Bradley, CA

When my grandfather, Archie, died my parents moved my grandmother into their home, thinking she probably wasn’t long for this world either. No one expected she’d live another 26 years, dying just one month shy of her 99th birthday! Nellie Bell is survived by her son and his wife, 3 grandchildren, 5 great-grandchildren, and 3 great-great grandchildren. Her legacy will continue with each of us, who will remember her stories, her sass, and all the moments from these extra years we got to spend together. She is loved and missed, what a lady!

In February my family gathered to spread her ashes in the river of the small town where she used to live in Bradley CA, near Paso Robles. It was a weekend filled with memories, comparing what’s changed with what’s remained since we were last here together over 20 years ago. The population has increased by 50, a couple shops were converted to apartments, the statue outside the church has been painted, there’s new playground equipment at the K-8 school, and the river has less brush and more rocks. But otherwise, it’s about the same as it’s ever been. Farewell Nellie Bell, thanks for bringing us here again, hope you find your Archie!

Las Vegas, NV

We went to an LTV rally in Vegas - 85 of our brand of RV all gathered together to learn from each other and have fun! We were inspired by some of the other rigs and modifications we saw and can’t wait to implement some of them ourselves. We did a Paint & Sip event, and even though Caryn minored in art in college, Beau is definitely a better painter 👨‍🎨👩‍🎨 We met some wonderful people and had a great time, and for the first time we weren’t the youngest ones there 🤣

Searchlight, NV

Wee Thump Joshua Tree Wilderness, our one night stopover on the way to Vegas with some of the tallest Joshua Trees I’ve seen!

January Recap

January was filled to the brim! We traveled more than 1,500 miles, bringing our total since buying the RV to over 27,000 miles! We saw some long-time friends and made a few new ones at various rallies we attended. We had our whole electrical system upgraded, which has given us a lot of peace of mind. And we visited some of our favorite places, including Organ Pipe and Whitewater Draw. February promises to be a busy month too as we gather with friends and family in Nevada and SoCal, and start preparing to head north again.

Quartzsite, AZ

We spent the next 11 days in Quartzsite, AZ - a small town thousands of RVers flock to in January, just a few miles from the CA border. Aside from generally good winter weather, RVers come for the free camping on BLM land, various rallies, and the big tent event - part RV show, part county fair without the rides. This is the second year we’ve gone, but our first time at the tent. We met up with 9 fellow LTV owners AND went to Quartzfest - a ham radio gathering with more than 500 attendees! This was also our longest stretch of boondocking since we bought our rig, thanks to all our recent electrical upgrades it went very smoothly!

Chiricahua National Monument

We checked off another NPS site while we were in the area, Chiricahua National Monument, in Willcox, AZ! Unfortunately we’re a foot longer than is recommended on the scenic drive, which we MIGHT have done anyway if we weren’t low on time, and the rangers reported snow further up the route. So we mostly just saw the visitor center and some scenery along the way.

It was an interesting weather day, with a haboob (sandstorm), and rain that didn’t stop. We headed for Tucson as a stop over for a couple days and got to meet up with a colleague that also works remotely!

McNeal, AZ

Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area in McNeal, AZ, where the sandhill cranes roost in the winter. We also saw black phoebe, snow geese, tundra swans, ladder-backed woodpeckers, cardinals, several duck and hawk varieties, and heard some owls. Never imagined myself as a birder, but this place is incredible!

You can overnight in the loop and there’s overflow camping down the road if the loop is full, best to come at sunrise and sunset between December and March, maybe avoid Saturdays if you want fewer humans. It’s very near Tombstone and Bisbee if you’re heading that way.

This is our third visit to Whitewater Draw, last time we learned not to come before December (the mosquitos outnumber the birds), this time we realized that we keep coming back chasing a repeat of our first experience, which was incredible. I think whenever we’re in the area we’ll just always stop by. Even if it’s not the same as that first time, it’s still pretty amazing.

Pinal, AZ

While staying at Picacho Peak State Park we saw so many LTV’s (our brand of RV)! We had great weather and sunsets while we were there, just be sure to fill up your water tanks before you arrive. As of January 2023 the park did not have fresh water available, so we were sure to fill up before leaving Organ Pipe.

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, where the sunsets never disappoint! It was the first National Park we visited together, and this was our third visit in a year ❤️

Last time we were here (December 2022), our batteries weren’t charging, so we stayed less than 12 hours and headed to our next destination early so we could plug in. The day after we left our inverter died ☠️

This time we went immediately after getting our solar and electrical systems upgraded and it went perfectly!! We are sooo happy!

Electrical Upgrades

Time for some upgrades! We lost one of our solar panels to high winds in Texas early in 2022 and fried our inverter at the end of the year, severely limiting our ability to disconnect. Looking forward to these much needed changes and grateful we could get on their schedule with just a couple week’s notice!

A keen observer may also note that we got a new bike rack, selling our old one to a lovely couple just before leaving California last week. The old one was challenging with our big bikes and we wound up rarely using them, hoping this new setup will be a bit more manageable for us.