Thursday, March 24, 2016

Lord of the Rings



A benefit of staying at Hole-in-the-Wall campground in Mojave Preserve is that there are several hiking trails within walking distance, and the 6 mile Barber Peak loop sounded like a good first hike in the park. This place has been such a pleasant surprise with all the vegetation, flowers, colorful rocks and a playground-like canyon.


Cute baby jack.









Lunch with a view.









Entering the playground.


THE hole-in-the-rock? There are too many to choose from.


The trail goes through Banshee Canyon, and requires climbing up a couple of dry falls with the help of rings. Not as easy as it sounds! The first one wasn’t too bad. Jim declared himself Lord of the Rings.


I wasn’t smiling so much on the second set of rings.


Suzanne hurled her hiking pole through Jim’s legs. He’s a brave man.


The second climb was much harder. Not only is it narrow, but the rings are very far apart. Jim almost lost his Lord title, as Queen Suzanne had to show us how to do it. He tried again after removing his camera and backpack.

   DSC04389            DSC04390

The next photo is courtesy of Suzanne. Do you see the look of sheer terror on my face now? The only thing that helped me get up was knowing that if I turned around I would have to go back down the first set of rings, which I didn’t think I could do.


More scrambling without the help of rings.



We just love this canyon. In fact, Suzanne and I went back the following day and hiked the shorter 1.5 mile loop that goes through the canyon and rings. It was much easier the second time around. And we had clear blue skies, which hides the fact that it was only in the 50s and the wind was blowing like crazy.

If you’re interested in learning about some of the history and geology of this place, check out Geogypsy’s  blog post about it. She did the research so I don’t have to. Thanks, Gaelyn!




Jim and I have been in a state of discontent lately, or perhaps the 7 year itch, trying to figure out what we want to do with our future. If we’re going to keep traveling should we buy a bigger RV? Do we want to settle down somewhere for part of the year? Rent an apartment or get a lot at Jojoba Hills? Where do we want to go this summer? We find it harder and harder to make decisions as we get older, and it has been making us crazy thinking about it.

Fortunately, being in this beautiful place and talking with Suzanne has made us realize we don’t have to make any hasty decisions. We’ve finally got a plan for most of the summer, and I’m sure the rest will fall into place. It’s a great life, but sometimes we wonder if we’re missing something. Would love to hear from other fulltimers if you’ve experienced the same feelings.


  1. Hi Gayle and Jim; Actually we are just up the road from you in Hole in the Wall in the big green Monaco and we enjoy this place too. It is our 3rd time camping here and we enjoy the fact that the sites are big enough to take our rig. We appreciate the feeling of confusion you are having about continuing the full-time adventure. We are starting our 20th year of full-timing and have been having the same thoughts about where to go and when to stop. We have looked at property for sale across the country but can't decide where we would like to settle, so we just keep traveling. We look for roads we haven't traveled and places we haven't seen. This summer we are going to head, gradually, to the OR coast and stay at various FS campgrounds from south to north. We love the openness of the west but every year takes us across the country to visit family in NY and OH. If you ever figure out how to stop please let us know in a post because I'm afraid the travel bug has dug so deep in us that we just can't stop.

    1. We appreciate your comment and would love to meet you. 20 years, huh? We're heading over to the dunes today but if you'll be around over the weekend maybe we can get together. Perhaps happy hour tomorrow? Let us know, or stop by anytime we're here.

  2. Great picture of the Jackalope! They're too fast for my slow reaction times! What a beautiful area and interesting hike. Once I master my shoots-n-ladders maybe I'll have the confidence to take on your rings-n-things! Don't stop traveling yet - your blogs are great!

  3. Interesting we are having similar thoughts. Part of my trouble is I have been there and done that for my whole bucket list at least three times. Lloyd Triechle went through some of the same thoughts in his last couple of years of travel too. He and I had several emails on the subject and never really defined what was next.
    Right now I am taking a travel break over at my son's area of life. A big part of this break is finding out what can my body still allow me to do safely. The knees and ankles are definitely limiting factors now. I feel that you are not missing something at all. My heat intolerance has gotten bad enough at 69.7 years that I know I will be in Decatur Al. (Gavinland) from early July through September each year from now on. That is not a bad thing. My interests in life things is definitely shifting also. Personally I am working hard at relaxing with the changes and unknown future and letting them just happen. That is a difficult task for my personality. Good luck on your quest.

  4. Thank God we are not the only malcontents! Nothing wrong with a new dream... a new "drug." Or at least tweaking the old one. A gradual shift might help (ala Bobbie and Mark) settle down seasonally in a nice place that feeds your thirst (lots of breweries) and soul (hiking biking) and then jump in the rv when the weather turns too hot or too cold. A blended life, slow transition... or not. A new RV? I don't think that would solve your inner "searching" for more than a month or two. Just my opinion, cause I'm a cheapskate.
    The good life can't roll on forever... change is integral to growth. Mix it up... or not.

    Box Canyon Mark.

  5. All right, you did the rings! I'm impressed. I think I'd have tried, from the bottom, if Sasha hadn't been along. After 20+ years I still think the full-time life is for me. But then I really only move the big rig twice a year any more. I kind of miss the road. Wouldn't waste my time worrying about it. When the time and place is right I believe you'll know.

  6. Wonderful photos! Love all the beautiful views, and had fun scaling the rings from my comfy chair :-) That looks like quite the adventure.

  7. So very COOL! I would love to give the rings a go. Gaelyn mentioned them in her post but said they didn't climb because of Sasha. Great photos of the climb!!

