Month: March 2015

My current camp in the Prescott NF looking toward the north. You can barely see Steve's camp on the left.

My current camp in the Prescott NF looking toward the north. You can barely see Steve’s camp on the left.

In today’s post I want to tell you about our new camp in the Prescott NF and invite you all to join us here if you are nearby. Like I’ve been telling you, the desert around our Ehrenberg camp had gotten much too hot for me to be able to stay there–I don’t cope well with heat. And having settled on a tentative plan  for the summer I knew which way to move that was along the right course. Flagstaff, AZ has become my normal jumping off point in the spring because at 7000 feet it’s high enough to be nice and cool. It’s also a straight shot to go Northeast into the Colorado Rockies or North into the beautiful National Parks of Utah. Beyond that, it’s one of my favorite  places in the country! The last two summers I put my trailer into storage at the same place in Flagstaff and will do so again this year. However it’s still in the 50s during the day and 20s at night and that’s just too cold for me. That means we need an in-between spot. Last year I went to Cottonwood which is at 3000 feet, but the Rangers there are very strict and really soon after we arrived it got too hot so it really wasn’t a good choice.

Steve and Zeke in their camp. You can see his TV antenna; he gets 24 stations with it in the middle of nowhere!

Steve and Zeke in their camp. You can see his TV antenna; he gets 24 stations with it in the middle of nowhere!

So this year my old friend Steve and I went back to a camp we were at in 2013 and knew we liked. At 5100 feet it’s 2000 feet above Cottonwood and 2000 feet below Flagstaff, so like Goldilocks and the three bears, that means it’s just right! We can stay here for 4-6 weeks and by then it will be getting hot and Flagstaff will be the perfect temperature. You can read my review of this camp in my post from 2013: https://www.cheaprvliving.com/blog/review-of-the-prescott-camp/

Because I’ve already written a review, I’ll just give you the high and low lights of this camp:

Pros:

  • At 5100 feet the elevation is perfect for great in-between temperatures, not too hot, not too cold.
  • Because it’s high enough to be green with Juniper trees and their are low mountains around it, it’s a fairly pretty camp.
  • With my cell amplifier and antenna I get a good Verizon 4g cell signal. On the other hand, my friend Al was here and got no signal at all and so only stayed overnight and hen left. I highly recommend the Wilson Sleek cell amplifier. You can get it from Amazon here: Wilson Sleek 4g/3g Cell Phone Booster Kit
  • Gas is surprisingly cheap. It’s less here than the last time I gassed in Phoenix and it’s been going up, not down. It’s $2.29 in Chino Valley.
  • It’s isolated, there is no one anywhere near us. There is also very little traffic because the road is rough. For me, that’s a plus, but I know for some people being this isolated is a negative.
  • For the most part it’s very quiet. We’re far enough away from Highway 89 to almost never hear it.
  • It has very good over-the-air TV. Steve gets 24 channels, including all the major broadcast stations. Get his antenna from Amazon here: Antennas Direct ClearStream Long Range UHF/VHF Antenna

Cons:

  • Shopping is far away. The nearest grocery store is a Safeway in Chino Valley and it’s 20 miles away. On the plus side Prescott, AZ is only 35 miles away and it has everything you could want including a Walmart and Costco.
  • The road in is a little rough, and with enough rain will be impassable. Some friends came by and thought it was too rough for their Class C RV.
  • I can’t make a phone call with my Verizon Smartphone and without an amplifier it has poor internet. Oddly, my friend Suanne has  T-Mobile phone and she can make calls no problem; usually Verizon is best, but not always.
  • If you like people around, you will probably find it too remote.
Suanne's camp tucked under a tree. She lives very simply, but she also averages 45 mpg!!

Suanne’s camp tucked under a tree. She lives very simply, but she also averages 45 mpg with her Prius!!

If you are Nearby, Drop-in to See Us! 

There are three of us here now, Suanne who travels extensively in her Prius, Steve who I’ve been traveling with for the last three years, and myself. My girlfriend Judy isn’t here because she has family obligations this summer back on the East coast. She wants to spend some time with her elderly mother and her daughter is expecting a third child later in the summer. Normally we travel together but this summer we are on our own.

Some people worry that if they become a nomad they’ll be lonely and won’t have friends, but for me it has been just the opposite! I’ve made more deep friendships since I became a “hermit” than I ever had while I was living in a city in a house! In fact Judy and I are rarely alone; usually someone is dropping in to stay for a day or two  or sometimes for weeks and even months! And that’s just fine with me, the more the better! Steve and Suanne are perfect examples.

One thing we do often is have meals together. In this case I made a meat loaf in my Sun Oven.

One thing we do often is have meals together. In this case I made a meat loaf in my Sun Oven.

I met Suanne  five years ago in April, 2010 in my Pahrump, NV camp. There were about 15 of us there in an informal gathering (it was the precursor to the RTR, which started the following year). I had posted that all were welcome so Suanne dropped by on her 6 month, 30,000 mile road-trip across the country and Canada in her Prius. I can’t tell you how impressed I was that anyone could live for that long in a tiny car like a Prius! She showed us exactly how she did it and we were all amazed by her creativity and use of such minuscule space. In the years since then our paths have crossed many times as she continued taking long trips all over the country. Up until this year she has been a traveler only taking long distance trips but for this winter she decided to be a snowbird and stay in one spot so I’ve had the good fortune to spend time with her and get to know her better. That’s the BEST part of being a vandweller. Check out her blog here:  http://suanneonline.blogspot.com/

The meat loaf cooking in the Sun Oven.

The meat loaf cooking in the Sun Oven.

I first met Steve in fall of 2012 when he came to see me in the campground where I was hosting in the Sierras. It was October and he was just beginning his new life as a boondocker. We’ve been camping together on and off ever since and shared dozens of camps all over the country. In a very real sense we’ve become like brothers.

There are dozens of other people in my life just like them. But that’s not what I’m happiest about. Right now there are hundreds of other people who have formed just as deep a bonds by meeting through the RTR and camps I’ve opened up. I can’t possibly be close to all of them but I don’t need to be, they have each other.

It was delicious, even if I say so myself!

It was delicious, even if I say so myself!

The reason I say that is to encourage all of you to get out to the RTR if you possibly can and also to join my forum and make connections. My camp is open to all of you to drop in! Hopefully you can meet like-minded people and make your own deep connections. In the summer we scatter to the wind so the opportunity to gather decreases, but next fall and winter we’ll gather together again so plan to come join us in my camp before the RTR and after. You’ll make you own friends and go off and make your own camps filled with your friends where more people can join you and see their dreams come true.

You can start today by joining me in this camp. The only thing we re missing is you! Here’s a map. See you soon!

The great thing about the West is you can get such dramatic differences in weather in very short distances.  In this case, by moving a mere 250 miles, it's 20 degrees cooler. In 6 weeks it'll be too hot there, but I can move another 60 miles to Flagstaff and it'll drop another 10 degrees.

The great thing about the West is you can get such dramatic differences in weather in very short distances. In this case, by moving a mere 250 miles, it’s 20 degrees cooler. In 6 weeks it’ll be too hot there, but I can move another 60 miles to Flagstaff and it’ll drop another 10 degrees.

Map-Pescott-camp-001