Monday, December 15, 2014

That was then ...

With a few short trips and one longer trip under my belt, what's next?  I told myself that I'd give the whole RV thing a year.  Would I keep the thing or not?  More trips? What kind?

Here's the reasons I haven't used it more, and expense isn't really high on the list.

Emma.  She's hard to travel with.  The drugs take the edge off her anxiety while we're on the move, but she's not real happy.  I think this would decrease with time, so it may just be a matter of putting in the miles.  She's fine in camp... as long as I'm there with her.  But if I leave her, to go for a walk or a bike ride, she gets whiney and obnoxious.  This is a problem for what neighbors there are ... and I'm not sure whether this behavior would decrease with time.  It did at home ... as it is, though, I feel pretty much tethered to the dog.  As in, almost literally.  Visit someone and park on the street by their house, or in their yard/drive?  Not really an option unless they want to host an anxious dog along with me.  She's not relaxed in ANY new place,  so being a guest in someone else's home is a little iffy. More drugs?  I don't like that much ...

Set-up and takedown.   If I could just park the thing in the side yard ... as it is, getting it out of storage, shuttling back and forth with the car, parking it next to my place to pack it up and getting glared at by neighbors who drive by... parking it in a lot here in the complex overnight.  All of this is a matter of getting better routines down.  This will get better with more trips.

Local travel.  Even without Emma, this is a problem. It's why people tow their cars behind their RV's.  Say, I go visit friends in Palm Springs and park in their yard.  I want to go into town for dinner.  Putting the rig in "travel" mode just for a few hours, not to mention the adventure of parking it somewhere near where I want to go, doesn't sound like fun.  The bike is great for exploring the local area... but at night, on the roads, coming back from dinner ... I don't think so.

So the kind of travel which makes sense in the RV is where the destination is the destination, and Emma can sniff around outside happily.  I've been reading several blogs from "full-timers."  One which caught my eye was from a guy who spends summers on Forest Service land near Flagstaff.  In the winter, he heads south.  What he does is nature photography... he went over to New Mexico to the Sandhill Cranes reservation.  He's also a "van dweller."  His writing makes it clear he's on a major "simplification" mission ... as in Thoreau's preface to Walden:  "I came to the woods not to rough it but to smooth it."  This is not really my motivation.  Couldn't be, with my love of gadgets.  But solitude and quiet are motivating.  I have a lot of that right where I am, of course... and the question is how it would be to go someplace like, say, Quartzite AZ, and live in the RV for a week or so parked on public lands.  I've been taking a lot of pictures of flowers and plants on my Tucson patio... I have ideas of doing that in different places.  Would the travel cost and tsuris be worth it?   Would I be just as happy at home?

I've gotten some gear to help with boondocking.  I just got a small solar panel --

which may, in sunny southern climes, keep my two 12V batteries in good shape for quite a while. I also got a small PSW (pure sine-wave) inverter so I have a source of quality AC power from the batteries.  I have the generator, of course, but it's noisy and smelly and uses gasoline.  I'm hoping that I can use the generator as a backup rather than a primary source of power.

This strategy depends on a certain simplicity in living.  Not all the way to Thoreau, but on that road. I'm not looking to have all the comforts of home while camped in the desert in the middle of nowhere.  I'm hoping that I can stay places where I won't be miserable without a/c.  And that I won't feel deprived not using the microwave.  Camping, in other words, in an uber-tent.  I'm OK with camping as long as I don't have to sleep on the ground.  :-)

Next post -- after I take Emma out for her morning jaunt -- is about making stuff.

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