Another new start has become a reality. We no longer are tied to the grid for electricity. Our solar panels have allowed us to go completely off grid. Our 100 gallon fresh water tank can keep us hydrated and clean for 10 day as we found out on our first time in the boonies. We are getting better at it and have switched over to low flow water and total LED lighting is on the way. The solar panels are amazing. We are able to listen to vacuum tube stereo and have toast for breakfast. delightful. JUst so you know, It's taboo to talk about solar, or the black tank, with other campers because it quickly descends the pleasant, friendly convo into RV nerd hell. I learned the easy way. It has been rainy for a few days, and on this rainy day we identify wildflowers. This is Coulter's Globemallow. Really rolls off the tongue, nice work Coulter. You can stop naming things now.
We have begun our grand ascent north. We have loved our time in Arizona. Wonderful things have happened to us, because of us, by us and for us. Wouldn't trade this winter for the world. But, now it is time to venture north. We are headed to Montana for the month of July, by way of Colorado and Utah for now, eventually to arrive into the Pacific Northwest for autumn. Of course, that can all change at the drop of a hat. Along the way, we are making camper friends that are of the same ilk. It's cool to know there are other weirdos out there to join us on the road. We are not alone. So venture into the forest with us. Leaving Arizona for southern Utah. We are currently camping in Southern Utah on the shores of Lake Powell where a giant monolith rises from the reservoir like a fist. They call it Lone Rock Beach.
Southern Utah is a special place for me, I ventured out here as a young 20 year-old to work a summer in Bryce Canyon National Park. I was armed with an '86 Jeep, an overwhelming sense of confidence, and just the right amount of naivety. The lack of experience of surviving out west was quickly overcome as I was assigned back country trail maintenance as my job for the NPS. The feds paid nothing. I got a backpack, a chainsaw, a World War II trench digging shovel, some other miscellaneous hand tools, and about an hour of instruction of "trail maintenance" Naturally, I was already a pro. In my own mind. My first four day trip went something like this; rapidly run out of water well out of range of a water source, seize the chainsaw by vapor locking it repeatedly, forget the tent poles, remembering the dehydrated food as my only nutrition and woefully under preparing for the the freezing cold temps that occur on the desert floor in Bryce.
I made it out, after eating dehydrated food with little to no water, trails maintained as best I could. I got better, and I like to think Bryce trails got better. I ended up loving it. making the park a better place so my fellow Americans could enjoy. Then I realized about half (or more!) of most of the park visitors were not American. Huffing and puffing out of the canyon, covered in four days of pine saw dust, red Bryce Canyon dirt, carrying a back pack with a chainsaw, a shovel, and a helmet strapped to it (they made me wear the helmet) and happening or sometimes "happening" onto a crowd of single European young ladies enjoying the American park system made for a nice summer. Let's just say I didn't have to pay for too many Heineken's. I also worked in the kitchen of the lodge where I am pretty sure three Mormon sisters were trying to get me to marry all three of them at one. That's another story.
Here we are at Lone Rock Beach off of Lake Powell. A little side camper action...
One of our new camper friends, Jase, busted out his drone and took a few aerial shots of our group camp in the Walnut Canyon National Monument. That is Flagstaff Mountain in the background. So, camping off the grid changes everything. We can camp just about anywhere and with a little water conservation we can go anywhere that the law allows. Or maybe doesn't? There is some wander-worthy, wonderful country out there. Come find us, if you dare. It is the 100th NPS anniversary by the way. Its true what they say, you do meet the nicest people in a campground. Update: doing yoga everyday. I've lost weight and feel great. dont tell the bikers.