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Storm Chases me Out of Oregon to Pahrump

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I took this photo in Pahrump in 2008, my first year of boondocking in the Lower 48 States.

I took this photo in Pahrump in 2008, my first year of boondocking in the Lower 48 States. I instantly fell in love with Pahrump and have returned many times since then. (I have such fond memories of living in my old F150 4×4 truck, I plan to sell my van and move into a truck this winter.)

I’m typing this from beautiful, sunny Pahrump Nevada. As you may know, I’ve spent my summer in Oregon and had planned to stay there until Thanksgiving for a family reunion. But you also probably have heard, a big storm hit the Pacific Northwest and brought a ton of rain, wind and cold with it. I had already been camped in rain and cold for over a week, so I couldn’t stand the prospect of more!!  So being the dedicated Snowbird I am, I headed south.
Having lived for over 40 years in Alaska I’ve had a lifetime supply of cold, dark and dreary–no more for me! I really had thought I could spend fall and part of winter in eastern Oregon and stay comfortable and warm but I discovered that was not true. I had just driven through it and found almost no Verizon internet connection anywhere. Because that’s essential for me I knew I couldn’t stay there.
I also found that it was much colder than I had expected. Worse, these big storms that brought huge amounts of rain covered the entire State, including Eastern Oregon. All in all Oregon was simply not a place I wanted to be past the beginning of October. Summer’s great, fall not so much!!
While I’ve loved my time in Oregon, and I still had a month left till Thanksgiving and my family reunion in Medford, my hopes of staying there until then were dashed!! So I chickened out and ran away.
We discussed at length where to go and one of my favorite places is Pahrump Nevada. It’s a great little town that I love and is pleasant this time of the year–not too hot or too cold. It’s large enough to have everything I could need and best of all I can camp within 4 miles of a Walmart–something I hadn’t done all summer. As you can see from the pictures I’ve spent a lot of time here and I really love it.
I took this photo in Pahrump in April of 2011 when the spring bloom was on. Pahrump can be very pretty in the spring!

I took this photo in Pahrump in April of 2011 when the spring bloom was on. Pahrump can be very pretty in the spring!

The only drawback to going to Pahrump was it’s distance from Medford where the family reunion would be at Thanksgiving.  I had to drive back there in November so the further I drove away the more gas I burned and money I wasted. But I was sick of the rain, cold and dreary weather and my solar was not keeping up, if I stayed much longer my batteries were going to be damaged. I literally needed sun and Pahrump was the very best place to go and find it!
By now I was really sick of driving. At the end of September my son had come to visit us at Salt Lake City so I had driven 2500 miles round-trip from Joseph Oregon to Zion and Bryce National Park and then back to Joseph, Oregon. And here I was a week later driving another thousand miles south to Pahrump Nevada.
In total I’ve driven almost 4,000 miles in about 3 weeks. For most people that would not be a great amount (and when I was younger, would not have been for me either) but it’s a lot for me now. I’m not a big long-distance driver anymore. It’s hard on me, it’s hard on my van, and it’s hard on Cody. I’d much rather move slowly and enjoy my trip then constantly rush, rush, rush to get somewhere.
But this had to be done to maintain my sanity and my batteries in this terrible weather. So I put on my big-girl panties and drove 1000 miles to Pahrump.
I drove on 20 from Sisters Oregon to Bend to Burns and then straight down 95 to Winnemucca Nevada. Then I drove straight down the middle of Nevada on 305, 376 and 95 to Pahrump. It’s all high desert and mostly just plain and unattractive. But some of it is amazingly beautiful–especially the area on 50 at Austin, NV! The desert became more attractive the further south I drove. I was reminded all over again how much I love the desert! Every Spring I’m tired of it and need to get back into the mountains but every fall when I go home I’m delighted to be back to my beloved desert.

Like nearly all deserts everywhere, Pahrump has many spectacular sunrises and sunsets. That’s one reason I’ve fallen so deeply in love with the desert. To be happy, I have to spend time in the mountains every summer, but when fall arrives, I need to return to my beloved desert! My heart sings whenever I get there! Photo taken in April, 2016

Fortunately there were others already waiting here for me. I’m now camped with four other van dwellers from the tribe and I’m enjoying the company, the Sunshine and the warmth. My batteries are also much happier now!

In this photo you can see how close we camp to town. My van is slightly to the right of dead center. Photo taken in April, 2016.

