Not the Pony Express

November 14, 2018

Nevada to Utah


This section of highway intersects with the old Pony Express Trail. At the rest stop, there are information signs, and you can take the gravel road which follows the original route. We stuck to the paved highway.

This stretch of highway is also part of the Lincoln Highway. We are now on the lookout for these highway markers after Eric “Nomadic Fanatic” posted YouTube videos of the route this past summer.

Nevada scenery on the way to Utah:


Where are we now? Name that State!


Glorious red mountains in Utah.  We stopped in Cedar City for the night (Wal-Mart). I’m getting screaming fast wifi from the neighbouring Home Depot. That’s how I am able to upload this post and the previous one. We are waiting for our friend Sheila and her pups to arrive tomorrow. We will head into Zion and possibly Bryce Canyon.

I need to state again how much I love travelling in the USA. The rest stops are plentiful and clean; the people are friendly and helpful; and where on earth do you find such varied geography? OK, Turkey has amazing geography too, but it’s not so easy to use an RV there.

New Logo

We have a new logo and tag line!


I created the logo to reflect googie art, which more accurately represents the name “Atomic Pod.”

Tag Line:
We considered variations on 1950s expressions like:
“Agitate the Gravel and Travel”
“Far out Adventures”
“Radioactive Fun”
“How the Cool Cats Go”

However, we decided on “The Remedy for Farsickness.”  Whenever we were on a holiday, before we became full-time RVers, one of us would always ask the other, “Are you homesick yet?”  The answer was always, “No!”  We both were far more addicted to travel than to the stationary life we had been living.  When we weren’t travelling, we would talk about far away places. We remedied that longing by becoming full-time travellers. We don’t nearly suffer from farsickness as often as we used to.

Quartzsite: An Alternate Universe

Where else will you see tons of rocks for sale, quads driving down the road, bejewelled and bedazzled t-shirts, dogs in strollers, a yacht club, and a naked bookseller?  Quartzsite offers it all, although you may feel like you left Earth.  We really enjoyed our time in Quartzsite, both on the BLM land surrounding the town, and at the Airstream rally in town.

Quartzsite comes alive for a few short weeks in January.  The rock, mineral, gem, crystal, and fossil show may run longer. Many jewellery makers and rock collectors come for this.  I’ve never seen anything like this.  I’m glad I no longer have a house or else quite a few coffee table pieces may have made it home.  Lack of space saved us lots of money!

Rocks for all your needs!  To understand the scale of the amethyst in the first picture, look at the orange positioned at the top of it.  It was housed in its own steel crate, ready to be shipped to a sultan’s palace.

The RV show lasts only about 1 week and overlaps with the rock & gem show.  I was excited to go to The Big Tent to see the latest and greatest in RV supplies and gadgets.  Instead, we saw more veggie dicers and slicers than anyone needs.  The best part of the show was all the little pups being pushed around in strollers or pulled behind in wagons.  None of them were invalids like Daisy, though.  It’s a good way to protect them from getting trampled, but what a hassle pushing these strollers over stones!

Yacht Club

Yes, there is a yacht club on the desert, and they sell memberships!  Legend has it that people in the past used their Quartzsite Yacht Club membership to get into swanky yacht clubs.  Long time, no sea!

Paul Winer (aka Sweet Pie)

One of my bucket list items got checked off when we entered Reader’s Oasis Books and met its proprietor: the famous Sweet Pie.  Sweet Pie has quite a colorful history.  He used to be (well, he still is) an adult entertainer and traveled the world playing boogie woogie piano — naked, or almost!  He’s been charged many times for indecent exposure, but he won every case, because he technically wasn’t naked. He wears a pouch, of sorts. What a character!  I know he poses with his patrons for pictures, but I was too shy.  Instead we just got reading material.  His store is very well organized, and he can help you find anything.  He’s so professional even though he is only wearing a pouch!

Also, you can even buy your own pouch so that you can look like a bookseller too!  Thank you, Sweet Pie, you made my day.

Airstream Rally

We attended the Airstream rally with the el Camino unit. We met so many fun people and got tours of their rigs and advice on trailer size for our future trailer. We met a full-timing couple in a 2006 34-foot Airstream.  That’s 11 feet longer than ours!  It was so beautiful.  They renovated it and redecorated it to make it suitable for full-timing.  It was so fresh and homey in there.  I could have moved in!  Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera with me when I took a tour.  To see their before & after pictures, please visit their blog: Bush’s RV Travel Journal

We also met a couple who travels about 6 months of the year, mostly off-grid in a 1956 16-foot Bubble.  I think they’ve owned their Bubble for about 17 years. Before that, they were tent campers.  One rainy camping trip in Canada sent them on a quest for a trailer.  It’s a story many of us can relate to.  Yes, the truck is a 1956, too.  The Bubble’s interior?  You guessed it!  All in 1956 reproduction fabrics and colors.  SWEET!  And, they use this trailer.

Daisy and Poppy enjoyed all the people and canines they met.  On our way back to Yuma, Poppy settled down in the motorhome.  Could it be she is getting used to it, or was she just exhausted?

We are back in Yuma for a few days to shower, do laundry, and recharge our batteries (literally and figuratively).  It turns out that we do not have enough solar panels to keep our batteries up.

Next stop?  Slab City!


