Thursday, April 30, 2015

Ash Meadows Wildlife Refuge and Amargosa, NV

Day after tomorrow we'll leave Pahrump FOREVER.  AH HA HA HA HA!!!  I'm so glad to be getting out of this town!

Entrance to Devil's Hole, Ash Meadows Wildlife Refuge





Pahrump is a place with little to do, few options for dining, and rampant poverty leading to drug and crime problems.  We met lots of nice people in Pahrump, but most we encountered were clannish an antisocial. 

Everything is inconvenient here.  You can't get your nails or hair done without an appointment.  No vet will take your emergency unless you're already a customer.  They just expect your pet to suffer while you wait for your appointment.






Pahrump is a place where you can't tell which businesses have gone out of business and which are still open.  You go to a restaurant and find it abandoned when it looked like a normal operational restaurant from the road.  Every plaza in this town is littered with places that look like they should be open.  People don't take down signs or board anything up.  They're just like me...they see what a mess this town is and leave.  They don't even bother to close shop, they just lock the door and leave.


Everyone here seems to hate Pahrump.  You ask someone who works at the school, "Are the schools good here?"  They sneer and say, "No."  Someone brags and says they were born and raised here.  You ask them, "Do you like it?"  They sneer and say, "No." 

Pahrump and Las Vegas are chapters of my life I'm ready to have over with.






There is a wildlife refuge 20 miles outside of Pahrump.  I'd passed it many times, but finally decided to visit.  One of the attractions in the refuge is the 'devil's hole' which had to be fenced up because of fools trying to swim in it and drowning. 





So as you can see it's a very deep hole with water in it that goes underground.  Apparently some rare fish is found only in the hole.


There were some nice reservoirs in the refuge also.  It was amazing to see things go from desert to swamp.  Who knew there were large bodies of water so close to us?  It was a peaceful beautiful place.





I wanted to see if there was boondocking in the refuge but got turned around and ended up heading out of there.  So we continued down the road to Amargosa.  There's a casino there that I really like, not for the gambling, but other stuff.


Here's the Longstreet Casino.  It has lots of antiquey looking stuff outside of it, and a giant cow beside it for some reason.



The reason I like to go there is because of these two sweet donkeys you can feed outside there.  They have a gumball machine with feed for them, but I bring my own treats.



There's also an obnoxious goat that will hurt you to get the food if you give him a chance.  I don't put up with his crap.




If donkeys weren't nice enough there's also an artificial lake in the back.  It's so beautiful!!!  After I'm out of nuggets for the donkeys I come back here with bird seed for the ducks.


You can see the giant cow in the background


Holy crap!  A turtle!





Sometimes I sit in that gazebo, but usually I sit on the bank next to a carpenter bee nest.

Behind the lake is an RV park!  You get water with duckies and GORGEOUS mountain views.  I would take our RV there sometime, except it's convenient to no where.  You have to drive in to Pahrump for groceries.  Bleh!


Purple mountains all around.




Of course there's an actual casino in there too.  My mom will play slots while I feed the ducks.  Then we eat a the little restaurant.
You can see my mom in the pink pants sitting with her cane beside her.


We take Bell Vista road to get to Amargosa from Pahrump.  On the way down, near the feed store, is this awesome house built into the side of a cliff with loads of solar panels.  Looks like a preppers paradise. 





Saturday, April 25, 2015

Getting Unfettered

I know I should post more if I want this blog to gain traction.  I'm just so lousy at taking pictures.  Nothing seems 'rv blog' post worthy.  There was also some depression creeping back into my life over the last few weeks, though I hesitate to qualify it as depression since I had legitimate things really upsetting me.

We were having an issue with the house sale.  I mean, the whole reason I'm camping this month in Pahrump is to finish selling the house so we can leave for good.

The house was supposed to close on the 10th.


But then this last minute lien came in that my attorney assured me was legitimate.  That really sucked.  What sucked more was that the lien-holder wanted other things from me besides the money so they were not giving the title company the pay-off amount for me to just pay-off the lien and still sell my house.  They were refusing to do this in order to use it as leverage to get more from me.