Another reason I wanted to return to Pahrump is because it’s my home base. I have Obamacare health insurance and it’s based in Nevada. I have a doctor here in Pahrump and therefore intend to pass through here every year for an annual checkup. I had  already made an appointment with him for October 21st. So if I had followed my original plans and stayed in Oregon until December I would have needed to reschedul it. That’s difficult to do when you’re a new patient, they require several months notice. I’m glad to be able to keep my appointment with my doctor.

Some of you are probably thinking to yourself “Wait a minute, we never finished with his Oregon travels!” Sorry about that, but they will just be delayed, I will still get back to them. It was a priority to let you know where I am so that if you want to come by and camp with me, you can.
Every spring Pahrump is alive with wildlife! Wild horses come down from the mountains, jackrabbits are everywhere and you see many Desert Tortoise. I took this photo in April, 2011.

Every spring Pahrump comes alive with wildlife! Wild horses come down from the mountains, jackrabbits are everywhere and you see many Desert Tortoise. I took this photo in April, 2011.

Sadly, Caroline is not here, she had planned all along to return to San Francisco to sell her car which is in storage there. So now is the perfect time to do that before going to Medford for Thanksgiving. Once she sells it, we’ll meet somewhere in the middle, we’re thinking of Bishop California on 395. We both love 395 which is always one of the most beautiful drives in the country and is sheltered from most of the rains by the Sierra mountains.
Being on the East side of the Sierras, Bishop California has always been one of my favorite places and fall is a truly a beautiful time to visit, especially with fresh snow on the mountains, plus, you can drive right up into the High Country and see yellows on the trees. We’re both looking forward to it.
So there you have it, I’m in Pahrump Nevada and you’re welcome to join me here! As the winter goes on I’ll keep posting about my campsites in Oregon so you’ll know where to camp and visit in Oregon.

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  1. Vanholio!

    Heck, I don’t blame you! I was just up in those parts. I missed the storms, but the wet on the coast was bad enough. I’m in Arizona now and grateful for the dry. Even up high when it’s cold at night, the fact that it’s dry makes it more bearable. I just can’t stand a wet cold.

    • Bob

      I 100% agree, nothing is as miserable as wet cold. I’ve literally been where the thermometers read -70 below, and I would take that over wet cold any day!

      • Lisa

        I am so interested in this living style I an a Bus driver in Yosemite NP an want out I’m 66 SS is only going to be $1100 Pension $435 can I do this want truck an trailer should I wait till I can pay cash another year or jump

  2. Cae

    When the weather turns, so do I. Can’t blame you on that one. Your conclusion about going back to a truck camper 4×4 is exactly where I ended up as well. I went from a trailer to a van, then a truck to a 4×4 truck. I’m pretty happy at this arrangement as I really like going to the least accessible camping places.

    • Bob

      Cae, I totally agree. I find veen when I go to the accessible camping spots I can get stuck in sand and rocks. 4×4 is pretty essential to my way of traveling.

  3. Whitey

    I’m still trapped in those storms but happy for those of you who can escape it.
    If you’re thinking about a Four Wheel Camper, better order it before Dec. 1st as they are raising the prices by almost a grand.

    • Bob

      Sorry to hear your stuck their Whitey. I’m not a fan of pop-ups and I am extremely unlikely to spend that much on a camper. I’m after a very small, very light camper, just not sure exactly what that will be.

      • ecrw

        love my 1992 toyota hilux with built on winnebago 21 feetlong and 14.5 mpg v6 engine

    • Ming

      That’s exactly why I didn’t end up with a four wheel camper, every time I saved up enough money, they would raise their prices, then the Canadian exchange rate got really bad.
      I ended up buying locally and getting something a bit smaller at half the price.
      It’s on a 2WD truck right now, which leaves me the option to easily transfer the camper to a 4WD later if I find that I need it.
      Bob, check out truck camper magazine, they just featured a few small and light hard sided campers that look better built than Capri’s.

  4. Lawrence "Larry" Cutting

    Yes, I agree with you, Bob! Desert is the best as it gets colder! Follow the sun. I’m headed to Baja, but will see you at the RTR. Internet will be sporadic, I think, at best in parts of Baja, but will spend a great portion 7 miles north of San Felipe and the internet should be just fine. Think about coming on down sometime.

    • Bob

      Larry, for some reason Mexico has zero appeal to me. Partly because I’m not a water guy, the coast and beaches are of no interest to me. What else does Baja have? Another culture, but i have zero interest in culture, I’m addicted to nature, not man-made things.

  5. Lawrence "Larry" Cutting

    Pahrump looks beautiful, by the way. And, I agree about the truck camper. That would be ideal, I think.

    • Bob

      Thanks Larry!

  6. Cindy

    Would love to be there right now! So great you can just move. What kind of set up are you getting? 4×4 truck and camper or trailer? I was thinking truck with camper may be a good set up.

