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Arizona Monsoon Season

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I’m not a normal blogger, because I rarely write about my daily life, so today I am going to correct that. So gather around ladies and gentleman, boys and girls of all ages, step right up to the greatest show on earth: THE LIFE OF BOB!!!!!!! Yeeeeeeaah! And the crowd goes wild!

Rain, rain, go away, come again another day!

Rain, rain, go away, come again another day!

The Monsoons are Here!

Every time you meet someone, you start out with a discussion of the weather, so I am doing the same. “How’s the weather–I’m glad you asked!” I can summarize it in 2 words: IT SUCKS!!” It really does!

The good thing about all the rain is that now I'm camped on a lake!

The good thing about all the rain is that now I’m camped on a lake! In the Kaibab NF, you have to camp within 30 feet of the road.

I’m still in the Kaibab NF about 10 miles from Flagstaff. I’d heard about Arizona having a “Monsoon” season but I always thought to myself, “Ah common, it’s Arizona, how bad can it be?” Well, now I know the answer, which is, “It’s unbelievably bad!” It has been raining for about two weeks straight with only an occasional let up. And not just a little drizzle here and there, no, sometimes it is a gully-washer rain, the kind that picks up your car and washes it downstream a few miles. I’m glad to say the forest has handled all the rain well and other than some very large mud-puddles it really hasn’t been a problem. The pictures give you an idea of all the mud, but so far only one person has got stuck and he tried to pull his big Airstream trailer through a field—not a good idea!
I had to deploy my tarp-awning to maintain my sanity! I'm stuck okay being inside as long as I can keep the door open. The tarp let's me do that in the rain. I had to deploy my tarp-awning to maintain my sanity! I’m okay being stuck inside as long as I can keep the door open. The tarp let’s me do that in the rain.

Fortunately it isn’t like that all the time, the extremely heavy rains only clobber us a few times a day, then the rest of the time is a light to medium rain. This has been going on for a month and at first we got some sun every morning, but for the last two weeks we rarely saw the sun; not even for a minute! I’m glad to say it has let up and we are back to getting sun every morning again.
My good friend Randy (the King of the Codgers) modeling the latest model of mud puddle. That is the main road coming into camp, for some reason driving through the puddles isn't </a><p id= My good friend Randy (the King of the Codgers) modeling the latest fashions in mud puddles. That is the main road coming into camp, for some reason driving through the puddles isn’t a problem.

This makes me very glad I have enough solar! I’ve cut back my use of power to the minimum and so the batteries in the trailer have never gotten below 12.4. But I am reminded again why my advice to everyone who asks me how much solar to buy is AS MUCH AS YOU CAN AFFORD. Don’t bother with the calculation and figuring out exactly how many amp-hours you need per day. Prepare for the worst and buy all you can afford!
Thi is the largest puddle on the road, it's at least 20 feet wide. No one has gotten stuck in it yet.

This is the largest puddle on the road, it’s at least 20 feet wide. No one has gotten stuck in it yet.

The best, thing about the monsoons is that it keeps the temperature at just about a perfect level. Days are in the mid-70s and nights are perfect for sleeping. The rains were late coming so it had got pretty hot here. The mid-90s was the top and we were all concerned we would have to leave and find milder weather. But as soon as the rains hit it cooled right off and is very pleasant.
Another view of the tarp-awning.

Another view of the tarp-awning.

The worst thing about the monsoons is how much it scares Homer. Poor dog is just terrified by all the thunder and lightning—sometimes it sounds like an explosion that will just tear the whole trailer into pieces! To a small degree he has gotten used to it but as I am writing this the afternoon deluge has hit and he is laying on the bed beside me trembling with fear.

Homer is Struggling

For as long as Homer and I have been together, he has had problems with his joints. He has always walked with a very strange gait that looks odd—people have often commented on his strange walk. But he was such an incredibly healthy dog that I didn’t worry too much. He is also an amazing athlete. When he was young, whenever we were with other dogs, they were always chasing each other around. He was so fast that there was never one that he couldn’t outrun. Not only was he fast, but he could run all-out at top speed for miles on end. Watching him run has always been one of my greatest joys!

