Sunday, May 31, 2015

Pacific Crest Trailer Hikers-a-go-go

I know I haven't posted in 5ever.  I've been very busy with getting out new fiction.  First the sci-fi romance Aliens Bride, but then also a short gay sci-fi romance (adults only) because I had a big hole to dig myself out of.

Now that sales are high again I have a little breathing room!

We're still at the Thousand Trails Campground in Acton California.  My mom is having a health issue that will require us to stay here for a month or two.  Now, as I've said before, our Thousand Trails membership is 14 days in, 7 days out.  Meaning every two weeks we camp here we need to leave for 7 days.

Instead of leaving I've been using the free ReadyCampGo membership I got with my Thousand Trails membership to buy our 'out days' at $20/day.  I did this for our 7 days out after Palm Springs.  On June 5 I'm going to try to do it again.  I've booked 7 days with ReadyCampGo and I will hopefully just stay here and check-out/check-in at the front like I did before.  This will be the easiest way for us to hang around.

Now, I was not opposed to boondocking on our out days. 

However it doesn't seem as though there's any legal boondocks where we can fit our rig around here.  If we have to tow the RV a two hour drive somewhere and back then we'll be paying in gas what we would spend to buy our out days anyway, with a lot more hassle and a lot less amenities than we'd have if we just stayed put.

Today I was hoping to find a boondock in the nearby BLM areas.  I mean, if there's a place within 30 minutes of here, at a higher elevation (so I don't need A/C to be comfortable) then it's worth the hassle of moving and dry camping to save $140.

My mom and I went down Soledad Canyon Road to investigate.  We passed the KOA to an Angeles Forest entrance type place up a hill.  I drove up said hill hoping there would be a passable road to a higher level area where I could boondock.  My California Adventure Pass was good for this forest, after all.

Okay, so when we drive up this area the dirt road leading up higher is closed off.  :(  Oh well.  I park to go and read the sign and see if we could just boondock in the parking lot there.  :p  Wishful thinking, but I don't know jack about boondocking--so maybe?

Out of the mountain trail comes a young woman walking with hiking sticks with a big pack on her back.  There's dirt crusted on her legs and she's so sunburned that I'm not sure if she's 20 or 40 at first.  I say hi to her as I approach the signage.

"Do you know which way the KOA is?"

Now I realize that this is a young woman who has come from some place far away.  She wasn't a day hiker who was parked somewhere.  There was no other vehicles.  This was a perpetual hiker.  She looked exhausted.

I told her to get in our SUV to drive her to the KOA.  She said she couldn't possibly because she was too dirty.  Meh.  Who cares.  Get in.  We throw her pack in the trunk and drive her down.

She says she's hiking from Mexico to Canada.  @_@ WHAT?!  Apparently there are others doing this since she recognizes a group from the clusters of tents at the campground.  I was so amazed at the adventure this woman was on.  I wanted to spend hours hearing of her journey.  The woman was obviously beat and eager to crash, so I didn't attempt to delay her.  We dropped her at the campground and continued on our way.

We drove around many a road looking for the elusive legal big-rig boondock.  Meh.  Nothing.  So we headed back.

As we're driving back two guys are in front of the KOA kind of blocking the road to flag down a car.

Now, ordinarily I would attempt to ram them while honking my horn and putting the pedal to the metal.  

Ordinarily when you see guys doing this is a car-jacking.  Sorry--I'm from Vegas.  It happens.

But this isn't Vegas.  And though we are 30 minutes from LA, this isn't LA either.  They were in front of the KOA and looked like hikers like that girl.  I decided to stop and hear their plea.  I kept the door locked and only opened the window a crack.  They asked for a ride to the store in town.

We'd come upon two beddraggled hikers who were in their very early 20s.  They looked like realangos, which is Spanish for stray dogs, but a realango tends to be a very skinny scraggly stray dog.  We felt the two realangos harmless and let them in the SUV.

The Caucasian realango was Matt and the miscellaneously Asian realango was Assi.  We eagerly soaked up information about what these crazy hikers were doing.  Apparently the Pacific Crest Trail is a crazy program where hikers hike from Mexico to Canada.  They all go to the same stops and are more or less in a big staggered group.  Neato!

The grapenuts told us of their life philosophies (typical hippy stuff) and gave off incredibly good vibes.  We took them to the nice market in town I covered in the last post.  My mom HAD to feed them.  I mean, I live to feed wild animals and my mom likes to feed the human kind.  So she bought them each a piping hot sausage roll from the deli counter.  We waited for them to get their tortillas, granola, coconut waters, instant Lipton noodle type camp meals, almond butter, poptarts, nuts, peanuts, and shitloads of beer!!  The took advantage of the fact they had a ride back to the campground to load up.

It was a lot of fun helping these tired kids.  I know they're not homeless or necessarily poor, but they were definitely tired and hungry and it was great to get them to and from the store.

Ahh, if I were younger and healthy I would totally...never fucking do anything like that.  But I wish I could be the type who would live life so hardcore and go for ultimate experiences like that.  I can honestly say the dehydration issues with my lack of intestines and my screwed up knee from the bone cancer precludes me from doing such a thing now.

I can, however, do the closest thing possible for me to do to what they're doing:  Full-time RV!