We're on our THIRD extension.


Frankly, I was ready to just give up.  I refused to get into a protracted legal battle with belligerent bungholes.  On Friday I told my realtor to tell me how I could get out of the sale.  What would I owe the buyers for all their inspections and so forth?  This was a dismal prospect.  I seriously don't want anything more to do with Pahrump.  Becoming a landlord was the last thing you'd find on my wishlist.

But then, out of the blue, the lien-holder finally sent the pay-off!!  THE NIGHTMARE WAS OVER!  I'm still holding my breath to see if it will be true.  As it stand now we're supposed to close on Monday. 

The RV was turning into a not so happy place while I dealt with this drama.


I hated this.  I wanted this to be my happy place so I could start a vibrant new life where I wouldn't be prey to my depression.  I was seriously in a rut, people.  I mean...talk about shitty things that could happen.  I was constantly checking my email and calling the title company hoping beyond hope that we'd get that damn pay-off. 

We were staying at the Treasure resort because it had this great fitness center and we wanted to lose weight before we began our travels in earnest.  HA.  I was too stressed and upset to keep to a good eating plan.  I'm exactly the same weight now as when I came here.  It was such a waste.

I also wasn't able to write due to this sword of damacles hanging over my head.  I know I mentioned it before, but when I get the royalties for this month in July it's going to be one heck of a lean month. 


Well, everything's change for the better as of Friday!  


I exercised and kept to a good diet today.  Besides that:  I wrote the first 2,000 words of my next novel!! It will be called Aliens' Bride or Aliens' Bride: Selena.  Not sure yet.  It's in the same universe as my Alien's Bride series.  I am pulling all the stops for this one!!  It will be really good.  Hopefully it will be done by mid-May.  My other Alien's Bride books can be checked out here.





Sunday, April 19, 2015

Traveling the Oregon Trail...in an RV

If I was a good blogger I would have taken pictures of this Nevada campground we visited that had wild horses all over the place, or of Vegas when we went there a few days ago.

Vegas isn't terribly exciting for me since I lived there for eight years.  


It seems weird to say that I ever lived there.  Vegas is kind of like a fairy tale place; not a real place where people actually live.  And yet when I brought this person I met at the current campground we're at I had all sorts of things to show him.  I knew how to get around in Vegas so easily.

This guy had never been to Fremont Street so I took him to the Golden Nugget and showed him their huge showcase with a very large golden nugget in it.  Nearby is a vending machine where you can by actual gold bullion, from 1 gram for $75 to 1 ounce for $1,300.  Then I showed him the shark tank there, which is separated from the swimming pool by a glass wall, so people in the pool get to feel like they're swimming in the same tanks as the sharks.

I could have shown him much more, but like most RV type people he'd had his fill of the crowd, the noise, and the luridness of Fremont street.  I guess I had my fill too.  Vegas is no where near as fun as it was in the late 90s when my mom and I started vacationing there and fell in love with it.  Gambling isn't fun anymore either.

As I mentioned in another post my income is going to take a severe drop when I get paid for this month's royalties in July.  

In August I should bounce back because I plan on putting out a new installment of my Alien's Bride series, which always sells well.  Of course, I haven't even started writing this, because I'm stressed over complications with our house sale.  It might not happen now.  It's a heartrending situation that I hope will clear up soon.  In the meantime I don't even try to fool myself into thinking I can write.  My mind is locked on my troubles.

That means I have to accept the fact that I'll be making $1,500 less in July.  Hopefully it won't be worse than this.  Perhaps it will be a little better.  I'm trying to mitigate the damage as best I can.

I don't want to miss contributing to my IRA or Health Savings Account, so I have to make cuts elsewhere.  The obvious place to cut down is in the food budget.

I was playing the old-school Oregon Trail game on the computer today.  (You can play it, too.  Go click that link.  Be sure to use the names of friends so you can take a screen capture to send to them when they get dysentery). 