Homer has NEVER met a mud puddle he didn't love!

Homer has NEVER met a mud puddle he didn’t love!

He has also struggled with bouts of a strange limp. Just all of a sudden he would start limping—and it was never the same paw, it could be any of them. There was no pattern or rhyme or reason to it. Sometimes it was mild and no one would notice but me, but sometimes it was severe and he could just barely walk. I tried many times to give him Glucosamine Chondroitin, but he simply would not take it.
Homer is almost 10 years old now (which is old for an 80 lb dog). In the last few years he has slowed down tremendously and stays close by when we walk and runs much less. When he gave up chasing rabbits and deer I knew it was time to make some changes. About a year ago I cut back on our walks from 2 hours a day to 1 or 1 ½ per day. That seemed to help. But in the last few months he has gotten much worse. He appears to walk with some difficulty and the limping has increased and gotten worse. A month ago I bought a pill-grinder and started grinding up Glucosamine Chondroitin and putting it into his food. I also grind up and give him a baby aspirin every day.

Another advantage of all the rain is I don’t have to go to town as often for water!

Last week he jumped off the bed and sprained his paw and could barely walk. For the very first time since we found each other, he stayed home from a walk. I started taking him out on a short, 10 minute walk together, and then I put him in the trailer, and went for a long walk without him. That has made a big difference and he seems to be doing much better.
That will become a permanent thing from now on. I always knew this day would come, especially this last year as I’ve watched his physical ability decline. Amazingly, he has adapted to staying home remarkably easily. I have always dreaded the day that I had to leave him home. I feared it would be heart-breaking for both of us. And the first few times were sad, but after a few days, he willingly jumps up onto the bed and settles into it. It really does seem like he knows this is best and he feels so much better, he’s actually grateful to be able to stay home. It makes me feel like maybe I have been abusive and negligent to not stop earlier. Maybe he has been miserable on our walks and he just never could let me know? I’m with a lot of other people and we walk together so the walks have gotten longer and longer. I should have cut them short but I was enjoying them too much—sadly, Homer was the one who suffered.
Fortunately, in every other way he seems to be in very good health. He is bright, alert and happy. Other than the walking issues, you would never now he was such an old dog. I’m hoping the extremely wet weather may be making the issues worse and it will get better once we are out of it. But even if it does, he won’t be going for long walks with me anymore.


  1. mcbe

    Fish oil might help with joint inflammation.

    • Bob

      Mcbe, that is a very good idea! Plus, even if it doesn’t help his joints, it is very good for the rest of him. I’ll start giving it to him.

  2. Mara

    Awwww….sorry to hear about Homer “making the transition” to the next phase in his life. I can’t say for sure, obviously, but I’m thinking that if Homer had needed to stop the walks, he would have let you know. Sounds like it was just the right time… or at least for now.
    Enjoy the rainbows 🙂

    • Bob

      Mara, thanks for the encouragement. The problem is that like most dogs they rarely show pain. He could have been in great pain and just kept going. His heart is so much bigger than his body (which is pretty big!). His walking has tremendously improved so I think we will have many more years together.

      • Mara

        Maybe he just needed a little rest, a little time off his feet? Ermmmm…paws. 🙂
        It does happen to the best of us. Blessings to both of you!

        • Bob

          I think you are right Mara, it seems to be working!

  3. Anna

    Homer is one of the best dogs I’ve ever met. I’m truly sorry to hear he’s having so much trouble. It’s heartbreaking to watch a beloved pet decline. Now is his time to rest; perhaps his job is to keep the home fires burning for you.

    • Bob

      Thanks Anna, he is really a great dog. Cutting back on walking has drastically improved him so I think he is going to be around for a long time.
      Your right, our relationship has just modified and is no where near coming to an end!

