Quartzsite in the Rearview.

What is strange is saying good-bye to new friends, people that peel off the top several layers of armor in a week of stand up small talk in the morning sun, the evening campfire, or even a happy hour-or-two of Two Buck Chuck and cheese on toasted chips.  People grew close enough to trade phone numbers, email addresses, and even the address of the driveway that would be a 24-hour snug harbor.  People I don’t know when, where, or if I will ever see again.

People who shared their stories.  People who have part-time lives elsewhere: as sod-busters, train buffs, model sailboat racers, and grandparents.

People who shared their wisdom: about the correct generator spark plug (not the one in the book), where to bang on the inverter to wake it up, secret trout streams, and Mexican border towns where dental work, and prescription glasses are half US rates and US label pharmaceuticals are even less.

I spent a few dollars for memberships that will open doors to groups of full-timers, sometimers, and what-timers.

I spent $50.00 for three light bulbs, LEDs that last forever and, better still, use a tenth the electricity, thus extending the time between battery charges.

I learned that I can dry-camp–manage life without being tethered to an electric cord, water hose, or sewer line–for at least 12 days.

I learned I should not forget to eat prunes.

I learned not to park near someone who snores.

I learned to bathe, shampoo, and rinse in two gallons of water.

I was around people the whole time and not far from town.  And I had a fairly reliable internet connection so I was not limited to my own company.  I feel like I am a half-step up the plateau stairwell to becoming a character in a country-western ballad.  I am not close to achieving Desert Rat status but maybe Desert Gerbil.

12 Responses to Quartzsite in the Rearview.

  1. Michael and Marsha Joyce says:

    You are learning what real wealth includes.

  2. Evelyn Washington says:

    You learned a lot kid. Never stop learning. Whenever you think you know it all there is nothing left to live for. We often need to relearn things we have previously learned.

    • allevenson says:

      And, thanks, too, for the previous comment reminding me of the Hobo convention. I’d heard of it, but know little about it. I’ll see what I can find out and whether I can get myself grizzly enough to get in.

  3. Colleen Rae says:

    Wish I could write songs, I’d dash off a tune to Al, the DesertRat.

  4. Helen Dresner says:

    This could most definitely be the dialogue of a “wish you were here greeting” to a very receptive audience.
    Wonderful stuff..super encounters!
    Al, continue to enjoy this all in continued good health.
    Incidentally we ARE there, albeit vicariously!
    Helen and clan

  5. karen says:

    You are getting ‘Woodsy’. (If there are any Uni-Campers on your list, I had to use the word.)
    I loved primitive camping, but I am getting to the point where ‘dry camping’ with an RV sounds much more inviting. Also, sitting around a campfire at night is waaaay up near the top of my list of the best experiences in life.

  6. Dear Gerbil, Now I know what “dry camping” means, though I still don’t know what an inverter is. DON’T TELL ME! You is going back to the soil, grasshopper-gerbil, and growing richer and less complicated for it. See how few “things” you need?

  7. JSib says:

    Well MY excitment has been walking East Bay Park trails as a volunteer safety patroller. So far it has got me just exactly what I was hoping for-EXERCISE. It sounds to me that you are getting more of it, exercise, than you expected. I mean taking a bath in two gallons of water requires some extra bending, twisting and getting up and down. And sitting around a camp fire does require that you get up and feed it once in a while. Probably Jack La Lane wouldn’t think so but I most certainly would. Keep up the good work. Jim

  8. Karen & Herb says:

    We have finally arrived in Florence, Oregon. Unloading and enjoying all
    the comforts of life here on the ocean…..including the lull of the roar.

    It is far from dry-camping but, did just that for a couple of days to get here.
    Might I confess to stopping at Wal-Mart overnight conveniently….I dare say
    I am embarrassed to confess but, sure helps with provision/gas stop.

    We are heading south in about three weeks along the coast of California…..
    any tips as to where to stop…..avoiding Wal-Marts that is…lol. Then heading
    toward ‘Surprise’, Arizona. Need some tips there too. Novists at this. Thanks for
    taking the time to share ‘the spots’ with a TREK friend.

    Love to Doug and Vera on the road! Happy trails….till we meet again.
    Hope to hook up with you somewhere warm, some time in March.

    Al, keep up your writings, teachings and learning growth spurts!
    You’ll find those you meet now in this stage of life are those people you
    remember deeply as they touch your spirit differently. They aren’t ‘out’
    for anything but, to interact, share and ‘BE’. There is a calmness that comes
    from miles achieved on the road. It is a gift.

    Watch those curves and enjoy the rainbows.

  9. Jerry Avis Nova Scotia says:

    Hi Al I enjoyed meeting you in Quartzite. Only a year on the road. Wow. Your writings of your experiences are a joy to read. I certainly look forward to checking in with you in the future and perhaps sharing some of my adventures all over the world these past 15 years, 10 on motorcycle and the last 5 in the comfort of my motorhome.

  10. Jerry Avis Nova Scotia says:

    Hi again Al.

    Just reread your writing about Quartzite and again, I want to say again, you do well at expressing my sentiments about living on the desert , not only in Quartzite but all over the south west USA.

    Thanks for keeping update on all your travels.


    • allevenson says:

      Jerry, thanks for the note. Great to hear from you. As you know from the blog, I spent many more months in the SW. I enjoyed it so much I was unable pull myself away until August when I decided the discomfort of the heat out-weighed the pleasure of the geography and the people.

      I headed on over to the midwest and worked my way south. Where I repeated my climate errors. I was charmed by the four-state area of OK-KS-MO-AR and stayed on until late Nov after spending too many nights freezing my buns off.

      I am in New Orleans at the moment where the weather has been spring-like. But the report is for the Alberta Express to come through tonight with temps in the 30s.

      I am finding dispersed camping more difficult to find since leaving the SW.

      I never did get around to joining Boondockers. I know I need to do that to learn a few more drycamp locales.

      I am ambling along the Gulf Coast and am planning to winter in Florida, particularly Ocala NF, which was a favorite place to visit during the years I lived in Florida.

      Do you have any advice for me regarding camping along the Gulf Coast and Florida.

      Best regards and hope to see you again one of these days.


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