Not Quite Alone After All

When I last left you we were dancing naked around the RV….or at least I hinted at such an event. We were all alone in our luxurious spot by the mountains, reveling in the silence and basking in the peace of it all. I probably shouldn’t have been so boastful ‘coz not more than a day later one RV arrived, then another, then another….until no less than 5 RV’s were all parked around our area. I guess the draw of “the beast” was just too much and we attracted the crowds. It’s one of those weird things about boondocking which still befuddles me. People come out here to escape, yet they automatically seek out other RVs and I’m not sure why. Possibly for companionship? Security? Comfort in numbers? It’s why you’ll often see boondockers “clustered” in groups even way out in the wilds. We don’t have the same urge so it always amuses me when I see it happen, even though I know it’s a common thing.

Now, don’t get me wrong. All the “new” RVs have respectfully kept their distance (as good boondocking neighbors do) and we still have plenty of space to ourselves, but it isn’t “quite” the same as when we first arrived, and the naked thing just isn’t happenin’ anymore…Ah, the trials and tribulations of boondocking.

But there’s been a few positives to all this business. When we first arrived we were indeed all alone, except for a rather familiar-looking white Casita waaay, waay in the distance. I could barely make out the contraption, but I did spy a PTV with a solar panel parked next to a trailer with a long antenna pole. Could it be? Turns out the owner of said vehicle also had us in her zoom lens, and when I sauntered by later that day I was happily welcomed by two doggies running and yelping to see me. Yup, it was the lovely RV Sue & Her Canine Crew. We seem to cross paths quite often in our travels and it’s always a pleasure. We passed the afternoon chatting about life, blogging and travels. Her doggies (and associated wiggling butts) are as cute as ever.

And that wasn’t the end of our meetings. The next day a teeeny Airstream drove by and hid itself a ways down the wash. As it was travelling past I immediately thought of Watson’s Wander, not because it was the same rig mind you, but because (as everyone knows) all those Airstream guys know each other, right??! Hmmm…wonder if they’re friends? Turns out my instincts were spot on. Kelly & Mike, plus two gorgeous doggies Sam & Scout are a young couple only 2 months into their fulltime travels. They’d met Watson’s Wander in San Diego and made it here on their recommendation, connecting with us through our blog. As with all the young couples we meet we formed an instant connection and the doggies raced around the desert and played like childhood friends. They’ve got a super-small rig and they may only be doing this for a year, but they’re out living their dream!

We’re meeting more and more of these types of folks in our travels -> young couples working fulltime on the road, families homeschooling their kids, working sorts taking a year or two off from work. I totally enjoy all the retired folks we meet, but I really dig it when I see younger people getting into RVing too. It’s part of what our blog is all about (enabling others to try this lifestyle) and I just love it when I see it happen. We’ll be taking these two for their first trip to Mexico when I go back for my new crown tomorrow and will probably hang out some more before we leave.

But RVers aren’t the only visitors out here. The gold history around here means these hills are littered with hundreds of old mines & abandoned structures….and ghosts too. I love this kind of stuff, and I actually prefer to go out and discover these things on my own. So, yesterday afternoon I ditched hubby & spent some time biking around and exploring the back roads seeking history…and old stories. Usually I’ll sit by the structures I find and imagine the draw of gold that brought people out here, the hard life, the lawlessness and the very, very few who made it rich. It’s been said that one out of five miners who came out west in 1849 were dead within six months. Who knows how many still walk these hills?

Oh and did I mention the FLOURESCENT sunsets we’ve been having? Bright, bursting, spectacular shows of light so ridiculously intense they seem almost unnatural. It’s been happening every night and the show has been even better when the clouds are out. What better way to end the post and say goodbye to all those we’ve met but with the pics to prove it?

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  1. says

    New to your blog – love reading about your daily fun…just bought a 24′ – C Class – used (2012) – my FIRST RV experience — trying to get it outfitted and waiting for our weather to break so I can de-winterize and join all the fun! I have a lot to learn and I am so excited to get started!!

