Life on the Open Road (April 2006 - May 2008)

The continuing saga of a single fulltime RVer who travels the western US. This is part one of my journey, from April 2006, when the blog started, to May 2008, when the blog continues at

My Photo

I have been a full-time RVer for 18 years, primarily "boondocking," camping free without hookups, in the Western US. I am connected electronically with the world via satellite TV, phone and internet. My batteries are charged solely by solar panels. I welcome your comments and emails.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

"Hot Tub" Hot Tub

We're at a great hot tub, named "Hot Tub", in the Hot Creek area just east of Mammoth Lakes. Once again, in drove a WIN friend, this time Sally. Randy's back is feeling better with all this soaking.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Mammoth Lakes Area

Down a scary road from Mammoth Lakes lies the Devils Postpile, a sheer wall of symmetrical basaltic columns more than 60 feet high. It was worn smooth on top by glacial action. I took the trail to the top where the surface resembles a tile inlay. In 1910, a mining company wanted to blast the formation to dam the river. Fortunately, the application was denied, and it became a national monument in 1911.

A short hike away is 101-foot high Rainbow Falls. I didn’t see any rainbows; I think there needs to be more mist.


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Hot Springs Surprise

While soaking in beautiful Travertine Hot Springs near Bridgeport, CA, we were surprised to see some WIN friends, Donna, Tom, and Linda, arrive. It’s amazing how often we run into friends on our travels!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

A City Fix in Reno

Since we are planning to go down Highway 395 (where there are no Walmarts-gasp!), we needed a place where we could stock up. We stayed here almost a week, which was longer than we had planned. Randy hurt his back, and could hardly stand up, let alone walk or drive. But yesterday, he finally went to a doctor, who gave him some good drugs, so it looks like he will recover.

Our stay in Reno coincided with the aptly-named Street Vibration Motorcycle Rally. Believe me, the streets really do vibrate from the thousands of motorcycles.


Friday, September 15, 2006

Mt. Shasta

Here we are camped where we’ve camped before, with a great view of Mt. Shasta, off Hwy 89 beside the quiet ski park road. We liked it well enough to stay two days. The road was fairly steep, and I was pointed downhill, so I got level by putting large blocks under my truck wheels. Lots of great parking places require a little leveling work. In severe tilt situations, we’ve been known to dig a hole on one side and put blocks on the other. There are 47 ways to skin a cat, as we say in Louisiana, and probably 47 ways to get level. We each carry a nice selection of blocks.

A little farther south, we were attracted by a vast unoccupied mesa and lava field on the map, and made our way there. (Wilcox Rd, then turn left on a dirt road toward the fishing access) Wow! What a whopper of a lava field, thousands of acres----and, a river runs through it. A river so clear and sweet that its entire flow is blocked and siphoned off into a giant pipe to somewhere. We stayed 2 days enjoying the quiet.


Southwestern Oregon

From Eugene, we headed south on I-5. We spent a few days in Merlin, Oregon, one of my favorite areas of the country. The picture of Randy is at Hellgate Canyon, where the Rogue River goes through a narrow gorge, on its way to the coast. Two years ago, I went on a wet and fun jet boat ride here.

Oregon is famous for its covered bridges, so we had to go see one. This is the Grave Creek bridge. Although this bridge was not built until 1920, it was built along the route of the Applegate Trail. Emigrants began using this route in 1846 as an alternative to the perilous last leg of the Oregon trail, which required a treacherous raft trip down the Columbia River.

The first wagon train to use this southern route camped here. A 16-year old girl died of Typhoid fever that night. Her grave is still here and much honored.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Eugene, Oregon -- Nomad Heaven

Eugene is a city green—so green that it’s #1 in the nation as judged by The Arbor Society. Development gives way to bike paths here—and they run everywhere. Lots of folks abandon cars and scurry ‘round town on bikes. We parked adjacent to the bike path and watched the parade go by. Parents pulling happy toddlers in cute trailers. Recumbent bikes, too. I was so fascinated that I test-rode one. Terrific!

We settled in behind the Valley River Mall as usual for the 3 days allowed. Surely the best RV parking spot in America. Walk or bike across the nearby footbridge over the Willamette River to the Rose Garden that dazzles nose and eye. I was drawn there Tuesday by the sounds of drumming. Six Hippies with an assortment of drums "synchronized" with one another. It looked like fun.

Saturday Market here is a spectacle not to be missed. A wholesome, holistic, natural, New Age gathering of buyers and sellers. This is where the Hippies retreated to preserve their culture.

I went around town engaging all sorts of folks, getting their story. Al Vargas came from Portland to visit and show us his new rig.


Sunday, September 03, 2006

On the Road Again

Finally! My car and I are reunited. The final bill to the other guy’s insurance company will be about $10,000. We couldn’t wait to get out of Enumclaw, even though we had a very nice time there.

We went down the east side of Mt. St. Helens, which is a lovely, winding drive. The mountain was venting a little steam while I was there. It has been 26 years since the big eruption, and the surrounding forest is slowly recovering. I really enjoyed the stark dead tree trunks among the beautiful flowers.

We’re in Portland now. I have some roots here–my mother was born and raised here and my grandparents are buried here.