Hooray!  I get the adventure of traveling the country with less snakes and foot blisters.  :D

Sunday, May 24, 2015

My New Novel

If anyone's interested, my new novel has just come out.  You can get all the details here:

Oh...and yes, it is very smutty (throbbing appendages) as well as cloyingly sweet (fluttery tummy feelings) but I always cram in a decent story with politics, religion, alien culture, and thrilling life or death high stakes onto unsuspecting romance fans.  It's just how I do. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Holiday Weekend Cometh

I haven't posted in a while, I know.  I've been busy finishing up my novel.  As I've said before, my monthly income has tanked and I really need to build up sales again.  The new novel is in hands of my editor and should be up soon!!

Today we went to the post office and picked up our mail, which we had sent general delivery.  We had a nice envelope full of paperwork from our house sale, and a bunch of checks with refunds and such.  Woohoo!

The Post Office in Acton has no sign and is in an old-timey tourist plaza.  Here's the picture from, except the sign was gone when we went there today.  Made it hard to find.

The store next to it was a really nice market with a full wine selection and deli in back.  It was a very 'upscale small town' sort of market.  Touristy, but not overly expensive. 

Sometimes I think Acton would be a nice place to live, but there really isn't that much to do here.  You have to go to Palmdale for bigger stores and stuff.  Palmdale is kind of slummy.

RVs have been filling the campground all day for the holiday weekend.  We have an empty space beside us where all sorts of birds congregate.  Ravens, crows, and lots of pretty colorful small birds who I don't know the names of, but who drive my cats nuts.  We kept watching the RVs coming in hoping none would park in that spot.  So far so good!

I like campground living, especially in beautiful scenery and weather like we have here.  Before I went full-time I read RV Sue's blog to learn all I could about the lifestyle.  This is a woman who never seems to camp anywhere there are hook-ups.  She mentioned a Thousand Trails campground in a recent post and says it's the type of place she hates. 

Well...I guess it just goes to show we're all different.  I don't mind being around other people.  I don't mind mowed lawns or strategically planted trees.  I'm a city girl and this is nature to me.  I also like the convenience of full hookups.

I thought I'd be a boondocker like her, but that's not really what I want out of this life.  I did isolation before and it just agitated my depression.  I think I'm headed on the right path toward finding the life I want.  I was silly to try to model myself after anyone. We should all be careful to read the blogs of successful people and think, 'I'll just do what she does.'  We all have to find our own paths to happiness.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Thousand Trails Soledad Canyon, Acton California

Hello my lovelies!!  Here is me (right) and The Mom.  We went to the pool opening ceremony party thing at the Soledad Canyon Thousand Trails.  They had a photo booth, so we took some pics.  I am hesitant to post pictures of myself due to weight gain, but I think this one is okay.

Here we are!
 So, like I said in the last post, we've come early to our next Thousand Trails camp due to the failed boondock.  I went online and got reviews of this park.  I'm glad I did because I learned that you can only get Verizon Internet in the N section, which is up a steep hill.  Reviews also stated that there were a lot of spaces with bad electric (they gave us a list of spaces to avoid) and that many of the bathrooms were closed. 

Gorgeous mountains in spitting distance all around

I parked the RV next to a bathroom only to find that it was one of the closed ones.  Boo!  However, I explored today and found an open bathroom a short walk away.  Yay!  We won't have to use our RV shower. 

I mean...our shower's not the worst thing, but we have our litter box in it so it's kind of a pain to dig everything out and clean it before use.  Then it's your typical small RV shower/tub and it's hard not to bump the plug.  If you do it closes and the little tub fills up with water.  I had trouble avoiding this so my mom will have problems too.  Then we only have a 5 gallon hot water tank that has to be heated up with our precious propane before we can shower.  It won't last long so that means Navy showers where you douse yourself wet and then turn off the water while you soap up and put on shampoo.  The you turn on the water again to rinse off.  The showerhead handle has an on/off switch to make this easier.  (You don't have to shut the water fully off and mess with the water temp each time when you turn it back on).

 I love the peaceful atmosphere and scenery of this place.  I'm not as upset over the closed bathrooms or electric issues that some people complained about in the reviews.  I tested this site's electric before setting up and all was good.  We're not hard to please.

This is not really desert.  We have loads of vegetation and wildlife.  Bobcats even!!   The views are stunning in all directions.  There was a trail I forced my mother to hike with her walker yesterday.  There were so many critters!! OMG!

Today they had a party for the new pool opening.  Its a huge pool!  We got free eats and everyone was nice.  It was fun.  RV parties are great because you can just show up and know that people will talk to you even though they don't know you.  There's no such thing as wallflowers or feeling left out.  You don't have to dress fancy.  You don't have to act fancy.  It's just down to earth fun!

Look at the trees!  I haven't seen trees like this in so long.  It was nice and cool too.  It's May here and around 60-70 during the day.  The nights get pretty cold.  Not uncomfortable though.  It's long sleeve weather.  Much nicer than the heat of Palm Springs.

The local animal shelter was there with all the dogs they felt would be good pets for Rvers.  This little guy caught our eye.  If the girl had been pushy we would have caved and adopted her.  OMG...that face!

But we don't know how to dog.  It would be a new thing for us.  Also we were worried our cats would tear her to shreds.  My cat Scrappy is called Scrappy for a reason, and it ain't just cuz she loves food scraps!

There is loads of space here and it's a beautiful park-like setting.  I mean...I LOVE THIS PLACE!!

;o;  There.  I said it.  

This is the sort of place that gets me thinking about buying one of there leased spots and sticking around.  But nay...tis too soon for such decisions.  Still, we're only 40 miles from LA.  This would be a good city to launch my screenplay writing career.  :p 

So this is our home for the next three weeks.  :)  I'm liking it so far, but I'll keep you posted!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Boondock Boondoggle: OH THE CALAMITY!

