We’ve moved…! 12/31/21

Morning view!

We have officially moved to the desert! Our one-month stay in the city was helpful, but we are SO thankful to be out! We have parked on some State Trust Land in Peoria, Arizona and plan to be here until we head west for Skooliepalooza. It’s awesome! We have finally been able to see the stars that everyone keeps asking about. The sky is huge out here, for sure. We moved in during a dry patch between several rainy days. This is one of the locations where the hot air balloons that Jeff crews for land often – we are excited to see them land in our front yard! There are rvs, campers, vans, and trailers parked all around but the one that is the closest to us is so far away we can’t even hear their generator! It’s lovely! We are close enough to a road that there is a bit of traffic noise, but that dies down once it gets later. But even this is much less noise than we had parked in the city!

There were three main reasons we needed to spend the month in the city; the first of which was water. While we are now fully capable of supplying all of our electrical needs, and our propane setup allows us to not fill up for about 20ish days, our water tank only lasts us about a day as long as we don’t shower or do laundry. By parking at our spot in the city, we could fill up as many times as we needed from our own spigot right into the tank with our hose. While we have been considering multiple options for portable water containment, we finally settled on the temporary fix of 5-gallon water jugs. Eight of them fit in the back of the Jeep, meaning we can remotely aquire 40 gallons of water and bring it back to the bus to fill our 42-gallon tank. (The tank can’t be filled all the way up, so it holds only about 40 anyway.) We are fairly confident that this will hold us over until we can fund a more permanent solution. Ideally, we are researching getting a trailer on which Jeff can mount his welding gear in a job box, a 275-gallon water tank, a larger generator that can power his welder, and two spare propane tanks to keep us off-grid and cozy for a much longer time.

The second reason we needed to be in the city for a month is that we needed an actual address at which the Jeep could be dropped off. The Jeep took almost the entire month to get here, so we are glad we weren’t “over-staying our welcome” somewhere. It was good to have the whole month blocked off for its delivery.

Thirdly, we needed to find jobs. We didn’t know which jobs we were going to end up getting, so it was helpful to be in the city near a plethora of options. We were also able to find this fabulous space *because* of Jeff’s ballooning job. So, we really needed the time to be on-the-grid, and near things before moving into the desert.

Additionally, there were a few projects that we hadn’t yet finished that being near hardware stores and having legal access to a dumpster was helpful. Details and photos to follow in a later post.

But, boy are we glad to be out of the city! So, many were wondering why we wouldn’t stay longer than a month, and why we hadn’t posted pictures of our new space. The simple reason is that we didn’t feel safe to do so. The neighbors had heroin dealers squatting in their front yard, which was right near our water fill area. We had to step around them to fill our water tank each day. There were prostitutes, large homeless encampments and people high on ‘anything and everything’ surrounding our bus every night. Several mornings Jeff had to go wake people up to get them to move so we could pull the bus out of our spot and drive to his job. With the website for our blog painted on the back of the bus, we didn’t feel comfortable sharing these facts in a negative light for fear someone might think *we* were the ones who called the police or something. And thankfully, when there was a police raid (hehehe), we were out with the bus and didn’t return untill people, weapons, and drugs were rounded up and confiscated.

The people there were very interesting – they had their urban survival skills down pat! One night, over one of numerous trash fires outside our window, a group of people were toasting some frozen waffles and passing around a half-gallon of chocolate milk. It was a sight! Another time, they had put a bunch of broken cinder block pieces in a circle and put a big fire in it. There were several pallets around it as a shelter and an extra nearby that was being broken up as the fuel for the fire. Every hour or so each night we would be woken up to the sound of someone beating something: once a piece of steel was being heated over a trash fire and beat with a chunk of cinder block into a fender for one of their stolen bikes (which eventually became too difficult and was left around for someone else’s purpose and became their waffle griddle over another trash fire another night), usually there were pallets being broken up by being bashed on the ground to feed the fires. The neighbors were relatively bipolar in their tolerance for these intruders and would be sitting and getting high with them in their rv one night and then come storming out their front door screaming at everyone to vacate their property because all they are doing was “smoking dope” at 3 am another night. But interestingly enough, the dealer was always allowed to stay because “he pays the bills”.

