Thursday, January, 23
After our wonderful experience at the refuge, we returned to camp in time for our final happy hour and campfire. But just before that, I had time to do some portraits of some new friends we’ve met in camp. I am most interested in picturing the full-timers here, but one couple, Bev & Chuck, have one of the most creatively decorated rigs I’ve seen. While they do not full-time, I was compelled to include them because to me, they really embody the spirit of life on the road. I’d photographed Bev once before the last time we were in Q, but wasn’t really happy with the result. I was still figuring out how to do portraits in 2011, and the lens I used just wasn’t right for the tight confines of the rigs.
So I was back this time, and happily got to photograph Bev AND Chuck. Last time, only Bev came to Q, so it was a bonus to get them both this time. Getting the news of Bev’s health was, however, a rather sobering revelation. These thing happen, I guess, but it is never something one hopes to hear. Especially to someone I have great admiration for. While in camp, I have been giving prints to those I had pictured previously. After giving Bev hers, she wanted a shot of her with her earlier portrait. I was happy to oblige. I did several others of her and Chuck, and I think they came out quite nicely.
Then it was over to Kathy’s rig. She is fairly new to the full-time life – being on the road since only September. Due to some unfortunate circumstances, she has found herself single again, and decided she wanted to see more of the country. She is still figuring it out, but to my eyes, she seems pretty much there. A couple of days earlier when we were talking at the evening happy hour, I gave her my business card showing my Lazy Daze in a field next to some large metal sculptures of animals at Borrego Springs in CA. Her eyes got big as she told me she had just bought out all 10 of the greeting cards of that image at a card store she had found. They read, “Congratulations on Your Retirement”. Palm Press in Berkeley, had approached me to publish this image last year as a retirement card. They seem to be selling pretty well.We did a few shots of her inside her rig, and a few outside. I liked the hats she often wore, and she showed me her hatbox containing 5 different styles. It was fun meeting her and I hope she does well as a nomad. I came away with a couple of nice images.
The day before, I also had the chance to photograph David and Nola, two more full-timers here at the gathering. The’ve been at it for the past 7 years, but Nola is beginning to feel it might be time to take a break. David, not so much. This is one of the questions every full-timer must confront at some point. When is the right time to call it quits. It is usually a health related issue, but sometimes others matters come into play. These two are still very active, so it will be interesting how it plays out for them. We chatted for awhile, then I shot some images both inside and outside their Lazy Daze. I think for me, the one I like best was the very first shot I did inside the rig. It was really just a test to check my exposure, but I caught David sitting alone on the couch, with Nola only seen in the reflection of there mirror. Sometimes accidents have the perfect result.
So far in the three years of this project, I can count on less than one hand, the people I haven’t liked or felt were trying to escape something. Virtually everyone I’m met is fully engaged and outgoing and ready for new adventures in new places. A bit later, around the nightly campfire, we began saying our goodbye’s and I had a chance for a few more images. Quite a few folks are staying longer, but Mary and I need to move on to our next destination. We plan on visiting Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area in Nevada for a few days before traveling to Death Valley for a week or so. Red Rock is a wonderful hiking area and we are sorely in need of hikes. Our time here in Q has been great. It took a couple of days to adjust to the slower pace, but seeing old friends and making new ones is a great way to slip into it again.
Friday, January 24Today is a very busy day for us. We got up early so that we could get the LD down to the dump station a couple miles away. We’d hoped there wouldn’t be a long line, but many had the same idea. There were eight rigs in front of us waiting to use the 2 stations. We really only had to wait about a half hour, but we had plenty more to do.
Once dumped, we headed back to camp to say some final goodbye’s. Then we took rig and car back up to the entrance area where we parked temporarily so we could return to the RV tent show to pick up the things we needed. We walked over, then split up so Mary could go in search of some Trance Balloons (bags that, when filled with hot air from some burning material, float out into the night sky). We’ve been seeing these over the past evenings and Roger set one afloat during last night’s fire. I had my list of items as mentioned before. I quickly picked up the needed pigtail connection for towing, then made my over to the booth selling inverters. I decided against this item for now. To be most effective the converter needs to connect directly to the battery. It would require drilling a hole from the battery compartment to the interior so I could pass the electrical connection through to the battery. Since there was no deal if I purchased at the show, I decided to wait till we return home to buy and install. My final purchase was the Progressive surge protector. The show deal was $40 off, so I picked it up and plan to install it myself.