Good day to you.  In this post I will document our first attempt to boondock.  There are no pictures.  It's hard to remember to take pictures...


But I digress...

Thursday, March 14th, 14:00 hours (2pm) -

We didn't have to leave the Palm Springs Thousand Trails until Friday morning, but the rangers were so gungho about us leaving that we decided to go early.  Then we wouldn't have to race to pack up in the morning.  It would mean an extra night at our boondock, but that was fine, right?


So we head off toward our boondock which was this Helendale BLM.  It looked suitable for our large rig and was near enough to our next campground.  Easy right?

But I'm stupid, and I see some Angel Lake recreation park with a trailer symbol on the sign.  I'm like, "Hey!  Let's go here instead!"

It should have occurred to me that there was a reason this wasn't on the Free Campsites website.  First I went up winding hills where the butt of the RV kept hovering over ravines, and then I make it to the entrance of the recreation area.  They say it's $45/night.

x_x  Yeah.  Obviously.

As you know, dear readers, I am pennywise but putting on the pounds foolish (I waste most of my money on food).  $45/night is too rich for this chicka's blood.  That's almost what I pay for 2 weeks of camping.

So I did a wide u-turn and headed back to the horror hill road, but first I took a wrong turn down a deadend.  At the end of this deadend is another vehicle towing a trailer as large as mine which is hopelessly stuck and trying to make a 900 point turn to get out of there.  I managed...somehow... to make a wide u-turn on that single lane road and get out in one amazing go.  I didn't even hear a crunch!!!  Also I got to make some manly men look quite foolish by how easily I escaped.

I met said manly men in the restaurant we went to on the way back to horror hill.  They had to unhitch and rehitch to finally get out of there.  I told them I carried around an emergency tow dolly for such situations (but didn't have to use it this time, ha ha).

I was stuffed with sushi because that was randomly the only restaurant in the recreation area.  I also managed to get gas at the only gas station in the recreation area.  It was obviously not set up for hugetastic rvs like mine, but I made it by God.  I didn't even have to back up 5 times to avoid hitting a post to get out.

Then as I'm going down the horror hill road, where the RV seems like it's going to fly off the edge every few hundred feet, I notice that the food I have just eaten is starting to climb back up my throat.  I start gagging and trying to swallow it back down.  I know it's gross but I'm belching, my face is green, and I'm trying with everything inside of me not to throw up.  Apparently when I'm in stress driving mode I squeeze my stomach muscles so tight that I can't hold down a recently eaten meal.  I kept picturing myself just vomiting onto my shirt with my eyes wide open and my fists white-knuckle on the wheel.  I told myself:  If you have to puke, puke, but for God's Sake don't take your eyes off the road!  The curves were so sharp and steep that half a second of distraction could send you off the edge.

Finally...FINALLY we get back onto the highway.  I continue following the instructions for our original boondock.  I made a stupid mistake thinking I could veer from carefully thought out plans.


I programmed Garminsita (our GPS) to get us to the intersection of National Trails Highway and Bryman Road.  Then I had written down instructions for the rest of the way since Garminsita was being obnoxious and refused to accept GPS coordinates.

I thought I just had to turn on Bryman, then turn on Helendale road, and then I'd find the boondock.  Easy.

I drove our 32' RV down the scratchy Bryman road, passing abandoned buildings with graffiti and caved in walls, then a full on shanty town made from strewn together tarps, sheds, and sheet metal.  This was a creepy area.  We hoped we'd be out far enough to be away from any scuzzy people.

But then Bryman road ended.  -_-   To the right was a road leading to a train underpass that a car would have a hard time squeezing under, much less an RV.  To the left was a stretch of dirt road leading back to the National Trails Highway.

UGH.  I'd gotten some mixed up directions from Google and Garminsita was no help.  There was a car waiting behind me so I got back on to the National Trails Highway.  And drove.  And drove.  Probably 20 miles.

As I'm driving I do the unsafe thing of trying to find an RV park with Garmin.  The nearest one is 45 miles away.   It's starting to get dark.

I'm driving through what kind of seems like BLM land, except there's lots of houses here and there among the sage desert and occasional land for sale signs.  The sun is going down and I need to figure something out.  I start noticing dirt pull-offs.  Some lead to steep desert trails that I wouldn't dare pull the RV on.  A few looked like possible boondocks for me, but I drove by too fast.  I slow down and my mom indicates a big area of open dirt next to a paved road turning off the highway.  I pull into it.

Now, I was prepared to park right there, by the busy highway, and just try to spend the night.  It was really a dodgey prospect though.  First off, there was a huge 'Land for Sale' sign so if a cop harassed me I couldn't claim I thought it was a legal boondock on BLM land.  Second--this was still scuzzball central and we would be sitting ducks if someone wanted to start trouble with us.

I noticed a dirt path leading off from the area.  I park and walk to investigate.  After 100 feet or so there was an open level clearing with ATV tire tracks.  It was more or less hidden from the highway by some raised ground and big desert vegetation.  The best thing was that it was a huge circle that I could maneuver the RV into and park it facing out.

SOLD.  We snuck into this illegal boondock and found a nice level place.  I put out the slide and put stuff away just enough to spend the night.  We would be visible from a side road until nightfall, but hopefully no one would bug us.  When night came I made sure the exterior lights were out.  We were invisible.