I'm kind of on an Oregon Trail of my own...


Except without snake bites, measles, fever, exhaustion, cholera, or dysentery.  I've got tires instead of wagon wheels, but I've already learned to expect one to go at least every third trip out.  No wagon tongue...but a trailer hitch.  And I've got axles.  Though, I would never caulk my wagon to get across a river...

Okay, I'm not on an Oregon Trail.  But I thought, maybe I can research what they ate and emulate the emigrants to reduce my food budget!  Here's what I found out:

A typical food list such as that from Joel Palmer's guide would include for each adult:
two hundred pounds of flour, thirty pounds of pilot bread, seventy-five pounds of bacon, ten pound of rice, five pounds of coffee, two pounds of tea, twenty-five pounds of sugar, half a bushel of dried beans, one bushel of dried fruit, two pound of saleratus [baking soda], ten pounds of salt, half a bushel of corn meal; and it is well to have half a bushel of corn, parched and ground; a small keg of vinegar should also be taken.(l)

Wow...that's a lot of bacon.  I think I'd gain way to much weight with all the carbs...but in the game you tend to run out of all that and have to hunt anyway.  I bet a diet of buffalo and muskrat would do me good.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Loving the New Life



Every full-timer seems to become an acolyte for the lifestyle.  I never realized how many people live in their RVs!  And not just retired people.  There's a whole community in this RV park who live here in their RVs year round and work in Pahrump.

A nice woman saw me and my handicapped mother bowling and saw how friendly and jokey we were to each other.  She came right up and asked if we were bowling again today.  We got into a conversation about full-timing.

"I love it here!" she said, "You have everything you need!"


It's so true.  I always lived in apartments when I was young because we were living very much below the poverty line (even lived in a car for one desolate year).  I didn't like apartments because you always had to deal with the noise and vermin from all the people around you.  We had a serious roach infestation at this one apartment I lived in while I was in high school.  It didn't matter how much we cleaned because they would just come from the less clean apartments above, below, and all around us.  I had roaches in my bed at night!  It was traumatic.

I always dreamed of having a self-contained home, not attached to any other person's home.


But being poor that dream always felt out of reach.  When I looked at housing prices and the costs of mortgages (living in New England) the prices were so staggering to me.  Even when I got out of college and was making $30k/year, I was like:  How can anyone afford a house!

I looked into trailers, but all real estate was at a premium in my area.  The only 'affordable' solution was apartments.  I thought:  There's got to be some way to live in a dwelling not attached to another!  I looked into tiny cabins, but everything was just too expensive.

When I got to the West Coast, specifically Las Vegas and Pahrump, home prices were in my reach.  First I started out with a mobile home in Las Vegas.  I thought I'd hit the jackpot!  A REALLY NICE self-contained home for a lot rent of $475/mo!  Who could dream of a rent that cheap!  And for a three bedroom, two bath, 1200sq foot awesome house!

Then I moved to Pahrump and did one even better.  


A whole stand-alone house on an acre of land!  Forget $475/mo, now I was just paying $550/year in real estate tax!  WHOO HOO!  I had it made.

Except I was more isolated than I'd ever been.  In Vegas we had a great church and strong connections with all our neighbors.  In the Mobile Home park you could touch your neighbor's house by reaching out your window.  This would have sucked if I didn't have such great neighbors.  We were constantly having potlucks and helping each other out.  Loaning stuff.  Sitting and chatting.  My neighbor Almeda had her husband die and literally didn't have anyone to help her go through it.  I drove her to California for her husband's military funeral and helped her get her social security.  I felt like my neighbors were there for me too.  It was nice.

So why did I leave?  


Well, I still wanted to own a home and housing prices had dropped so drastically it seemed crazy to miss my chance to get one for cheap.  Plus, I had a dream of doing homesteading.  I wanted to raise my own food, have chickens and goats, and live off the grid.

