A Very Tentative Summer Plan

March 4, Friday

It’s another sunny day here at Picketpost Mountain.

In the morning I work on the blog, then take a break around noon for lunch and to go for a walk. Sometimes I head west on ATV trails, sometimes I get on Happy Camp Road (no lie, that’s what Google Maps calls the spur road I’m on) and walk towards east towards the power lines and the construction. That’s the way I go on this particular walk.

I'm not sure if these Saguaro are going to be used as landscaping for the new road, or if they're for the arboretum

I’m not sure if these Saguaro are going to be used as landscaping for the new road, or if they’re for the arboretum

While no one else has stopped out here to camp, the ATVs still zip by on the spur road regularly. I figured there’d be little to no ATV traffic on the weekdays but I was mistaken, luckily I’m parked far enough back from the road that it doesn’t bother me and if you ever decide to come camp out here I’d recommend doing the same. Some of the traffic is also due to the road construction. White trucks with equipment loaded in the bed or in a trailer pulled behind are not uncommon.

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I could take a million photos of the mountain with different foregrounds and be tempted to put them all on here. I hope you all appreciate how much restraint I’ve shown but limiting it to just the best couple, it hasn’t been easy.

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After today’s blog post on the arboretum goes up and I spend an hour or so on comments and e-mails, it’s back out for another walk in the evening. This is how my days have been going out here. Two walks, a long lunch spent reading, and work on the computer in between. It’s a nice balance.

Taken from a hill above camp near sunset

Taken from a hill above camp near sunset

The sunsets here haven’t been as spectacular, which is why there have been fewer sunset photos. Tonight’s isn’t anything special either, but Tuesday’s wasn’t bad.

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March 5, Saturday

I went to my first renaissance faire in college and was hooked. I fulfilled a dream two springs ago when I was hired to perform at the Georgia Renaissance Festival, but I have another dream on my bucket list of seeing ren faires in as many states as possible. Today’s visit to the Arizona Renaissance Festival marks my ninth faire in eight different states.

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Besides Arizona and Georgia, the other faires I’ve been to are: Bristol (Wisconsin), Minnesota, Chippewa Falls (also Wisconsin, and now closed sadly), Carolina (which is in NC), Bay Area (Florida), Kansas City, and Sherwood (Texas).

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Today I was at the gates in time for opening. A lot of the performers and vendors follow the faire circuit from place to place, so despite this being my first time I knew several people here which is part of why I made the trip. It was cooler than it has been and clouds rolled in in the afternoon which made it a very pleasant day to spend outside. I said hi to everyone I knew, caught my favorite shows, and perused the shops (and didn’t buy anything!). By the time I got home I was losing my voice, which for me is always a sign that I had a great time at a faire – all that cheering and singing.

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March 6, Sunday

When I wake up bright and early at 7 I think about packing up and heading out today, but I’m just not feeling it. That system that started moving in yesterday afternoon is hanging around, the sky is overcast and west of here there are wind advisories, not a great day to be traveling.

Instead I take a long walk along the powerlines in the morning. Picketpost mountain looks a lot different in this lighting, mysterious and foreboding. The color is washed out of everything.

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I have Happy Camp Road all to myself. It’s still early for the ATVers, and their absence means more wildlife. Quail scurry between clumps of brush, and a flash of white signals a cottontail darting out of the way. To the north the Superstition Mountains run together in unbroken line.

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It would be easy to continue from this camp north into those mountains and beyond. Maybe stay near Theodore Roosevelt Lake for a while, see Sedona which always looks so beautiful in photos. Move from there into Utah. But no, I spent last summer in the Rockies and I did Utah the year before, I want to see the Sierras this summer.

But wait, where are you going to be working?

A lot of folks have been asking me that and I’ve been very reluctant to answer though I came to a decision last September. In short, I’m hoping to not work-camp this summer. I’m working hard on my writing (of which that article for Escapees magazine is a part) and am planning to go to Amazon a month earlier this fall, and I’m hoping those two things combined will make it possible.

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These next three pictures were taken on earlier days, Cas is hiding in this one.

The idea first started percolating in my head last summer when my parents told me they had a hotel reservation at Yellowstone the first week of August… but it was going to be this year, not last year when I was working there. My brother also took time off and was going to be joining them. The last time the four of us had a family vacation together was back when I was in high school, and I decided it’s something I wanted to be there for. Being a former employee, I have a potential “in” for a camping spot in the park and if not I know of free camping options not too far outside of it.