My mom went to bed and I could hear her snoring minutes later.  It boggled my mind how she could fall asleep so easily under these circumstances.  I was up and wide eyed.  I felt like I had screwed up so bad.  I was waiting for a cop to come banging at our door or creeps on motorcycles to start circling us.  I tore a lot of skin from my cuticles.  Every time I heard a car go by I tensed up.  I listened hard to hear if any gravel was crunching under the wheels, because then I'd know they were coming down the dirt road.

Hours passed...I fell asleep.  I woke at 2am panicked again, but the traffic had stopped now.  Just one or two trucks passing on the highway.  I realized that it was FRICKING COLD.  Like 50 degrees.  Sultan had bundled up between my ankles.  I had gotten my mom's extra blanket out for her expecting as much.

7am...morning...we made it!  A night had come and gone without anyone hassling us.  My mom was up feeding the cats.  I went back to sleep because...well...this is too early for me to function.  But daylight made me feel more secure.

When I did get up I made my mom a meal and we decided what to do.  Staying here was too risky.  We were just asking for trouble.  I looked up the directions for the Helendale boondock online again.  I kind of had an idea where I went wrong.  I could keep trying.


Or we could pay $164 to buy our 'out' days from Thousand Trails and just spend the next three weeks at the Acton Soledad Canyon campground.  The first week we pay for, the next two were under our membership.  That's what we did.  We used our ReadyCampGo membership to buy the out days.

I didn't want to stay in this area.  Not even in a legal boondock.  It was creepy.  It might have been in our heads or due to our lack of experience.  I don't know.  But I sat that morning and asked myself, 'Was this the life I wanted?'  Being scared to fall asleep?  Looking out the windows in fear?  Is this what I signed up for?  The 'improvement' to my old life?  Worst of all I'm dragging my mom through all this when she never wanted it in the first place.  If something ever happened to us it would be my fault 100%.

The fricking Ready Camp Go program is obviously defunct.  The website doesn't let you put in a credit card number with a year past 2016.  They're not maintaining the site.  It's not something they're selling memberships to.  Lame.  I had to call a rep to buy the out days.  He said it was fine to do this since I'm not in the Thousand Trails system, I'm in the Ready Camp Go system.  (He better be right).  Then he charged me a $4 resort fee on top of the $20/night.  WTF!!  The site didn't try to charge me this.  No mention of any 'resort fee' came up anywhere before!  I was annoyed.  Whatever.

So the next seven days I'm paying an exorbitant $24/night.  ROBBERY!!  I paid only $13/night at my monthly in Pahrump.  Grrr.

The campground is incredibly beautiful however.  I will do a whole post devoted to it next time...this time with pictures!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The First Boondock Cometh

EEK!!!  We're really going to try to boondock.  This is not a drill!  We're really doing it.  x_x  I saved some money for camping fees in case we wussed out, but in two days we gots to go and I don't have anything booked.  BOONDOCKING IT SHALL BE!!

We had this lovely note on our RV door when we got back from picking up our mail today (got our first General Delivery).  It says:  GTFO The Park is Closing.  We've learned the Palm Springs Thousand Trails is only open October to May 15th.  This makes sense since it's so dang hot already here.

I think we're going to leave Thursday evening.  That way I won't have to stress about getting stuff ready in the morning.  Much needs to be done!!

1.  Climb on the roof and clean off the solar panels.

UGH.  This is a pain and seems so dangerous to me, but the panels are dingy as heck.  I really fear that skimpy little ladder on the back of the RV breaking off.  I'm not a small woman.  I also don't feel comfortable standing up there.  I see other RVers walking around their roofs like it's nothing.  This chicka is scared of falling.

2.  Check the air in the RV and SUV tires.

I have an air compressor to fill them if it's needed.  I also have three bottles of fix a flat if there's an emergency.  If an RV tire gets SHREDDED I have a spare and a jack capable of lifting the thing up.  We got a flat on a trip with our old RV and I watched to learn how to jack it up.  I shall manage!

3.  Get everything off the shelf which composes my 'bedroom.'

For this first trip I took some stuff down, but then thought 'this other stuff probably won't fall down.'  Everything fell down.  -_-  EVERYTHING.  So everything has to get moved onto my bed.  The shelf I have used to be the top bunk but I had them cut it at that dealership so I wouldn't be bumping my head on it, could sit up in bed, and could have a shelf.  It worked out well for me.  (Except when we travel.)

4.  Put everything loose in our kitchen, living room, and dining room into cupboards or a tub.

Sorry for the dirty dishes.  We just had lunch (left over pork and fixings).  But, yeah, all that stuff needs to be brought down where it can't get destroyed during the trip.  My spices can stay on that ridge thing (very handy) but nothing can be on the counters.  We also have to get stuff off the dining room table and U Shaped seats.  It does make relocating a bit of a hassle.  Especially when were only going to be at this new place for 7 days.

5.  Put everything loose in the bathroom in our mesh laundry bag that hangs on the back of the door.

6.  Find our three cats.  Make sure none of them are in the slide mechanism.

7.  Close the slide slowly, stopping every few moments in case a cat snuck into the slide mechanism when you weren't looking.

8.  Roll down the TV antenna.

Omg...may we never forget to do it.  I'm really enjoying all the free channels we seem to be able to get all over the place.  I SO do not want to pay for Direct TV or additional Internet data for streaming.  My mom is more attached to TV than I am.  Fortunately she's happy with old movies and shows, and extra happy that Gotham and Agents of Shield are on network television.  I say NO DIRECT TV!!!  Setting up a dish every time we move is just an extra hassle I don't need, and I sure as heck don't want to have the $90/mo bill again.  I will stream episodes of the Walking Dead from for $1.50 each, and the rest she can watch on the channels we get.  

