Free BLM Camping Again – 010
Happy New Year!
Podcast Episode 010 – Transcript
Good morning Camp Pendleton. This week finds us back on the West Coast for episode 010 of our Boondocking life podcast. Thank you for joining us once again, and we have got a jam packed episode coming up. First we’re going to describe our journey to becoming Texas residents. Then we review two vegan restaurants and What’s for Dinner Tonight in our rig, and finally we share our New Year’s Eve experience in Quartzsite, Arizona. So, please join us.
Welcome to our Boondocking Life podcast. I’m Louisa, and together with my husband, Michael, and our dog, Sugar, we’re traveling full time in a Class B camper van vising national parks, monuments, mountains, oceans, lakes, rivers, and everywhere in between. All the while finding cheap sleeps and good vegan eats along the way, and we’d like to share them with you. So, join us each week as we share different things. First, where we’ve been and where we’ve found free or really cheap camping spots to include military bases. We’ll also share what’s in our fridge, or which new vegan restaurants we’ve discovered. And, finally, we’re going to have a section called, Who Knew. This is the section where we’ll share what we’ve learned this week, because who knew there was so much to learn about traveling full time in a camper van.
We thought we’d start the podcast this week with a recap of how we became Texas residents, because often times when we meet people and they see our Texas license plates, they assume that we are Texas residents, which is true. We are. But we have not always been. We’ve only actually been residents of Texas since June of 2018, the last seven months or so, and that’s because once you become a full time RV’er, if you maintain your residence from wherever you were in the past, you might have to pay state income tax, and different kinds of fees related to your rig. So, we found that if we were to become domiciled in Texas, we would have a lot of benefits. And so, what we did is we contacted a group called Escapees, and we’re gonna talk more about them later when we talk about our New Year’s Eve experience.
But we contacted the Escapees people and they were so helpful in sending us information about how thing become Texas residents that we decided we would drive over to Livingston, Texas as soon as we could and stay at their place which is an Escapees RV Park. It’s for members only, and it’s $21 a night with full hook ups, and you have to remember this is Northeast of Houston, Texas, and when we went in June, it was 95 to 105 degrees, with 95% humidity, and the mosquitoes are really very hungry at that time of year. So, take some mosquito repellent if you don’t wanna be eaten alive.
But, we enjoyed our stay there, and then there were three things that we had to do while we were in town, and we’re gonna talk about each one of them. The first one is rig inspection. Then you need to get your registration, your rig registered, and then you have to get a Driver’s License. So, we’re gonna talk about each one of those. Michael, you wanna talk about getting our rig inspected?
Texas has a very formal system for vehicle registration and part of is actually have a physical inspection of your vehicle. You, drive it into an official station. They take your vehicle away, drive it around, check the brakes, check the lights, and the general condition of the vehicle. And once the vehicle passes the inspection, you can register your vehicle. You need to have an annual inspection, and then you can renew online thereafter. Fairly simple. They have inspection stations all over Texas.
And the cost?
And the cost was, for our vehicle in Livingston, was $7.
Okay. So the easiest part about getting the rig registered was the fact that we already had a Texas address, which is where Escapees helped us out by giving us a mailing address which is very handy, and there are over 10 thousand people who use the Escapees address for their domicile. And so, this company, this Escapees, actually, is very good at forwarding your mail, looking through it if you choose to have it scanned, and then you get to request they send it forward to you, or the destroy it. So, we had an address already, so we didn’t need to worry about that, thank goodness, because from the rig inspection, we went over to get it registered, and we had to show proof of a Texas address, which was on our insurance card.
And then, we also had to pay $196 and we had to show prior registration from California, proof of Texas insurance with the address, proof of vehicle empty weight, and we used the brochure or the cat weight from when we got it weighed at one of those weigh in stations along the way. And then we would receive our plates and stickers for inside the window right then. So, all of that was handy, and we were able to get that done right away but it mainly because we had a Texas address. Then we were able to walk down the street to get a Driver’s License at the Department of Public Services. It costs us $25 each, and this is the tricky part. You have an application there, but you must bring a passport or birth certificate, social security card, or military ID, or something with your social security number on it like your W-2 forms.
