Settling into Life on Boot Hill

We’ve been here at Imperial Dam LTVA for longer than 95% of our campsites, I’d estimate, and I guess we’re getting the hang of this place.

And I have to admit, it’s treating me a lot better than it is Tracy. I’m getting to be gregarious and reaffirming my faith in humanity (kind of), whereas he’s taking care of all the maintenance jobs that’ve been sitting on our list. Poor guy. At least his wife is happy while he’s doing it.

Daily Routine

I have a real organized activity on four, maybe five, days a week (we’ll see how the Sunday music jam session goes later today). I know I mentioned this before, but it’s worth repeating! Yoga and Spanish, both led by winter residents here, are a pleasure.

I can wander the convoluted camper-made roads here on my bike to get to them and stop to say hi to whomever I meet. And of course I volunteer to ride the trash to the dumpster, because that takes me by the library where I can peruse the table of free stuff (nothing good there so far except what I’ve left!).

While Tracy’s on his long walk with Banjo, I bike over to Tyll’s campsite to see what’s up. His nomad friends are starting to show up (he seems to have a following, from being a nice guy, clearly, but also from his days of being a mobile stage/sound system/lights/karaoke/video screen/aka party-unpacked-from-a-trailer-on-a-moment’s-notice dude).

From his peeps I’m getting an inkling of how nomads who meet likeminded people travel together loosely or meet up for events (like Tyll’s,) or intertwine their trips so they’re social more than alone on the road. When I admired this in conversation, they all laughed and warned me that the drama among people living on the road can be high—but these folks seemed cool as cucumbers to me.

This is from about a hour hanging with them; I hope to do more social research soon. 🙂

Evenings totally suck here right now. You know how we feel like failures if we have to spend time inside, and it’s been night after night inside here because of the cold and wind. Today, finally, we’re risking damage from wind and setting up our tent, and maybe we’ll put up the walls and set the propane firepit on low inside to keep it warm enough to spend at least the start of the evening in there.

Because, inside the trailer we end up eating and drinking and watching TV, and that ain’t what we started this lifestyle for.


Here’s part of Tracy’s list he’s been working on while I’ve been joking with strangers about Tyll’s dancing skills. A lot of these we’re able to do here because we can get packages delivered.

  • Truck tires: expensive, but overdue.
  • Bike rack part: argh, we broke off the same damned section of the bike rack in the front. Luckily my bike remains undamaged.
  • Diesel fuel additive: can’t be shipped to an Amazon locker.
  • Mail from Texas: Woohoo, doctor’s bills!
  • Doodad hanger on door: this has been ripping apart slowly over the past year; I was able to find the same over-the-door shoe holder at Target here, so soon we’ll have a new one up. This thing is ugly but of so essential, no matter where we are: bug spray and bear spray, suscreen, flashlights, and Banjo’s halters and leashes. All right where we can grab them, whereas everything else in the trailer is in some plastic bin under another plastic bin stashed in some corner.

Our Campsite

Tracy’s also figuring out the dump station and potable water here and how long we can last between having to hitch up and bump our way down there, then drive back to our campsite.

I think we’re going on this short but crucial trip tomorrow, and when we get back to the campsite, we’re going to position the trailer so the door faces the west; the opposite of how we have it now. When we first arrived our goal was to create afternoon shade for ourselves, but now we want sunshine and a block from the wind.

This is the first time we’ve stayed in a spot where we pull out to dump tanks, then return to the same spot and can modify our trailer position. Live and learn, literally.

We’ve also learned this by observing the campers around us: where their door is and where they put whatever they use to screen the wind. Many of these folks have been coming here for the past dozen winters, and we have a lot to learn.

They’re still pouring in, too, like Tyll’s peeps. Or we think they are. The land is so vast here that it’s hard to tell when you just look out if if the density of campers has increased. Plus, instead of them all being the modern kind with a brown swish on the side, they’re almost all weird: homemade campers built on a truck (someone’s building one near me), converted school buses, very old trailers and fifth wheels, and of course lots of old camper vans.

I believe there is only one newish Airstream, other than us, out of the hundreds of campers here. I always feel like we stick out like a sore thumb, but here I know we do.

What I can say for certain is that these folks know how to boondock for the long haul. There are tilted solar panels, wind turbines, giant water barrels, outdoor rooms created with makeshift wind blocks that have Christmas trees in them; people have ebikes, ATVs, dirt bikes, everything they can use to live in and get around the camper town we’re living in.

What they don’t seem to have are many hikers. Every time I’ve walked somewhere, at least one person in a vehicle has stopped to politely ask if I want a ride. I guess their assumption is that you’re walking only because you have to. I walk to give my bicycling muscles a break from rushing to my classes. The life of a person with things to do. Amazing.