From a year and a half of pandemic desert life I’m finally hitting the road again. Living full time in my trailer makes things like doctors visits, vet visits and annual trailer inspections and maintenance a bit of a challenge. So, my first stop will be back in the LA area for lots of self care appointments.
Having a few family connections in the northwest area of the country, and having gotten a taste of the beauty of that area on my first towing trip, I decided to make my next destination Portland. If I could make it through extreme heat in the desert, I should be able to handle winter camping, that is pending I like it there and decide to stay put awhile. I had passed up an opportunity to work camp at a beautiful park right in Denver because I wasn’t sure if I could handle the cold in a trailer. Portland seemed like a more gradual introduction to cold and snow.
This trip, will be all about the backroads. My goal was to actually not have to maneuver steep grades and mountain passes. I’ll be exploring some of the sites along California’s 395 and then up through central Oregon where I’ll come in to the city along the Columbia River from the east. I look forward to some true boon docking in Alabama Hills, and some time checking out sites along the Eastern Sierras from the perspective of living in a trailer.
First things first, I packed a few weeks schedule full of doctors, vet visits, and trailer maintenance. I knew my trip to Airstream would likely be more than the usual in and out in the same day. I thought it important for them to inspect things like bearings, brakes, axels and wheels. I found it funny on my way in, how comfortable I was with sitting in six lanes of semi’s in LA traffic vs being way out in the sticks on a two lane highway by myself with nobody to help if things went wrong. I decided I’d finally check out that tent I bought but had never used to allow the mechanics the needed time to do the work. I thought why not go to where it all started, Bonelli Bluffs.
Normally, for trailer maintenance I stay in fancy hotels and treasure bath tubs and luxury. However, this time, my fancy hotel was closed down. Apparently it is being used as a COVID hospital. So much for all of those reward points. Camping was also hard to find. I settled for Bonelli which was the closest to where I needed to be, however they only had tent camping available Wednesdays through Sundays. I’ve learned to work with what I have in trailer life. It was actually a beautiful spot. I had a water front view with shade and sun and lots of space.
It was great being back and seeing all of my SoCal friends and visiting some of my favorite establishments. There are a lot of good places to eat in downtown Pomona and LaVerne, and it looked like they were still here. Even though I know we have been in a pandemic, it was still strange to come back and see the effects in my old neighborhoods, the masks, the distancing, the struggling businesses. It felt good taking care of me, my dog and my truck and trailer. And Bonelli, well, Bonelli is Bonelli! As much as I hate that they pushed out all of the full time folks who had been there forever, it still is one of Southern California’s more beautiful RV Parks. Plus it’s close to everything city. I did miss all of my old park neighbors though and wish California was more full time trailer life friendly.
My tent, from REI, the xxxx I absolutely loved! I have a front and back door with a “back porch” which came in handy. I had a lot of creature comforts to make my stay in a tent feel like home for a few days. My self inflating air mattress which blows up on its own with a turn of a knob and deflates when you roll it up was way more comfortable than the traditional blow up mattress that you plug in at home and refill half way through the night. I love my solar lights, which created a comfy ambiance in the tent. I had my Mr. Buddy propane heater just in case I couldn’t hang with low temperatures, but at 45 degrees at night, I was cozy and comfy under my down comforter and sleeping bag. I used my Wool rug from Peru for the base of the rest of the tent. My collapsible cooler was cool since it allowed me food for those days, and I can flatten it to store now that I’m out of the tent. I’ll also confess, I’m a plant smuggler. I felt like I had a back yard patio with my potted veggies and succulents. All in all my stay in my tent was a success. It was nice to live simpler than I do in my trailer, however, I think the next time I stay in my tent will be simply because I want to go camping.
Next blog I’ll share some of my thoughts on “Nomadland” the movie, “Nomadland” the book by Jessica Bruder, and “Blue Highways” by William Least Heat-Moon, which feature van and trailer life on the road. Thanks for the follow!