Maybe it won’t work out and I’ll have to find a job halfway through the summer, but that won’t be hard to do. In 2014 when I worked at the renaissance festival I didn’t line up my summer job ahead of time and waited until faire ended in mid-June to find a job for the rest of the season and it turned out fine – there are always people who quit mid-way through the summer for one reason or another and leave openings.

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It’s also possible I’ll get bored with boondocking or find a job I really want while I’m traveling which could change my plans. But for right now, I’m tentatively planning on heading west into California and when it warms up exploring the Sierras, then moving east towards Wyoming later in July so I can spend that first week in August with my family. Then I’ll take a month moving south through Colorado and northern New Mexico, and I’ll get to Texas in September for another busy fall with CamperForce.

If there’s something you think I should see along the way feel free to share. I will be on a tight budget (free boondocks wherever possible) and there’s a lot I won’t be able to get to, but I’ll keep track of the advice for future trips and other people who read this blog may find your tips useful!

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Goodbye Picketpost Mountain camp! I left here Monday morning (the 7th)

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57 Responses to A Very Tentative Summer Plan

  1. Linda Sand March 8, 2016 at 10:06 pm #

    We’ve been to the Minnesota RenFest several times. My favorite performer so far was Magical Mystical Michael but that may be because I come from a family of magicians and he was very good.

    • Becky March 9, 2016 at 9:40 am #

      I love Minnesota Linda, it might be my favorite of all the ones I’ve been to. I’ve never heard of Magical Mystical Michael, he might be a newer act since I left or maybe I just never got around to seeing him, it’s such a big fest!

  2. Ron March 8, 2016 at 10:15 pm #

    What a beautiful campsite. Good luck with your Summer plans. If in SW Colorado be sure to see Mesa Verde National Park and explore the Durango to Silverton area.

  3. John Bruce March 9, 2016 at 12:58 am #

    Here’s to hoping your writing pays off for you. It would be cool to see you going all over the place taking pictures and writing about it and making an income.

    • Becky March 9, 2016 at 9:42 am #

      Thanks John. Only way to know is to try. 🙂

  4. Dawn in MI March 9, 2016 at 5:15 am #

    Love the “taken from the hill above the camp” photo. Also love that you’re enjoying your time out there. The plan sounds fun, and what’s even better is that it will be fun no matter what you end up doing.

    I took a trip ‘out west’ to AZ and NM with my folks in 1989, after I’d been out on my own for a lot of years. It was great to reconnect. And I always tried to make it back to the family when we were all going to be together. Those are priceless experiences. I hope it all works out for you!

    PS: There’s a wonderful Ren Faire here…but it’s in Sept and I think you’ll already be in TX by then.

    • Becky March 9, 2016 at 9:45 am #

      Glad you enjoyed these pictures Dawn, it is a beautiful area and I enjoyed my 8 days here.

      I’ve driven through NM several times now without stopping to see anything, hopefully this summer when I come through I’ll have time to stop a little while. Seeing my family at Yellowstone will be great, crossing my fingers I can make it work.

      Yes I will, but I’ll keep that in mind for future reference!

  5. Beverly in CA March 9, 2016 at 6:27 am #

    Hi Becky,

    When is the sign ups for Amazon for people who haven’t worked there and do you recommend one location for anyone just starting out?

    • Becky March 9, 2016 at 9:47 am #

      Applications opened mid-February I believe Beverly, you can fill one out here: http://www.amazonfulfillmentcareers.com/opportunities/camper-force/

      I’ve only worked at the Haslet location of the places that are hiring this year, it has the nicest weather later in the season but Campbellsville in KY generally is considered the site that treats their campers best.

  6. Page March 9, 2016 at 6:34 am #

    Stop by the Yellowstone Park Service Station at Fishing Bridge. That’s where hub and I will be working this summer.

    • Becky March 9, 2016 at 9:49 am #

      I’ll keep that in mind Page, have a good summer!

  7. Jim@HiTek March 9, 2016 at 6:52 am #

    I’m still sticking it out here in Mesa because we’re still getting, as you know, coolish weather here. I’m actually running my electric heater this morning and it’s 48°F outside. And heading north? It’s only 22°F right now at 6AM in Flagstaff. Brrr.

    So smart move on your part to stay put for a while.

    Places to visit…may I suggest Aztec Ruins National Monument, Aztec, New Mexico? I can’t remember if overnight parking was allowed at the ruin or not but there’s a RV park within walking distance of this unique and interesting Pueblo Indian ruin.

    The RV park has either dry or full service camping sites. Your small rig might be allowed to park down by the river (dry camping). There are a couple picnic tables, a porta potty, and a couple bbqs for cooking. Really a interesting and unique place to visit where you can sit next to a river that hasn’t changed much in the last several thousand years and imagine the Pueblo people going about their daily chores right near where you’re sitting. Perhaps exactly where you’re sitting. Then walk up to the ancient ruins for another visit. Once isn’t enough. Biggest and best rebuilt kiva in North America.