    We are in our sixth year of fulltiming and planning is wearing on me. I'm good for returning to places we love. But deciding what to do this summer is a pain. We aren't ready to settle yet, but we will probably buy a small house in Tucson one day for part of the year at least. I do know I don't want to live in any type community. Too many people around for us. I just need someone to plan for me:) I really like when someone else goes to a new place that we like. I can just follow their plan!! It is a very tough decision...good luck!

    1. Yes, the planning is what's getting to me the most. But once we decide and get moving it always feels good so I know we're not ready to stop traveling yet. Maybe it was just the unusual heat the past couple months that got to us!

  8. Seems like you have struck a chord here. I'm with Pam & John. Tired of the planning especially given our restrictions to the east and having to have reservations as more and more people are on the road. With our situation, the future is scary so I try not to think too much about it but as Mark described it, I am a bit of a malcontent. Would I be this way with total freedom? who knows. What's next? No idea. Wish I were closer to a few kindred spirits and could get away from so many people everywhere. Not sure my upper body strength could handle those rings but I'd like to try. Kudos to you two for going back again.

    1. I still would like to spend a winter in FL but just can't get in the mood to think about it a year in advance to make reservations. Too bad it has to be that way. You two have made the best out of a bad situation but it must weigh on you a lot. I've always been amazed at your ability to find a way to stay on the road with David's issues.

  9. I agree that the second set of rings was much harder. They were way too far apart for my stumpy little legs. Luckily I have a husband with monkey-like arms who helped pull me up :)

    We're coming up on four years full-time and seem to have the conversation every few months about what the future will bring. Should we get a bigger RV, buy a place and settle down, or maybe just travel part of the year? But then it always seems easier to simply keep on keeping on. I like to remind myself that this a good problem to have. So many people don't have any of these options, and we feel very fortunate that instead of being stuck with a giant mortgage and two hefty car payments we are debt-free and able to work and roam wherever we want.

    Maybe the answer is to mix it up a bit with some house rentals for a month or two. We plan to try that this winter and see how it goes. Enjoy the rest of your time in Mojave. Love the blooming yuccas!

    1. We've thought about the house rental idea, but then we have these damn cats, which makes it even harder. I still love our life but I guess it's human nature to wonder if there's a way to make it even better. I will be curious to see what happens with people in your age group and what you will end up doing in retirement since you've already experienced the fulltime RV life.

  10. I think these questions come up for most of us -- when we were living at home in Ashland, the question was whether or not we should go on the road. At close to three years full timing, we feel like we've barely gotten started -- even though we've done a lot, there's still so much more we want to do.
    I think it helps that we have several places around the country that are "home" to us -- our volunteer gig on Lopez Island has been an idyllic summer location for five years, and most winters we're in Florida spending time with my folks (a week at a time at their place in Apalachicola interspersed with many other Florida adventures). Plus several weeks each year back in our hometown in Oregon. Lots of adventures during the months we spend traveling cross country. So far, so good. I do, however, feel like a part-time travel agent figuring out routes/places to stay/cool things to do. We'll see how we're holding up at the seven year mark. :-)

  11. You know where I stand on these questions. I think you'll know when something comes along that just feels right for you.

  12. This place looks fantastic! It's on The List!

    We too think about settling down somewhere, but things may keep coming up with the parents...though I don't want to let that get in the way of our plans. I do know that even if we have a house we will have a rig.

  13. Gayle,
    My wife and I went full timing for 4 years when we retired. We sold out and put our family keepsakes in storage. Two years ago we were at a crossroads of either buying a new and bigger mortorhome and keep going or buy back into a house. We chose buying a house in Fl. and sold out the motorhome, and bought a small pull behind camper for my truck. After two years of being in a house we still have mixed feelings. We love to travel and explore but also need a place to call home. Being on the road you make short term friendships with other campers but lose being connected to a community. It is easy to fall into a being stuck at home pattern of living owning a house. The decision is not an easy one and there will be regrets either way you choose. Enjoy your travels. John

  14. That looks like a blast, with a bit of a scare factor thrown in. I want to do the Via Ferrara when we are in the Alps. Perhaps this could be a practice run for me.

  15. A bit of discontent probably keeps us all from getting too sedentary, both mentally and physically. I didn'think I would like setting down roots at Jojoba but have been pleasantly surprised. We have met some of the most interesting, engaging people, and the beauty is that if we grow tired of the resort we can hit the road temporarily or get back our investment and move on to another adventure. I think you have to do what resonates with the two of you, no matter what anyone else says. The beauty of it is that nothing needs be permanent. :)

  16. For the year or so before Gary's cancer diagnosis, we had been going through this same situation. We fell in love with Sequim, Washington, and had engaged a rent-to-own house there. In the end, though, we decided that moving all of our things to such an inhospitable environment was probably not terribly wise, so we decided to get a place in Sierra Vista and travel to the Pacific Northwest as the mood struck us.

    How to do this? Well, after eight years of being entirely houseless, and totally comfortable in our fulltime rig, we had just long-term leased a big lot outside of Sierra Vista in an established RV park with a residential area. We were buying a neighbor's huge storage shed for the lot, and planned to just live in our Mountain Aire and going on whatever trips appealed to us during the course of the year. This seemed perfect. BUT . . .

    Well, you know the rest of that story.

    We ARE, however, sort of doing the same thing, but in a permanent mobile home in a different RV park in a different part of town. We traded our fulltime rig for a Rear Bath Lazy Daze and sometimes we even take trips in it! ;->

    I must say that this has worked out well for us. Gary admonishes me not to tell anyone about the superb weather here, but that is probably the main attraction for me. It is easy living here, and when we have the opportunity, it isn't too difficult to go on a trip.

    What might appeal to you here is the abundance of reasonably-priced produce! It is VERY important to us!!! ;->

    Virtual hugs,