Monthly Archives: February 2012

The Aftermath

Today we were supposed to be hiking the magnificent Joshua Tree National Park.  Instead we were removing all personal belongings from our destroyed RV and putting them in storage.  This took about 4 hours, as we had to make numerous trips back & forth between the wrecker lot and storage unit.  Fortunately Theresa did a great job finding a storage place and hotel room that accepts dogs all within a few blocks of where our RV was parked.  It’s amazing that our entire life on the road could fit in a tiny 5×10’ storage unit with room to spare.  I guess this shows how minimalist of a life we were living in our 270-square-foot motor home.

Our life in a storage unit

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We Made the News

Our RV crash yesterday made the news.  My buddy Tim Perez found this report from MyDesert.com reporter Brian Indrelunas:

A Desert Hot Springs man who tried to outrun police also attempted to avoid being handcuffed Monday after a high-speed chase through the high desert, according to the California Highway Patrol.  Armand Dwight Nettles, 78, was taken to Hi-Desert Medical Center with two broken arms before being jailed.  Officer Rob Flocken was also taken to the Joshua Tree hospital after he crashed into an RV turning onto Highway 62 as officers chased Nettles’ 1999 Dodge van.

The CHP cruiser was destroyed

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CRASH!

So we’ve hit a major bump in our trip of a lifetime… 

Yesterday afternoon in Joshua Tree, California, our RV was broadsided by a California Highway Patrol cruiser involved in a high-speed chase.  Theresa and I and the dogs were shaken up but not seriously injured.  However late last night I started feeling a sharp pain in my lower left rib cage, probably where the seat belt caught me.  This morning it hurts pretty badly especially when I breathe, so we are heading to a hospital to check for a possible bruised or cracked rib.

The officer was injured with numerous small cuts to his face from his shattered windshield and a bloody hand from his deployed airbag.  He was able to step out of his cruiser, was taken to the hospital by paramedics, and a fireman at the scene told me the officer is expected to be OK. 

RV crash

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One Month Anniversary

Today is our one month anniversary of life on the road.  We’re getting in a groove and really starting to enjoy the minimalist vagabond lifestyle in our little 270 square foot home.  The highlight of course has been hiking the amazing parks our country has so smartly set aside for all of us to enjoy.  It also helps that we’ve slowed down the pace and are spending more time in the parks we really love.  We’ve also moved into California, which is one of the most beautiful states in our country.  We really enjoyed Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, and the summer-like weather has been a real treat.  Though that’s about to change with a strong winter cold front hitting tonight that’s expected to plunge nighttime temperatures to near freezing.

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Our Fearless Dogs

Theresa, Shadow and Darby high above the Borrego Badlands

Although Shadow is afraid of the RV slideout, and Darby is afraid of the cracking sound of an expanding 2-liter soda bottle, our dogs are generally fearless, especially when it comes to heights. 

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“I’m All Shook Up”

Imagine if your house experienced a medium severity earthquake every 5 days that lasted for 8 hours straight.  It would be reasonable to expect that some things might break, jiggle loose or leak.  In the past 30 days on the road, we’ve driven our RV for 73 hours and logged 3,093 miles.  The RV is our entire house on wheels with plumbing, electrical work, appliances and structure very similar to that of a regular house.  It’s not surprising that we had to do several repairs and maintenance to keep it in good working order.

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Dogs and People Learning New Tricks

You may recall when we were planning our trip, I wrote about our dilemma to Take the Dogs or Leave Them with a Friend.  Sean O’Shaughnessey recently inquired about how the dogs are adjusting to RV life.

Now that it has been a month, how are the dogs doing? Have you needed to kennel them? Are they accepting of the occasional stranger that wanders too close to your RV at night? Have they chased after a jack rabbit or meadowlark?

Recall that Darby and Shadow are country dogs.  They lived on 18 acres at Cricket Lane without a fence and were on a leash only a handful of times in their lives.  Their job was to warn us when someone came within a 1/4 mile of the house.  When hiking at Little Wolf, they stayed within eyesight of us but had a pretty wide range of freedom to wander about.

Darby and Shadow on a leash so they don't get eaten by alligators at Brazos Bend State Park

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Motorhome Beats a Trailer Hands Down

One thing all RVers love to talk about is the advantages and disadvantages of one “rig” over another. I wrote about Selecting the Right RV last October when we first brought our Four Winds Hurricane home.  Now, after 4 weeks of actually living in it, I realize that buying a motorhome (the type of RV you drive) vs. a trailer (the type of RV you pull with a truck) was possibly THE most important decision we made, aside from going on the trip at all.  And, I must give credit to Timm for realizing a motorhome was best for us. Given the visionary that he is, Timm is able to accurately contemplate different future scenarios, even ones we’ve never experienced before.  Lucky for us, he put this talent to work to help us pick the right type of RV for our year-long trip.

Having lived in our motorhome RV for about a month, here are some of our experiences that led us to believe that a motorhome is superior to a trailer.

Lots of room for dogs and people in the RV

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Saguaro East vs. West

Saguaro National Park protects 91,400 acres of Arizona desert.  The park is divided into two districts: one that lies about 20 miles east of the center of Tucson, and another that lies about 15 miles west of Tucson.  There’s a healthy debate on the Web about which district is better.  My unscientific analysis of the debate shows that about 70% prefer the west district, and 30% prefer the east. 

Theresa and I both significantly favored the west over the east.  Of course, which district you prefer depends greatly on the criteria you use for your evaluation.  Most of all, we value quiet, solitude, and views.  Based on these criteria, the west kicks the east’s prickly butt.  But it’s a highly subjective decision, and both districts are beautiful and worth visiting if you have the time. 

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Desert Sunset

Sunset above Borrego Palm Canyon RV Park

Another beautiful sunset, this photo from the Borrego Palm Canyon RV Park.  This is a really pretty RV park, full of large desert palm trees.  We took this photo from on top of our RV.  Apparently it’s uncommon for people to climb on top of their RVs, but we do it quite often to check out the view or admire a sunset.  Some of our neighbors spotted us and exclaimed, “Look, they’re up on top!’”

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