February 1-14 California and Arizona

Spent the morning at the Fountain of Youth Hot Springs Spa. Did some laundry, some more soaking for Greg and then headed out. There’s was an 11 am checkout, which is a little early for us but we hit the road at exactly 11. We headed back to Joshua Tree National park, this time driving all the way through it. The sites were amazing. Some giant rock formations and a HUGE Chochilla Teddy Bear Cactus area that went on for miles and miles. We pulled into one of the campgrounds and considered staying the night but at an elevation of 3500, it was waaay to cold for us so we continued in to a town called Twentynine Palms on the northern end of Joshua Tree. We decided to stay at the Tortoise Rock Casino. They allow camping in their lot. You just have to check in with security and get a pass.

Joshua Tree National Park
Cool metal sculpture outside of the window at the casino overnighter

Woke up to some CRAZY CRAZY WIND. Rocking the van. We did a little gambling and then hit the road. 2 hour drive to another casino in Parker, Arizona. It was a white knuckle drive the entire way because of the horrible wind and dust storms. Scary stuff but we made it safely. We parked the van and headed into the casino to get our permit ticket to spend the night. in the middle of filling out the paperwork, we were given a diagram of different kinds of RV’s and were asked to point to ours. I picked the super fancy Class B Pleasure Way which costs about 200 grand. The lady looked at me and said those are no longer allowed in our lot. I thought she was joking but she wasn’t. IT JUST MAKES NO SENSE AT ALL!!!We stayed here last year which I pleasantly explained to her but she said it didn’t matter that the rules have changed. NO CLASS B’s ALLOWED. Aaaarrgghhh!! This is just beyond frustrating. So we went to the nearest Pizza Hut to calm down and get out of the wind and come up with a plan B. I should have mentioned to that lady that we have been on a major losing streak at the last 4 casinos so the odds are in their favor.

So off we went with a full belly to find somewhere to camp. The beautiful thing about being out west is that there is a TON OF LAND!! So we found Big River BLM and found a nice spot. Basically stayed in the van and watched Ozark on Netflix because it was just too windy to even step outside. We did catch a nice sunrise from inside the van looking out.

Spent a couple of nights at that spot and then went in search of a shower. Found La Paz County Park. We had read on IOVERLANDER that they offered $2 showers. The woman in the booth laughed. She said, “How old was that article? Our showers cost $8.” We agreed to it and when she went back to the booth to get our pass, we figured for another 4 dollars we can stay the night which we wound up doing. I’m glad we did. It was a great campground right on the Colorado River. Great walking paths, great showers.( although Greg’s shower was not as nice as mine) They even had a fun and delicious restaurant right next door and also a big flea market right on the grounds. It was a win win for sure.

Back on the road we continued on to Lake Havasu. We meant to come here last year but only got as far as Parker. I can see now why everyone raves about this place. It’s pretty beautiful here. Plus there’s the whole history behind the purchase and shipment of the London Bridge here to where it sits today. London Bridges all built up, all built up, all built up. London Bridges all built up here at Lake Havasu.

Greg made friends with a Road Runner here. I just love these birds.

We drove about 15 minutes out of town and are currently staying a Craggy Wash BLM where it is once again extremely windy. I was able to take a the below picture at Sunset before all the gusty wind started the next day forcing us back indoors for most of the day.

I just love the way this photo came out.

We managed to go on a hike late in the afternoon. The wind was still pretty fierce especially at the tops of these mountains that are surrounding us. We didn’t go too high because it felt like I was going to get blown right off the mountain. So we came back down and walked the road to toward the entryway of the BLM land. I’ll include another video here for your viewing pleasure talking about the rules here when camping on BLM land.

For those thinking of becoming a van dweller one day, let me tell you about a great trick that Greg came up with to save room in the fridge. In the beginning of our travels, we would buy milk and it would take up way too much space in our fridge. Our fridge is only 65 cubic liters and that includes the freezer which is about a third of that. So we started using dry milk for when we eat cereal for breakfast. We pour some nice cold water into our cereal bowls then add a couple of spoonfuls of the dry milk, stir and viola, instant milk. Add the cereal and enjoy.

Time for breakfast

Hiking in the desert is way different than hiking on the east coast. Out here it’s a lot of brown. Every once in a while you get a cool rock jutting out of the ground or an arch or a cave but for the most part. A lot of sand and pebbles.

This is definitely not a complaint as the town we live in is covered in a blanket of snow. A couple of our friends, Jerry and Cindy, snowmobiled past Mindys Place (our place) in Raquette and sent us these photos.

This has been our longest stay at any of the Free BLM spots. It’s been 10 days here so far at Craggy wash BLM in Lake Havasu. We have been packing up most mornings and heading into town to enjoy the weather and the fun events that they have here most days. The town is about a 10 mile drive from the camping spot. We headed to the beach on our first 80° day. It’s so great to have your house with you at the beach. Everything we need is right there in the parking lot.

Each evening we try to get back to Craggy Wash before dark so we can get a half way decent spot. This is a pretty crowded area so it’s hit or miss on a spot. It’s kind of fun though having a new spot each night.

The Walking Paths at Havasu are amazing. Well kept, no trash at all and go on for miles and miles. We try to do a “brisk” 2 mile walk each day and the paths have been making that very enjoyable.

They had a Winter Festival here on the weekend. They shut Main Street down and have a street fair. So many venders.

Street Fair food

We marked Raquette Lake on the Visitor Map at the Visitor Center.

Greg found a community theater in town and bought two tickets to see The Wizard of Oz. It was excellent. They even had flying monkeys.

And that brings us to the end of the first two weeks of February, today being Valentine’s Day. We saw a meme on Facebook a few weeks back and thought, “what a great idea.” Works perfect for us in the Minimalist lifestyle that we live.

Happy Valentine’s Day

See you again in two weeks. Thanks for all your comments on the last blog. We love reading your comments.


  1. LOVED the picture of the sunset on the back on the van!!! Living vicariously through you!


    Ruby Groves Senior Secretary Student Services 132 Main Hall

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  2. Love reading about your adventures as usual and the pictures are great. I LOL at Greg getting a little too friendly with that buxom lady!! I didn’t know that they still made dry milk!!! That is good to know!

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