Tuesday, January 5, 2016


Looking ahead to 2016:

-- Explore New Mexico.  Get an annual pass to NM state parks. New Mexico is close: I can get to interesting places in a day or two.  It has varied terrain, from desert to mountains. It has a couple of interesting cities. And (gasp!) there's all of Texas just next door.

-- Stay longer in places.  I met a guy from Canada last summer at City of Rocks who was staying there for a couple of weeks, which I think is the maximum stay at a NM state park. He was catching up on his reading and going for walks: he's a murder mystery fan. The shift is to think about this as living, rather than traveling. Last summer I stayed for a couple of says at a resort-style RV park in Moab.  It was pretty nice, but I'm not drawn to swimming pools and playgrounds. All I need is the basics: nice scenery, a level place to park, reasonable quiet and privacy, and electricity. The electricity is optional if there's sun for the solar panel, but it sure makes things simpler.  One of the blogs I read regularly is written by a woman about full-time travel in a biggish Class A with a toad.  They make a point of short travel days... much shorter than I've been doing.

-- Fix more real meals. What I've been doing is more like picnicking.  I always forget that the Beast has an oven. I could bake things. Make casseroles.  If there's electricity or I feel OK with using the generator there's the microwave. I almost always have the time; I have a fully-functioning kitchen.  I do need to rethink outdoor cooking: the little gas BBQ unit I bought is seriously underpowered.

-- Examine my fears of towing.  The Hyundai is small enough to be towed without straining the Beast, although I can think of routes (the Salt River canyon comes to mind) where I'd be slowed down to a noisy, expensive crawl.  And the thought of driving through, say, Albuquerque traffic with a vehicle in tow is pretty damn scary.  A tow rig is a serious investment, so it's not something I can do casually.  I think this also involves figuring out better visibility, particularly on the passenger side. Having a vehicle to explore while leaving the rig parked elsewhere is an attractive idea.

-- If I can find some experienced people to show me how it's done, I'd like to explore into Mexico.  The reading materials I've found about how to travel there are confusing and contradictory.  I'd like someone to take me by the hand and show me how to deal with legalities and customs. This time of year, it's the only warm place I can get to easily.  The crowds of Quartzite and vicinity do not appeal to me, but maybe it's not as bad as I think.

-- I'd like to make up some checklists so I don't forget to do things before, during, and after trips.  More than a year ago, I pretty much know what works for me.  Writing it down to refer to as I go would help, and that's a project I can do here while waiting for weather and opportunity to get on the road.  Maybe a binder of these, and laminate them so they last from trip to trip.