The house in Pahrump seemed perfect for this, but I ended up failing and giving up.  The year that I tried to make a real go of it, with 12 irrigated raised beds, was when all the bees died.  I mean, we had swarms all around us one day, and then suddenly nothing.  Months went by without seeing a single bee.  All my squash and apple blossoms wilted and died without ever getting pollinated.  I didn't know how to self-pollinate at the time.

At the end of the season I didn't have a single cucumber, tomato, squash--NOTHING.  x_x  I was so depressed.  I had planned to raise chickens and grow the feed for them.  Well the corn I planted failed miserably.  I had 24 broiler chickens and after buying feed at the store I found I spent more for the privilege of giving them gory deaths than I would have if I just bought frozen chickens.

So, I'd lost my community and failed at homesteading.  I was so depressed!  I wanted to get out of there.

One of my goals while full-time RVing is to have more interaction with other humans.


It's happening.  I had a great conversation with a woman in the hot tub who was very interested in my writing.  I gave her a copy of my ebook Ten Steps to Kindle Fiction Success so she could help her niece who wants to become a writer.  I'm finally having enjoyable interactions with friendly people.  :)  I'm not depressed any more!

I love this life!  I love our RV.  I thought things would be so inconvenient in this tiny RV, but we made it so nice.  The woman I met before was right.  You have everything you need.  And I'm free to go where ever we want.  The future has such great potential!  And it never has to end.

What a glorious decision!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Life in the Campground

This blog will probably never get as popular as some other full-timing blogs because I'll probably never be a committed boondocker.

I like campground amenities.


At the Treasure NV resort I'm enjoying the fitness room every day.  I love their stairclimber!  I am committed to losing weight this month, but it's been rough so far.

I also tried out the heated pool for the first time yesterday.  Nice stuff!  Has a waterfall and everything.  This place is pretty swanky for only $377/month.

The campground is mostly empty during the week, and fills during the weekends.


I just had a massive class A RV pull in beside us.  I'm not sure why people come to campgrounds like these on the weekends.  It's not in the wilderness or near water.  Other than swimming in the pool I don't really see what the draw is.

My allergies have been terrible since we got here.  It could be because of the stinky (in a good way) flowers all over this place, or, more likely, the air is getting funky in our tight quarters.  We have three cats in here after all.

So I got some stuff today from Amazon.  First off, an air purifier.



Click the image for the link about it.  If you have Adblocker you can't see it since it's an Amazon link.  I've heard other fulltimers need their purifiers, so I grabbed me one.  It sits in the corner of the dinette on our printer.

Second, a better floor sweeper thing:



This thing is awesome.  I am out of the Dyson camp and have joined team Bissell.  This thing sucks up the cat kibble!  With my old Dyson vac I had to pick up every piece.  It also goes to the edgy edge.  It really got the RV floor clean.  It was so cheap compared to Dyson, too. 

Every day my mother and I have been working out and dieting...except on the day when we got bad news related to the house sale and I got drunk and binged on crap food.  -_-  I gained 8 pounds for my trouble, and have only managed to go down 5 in the days that followed.  Le Sigh.  I wanted to lose at least 30 pounds this month so I could start our RVing adventure less fat.  I'll be lucky if I can lose 10. 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Nothing to Post Today

This is supposed to be a picture of the beautiful mountains.  I don't know how to zoom.
The Mom:  Why don't you have a blog post today?

Me:  Well, nothing really happened today.  It was windy and we kind of stayed inside.  You were out a church all day and I was working and goofing online.  :/  It was just a lazy day.

I don't know what I was trying to photograph here. 


The Mom:  Why don't you blog about how we went bowling.

Me:  It is neat that this RV park has a small bowling alley.

The Mom:  And I beat you.

Me:  -_- I don't feel that needs to be posted.

The Mom:  I'm an old lady who is blind in one eye and has arthritis in her hand and I beat you twice!  I was on fire!

Me:  -_-  Yeah.

The Mom:  Well, everyone should know. 


Saturday, April 4, 2015

Adapting to the Full-Time RV Life

I'm in a bit of a pickle because moving into the RV and dealing with the house took time and energy away from my writing.