  4. rick

    Bob, have homer tested for lymes. one of the signs is tender paws and limping

    • Bob

      Rick, that’s a good idea and in fact it occurred to me as well. But it has been going on for the last 5 years and has no other symptoms. Right now it just seems like old-age. Now that I’ve cut back on the walks, he seems to be doing very well. He is even running a little bit again. Tanks for the idea though, it is a good one.

      • Mary

        You should have him tested anyway. I had a dog that got lyme and she was diagnosed by a vet as old age arthritic for over a year. It looks like old age and is chronic. The treatment made her a new dog.
        Also, if he is arthritic, try cetyl myristoleate (500mg/50# weight). It was tested on dogs with excellent results but because it is a natural substance no one wanted to go further with it. Very safe. If it is going to work, you should see significant results within a month. I get it cheaply from The lyme dog improved markedly on this, but it is no cure for Lyme.
        Dasuquin gluchosamine has been scientifically tested and proven effective on dogs and cats. My vets also recommend fish oil. I have a long history of treating and living with arthritic dogs.
        Rimadyl NSAID is good for getting over a crisis but like with people, it has some significant long term negative side effects. But rule out Lyme disease first.

        • Bob

          Mary, I very much appreciate your feedback, hearing from someone with your kind of experience makes all the difference. I just order the Dasuquin gluchosamine and the cetyl myristoleate from amazon and will give them both a try.
          Just reducing his walks has dramatically improved Homer! His limp is gone and he is ready to run and play even. I also don’t let him jump off the bed. I slide his back legs off so he is standing on them with his front legs on the bed. He fought that but seems to be getting used to it. We are going for two 20 minute walks a day and that seems to be going okay so far. I am giving him an aspirin a day, glucosamine and fish oil.
          The reviews on the products you recommended are incredible, so I am pretty optimistic they will help as well!! Thanks so mush for sharing that, Homer and I really appreciate it!

  5. Peggy

    So sorry to hear about Homer. We buy glucosamine/condroitin/msm in capsules so it’s easy to open one up and mix into the dog food. Just like Homer, one of our dogs used to run like the wind at every opportunity but now she’s 12 and doesn’t like to walk far at all and she has a strange gait too. However, our other dog, also 12, seems to be getting more energetic each day. So the walks have been cut down drastically from the old days. Now I walk the dogs then put them in the van while I go for a bike ride along the logging roads. It’s sad, I know, and we seem to feel guilty no matter what we do. But I’m sure you know that you’re doing your best for Homer and always have his best interests at heart.

    • Bob

      Thanks Peggy, yeah, you just can’t help but feel guilty that you can’t do anything for them. Knowing how much they love to be with us running in nature makes it hard to leave them pined up at home. Sometimes love has to make hard choices and choose the lesser of two poor choices.
      But that’s what love does, and it sounds like we both LOVE our dogs!!

      • Peggy

        You got that right, Bob!

  6. Kim

    So sad when our loved ones start showing their age. But sweet Homer seems to still be in really good shape and will continue to enjoy strolling with his BFF – just shorter distances.

  7. Yolanda

    Bob, I’m sad to hear about Homer. You have given him the best life any dog could ever dream of. I’ve seen his smile :0)
    I love your new lakefront property, I’m so jealous! I was actually thinking of heading back out that way but I think I’m heading north instead, up to the Sierras? Mammoth? Any tips?
    Regards to Judy and Gloria.

