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Ron and Judie Walker are fairly new full-timers and their excitement and awe comes throught in their writings.  The summer of 1998 they traveled to Alaska and I wish I had saved some of their well written reports of that trip. This one will make you want to hurry up and join us all on the road.
Thoughts on boondocking in the Arizona desert
by Ron & Judie Walker







Life is full of new discoveries. Our latest is the joy of boondocking, that is, living out in the boondocks away from the crowded RV parks, noisy traffic, city lights and hookups. We've traded it all for peaceful solitude or the company of others with similar interests. 

Picture us sitting beside a smoldering campfire gazing through a telescope at more stars than we've ever seen before. Our nearest neighbor is another RVer a mile away. The only sounds we've heard are the coyotes who've been serenading us from the distant mountains. There goes a meteorite! They sure seem brighter out here. Hey, look! It's a satellite tracking steadily across the sky. We never knew you could see them without binoculars. We study Saturn's moons and rings a little longer, then call it a night. 

We're up before 6:00AM and out the door for our morning walk. We'll hold it to three or four miles this morning. Yesterday we kept a brisk pace to the foothills, then carefully climbed some steeper trails. It was invigorating and we were rewarded with a terrific view of the entire valley 
including the dry lake in the distance. 

The distance to the lakebed we visited two days ago was almost five miles! It was our first hike. We vowed not to overdo it, but it looked so close. Walking was easy on the level baked mud surface, so we continued to an abandoned park service building in the center of the lake. It was fun 
exploring, but then it hit us. We've got to walk all the way back to the trailer! And it's all uphill! Just then a pickup truck came racing out of nowhere and disappeared in a cloud of dust. We looked at each other and said in unison, "He could have picked us up!" The long walk back was made 
even longer by the armload of firewood we couldn't resist gathering. We manage to pay a price for the lessons we learn. 

At church, another couple commented on our RV and suggested we join them at a boondocker rally a few miles away. You can throw out all your old memories of eating burned hotdogs and tent camping. These folks have self-contained living down to a science! The RV's range from huge motor homes to pickup truck campers, but nearly all have solar panels to silently generate electricity. Each has an energy efficient propane heating and cooking system, and all have holding tanks for fresh and waste water. Like ours, most of the larger rigs have inverters to power all the AC appliances from batteries. Four o'clock happy hour discussions frequently center around electronic gadgets that improve the quality of life. One is far more likely to hear a conversation about using a laptop computer to get email on the road than a comparison of marshmallow roasting techniques. Some rigs carry twin all-terrain vehicles (ATV's), many have motorcycles or boats, 
one has a powered parachute and nearly all have satellite dish antennas. Wide-bodied RV's with slide-outs provide comfort for the most serious TV addict while others get out and live life to the fullest. 

The main problem with this group of boondockers is that the only thing they enjoy more than socializing is eating. Potluck dinners produce delicious food enough to feed three times the number of diners present. We recently had an Italian night, a chili night, hobo stew, a potato bake and 
eggs in a bag. Who would have thought that delicious omelets could be made by simply breaking a couple eggs into a freezer bag, adding your favorite ingredients (ham, bacon, onions, cheese, peppers, etc.) and dropping the bag into a kettle of boiling water? Add cowboy coffee, a jacket fire from standing too close, hungry folks from 65 RV's and you have breakfast memories that will last a lifetime. Of course, all this socializing and eating has its price. One must return to solitude, exercise and starvation to try to get back to a normal waistline. 

Our day-to-day problems may be a little unusual, but they persist like everyone else's. The new water purification system overfilled the holding tanks and drowned the vacuum cleaner that was temporarily stored in the shower. Christmas gifts are still catching up with us. Since haircuts are 
always by a new barber or hairdresser, the results are always exciting. The computer modem died, putting a sudden but temporary end to our email. We were hustled out of Wal-Mart because of a bomb threat. We startled the steers we came upon in an open desert wash and they scared the fool out of us. We took a CPR class, but the victim expired anyhow. We tried to break the bank at Laughlin, Nevada, but were lucky to escape with our shirts. We took hearing tests and this time Judie flunked worse than Ron did. 

Kay Peterson, founder of the Escapees RV Club, described our feelings well when she said, "In the distance, the mountain is silhouetted against the brilliant orange-red sunset that is so spectacular in the Arizona desert. It reminds me that 'I still have rivers to cross and mountains to climb' and the call of the open road is beckoning. I am getting anxious to pack away the lawn chairs, dig out the map, and make a pot of coffee 'for the road.' 

Turning back to the camp, I see pinpoints of light dotting the RVs.  I shall miss these good friends.... 

'See you in the morning!'  someone calls, and the closing of the door is an exclamation mark to the sights and sounds of nesting.  Inky blackness descends as quickly as the drawing of a window shade.... 

Most of us have spent the first fifty years of our lives doing what someone else thinks we should do. What a relief it is to be free now of the duty to be what we have always been, and to do what we have always done. Whatever time there is left of the next fifty years should belong to YOU to spend as you please until the window shade of life is drawn for the last time." 

We couldn't have said it better. 'Catch 'ya later somewhere down the road.