Here's some of the beautiful landscaping at the Treasure RV resort.

I need to put out a short story or novella every few weeks or my income drops to zero.


The problem with living in the RV is that I'm essentially living in the same room as my mother and cats.  This means we have to synch up our sleep schedules.  I'm a night owl.  She's a morning person.  I usually write until 2am or so and sleep until noon.  She gets up at 8am every day.  Now she has me rolling out of bed at 9am and I'm too tired to stay up late to write.

I need to get into a trance to do my best writing.


I know that sounds nutso, but other writers call it their 'writing zone.'  You have to be in the mind and world of your characters to really get out a good story.  I can't do that on little sleep, or when I have too many distractions.

So I haven't gotten out a story since Mid-March and my 30 day average income has dropped by $1,000.

Yeah.  It's that extreme.


Being a full-time author is not easy, otherwise more people would do it.  It means banging out quality work at a fast clip and regular rate.  When life interferes with that I take catastrophic hits to my income.

Right now the situation is still okay.  I can live on what I would make if my average income stayed the same.  The thing is, it's just going to keep dropping.

I have to put out a new story.


So I'm figuring out how to get my writing done in this new lifestyle.  I'm writing this blog outside the RV in a table I set up.  There are outlets on the outside of the RV I can hook into and I'm still in the range of my hotspot for Internet.

Here we are!  We tow with that Nissan Armada there.





I'm trying to see if I can finish the sequel to last month's short story.  It's tough getting in the zone out here because there are people going by and bugs.  However, a few cups of wine always seem to help.  I'm sacrificing some dinner calories in order to have two cups of merlot now so I can get this story done.

 It's frustrating because when I'm really 'in the zone' I can write an entire story in six hours.  This story goes on to make me $300 in one month, and also revives sales of my older titles.  And yet, I've been struggling with this one short story for WEEKS.  Dang it, Yamila!  Get this shit done!!

Another thing we need to adapt to now is preparing food in the small home.  


The RV is just not suitable for food prep that requires multiple dishes and pans.  My cooking is basically sticking meat and spices in the crock pot (like this pork shoulder) and then serving it for lunch and dinner with salad or canned vegetables.  I'm ashamed to say that we've been using up some paper plates we had from our last camp trip rather than dirtying real plates.  I just need prep and clean up to be easy. 


Friday, April 3, 2015

The Secret Weapon...

In my last post I said April 1 was our first day full-time camping.  I guess technically March 31st was, since we dry camped in front of our house.  That's why I was able to discuss the cat's reactions to the first night of the move.

So here we are in Treasure Nevada RV Park!


I'm surprised to see that there are so many tourists camping here.  License plates are from all over, including Canada.  I made friends with a guy who came in from Kansas City.

We lion-shaved Scrappy and Sultan. She's like a kitten again! So happy to be free of her fur nest.

Why the heck would these people want to come to Pahrump?


Well...it's probably Death Valley that's drawing them here, however I saw people 'hiking' in the open scrub brush next to the RV Park.  Yes, there are beautiful mountains all around, but to me it is hot dry desert full of those nasty sage bushes that I was constantly tearing out of my yard.  Hiking here?  Yuck!

If you must come to Pahrump you couldn't pick a better park!  The Fitness Center here actually sells memberships to the locals.  It's so nice!  I did 20 minutes on the Step Mill and 10 minutes on a bike.  Then I got on my skates and skated around the park.

When I say I skated...um...I skate while holding on to a three-wheeled walker.  I'm clumsy and I just can't keep my balance--but I love to skate!  I also have on more protective gear than a roller derby babe.  I've broken bones for my skating desires in the past.

Tomorrow I might venture into the pool...but I'm worried about getting sunburned.
Precious finally came out from the hiding place!  Here she is on my bed.


Anyway, the title of the post is 'the secret weapon.'  When we got into the park a gentleman led us to our space in a golf cart (this place thinks of everything--there's even trash pickup!).  I was able to convince this same gentleman to back the RV into our spot for me.

