Thursday, December 17, 2015

12/17/15-Mittry Lake AZ

A few of us are at Mittry Lake for a week or so because the night temps in Ehrenberg are forecasted to drop down to 28-32. Brrrr. That’s too cold for me.

The pic above was taken a couple of days before we left Ehrenberg. A caravan member and friend, Colvin, drove us into Blythe so Bentley could go swimming in the Colorado. Ironically, I didn’t get a pic of Bentley swimming, but that’s Nonni enjoying her usual ankle deep wade. She is not a water dog or swimmer. Bentley is though. And as soon as he heard we were headed to the river, he was ready to go. There’s a reason GO is his middle name.

He also enjoyed the drive to Mittry Lake – almost as much as his mom. It felt good to be on the road again, but I was glad we were following Colvin. For awhile, our route was a straight shot down 95, and I could do that with a GPS, but once we got through the military base we made way too many turns for me to be able to do it on my own.

Along the way, I was struck at how jagged the mountain tops are compared to Ehrenberg and Quartzsite.

It was surreal to see the military displays along the way. The base does testing and training in the nearby Yuma Proving Grounds.

It doesn’t disturb the peace and beauty of camping here.

But, unfortunately, the first day was nearly a disaster for me. First off – I got stuck.

Real stuck. Ray drove me to the Chevron, the nearest gas station/store (~8 miles away) to meet the tow truck driver. Thank you, Ray!

Before calling the tow truck, we tried many different ways to get it out ourselves. Colvin and I dug (and dug), and placed wood under the tires. He also poured water on the sand and we even put tarps down for traction. Thank you, Colvin!

But the sand was just too soft and deep. The tow truck wouldn’t even drive on the road where I was. Way to go Deb! 

During all of this, some kids in a 4 wheel drive also tried to pull me out, but we realized soon enough that something wasn’t right in Denmark. We dubbed them “meth heads” and sent them on their way.

But they came back. In the pic below, Colvin is trying to explain to them why they can’t drag a tree out of the ground for their campfire – especially one from the middle of Ray’s already established campsite. They were literally going to go for one of the live trees in this pic. One of the boys said it was okay because his Uncle works for BLM. He also wanted to know what the difference was between using a live tree and a dead tree. Colvin's response to that was calm and priceless, "One's Dead. One's Alive."

The girl that was with them, trying to keep the peace, literally shouted out the window, “Let’s just go find another tree to pull up.” Now that's just not something one hears every day.

A little later, here they came. Dragging a tree and yelping it up. Well, what was left of the poor tree by the time they drove for a mile or two.

Unfortunately, they set up camp in our area down by where I was going to park for the night because it was the only area left that didn't have loose sand. They were ferrel. I did not want to camp anywhere near them, and by the time I got unstuck, it was getting dark. I got really stressed out about where to park. Fortunately, there are facilities just down the road with a large parking area. Colvin suggested I go there for the night and off I went.

It all made for a very long, stressful day. I thought I was handling it okay until I started trying to settle in for the night. When I travel, I put my solar panel and camping table on the bed. They were still there. Plus, I had pulled a lot of things out from under the bed when I got stuck to get to my emergency roadside bag. Bottom line, my van was a mess which meant I had to rearrange everything for the night, including my heater. It was all difficult to do from within the van. It would have been easier if I could have opened the doors and set things out while I rearranged, but I was in an unknown parking lot, after dark, by myself. No way was I going to do that.

I finally finished, and was already fighting back tears when I realized I had not eaten since breakfast. Much to my dismay, I then also realized I had stacked everything in front of the bins I use for a pantry. There would be no dinner for me. I fed the furbabies (glad I didn’t cover up their food!), and started crying. Hard. And once I started, it seemed I couldn’t stop.

I began wondering whether or not I can really do this. I’ve only gotten this far because of all the wonderful people in my life (past and present). I felt great remorse and even shame that it takes a village to support me. This life requires self-reliance and I realized that I didn’t have a clue how to do this on my own. More tears.

Not knowing what I would do or where I would go the next day, I began contemplating the worst – hanging up my keys and accepting a life in community living or an assisted living environment – without my dogs. I couldn’t bare it and cried even harder. Such a drama queen! But the tears and fears were genuine.

During all of this my friend Kyndal had checked in with me and we were messaging each other. In the middle of that, a car pulled up outside and I could hear someone walking up to the van. I froze, held my breath and put Kyndal on standby.

