm

      A couple people mentioned Vasquez Rocks on an earlier post Pretz. I’ve left there now and did not have the opportunity to visit with the rain, but I’m going to keep it in mind for next time. 🙂

  6. Bob Wells on April 14, 2016 at 11:44 pm

    I know what you’re going through. As my beloved Homer got older I wanted a younger dog to keep him young and to replace him when he was gone. Every rescue I talked to turned me down!! “No! you must have a home with a fenced backyard!” Unbelievable! How about a home with a million acre back yard!!

    After I lost Homer I waited awhile and then in Jackson WY I just KNEW I was ready for my next fur kid and I just “Happened” to be at the right place at the right time to drive by a small rescue holding an adoption event in an out of the way part of town.

    Slammed on the brakes, found a place to park and checked them out. First thing I always did was explain my loving situation, “Sure, a dog with you will have a wonderful life!” Finally some common sense!

    For the first time I found a dog that felt just right, but I kept looking. Then I found Cody, who you already know. And he felt even better!! As you know, he isn’t perfect, but he is to me so we are very happy.

    All that to say, you’re going to find just the perfect dog for you and at just the right time and place!!!!

    • Becky on April 15, 2016 at 9:10 pm

      I wish I would have had the chance to meet Homer, Bob. I’ve heard you talk about him before and he sounded like such a great dog. I’m sorry for your loss, but Cody is a great fella and and I’m so glad you two are such a good fit. 🙂

      I feel like I did have an advantage with rescues in that I was looking for a small dog and small dog rescues seem more forgiving about the RV living thing. I think they assume that a smaller dog will need less space not realizing that a full-timer has the largest back yard imaginable and plenty of room for a larger dog to exercise and play. This particular rescue did have the fence requirement, but buying an exercise pen meets that requirement for them.

      Thanks, and yes I’m sure I’ll know when I find the right dog. This other one sounds very promising and I’ll probably get to meet her next weekend.

  7. Diane on April 14, 2016 at 8:05 pm

    We adopted a cat from an adoption center in Las Cruces NM when we visited in late February and he is the most wonderful camping cat. We travel in a teardrop and Nevelle sleeps with us. We keep a litter box in the cabin (not as icky as that may seem!) and he either sleeps on a cardboard scratching platform or between us on the bed. He also is leash trained and loves walks with us. Well, we now have a dog! He found us (a lost dog, malnourished and with no collar or ID) while we are boondocking in Texas. He looked sad yet happy to find us. We took him to a vet and he checked out well, fortunately. Got him his shots, and will go for a follow up in 2 weeks. He sleeps in our car, and is outdoors with us during the day. In one week he has adapted beautifully. He is sweet and loving and is healthier every day! He and the cat deal well with each other. He came to us for a reason and we are thankful we could save him. He is named Jet. The companionship of both pets is out of this world! We are equipped to handle their needs.

    We wish you the best in finding the perfect dog! It is doable and you will love the companionship! Keep us posted!
    Diane recently posted..To Plan or Not to Plan. That is the question!My Profile

    • Becky on April 15, 2016 at 9:02 pm

      What a sweet story Diane, it was so good of you to take that dog in. I know a lady who full-times in a teardrop with a small dog, it works well for her too. Also it’s great that the dog and cat get along with each other. I did travel in Cas with my best friend and her cat for 6 months, and Chance was pretty good traveling kitty too.

  8. wildflower in prescott on April 14, 2016 at 7:46 pm

    Becky, I am so happy for you. My two little dogs are my best friends and I love them dearly. I have followed your blog for a couple of years so I know how you think through things. I wish I had been as smart as you when I was your age. Your buddy will be the best travel companion and will be great company on your hikes. My dogs have dipped their toes in the Pacific, Atlantic and Gulf and many lakes and streams between. Someone mentioned compromise. When the weather is hot I shop early mornings before the sun comes up or park far away under big shade trees. Not much of a sacrifice for my best friends.

    • Becky on April 15, 2016 at 8:56 pm

      Sounds like they have a pretty wonderful life Wildflower!

      I mentioned compromise, along with others. And yep, I’ll be keeping a close eye on the temperature. The breed I’m looking at is single-coated, so they aren’t as prone to overheating. I’ll need to watch cold temperatures more.

  9. Cherie @Technomadia on April 14, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    I’m so ridiculously excited for you… and sending you lots of positive puppy mojo! I just know you’ll find your perfect companion.
    Cherie @Technomadia recently posted..Finally… Florida!! Mountain Biking at Santos Trailhead & CampgroundMy Profile

    • Becky on April 14, 2016 at 2:58 pm

      Thanks Cherie, I’m so excited! 🙂

  10. David on April 14, 2016 at 11:48 am

    I love your “through the windshield” photo. Every time I see it, I do a double take because I think the picture is moving. Great shot. I urban stealth camp for two years in San Diego with a large dog and a cat. Every decision you make will have to consider your pet.

