There Goes the Weekend

Saturday morning I turned on my heater, only for it to shut off soon after. I couldn’t restart it. Finally, nearly two months after arriving in Quartzsite, I’d run out of propane. It happened at the best possible time, actually, because it was already warming up quickly between the outside temperature and the greenhouse effect of my van’s windows. But, I was still out of propane and had to go get it refilled so I’d continue to have heat.

I’ve gotten used to staying put for a while. But since I can’t exactly carry a big propane tank on my bike, I had to transition the van from camping mode to driving mode. It’s a bit of an operation, especially with my awning deployed. If I had to do that to get propane anyway, I might as well take care of everything else I need to while I was already mobile.

After dumping my trash on the way out of La Posa South, my first stop was Main Street Laundromat and Showers. You can probably guess why I was there. I have a great routine down. Put my laundry in the wash, then take a shower. By the time I’m done with my shower, the washers are almost done as well. Pop laundry into the dryer, take a break, and about 25 minutes later I can pack up and go.

Next was Pattie’s Propane, about a block down the road. It cost $13.50 to refill my empty tank. That’s one of the cheapest refills I’ve ever had, and the price of just about everything is higher in Quartzsite due to remoteness and scarcity. I picked up a few grocery items at Dollar General, across the street from Pattie’s, and at Roadrunner Market (best beer selection in town).

Then I went down the road to K&B Tools to get more butane for my stove. They were all out. But I did pick up a water filter to go in line with a standard garden hose faucet. It’s meant to connect to an RV water hookup, but it’s all the same attachments. The water at La Posa South is fine, but a little extra filtration never hurt. Plus, I can use this in the future to refill from any outside faucet.

Returning to La Posa South, I dumped my grey water and pee bottle in the appropriate receptacle, refilled my water using the new filter, and finally returned to camp. These errands took pretty much all day, despite the short distance traveled. Quartzsite is still a busy place, and some of the lines are quite long.

Yesterday involved another project, but this time not for me. Birgit (from the Route 66 trip) really likes the light bar I put on my van. She liked it so much she wanted one for herself. So I told her what parts to order — the same light bar as me, plus the same license plate mounting bracket I used on my Subaru WRX. She doesn’t have a solid metal bumper to drill into like I do, but this part turns your license plate bracket into a light bar holder as well. They arrived last week, and Birgit and Tom are leaving Tuesday, so I had a short time window to install these before they left. That’s how I spent the middle of my Sunday. It was good to get an up-close and personal look at a Ram Promaster since they’re so popular for van life. Now I know exactly how to run such wiring in one of these. With the battery under the driver’s feet instead of in the engine bay, it’s a bit different than what I’m used to. But now I know, and knowledge is power.

After that, I helped Jenn with a class she’s working on by being a crash test dummy for her. No, not literally. She’s working on a certification for ADHD coaching, and since my brain runs on that alternate operating system (it’s not a disorder) I got a coaching session that she also recorded for her class. I wasn’t diagnosed with it until I was 23 — too late to help me in school, but it did put the way my mind works into a better perspective. It’s not wrong, just a different kind of normal. Over the years since then, I’ve adapted it into my daily life and also adapted my daily life to work with it.

It was a long weekend. Jenn wanted pizza, which I thought was a wonderful idea. I had a craving, too, and had even considered taking myself to Silly Al’s for a calzone in the next day or two. This would fulfill that craving, and it meant I wouldn’t have to cook for myself tonight, which I really appreciated after so much productivity. Silly Al’s makes a great pizza.

Lister’s latest game is stealing my camp chair before I can sit in it. However, I have a secret weapon that he has not yet figured out how to thwart: a second camp chair.

This may sound like I’m complaining. Please believe that I’m not. While I had a busy weekend running around doing projects and errands, my former home of New England got walloped with a blizzard and 2-3 feet of snow. They’ve also had frequent low temperatures in the negative double digits lately. This is why I left. This is why I’m staying put here in Arizona for the winter. I’ve been threatening to leave New England winters behind for most of my life at this point. Finally, I’ve actually done it.

Ironically, even Florida is in a bit of a cold snap right now. That’s where I would have been spending winter under my original plan. I like this plan better — and not just for avoiding the cold.


  1. Hey, friend!
    What a great summary of van life. We were in Quartzsite last week and got to stop at some of those same places! We’re back in Phoenix now, but Quartzsite was way cool. Would definitely go back to stay for a while.


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