It turned out to be Colvin coming to check on me. I am so blessed to have so much support. He stayed to visit and walked me through my fears. Step-by-step he got me away from the ledge I was on.

We came up with some strategies that helped me feel more confident should I ever get displaced again. I had forgotten that in my van I’m safe, and I'm home. I can always drive to any parking lot that allows overnight campers or truckers, the nearest truck stop, or any number of backup plans we came up with. From there, I can figure out what to do.

Colvin decided to park next to me for the night. I no longer felt afraid or helpless, and I rested easy knowing I wasn’t alone.

The next morning brought the beautiful sun, as it always does. It was very symbolic for me. Light always follows dark. Note to self.

Colvin left to see what was going on back at camp, and soon after, I did the same. I stopped to take this pic along the way.

The meth heads were gone. All that was left of them was a grill they left behind and the poor trees they had mutilated.

Meanwhile, Ray and Neon had built a fire at their camp, and invited me to join them. Colvin was already there. Then Ray fixed us all breakfast! What a wonderful way to start a new day.

After breakfast, I picked out a nearby spot, and began setting up camp.

I don’t know how long I will get to enjoy this life, but I now know that I’ll be okay if I ever get displaced again. The confidence that this knowledge has given me makes everything I experienced that first day well worth it.

For the rest of the day, I pretty much just sat and enjoyed the view. You can't really see the lake in the pic above, but it's there. In fact, a few yards from my van is a pier. The panoramic pic below is from the end of the pier so that you can get a better feel for my newest backyard.

Since that first day, Mittry Lake has turned out to be full of blessings, and has become one of my favorite places on earth. It will always hold a very special place in my heart.


  1. all of your photos are fantastic, what a beautiful place and you know i love your pups. so glad colvin was there to help when needed. you found the friends you need.

    1. Wow! Getting a compliment from the MadSnapper on my photos is fantastic! Thank you! And yes, it is a beautiful place. The pups and I enjoyed it very much. Colvin is wonderful and I am blessed by many amazing, caring people in my life. You included my blogger friend!

  2. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. It reminds me of something someone shared during our NVC practice group last night. She may have heard it from a commercial, but I think it is appropriate - "You may be solo, but you are never alone." You are surrounded by support, both physical and non-physical. Much love to you, my friend.

    1. Thank you for being here and for your comment, David. I love you. And yes, the love and support I am so freely given just puddles me sometimes. Life is awe-mazing! I love the quote. As you know, it speaks to my core. Big hugZ, d

  3. love this post! you go girl, Im out for aa couple days, knee surgery thid morning,

    1. Love you Tracy! I'm glad to know that your surgery went well and that you are recovering well. Now, YOU go girl!! :))) xoxo

  4. Mitry lake looks like a great spot. Glad you are getting to enjoy it despite some of the issues. Your doing a great job learning from your experiences. Your an inspiration to others.

    1. Hi Roger, Mittry Lake is awesome. I am enjoying life nmw thanks to all of the wonderful people in my life. If I can pass on anything I've learned and it help even one person just one time, that will make me extremely happy. Will be back in Eberg soon and hope to see you guys. I've missed you!

  5. Debra, I would have been really stressed by myself away from everyone, I think that you were amazing in that situation :-) Love you!

    1. Ahhh, Susan, thank you!! I would have enjoyed digging deeper at the time and relying on the full knowledge that all is well - always - no matter what. In that, there is ALWAYS peace, comfort and love. But like most humans I forget from time-to-time. Imagine that. LOL! Love you too. Blessings always, d

  6. Thanks for being so honest about your feelings and your solution. My first reaction when reading your posts was disgust - "What's there to be scared about? It's not that hard. She needs to give up if every little thing is going to bother her." But Debra, I had three fingers pointing back at me. I'm scared. I'm scared of everything, which is why I live in my head so much. I would have been terrified in every situation and what's worst, I would have been too scared to ask for help. That unacknowledged fear, the expectations of others, and codependency have kept me stuck for over five years now. I'm amazed at your courage and I thank you so much for being an example for those of us who are to follow. I legitimately have to stay where I'm at until about August but this time I'm leaving out, come hell or high water. Everything is purchased, almost everything was given away, I'm ready to start the life of my dream. Thanks again and many blessings.

    1. Hi Shannon, you've got this girl! Don't give up. Ever. Colvin has a saying that has become one of my favs: "The Road Provides". That has been my experience and I bet it will be yours too. See you on the road! Love and blessings, d


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