November 22, 2021
I wasn’t sure how tough it would be cooking in an RV, but I have really embraced it. I’ve even cooked some things I haven’t ever made before. Since we are at a campground with no hook ups, I am also learning about how to conserve our tank space and use less water. This can definitely have an effect on how and what I cook as I don’t want to make a lot of dishes that need washing. I’ve been able to make soups, stews, and cook meat in the instant pot. I’ve also used the air fryer lid I got for it to make fried chicken wings. I can cook just about everything else on the stove or in the oven. We don’t use the microwave when we are off the grid like this as it uses too much power. Luckily, the food containers I bought are made of silicone (and collapsible to save space). This means I can put them in the oven to reheat leftovers. I can make toast on the stove and we are using an Aeropress and kettle to make our coffee in the morning. Coffee pots also take a lot of electricity. Just to make your mouth water I will tell you that I have nailed pulled BBQ chicken, homemade chicken soup, jambalaya, shrimp étouffée, cookies, chicken pot pie, and lots of other things that all came out great.
We went on a little road trip one day to see Cano’s castle. I read about this place online which was built by out man, mostly out of bottles and cans. This man reportedly said that he was building it for God with help from Jesus and that he had a message to bring to Washington DC. I wanted to meet this man or at least see his castle and take some photos. We found the place and pet the dog that was wandering out front and tentatively I took a few photos when a man with matted grey hair and a slightly stooped posture. I asked if he was Cano and this was his home. He nodded in agreement and after a moment he decided to talk to us. We asked him questions about why he had built this and how long it took him. He told us that his ancestors were Spanish Jews and that long ago the English came to the area and took his family’s flock of Morino sheep. He swore that he would be the richest man in Colorado today if this had not had happened. He then invited us inside for a tour. This was exciting, but also a little nerve wracking as he had constructed most of the building himself with no formal training, found supplies, and old tools. Going up the spiral staircase was the test where we had to hold onto a rope to help us climb. Once we made it to the second floor we decided that the building would not collapse today and we relaxed a bit. Cano shared old newspaper clippings and photos with us to tell the stories of different ways his family members had been wronged. He had a murdered uncle, the sheep thing, the list goes on. He feels strongly that the government then worked hard to cover it all up. As far as we could tell, he had no running water or electricity. The house was relatively warm though and he showed us how the glass bottles he made his walls from worked as great insulators. This place was really incredible so I’m sharing some photos we took there. You also have to see this elk skin he put on Luke! He looked Silence of the Lamb creepy with it on. Cano even showed us his “dungeon” in which he had covered the walls in scraps of leather. The room was actually a little den/tool shed, not a dungeon (I sighed with relief). Cano could be funny.
I know you want to meet Cano now. Luke was able to take his photo in exchange for a small donation. Here is me and the man himself.
I did some more hiking with our new friends at the Campground. There is no end to beautiful spots to hike in this area!
It’s getting colder out here so we are planning to move South soon. We learned about the little Buddy propane heater from our new friends Annie and Will and picked one up along with a long hose. We started out just using it with the 1 sound tanks that come with it, but got tired of having to switch them out every few hours so we found a way to run the hose through the window so we can hook it up to the bigger tank outside now.
I needed a new craft and decided I should start making cross stitches again and make them all with the theme of camping or RVing. If and when we get to the big community of RVers in Quartzsite, AZ this summer, I think I could sell them there. If you don’t know about the RV community in Quartzsite, AZ in the winter, it sounds like a trip. It’s basically a small town with a lot of free public land (BLM land) and the population increases by 2-3K in the winter with just campers and RVers. This is because they use some of the public land in town as a long term visitor area which costs $180 to stay for up to 7 months. Typically, staying on BLM land is free, but you can only stay for 14 days before you need to move 25 miles away. You can only return to that original spot after 28 days since you left. This is a great deal for people who want to stay put for a while and not pay a lot. The people there form a community with activities, classes, bartering, etc. We joined some of the Quartzsite Facebook groups to better understand what it is like and what some of the people there are like. They also have a huge RV show there in January so we may head over there to check it out sometime that month.
Jennifer MacNeil is currently traveling the US with her husband and two dogs. She loves to have adventures, explore, meet fascinating people, and see amazing places. She strives to learn every day and spread kindness to others. She documents her journey through her photography and blog to share with others.