The one night we pulled into the entrance of the complex around 8 pm and there was a swarm of cop cars. By the time we had gotten there (we had spent the evening running all through the city trying to find a Western Union to get the money order for the Jeep delivery scheduled for the next morning – read the fiasco story here), the people were rounded up and in the car, the evidence bag was brimming with guns and drugs, and everything was wrapping up. Because they were blocking our space, we pulled over to the side to wait for everyone to leave. The officer driving the arrested people must have been distracted by his new-found audience and backed right into the corner of the rack Jeff welded onto the back of the bus! The rack was fine, but we are sure the squad car had a dent in its bumper! The officer came out to check that everything was OK and Jeff walked up to him and smiled while saying, “I’m going to need to see your license and registration.” The officer laughed and jokingly slapped Jeff on the shoulder, they confirmed that no damages were done to the bus, and then we moved on. Once the police cleared out, the tow truck towing all the vehicles to the police impound lot came through to clean up the remnants. He had to take several cars and thus made several trips causing him to still be working late into the night. We laughed when the driver had to tow a front-wheel drive Cadillac that was parked nose toward a chain link fence. Instead of using the dollies to pull it away from the fence safely, the tow truck driver just hooked up the rear tires and proceeded to drag it away from the fence to an open spot about 20 yards away! Because if it’s 10 pm and you’re driving tow truck for the police impound lot, you don’t really care about the transmission! The front wheels were spinning the wrong way around as the transmission screamed. It was hard for us to feel any sympathy for the poor druggie whose transmission was now trashed.

While the following photos are not the most glamorous we have posted, we feel it is important to include them to convey our situation accurately.

Meet Manny, the resident heroin dealer. He’s seen here casually warming himself at a cinderblock trash fire while nursing a hypodermic needle.
Seen here, out the driver’s side window of the bus, are two parked vehicles. The one in the background is a “regular” – several homeless customers living in their run-down suv parking illegally on private property. In the foreground is another customer actively shooting up heroin into his neck. He promptly returned the hypodermic and drove away. HOW?!?
This is a photo of one of countless trash fire gatherings taken from right over top of our couch back.
At the tail end of the police drug raid, we snapped this picture for the sake of perspective. The bus is seen on the far right, pulled off to the side to wait. Our spot is next to the rv in the background, behind the cops standing next to the open police car door.
Lastly, this squad car near our ex-neighbor’s “fence” was filled with the arrested folks. The very same that backed into the back rack. 🀣

While this is by far not the most PG post you will read on our blog, did we mention this is Not A Normal Field Trip?! I’m sure there will be glamorous photos in the future!

5 thoughts on “We’ve moved…! 12/31/21

  1. WOW!! I knew you said “seedy” but wow! I’m so glad you got out of there..Alive and well!! GEEZ!! that’s some scary stuff! glad that month is over!! so happy you made it to the desert!! sounds tranquil and peaceful!! πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»β˜ΊοΈ I hope it’s not too far from Jeff’s welding job. but seeing hot air balloons is going to be cool! Bray should really like that!
    how did your job interview go? so, you get to keep the bus parked and use the Jeep for everything, that sounds awesome! can’t wait to see those beautiful sky pics, and hopefully a hot air balloon! πŸ˜‰
    take care and have a happy new year! πŸ€—πŸ’•


    1. The interview went well, I just never heard back from them. Idk, I’ve talked with several companies… they don’t seem to like that I have a child. Seems like they don’t think I’ll show up reliably because I’m a mother. It’s weird.


      1. oh geez … something will come along when the time is right.. hang in there . πŸ‘πŸ»β˜ΊοΈ


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