A Change in Scenery

September 8, Thursday

Last night's sunset

Last night’s sunset

Yesterday, Ethan left to continue his circuit of the National Parks in Colorado and Utah. This morning, I’m faced with a bit of a dilemma.

a-change-in-scenery-2This is my 15th day at the boondocking spot off of country road 48, I’ve officially gone over the 14 day limit. I had explained to the Forest Service what was going on, and while not exactly happy with the situation they were wiling to give me some leeway (they did appreciate me letting them know).

But more than that, my waste tanks have been full since Friday, and I didn’t make it to a dump station before the truck broke down. The porta-potties in the nearby county park are within reasonable walking distance from camp, but now that the summer season is over, they could be removed at any time. The campground I’d been going to up by Turquoise Lake to dump my trash and fill my gallon water jugs for drinking and cooking was already shut down yesterday when Ethan and I made a stop.

A plan formulates as I eat breakfast and watch the robins gather at the last remaining muddy hole for their morning bath. It’s been dry since Sunday, a fact I’ve quite appreciated.

After breakfast I ride my bike up to Turquoise Lake and check out a campground near the Matchless boat ramp that I know is still open. It’s less than a mile from 48 but uphill, a workout for someone not use to riding a bike.


It’s nothing more than a large paved parking lot with ‘sites’ designated along the edges. There are no dumpsters or water spigots here, there are pit toilets at one end, and they are still open for the time being. I check my phone: a marginal signal that constantly fluctuates between LTE, 3G, and 1x.


There are a few things going for it though. Off of the parking lot, each of the sites has a sitting area in the trees with a fire pit (except for site #3) and a picnic table. Sites 7-14 on the western side of the parking lot face the lake, and there are trails going from those campsites down the hill to the water.


Site #11

Up until Labor Day, this little unmarked campground does have a fee to stay, but it’s free now and from a conversation with the camp host who is parked down at the boat launch, there is no enforced stay limit. It remains open until first snow, usually sometime in October, but the camp host will be leaving tomorrow now that the busy season is over.

Site 11's seating area

Site 11’s seating area

Fact-finding mission now complete, I peddle back to 48 and make a phone call.

Down at the boat ramp

Down at the boat ramp

September 9, Friday

Around 9:30, the tow truck comes to pick me up. First we go to the shop to collect my sewer hose from the back of Bertha. Then we hitch up Cas and tow him to Sugar Loafin’ Campground on the corner of 48 and 4, where I dump the tanks and fill up a couple of my gallon water jugs. Cas’s fresh water tank is still about 40% full, which will be enough to last until repairs on Bertha are complete.

Then we drop Cas off at the Matchless campground lot, which is already filling up for the weekend. I snag site #8 on the water side. One big bonus about parking in a big open lot in the middle of a mature pine forest – there will be sun for the solar panel, which I set up right away.


I take the few pieces of wood I have (leftover from campfire night with Ethan over the holiday weekend) down to the seating area.


Instantly I feel better. The last camp along 48 wasn’t all that pretty to begin with and being stuck there a week after I was ready to go was weighing on my spirits. As those of you already on the road probably know, it’s amazing what a change in scenery can do. This camp is less than a mile from the last one, but it’s on the lake, gives me new roads to walk, it feels like a whole different world.

On the way down to the water from the seating area, a trail parallels the lake. I wonder if it goes all the way around? I’ll have to explore further at some point.


Down at the water, a boat is tied up on… yes, a little beach! The wind has picked up from the west and blown the boat into the sand. There are more aspen trees down by the water, and a few are already turning colors for fall. Small waves lap against the shore, a soothing sound.


After dinner, I come back down to the beach and set up my camp chair to read. The boat has since departed, I have the space to myself. A gull comes to rest on a rock and I pick up my phone for a picture when an osprey flies into the frame with a fish in it’s grasp! Wow, talk about getting two birds with one stone.


The temperature drops as the sun sets, driving me back up the hill and into Cas to read until bedtime. If it takes a week and a half to fix Bertha, this sure won’t be a bad spot to wait.

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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. Kent on September 15, 2016 at 7:33 pm

    Down to 26 F tonight! Brrr! Hope you have flannel jammies with footies!

    Hope all is going well Becky.