    • Becky on April 14, 2016 at 2:57 pm

      Yes David, pets are a commitment and no mistake. For me the companionship will be worth the effort, as it is for you I’m sure.

      Take care!

  11. Claudia on April 14, 2016 at 11:41 am

    Good luck!!!

    Dogs of all sorts — young, old, big, small, shy, boisterous, whatever — are absolutely lovely. Will keep my fingers crossed for you!

    • Becky on April 14, 2016 at 2:55 pm

      Thanks Claudia. 🙂

  12. Dawn from Camano Island on April 14, 2016 at 10:42 am

    Becky, I’m so happy for you! RVSue has 2 little pups in her Casita & they all do well. Dog people figure everything out & always have their fur baby’s best interest as their first priority. Can’t wait to meet the lucky pup who comes home with you!

    • Becky on April 14, 2016 at 2:55 pm

      I can’t wait to meet him or her too Dawn, thanks!

      I know many RVers with dogs, even vandwellers who make it work. Owning a pet is about compromise, there are certain concessions that need to be made for a dog in an RV, it’s a commitment for sure, but for me the positives will outweigh the negatives.

  13. Jim@HiTek on April 14, 2016 at 8:42 am

    I admire you for adopting and taking in a fur kid. I’ve often thought about it over the last 12 years of travel, but just can’t bring myself to follow a dog around picking up their poo. Maybe a cat though, since you can teach them to use a RV toilet…hmmm.

    But anyway, good luck, hope you find a great fur kid! Can’t wait for the pictures.
    Jim@HiTek recently posted..Another trip…My Profile

    • Becky on April 14, 2016 at 2:40 pm

      Well Jim, my job for several years before I hit the road was in part cleaning up poo so I guess I’m desensitized to the whole thing, haha! Thanks and I can’t wait to share more.

  14. Gary on April 14, 2016 at 8:19 am

    Thanks for the great pictures and good luck on your fur friend search.

    I have been full timing it for 3 years now. Before the separation, we were a family with 3 dogs. The dogs stayed with the wife and kids. I love animals, but cant seem to figure out a way to make it work. I do work 6-7 days a week in the spring and summer, some days for 10 hrs. That would be tough. The other problem for me was during the winter, I would have to escape to a Motel for a bit when the temps hovered in the single digits. most Motels are not pet friendly. So, for now, I will be without a fur friend. A goldfish will not work either. Darn fish bowl sliding across the dashboard on turns. LOL

    • Becky on April 14, 2016 at 2:39 pm

      Yeah Gary, maybe in the future your situation will be a little better. It helps me a lot that my online income is growing and I don’t need to work seasonal jobs as often now as I did when I first hit the road.

      Maybe you need to get some museum putty for that fish bowl, I’ve heard that stuff works wonders to keep things from sliding around. 😉

  15. Holly on April 14, 2016 at 7:10 am

    Best wishes Becky, having my Suze with me is a joy everyday, and giving a home to a homeless dog is a blessing to both of you.

    • Becky on April 14, 2016 at 2:35 pm

      Aww, Suze sounds like a lovely companion. Thanks Holly.

  16. Joe on April 14, 2016 at 6:42 am

    I DO wish you luck! My dog,who by the way is from LA, makes me laugh and smile everyday. And who couldn’t use that?

    • Becky on April 14, 2016 at 2:34 pm

      Thanks Joe. A good deal of my reason for adoption is the companionship aspect. And I thought about a cat instead of a dog because they’d be easier to take care of, but I want a buddy to go on walks with. 🙂

      • Joe on April 14, 2016 at 4:10 pm

        Whitey and I run 5 to 7 miles a day together. With the exception of the occasional jackrabbit chasing, he says right with me off leash. # fun # best partner

        • Becky on April 15, 2016 at 8:59 pm

          5-7 miles, good for you two!

  17. Marcia GB in MA on April 14, 2016 at 5:32 am

    Very exciting news. I can’t wait to hear more!

    • Becky on April 14, 2016 at 2:33 pm

      Thanks Marcia.

  18. Sandy on April 14, 2016 at 4:44 am

    Becky is a very smart person and I am sure has thought this all through. I asked her about working at Amazon and having a dog during my planning phase. Remember, this is an RV community. She said there are trusted people there to walk dogs regularly who are not working.

    As for worrying about the conditions the dog or any other pet is in while you are away…consider a Canary that monitors air quality/temperatures and is a camera/alarm. There are also other devices that the dog can wear such as the Whistle that enables you to check the temperature, location and activity.

    Where there is a will, there is a way and everyone will be safe.

    • Sandy on April 14, 2016 at 4:48 am

      There is the Tagg Plus, too. More and more devices are on the market.

    • Becky on April 14, 2016 at 2:32 pm

      Yeah Sandy, I know a few people who have devices like that which will show video and condition readouts on a phone app that can be monitored from anywhere, technology is pretty neat!