    • Bob

      Cindy, truck and camper is what I’m thinking, but who know, all my plans are written in Jello!!

      • Al Christensen

        Forrest might be able to set you up with something. You know how he is with horse trading and judging the mechanical soundness of vehicles.

      • Teri Kennedy

        LOL! “Written in Jello”!
        Classic “Bob” quote.

  7. Roxy

    I was thinking about you in Oregon with those storms. I lived in Oregon for a year and Washington State for a year, and those storms can be hell (especially when it snow), and the winters are not suitable for sun lovers. I’m so glad you got out safe, and made the wise decision to leave. This is one of the reasons we live this life, so we can be where we choose, when we choose. Health and happiness comes first! 🙂 See you in January, if not before.

    • Bob

      We think exactly alike Roxy! I gotta have my sun!

  8. Rob

    2055 miles from Pahrump Nevada as I sit in my chair by a bubbling brook in the Cherokee NF in Tennessee.
    Gotta love Google maps, gps & these smartphones!
    Obligations over the next month or so are going to keep us in this part of the world until after Christmas. Then we head west.
    Pahrump is famous for other things too. Art (Bell?) used to host the radio program “Coast to Coast” from the town & as I recall hearing they still had bordellos there.
    I am looking forward to the post on your current thoughts on a pickup camper.
    This was an excellent post all around & “no more for me!” are words to live by!!

    • Bob

      Thanks Rob, yeah, Art Bell is still something of a local celebrity here. I loved hii show and thought he was great! When you get out here, be sure to look me up!

  9. joe

    Are you staying in Pahrump or Will you retire their

    • Bob

      I’m a nomad, I hope to never settle down to one place. I’ll be here for 3 weeks at the most.

      • joe

        Ok just thought I’d ask by the way what type over truck c you afford and are you going with a cab over camper

          • Calvin Rittenhouse

            Even though my plans revolve around minivans, “something” I respect tells me to work out how to use a pickup. What makes the most sense to me is to build a high cap of my own. I imagine that could be simple enough for my tools and skills if I don’t make an RV out of the cap itself. As I like to say, “The rest would be carpet and camping gear.”

          • Bob

            That would be interesting Calvin. I envy those of you with such skills. I look forward to seeing whatever it is you end up doing.

          • Lucy

            Hi Bob, question, aren’t those ‘ capri thingies ‘ a little TOO small ? Are U & Cody going to feel comfy in such reduced space ? How I see it… in good weather you 2 guys can live out of it, but what if there are few days of rainy weather & U need to keep inside the camper…won’t you feel claustrophobic ??
            My regards to you & a hug to Cody boy. Lucy.

          • Bob

            Lucy, I’ve lived in a smaller camper than that so I know I can. It will force me to get back to my minimalist roots and I really want to do that. But I very much appreciate your concern!

  10. Steve

    You take some nice pictures Bob.

    • Bob

      Thanks, I’ve taken 10,000 bad ones, so now I can take some good ones!

  11. Steve

    If you get a 4WD truck with camper, will you tow a small utility trailer for extra storage?

    • Bob

      No, I want to return to my minimalist roots. By nature I am not a minimalist, I need a tiny space to keep from collecting stuff.

      • Lucy

        Bob, son, come down to your senses dear, those campers are W A Y Y Y too small for you & Cody.
        Sincerely, momma Lucy. LOL.

        • Bob

          Lucy, I’ve actually lived in a s,aller camper. My homebuilt camper was 6×7 feet and I plan to get a 6×8 feet this time. I’ll also get a crew cab instead of a supercab, so it will be larger. I know I can do it, but you are very right, it will require me to get back to my minimalist roots. That’s my real goal!


    We bought our 2000 F350 crew cab — 8′ bed — 4WD (with the mighty 7.3 diesel) for $10,500 about four years ago. I go looking online from time to time and have not since found a single rig I’d be willing to trade ours for at that price or less. To me, that feels a lot like driving this truck for 60,000 miles for FREE. She still serves us extremely well and has taken us any place we ever tried to go — even towing our 33′ fifth wheel to places most RVers wouldn’t even try. We’ve had a few relatively minor expenses: replaced both front wheel bearing assemblies, new water pump, new alternator, new rear axles seals, but no complaints and no regrets. She’s a beast but oh-so-pretty.

    • Bob

      That is one of the all-time great trucks and engines, you did good!!!

  13. Nancy bee

    Bob, interesting idea. Enforced minimalism by sticking to a small vehicle. I have noticed myself tending to add complexity to my travel vehicle and I think it is a very human thing to desire more. More everything.
    That would be a good blog topic. Minimalism for those it does not come naturally to. Like me, and probably many of us.

