March 21, 2022
For those of you keeping up with this blog, I know I’m late with my entry this week and I sincerely apologize. We made plans to move on further north at the beginning of the week so the day I normally do my writing, I was distracted with running errands to stock up on stuff like propane and dog food. We also spent a good amount of time trying to figure out how to get more Heartgard for our dogs as we run out at the end of this month. This is a medication you need to give your dogs year round in order to prevent heartworm. However, you need a vet prescription to get it and the vet won’t give you a script unless they have done a check up on your dog. I did a little research as we were thinking this was probably all about the money and learned that it is very dangerous to give your dog this medicine if they already have heart worm. It seems there is a slim chance they can still contract this disease even when taking the prevention medicine year round. We ended up deciding to seek out a vet at our next destination to give them check ups and supply us with the script. I’m sure this won’t be cheap so I hope the script covers us for several months. Our vet at home saw our dogs maybe twice a year and less during the height of COVID so this still all may be a way for companies to get more money out of people. I’m sure that most of the pet owners in America don’t do this. As we get used to living a less upper middle class lifestyle we are more carefully evaluating where our money goes and what is luxury or a waste of money vs. a necessity. Even the dog food we buy is super expensive. When did having pets become a luxury expense? We do love them like part of the family though so not having them is not an option so we will work as much as we need to keep them well fed and healthy.
Finding a new place to camp was also a time consuming task and I didn’t feel all that successful with it in the end. I found some potential spots with free land in northern AZ, but the deeper I dug in with research, the more uncertain I became for each spot. At first, we decided to drive up to camp near the Petrified Forest national park. I had plotted some other sights that looked good to see in that area such as the Painted Desert, Hidden Cove, and Grand Falls (though the grandness of the falls varies greatly with the water level at the time you visit). My plans changed though when I saw that one of the campsites we were looking at near that area in Show Low was getting snow this week! Then I started aimlessly looking for free land to camp on anywhere north of Phoenix. Finding a place to camp involves many steps. I look for places with interested scenery and preferably a national park nearby. Then I look at the weather in that area including the wind speeds and reported forest fires. Then we look for free campsites and read reviews. Then we look to make sure there is a place to fill our water and dump our tanks in that area. Sometimes it is easy to find all the information I want online and sometimes it is not. This time it was not as easy. When we set off from New Mexico to Sonoita, I was able to read reviews and see pictures of the campsite so I was confident we could pull our camper to it without getting stuck and that it would be an attractive site. Someone also wrote in the reviews exactly where we could fill our water tank. The info I was finding this time wasn’t as complete. This is what my map looks like with the points of interest I’ve plotted so far.
We also spent time this week just taking care off the business of life. I did a whole bunch of laundry, got my hair colored, made a dump run, and did an online ethics course to collect some of the CEUs I need each year to maintain my license. I don’t see myself practicing therapy again in the near future, but you never know where life will take you and getting this license is a long process so I thought it best to maintain it just in case. We also tried to make a video about how to get internet on the road, but gave up a little ways into it. Luke is trying to decide how and what information to present for it. He wants people to understand what Wifi is, what their options are, and how it all works, but it’s a lot of information to give folks. We discussed if people really even want all that information and the answer is probably not…they just want someone else to tell them how to do it or do it for them rather than learning all about it so they can make an informed decision. Am I being too cynical here? I don’t know. Sometimes I believe people do want to learn and grow and sometimes I think most just want to march towards mental atrophy. I know that I vacillate between these two states depending on the day and my energy. We also discovered that our new solar panel had a hole burned into it from the sun…what the heck!? This seems like exactly the type of thing that should not happen to a solar panel. It look a little doing, but we found a way to return it for a refund.
I had my last day of volunteering at the Visitor Center and was surprised when two director types from the town came out to shake my hand and thank me for my service before I left. They were so kind and positive. This town really has embraced us in a unique way and I’m a bit sad to leave, but we wouldn’t be nomads anymore if we didn’t. They told me that my job will be waiting for me if we come back this way next winter. I think that camping in Patagonia and Sonoita may have spoiled us and set our standards really high. We may not find free camping spots down the road that are this good. I took a final photo of the Red Mountain we see every time we drive into town as well as longhorn cattle that graze on the side of the road. We did go to look at some affordable land for sale in town, but quickly decided it would not work for us. It was described as having a gentle slope, but was really a ravine. In order to get out rig onto the land we would have to build a road which would make this land not so affordable after all.
Since the video about accessing internet on the road still needs some thought and planning, I decided to do another cooking with Jennie Mac video before we left. I made coconut fried shrimp in the air fryer with coconut jasmine rice and steamed broccoli. It all came out very tasty, but we had some bloopers and learned something along the way. I thought that since I could run the Instant Pot off of our Jackery battery, I would also be able to run it with the air fryer lid on this same battery. That was not the case. Each time I tried, it turned off in less than a minute. I improvised and plugged into the house battery and Luke fired up the generator for a bit so we would have enough power to get through the night. Now we know not to use the air fryer when we’re boondocking.
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 the journey through her photography and blog to share with others.