Alabama Hills Revisit and Website Upgrade

March 9, Friday

Yesterday, our caravan of five left Keyesville Rec Area near Lake Isabella, CA and traveled up 395 to Lone Pine. By the time I arrived on the scene, a site had already been picked out and all I had to do was get level. The sun set shortly thereafter, so pictures had to wait until today. Here’s my view from bed this morning:

Not bad, huh? This is Alabama Hills Rec Area, just west of town. Besides being a backdrop for numerous movie scenes, it’s also one of the prettiest boondocking spots in the country, in my humble opinion. The red rocks of the Hills contrast so vibrantly with the snow-capped Sierra Mountains to the west. The highest point in the lower 48 is visible in this pic, Mt. Whitney, at 14,504 feet.

There’s also a dryer and lower mountain range to the east, the White Mountains. Later in the afternoon the five of us drive to the base of the Sierra and I get this photo looking to east.

In 2016, I camped here in May for a week. The Hills is March is an entirely different beast. It’s windy and getting cold at night, and there’s rain in the forecast for our elevation, snow higher up. The snow in the Sierra still comes right down to the foot of the mountains in patches and Whitney Portal Road is closed. So we don’t get to go up.

Today’s adventure has been aborted, but we’re all sure there will be other chances during our stay here!

March 10, Saturday

Today is a fantastic cloud day.

Usually I consider a fantastic cloud day to be one that is partly cloudy, the shadows rolling across the hillside really make for a great picture. Today’s clouds aren’t like that, it’s completely overcast.

But it’s good. The peaks of the Sierra are missing. Mountains shrouded in clouds look much more enigmatic and otherworldly. I love some me some secretive mountains.

I find myself having to get pictures of everything with the mountains behind. Camp:

Pretty cactus:

A green bush (I believe this is called Mormon Tea):

And… Okay, well this one doesn’t have the mountains behind it. But I liked this little ribbon of water that runs through a canyon near camp:

March 15, Thursday

Time passes, as it is wont to do, and the last few days of our caravan can be summed up as work interspersed with hiking.

On the 13th I finally get a good picture of Cas with the mountains behind. Every RVer should come out to Alabama Hills at least for one night, to get a picture of their rig in these surroundings. This is an unparalleled photo opportunity.

Also on the 13th, Joni is the first to leave the group, then Kelly took off yesterday. Michael pulls out early this morning, leaving just Marshall and I to wave goodbye bundled against the cold. Marshall will be leaving tomorrow, but the two of us take his Jeep out for one last hurrah.

We also go out to Mobius Arch, which is a short walk from camp. The best time to take this loop hike is in the morning, so you can get a picture of Mt. Whitney framed through the opening. In the afternoon you end up with a silhouette which is still kind of cool, but doesn’t have the same impact. So Marshall gets this photo of me facing the other way.

March 16, Friday

After five weeks of camping with the caravan, I find myself alone for the first time in a long time. In fact, other than having about three or four nights alone when I first arrived in Anza-Borrego from Winterhaven, I’ve pretty much been camping with others since Quartzsite started early in January, a far cry from my normal solitary ways.

Much like my work/life balance tends to look like switch that flips between two extremes, my need for time with others and time apart follows the same track. I find I crave more time with people during the winter months, and more time adventuring alone in the summer months. I’d be interested in hearing from other RVers about their tendencies.

On Patreon, I talked a bit about how there’s a transition to go through between camping modes. Goodbyes aren’t as painful for me as they seem to be for some RVers, but when I switch from social to solitary camping, it takes about 24 hours for me to adjust. Same thing when I go from solitary to social.

So today is a transition day, and I know it won’t be a very productive writing day. But hey, there are things I can do to that don’t require a lot of brain power. Like a photoshoot.

Sometimes I feel a bit silly setting up my mini tripod and getting photos of myself for the blog, but this time it’s for an especially good cause. Interstellar Orchard is getting a long-overdue makeover!

* * *

I built this site myself back in 2011 following step-by-step directions from an online guide. I’ve always felt proud of my accomplishment, but little has changed since then and it’s looking dated. More importantly, the WordPress theme I built it on has been discontinued and is no longer getting updates, which sooner or later will lead to problems. It’s time to move on.

In real time it’s early April and I’ve been working with a web designer for over two weeks now on the new site, I can’t wait for you all to see it! E-mail subscribers will already notice the e-mail formatting has been updated for this post.

I don’t know yet the exact date the changes will go live, but it’ll hopefully be in the next week or so.

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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. Seana on April 9, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    Oooo! How exciting! IO is upgrading to IO 2.0! Hehe, hope your blog’s breathe of fresh air isn’t causing too many headaches! And so the caravan is no more, and the woman who wanders is once again on her own, but with trusty Bertha and the everfaithful Cas, she is never on her journey alone. 😁 Have fun Becky!

