Friday, January 31, 2014


Windy as all get-out here today, but the clouds are beautiful: puffy and white; huge and heavy with darkness; striated and shifting; every shape you can imagine. We stayed in mostly, but popped outside briefly to add water to our fresh water tank. We purchased a 6-gallon water container, to see if we can extend the time before we need to leave the site to get water. If we can "buy" even a day, that makes a difference when we're boondocking.

We don't see very many birds out here; they gravitate to the areas where water and foliage are more abundant (like the campground!). But this morning I saw one perched on a creosote bush right outside the Chinook, so I tried to snap a photo through the screen. It looks as if the bird is in snow, but that's just the white sand, the door screen diffusion, and the morning light.

Thursday, January 30, 2014


History is all well and good, but we're here for the pie. We can't be at Borrego Springs long before the siren-song of Julian and its apple pies draws us in. This morning we got an early start, and after a lovely chat with some fellow Chinook pilots (who blog at Chinookers Journey, we headed up over Yaqui Pass to Pie Paradise. We bought an Apple Pie, an Apple-Peach Pie, some apple nut bread, some multi-grain asiago crostini, and a couple of slices of Apple-Caramel Pie with 2 cups of coffee. Ate the slices, drank the coffee, and headed back to find very windy conditions (again!) and our box of recyclables and its contents "strewn about the place"! Exercise for the day was collecting all the widespread cans and plastic bottles; lesson for the day was "secure all the stuff before leaving your site"!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


Today we took the jeep out for a spin across the desert. We went out Rockhouse Rd. toward Rockhouse Canyon, where there is/was a desert spring and a site of ruins. We didn't find either, but it was a fun trip anyway! We drove out about 9 miles, until the road got a little too rough for the Wrangler. I guess we should have got a Rubicon! Then we hiked for a couple of hours, and came very close to where the spring was supposed to be. But I was tired (and feared that we would be gone past "wine time"), so we headed back.

Here's a little flower I spotted, amongst a somewhat scattered group of flowering plants
Here's the group, of which the above photo is the foremost plant here
And here is the group, in context. These plants live and flower at the base of this sandy cliff, several stories high
A bee and a bug having lunch
Seed pods that reminded me of green beans

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


I took a photo of the sunset (below), but even as I type, the vista is getting more and more beautiful! Wish you were here! Gotta go now!
This was pretty, but you oughta see the sky now! It's like a Monet...
Okay, here's what it looked like a few minutes later:
It doesn't get much better than this...
The orangey-red colors spanned across 360 degrees! Every direction had a gorgeous cloud and color combination! Gotta go now - it's getting chilly out here!

Monday, January 27, 2014


One of my favorite things is hearing the wind blow: through pine trees, down canyons, or across the desert. Last night the winds were high here, and I enjoyed hearing it rustle our blinds and feeling it rock the Chinook in the darkness. When we arose, however, I looked out the window for our rug, camp chairs, and camp table, and, to put it simply, they weren't where we left them.

The Before photo:
This is a re-enactment. But this is basically what our set-up looked like when we went to bed (darker, of course)

Witness the devastation. You probably can't see it, but that is our rug splayed across one of the furthermost creosote bushes.
Fortunately, we were able to quickly collect our belongings and reconstruct our former set-up, and today was warm, sunny, and only slightly breezy. In fact, we took a lovely hike across the desert. As usual, we found amazing beauty amongst what seems, on the surface, a bleak landscape. This bee was speedily finding nectar on this tiny (about 4" by 4"), low-growing plant :

Sunday, January 26, 2014


We made it to Borrego Springs today, after spending the night at the rest area near Calimesa, CA - long story (curse you, Garmin GPS!) - and we are finally back near Coyote Mountain (in the same site we left just 6 short weeks ago. When we arrived, it was 79 degrees and mostly sunny. We celebrated by setting out the rug, chairs, and camp table; changing into shorts and flip-flops (me); and driving the jeep into town to get a milkshake (Darell). Back at the site, we sat outside knitting (me) and reading (Darell) until the wind picked up, the temperature dropped, and ominous black clouds gathered above us. No raindrops yet, but we're inside now, happy to be getting 3G connectivity and knowing that warm weather will soon be upon us. We hope.
Here's a little guy that must've been traveling with us for 6 weeks or so; we discovered him as we pulled the camp table bag out of the storage up top
It took us a dozen or so swipes with a stick to get him to leave the bag, and then he immediately crawled back towards the RV - hope he stays outside...

Saturday, January 25, 2014


After a couple of highly enjoyable weeks celebrating the winter holidays with friends and family, we set out to embark on the next leg of our Full Time in a Chinook journey. Unfortunately, we were visited by the "whatever you were planning just isn't going to happen" Fairy, and after an additional two weeks of vehicle acquisition (Jeep Wrangler for a tow car - Yay!),  frustrating repairs (Chinook brakes that took 3 visits to the shop). and installations (new back-up monitor to replace the dead one and tow bar on the Jeep - which also took multiple visits to get done correctly), we finally got on the road yesterday morning. We didn't decide our destination until a few hours down the road, and when we did decide, it certainly wasn't original (for us, anyway). We wanted to return to Coyote Mountain at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in Borrego Springs. First night back on the road we ended up in the parking lot of the Shell station with the attached Subway near Harris Ranch (of "no one can consume too much beef, nor too often" fame) at the junction of I-5 and Hwy 138. All went well until a cattle truck pulled up - the smell was horrendous - and we rushed to close all windows and vents. We almost left, but then the cattle truck beat us to it, and we heaved a great sigh of relief and made the sofa into the bed.
Here's our teeny Chinook (note new tow car behind!) amidst our fellow overnighters