I can't back our RV up to save my life.  I've tried.  LORD HOW I'VE TRIED.  I have a learning disability in the backing up RV department.  I accept this limitation, but I'm determined to full-time!  There won't always be someone to help.  What do I do then?

I got a Park-it 360 tow dolly.  That's my answer.  I keep it in the back seat of the SUV ready to go for emergency back-ins!   I hope I won't have to use it that often, because it takes a while to set up and is a bear to lug in and out.  But in an emergency I'll be able to use it to get the RV in a tight spot.

My RV was too close to a palm tree next to us, so today I whipped it out and put it to use for the first time.  I'm happy to see it worked great.  My only problem is the tire hitting the bottom of our front leveler thing.  If I can move it into the right spot I should have enough room.  So...here's the secret weapon in action.

video






It's powered by the house battery.  I have the leads permanently connected so I can hook up fast.  It worked.  I got the RV away from the palm tree after a small fuss that attracted onlookers.

I'm happy I didn't waste my money on this thing!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Full-Time RVing - DAY ONE

It's happened people...

We moved into our RV full-time!


I'm writing this from the Treasure RV resort in Pahrump, NV, where we're staying for the month of April.  The official reason is to finish up with the sale of our house, which closes in nine days.  The unofficial reason is to treat this place and its awesome fitness center like a weightloss resort and drop some major pounds before beginning our adventure in earnest.

Yesterday we moved all our belongings from our house into the RV.  Many more items were discarded, but still more will go.  We need to go back to the house to clean and once that house is in order we need to put the new house in order.

Things aren't really functional in the RV yet.

My 'Bedroom' Oh the humanity!

I want to get things to where I don't have to move three things to get to what I need.  I almost didn't put bay leaves in my slow-cooker tonight because I knew how deep it was buried in the cupboard.  But why bring stuff at all if it's so buried you never go through the trouble of digging it out?  I want to organize the heck out of this place and get things running smoothly.

The cats each reacted to the move differently.  Sultan was a PEACH. 



Our elder male cat was perfectly content in the new home, since he'd explored in here many times.  He is very happy that I no longer have a door on my 'bedroom' that I can use to lock him out.  We slept in spoons position last night.  He purred quite ecstatically.

Scrappy was a freaking pain in the ass. 

Scrappy on my mother's bed. Yeah, we don't make our beds. F the Police.





The thing about Scrappy is that she is a whiner and she HOWLS.  When something is bugging her she will not shut up.  She was howling until 4am.  We would console her with petting and that would get her quiet for a while, but eventually she'd start howling again.  Ugh.  It was a rough night.

Precious (not pictured because she's hiding now) usually just hides for a day and then starts coming out little by little to explore and get comfortable again.  We made sure there was space under the dinette for her to hide in.

Cat's hiding place, safely enclosed so they can't get into the slide mechanism.
Well this time she just let Scrappy egg her on.  She came out of the hidey hole the first hour and shrieked with panic all night.  Again, we consoled her and got her to quiet down, but when Scrappy started up, Precious joined in the chorus. 

All the cats have settled down now and gotten into their normal routines.  For Sultan that means cuddling with me at every opportunity.  For Precious that means hiding most of the time.  And for Scrappy that means sleeping on my mother's aching hip and ensuring she never gets a good night sleep.  She also wakes her up once or twice a night to howl until my mother pets her. 

I set up the RV very meticulously since we're going to be here a month.  I put out a table and chairs, put down the levelers, put out all my small kitchen appliances.  :) 

Once we finish our chores in the old house we can get this place neat, organized, and convenient (within reason).  Right now I have an extension cord duct taped to the floor to give outlets to the dinnette so both me and my mom can use our computers on this side of the RV.  It looks like crap.  I want to find a more aesthetically pleasing way to get things under control.

One thing that I think is set is our cat litter situation.  My mother has a covered cat litter beside her bed.  A second cat litter lives in our bathtub.




This way we can just lean over when we're on the toilet and scoop the kitty's business while we're doing ours.  Genius.