    • Bob

      Yolanda, If I were you, I would head for the Sierras. I spent 4 years there and the last rain (or snow) comes in early June then it is gorgeous for the next 3 months. Sometime in September they get some some rain but it isn’t bad. october is fall and rains can be bad and snow is due any time. MUCH better than northern AZ in the Monsoons. I was near Shaver Lake CA which is just up from Fresno. Beautiful and you can disperse camp for free for the whole summer. Problem is limited internet or cell phone. You have to be fairly close to Shaver Lake to get either. I can tell you some secret camps where you will.
      Mammoth is a great idea. I have friends who spent the whole summer there and loved it. Find more about it here:!Mammoth Lakes, California

  8. Gary

    Bob, sorry to hear about Homer. I haven’t seen it mentioned so I will. Jumping down off the bed etc. might be a bad thing for an older dog. I’ve had a couple over the years that at about age 10-12 I stopped them from jumping off things because they would start limping etc..
    May I suggest a new doggie bed for Homer large enough for him to stretch out on/in and teach him to use it instead of the bed/couch/chair etc.? I suggest that due to the fact that as we age we can’t handle the sudden stop of jumping off things as we and our dogs used to before age started catching up to us. Our old nerves don’t get our muscles to react fast enough to cushion the shock as they used to and that damages joints, nerves and spinal disks and leads to more or less constant aches and pains.

    • HoboHounds

      Or if space allows he could use a ramp?

      • Bob

        hobohounds, I’ve tried to get Homer to use ramps before and he hates them! For now I am just helping him off the bed.

    • Bob

      Gary, that’s a good idea! The first thing I did was start sliding Homer off the bed instead of jumping. He does NOT like it!! But I always cuddle him and rub his tummy so he starts to see it as a positive instead of a negative. I use the bed as my chair and office and with all the rain I/We have been on it a lot. We both love being on the bed together. Some dogs don’t like a lot of contact, but Homer can’t get enough. And of course I can’t keep my hands off him.
      Being on the bed is non-negotiable, so it’s just up to me to get him off it without jumping. I’m glad to do it.

  9. HoboBerg

    Sorry to here Homer. Candy just hit her 14th year, and is struggling as well. Like you said I think the wet weather might have a impact. I have been contemplating getting Adequan shots for her there suppose to work wonders.
    As far as the monsoons go 9500 feet is where its at! Although we get plenty of rain it doesnt get muddy just turns the grass green. Take Care!

    • Bob

      Hoboberg, if I’m moving, it is to where there is NO RAIN, not less mud! I’d probably go to the Sierras where the weather is usually perfect. Actually the mud has not been a problem. That doesn’t make sense but I haven’t even been close to getting stuck and walking isn’t a problem either.
      I’m not sure I would want it to be cooler, the temperatures here have been perfect in the mid-70s–generally I wear a very light jacket. The forecast is for sunshine next week, so I think it may be improving. We’ll see….

  10. Lois

    Bob, you’ve touched on a subject that is near and dear to my heart. I, too, have an old dog who travels with me – Dinah Dog is 16 years old and is an 80# Golden Retriever. Until 2 years ago, she walked with me everywhere but like Homer, I knew the day was coming when she wouldn’t be able to continue doing the things she was doing with me, like going for long walks.
    I’ve noticed over the years that our dogs don’t really let us know when it’s time to quit – they continue to go with us even when it pains them just because their dog-jobs include being with us no matter what. At least, that’s been my experience.
    Dinah doesn’t like being left in the trailer either but I know it’s best for her. Two years ago, I bought a dog ramp off craigslist that she now uses to get in and out of the back of my Montero (she used to just jump right in) – even with the ramp, I “help” her as she runs up. She has doggie Parkinson’s in her rear and sometimes wobbles as she walks. Just going down the step out of the trailer, her back legs sometimes collapse. I know the day is coming when she won’t be able to get up at all. I dread that day, even though I know we’ve had an incredibly long time together.
    When we’ve been traveling and she has to go up and down the ramp more than usual, I give her a baby aspirin in the morning and one at night. Usually one or two days of this and she’s right back to her normal happy self. (I checked with her vet before doing this and he said it was perfectly fine, even for 3-4 days at a time.)
    It’s hard to consider that our traveling companions are getting older and that the day will come that they won’t be able to continue on with us. I try to enjoy each day with Dinah, as I know you do with Homer, and pray that when the day comes, I can make her as comfortable as possible and say good-bye to her without making her suffer. Give Homer a pat from me and Dinah Dog.