9.  Put up the stabilizers and put away my levelers and wheel chocks.

10.  Put the hitch on the back of the SUV.  Hitch up.  Get the anti-sway bars hooked up.  Lock on the chains and the emergency pull brake wire thing.  Hook the electric.  Test and make sure the signal turns on in the RV when I turn it on in the SUV.

You know...basically all the things I'd have a man do if I was willing to put up with the trouble of having a man around.  :p  I'm all black grease filthy by the time I'm done.

I really wish I had a man when I'm tightening the sway bars.  That requires serious upper-body strength.  You're supposed to have 4-6 links dangling and I can barely lever up the bar with just two!  We swayed pretty bad on the drive here.  I think that's why absolutely everything on my bedroom shelf crashed down.

11.  Shut off the city water spigot.  Disconnect my hose from my city water connection.  Reconnect it to my fresh water tank connection and fill it up.

We have our fresh tank close to 2/3rds full from water put in at the dealership.  We'll top it off before we go since the only water we'll have is what we bring with us in this tank.

12.  Shut off the city water spigot and put away my fresh water hose.

13.  Take out my garden hose and hook it to the now available spigot.  Then attach that to the black tank flush connection.

13.  Open the black tank!  RELEASE THE TURDS!!!  And then I turn on the water from the spigot to flush it out good and clean.

Even though this didn't work last time, and we showed 1/3rd full.  We weren't *really* 1/3rd full, but poop was on the sensor so we got a false reading.  Which apparently is common.  I've put in a cup of dish detergent and plan on getting water softener as recommended by another RVer to fix this.  For now I just want to get it as clean and empty as I can because we need to go 7 days without a flush.

Seven days without a flush?  For your huge 40 gallon black tank?  That should be easy!!'s not for us.  Even when we don't flush toilet paper.  Your faithful narrator Milly (me) has a medical condition that means 7-9 trips to the bathroom a day with loose #2s.  That's the reality of not having a large intestine.  I had it removed when I was in my 20's due to ulcerative colitis.  Sorry for the TMI.  I've tested how long before the tank reads 2/3rds full and it's right at 7 days.  We should be okay.  We'll have to be!!!

14.  Once the black tank runs clear I'll turn off the water spigot and put away my garden hose.  (All this stuff I'm putting away goes in our back 'basement', the storage area that doesn't contain our battery bank for the solar panels).

15.  Close the black tank and grey tanks (we have two grey tanks, one for kitchen and one for the shower and sink in the the bathroom).

16.  Put on some gloves and pack up the stinky slinky (our poop tube) along with the stinky slinky stand.  This is the windy plastic thing you use to make sure the poop tube is on a downward slope into the dump hole.  Cap off the hole.  My slinky has a cap too.

17.  Disconnect the electric and put away the wire.

18.  Make sure all the RV windows are closed.  Especially the ones that you push out with a bar.  The bar has to be in the locked position or it's going to fling open and flap around as you drive.  x_x  Happened to me on the way out.

19.  Make sure the doors are closed tight and locked both with the bolt and the handle lock.  I missed one or the other once on our old RV and the door flung open.  x_x

20.  Do a final walk around to make sure you didn't forget anything.

21.  Get in the SUV.  Get Garminsita set up.  And drive into the sunset!!!

Before we go too far I like to get out again and make sure everything still looks good.  My God, so many things can go wrong when moving a trailer!!  I seem to have found every possible way to make myself a moving landmine on the road.  I seriously have to wonder why other RVs aren't flapping doors, windows, or throwing out basement stuff as they drive along.  I always think I've battened things down tight and then learn a new lesson in a horrifying way.  x_x

Prayer is my #22 on this list.  If we make it safely with our cats and home in one piece we've had a successful move. 

I've already plotted the best route to our destination, which are just GPS coordinates on BLM land.  I wrote down back up instructions in case Garminsita (our Garmin GPS) gets confused (she's been getting senile lately).  I also gassed up the SUV.  God willing we can make it all the way there without having to stop for gas.  I have a terrible time getting gas with the RV attached.  I have to struggle not to hit stuff.  I'm still learning that you can't get too close to the pump if you want to be able to pull away with out any trouble.

We also checked our propane tanks.  I've been doing long baking sessions here, as you may know.  I was getting worried we'd be low on propane.  We especially need to have propane during a boondock since that's what operates our fridge.

Well, the RV has two big tanks.  I closed and disconnected one and it felt pretty light.  Did that mean it was empty?  I don't know.  So I took down the other one.  It was heavy!!  So...yeah.  One tank seems to be empty and the other seems to have some propane in it.  Probably enough for the boondock (I'd be surprised if we ran out).  I will put off filling them until I get my Amazon royalties for next month.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Follow-up Food Post

If you read my last post you know I had a meal-plan set up.  Today and tomorrow we would eat off a pork roast.  I wanted to get a small one, but the only ones out were huge.  This was a 9+ pound roast for $9.00 at Staters.

Here it is all baked on top of my stove (the stove lid is down).  It barely fit in the oven, but I thought I managed to get it in without touching the top.  Unfortunately this thing plumped when I cooked it.  I guess this is the sort of thing you don't notice when you have a normal sized oven.  It was pressed against the top of the oven when I went to take it out.  It also dripped juice over the side of the pan.  -_-  I foresee an annoying oven cleaning in my future.

