Good afternoon from Whiskey Flats RV Park in Hawthorne, Nevada, about halfway between Las Vegas and Reno on U.S. Route 95. It's a chilly 49 degrees here with Cirrus Clouds overhead. Looks like we're in for a little more precipitation tomorrow, snow for the upper elevations, rain for us in the high desert.
There are no "reported" cases of Corona Virus in Hawthorne. When I went into the Safeway market yesterday, I overheard two people talking. A man, who looked to be in his sixties says to the woman, "Well, on the bright side, we don't have no virus here yet," to which the woman replied, "Yeah, but that ain't stopping folks from coming here and buying up our shit!"
We traveled here yesterday after spending 5 days at Twenty Mile Beach about 18 miles north of our current location. We'll be here for three days, stocking up, doing laundry, then we'll begin moving north towards Sisters, Oregon and the home of friends of Melanie's who have graciously agreed to allow us to boondock with them.
Leisure Travel Van Owners
Random thoughts on our first-world first boondocking Corona Virus Distancing experience at Twenty Mile Beach BLM.
A free place to park Miranda for a while is a good thing especially when the place is as epic as Twenty Mile Beach and Walker Lake. Not much by way of wild life though I did see a large Jack Rabbit on a walk. I've never seen a rabbit move as fast as that one. We saw Big Horn Sheep along the road on the way into Hawthorne.
With empty grey and black tanks and 30 gallons of fresh water, we can comfortably spend 5 days off the grid. We had abundant desert sun and a few days of partly cloudy skies. Our 400 watts of solar power kept our batteries fully charged during day even as we were charging devices or watching TV. We ran the generator only to operate the oven/microwave in the evening. Making sure everything is unplugged and the inverter is off before bed allowed us to comfortably run our furnace (set on 60 degrees F as temps were in the mid 30's) at night and have anywhere from a 12.3-12.5 battery reading in the morning.
Over the last 17 months our temperature comfort zone has become lower than it was living in a bricks and mortar home. Normal comfort zone is generally between 68 and 72 degrees F. Lower humidity in the desert helps. While getting out from under our comforter to turn up the thermostat (if the heat is even on) can be bracing when it's 45 degrees or less in the van, once the thermostat is adjusted to 70 degrees F., the sun is up and shining on the van, and temps rise to the low to mid 60's, life is good. Dress accordingly.
Taking a "sponge bath" (my grandmother's term) using the sink and a wash cloth to rinse off about halfway through five days of boondocking works just fine. We had about 15% of our 30 gallons of fresh water left when we arrived at Whiskey Flats yesterday.
We make coffee using a Chemex coffee pot. When plugged in, we use a Bodum electric water kettle (1100 watts). When boondocking, we heat water on the stove and pour it into the Bodum water kettle to make our pour-over coffee. We do this because we're usually up before 7:00 and running the generator at that hour doesn't suit us or our neighbors, we imagine.
Our awning has a wind sensor. If the wind blows directly perpendicular to the van, it has the potential to get under the awning, especially if you are located up a hill, making the awning into a sail blowing it upwards and towards the van. In our case the sensor didn't immediately retract the awning as it's done on a few occasions and I had to jump up and grab one of the awning arms to bring it down so it could retract. Probably never happen exactly that way again, but still.
We remain grateful for the quality of workmanship and engineering that goes into our LTV house car. Small things requiring repair have happened but not often in 17 months. Most recently, one of our table hinges broke. I contacted the good folks at Leisure Travel Vans and our hinge will be waiting for us in Oregon at our friends' home when we arrive. LTV even threw in an extra hinge.
While traveling full-time is a choice for us, we continue to meet folks on the road traveling alone who've lost their homes and are living in their cars or SUV's. Such was the case for at least two people who were camped at Twenty Mile. Be grateful. Be kind.
The good news over the past few days is there continues to be a good number of places where we can camp that remain open and available for us. When we leave Hawthorne, we'll head to northern Nevada, then into Oregon where we'll be staying in Burns, Oregon for a night.
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Steven and Melanie