    • Bob

      Lois, wow Dinah is 16 years old, that is amazing, she must have a truly wonderful owner! One of the principles I try to live my life by is to live in the moment as much as I can. But when it comes to Homer I always try to have the future in mind and know that when our time together comes to an end, I want to look him in the eye one last time and know that I did all I could to make him as happy as I could. I’ve failed many times, but I really have tried. All we can do is our best. When that day comes for you and I, as hard as it will be, I’m sure that knowledge will bring us both a lot of comfort.
      I loved your blog and subscribed. I’m looking forward to getting it.

      • Lois

        Thanks, Bob, but other than taking care of her as I have any other pet I’ve had, I don’t think I can take any credit for her longevity! I think she thinks her dog-job isn’t complete yet and so she still just sticks around.
        You echoed my sentiments as well. It’s nice to know there are others of us out there who view our dogs (cats, birds, etc.) as members of our families, not just an additional mouth to feed (or not). I live each day as it is but I keep my eye on the future when it comes to Dinah.
        I’m looking forward to heading down your way this winter and meeting up with somewhere along the line. Dinah and Homer should have lots to talk about, these two dogs-on-the-road!
        Thanks for the comments about my blog – and the subscription, too! Love reading yours, as well as your comments on the vandwelling page.
        — Lois

        • Bob

          I told Homer he was going to make a new traveling friend and he was very excited (he’s hoping she’s cute!)! He (and I) operate on the idea that you can’t have enough friends!

  11. SwankieWheels

    Yep, Homer has the biggest heart of any dog I have ever seen. Glad you have such good insight on his needs. I know that feeling well, not being able to walk or keep up with the ones I love. Homer is secure in you love for him and the wonderful home you provide for him. His quality of life is as good as it can be. Like someone else said, his job now is to keep the home fires burning, and train any young whipper snappers that come his way. Homer has a very large pack out here.

  12. mcbe

    I’ve also heard many dog owners rave about “Thundershirts.”

  13. Bob

    Jim, that is one very good thing! The fire danger had gotten so bad they were seriously talking about closing the Forest and making everybody leave. The monsoons got here just in time or I wouldn’t be in Arizona now.
    Thanks for the encouragement, I’ll keep em coming!

  14. Lynn

    So sorry to hear about Homer, it is hard to stand by and watch our pets suffer. One suggestion is have you thought of getting him some doggie shoes. My brother has a German Shepard who had trouble with her feet and now she has her doggie booties which add padding to the soles of her feet and she is doing much better. You can probably find some online. Most likely it is arthritis but still the padding may add some comfort.
    Re: weather, I just recently watched a documentary on climate change and we can expect more severe weather in the future. I live in a very dry climate and this summer has been so unusual with 60 – 80% humidity. Luckily we don’t have an overly hot climate so it is bearable but I have never seen rain and humidity like we have had this year.

    • Bob

      Thanks for the suggestion Lynn, I do have booties for Homer but it isn’t his paws, it’s his joints, I’m pretty sure of that.
      There is very little question about Global climate change. It has become of the most studied things in science and all the new research is verifying it. All the predictions about it are coming true and much sooner than we had thought. It’s very likely we have already reached a tipping point and now we just have to ride out the coming storm.

  15. Al

    My name is Al and I really enjoy your posts, which come to me by email. First, concerning Homer, bless his heart. ( that’s what we say down here in Georgia). Perhaps you might have him checked for arthritis. My late dog-son, Bo had to take a pill every day in his later years for his and it seemed to help him. I wish Homer the very best!
    On a different subject, I am still working and have 6 years before I can even qualify for early Social Security. So I will not be hitting the road for quite some time in a full time capacity.And YET, I was SERIOUSLY considering moving into a van and living in it as my permanent home while I continue to work But recently I read a number of comments from van dwellers on a FB group where they were having a very time with the heat. And I THINK I remember reading you say that an AC is not feasible in a van. SO, the wind has been let out of my sails, so to speak, because van dwelling won’t be worth it if I have to suffer to do it. MY POINT: do YOU have any words of wisdom or advice on this subject or could direct me to any previous posts you may have made on this subject?
    Thank you for your great blog, Bob. My best to Homer and have a GREAT NIGHT,

