That might seem like an odd pic to call home, but this is home to me. It is the actual fire ring many of us sat around every evening for campfire "happy hour" this time last year. Behind it should be a trailer, a Yukon and a ridiculous solar array that belonged to our beloved friend and fellow traveler, Fred. I miss him. Being here in his front yard makes me miss him even more, but I’m glad I’m here. It feels like home.
I went to the Ehrenberg “mall” this morning and did laundry, got some shower coupons and a mailbox for the winter – the same as I did last winter. And it was in the middle of doing all that I realized it really feels like home here. Then my traveling companion, Robert, astutely drove my van and pulled his trailer up “The Hill” to where I was camped this time last year (the fire ring pic). It really felt like home once we got up past the power lines. You can read more about “The Hill” (here).
Once we got up the treacherous road, thanks to Robert, I tried and tried to find this exact camping area that I shared last year with Bryce, Fred and Barbara – plus the others that joined us from time to time. I wasn’t able to, and that made me sad, but it still felt good to be on The Hill. Robert went on a trek to find us a good spot.
He came back, was excited about the spot he had found, and drove us right to where I was camped last year with my friends! He had no way of knowing that! I stepped out of the van and looked directly at the fire ring we enjoyed every night that had been right outside Fred’s front door. I have never had a place feel more like home than in that moment.
Home. That seems a bit like an oxymoron for a nomad. Our home is on wheels and wherever we are at the moment, but if any terra firma ever called to me, it would be here. I don’t know why. Perhaps it’s because we have had 18 different campsites in 5 short months throughout 5 different states!! That’s crazy!! Thank God I’ve been traveling with Robert, and he’s been doing ALL the driving.
It has been brutal but every bit of every mile has been worth it. Robert’s beautiful daughter got married Sept 3rd so we were in WY all of August through half of September. Then he got a trailer and in order to pick it up, we went from CO to NV. Then he got a job and his training for that took us to OR! Now we are back in Ehrenberg, AZ. Did I mention it feels like home?
Perhaps it’s because this is where I earned my chops. I hit the road on October 8, 2015 and drove straight to Flagstaff, AZ to camp with the infamous Bob Wells. He took me under his wing and is my forever friend that I am forever grateful to. He helped me get a heater, a stove, and he and Jamie even built a bed for me! Bob made it possible for me to stay on the road, and turned my van in to a home, and I camped with him through November of last year before going to The Hill, but it was The Hill where I became a nomad.
A side note: Fred and I arranged last year to meet in Quartzite so I could follow him to Ehrenberg and up The Hill. Bryce was already there. The Hill is/was his discovery. None of us would have enjoyed that winter together if it weren’t for Bryce. Thank you Brycee!!
Prior to moving up on The Hill I had already made friends out here – many friends, lifelong friends. Friends I’m still in touch with and camp with from time to time as our paths cross. Except one – I miss you Kyndal!! (She now lives in FL.) Kyndal, plus many others, taught me many things about life on the road. But it was on The Hill where I learned how to be a pioneer woman, where I started learning independence and bravery, where I made it through being sick because close friends took care of me (Thank you Bryce, Fred & Barbara). And it is where I nearly froze to death because my thermal regulation is broken thanks to my brain injury, but those same friends showed me how to layer my bedding and seal my windows and doors. Thank you Fred & Barbara for that, and thank you Judy for teaching me how to use fleece for keeping warm. And Bryce made me homemade soup. Wow, I am so blessed. After that, I thought, “With the help of my friends, I really can do this. No matter what happens. I can live on the road.”
It is also where I fell in love, and later out of love, but it is where so much of my life out here began. It is my base. It is my nomadic home. Unfortunately, Ehrenberg and Quartzsite stay in the triple digits through a good part of the warmer months so I will never “live here”. Nor do I want to – I am a nomad through and through. But today, I’m home. There’s no place like it.
That last pic is of my van at home on The Hill in front of the rising 2016 Supermoon. Yeah, that about sums up the day. It's a good life out here. See you down the road!