  2. Jenny Waters says

    I saw RVSue’s post about seeing you and thought of you running around out there. :) What is the acceptable distance to park away from others when boondocking? Do you have a post about boondocking social rules? I think that would be very interesting to read, and useful for those of us who haven’t started yet. I hope you have a good time in Mexico and the dental goes well.

    • libertatemamo says

      You actually hit on exactly the blog post that I plan to write (hopefully in the next few weeks) on “boondocking etiquette”. I guess you’re reading my mind :)

      The “correct” distance to park depends on a lot of factors including how much space there is, how many rigs are there. I would say that if there’s a lot of space, it makes sense to park far away (a few hundred feet is not unusual). At crowded sites (e.g. Quartzsite during the “big RV show”) that number can get down to 20 feet. It’s not an exact science, but one thing you almost never do is park right next to another rig unless you’ve been invited to do so. Most boondockers will try to leave as much comfortable space as they can.


          • Smitty says

            Some concern on how you are aware of the ‘Rules of the Men’s Room’? Of course, you could have been researching for Moon Rise picture shots…

          • libertatemamo says

            Haha…I actually lived in a house with 7 men when I was younger. Got more info than I ever wanted to know about “man stuff”. The bathroom urinal rules are a classic…

  3. Rowanoca says

    I love the pics, something special about a place that offers long vistas in one directions and mountains in the other. I’m filled with envy at the neon sunsets you’re enjoying. Amazing.

    Exploring ghost towns, old mines, and other old history is right up my ally as well. Nice you enjoy that, does Paul join you in that interest also?

    • libertatemamo says

      Paul will tag along on the ghost towns (and enjoys them too), but doesn’t really seek them out like I do. I definitely love the old stories.


  4. Pat H. says

    May I recommend “Escape From Freedom” by Erich Fromm. He was a German-born US psychoanalyst and social philosopher who explored the interaction between psychology and society. It is rather dense prose but it explains man’s biological need to gather in groups. He posits that man truly does not want to be free but values the security of social convention over freedom. Your neighbors just can’t help themselves when they insist in parking in your lap!

    On a lighter note: Do you find your Honda CRV to be an ideal “toad”? Is it a 4WD version? If not, do you wish it was?
    Pat H.

    • libertatemamo says

      Fascinating stuff. I will have to look into the book. I certainly understand the need to “gather” as people. It’s tribal, even primal and I guess that still applies to us modern species on the road. I can see that….fun stuff to ponder in the boonies!

      We love our CRV. We have the all-wheel drive version…it’s not exactly 4WD, but it acts that way coming on automatically when you need it. We’ve been very, very pleased with it as a toad…good size, decent mileage ~25 MPG, reliable and it can go just about everywhere except truly off-road. Sometimes we wish we had a tad more clearance for more off-roading, but otherwise no complaints at all. I’d get the same one in a heartbeat.


      • says

        Do you tow all 4 down? If so, any special considerations to do so? Many AWD vehicles are not towable 4 down….a reason why our Mini Countryman is the 2wd version.
        Also, we plan to be in the Yuma area in a couple months….plan to visit Dr Eva and would like to boondock at your favorite spot. Can you send a brief email with directions? Thanks….and keep up the good work….your blogs are the best!

        • libertatemamo says

          Yes, we tow 4-down. The CRV is actually adapted to do so, and all you have to do is run through the gears as per the tow instructions in the manual. It’s one of the many reasons we choose the CRV…it’s ready to tow 4-down. Other 4WD vehicles often need modifications to do so.

          For the boondocking site here just follow the link in my last post, or look it up in my boondocking section. The maps and details are all listed in there. If you want to be closer to Los Algodones you can also dry-camp at Quechan Casino which is right at the turnoff to Los Algodones from Hwy8.


  5. Mike says

    Hey there,
    Great, great pics of the mystery sunset objects. Good job. However, I would recognize the beer bottle anywhere. LOL


  6. says

    Been reading awhile (think I first came across you guys on Reddit) and just wanted to pop in and say it is indeed nice to hear non-retired people do the RV thing. I’m a bit of a wanderer and it always sounded appealing to me… but then while I have no qualms with solo travel around the world I think I’ll hold off on that particular travel style until I find a fellow to do it with. More than one dream to tick off yet before it happens, I guess. :)

    • libertatemamo says

      Glad to have ya following on the blog! Yup, I know what you mean about solo travel. I did a lot of world travel (hostel, backpack kind of stuff) when I was younger and really loved it. Definitely have that nomad gene too.