    • Bob

      Al, there are some minor things you can do to make the heat more bearable but the bottom line is that if it is 99 degrees outside with 90% humidity living in a van is miserable. With enough solar (a minimum of 600 watts) and 8 golf cart batteries, you might could run an portable or window air conditioner for 4 hours a day. I doubt that would be enough.
      Your only viable option is shore power (hooked up to a 110 volt outlet) to run an air conditioner. if you can find a reasonably priced RV park that might save you some money. Or maybe family and friends will let you park in their driveway and use their 110. Some people even run an ad in Craigslist looking for someone to let them park in their driveway and run an extension cord for power so they can use an AC. Offer to pay them $100-200 a month and pay for extra power costs.
      I wish I had a better answer but extreme heat just does not mix well with vandwelling.

      • The Frugal Concierge

        Thank you Bob. The driveway, shore power option sounds good.

    • DougB

      Al, there’s a guy at who is building the second of two travel trailers that are intended to provide temperature comfort regardless of outside temps. He has actually stuffed in enough solar power to run a very small air conditioner during the daylight hours, and added enough insulation to make it effective. However, this demand does not allow for windows, in his view. Technically, it works well and is quite an achievement. Whether one would enjoy living in it is an individual thing. Although it is a converted cargo trailer, the equipment cost would be a show-stopper for many, too. Given the need for an ability to hold temperatures regardless of weather at extremely low running costs though, it could fill a need for the right person and location. See what you think.

      • Bob

        Doug, wow 2200 watts of solar and counting! Makes your 800 watts look paltry by comparison. At $1 a watt that is $2200.
        I think I would rather just move with the seasons.

      • The Frugal Concierge

        Thanks Doug. I just saw your reply and I will check it out!

  16. Spork

    It may be a little late for dietary supplements, get a canine NSAID from a vet and Homer will feel much better.

    • Bob

      I’m afraid you are right Spork, I will follow your advice!

      • JAC

        Try miloxicam. Works like a charm for my older dog and the added plus is it is cheap when filled at WalMart (about $8 for a six month supply). A blood test for liver compatability is necessary. Good luck!

        • Bob

          JAC, thanks for that suggestion! I’ll mention it to his vet.

  17. PamP

    Thanks for a look at your daily life. Isn’t there a Country Music song with the lyric “Got some lakeside property in Arizona”—-I thought it was a joke, but you showed me otherwise. Sorry Homer is feeling his age. Your love and care for him is the best medicine he could ever get. Like this old lady, maybe he’ll have less pain when the damp weather goes away.

    • Bob

      Pam, I am hoping so.

  18. Naomi

    You might want to look into Rimadyl, which is an NSAID for dogs.
    Years ago, I found an older blue tick hound, and we had no other choice but to keep her (she stole our hearts). She was in rough shape – the vet said she looked as if she’d been bred to death. We had her spayed, vaccinated, etc. She did well for a while, but eventually started having difficulties walking. Our vet put her on Rimadyl. It turned her into a pup! One day soon after beginning this drug, while on our walk, she spotted a squirrel. I let her off her leash, thinking she would never get close to it. She almost caught it! She didn’t seem to suffer from joint pain after that.
    We never knew exactly how old she was, but her last 2 years were about as good as any dog has it. I don’t know if it can help Homer, but I hope you find something that does.

    • Bob

      Thanks Naomi, it helps a lot to know that it worked so well for your dog! I’ll look into it!

