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.

Friday, June 29, 2007

The Great Changeover

Three dreaded days of work transferring stuff to the new rig. Most difficult are the electronics: Solar panels, batteries (shown here installed under the sofa), regulator, TV, satellite dish, telephone antenna.

An exhausted Randy reflects the tediousness of the task.

Bogus Basin -- 4000 feet higher and 16 degrees cooler than Boise is the right spot to do the hard work. Great view and free parking at a ski lot.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Welcome to New Trailer

Here's Diana's new trailer being delivered. It's a 23' Arctic Fox 22H, built by Northwood in La Grande, OR.

Our salesman, Nurija, of Nelson's RV in Boise, ID in front of the new and old trailers. He was a great salesman--fascinating, friendly, and outgoing.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Fond Farewell to Old Trailer

Sunset at Walmart and sundown for a faithful old trailer. After 8 years, 80,000 miles and 2800 nights of boondocking, it's time to say goodbye. Diana has the itch for a new trailer with a couch. We fulltimers develop an affection for our rigs. This one has served admirably.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Invasion of the Mormon Crickets

Areas of Northern Nevada along streams are now overrun with these 3"-long creatures. The tiny town of Owyhee seems particularly hard-hit. They smell terrible, move around in large bands, and in some years these bands may include millions of individuals, with a population density of as much as 100 per square yard!

The females lay 100 eggs, and they hatch all at once. They eat grasses, shrubs, and each other. Early Mormons had a bad problem with the critters. To read about the Miracle of the Gulls, click here.

I wonder what this town did to deserve this plague!

When a large band crosses the road it can cause a safety hazard. Drivers experience a "distracted revulsion," and the road is slick with cricket fluids. Crickets stop and snack on their friends' carcasses, creating even more of a crunchy, slimy mess. How can something this stupid not be extinct?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Lamoille Lake

Lamoille Canyon in the Ruby Mountains near Elko is called the Yosemite of Nevada. The trail to Lamoille Lake looked easy, so off we went.

And then....

And then....
What won't Diana do for a picture?

Is this it? Nope--just a teaser lake.

Finally! The lovely Lamoille Lake! Still with icy patches in the water.

While Diana took pictures, Randy kept busy in the distance talking philosophy with the locals.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Great Basin

Great Basin National Park in Nevada is worth seeing on 3 counts: Lehman Caves, Mt. Wheeler, and the ancient Bristlecone Pine trees. It's a vigorous 1 1/2 mile hike to the trees at 10,000 feet elevation, but well worth the effort to see and touch a living thing that's over 3000 years old. Gives perspective to our own fleeting lives.

Here's one of the ancients. Note the distinctive bottlebrush arrangement of its needles.

Another unusual thing about these trees--- After they die, their trunks persist for another thousand years.

Randy was delighted to engage these two unusual characters. Note the horns and the kilt. Naturally, they talked philosophy.

On the way down the mountain, there was a terrific exhibit explaining the ranching lifestyle.

A nearby artist contributed the exquisite silhouettes.

Once again, we made camp in a gravel pit. Our friend, Tom Phipps, found this one and put it in Days End.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Advanced Boondocking III - Pits and Passes

Gravel pits are great for camping -- open, free, quiet. We use them fairly often. This one, off I70 at Utah exit 116, has a terrific view.

Mountain passes are a good refuge from the heat. Almost all have roads at the summit leading off to cool, quiet camping spots. They are likely to have cell phone service. Here we're camped in a forest of cell towers at Utah exit 184 off I15.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Needles

Diana went on an exciting, bumpy 4X4 tour through the Needles section of Canyonlands. The worst part of the "road" is at the beginning, when you go over Elephant Hill. This picture shows some of the better parts of the jeep trail! I had been over it before, so I knew what to expect.

We went on a couple of hikes, this one through the Joint Trail to Chesler Park. That's Pete in there, one of my fellow tourmates.

Here's Dave, our fearless leader, along with tourmates Ann, Pete, and Richard, from Helper, UT. I was very lucky that they wanted to do exactly what I was hoping to do. They were very familiar with the area and even told me about some of their great camping spots.

Dave pondering Chesler Park. The tour company rarely does this tour anymore because it's so hard on the vehicles, so this was kind of a treat for him too.

After lunch we went over to the confluence of the Green River, on the left, and the Colorado River. This marks the separation point of the 3 different sections of Canyonlands National Park.

This was a spectacular trip, and I highly recommend it. Once again there are more pictures of Needles and Arches on Flickr

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Through the Arches

Arches is one of our favorite national parks. One of the best hikes is the one to Double O Arch. It first goes by Landscape Arch, which is 300 feet long. A big chunk fell out of it in the 90s, so you can no longer walk under it.

The trail then climbs up to an unbelievable path, on top of one of the fins. What a view!

Finally arriving at Double O Arch. This is the "back" side, reached by climbing through the little arch at the bottom. Look carefully--someone has climbed up to the top!

Some other famous landmarks-- Double Arch

Balanced Rock

And North and South Windows.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Moving On to Moab

Here we are camped on state land near Ken's lake south of Moab, one of our favorite areas of the country.

One day, a friend came to visit Molly. She didn't bark at all!

A waterfall in the Moab desert? This was a nice surprise near our campsite.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Lowry Pueblo

Travelling nearby, we took a little side trip to visit Lowry Pueblo in Canyons of the Ancients National Monument in SW Colorado. The monument contains 20,000 ancient sites, and Lowry is one of the largest ruins. It contains 40 rooms and 8 kivas dating to the 11th century.

Here's Randy in a giant kiva addressing the spirits of the Ancient Ones.