Thursday, August 27, 2015

So, another year of wandering

I vowed to myself at the start of my second year in the Rolling Steel Tent that I'd wander less and stay put more. I did, mostly thanks to hanging with Lou in Oregon for a good chunk of the summer and bad weather elsewhere. Still, the itchy feet had to be accommodated. The map below shows all the places I spent at least a night.

The sites include boondocking, paid campgrounds, hotels/motels and crashing with friends. Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Baja California were in my original plans. Hey, there's always next year. Or the year after.

Here's the year broken into digestible chunks.

At the end of last August I was staying on BLM land near Mammoth Lakes, California, enjoying a cluster of hot springs there. My friend, Lesa, put out a distress call, so got my ass to Cottonwood, Arizona (by way of Yuma, to restock medications). After helping Lesa get her trailer roadworthy, we traveled through New Mexico, exploiting that state's annual park pass. Lesa hunkered down in Elephant Butte while I took a side trip to Marfa, Texas and southeastern New Mexico. Lou joined us in Elephant Butte and the three of us made our way across southern Arizona and on to the Quartzsite/Ehrenberg area where, in mid-October, we went our separate ways.

I spent October through January moving in a circuit between Quartzsite, Ehrenberg and Yuma, with a side trip, via Slab City, to see my friend in Los Angeles. I joined up with others for Thanksgiving, Christmas and RTR. I juggled my conflicting needs to be with people and to be alone.

February started to feel like spring, and spring means traveling to me. So I took off to Roosevelt Lake. Then I joined up with Lou and Jo in Ajo for a while. I made another run to Los Angeles at the end of February, then spent time in the Anza-Borrego Desert before reconnecting with Jo and Lou in Wickenburg, Arizona. I took another side trip to check out Bob's boondocking site north of Chino Valley, then rejoined Lou and Jo near Congress, Arizona. From there we went to Joshua Tree where we discussed future traveling plans. I was jonesing for some beach time, so I split off for Carpinteria, California. In the meantime, Jo and Lou had gone on to Lone Pine, California. I met up with them there at the end of March.

From Lone Pine, the three of us moved on to Death Valley. For several weeks, Lou had been wanting to get to Redmond, Oregon, and start work on his trailer modifications. It had been brutally cold there, but he couldn't wait any longer. Jo decided to go visit friends in New Mexico. I headed off on my own again to check out the southern tip of Nevada. Then it was back to the ocean at Newport Beach, California. I was going to lend Lou a hand, but I wasn't as motivated to plunge into the still-freezing nights in Redmond. I figured I'd make my way up the east side of the Sierras as weather allowed. I went back to Lone Pine, then on to Bishop. But up ahead was nothing but cold weather, so I retreated to the Kern River at the end of April.

I decided that if the Sierras were going to be too cold, then I'd take a coastal route north, using a combination of state parks and places I found on Airbnb. Once I got near San Jose, the cold spell had broken in Redmond, so I made the run in two days, stopping for the night at the Walmart in Redding.

By mid-June, the trailer renovation had reached a point where two sets of hands weren't necessary. Also, Jo had arrived. She could be an extra hand if needed. I was ready to travel some more, because now it was uncomfortably hot in Redmond. I had passed quickly through the northeast part of California the pervious year and wanted to spend some more time there. Also, northeastern Oregon looked interesting. And cooler. By the time I got to Joseph, Oregon, serious heat was about to set in and the only nice weather in the entire West was at the coast. So off I went, returning to Redmond after Independence Day.

Another bad heatwave hit in the middle of July, so I took a short side trip into the Cascades. By the end of July, Lou didn't need help anymore and I had finished my own projects. Time to hit the road again. I wanted to go all the way down the coast (where it was cool and relatively wildfire-free) starting in Astoria, Oregon. (Washington doesn't draw me, for some reason. I've been there before and... eh. Don't know why.)

Now, here I am at the end of Year 2, in San Diego County. I made my dash to get medications in Los Algodones and I'm about to turn north again. I have reservations at a hostel in San Francisco. After that, I don't know yet. Maybe Truckee. Maybe the Rockies for the changing of the leaves. We'll see.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, Al, your curlicue routes made me a little dizzy. But also curious to look up your camps in some places I hope to spend time next year when I am again on the road. I lived in Montana for the 90s, so I am biased I guess, but I highly recommend you move it up on your priority list. There are some spectacular fall colors west of Glacier in the Fall, but the bad news is that nights can get rather...chilly. Perhaps you have seen tamaracks (larch) in other places, but if not, they are needled trees that turn bright yellow, then gold, then drop their needles. Yep, deciduous needled trees. A hillside of those can be more spectacular looking than aspens (which are my fave tree). Ah well, we all have our most favorites spots.Thanks for sharing yours with us. I especially have enjoyed the coastal camps as I've driven the coast a couple of times but before I was camping.