I'm more worried about the heat sensor though.  Apparently I bent it when I shoved the big thing in.  Aw geez!!

It was still delish though.  I served it with yellow rice cooked in my rice cooker.  This is an old rice cooker and I bought a new fangled one to replace it once.  I just didn't like the new one.  I ended up selling it and keeping my beat up old rice cooker.  It's just the best rice cooker!!

This rice will give us 8 meals worth of food.  (Lunch and dinner today and tomorrow).

Add a bag of salad from the 99 Cent Only store and we had ourselves a lunch!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Blowing The Grocery and Entertainment Bugdet's our first real excursion, and this is a nice area.  I should have expected it when I completely incinerated my grocery budget and 'other' budget in the first 9 days.

I gave myself a healthy $300 entertainment budget, and a healthy $600 grocery budget.  Usually I only give myself $150 for entertainment, and usually that's fine.  I also try to keep groceries to under $500 and usually fail.  Keep in mind I was living in the middle of the desert in Pahrump, NV.  Groceries were exorbitant.

Here on the road there's so much to see and do that I'm going out a lot and when you get hungry it's all too easy to eat out when there's so many nice restaurants.  Give me a break about this!  I was culture starved in Pahrump.  We didn't have shit for restaurants.

So yesterday I took stock of my situation.  I had only $230 left for groceries.  Ugh!!  And I still had a 23 days left!  Even worse...I only had $57 left for entertainment!  (Now it's down to $27).  Wow, seriously?!

I have to do a boondock for seven days May 15-23rd.  I'm going to remote BLM land.  There's not going to be any grocery stores for miles.

After this I'm going to the Thousand Trails campground in Acton.  Also a remote town.  Many of the campground reviews are saying stock up before you come out.

Well, it seems to me that I need to take advantage of the convenient grocery store next to me.  I need to stop going out and splurging.  Frankly, I need to get my ding-darn writing done!!  And getting back into the diet and exercise bandwagon would be a good idea also.  Excursions need to end!

I created a meal plan to cover lunches and dinners for the rest of the month.  This will be our food for the rest of our time in Palm Desert, food for our boondock, and food for our next campground.  For breakfast we have cereal or oatmeal for my mom, and bread and peanut butter for me.  Here's my meal plan for lunches and dinner.  (We generally eat the same lunch and same dinner):

Sunday 10th Hamburgers Lettuce, Tomato
Monday 11th Pork Picnic Roast Spinach Yellow Rice
Tuesday 12th Pork Picnic Roast (Leftovers) Salad Yellow Rice
Wednesday 13th Whole Chicken Salad Yellow Rice
Thursday 14th Chicken Thighs Green Beans Yellow Rice
Friday 15th Omelets Bamboo, Mushrooms
Saturday 16th Shrimp Fried Rice

Sunday 17th Pork Picnic Roast Green Beans Yellow Rice
Monday 18th Pork Picnic Roast (Leftovers) Frozen Veg Yellow Rice
Tuesday 19th Whole Chicken Green Beans Yellow Rice
Wednesday 20th Brisket Canned Spinach Yellow Rice
Thursday 21st Brisket Leftovers Green Beans Yellow Rice
Friday 22nd Chicken Thighs Green Beans Yellow Rice
Saturday 23rd Omelets Bamboo, Mushrooms
Sunday 24th Whole Chicken Green Beans Yellow Rice
Monday 25th Chicken Thighs Canned Corn Yellow Rice
Tuesday 26th Spaghetti with Sausage Green Beans
Wednesday 27th Sandwich Burrito
Thursday 28th Turkey Parts Fried Rice

Friday 29th Whole Chicken Green Beans Yellow Rice
Saturday 30th  Omelets Bamboo, Mushrooms
Sunday 31st  Chicken Thighs Green Beans Yellow Rice

All that yellow rice is my Puerto Rican heritage again.  Puerto Ricans love them some rice.  Our national dish is Arroz Con Pollo (chicken and rice).  I go pretty light with the rice.  Like two tablespoons per serving.  Carbs are so fattening.

The items for these meals, along with cat food, cat litter, toilet paper, trash bags, cottage cheese with fruit, and prunes for my mother, cost $131.06.

For snacks I went and stocked up on no so great food from the 99 Cent Only store.  I spent about $58 there to give me enough roasted almonds, dried seaweed, granola bars and...OKAY JUNKFOOD!  Cookies.  Airheads candies.  Dried mango.  Candied nuts.  Canned fruit.  I want to have everything salty, sweet, and fattening in the RV so I don't get desperate and drive 30 miles some where for ice cream.  Seriously, I've tried having nothing but healthy food available in the past and I always just end up going to a convenience store for my cravings.  My willpower sucks.

I bought all my meat in one go.  Then I pulled Houdini and crammed it all in the RV freezer. 

Eventually I took the picnic ham for Monday out of the freezer and left it in the fridge.  I also refilled two Sodastream tanks for $32 so I can have easier access to carbonated water (it absorbs better than still water, and I'm short on intestines).  