And, that’s where hopefully you have a social security card and a passport. But, not everybody carries a birth certificate around, or their W-2 forms. So, you need to really make sure that you have those things because in order to get a Texas Driver’s License, it only costs $25 but you do need that proof of who you are. So, we got all of that done right there in Livingston, and it felt very-
Next up, join us for our review of some vegan restaurants. So, the first one we’re gonna talk about is in Tucson, and this is actually the second time we’ve gone to this restaurant, so it’s becoming a favorite, and Michael’s going to give you the review.
The name of this restaurant was the Pita Jungle and it’s located in Tucson. They have wood fired pizzas. They have salads. They have wraps and a lot of humus. We had the wood fired veggie wrap, and this had tons of great tasting vegetables. It had eggplant and zucchini, bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, fresh basil, garlic sauce, and pesto. It’s important this is not a vegan only restaurant. So, you wanna make sure you ask them for the vegan options, which for us meant no cheese on that particular wrap. They were delicious and highly recommended when you are in the Tucson area.
And so, that was the second time that we have eaten at that restaurateur. Can you tell me what the prices are like there, because remember we always find vegan restaurants a little more expensive.
So, the wraps were between $12 and $13 per wrap and the hummus was about $7 to $8, and you also get some bread dips with your hummus and vegetables. So, they are a little bit more expensive, but delicious for us.
So, that was the Pita Jungle in Tucson, and they have a couple of locations I saw on their menu and on their website. So, the next one we’re gonna talk about is really not a restaurant, it’s actually just a cupcake place, but we found this one in Encinitas, California on our way over here where it’s warmer than in Tucson right now, and so it’s called Yummy Cupcakes, and it is voted number one cupcake in San Diego, and then just recently it was voted number one cupcake in San Diego County, and they were very proud of that, and they had signs all over saying that they were. And so, I got a coconut cupcake, and Michael got a chocolate and vanilla cupcake, and of course they were $3.75 each, but yummy and they lived up to their name. So, we really joy having a treat once in awhile for a yummy cupcake. If you’re in the area, look them up.
We had black beans, quinoa, brown rice, peppers, onions, and also add kale to that meal. I love kale and we always will have kale, spinach in all of our meals that we make. Additionally, lots of spices, smokey paprika, garlic, basil, cilantro, and then we steam up all of the veggies, mix those together and it makes for a wonderful meal, and also leftovers, and it keeps really well.
Of course, Dr. Gregor says throw in the turmeric, so we do that, and we also add some nutritional yeast on top for all the B vitamins that you want, and it’s like a big goulash kind of meal, but it does last for a couple of meals at our house, so we always have that for either lunch the next day, or dinner the next night, depending on what we need. So, it’s really yummy, and Michael likes to cook, so he is the chef of the house.
Next up, it’s New Year’s Eve in Quartzsite, Arizona, so stay tuned. We had the opportunity to attend the New Year’s Eve over in Arizona with the Escaper’s Club and I’d like to give you just a little bit of background of who that club is, or what that club is and who they are for. They are part of the Escapees club that we already talked about earlier, and the Escapees is one of the largest, and oldest RV lifestyle clubs. So, now with modern technology, the Escapers are the people who are within a community within the Escapees RV Club, created for working aged RV’ers. Now, working aged is all sorts of ages, so you can’t really say a certain age.
But, if you are working on the road, and you live in your rig full time, you pretty much qualify to be an Escaper. Now, I don’t think they even say you have to be living in your rig full time, but what they do say on their website is this. We are an RV lifestyle group of Escapees RV club that is inspired by the club’s original roots. Escapees founders Joe and Kate Peterson were just 43 years old and working on the road when they started full time Rving. When they formed the Escapees RV Club in 1978, 40% of the members were under age 50. The majority were still working at least part time, and nine of the first 100 member families were traveling full time with their kids.