    • Becky on April 10, 2018 at 4:06 pm

      Thanks! Even hiring someone to do the heavy lifting, the new site is taking a lot of my time right now. But it’ll all be worth it!

  2. Mr Wheat on April 9, 2018 at 12:00 am

    Great post and pics. Another place on my list now and as a bonus it has a mtb trail.

  3. Dawn in Michigan on April 6, 2018 at 10:49 am

    Wow. I actually am in Alabama right now (the state, not the hills) and we have pretty views here, but nothing like that! I need to get there someday!!

    • Becky on April 8, 2018 at 10:48 pm

      Yes Dawn you should! The Alabama Hills are like nowhere else!

  4. Clare Sente on April 4, 2018 at 9:55 pm

    I look forward to your blogs in my email inbox. Thank you for sharing and your awesome pictures. I love seeing pictures of you. Keep em coming. Can’t wait to see the new site. Best wishes.

    • Becky on April 8, 2018 at 10:47 pm

      You’re welcome Clare and I’m glad you’re continuing to enjoy IO. I’m looking forward to sharing the new site with you.

  5. Elliot on April 4, 2018 at 8:32 pm

    Hi Becky,
    I just want to thank you for sharing your experiences, I enjoy reading them and imagining I, too, was experiencing them. I hiked to the summit of Mt. Whitney some (many) years back and we tented in Alabama Hills. I fell in love with the place and returned once on a Harley, riding from Vegas, Death Valley, Lone Pine and finally resting in Bishop. Being a New Englander and always in the congestion, the wild and open west has always had a draw me. I am gonna make it happen.. and you have contributed to my determination with your insightful, honest, and down to earth writings of your adventures and travels.

    Thank you for the awakening of the spirit that had been suppressed within due to the conventional values that are typically ingrained into how we “should” live. You are proof that one does succeed when they live their dreams!

    Best Regards Always,

    • Becky on April 8, 2018 at 10:45 pm

      Thank you for commenting Elliot and I’m glad my blog has contributed to you discovering your own dreams. I wish you all the best!

    • Seana on April 9, 2018 at 11:56 am

      I’d like to say, Elliot, that I think I know where you’re coming from! Interstellar Orchard had the same effect on me and is the prime reason my life is hurtling towards fulltiming with confidence! Many blessings on your Journey, Elliot 😊 and thanks again Becky!

      • Elliot on April 10, 2018 at 3:56 pm

        Thank you Seana, for your kind words. The plan is being formulated, items are being sold, and I am beginning to narrow down a timeline. The wheels are in motion….as it were!

      • Becky on April 10, 2018 at 4:04 pm

        You’re welcome Seana! I’m rooting for you!

  6. Chey (WA Coast) on April 4, 2018 at 2:41 pm

    Great post. I’m looking forward toward the changes for your blog. I sat beside you in that last photo for a long time looking into the photograph of the Alabama Hills. This place is definitely on my list.

    • Becky on April 8, 2018 at 10:43 pm

      Yes Chey, the Alabama Hills is amazing and you need to go.

  7. RV Mush on April 4, 2018 at 1:13 pm

    Becky, as a fellow blogger, I feel your excitement and pain… The first thing I noticed when I opened your email was the new format. Oh my it looks great! Thought to myself, maybe I should change my emails from preview to full post. We’ll see?

    Would be interested in which theme you chose. I kinda like mine but it is giving me some serious grief.

    Might want to have your designer look at why Tom Fitch (and his email) was prefilled in this comment box. Glad I noticed.

    • Becky on April 8, 2018 at 10:42 pm

      I am so excited to be updating the blog! Six years is a long time with no changes…

      Some people say full post is better, some say preview. I’ve traditionally always done the full post but it might not stay like that. A blog is always a work in progress.

      My designer is building the new page using Beaver Builder. It’s not a theme exactly but rather a plugin that lets you create a page without coding skills.

      As for the comment box prefill, that’s an issue that’s been driving me nuts for a while now, and yes when the new site goes live it should go away finally!

  8. Sue Ann Jaffarian on April 4, 2018 at 1:03 pm

    The Alabama Hills is one of the definite places I want to visit. And it’s official! I got my Travato two weeks ago and am full-timing in it already, just waiting to retire in early 2019. Thank you, Becky, for your delightful blog and photos.

    • Becky on April 8, 2018 at 10:33 pm

      Congrats Sue Ann, that’s great! I’m so glad my blog helped you get there in some small way. Safe travels and happy trails. πŸ™‚

  9. Cinn on April 4, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    Hi Becky from your neighbor at the Xscaper’s rally on Plomosa road! Thanks for this post, I just added this area to my travel list. I’ll be headed on this route north (I think), about a month or so behind you, after exploring southern Utah for a few weeks (unless heat drives me out sooner – although it’s still nice and cool here).

