Socializing in the Clam

I’ve been reveling in “zero days” since we’ve arrived at Imperial Dam LTVA—that’s what AT thru-hikers call days when they make no progress on the trail at all.

Zero Days

My zero days mean I haven’t gone hiking, kayaking, errand-running, anything-ing that’s productive. So, how do I spend my time?

We put up the tent and bought additional attachable sides, so even on chilly, windy days I can sit inside and practice Spanish (ustedes comen) and ukulele (“Handle Me with Care”).

Being in the tent with all the sides up (being in my cave, as Tracy calls it) is totally illogical. I can’t see much of the desert or sky, so the only way I know I’m outside is by hearing the wind. Meanwhile, Tracy’s inside the trailer where it’s warm and cozy and where he has 360-degree views of the landscape and sky. But, I feel like being inside is just wrong. I’m camping, damnit!

I put a few lights on the odd stick sculpture the previous residents created as my contribution to Christmas decorations around here. There’s a platform on top ready for something weird and eye-catching to be glued to it, but we left a set of buck antlers and an elk skull in Montana, so for right now I have on display random toys we’ve found in campsites along the way. A diorama with a lucha libre. Maybe Tracy will add some of his rock collection.

Special Treat!

I’ve mentioned that we met a couple back at Anza Borrego, Melanie and Doug. They were looking for a place to safely park in thick sand with their Airstream, and when they saw us, they took that as a positive sign and parked nearby. Thus began what I hope will be a long friendship.

Since those brief few days when we were neighbors, we’ve been sharing info via texting on camping spots and hiking trails, and just a few days ago they hit us up for where we are now. I was pleased as punch that they wanted to come here.

Now we know two couples who bought their Airstreams at about the same time as we did and who live in them (Mel and Doug for a year-long trip). And all three couples approach this lifestyle differently.

You might remember Sherri and Mooch from the Keys. They stay put over the summer in an Airstream “neighborhood” where they bought a lot, and they spend a lot of that time socializing with local friends and family. Their traveling happens in the winter when they go visit with additional southern friends (I’m envious of how social they are) and revisit the Keys (you devils!).

Melanie and Doug are adventure machines. They stay in a national park for weeks so they can do every hike they can find. As in, full-day hikes with climbing and bouldering and all that seriously adventurous stuff.

For example, they were out all day yesterday exploring a nearby nature preserve (that we’ve yet to check out), and a few minutes after we saw them pull in, they came over to hang out in our cozy tent and trade stories. They were in their trailer for like five minutes.

They said the were going to take a zero day themselves the next day, but this morning they texted saying they were off today on a multi-day exploration. Dudes. They make me feel worn out just knowing them. Nah, they’re a pleasure to know and an inspiration for me to get off my sofa in my cave, put down the ukulele, and see stuff.

Don’t tell this to Banjo through. She makes the most of zero days, believe me.

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