  7. says

    Hey there. I’m over from RV Sue where I read about you. Looks like fun! I’ll read more about you later…at the moment on my way to work. I have a dream to travel full time…as many people do…and hope to do that sooner rather than later. We’ll see. Love your photos of the ‘old stuff,’ I agree thinking about the stories that go with what’s left behind is fascinating.

    • libertatemamo says

      Well I’m glad you made it over here and hope your dream of full-timing comes true one day! Believe and it shall happen :)

  8. DBATOOTS says

    I’ve gotten to 6/11 in your “rvbiography”(new word) so I am not sure whether these subjects have come up.
    It seems more practical to me to fulltime with a tow vehicle and trailer. I would think it would save on insurance, vehicle(1)maintenance and licensing costs.

    Speaking of books; it may be a good idea to sign up for a library card when you get back to SD, or maybe your service can do it for you. It will allow you to use a digital library site to download ebooks and audiobooks for FREE. Also, you may be interested in mystery books by Sue Henry. One series is about a retired RVing gal Maxie and her dachshund Stretch. the other is about Jessie Arnold, an Itidarod musher in Alaska. Entertaining light mysteries, see her list at Amazon.
    What did you decide on emergency procedures?
    Your blog is great and I applaud your effort to respond to all the comments, I’m sure it is time consuming.

    • libertatemamo says

      There are definitely economical advantages to the tow/trailer option. Smaller rigs tend to cost less in insurance and registration, plus (like you said) only one engine to maintain. Typically they are also lighter and have more clearance (much easier to get out in the boonies).

      We pay more for “the beast”, but we also have some extra advantages such as super easy set-up/pull-down, the pets travel with us in comfort, we don’t have to drive around a big tow vehicle once we’re set-up (we can sightsee and shop in a smaller, more mileage-efficient toad). We love the Class A approach and would choose the same again, but we’d probably go a tad smaller just to get more flexibility (e.g. In campgrounds and such).

      No wrong or right way to do it really…it’s just a matter of preference and costs.


  9. Caryl Marie says

    Howdy Nina & Paul!!! OMG …. I love the silhouette technique on your photos!! They are soooo very totally amazing!

    We are gradually accomplishing ALL that we must to be free to join the ‘freedom road’ you all are traveling! I’ve wanted to do this since I was a young woman but the hubby was chained to corporate America. His indoctrination took a hit when he said he would be working through his vacation time …. NOT ON MY WATCH …. We packed up cars and tent camped for many, many years…. Way toooo many! After moving to Florida, we bought a class C…we liked it so much, we now have a 32′ class A.

    It took hubby almost dying to realize that you don’t make it out of this life alive…. And, DANG, you may only go around once so you better enjoy it while you can.

    So, here we are short selling a house and hoping to be out soon! It is something that he is adamant about NOW and something that I secretly smile and let him believe it was his idea 😉

    I shall be blogging also… With the spin of exiting the fast lane with soul intact!

    Jam on my dear friends, JAM ON!

    • libertatemamo says

      Well congrats on the upcoming huge life change!! I’ve seen so many people wait for the “perfect moment” to live their life, working hard for years and years and then missing it all because of bad health. I think it’s important to seize what life we have and live as much of our dreams as we can, even if that means not owning so much stuff, making some sacrifices etc. so, I’m excited to see this happen for you.

      By the way I was the one that introduced hubby to backpacking/camping too. The Cuban boy had never done much of it until I took him on a car camping trip early on in our relationship. Thankfully he was bitten and we enjoyed many years of backpacking and cheap camping before we RV ‘d.


  10. says

    I recognized the Beast in Sue’s blog photo even before she mentioned you! Sounds like you ladies had quite a nice afternoon chat.

