When life gives you lemons… 1/4/22

… make some damn good lemonade, spike it with tequila, and walk it across the desert to a bonfire of a guy you met just a few hours before! Or at least, that’s what we did lol!

Ahhh, the first post of a new year! We wonder what new adventures await us! Already we have enjoyed 2022.

Twenty twenty-one went out quietly here as we were tired and the two men we were celebrating with were the early-to-bed-early-to-rise retired type. But not before we had a wonderful cookout and bonfire with our lovely lemonade! While looking for firewood, Jeff and Braydon found a pile of branches that someone had recently pruned off their lemon tree and dumped on the State Trust Land not far from where we were parked. It was laden with fresh, juicy lemons! We grabbed our foraging bag and picked as many lemons as it would hold, being mindful of the citrus thorns! The lemonade was incredible and we have since stripped the branches of every usable lemon and are well on or way to consuming, in some fashion, a lemon a day each!

The new year started off with two police on a dune buggy paying us a visit early on the ¹st. While we had all the proper permits and  paperwork to be camping on State Trust Land, someone had just leased that portion of the expansive acreage and we were no longer allowed to use it. So Jeff ran a mile down the road in the Jeep in search of a new spot while Braydon and I finished our breakfast and started the tedious task of packing up the bus… again! Jeff found a lovely spot and, after we finished packing up the bus, we drove the minute or two down the road to another, slightly more populated but, equally as wonderful spot where we have been since!

This area we are at is considered “dispersed camping” meaning there are pathways through the desert with little pull-offs to camp at. There are no camp hosts, bath houses, electric boxes, water hookups, or – best of all – fees! Our solar array is keeping our solar generators topped off each day, so we don’t miss the electric box. We bought 8 5-gallon water jugs that we fill up at the Lake Pleasant Recreation Area as needed and bring back to the bus with the Jeep, so we have as much water as we are willing to work for. We saw on iOverlander that the park has water spigots at their restrooms throughout. There is a $7 daily fee to enter, but we opted for the annual pass that came in at just over $100 for the two of us. We can go every day for the next 363 days and fill our water jugs as well as use any of the many dumpsters they have conveniently scattered through the huge park! Not to mention utilizing the amenities that the park has to offer such as a swimming area, boat launch, an incredible nature-themed playground, trails, covered picnic areas, and a Discovery Center. There’s also a marina and a restaurant! If we were to fill our jugs at a kiosk like they have at grocery stores, each jug would cost $1.50. We are keeping a log of how many times we fill up, but something tells me we will easily pay for our annual pass!

While we were at Lake Pleasant today, we saw another desert creature to add to our list: the burro!

The desert is much less sandy than I had originally anticipated. It is more like dirt, but not “soil”, just dirt. And oh so dusty! Sort of like what one would find on the infield portion of a baseball diamond. I think I’ve consumed more dust while breathing since arriving in Arizona than I did in my 31 years prior!

Even when it was 40° out the other day, Braydon bundled in his winter coat, hat, and mittens and dug a hole in the dirt!

On New Years Eve, a huge wind storm rolled in as the sun set and pained the desert with incredible shadows! The wind howled viciously all night. But the impending storm didn’t stop Scarlett the cat from making sure we didn’t wander too far from the bus! She follows us as we explore and when she can’t see the bus anymore she stops and meows at us until we go back with her.

We thought this one looked like it should have the Windows icon with a Start Bar at the bottom.
The bus is in its happy place – free in the desert! And Scarlett making sure I don’t go too far away while snapping this photo.
Even Sue has been enjoying going outside! Though she keeps to under the bus mostly, she has taken to using the drive shaft of the bus as her tightrope and practicing her high wire acrobatics. We added a bell to her harness so we could find her easier. Scarlett’s collar came with a bell, so now they both jingle as they run around the desert.

We decided we should get some vinyl stickers made before Skooliepalooza, so we grabbed a good photo of the bus and sent it off to a graphics company in Scottsdale. We will be adding a purchase link to our Sponsor Our Trip page shortly where you can order your very own!

Here’s a screenshot of our soft proof. The final sticker should be 5×2 and be weatherproof for use on cars, laptops, water bottles, or whatever!

Jeff has been having a blast with Hot Air Expeditions! He crews for at least one flight most days of the week. Some days he crews for a morning and an evening flight. He has an official uniform polo with the company logo on the chest and “FLIGHT CREW” on the back. With his new dessert sand-colored khakis, he looks pretty official out there chasing hot air balloons! As expected, the balloons have been taking off and landing near the bus. We got some photos of the bus with the balloons the past few days. Jeff has some more detailed photos to share soon. He will explain the flight process better then. But for now, enjoy the “glamorous” side of #buslife below!

No balloons here, but the quintessential sunset-out-the-back-window photo that christens you into #vanlife

So much more to share, but enough for now!

How I typed this post…

8 thoughts on “When life gives you lemons… 1/4/22

  1. WOW, where to start..! Love the balloon photos and sunsets, can’t wait to get Jeff’s firsthand take on the crewing process..!
    Looks like Brandon is about to dig to China….lol.
    That burro would make a cute pet, and Bray can ride him…lol..!
    And ALL those lemons..! Reminds me of the time we went picking oranges and lemons in Cali..!! WAY Cool..!!
    Can’t wait for the stickers….
    (You’ve seen your share of police officers during your short stay….lol.)


  2. wow! love the lemons! like your new spot! except I thought you had neighbors..lol . but the burro is a good neighbor.. love the hot air balloons and glad Jeff enjoys his job!! didn’t realize it was so dusty out there! but nice to see Bray having a great time learning and playing! the park your in sounds fun and full of things to do!! so happy your year started out great and your having a fun time out there.. that’s awesome!! sunshine looks nice and you look comfy writing your blog! can’t wait for more balloon info from Jeff and pictures! really enjoyed your blog!! I feel like I’m right there… lol
    enjoy your evening, stay safe and hugs all around! 💕🤗🏜️


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: