Sunset in the Coconino National Forest, looking northeast toward Sedona, AZ, 4/17/15

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Spring Wildflowers,
Prescott National Forest

I stayed at the same camp site in the Prescott National Forest from March 18 to April 27 (except for 5 days in the Coconino National Forest).  Here are some of the wildflowers near my camp.

These little yellow flowers were prolific.  They were there when I arrived,
and still in bloom when I left.  Each cluster about 3" in diameter.  4/11/15 

Clusters of the yellow flowers right next to my site.  4/11/15 

Tiny daisy-type flowers in front of a cluster of the yellow blooms.  4/11/15 

More of the white daisy-like blooms.  4/11/15 

The orange flowers are Globe Mallows.  When I left camp
these were blooming all over.  4/11/15 

Pale purple flowers share the frame with an Indian Paintbrush and a
cluster of the little yellow flowers.  4/11/15 

More of that same pale purple flower.  3/21/15 

Light purple is a popular color for little wildflowers here.   4/14/15  

Another pale purple bloom.  4/14/15

A thistle blooms light purple too.  4/23/15

These poppy-like flowers had tinges of purple on their
delicate pink petals.  4/23/15 

Indian Paintbrush started blooming soon after I arrived,
and were still in bloom when I left.  4/11/15  

At sunset: Indian Paintbrush
admiring their handiwork.  4/3/15

When we arrived, we were surrounded by lots of scraggly, dead-looking
bushes.  By the time we left, they had sprouted little green leaves
and were full of white blossoms.  4/11/15 

A panorama of the bushes with the white flowers.  4/23/15 

Also, the Yuca stalks had showy white flowers.  4/14/15 

This little guy, about the size of a quarter,
bloomed just before I left.  4/23/15 

Although not a flower, I liked the curly-cue ends of this grass.

I also was intrigued with this grass that grew in circles of clumps
instead of the typical single clump.  4/11/15

Adorning my car, Irises picked for me by my sister-in-law.
Thanks Kay!  4/26/15 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Part 3: Packed Prius
for Sleeping and Lounging

In the following photos, I show how the Prius is both fully packed with all of my gear, as well as used for sleeping and lounging.

If I plan to stay someplace for less than a week, then it doesn't seem worth it to set up and break down my full snowbird camp.  So, I just keep everything loaded and live out of my car as though I'm in travel mode.

Driver's seat is moved all of the way forward.  Almost everything
that was in the passenger seat (Part 2), is now in the driver's seat.
Also, the Dromedary Bags for water that were at the foot of the bed
are now in the front passenger seat.  4/16/15

Passenger seat is now available for lounging (and office,
changing room, video watching, bathroom, etc.).    4/16/15  

Hatch area with nothing over the foot of the bed except heavy coat
for warmth and storage.  (Sorry for sun glare.)  4/16/15 

Back seat area on passenger side:  You can see the head of my bed,
with pillow, that I use as a side table while lounging.  4/16/15  

Front passenger seat holds everything as described in Part 2, as well as
a chair, small insulated bag, and my hat.  4/16/15  

All packed up and ready to leave the next morning from our
Prescott National Forest camp where I stayed with friends for
about a month.  4/16/15  

Arrived at a Coconino National Forest camp to stay with other friends.  I
planned to be here for about 5 days; so, I didn't set up camp; but brought
out my chair to admire the view and visit with my camp mates.  4/18/15  
James, who runs the CheapRVLiving YouTube channel, made a video of how I live out of my Prius at our Coconino NF camp.  You can view it here.

Packing so much gear in the Prius, while living out of it, is rather like putting a jig saw puzzle together.  You've got to get everything in there, make sure it's not too heavy on either side, while making sure that you can get to everything you might need for the duration.