    I enjoyed this post! Just 8 months on the road for me as a solo fulltimer (who’s still working) and I’m learning what I need: Mostly lots of alone-time boondocking in the boonies! I don’t get a lot of work done when there are people & activities whirling all around me, because it disrupts my creative thinking. (Love the photo of you & Joni’s work faces! Hi Joni!) I also can get overstimulated by too many people, and tend to retreat often – which probably appears as “antisocial.” πŸ˜‰

    Anyway, I’ve been keeping a private blog just for friends and am planning to open it to the public soon. I’m reassured by your posts that it’s OK to share the personal side of life along with the helpful tips. Each one of our journeys has a different flavor, no two nomads travel/live/work the same.

    Love your blog, been reading your stuff for a couple of years. Look forward to crossing paths again someday!


    • Becky on April 8, 2018 at 10:32 pm

      Good to hear from you Cinn!

      395 is a great drive and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. Yes, it’s okay to blog about the personal side of RVing too, these kind of travelogue posts inspire wannabe nomads and armchair travelers alike and are well received if you take the time to do them right. Best of luck! I hope our paths cross again soon too!

  10. Steve Kaeseman on April 4, 2018 at 11:51 am

    Becky, as Hoot said, I am also looking forward to the new site. This one has been wonderful and very easy to navigate. I hope all this will transfer easily to the new one. Thanks again for letting us be apart of your life and seeing lots of places through your eyes and pictures. be safe as always and may God Bless you always.

    • Becky on April 8, 2018 at 10:28 pm

      Thanks Steve!

  11. Hoot on April 4, 2018 at 11:40 am

    Looking forward to the new site! That is really exciting.

    • Becky on April 8, 2018 at 10:27 pm

      I am soooo excited! It’s been a long time coming.

  12. Tom Fitch on April 4, 2018 at 9:52 am

    Hi Becky, just a thought…when you go to a new web design, would it be possible to include a map of the area you are writing about? Maps would really help me (and maybe others?) get my head around your adventures and give me a better idea of where to go when I am out on the road. Thanks!

    • Becky on April 8, 2018 at 10:03 pm

      Hey Tom, if you go to the Adventure tab ( you’ll see interactive maps for every year I’ve been on the road. Click the pins to see blog posts and videos for that location! The map does lag behind the present though by a post or two, I’ll see what I can do.

  13. Bill Maier on April 4, 2018 at 8:09 am

    I spend about 10 months a year in the Hills and at Tuttle Creek.

    I was once asked by visiting friends which I likes best, my solo time, or when I had a visitor.

    My answer, both, but I lean more toward the solo. My sat radio and my Kindle keep me busy and happy.


    • Becky on April 8, 2018 at 10:26 pm

      Thanks for sharing Bill.

  14. Marneen on April 4, 2018 at 3:48 am

    Great read and pictures. As.always
    ..thanks for sharing.

    • Becky on April 8, 2018 at 10:04 pm

      Glad you enjoyed this, you’re welcome!

  15. vickie carter on April 4, 2018 at 3:46 am

    yes it’s good to share.

    • Becky on April 8, 2018 at 10:04 pm

      Thanks for reading!

  16. Erick on April 3, 2018 at 5:49 pm

    …technically, you weren’t even alone for those days in A.B. You just weren’t feeling well so Jeannie and I, and Corey and Tonya left you alone to recuperate for few days, until the rest of the group arrived. πŸ™‚

    • Becky on April 8, 2018 at 9:43 pm

      And Anza-Borrego is busy enough that it’s hard to park off by yourself! I appreciate it though.

  17. RGupnorth on April 3, 2018 at 4:57 pm

    Very scenic camping. Mormon Tea is used by hikers as an energy booster. Just break off some new growth up high and chew on it as you hike. Doesn’t taste all that great, but does work.

    • Becky on April 8, 2018 at 9:39 pm

      I didn’t know that RG, interesting!

  18. Tom on April 3, 2018 at 1:31 pm

    So what adventures await now? Love your blog!

    • Becky on April 8, 2018 at 9:38 pm

      Thanks for reading Tom! I’ve been exploring Mojave National Preserve the past couple weeks, more on that coming up.

  19. Greg on April 3, 2018 at 12:52 pm

    Are still on track to replace Cas? Yesterday I camped (in Az) next to a solo fella in a tear drop. I have to say that my hard sided push button pop-up was a lot easier to set up and roomier than his situation. Also I can cook indoors and work at my dinette. He depends on good weather.

    As for your OP, I go back-and-forth between the solo and the social. For example, I was at Alabama Hills in early June and it was a fabulous experience with the hiking and scenery. But…..there was this nagging thought that I wish I could share this scenery with somebody. Two edged sword I guess.

    • Becky on April 8, 2018 at 9:37 pm

      I’ve been mentioning all along that the teardrop is custom built and there’s a backlog due to the popularity of the brand, it won’t be ready until September. Still on track as far as I know.

      And yeah, when traveling alone I occasionally wish I was with others, and when traveling with others I occasionally wish I was alone!

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