    You are right about those amazing sunsets. The colors are beautiful. I can’t wait til our next location in Feb to get some nice sunsets. We’ll only be 3/4 miles from the water.

    It was nice of those other boondockers to give you some space. But you did have it perfect when you arrived.

    • libertatemamo says

      Sunsets over water are just the best thing! I love the double reflections you can get, especially when the water is calm.

      All our neighbors have been really quiet. In fact the two to the left of us are gone pretty much all day and only come home at night….but you’re right. It’s not quite as nice as when we first arrived.


    • libertatemamo says

      I’m sorry too Janna, but I know it can’t be helped. We were looking forward to feeding the cowboy (and seeing what we could get away with LOL). We’ll be thinking of you and your family the next few weeks. Really hope all is ok.

  11. says

    Yay! So glad you met Kelly & Mike. Wish we could have spent more time with them and their very sweet pooches.

    I completely agree with your sentiments about meeting younger, full-time couples. It gives me a little tingle of joy every time we connect with other non-retired RVrs.

    Have fun in Mexico!

    • libertatemamo says

      It was actually quite funny when i found out they knew you….that Airstream crowd is “tight” LOL. They’re a lovely couple, and their pooches are too.


  12. says

    I don’t think there are prettier sunsets than the one’s seen in the desert. Love those desert sunsets along with my fave cactus the ocotillo. Great header shot. Oh, and I’m sure your neighbors won’t might a couple of “naturalists” running around the area :-)

    • libertatemamo says

      The landscape is so flat out here I had to get creative with the silhouettes, but they were fun to shoot. Just amazing colors!
      Not sure my neighbors would survive Nina in her birthday suit…I’m so white I’d probably blind them….just before shocking them into a comatose state. :)

  13. Camey Hanks says

    Love your blog! Thanks for sharing your RV/boondocking knowledge and “insites”. I have done a lot of camping in Florida and surrounding states. However, I am a newbie to camping in the western states. I have heard about a big gathering in Quartzite, Az. Could you tell me about it? Are there certain dates people gather? or is it year round? Happy Trails!

  14. Smitty says

    Another A+ to the big guy’s sky painting! (We’ve enjoyed them over the Pacific, from our vacation home above Mission Bay, so we sort of recycle them for you about 90mins after your done with them.)

    And guys, it’s not just us RV’ers that like to group – I saw I Robot, and the machines do it too:)!

    Paul looked like he was doing tuff duty for you – how many ‘retakes’ of the sunset shot did he insist on, each with a new ‘stage beer bottle’?

    And Nina, the new site is simmering down for you – congrats on such a momentous migration!


    • libertatemamo says

      I think at least 2 beers were required for that photo shoot. Gotta get it just right you know!

      Yeah, I seemed to have survived the blog migration, although I’m still having problems with my gallery pics not coming through on email feeds. Hopefully my subscribers won’t mind too much. Most everything else seems to have gone ok.


  15. says

    I was struck by your comment about one purpose of your blog is to enable others to enjoy your RVing lifestyle. I wanted to reach out and let you know that my boyfriend and I have been following your blog for a while, and it certainly did provide inspiration to take to the open road. We are of the working types taking some time off between jobs, and have had really amazing experience in our five months (so far) traveling in a campervan. We only recently hit the western US to experience boondocking, and will certainly be looking to your site for tips on where to camp. Thank you so much for writing…now that I am blogging myself, I really appreciate how much work it is! :)

    • libertatemamo says

      So cool to hear from you! Always love it when I hear from folks who’ve been inspired to get on the road even if it’s just for a short time. 5 months is a great adventure already, and it sure sounds like you’re enjoying it. Have fun in the West…we love it out here!