Well...that's all.  I am going to try to find fun stuff to do and nice people to interact with at the campgrounds for the rest of the month for my entertainment.  I'm officially too broke to party anymore.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

I was planning on doing nothing for a while since my entertainment budget was pretty much blown for the month and it was only the 7th.  However, Palm Springs (Palm Desert actually) is having a spat of unseasonably cold weather (75 Fahrenheit) so I took advantage of it.  We went to the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

Now on an unrelated note, I get my Internet through a Verizon hotspot since it can travel with me and has the best coverage.  My plan gives me 20gigs a month for $130.  That's expensive yo', but I can't be without Internet.  I'm able to keep it under 20gigs pretty easy.  This month though I saw I was already at 18.5 gigs and I had four days left!!  WTF?! 

Well, it was uploading the photos for this blog.  They were the camera default huge setting.  So I went into the camera menu and changed it to the smallest resolution.  That's what I used to take photos today.  -_-  Well that was a mistake because you can't see what it was that I was trying to take pictures of now.  Ugh.  I'll get it right next time.

The Palm Springs / Palm Desert area is so incredibly nice.  All the roads have beautifully manicured hedges and palm trees.  Everything looks immaculate.  And then you have these gorgeous layered mountains on all sides.  It's just so beautiful here.

On top of that the people are CRAZY FRIENDLY.  I've never experienced service workers acting so nice before.  They go the extra mile.  My mom's walker broke in the zoo and one of the shuttle drivers ziptied it for her!!  And then we went to a Walgreens to get her a new walker and the worker got it down for her and adjusted it until it was just right for her to try out.  This was a woman with a clipboard busy doing something else.  And she didn't act like it was a pain or try to blow us off.

I know that one should be able to expect great service, but after living in Las Vegas and Pahrump I just got used to shit service from people who hate their jobs.  Here people seem to like their jobs.  The ambiance is so much nicer.  Everything is beautiful here.  And it's not economically depressed.  People are not struggling or drug addicted.  There's plenty of opportunity here.  People are content and give off good vibes.

This zoo was a cut above what we have in or around Las Vegas.  They had a jaguar, bobcat, giraffe, and cheetah.  I got used to 'zoos' where all you'd see is goats and deer.  This was very impressive.  The whole place was immaculate.  The enclosures were top-notch.  Nothing smelled bad.

I had a great time walking around all day.  I loved the goat enclosure that you could go into and pet the goats.  Two workers were in there constantly sweeping up their poop.  Then I went into the Discovery building where I took the picture of the giant sloth.  When someone saw me taking a picture she came over and told me about different things.  @-@  How freaking nice!

People would start chatting with you so easily.  Even though they're generally wealthier on me I didn't feel snobbed.  People were eager to start conversations.  This was a lot of fun!

I could probably stay in Palm Springs/Desert area and be very happy here.  But why put up with an insufferably hot summer when my house has wheels?  I'm going to keep going north along the California shore, but next winter I'll be sure to book some time here.  It's just a great place.

You get an old Hollywood vibe here, and it's not just because one of the main roads is called 'Bob Hope.'  You can totally see the elder-friendly golf culture in this town.  We went to a fish and chips place for a cheap dinner and two very elderly couples also came in.  They were wearing upscale 'going out' clothes from the 50s.  It was cute!

I've never actually gotten to Palm Springs proper.  I guess I should probably check it out.  The budget is so blown though.  Geez.  I still need money for my boondock and my time in Acton.  I'm pretty sure Acton won't be as nice or convenient as this area.  We'll probably just buy groceries and stay in.

Okay, so that's it for this adventure.  I'm writing this in the Adult Lodge of the campground to save my Verizon gigs.  Some douche is blasting a video of a baby crying on his phone while another guy is watching sports loudly on TV.  The TV guy told the phone guy to turn his shit down but the guy answered, "I'm just watching a video of my kid," and didn't lower the sound.  I guess not everyone in this area is nice/considerate.  Meh.

I guess I'll try to find a quiet spot in this lodge to do some writing on the new story.  :/  I'm not to hopeful.  The facilities offered at these campgrounds are pretty shitty.  But it's cheap and in a great area, so it's all good.     

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Used the RV Oven

When I lived in a standalone house (a little over a month ago) I tended to bake a lot.  It was an easy way to cook chicken and make a good meal.  I was hesitant to continue this in the RV because 1.  Propane is expensive, and 2.  This ain't no self-cleaning oven, yo'. 

Well, I got that picnic ham and I decided to bake it instead of putting it in the slow cooker overnight.  The slow cooker is the more economical option since it runs on electricity that we don't have to pay for.  But the ham was defrosted this morning and I wanted it for lunch and dinner today.

 This is the 'ham' coated with Adobo.  That's my go to spice.  It makes great chicken and pork and doesn't have MSG.  It's something I inherited from my Puerto Rican mother.  This wouldn't have fit in the oven if I left the rack in so I put it right on top of the metal sheet thing that's screwed in there.  Is this okay?  I dunno.  But it seems to be cooking okay.

To light the oven you have to turn the oven knob to 'light pilot' and push it in.  Then reach your arm far into the oven and light the end of the little pilot tube.  Then you have to turn the nob toward the temperature you want to cook with and the burner flames will light up.  After that you can turned it back to 'light pilot' to leave the pilot on if you're going to bake some more, or just shut it all the way down and save your precious propane.

So, there you have it.  Baking a cheapie hunk of pork (probably not tecnically a ham, but a good hunk of meat nonetheless for $.99/pound at Staters) using the RV oven.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Hello From Palm Springs

Well, the adventure has officially begun and I'm keeping to my plan of living in Thousand Trails campgrounds as we travel around.  We're at our first stop right now.

I love how easy it is to park the trailer in the Thousand Trails campgrounds.  There always seems to be pull-through spots, which makes my life so much easier.  I parked right by the bathrooms/laundry for easy access for showers and laundry.

