Storm Chases me Out of Oregon to Pahrump

I took this photo in Pahrump in 2008, my first year of boondocking in the Lower 48 States.

I took this photo in Pahrump in 2008, my first year of boondocking in the Lower 48 States. I instantly fell in love with Pahrump and have returned many times since then. (I have such fond memories of living in my old F150 4×4 truck, I plan to sell my van and move into a truck this winter.)

I’m typing this from beautiful, sunny Pahrump Nevada. As you may know, I’ve spent my summer in Oregon and had planned to stay there until Thanksgiving for a family reunion. But you also probably have heard, a big storm hit the Pacific Northwest and brought a ton of rain, wind and cold with it. I had already been camped in rain and cold for over a week, so I couldn’t stand the prospect of more!!  So being the dedicated Snowbird I am, I headed south.

Having lived for over 40 years in Alaska I’ve had a lifetime supply of cold, dark and dreary–no more for me! I really had thought I could spend fall and part of winter in eastern Oregon and stay comfortable and warm but I discovered that was not true. I had just driven through it and found almost no Verizon internet connection anywhere. Because that’s essential for me I knew I couldn’t stay there.

I also found that it was much colder than I had expected. Worse, these big storms that brought huge amounts of rain covered the entire State, including Eastern Oregon. All in all Oregon was simply not a place I wanted to be past the beginning of October. Summer’s great, fall not so much!!

While I’ve loved my time in Oregon, and I still had a month left till Thanksgiving and my family reunion in Medford, my hopes of staying there until then were dashed!! So I chickened out and ran away.

We discussed at length where to go and one of my favorite places is Pahrump Nevada. It’s a great little town that I love and is pleasant this time of the year–not too hot or too cold. It’s large enough to have everything I could need and best of all I can camp within 4 miles of a Walmart–something I hadn’t done all summer. As you can see from the pictures I’ve spent a lot of time here and I really love it.

I took this photo in Pahrump in April of 2011 when the spring bloom was on. Pahrump can be very pretty in the spring!

I took this photo in Pahrump in April of 2011 when the spring bloom was on. Pahrump can be very pretty in the spring!

The only drawback to going to Pahrump was it’s distance from Medford where the family reunion would be at Thanksgiving.  I had to drive back there in November so the further I drove away the more gas I burned and money I wasted. But I was sick of the rain, cold and dreary weather and my solar was not keeping up, if I stayed much longer my batteries were going to be damaged. I literally needed sun and Pahrump was the very best place to go and find it!

By now I was really sick of driving. At the end of September my son had come to visit us at Salt Lake City so I had driven 2500 miles round-trip from Joseph Oregon to Zion and Bryce National Park and then back to Joseph, Oregon. And here I was a week later driving another thousand miles south to Pahrump Nevada.

In total I’ve driven almost 4,000 miles in about 3 weeks. For most people that would not be a great amount (and when I was younger, would not have been for me either) but it’s a lot for me now. I’m not a big long-distance driver anymore. It’s hard on me, it’s hard on my van, and it’s hard on Cody. I’d much rather move slowly and enjoy my trip then constantly rush, rush, rush to get somewhere.

But this had to be done to maintain my sanity and my batteries in this terrible weather. So I put on my big-girl panties and drove 1000 miles to Pahrump.


I drove on 20 from Sisters Oregon to Bend to Burns and then straight down 95 to Winnemucca Nevada. Then I drove straight down the middle of Nevada on 305, 376 and 95 to Pahrump. It’s all high desert and mostly just plain and unattractive. But some of it is amazingly beautiful–especially the area on 50 at Austin, NV! The desert became more attractive the further south I drove. I was reminded all over again how much I love the desert! Every Spring I’m tired of it and need to get back into the mountains but every fall when I go home I’m delighted to be back to my beloved desert.

Like nearly all deserts everywhere, Pahrump has many spectacular sunrises and sunsets. That’s one reason I’ve fallen so deeply in love with the desert. To be happy, I have to spend time in the mountains every summer, but when fall arrives, I need to return to my beloved desert! My heart sings whenever I get there! Photo taken in April, 2016

Fortunately there were others already waiting here for me. I’m now camped with four other van dwellers from the tribe and I’m enjoying the company, the Sunshine and the warmth. My batteries are also much happier now!

In this photo you can see how close we camp to town. My van is slightly to the right of dead center. Photo taken in April, 2016.

Another reason I wanted to return to Pahrump is because it’s my home base. I have Obamacare health insurance and it’s based in Nevada. I have a doctor here in Pahrump and therefore intend to pass through here every year for an annual checkup. I had  already made an appointment with him for October 21st. So if I had followed my original plans and stayed in Oregon until December I would have needed to reschedul it. That’s difficult to do when you’re a new patient, they require several months notice. I’m glad to be able to keep my appointment with my doctor.

Some of you are probably thinking to yourself “Wait a minute, we never finished with his Oregon travels!” Sorry about that, but they will just be delayed, I will still get back to them. It was a priority to let you know where I am so that if you want to come by and camp with me, you can.

Every spring Pahrump is alive with wildlife! Wild horses come down from the mountains, jackrabbits are everywhere and you see many Desert Tortoise. I took this photo in April, 2011.

Every spring Pahrump comes alive with wildlife! Wild horses come down from the mountains, jackrabbits are everywhere and you see many Desert Tortoise. I took this photo in April, 2011.

Sadly, Caroline is not here, she had planned all along to return to San Francisco to sell her car which is in storage there. So now is the perfect time to do that before going to Medford for Thanksgiving. Once she sells it, we’ll meet somewhere in the middle, we’re thinking of Bishop California on 395. We both love 395 which is always one of the most beautiful drives in the country and is sheltered from most of the rains by the Sierra mountains.

Being on the East side of the Sierras, Bishop California has always been one of my favorite places and fall is a truly a beautiful time to visit, especially with fresh snow on the mountains, plus, you can drive right up into the High Country and see yellows on the trees. We’re both looking forward to it.

So there you have it, I’m in Pahrump Nevada and you’re welcome to join me here! As the winter goes on I’ll keep posting about my campsites in Oregon so you’ll know where to camp and visit in Oregon.

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Posted in Boondocking, My Daily Life, Oregon, Travel

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