Escapers is an extension of those original roots with the goal to bring Escapees back to it’s roots of providing service for working age RV’ers. So, I really was drawn to this group because they are people who are not just retired and hanging out, which I think is a wonderful things to do if that’s what you want to do. But, these are working adults who are actually living and traveling full time in RVs, and that’s what we felt we are doing, even though we’re retired. And another part of their website says this, we seek to escape the traditional life pattern of a career, a house, and accumulation of possessions in favor of a more minimalistic and nomadic lifestyle that focuses on collecting experiences instead of things. Deciding to make this change now, rather than waiting for a someday that may never come.
And, had we heard of Escapers before we decided to retire, this is exactly what we decided to do when we decided to retire. We wanted to make sure we hit the road and saw the rest of the USA before we became to old, and to informed so that we couldn’t travel. So, that’s why we retired. We wanted to get on the road and get out. So, we traveled over to QuartzSite from El Paso and we were happy to get out of El Paso only because it was getting cold at night. It was dipping into the high 20’s and when you’re living in a class B motor home, you worry about the night temperatures and freezing your pipes. So, we had to get out of there, so we headed over to Quartzsite, which is on the far West, Southwest corner of Arizona.
It’s actually right on Highway 10, right on the border between California and Arizona, and it was still pretty chilly when we got there, but it was in the mid 30’s at night, and so we didn’t worry too much but, it didn’t get up very warm during the day, and so we didn’t really stick around too long. But, we do enjoy meeting people who are like minded and living out of their RVs, and working out of their RVS, and so I want to give a shout out to the two Carrie’s that I met, Carrie, and Carrie, and also to JP who is instrumental in providing all of the background and the actual putting this whole New Year’s Eve party together. He was instrumental in doing all of that because he actually works for Escapers, and then we’re going to see them next week up in Lake Havasu City.
But, we enjoyed our time there, and we got to see Leslie and Jeannie again, who we met last time when we were in Quartzsite. But, Michael’s gonna give you a little bit of tip on what to do, or what you can accomplish if you need to do things like dump your tanks while you’re in Quartzsite. Take it away.
Quartzsite has bare minimum of everything there, so you wanna make sure that when you go to Quartsite that you have your water tanks all filled up, and if you need to dump, there are several facilities that provide a dump for a fee, and also propane and fresh water. If you’re going to stay there for any extended time, you’re going to be visiting those places. Also, we noticed that there is a local facility for taking your trash because this is BLM land, and there is no designated trash dump in the area, so be prepared to use an external place to dump, get your propane, and water while you’re in Quartzsite.
So like Michael said, this is one of those places that doesn’t really have anything big, like there’s no Walmart, there’s no Safe-Way, there’s no Vonn’s, there’s no big grocery stores. There is a big gem and stone show coming up here in January, and then there’s a bog RV show coming up. Si, it’s a mecca for RV’ers who like to live on BLM land and not have to pay any RV park fees. And that about wraps it up for us here in Quartzsite, and we’re going to be heading up to Lake Havasu City, Arizona for the annual Escapers Bash. I think it’s called Escapers Annual Bash, and that’s where we expect to meet hundreds of like minded travers with the Escapers group, again.
And, we’re looking forward to that, and the weather looks better. So, right now, we are in California. We are in Camp Pendleton at Lake O’Neill, one of our favorite places, but we are a little bit chilly because they have some restroom issues going right now, and no heat in there. So, if you need to use restrooms, and you want to take showers when there’s no heat surrounding you, it’s pretty chilly. So, we’re heading out on Sunday to go up to Lake Havasu City, but in the meantime, we’re going to be going to a Cube of Truth in San Diego on Saturday, and so you can see some pictures on our Instagram page at Heaven in a Class B, or you can go to our website at www.vegansonamission.com.
And so, I’m working on the Instagram stories. I’ve put a couple together. So, if you wouldn’t mind going there and checking them out, I’d really appreciate it, and let me know what you think, and give me some tips and hints on how to make them better. We’d really appreciate that as well. So, please take care and see you on the road.
We are a retired teacher, Louisa, and a retired physician assistant, Michael, married for 39 years, who want to help busy travelers begin and maintain a healthy life-style while on the road.