    You’d also be very close to Canyon de Chelly National Monument. Another unique and interesting ruin…but you can’t walk through that one, just observe it from the canyon floor, still worth the visit. Link here: http://www.nps.gov/cach/index.htm

    The link to my website below will take you to the blog posting of my visit there with pics of the campground also. And an embedded link to the Forest Service web site for the nearby ruins.

    That entire area of the SW around Shiprock is a worthwhile destination for those interested in ancient American people or even dinosaurs.
    Jim@HiTek recently posted..FIRE! And other things…My Profile

  8. Joe March 9, 2016 at 7:00 am #

    As a back-up plan, you could always throw a dart at a map and go there……lol just kiddin!

    • Becky March 9, 2016 at 9:52 am #

      Maybe after I’ve won the lottery Joe, haha. Not that I play the lottery so it’s highly unlikely I’d ever win. 😉

  9. Rhonda March 9, 2016 at 7:41 am #

    “Tentative” is a wonderful way to plan which path to take in life, whether loosely plotting a trip to the grocery store or viewing possible destinations on a large scale map. Tentative gives us opportunity to move forward while allowing for fun and spontaneity while doing so. Thanks for sharing your sense of adventure with us…I enjoyed your worldview from Picketpost Mountain…:-)

    • Becky March 9, 2016 at 9:53 am #

      Glad you enjoyed this post Rhonda! It’s hard for people who are stationary to understand that most of a nomad’s travel plans are set in jello: wiggly and prone to change.

  10. Vincent March 9, 2016 at 8:12 am #

    Eastern California…start with Death Valley. there is boon docking in the park, and some excellent locations just to the east of the park, near Tecopa and Shoshone. Do not miss the China Date Farm, an amazing piece of history…also check out the hot springs, and they continue all the way to Reno.

    The go west to Highway 395. There is boon docking all along the eastern side of the Sierra. Notable spots include the Alabama Hills, where most westerns were filmed in the 1920’s through the 1980’s. From there go north and explore. Both Inyo and Mono counties have great boon docking.

    Further north is Bodie, a great ghost town and worth some exploration. It should be noted that there are ruins all around this area, and accessible from various roads outside of Bridgeport.

    I manage a great 10 site campground in that area and if you respond to me by e-mail (not on a public site) I will be happy to share much more info with you. Some place are not meant to be shared in public environments.

    • Becky March 9, 2016 at 9:55 am #

      Thanks for sharing Vincent, I’ll keep this in mind!

  11. patricia Leonhardt March 9, 2016 at 8:52 am #

    Hi Becky, I am an avid follower, but this is my first post. I went a few summers ago to my first Ren Fest , in Larkspur Colorado. It was wonderful.
    Just wanted to tell you about a favorite campsite I read about on RV Sue. It was on May 3, 2014 and she was in Lower Gray Canyon near Green River Utah. It was a free site with a river and a beach and about 10 miles north of Green River, so close for groceries etc. Have a great summer and I hope you find a lot of free places to stretch the $$$ Patti In Colorado.

    • Becky March 9, 2016 at 9:56 am #

      I’m happy you decided to come out of the woodwork and comment Patricia!

      Thanks for sharing and I’ll keep this in mind. I’ve heard about that fest in Colorado and it’s on my list for someday.

  12. Reine in Plano March 9, 2016 at 9:12 am #

    Since Amazon provides the most money in the shortest time going a month early sounds like a well thought out (if tiring) plan. Family time is priceless and something you’ll be really glad you did as the years go by – and family time at Yellowstone makes it even better.

    While you’re in California don’t miss Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Although not as famous as Yosemite, they are fascinating. In Colorado we really like Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

    Have fun and enjoy your summer.

    • Becky March 9, 2016 at 10:07 am #

      Thanks Reine. By December I’ll probably be regretting the decision to work so long at Amazon but we’ll see how it goes, haha.

      I’ve never been to Sequoia or Kings Canyon and I’m hoping to make it there. Doesn’t seem to be free camping real close by but I’ll figure something out. 🙂

      Thanks for the advice!

      • JimS March 12, 2016 at 9:39 pm #

        I second King’s Canyon, and Sequoia is a MUST. If you think the Redwoods are awesome, sequoias will blow you away. Lots of Colorado suggestions if you get this way.

        • Becky March 14, 2016 at 7:52 pm #

          Thanks for weighing in Jim. Colorado will be later in the year if it happens, I’ll keep you all posted of course.