    • Bob

      Good idea Nancy. Thanks! However we get there, less is definitely more.

  14. Bethers

    I recently looked up the Alaskan mini hard-sided pop-up campers. The dry weight is 875 pounds. On the inside, they kind of remind me of the interior of an old sailboat. Any thoughts on those? Looks like Capri has a lighter weight model too at around 700 pounds.

    • Bob

      Bethers, I am a big fan of Alaskan campers!! The main thing is they are good old-fashioned quality–they take pride in their work! Only you can decide if on is right for you, but you will not have the problem so many people have with their RVS and the extremely poor quality of construction. They are made to last a lifetime.

    • brattydog

      I really like the Alaskans, but they have leak/rot issues like any RV. And, the prices… I really think I could build a nicer camper than most I see on Craigslist for much less money.

  15. Tina

    Hey Bob,
    I was thinking of you when I heard about those storms coming. I’d be getting out of dodge as well 🙂
    It will be interesting to see what truck and camper you go with if you change your setup. Any thoughts to making one yourself like before?
    Stay warm in the sun

    • Bob

      Tina, it needs to be vry light and I’m not a good enough carpenter to make it light and strong. I can easily make it one of the other, but I don’t know how to do both. So I am planning to buy one already made.

  16. Eric B

    Bad luck. This is by far the rainiest October on record in Oregon! Usually it seems we have dry Indian Summer type weather til mid October. I’m urban boondocking and having problems with my 100 watt solar and single battery. Luckily I have a place I can plug into on some eves to catch up. Have you checked out Arctic Fox campers? Theyre in eastern Oregon. Very well insulated but prob kinda heavy and expensive.

    • Bob

      Eric, I’m glad I cut and ran when I did!! We’ve had some great weather here in Pahrump, NV!
      I know some friends who had a terrible experience with Artic Fox. They bought a lemon and had it back to the factory many times in the first year until they simply refused to fix it anymore. Since then they have essentially rebuilt everything in the camper. Real piece of garbage, so I don’t have a favorable opinion. But, it’s much too big and heavy even if they made quality products.

  17. Mike

    Hello Bob, I live in Henderson and I would love to TV over to Pahrump to meet and camp. I know it’s a small town but a big desert!
    Could I get directions to your camp please?
    Thanks, Mike

    • Bob

      Sounds great Mike!

  18. Mike

    RV….not TV!!!

    • Bob

      Those are words to live your life by!!

  19. GarryVK

    Bob I enjoy your website
    For your charging problem take a look at getting a CTEK 56-677 combo solar and engine charger.
    It uses power from solar panel or alternator while driving and it’s an actually a real battery charger with multi-stage charging with temperature comtpusation.

    • Bob

      Garry, I’m familiar with the CTEK and have heard many great things about it. It’s price holds me back from buying it but it does look like a very good thing.

  20. jj

    Hi Bob,
    I am a new fan! I am learning all I can from you. I still need to finish up 3 years for retirement benefits, but I hope to be a pro by then. Love reading your blogs and watching videos, a lot of what you say resonates with me! especially about Walmart in the above post! I had to laugh and ask myself if you were my long lost brother. I am glad you had some time in my home state of Utah! One of the most beautiful places on earth! Hope to see you on the road sometime.

  21. Susan Maguire

    Hi Bob. Recently watched your video featuring the single women from San Diego, long silver hair, with a 2006 Forest River Sunseeker 24′ Class C. She had a rear kitchen that I thought was just right. Having a difficult time finding one such model. Looking “used”. is all new vehicles. Any ideas? Maybe it is a specific model #??? Thanks

    • Bob

      Susan, I’d start searching craigslist and expand your search to any nearby major cities.

  22. Alvara

    Hi Bob
    I have been watching a lot of your youtube videos…(Alvara DaCosta)
    Question>>>>Do you only boondock in the deserts?
    How do you find your deserts locations for boondocking/

  23. Sue

    Hi Bob n all!
    I also loved the rear kitchen in the Forest River Sunseeker. So far my rear kitchen is the tailgate of my 4X4 which also has great views and is quite roomy. I am thinking about crafting some fold out sides for the rear kitchen, kind of like opening flaps on a box. The sides would have mesh bags and eliminate lugging out things in bins to set up each time for cooking.
    I am also interested in how to find good locations for boondocking.
    Happy travels! – Sue

  24. Linda

    Hi Bob…Want to say thank u for blog..videos etc..been reading..watching for several years…3 yrs ago I purchased an old 87 dodge b150 slant 6.. snub nose van to practise in…tried and loved Walmart camping and for 7 mons hospital camping while my mother was ill…loving the urban camping…retirement is coming up and plans are formulating for vandwellong. .do think I will need to upgrade the 87 even though I love her and she has given me no problems…question…DO u have many Canadians doing the van dwelling..I cannot seem to tap into any information even though my plans are to travel to US and homebase in Vancouver area?