    • Becky on September 16, 2016 at 3:18 pm

      I actually escaped Leadville yesterday, my overnight low was in the upper 30’s instead. More on that in today’s post. 😉

  2. Nancy on September 15, 2016 at 5:49 pm

    I know it’s an awful feeling to break down, but I’ve always felt that I’d rather be towing a trailer because I could get my tow vehicle fixed while staying in the trailer. I haven’t been reading blogs this week so I need to go back and see what actually happened. Hope by now everything is fixed and your ready to move on…or not.

    • Becky on September 16, 2016 at 3:17 pm

      Yeah Nancy, I mentioned in a previous post what happened and also remarked that having separate living quarters from transportation makes life easier in the event one breaks down. Thanks for the well-wishes.

  3. George on September 15, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    That was a good idea to use a tow truck to move,Some of us tow truck operators are easy to get along with ! I hope your overheating problem will be solved soon .

    • Becky on September 16, 2016 at 3:14 pm

      Thanks George. Called the shop yesterday and still on track for Tuesday.

  4. Kim on September 15, 2016 at 6:57 am

    I’m so glad you found a great place to wait out the repairs. I have been dealing with repairs on Flo the Airstream for a while. The AC went out more than a month ago. I made arrangements to get it repaired. They diagnosed the issues and we made an agreement that repairs would be done on a specified date more than a week ago. All of the parts did not come in, and I have been camped in their parking lot since. The work is now completed and I am ready to move on. This place wasn’t great – but it was free. A free place in the northeast is hard to come by! I hope you are all fixed up soon!

    • Becky on September 16, 2016 at 3:03 pm

      It sure is hard to argue with free Kim, and I’m glad you had the option to stay there during the repairs.

      Bertha should be ready Tuesday or Wednesday. Glad your AC is fixed now, time to get back on the road and have some fun!

  5. Jerryb1973 on September 14, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    I’m really enjoying your adventure.

    So, just exactly is the problem with your tow vehicle ?
    Just curious.

    • Becky on September 16, 2016 at 2:58 pm

      Mentioned it in a previous post Jerry, head gasket failure. Glad you’re enjoying IO.

  6. MnDreamer on September 14, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    So glad you have that change of scenery, Becky. I hope your weather improves, so you can enjoy some good hiking while you wait, and that Bertha’s repairs find her in better-than-ever condition! You continue to show us all how to make the best of this situation.

    • Becky on September 16, 2016 at 2:47 pm

      Thanks Mn!

  7. Norm H. on September 14, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    Looks like a nice place to hang out well waiting for Bertha. Glad you have the solar exposure , too. Enjoy your (involuntary) extended stay in the high mountains. Hoping Bertha is in “surgery” now and will soon be in “recovery” and “discharged.”

    • Becky on September 14, 2016 at 3:50 pm

      Thanks Norm. I’m crossing my fingers.

  8. Patrick Stephen Flasch on September 14, 2016 at 10:34 am

    Wow! It amazes me that with all of the followers that you have, no one was close enough to help you by giving Cas a tow to your next spot??? If I was within even 75 miles of you, I would have volunteered to give you a hand while your truck is in the shop! Unfortunately, I’m in Va.!

    I hope that the new spot works out well for you!

    Keep the blog posts coming… I have enjoyed every one of them!!


    • Becky on September 14, 2016 at 3:49 pm

      The Leadville area doesn’t have a high population density Patrick. I’ve had help and offers of help from three different people who were within 100 miles or so of me. None of them had a vehicle capable of towing Cas and even if they did, it’d be silly to have someone drive more than an hour out here to move the trailer less than a mile. I am enjoying the spot, take care.

  9. Dawn in MI on September 14, 2016 at 9:40 am

    Things are working out. I’m glad you’re settled in somewhere you will enjoy for the duration of the repair saga. Also glad you were able to dump the tank and take on water. You should be set now for awhile. Plus it’s beautiful!

    • Becky on September 14, 2016 at 3:45 pm

      Yep Dawn. When things get rough I tell myself “this too, shall pass”, and it makes me feel better.

  10. Kevin Feltner on September 14, 2016 at 6:29 am

    This is beautiful, Becky. You are definitely making lemonade out of lemons. Keep it up. I look forward to reading each of your posts.
    Kevin Feltner recently posted..Living in 420 square feetMy Profile

    • Becky on September 14, 2016 at 3:42 pm

      Glad you’re enjoying IO Kevin, thanks for reading.