  19. Steve N Zeke

    Godamnit, This kills me, i wanna be there, you know this but Zeke will make things worse… damnit, as I have tears in my eyes for both you and Homes… Anything just ask bro, hell lets roll to the CA heat, shaver lake woods… If this is his last summer lets go to where we know he loves… Zeke and i are ready to travel, lets go… Any time you are ready bro…
    Steve N Zeke

    • Bob

      Steve, wait a minute THIS IS NOT HIS LAST SUMMER!!!!!!!!!!! Did everybody read the whole post? This is a quote from it:

      Fortunately, in every other way he seems to be in very good health. He is bright, alert and happy. Other than the walking issues, you would never now he was such an old dog.

      Homer is going to be a around for a LONG time to come. He just isn’t going to go for such long walks.

  20. Gennifer

    I’m so sorry that Homer is in pain. I hope he feels better when the rains subside. Although I’m sure he’s happy to have you cooped up in bed with him while the rain keeps you inside. 🙂

    • Bob

      Gennifer, thanks for your well-wishes! You’r right, Homer loves laying up on the bed with me. Whenever there is any kind of bad weather he jumps right in. Too hot, cold, windy, rainy–he’s right there beside me. Sometimes he comes in just to be in.
      It’s a win-win deal- makes us both very happy.

  21. wheelingit

    I’d heard about those AZ monsoons, but have never experienced them. That’s a tad more rain than I like…time to head to UT mountains perhaps? We spent some nice time above 9000 ft (cool) in UT several years ago. Flaming Gorge is also very cool (and lots of boondocking).
    So sorry to hear about your old boy slowing down 🙁 It’s so darn hard to see our best pals age. I’ve been through this a few times and it never gets easier. Our thoughts are with you!

    • Bob

      Thanks Nina, I appreciate your kind thoughts! Out of the blue my mom wrote and said she was going to come out and visit me in early August. My aunt lives in Clovis NM and she is going out to visit her, so while there they will drive over and visit with me. Flagstaff is the perfect place for that because there is so much natural beauty around and it is a great town. I’m camped only 10 miles out of town so it is very convenient for her to stay at a motel. No room at my place for overnight guests!
      So i am here until she heads back home to Florida. Besides the rain has gotten much better the last few days. But I have given thought to Utah. Like you, I really like it there also.

  22. Al Christensen

    Now that I’ve seen photos of your van/trailer/awning/dish/gear all set up, it’s easy to imagine why the ranger gave you grief about “living” on public land rather than just camping.
    (I know, stupid new interpretation of regs, too.) You look like you could be about a half step from erecting a cabin and digging a mine shaft. We seldom see ourselves and our stuff the same way others do. We can start to think we are the norm — because it is the norm for us. Maybe you’ve been boondocking and hanging around other boonbockers so long that you’ve lost reference as to what it looks like when someone really is just camping. Just something to think about.

    • Bob

      Al, you make a good point. But the main thing that makes it look like I am living here is the awning and the awning only comes out in the rain. It wasn’t out when the ranger was here. Otherwise I have a camp table, barbeque, a bicycle, a camp chair, some water, a solar panel, and the Satellite dish.
      I was a campground host in the National Forest for 4 years, and in that time I saw literally thousands of campsites that people set up. They were all temporary, the great majority were just for the weekend–I bet 90% were there for less than 4 days.
      You can NOT imagine how elaborate the majority of them were. My camp is nothing compared to nearly all of them. No, a Ranger knows how huge most camps are and so my camp didn’t make him think we were living there.

      • Al Christensen

        Looks like I’m the one doing the misperceiving. Sorry.

        • Bob

          No problem at all Al, I do have a busy camp. The fact that my space is so small means more is done outside making it even busier.

  23. CAE

    What was the name of that white paint you put on the top of the van that stayed cool to the touch even in desert heat?

      • CAE

        Thanks Bob, I think I’ll paint the top of my boat cabin with it. I’ll report back on what happens.
        On topic: I’ve got a 13 year old terrier that I got from a rescue place in 2000. There’s been times when that dog has been the only thing that kept me going. Any person with friends like that, is truly wealthy!

        • Bob

          CAE, I can relate! I’ve been so down that the only reason I could think to keep going was Homer. I must be very wealthy!