Although the huge campground is easy to maneuver my huge-ass RV in, it's not actually in Palm Springs, but in the Palm Desert in an area of vacant sand beside a busy highway and railroad and under a busy flight path.  Thousand Trails buys land cheap.  Any and all attractions require a drive, but it's not as long a drive as in its Menifee campground.  This area is a lot nicer than Temecula.

My main gripe with this campground is not Thousand Trails fault.  DON'T COME TO PALM SPRINGS IN MAY.  It's already way too hot to be here.  Everyone except for me seemed to know this because the campground is practically empty.  We get over 100 degrees every day and the AC in the RV is going almost constantly during the day. 

We're pretty much stuck in the tin-can unless we want a pricey excursion into the city--and every excursion is pricey here.  It's a very upscale 'old rich' area.  All the restaurants are trendy with gimmicks and hella expensive.  Grocery shopping was a mixed bag.  I was shocked at how cheap the meat was ($.99/lb for picnic ham) but equally dismayed at how expensive the vegetables were ($2.00 for a head of iceberg lettuce).  Thankfully my old standby is all over the place here:  99 Cent Only Store!  Yes, the blueberries were more than $.99 at $1.69, but that's still cheap for a pint of blueberries!  We stocked up on fruits, vegetables, and dehydrated seaweed (something really good for me since I'm vitamin deficient due to the lack of a large intestine and eating seaweed seems to help with a lot of skin problems I have).

Gas is a dollar more a gallon here than in Nevada.  $3.69 was the cheapest I found.  That's still okay for the California desert, sadly.  I've seen it go over $5.00/gallon.

My goal of losing weight at the Treasure Resort in Pahrump was a total bust.  I failed.  I'm still as fat as I was when I checked in.  I was too stressed with the house sale drama to lose weight.  I'm so dejected about that.  My mom and I agreed we'd continue our efforts.  So  we went to the fitness center here to keep up our daily exercise routine.

It was a tiny equipment room with cheapo Walmart machines that were falling apart.  The main weight machine had an 'Out of Order' sign on it. Besides that was just two stationary bikes and a treadmill that kept stopping and starting.  -_- Lame.  My backup is this stepper thing that I brought with me:

That's not exactly what I have but it's the same principle.  (If you can't see the picture above disable your ad blocker, it's an Amazon link).  I did it for 20 minutes with 3 pound weights and managed to get a good sweat, but it was tedious and difficult.  :/  I prefer to put on my skates and skate around at dusk when it cools down a little.  I skate while holding on to a three wheeled walker because I'm clumsy.

Even though I'm in a ritzy area, the fact is that I can still live cheap if I want to.  I got two weeks of RV parking for $18.  Yes.  $18.  With my Thousand Trails membership of $600/year the campgrounds only cost me $3/night.  The first 30 days are free, so I still had some free days to apply to this stay.  I don't have to pay for anything else.  No cost for trash, electricity, or water.

My budget is getting blown on food and outings, however.  After the long drive here I wanted a good dinner so we went to a seafood place and were gouged out the rear-end.  $75!!!  Aaaeeeiiii!  What was I thinking?  After that we knew to stick with Mexican food or cheap-ish cafes.  We've eaten out two more times since we got here and managed to keep each meal to under $40.  Yeah.  That's got to end.  We can't live the high life if we want to thrive for long.

So the fridge is stocked with food for the next two weeks.  We're going to be good and stop eating out.  Well--we probably will need to eat out a few more times, but we'll keep it cheap.

This is the first time we've camped since the house was sold.  My mother and I both had a panic attack the first night.  We have no safety net!  We need a place for this RV to live at all times!  It's our only home!  ::breathes into paper bag::  Before I always thought of my house in Pahrump, with all my furniture still there and the water and the electric still on.  It was always the place I could go back to if things didn't work out.  Now it's no longer my home and new people are living there.  Eeee!

Well, I think we'll be okay.  Even with all the eating out we're obsessive savers and both have healthy emergency funds.

Like I described in a prior post, Thousand Trails is 14 days in 7 days out.  The morning of May 15th I have to leave, and I can't go to another Thousand Trails campground for 7 days.  Right now I *think* we're going to boondock for 7 days.

Boondocking is looking to be a lot harder than I thought it would.  All the free camp sites seem to be for tents and cars only.  There's very few spots that seem appropriate for my giant beast of an RV.  I can't be driving down narrow roads or dirt roads.  I can't go too far off pavement.  I need big open level spaces.

My plan right now is this place:!7444&query=sitedetails  It's between here and my next Thousand Trails campground.  I hope it's not too hard to get into and that there's a place for me to put this big rig.  Also I hope it won't be too hot since we'll be living off solar and won't have AC.  Eee...I'm very nervous!!

I really want to boondock when I can because it will save me money, and that will give me more money to pay off the RV.  We lost all the proceeds from the house due to a nightmare I would rather not discuss.  It's my fault.  We were supposed to be debt free for this adventure, but still owe $30,000+ on the RV.

So I've made a plan to pay it off in 2 years.  I'm determined.  I've already sent the first fat payment this month.  If I can just accomplish this then we will be no worse off in two years and free to live as cheap as we can.

In July I have a lean month with low royalties from my writing.  I'm trying to recover this month by writing my new Aliens' Bride story.  I'm really working hard to make this an exceptional novel that will bring me a good income for May.  I hope its a big hit.  Here's a cover teaser: