WheRVe we been? Our travels, 4th quarter 2021

December sunset on our friend’s property near Boerne, TX, our current home

As the sun sets on this year, we are looking toward a 2022 in which we will not be full-time RVers.

Eyebrows down. It’s really not as dramatic as all that.

We’re not coming off the road; we’re just exploring it via alternate means for a couple of months, and I’ll get to that in the “Where to next” section, I promise. No clickbait here — just a little suspense.

Let’s start like we usually do, with a map of our travels since the last quarterly update.

We spent the first few nights of October dry camping at a nondescript county fairgrounds complex in OR, just killing time until our next reservation.
From there, we traveled to UT, then NM, then TX, where we’ve been since Nov. 1.
RV miles traveled this quarter: about 2360  
(Map does not reflect exact routing.)

Utah/Virginia ~ October 4-14

Tim and the RV babysat each other at Hill AFB, while I flew to coastal VA for my 27th (mostly) annual girlfriends’ weekend — at which no babysitters are allowed even though there is no actual adult in charge. We eat, drink, and spend too much, don’t sleep enough, laugh until we pee, and regret nothing.

Hobbs, NM ~ October 18 to November 1

The minute registration opened for the Escapees Habitat for Humanity Hangout back in June, my fingers were on the keyboard. Two weeks of construction work for the greater good? Sign us the hell up and take our money.

There were two main projects at the affiliate in Hobbs. Not only did Hangout attendees get the home building experience that everyone pictures when they think of Habitat for Humanity, but we also helped move the ball significantly forward on renovating a recently purchased church building into their new multi-purpose headquarters (offices, meeting spaces, and a ReStore) — all of which will help further their mission and benefit the Hobbs community.

Many of us learned entirely new skills: tiling, mudding & taping, hanging drywall, reading blueprints, framing and standing up walls, and more. We also had a team of kitchen volunteers who prepared and served hearty hot lunches, the cost of which was budgeted into our Hangout fees, on most work days.

It was emotional, exhausting, and gratifying, and in addition to bonding with so many new friends, we all have an open invitation to return to Hobbs on our own, park our RVs, and raise our hammers any time we want to put in a few days or weeks of work.

Our friend, Dan, created this clever trailer-style video to capture the feel of the Hangout in one perfect minute.

Texas ~ November 1 to present

We spent a week at one of the crown jewels of the Texas State Parks system, Palo Duro Canyon, which is near Amarillo. But… the black tank valve got stuck, necessitating a multi-day, messy and expensive repair effort, leaving us with only one day to go on a hike, on which we got separated, and Tim spent an hour searching for me because I thought he’d know I’d return to the truck, but it turns out he didn’t know that at all. We are almost to the someday of “someday we’ll look back at this and laugh.”

After that, we rolled onto a friend’s ranch property near charming Boerne, TX, and other than two brief side trips, we’ve been here ever since. From here, it takes us only 40-60 minutes to get where we need to go in San Antonio to visit family, doctors and dentists, plus we get scenic views and quiet nights, with almost no traffic on our little ranch road.

We really hadn’t expected to be here this long (our original plan involved spending more of this winter boondocking in the desert), but lengthy gaps between follow-up appointments are keeping us anchored to San Antonio through January. Thankfully, the issues are merely pesky and not serious, and we’re near tons of family, friends, tacos and margaritas, so what’s not to love?

Have to admit it. That man I married looks pretty damn happy with ranch life.

And then there were the dogs

As I was reviewing photos for this post, I realized we got to give lots of ear scruffles and lap snuggles over the past three months. Here. You can meet them all too.

Where to next?

Did you think I’d forgotten that thing I said up there about not being full-time RVers in 2022? It’s true. We’re leaving the truck and RV here on the ranch and flying to Mexico for two months — at least, that is the plan unless things become utterly f*cked by the continuing pandemic, in which case I might not be writing the quarterly update I expect to write come April 1.

But if it happens, we’ll be spending February on the mainland near Guadalajara, and March on the Baja near Cabo. I’d love to tell you more, but in our typical “meh, it’ll all work out” fashion, all we’ve got locked in so far are our one-way tickets to Guadalajara on Feb. 1, which leaves me with just one thing left to say.

Hasta la vista. Maybe?


We started full-timing in August of 2015, but I didn’t think to do an annual review until the end of 2016, and it was just a listing on Facebook of places we’d visited. After that, I started using a quarterly format.

Home is… where the cave is?

Two days before Christmas, we took a 30-mile road trip from our RV park in Pahrump, NV, to the old mining town of Shoshone, CA, established in 1910, and boasting a population of 31 people according to the 2010 census.

Shoshone is easy to visit if you’re touring the southern end of Death Valley National Park. If you’re coming from Nevada, it’s about an 80-minute drive west of Las Vegas; from CA it’s about a 2.5-hour drive northeast of the Barstow area.

The miners and prospectors who lived here back in the 1920’s didn’t have access to a lot of building materials, so they dug cave apartments into the surrounding clay hills. The guide we picked up at the local museum reports that this area, called Dublin Gulch, has been uninhabited since the 1970’s. It definitely felt a little spooky, and reminded me of my trip to California’s Bodie Ghost Town in July.

I’m gonna let my photos tell my story; if you’d like a little more history, go here.

Condos in the cliffs.
Hello, Fred Flintstone?

Close-ups of some of the doorways

This one had a little shrine outside, containing lots of objects that are full of sentimental value — and probably tetanus.

There was even a 1-car cave garage at the end of the row.

You can peer inside the abandoned dwellings. Several still contain old bed springs, rusted stove pipes, and other evidence of habitation.

The miners were messy. But I guess if you don’t have weekly trash pick-up, you create your own garbage dump by tossing your pork-n-beans cans out the door when you’re done with ’em.

Meanwhile, in downtown Shoshone…

Don’t blink because you’ll miss it, but do park your car and get out to explore. The museum is free (donations gratefully accepted), and the walking tour can be done in less than an hour, depending on how long you like to linger.

This old thing?
It sits in front of the Shoshone Museum, which served as the town’s general store and gas station back in the day.

This structure was built from adobe brick made on site, although the year is not given on the walking tour hand-out.
The original building, a restaurant, burned down in 1925, so it was sometime after that.
Now it’s used by the Inyo County sheriff and the BLM.

Heading east of town just half a mile, you’ll come to another canyon with a few more cave condos. Watch for the dirt pull-out on the north side of Hwy 178, and tread carefully, as the sandy-pebbly surfaces are a bit slippy.

This former home is called “Castle in Clay,” and boasts what appears to be two stories of living space. Potential real estate description: rustic 1BR, 0BA, EIK with sedimentary rock countertops, natural HVAC, no HOA, no need for lawn mower.

We thank our friends, Dan & Lisa, for alerting us to this place. They’ve got a blog too; check them out at Always On Liberty.

Looking into the canyon from the highway…

… and looking out toward the highway from the canyon

We were able to climb up the loose hillsides to peer into some of the caves.
That upright shrub below the cave is actually Tim on his way back down.

Of course our 19-year-old, who was visiting us on his winter break from UT-Austin, had to go to the tippy top. If you’re humming, “All by myself… don’t wanna be… all by myself, anymore…” I’m right there with ya.

To put it all in historical perspective, Fred Flintstone and his friends in Bedrock were out of production by 1966. Those caves in Dublin Gulch? Abandoned four years later. Guess it took a while for news to reach Shoshone that stone age living was no longer trendy.