Living in a Truck

There is nothing as intoxicating as the smell of rain on the desert sand. Really. I get drunk on it. I jump out of the truck, run around in circles and deeply inhale. Repeat. Yesterday morning, after a day of rain, the whole area was thick with fog. It reeked of wetness. I was thrilled. It cleared by noon, and we had 70 degree weather and bright sun.

fog

This morning, for my birthday, I treated myself to a shower and breakfast. It was perfect.

Huevos rancheros

For the rest of the day I will be wandering the displays set up in Quartzsite, looking at all of the tchotchki for sale. There is nothing that I need. It is major fun to see the books, tools, and camping gear for sale. The displays were all empty last week. This week they are 90% full. The lots are filling up with big rigs for sale, the restaurants are getting lines as the snow birds begin to pour in. Soon the lines of cars will become bothersome, but until then it is smooth driving the 5 minutes into town. Last year, in January,  it took me 2 hours. I have several shortcuts now, so that should help.

 

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Quartzsite Food

Truck campers are always looking for cheap food. The Quartzsite winter has incredibly cheap foods. The reason is because it is out of date. Some things will expire in a few weeks, some things expired a year ago. Regardless, the selection is sometimes exciting and rewarding.IMG_6357

This delicious pesto was $1 and lasted for 3 meals. Normally costs $5.Grocery tentGrocery tent

Like everything here the grocery store is in a huge tent. And there is another “store” in a real building called Ken’s. It takes forever to find stuff, but the exciting finds are always worth it.IMG_6250

How about Dave’s for $1!!! It was not the freshest, but worked well for a toasted Spam and tomato sandwiches.

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Truck Camping with Tent

In the LTVA (Long Term Visitor Area) there are many solutions to staying out of the wind/rain/sun. One of the truck campers that I met has a tent that held up in 60 mph gusts, blowing rain and 95 degree days.Kodiak Tent

Kodiak Tent

This single woman entertains (cooks huge batches of soup and feeds her neighbors and friends). This tent is sturdy and highly functional. She and her dog are more than happy with it.

You know that I am looking for a way to extend the comfort level. This tent, as beautiful and functional as it it, is too heavy (122 lbs) and takes too long to set up and take down. For people who stay in one place for a long time this is quite luxurious.

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Staying Clean While Truck Camping

Weather

After three days of living in the back of the truck due to outrageously beautiful weather  I stink. Here is the dramatic weather:rainbow over Lilith

Dramatic clouds

During the monsoon season Quartzsite got .66 inches of rain. On Tuesday and Wednesday there was .77 inches. The most exciting aspect, aside from the visuals, was the smell. I was drunk on the smell of wet sand. Really. I wandered around inhaling.

After 3 days of being inside Lilith I had to shower. Thanks to a friend/brother I splurged and went to Pilot. Oh what luxury.shower

It costs $12, but is worth so much more. After a month of self cleaning it was beyond luxurious  to stand under a hot shower. They supply a clean washcloth, a bath towel and a bathmat. The rooms are spotless. The hot water is endless. I am clean. Thank you, Pilot.

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Living on the Road

There are many people  who have had to get on the road. Many reasons. Lack of affordable housing is the top reason, followed by abusive relations, then health reasons (mold problems, chronic fatigue, liver damage, etc.) and just for joy. These folks have nowhere to go. So they take to the road. But finances are tight. What does one do when the vehicle breaks down? How do you live in a vehicle?

There is an organization which helps all in need HOWA (Homes on Wheel Alliance). What a blessing.

Homes On Wheels Alliance, Inc. (HOWA), a charitable 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, strives to help a significant portion of the American population who are being squeezed between the rapidly rising cost of shelter on one hand, and either stagnant wages or too-small of a retirement on the other. Through no fault of their own, they are at serious risk of losing their homes and apartments. We serve this community by providing:

Safe and secure homes on wheels,
Improvements and repairs to their mobile dwellings,
Transition assistance into a financially- and environmentally-sustainable lifestyle, and
Opportunities to connect with and give back to the nomadic tribe, area communities, and public lands.
We believe that only an “alliance” of interested parties can hope to solve a problem of this magnitude.

This is a comfortable, caring group of people who can help with all problems of living in your car/truck/van. Each year they hold a huge group gathering to share information and group help. Last year I attended the women’s gathering and it was great.

It is getting progressively harder to park on streets overnight. It is illegal to sleep in your car in Los Angeles, for example. And in most other places you can be woken by police and told to move on.

There are businesses which allow overnight camping (Cabelas, some Walmarts, some casinos, some rest stops, and Cracker Barrel). This is good until the local motel owners and campgrounds fuss with the regulations and prohibit it.

HOWA is a fine organization. I have been following them since 2007. If you have money or land or vehicle to donate please do.

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