  13. ghsebldr March 9, 2016 at 10:09 am #

    Having been to Sedona and loving the scenery I can only imagine how beautiful you would make it look in your pictures. That being said I doubt that there are very many boondocking sites in that area.
    Wherever you go we are sure to enjoy your blogs and pictures.
    Thanks for all the work you do to keep this blog going.

    • Becky March 9, 2016 at 10:26 am #

      There is free camping in the Sedona area, don’t know exactly where as I knew I wasn’t going to be going that way but I have several friends who’ve camped there.

      You’re welcome, and I’m glad you’ve enjoyed IO. 🙂

  14. Shelley March 9, 2016 at 12:15 pm #

    Becky, I’very recently started getting your posts and am enjoying them very much. Out of curiosity, what do you do to be secure when you’re boondocking in a remote spot?

    • Becky March 9, 2016 at 6:23 pm #

      It’s my opinion that remote spots are a lot safer than overnight parking in cities, the criminal element would have to drive a long ways from home to bother me and I haven’t had an issue yet. Most people who camp in the desert remotely do it for the same reason as me: because they want to be alone, not because they’re looking for victims. I do carry mace and bear spray with me, a heavy duty flashlight that could double as a bludgeon and the keyfob for my truck has a panic button that makes a ridiculous amount of noise.

      • Jim@HiTek March 9, 2016 at 7:11 pm #

        I’m glad someone asked that question because I was wondering the same thing. I like your attitude about it, sort of matches mine when I cruise around in dicey areas.

        Also, you might consider adding those newer wasp sprays. They will bring a person or bad dog down and they shot up to 27 feet. Good for areas where mace is illegal. I carry a can right above my RV door.
        Jim@HiTek recently posted..FIRE! And other things…My Profile

        • Becky March 10, 2016 at 6:07 pm #

          I’ve thought about it Jim, wasp spray (and bear spray for that matter) can both do permanent damage to a person though so I’m leery.

          • Jim@HiTek March 10, 2016 at 6:30 pm #

            Permanent damage? I thought they were just momentarily debilitating. Like for a few minutes.
            Jim@HiTek recently posted..FIRE! And other things…My Profile

          • Becky March 11, 2016 at 10:53 am #

            That’s what I’ve heard! Wasp spray has warning labels about eye damage and blindness, with bear spray it’s more respiratory.

  15. Linda March 9, 2016 at 3:24 pm #

    Be sure and ask Nina and Paul from Wheeling It about the eastern side of the Sierras. They have boon docked that area a lot.
    All the best to you Becky!
    Linda

    • Becky March 9, 2016 at 6:23 pm #

      Yes Linda I’ve peered at their blog for ideas, they’re boondocking masters. 🙂 Thanks!

      • Theresa March 11, 2016 at 7:49 pm #

        Hello, I want to go rving, I’ve bought a 27ft trailer, now have to get a truck, then off I go. I’m a solo women and my friends and family keep saying watch out for wild and and snakes.
        Any advice?

        • Becky March 12, 2016 at 8:35 am #

          Congratulations Theresa you must be very excited to get started!

          If you go to the “Useful Stuff” tab at the top of my blog you’ll find links to the most helpful articles I’ve written about full-timing: http://www.interstellarorchard.com/useful-stuff/

  16. David March 9, 2016 at 6:08 pm #

    Becky,
    I see you keep active by doing a lot of hiking, but what do full time RVers do for aerobic exercise or strength training while out on the road. I know most RV parks have some exercise equipment, but I have yet to spy an elliptical in any of your boon docking photos. Just wondering.

    • Becky March 9, 2016 at 6:26 pm #

      I don’t do those kinds of exercises David, just hiking and jogging. There’s a “body weight” strength training thing that is popular right now, and you don’t need any equipment for it. Here’s an example of an article about it but if you Google “body weight strength training” you’ll find a lot more. http://greatist.com/fitness/50-bodyweight-exercises-you-can-do-anywhere

  17. Bob Wells March 10, 2016 at 12:11 am #

    Becky, Mid-April I’ll probably be going to the Alabama Hills (near Lone Pine, CA) which is on the Eastern slope of the Sierras, just below Mt Whitney, tallest mountain in the lower 48. Then I’ll drive up 395 which I think is one of the very best drives in the country, then probably around to Yosemite in May which is a GREAT time to be there–no crowds, trees are blooming and the waterfalls are at their best.

