Good afternoon from Twenty Mile Beach where we've been in residence for a few days. This is the first time we've camped on land managed by the Bureau of Land Management. There is no cost to camp here and we can remain for 14 consecutive days. Cue This Land Is Your Land.
Under normal circumstances Twenty Mile Beach would be a spectacular venue to camp. This time of year the mountains to our southwest are covered in snow (Yosemite National Park is almost directly west over the mountains). The views all around the lake are amazing. We're ten miles from the nearest town, Hawthorne, Nevada. People camped here are spaced out nicely so no one is closer than about a quarter mile away.
Under current circumstances, however, Twenty Mile provides us with the perfect venue to social distance. On our way here we stopped in Sacramento and bought groceries and replenished our propane and filled Miranda's tank with diesel fuel.
Since I'm the designated person to venture out, every time I venture into a grocery store or other such venue, the clock begins running anew. Only days will tell the tail of whether I've contracted the virus. I've been overly careful about cleanliness, but still.
We've had plenty of great Nevada sunshine so we have more than enough power via our 400 watts of solar capacity to charge our devices, watch a little television in the evening and run our furnace in the mornings. We have a generator for any cloudy days. We started with 30 gallons of fresh water and empty grey and black tanks (also 30 gallons capacity each). As of this afternoon, after about 3 days, we still have 65 percent of our fresh water. Our Verizon services are very good in this location.
After some discussion this morning, and checking local weather forecasts, we have decided to remain here for the time being. How many days we'll remain up to our 14 day limit is uncertain at this point, mainly because weather to our north, the preferred direction of travel when we leave, will be wintery for a few days. Right now the temps are moderate (62 degrees Fahrenheit), but there's currently a stiff southerly wind blowing at 16 miles an hour with gusts over 20. High desert winds we know you well.
When time comes for us to move, we'll be traveling under circumstances we have not experienced in our nearly 15 months on the road. Serious campground closures due to COVID-19. The only reason our last campground in Dixon, California remains open is because the personnel also have an essential governmental function.
Maybe keeping a campground open for full-time travelers should become an essential service.
The only thing worse may be all the restaurant closures. 😎
As I type, most of the National Parks are closed or closing, all Army Corp of Engineers parks are shutting down, some chain commercial campgrounds are closed or closing, how many are closing is changing on a daily basis. State Parks are closing. Nevada state parks are closed as are California's.
We have two services we use as supplemental camping for a day here and there, Boondockers Welcome and Harvest Hosts. How many of these hosts will still be around is uncertain. I'll be checking Campendium periodically for up-to-date closures as I begin to figure out our next move. I received an email from a full-time traveler who is currently in Sedona, Arizona and saw a review I'd written on Campendium about Twenty Mile. She wanted to know if there was space for her here. Plenty, I said.
Since we are self-contained and can be off the grid for days at a time, our real immediate issues are groceries, fuel, water, and being able to empty black and grey tanks periodically. We can and have parked on a street overnight. That works just fine.
The last couple of times I was in a grocery store everyone seemed to know the new rule, keep six feet of distance between your fellow shoppers. Bottled water seems to be making a come back to store shelves; bread, hand sanitizer, not so much. Fuel is about a dollar a gallon less expensive in Nevada than California. The bright side of life, eh?
We seem to be entering the Beta Mode of traveling full-time. There are sure to be some unexpected consequences or blips along the way, but we look forward to figuring out the new world of travel and improving on this life where possible.
While we miss our weekly communion with Episcopal Churches, their parking lots, and the good people doing great social justice work, we know their absence from our life is but a temporary condition. Melanie is still very much on the EPF job.
We hope everyone will continue to stay safe and sane. Watch this space and don't look at your 401-K. We're out here about to find out how running this operation in Beta Mode works.
Steven and Melanie