  16. Pauline, Jim & Da' Boyz says

    Have been following your blog for a while and love reading about your travels, along with all the great info you provide! We are getting closer to start our FT RVing adventure with our two labs…and with every bloggers adventure I find myself getting more anxious to get on the road. Of course, this winter weather also has something to do with that as well. Maybe our paths will even cross during travels. Till then…Happy Trails and thanks for sharing your adventures and awesome photography! :)

  17. says

    Did you go back to Dr. Urena? We are planning to get our teeth cleaned next month in Algodones but haven’t been satisfied with the previous cleanings we’ve gotten in Mexico. Would you say the cleaning you had done there was equivalent to what you get from a U.S. dental hygienist? Thanks,

    • libertatemamo says

      Yes, we went back to Dr.Urena. She does excellent (and very careful) cosmetic work, but I would say her cleanings are somewhat rushed compared to what you’d get from a hygienist in the US. My teeth are clean and look good, but it was not the same experience as the deeper cleans I’ve gotten this side of the border. For deep cleaning specifically, I don’t have a recommendation. Maybe others will chime in.


  18. Janet Copeland says

    I’ve been reading your blog and looking at the lovely picture you share. I’m enjoying it very much, thank you! My husband and I don’t fit into your “younger crowd” but we are getting ready to hit the road soon. We’ve been planning for years. Last year we purchased a 5th wheel which we will be pulling with our Dodge Truck. We are almost ready to move into it – at the end of the month. I love to read about the places you have been. I admit I haven’t read everyone of them, but I’m going to go back and read more. You have a talent with your pictures. They are fabulous! Oh, our four-legged doggie will be riding with us. Her name is Suzy. She’s a 14 year old Bichon that I rescued from the streets. Wonderful, loving, pet. Thank you for sharing. I look forward to more. Janet in Valdosta, Ga.

    • libertatemamo says

      Well thanks very much for following along and congrats on your upcoming fulltime adventures. Very exciting stuff! I love to hear from all folks, no matter their age-range and it’s always great to hear from people who are just starting their adventures.

      Your doggie sounds lovely. I’m a sucker for rescues….all 3 of our animals are rescues and they’re just the best. I think rescue animals understand where they come from and are all the more loving of a good home. I know that may just be my imagination, but I like the thought.


  19. says

    Nothing quite like the desert sunsets and you do them proud Nina!

    I was just telling Terry the other day that it is very cool to see you two connecting with so many younger RVers.

    We will enjoy all of our experiences this winter but our hearts remain firmly entrenched in the west. :)

    • libertatemamo says

      It’s been really, really fun to connect with the younger crowd. I enjoy all the RVers we meet, but there’s something special about seeing the younger generation pick-up this lifestyle too.

  20. Charlene Malone says

    your blog has been a wealth of knowledge for us. Having dental work in Mexico after yr post. 1/21. How safe is the parking lot our side of boarder? We have a heavily chained generator back of our pickup and also plan to take our dogs across with vaccine info. Any opinion on that? Will be using your amazon for sure to share the love from Hailey, Idaho!

    • libertatemamo says

      I think the parking is reasonably safe (I mean as safe as just about any parking lot). I wouldn’t leave any valuables lying about, but I can’t imaging anyone is going to be taking a chain-breaker to your generator. There are always lots of people around.

      As for taking the dogs I’d actually recommend leaving them in your rig on the US-side. I just think it’s less hassle all-around. However if you do decide to bring them across I’d probably recommend calling the US border guys and getting their input. Walking into Mexico is no problem (you just walk right in), but coming back into US you’ll need to go through customs and it’d be best to call them and get their exact needs. That way you have no “surprises” coming back in. Also, if you’re having work done in Mexico you might want to call the clinic & ask them about dogs. I’ve never seen anyone w/ dogs over there (everyone leaves them US-side) so you’ll be breaking new ground.


      P.S. Cheers for using my Amazon link….mightily appreciated!!

  21. Sally Burger says

    Enjoyed reading your blog today. Doug and I are in the process of selling our home and planning to hit the road this summer. Reading this made me get all excited again. Doug is 60 and I’m 59, so not exactly young, but finding out that age is a lot in the head. Anyway, Doug will be working as we travel and I will see what I can do while on the road. Looking forward to boondocking so we may meet up along the way. Again, thanks for the post!

    • libertatemamo says

      Congrats on your upcoming fulltime travel!! Wish you best of luck with the home-sale and transition! Very exciting stuff.

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