Part 2: Packing the Prius for Travel

First, I want to apologize and explain why it's taken so long to put up this 2nd post about packing.  A camp mate got sick and so my plans to travel within the next day or so were delayed.  Finally, I was ready to move on; so, packed up and took the photos.  But, my new camp site had an extremely poor Internet connection that wouldn't allow me to upload the photos. Finally, today I'm in Cottonwood with a good connection and have posted everything.  Such are the unanticipated circumstances of staying in the back country.  

As with Part 1, these photos begin at the driver's seat and go around to the hatch, ending at the front passenger seat.  

Driver's seat, pushed back and ready to go.  4/16/15

Back passenger's seat on driver's side.  2 duffle bags of clothes,  2 bags of food,  
toiletry bag and chair.  Top gets covered with dark blue towel for travel.  4/16/15

The next 3 photos are of the hatch area.
1 of 3 under the hatch, all packed up and ready to go.  4/16/15  

2 of 3 under the hatch.  Water bladders (MSR 10 liter Dromedary Bags)
are kept under a white sheet to keep sun's rays off and stay cool.  4/16/15  

3 of 3 under the hatch.  Kitchen items and food storage all ratcheted and
tied down for safety.   Covered with a black blanket for travel.  4/16/15  

Back seat on passenger side.  My bed covered with a black sheet
heavy coat on far side, and curtain in the foreground.  4/16/15  

Front passenger seat:  Except for the 2 black bags toward the top back,
every other item is extra this year.  I wanted to make my camp more
homey and livable as I snowbird and stay for weeks at a time in one
place  (kitchen table, deck umbrella with base, side table, tent, rug).
As under the hatch, everything is tied down for safety.  4/16/15 

In the past, one self-imposed "rule" I've maintained is to store nothing above window level to make it less obvious that I was camping out of my car (except for the hatch area).  As you can see, I was not able to accomplish that goal this year in the front passenger seat of my car.  However, these items do not obstruct my view any more than a passenger.  I just use my side mirrors to assure safe turns and lane changes.  For more stealth, I can cover with black curtains if desired.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Part 1: Packing the Prius

I've had quite a few questions about how I pack my Prius with all my gear and still have room to sleep.  Over the next few days I will be packing up to move to another spot.  I plan to take photos so that you can see how items are packed away.

I will do 3 posts to show you 3 modes of my packed Prius: 1) Camping Mode, 2) All-Packed Driving Mode, and 3) All-Packed Sleeping Mode.

Today I'm in Camping Mode.  So, here are those pictures, starting at the driver's seat, going around the back, and ending at the front passenger seat.

Driver's Seat:  Two duffle bags full of clean clothes from doing
laundry yesterday.  A t-shirt is rolled up to cover an annoying  flashing
 alarm system light.  Car's interior is dusty from all the wind.  4/9/15 

Driver's side passenger seat:  Driver's seat is moved forward as far
as possible.  An organizer is hung on the back of driver's seat
(for a variety of safety, personal and electronic gear).  
This space is my lounge area, office, changing room, and  bathroom.  
It's 4' tall from floor to ceiling.  The floor space is about 20" x 20".   
It's a normal size passenger seat.  I use the top of my bed as a side table.  
When needed, I hang the curtains for privacy.  4/9/15 

Hatch:  I already posted about my bed here.  The foot of my bed
is on the right, and the left side (driver's side) is being used for storage

Back passenger's seat:  Black fleece in the foreground is a
curtain for privacy.  The black bag on the left holds toiletry items.  
 On the floor, under the head of the bed I store 4 bags 
and Luggable Loo seat to bolster the head of the bed up.  4/9/15  

Front Passenger Seat:  On the floor is an insulated bag of food  
wrapped in a heavy coat and topped with a lap blanket to keep it cool.  
The seat holds 2 bags of electronic and office items.   4/9/15  

When I drive, I push the driver's seat back and move the two duffle bags with clean clothes to the passenger seat behind.

One key to living out of a small space is to always put items away in exactly the same place as soon as you are finished using them.  It's somewhat counter intuitive -- it's much easier to lose something in a small space than a large space.  "A place for everything and everything in its place."