    You’d be welcome to join me!
    Bob

    • Becky March 10, 2016 at 5:57 pm #

      Thanks Bob! We’ll see how the next month goes. 🙂

  18. Kit March 10, 2016 at 11:59 am #

    I don’t know what direction you’re going, but if you stop near Tucson you’ve gotta visit Catalina State Park. There is camping for as little as $15/night, with nice restrooms (showers and flush toilets). I have the annual pass there, and picnic there at least once a week. The scenery never gets old, I think it’s the most beautiful place on earth. Well, except for Big Sur, California and China Cove, California. For free “camping” in Tucson, at just about every Walmart parking lot you’ll find several RV’s, from giant buses to little trucks, and all sorts of trailers, every night. The Walmart at Cortaro/ I-10 is popular with campers, as well as the Walmart at Ajo/ I-10. There are also “campers” that stay around town at some of the Park-N-Ride lots.

    • Becky March 10, 2016 at 6:02 pm #

      Nope heading away from Tucson Kit, but thanks for the advice anyway, it may help another reader!

  19. Jodee Gravel March 10, 2016 at 5:13 pm #

    Lovely photos of that area – Cas looks pretty happy there! The Sierras can be very warm in the mid to late summer months, so camping without hookups might be pretty uncomfortable. I’d get there before Memorial Day for better temps and less crowds. Taos, NM is high elevation and incredibly beautiful – a lot of reservation land so boondocking may be limited – still, there are several National Forests to check out. Yes on Durango and Silverton – we’ll be there this summer too :-)))) Have fun!!!
    Jodee Gravel recently posted..Loving Santa FeMy Profile

    • Becky March 10, 2016 at 6:04 pm #

      Thanks for the advice Jodee, Have a good summer!

  20. Jan Denney March 11, 2016 at 4:35 pm #

    Becky, if you ever get the opportunity to visit or work at the Scarborough Renaissance Festival in Waxahachie, TX, it is awesome. Best of everything to you in work and travels.

    • Becky March 12, 2016 at 8:25 am #

      You’re not the only one who’s told me it’s worth a visit Jan, it’s on the list. Thanks. 🙂

  21. chuck March 11, 2016 at 8:15 pm #

    Becky
    dont know which renaissiance festival you were at in Texas but we live 2 miles behind
    the one in Todd Mission, Tx…..
    if you ever make it back down here for that one you are welcome to park your rig
    here at the house where we have 5 acres wooded…..you can hook up water and power
    if you need it…..
    really enjoy your blog…..
    chuck

    • Becky March 12, 2016 at 8:30 am #

      Thanks for the offer Chuck. That’s the Texas Renaissance Festival, one of the largest in the country.

      • chuck March 12, 2016 at 9:07 am #

        yes it is….8 weekends in October and November we fight traffic on weekends….usually 500,000 attend each weekend………King George
        is getting richer….

  22. Kevin March 13, 2016 at 7:33 pm #

    Just wanted to leave a quick note to let you know that I found you on YouTube via Technomadia interview. Spent some time reading your site and am inspired. I bought my first travel trailer last week. I am considering going full-time as my job lets me work remote. (I.T.). My divorce was final about a year ago and no kids, so I am so tempted to jump in with both feet. I am pretty adventurous, but i have to admit leaving the ‘security’ of my house and possessions is scary. So i plan on doing some short multi-week trips to far off destinations to see if I can handle the lifestyle.
    I know you are on a budget, so I figured I would leave you a link for some free music to listen to. I heard this guy the other night at a local place and was really impressed.
    Just paying it forward;
    http://dannywhitecotton.com/music/
    Enjoy – and look forward to reading your future posts.

    • Becky March 14, 2016 at 7:50 pm #

      Welcome to IO Kevin, hope you enjoy your time here!

      Starting with smaller trips is a great way to get use to RVing and should help you decide if it’s something you want to pursue full-time. I wish you the best of luck either way.

      Thanks for the link, I’m also on limited data so I can’t stream right now, but next time I have access to free WiFi I’ll check it out. 🙂

  23. Brittany Highland March 17, 2016 at 3:50 pm #

    Hi there! New follower of your blog, after finding you through Escapees Mag. We love Sherwood Forest Faire! But we haven’t been to nearly as many ren faires as you. How does Sherwood compare?

    • Becky March 17, 2016 at 8:37 pm #

      Heya Brittany! I’m familiar with you two from the blogosphere, hope you and Eric are well.

      The weekend I went to Sherwood was cold and rainy, but I still had a good time. I loved the fact that there was RV camping right at the faire for only $10, what a deal! I’m a big fan of jousting and the full-contact tournament the weekend I went was amazing. Here’s the post I wrote on it: http://www.interstellarorchard.com/2015/03/03/an-unusual-spectator-sport/

      Overall, I rate it quite highly. 🙂

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