  25. Jim Ragsdale

    New to your youtube channel. I may have a life event that will allow me to single RV in a year or so. I have two questions:
    1. What does a sample itinerary look like over a year? Do you hang out for months in a spot or do you spend the non-winter months traveling. And how has that changed versus say your first year on the road?
    2. If there was one or two things most people would carry more of, what would they be? I’m thinking water and propane. As I think of my rig, I’m thinking pickup and trailer with extra water tanks in the truck bed and extra propane tanks there too.

  26. Frank Ash

    Glad to see so many enthusiasts know the area you’re in! Plants and animals see all the tourists, so plan that way you’ll be a pro

  27. Shadow's Mom

    Hello Y’all!! I have a service dog who goes everywhere I do so I call her my Shadow! She is a Newfundoodle. Or Newdle mix. Standard poodle X Newfundland (great big dark hair dog left behind by the Vikings) She gets a lot of attention and I don’t, which I like so I am known by many as “Shadows Mom.” Works for me! Anyway, this is the first forum so if I break any rules just let me know. The last post on this site was back in July so I don’t know much if that means I will or will not get a response. I do look forward to talking to a whole new group of people that I can throw any weirdness at and be understood. I did see a video that I believe was made by Bob and some women that I would probably understand. If not thats okay. I bet you would say the same anyway. I’m in Colorado Springs and take my Chevy S10 out on backroads that most 4×4’s can’t believe how I get where I’m going. Used to have a Jeep Comanche 4×4. Sad story. Not with me anymore. If I am writing too much let me know for next time. I go places that I only witness a distant truck a few times during Labor Day. I go by myself, me & Shadow, so it would be nice to meet some people so I could get some 2 legged company. I started this “comment” a few times only to have it disappear a couple of times so if you see anything weird just ignore it. I am not sure if this is a “blog site.” Definitely new for me. Not the adventure part, just the tech part. I’ll catch on sooner or later. I’ll also kick around here a bit before I sign off. See y’aaa! (not everyone in Colorado is a cowboy!!)

  28. Kirk

    Hi Bob, I’ve been following you and the gang for years.
    Hope to live this dream one day. Long story and we’re all full of excuses.
    Right now my wife wants no part of it. That may change in the future on my end.
    Anyway…. I did sell some items and a truck and had saved some money and bought a 2017 Ford F-250 4×4 and a Northstar Larado. Pick it up this December. Can’t wait. I’m in a position to buy new right now and most likely this may become my home in the future.
    Just wanted to say hello and I hope to do some solo trips to check things out on my own. Recently sold our home and have moved back to the High Sierra full time again. Crowley Lake. It’s the perfect base camp for now but would like to make an address in Nevada one day. California is so expensive.

  29. Moonglow Doran

    I’ve been to Pahrump also and it’s really a nice little place I used to live in Goldfield Nevada and so I would do a lot of my shopping in Pahrump or I go into Bishop California to do my shopping not much around Goldfield but I really love that little town it has a lot of character and a lot of characters

  30. Don

    If you leave your boondocking camp which is not with others, to go hiking or biking, then there is a risk your camp can be raided by people. And there are some areas where bears and poisonous snakes could be an issue. Are you able to treat snake bite?
    This post is in response to your “Dispersed Camping #2” where you talk about how safe you are far away from a town. Seems boring to sit around camp all day even if free camping. I still plan on doing some of this kind of camping though.

  31. Susan

    Hello Bob: Thank you for all you do to get the word out about a different life style. I am looking foreword to meeting the tribe!
    I am in a car, I want a van, and I am keeping my eyes open for anyone who might want to trade for a 2003 Subaru outback limited with 153,000 miles. It run well and with continuing up keep in my opinion it should run well for many years to come.
    What I like best on your YouTube videos is the information that you give, tips to get started and interviews with others on what works best for them.
    Bye for now and I will keep you tuned in on YouTube! ✌️

  32. Cam

    Hi Bob,
    I’ve been boondocking to work from Oregon/Nevada with my Chevy Duramax and TopperEZLift ( in my canopy… working out wonderfully. Thanks for sharing so much info! Hope to meet you sometime in NV.

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