      Now there is always the slim chance that I arrive at Amazon one fall and everyone in the campground is working and thus there’s no one to walk everyone’s dogs, but it hasn’t happened in the four years I’ve been doing it so far, and if it did I could always move campgrounds. I did bring this up with the Rescue people.

  19. Jerry Minchey on April 13, 2016 at 9:17 pm

    Becky, With your education and experience with animals, you should be approved immediately to adopt any dog you want. Any dog would be lucky to get to live with you. I can’t wait to see pictures of the dog that gets to adopt you.

    • Becky on April 14, 2016 at 2:28 pm

      Thanks for the vote of confidence Jerry. I believe traveling as I do will be a great experience for the right dog.

  20. Sheila Hagadone on April 13, 2016 at 9:16 pm

    I almost forgot, adopting an animal is a lifetime commitment.

  21. Sheila Hagadone on April 13, 2016 at 9:10 pm

    I agree with Ron….hopefully you’ve thought of that.
    (I’m sure you have).
    Congratulations in advance!

    • Becky on April 14, 2016 at 2:26 pm

      Thanks Sheila! I responded to you, Ron, and Rick’s concerns in the comment above.

      • Rick in Tampa on April 14, 2016 at 3:22 pm

        Nice post. Becky. Thanks for replying. I have the utmost confidence in your expertise in caring for a pet while camping.

  22. Ron on April 13, 2016 at 8:16 pm

    While I think a dog will make a wonderful travel companion I worry what will happen when you have to work eight or 10 hours and the dog is in the trailer without air conditioning? Hope you have a plan and good luck however it works out. .Ron

    • Rick in Tampa on April 14, 2016 at 4:31 am

      Similar concerns. Limited space in Casita seems unfair to a dog. Also constant concerns about the rig not losing AC. Boondocking with a dog also has extra challenges if without electricity. I’m sure the Foster folks know all of this.

      • Rick in Tampa on April 14, 2016 at 4:32 am

        But I did forget Becky was a Veterinary Tech. And as we know, RV Sue has been able to do it with two small dogs without issue. Not sure if she’s working though.

    • Becky on April 14, 2016 at 2:09 pm

      Ron, Rick, Sheila, and everyone else who has doubts,

      As I said in the post, I’ve been considering this for years and have pondered all the issues. For starters my jobs always have electricity so I always have A/C when I’m working a gig, same as a house. Yes the A/C could give out, it could happen in a house too. Something could happen while I’m gone at work, it could happen to dogs left at home all across America while their owners are at work/school. The biggest difference is that there is less space, and given the number of people who crate their dogs while they’re gone, even that isn’t a given. When I’m boondocking, I’ll always be home to keep an eye on conditions and like all boondockers I follow the good weather. If it gets too hot or cold I just go find hookups somewhere.

      As a veterinary technician (for newer readers, that’s what I did before I hit the road – still have my license), trust me that I understand animal health concerns and do not take the the responsibility of pet ownership lightly. I’ve increased my emergency fund to cover pet health issues (it’s at $6,000 now), I know the importance of proper diet, exercise, and mental stimulation. I have cared for animals suffering from heat stroke and hypothermia, and I won’t let that happen to my dog.

      Also, many RVers who work at Amazon have dogs, I’ve worked with dog owners every year at CamperForce. Inevitably, there is one couple at every campground (usually more than one) where one person works and the other doesn’t, and their “job” is to walk everyone’s dogs. Or night shift people walk day shift people’s dogs and vice versa.

      An argument could be made that leaving a dog alone for a majority of the day isn’t right, but that’s certainly not just an RVer problem, and RVers who travel have an advantage over sticks’n’bricks dog owners of not working permanent jobs. My future dog will have a constantly changing backyard to explore, will be able to spend more time with me averaged through a year than a person working a 9-5, and you all already know that I am an active person who does a lot of hiking and walking so he or she will get plenty of exercise.

      No, not every dog would be be a good fit for full-timing. That’s one of the reasons I went with a rescue over a shelter (even though it’s a lot more work), because a rescue’s dogs are fostered and their foster parents will have a good idea of their temperament and needs vs. a shelter, where the dogs stay in a kennel and their personalities aren’t as well known.

      As I said in the post, I’ll be sharing more of the “how” in the future but in the meantime I hope this alleviates some of the concerns. 🙂

      • Trina on April 14, 2016 at 3:27 pm

        Insert “thumbs up” emoticon here. 🙂 You’ve got this covered.

  23. Beverly in CA on April 13, 2016 at 8:09 pm

    I believe the dog finds and rescues you, that is what happened with me. Best wishes!

    • Becky on April 14, 2016 at 1:34 pm

      Thanks Beverly. You’re not the first to share that sentiment, I’ve seen that on stickers actually and though it was a great saying.

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