Rubber Tramp Rendezvous

I have been following Bob Wells’ website “Cheap RV Living” for a few years, so I had been planning to attend the RTR some day.  He started the RTR back in 2010.  There were only 45 rigs at that first event.  It has grown exponentially.  This year, there were over 4500 rigs!  It is almost unfathomable to think that so many people have decided to ditch the usual path of life and live full-time on the road.  Because of the vast number of people, we didn’t get to meet too many personally, but we had a few chats.  One couple was down our loop.  They are work-campers at Glacier National Park in the summer and travel the rest of the year.  They also have a little old lady dog in tow.

Here’s Bob at our orientation. 
A glimpse of some of the attendees at the orientation.

There were many sessions to attend.  One of our favourites was a camping gadget show-and-tell.  Paul also attended a solar cooking methods session.  Many of these sessions were recorded and will be on YouTube on Bob Wells’ channel.  Because the event was so spread out, we didn’t attend nearly as many sessions as we would have liked.  The Bureau of Land Management kept track of our numbers, and took Bob out to see some larger sections of desert for us.  He was pleased to announce that next year, we will be in a new area without so many washes to walk through.  Yay!

There were about 5 Chinooks in attendance, but we had the only 24 footer.  The rest were 21 footers.

Here we are alone for about 1 night.  Then, it filled up. 
Other Chinooks:


Of course, there were some Airstreams:

  There were too many Airstreams to photograph.

And some other cool rigs:


Step Vans:

The fourth one in is Seven’s from the YouTube channel “Seven Wanders the World.”  He started his tea house and book exchange at the RTR, so we had a nice visit with him in his van and he made us tea. 
Joni has a new YouTube channel called The Galavan, and we got a tour of her rig: 


We met other YouTubers: Carolyn (Carolyn’s RV Life), Kevin & the woof pack (Campervan Kevin), and Brian (Adventure Van Man).  We also saw others, but didn’t chat with them like Eric (Nomadic Fanatic) and Elsa (Elsa Rhae).  Carolyn interviewed us briefly, so we may be in one of her videos.

My dad and I have often discussed how a bubble van would be a perfect camper, and someone brought one: 

It’s a Unicell fibreglass shell on a cutaway chassis.  I love the way the ceiling has an unfinished section so that sunshine can brighten the space.  They are made in Canada and the US.  The owner was shocked that I knew what it was.  Apparently, I was the only person who came by who knew.  I don’t know much, but when it comes to camping . . .

One of our neighbours had a 16-foot Casita and a passenger van that he converted to a campervan.  He did such a fantastic job.  It is like a sailboat inside.  He said he built out the van after his wife passed away because he needed a project.  He spoke so fondly of his wife and how she loved camping.  We enjoyed an evening campfire with him.  Here is Kevin and Blaze and the campervan:


Our good friends, Ted and Dona from Saskatoon, made it to the RTR for a couple of days.  We were so happy to see them, but Poppy was happiest!  She loves them.  Ted and Dona let us driveway-camp and provided us with hot showers, electricity, and meals in Saskatoon.  Also, Poppy loved stretching out in their house, so when they arrived, you can imagine her excitement. 

The RTR ends tomorrow (Sunday January 21), but we left on Thursday to join our Airstream club for a camp out.  Stay tuned for more fun in Quartzite.

May the Force be with you

We entered Nevada when Star Wars: The Last Jedi opened in theatres.  There are some creative people working on highway signs.  I only photographed 2, but the rest of the scenery was dramatic:

I really needed The Force to help me get through the brief time we spent in Las Vegas. We stopped for 2 nights at the Sam’s Town KOA.  We were finally able to use our water systems, do laundry, and give Daisy a bath.  We also had delicious, over-priced New York style pizza.

Leaving Las Vegas (and not a moment too soon)

On our way out of L.V., we stopped at the Airstream dealer.  They had a Flying Cloud 26U (now called 26RBQ).  We have been studying the floor plans of these and watching walk-through videos on YouTube.  It was our lucky day because they had just received one on a trade.  It is a 2017, so as close to new as you can get used.  I got to see the new Landmark decor with Sandpiper ultra-leather.  I love the new look, and I know I can work with it, although I will miss my International.  Alas, I know I can’t have an East-West bed, so that used one is out of the question.  We would have to get the twin option.  In the brief time we were viewing the trailer, I cracked my head twice on the overhead lockers in the bedroom.  It’s a very bad design.  A little tidbit:  Over 50% of all new Airstreams are now ordered with twin beds.  Twins are available in all decors in trailers 25+ feet long.  A person used to pay big bucks to special order twins in Internationals, but not anymore.  Thanks for listening, Airstream!  We are still mulling over the pros and cons of the 26RBT or the 30 footer (queen or twin).

Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam

The engineering is magnificent.  It was a lot to take in.  The girls were not allowed to walk on top of the dam, which was good because it was very congested.

The buildings have an Art Deco aesthetic.  This section leads to the women’s WC.  The men’s WC entrance has black wall tiles.

I also appreciate the beauty of this building.  It is reminiscent of Queen Hatshepsut’s mortuary temple in Upper Egypt:


As we were leaving, we met another full-time couple travelling in their Airstream with their beautiful dog, Bianca.  Their website is:  She is a photographer (pixel) and he is a chef (skillet).  They have been on the road since April — house-free and seeing North America!  They even traveled through Saskatchewan this summer.