  11. Sue Ann Jaffarian on September 14, 2016 at 6:28 am

    Not a bad spot to sit tight. Glad it lifted your spirits!

    • Becky on September 14, 2016 at 3:41 pm


  12. Misty on September 14, 2016 at 6:26 am

    How lovely! 🙂 I know you’re having a hard time, but I am a bit jealous of this campsite… Pit toilets aside.

    We’ve been having really gorgeous weather here, but there’s not really any place to go enjoy it. As much as I like living here, I do miss being closer to nature. Hopefully by next year my back-yard mosquitos will be a bit more under control and I can enjoy sitting back there a bit more!
    Misty recently posted..Walter and Dylan on the brain…My Profile

    • Becky on September 14, 2016 at 3:40 pm

      It is a pretty amazing spot Misty, I’m really enjoying the lake.

      I’m glad the weather has been good and I hope it remains so. The flooding and tornadoes down in Texas last fall weren’t fun.

      I hope I get the chance to see the house! I can’t imagine the mosquitoes will be a problem all the time, and it has to be better than the “back yard” of your old place.

  13. Terri on September 14, 2016 at 5:53 am

    Oh man, Becky. I read your last post about fear. I think I’d definitely have been feeling it a bit at the realization I was over the 14 day limit and then I would probably have freaked out and gotten angry at the situation. And then, taken a deep breath, as I am sure you have done, and realized, that there is only so much I can do to change the situation and so much I can’t do. I just hope you can get to Amazon in time to make enough money to allow you to live the way you want again next year. Not feeling like you have to do workamping to survive.

    I know what a change of scenery can do, and I’m not a full-timer. I have just moved from one apartment to the other one next door. It’s much cheaper and I have an amazing view of Lone Rock, and it has an immense effect on my attitude and inspiration to get up early and get stuff done.

    I’m so glad you have been able to find a good tow truck driver – he must know you by name now! Thanks for keeping us updated.

    • Becky on September 14, 2016 at 3:36 pm

      Thanks for the well-wishes Terri, I should do well enough at Amazon not to have to work next summer again but we’ll see. If I do, I do. No point worrying about it yet. 🙂

      I’m glad your new apartment is working out better for you, Lone Rock is so beautiful, it must be uplifting having it there every day!

      Take care my friend.

  14. Ed on September 14, 2016 at 2:32 am

    Great update !

  15. Sarah Shillinger on September 14, 2016 at 12:32 am

    Thanks for the update I was concerned. I am curious why haven’t you rented a car. How are you getting supplies and into town. Good Luck to Bertha.

    • Becky on September 14, 2016 at 3:32 pm

      I bought a used bike Sarah, town is less than 4 miles away – a piece of cake after summiting Mt. Elbert, haha.

  16. Jodee Gravel on September 13, 2016 at 8:23 pm

    Lemonade! Glad you found a tow truck driver to get you all set up in the new spot. Enjoy your little beach in the forest :-)))
    Jodee Gravel recently posted..We’ll Have to Come Back to Seneca FallsMy Profile

    • Becky on September 14, 2016 at 3:30 pm

      Thanks Jodee!

  17. Julianna on September 13, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    thank you.. happy that things are working out. I can relate to those anxiety issues, my current landlord is a bully, I hope I survive until I hit the road!.. in the mean time I will keep reading your blog off my smart phone or like now at the local library. (landlord disconnected the wifi. argh)..

    • Becky on September 14, 2016 at 3:28 pm

      Bah, sorry to hear it Julianna, that’s sort of how I felt at my last job before I quit to hit the road. But your freedom will be all the sweeter for having endured the hardship. Hang in there!

  18. Brian on September 13, 2016 at 6:10 pm

    I spent a few days at Matchless about 4 years ago. If I remember correctly the trail you mentioned is part of or a spur of the Colorado Trail. I hiked it for several miles north and it’s very scenic. Enjoy your time there.

    • Becky on September 14, 2016 at 3:26 pm

      Good to know Brian, it’s been rainy again the past few days but Thursday and Friday are suppose to be better so I’m hopeful I’ll get to do some hiking then.

  19. Mike on September 13, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    Thanks for the update.
    Beautiful spot.

    • Becky on September 14, 2016 at 3:25 pm

      You’re welcome Mike.

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