It seems like the end to our long journey is nearly here, in more ways than one. We are currently only a day’s drive to Rainbow’s End in Livingston, Texas, our official address. It seems that we have planned for this moment to arrive for several years now, from imagining a life on the road, to slowly making plans, to actually getting in the truck and turning the key.
I saw a motorhome in the campground this morning that was aptly named ‘American Dream,’ with a tagline that proclaimed that that was what they were doing in their RV — living the American Dream. So are we, and I’m grateful every day for the opportunity.
After spending two weeks in Paso Robles (California) visiting the family and attending to doctor’s appointments, we headed out on February 23 intent on getting to Texas this time to become real Texans. I spent the morning nervously following behind the truck/trailer in the Jeep, watching one of the trailer tires that seemed ready to blow. It never did, but as we were climbing up the Grapevine heading into southern CA on I-5, Terry suddenly jumped from the #4 lane to the shoulder with flashers on. I knew that couldn’t be good, and sure enough something was seriously amiss with the truck. It would not go more than 10 MPH on that big grade. We tossed around our options and decided to limp it down the hill to the Hungry Valley SVRA (an acronym for a state riding area) so that we could park the trailer and prepare for an extended stay.
We stayed here for a little over two weeks in February 2010. The weekly rate was $230 with a Good Sam Discount. The nightly rate was $35.
The campground is small, but well-kept. Sites are somewhat small, but ours was level and easy to pull into. At least 50% of the units in the park seem to be permanent, so there is some noise in the morning when people leave for work. If you enjoy the Paso Robles Wine Country and are looking for a relatively inexpensive place to stay this is a good choice. Easy access off of Hwy. 101.
Paso Robles RV Ranch
398 Exline Rd.
Paso Robles, CA 93446
We had heard about Quartzsite, Arizona as the snowbird capitol of the RV world, so we decided to make this our first stop since it’s January and we don’t want to get too cold.
Here is the info:
It’s located about 20 miles west of the California border along I-10. It is easily accessed from the interstate by taking the Quartzsite exit. We are staying in a campground managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in one of their long-term visitor areas (LTVA’s). They really do allow you to stay long-term — 7 months to be exact. For a mere $180 you can stay from September 15 to April 15 without having to move. You can buy your permit at each of the kiosks at the entrances. If you get in when the office is closed go ahead and park, then go by the office as soon as they open (9-4).
There are no hookups, so come with full and empty tanks (you know which ones are which). Dumpsters are available at all sites, and dump stations and free water are available at La Posa South LTVA. BLM trail maps can also be purchased at the kiosks.
We headed out for wild blue yonder on December 30, 2009 with every intention of going to Texas to ‘become’ Texans by registering our cars and getting driver’s licenses. We promptly blew a tire on the trailer in the first 50 miles, which was changed by my husband Terry and son Kurt with plenty of grumbling and obscenities along the way. They are getting really good at it though.
Even so, we made it to Banning, CA as planned and spent the night at the KOA there. We couldn’t run the heater in the trailer that night because we had the quads in the cargo bay. Kurt’s quad leaks gas pretty bad, so it was kind of like sleeping inside of a giant gas tank. I was afraid to run anything fueled by flames. Which is why I couldn’t cook, so we went to a restaurant for dinner. I decided to show Terry the really cool weather app on my iPhone, and how I had been watching the weather in Texas, Paso Robles, and Quartzsite Arizona all at the same time. He was intrigued and decided to put on his granny glasses so that he could study it some. After looking at the weather in Texas he exclaimed that he liked the weather in Quartzsite better. So right then and there we decided to stop in Quartzsite the next morning, unload our giant gas tank and park there for awhile.
We enjoyed our first real day of full-timing on January 1 by visiting one side of one street in several of the tent cities in Quartzsite. They have vendors who sell everything from $1 kitchen gadgets to $5,000 rocks for your yard. Had a great time doing that and only scratched the surface of the ‘shopping’ available.