  24. Varmint

    Bob, I’m sorry your boy is slowing down these days. Brings our mortality right into our faces. On the other hand, what memories we’ve shared. Teaches us and others more about love and compassion that we ever realized possible. Great rewards, indeed.
    As for Al Christensen’s comments….I kinda’ thought Bob’s setup was on par with the richest man’s setup. He just doesn’t have an Airstream, because he doesn’t NEED it, and he knows it.
    I think this silly interpretation of the law stems from the idea that “if we CAN generate more revenue with this type of enforcement, we WILL”. It also stems from the erroneous idea that the forest is for the use of land/home owners instead of CITIZENS. A few lawsuits, filed through the ACLU or the ACLJ will probably go a long way towards correcting such abuses of power.
    I’m not sure if someone else will do this, or if they’re behavior will provoke violent reactions from angry citizens in the future, but there is one thing of which I’m certain: ALL of our liberties are under attack, and will continue to be, until citizens are angry enough for some political heads to roll.
    By the way….if I understand the way Bob “looks” correctly, he could paint his hair pink or flourescent orange and put spikes in it, and then he’ll look like a west coast lawyer. 🙂

    • Bob

      Varmint, I like the idea if pink hair with spikes–and braids in my beard. hafta give that a try!

  25. Bodhi

    Two of the cruelest realities of dog companionship… their shorter lives and our greater need for them.

    • Bob

      Very true Bodhi!

  26. Douglas

    I have lived in the phoenix area my whole life. Our rain can be a torrential downpour at times, just not very many times during the year.

    • Bob

      Douglas, here in Flagstaff the rains have just been tremendous! I was stuck in the mud yesterday but we finally got 2 full days of sunshine so it is drying out really fast. This will probably be my only summer in Northern AZ.

      • Douglas

        We have gotten some regular sprinkles here today, enough to get the windshield wet. At least it was enough to keep the dust from caking on the windshield.

        • Bob

          Douglass, after a week of perfect weather we are getting some rain today also here in Flagstaff. But it is supposed to be nice again tomorrow so I don’t mind.

  27. Douglas

    I thought you lived inside your van, have you converted your trailer as well?

    • Bob

      Douglas, I’ve been living in the trailer for the last 3 years. I only bought the van last December. Until then I had a 4×4 Ford F-150 pickup. The van is for storage and taking trips in.

  28. Phyllis

    I just wanted to let you know that I have been reading your blogs, sometimes for hours at a time. I hope Homer is doing better and able to go for shorter walks. I have a small dog with bad knees n he can’t walk more than two blocks.
    I have a minivan, and I will either become a vandweller soon, or if things work out, I will stay in stick house until I save a few thousand to buy a bigger van. Time will tell.
    A while back I purchased the Kindle version of your book “how to live in your car…” and I have enjoyed reading it. Thank you for writing it.
    Have a wonderful weekend coming up, NO MONSOON!!
    Phyllis in Mesa AZ

    • Bob

      Thanks, Phyllis! Homer is doing much better! Cutting his walks has seemed to make a huge difference. And the weather has also drastically improved. After not seeing the sun for about 2 weeks in July the weather now is nearly perfect. Mostly sunny during the day and a very occasional light rain. Day tie highs of about 80 and night times of 50. The locals talk to tell me that the heavy rain was very abnormal and this is very typical. Hallelujah!
      I hope you get just the perfect van for you!!

  29. Rifat

    I like your blog, thanks for sharing. I love this information you shared with us. I am waiting for your next post. Keep it up.

  30. Digital Rakibul

    Much appreciated, Phyllis! Homer is improving! Slicing his strolls has appeared to have an enormous effect. Furthermore, the climate has additionally definitely improved. After not seeing the sun for around fourteen days in July the climate presently is about great. Generally bright during the day and an extremely intermittent light downpour. Day tie highs of around 80 and evenings of 50. Local people converse with disclose to me that the weighty downpour was unusual and this is average. Thank heaven!

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