An Oasis:
Something that Provides Refuge, Relief, or Pleasant Contrast

I just looked it up. That's a dictionary definition for "Oasis". How fitting that, after a week of pleasant contrasts, we're camped at a popular desert oasis: a hot spring just east of Holtville, California.

Holtville Hot Spring Oasis

Hot spring pool, Holtville, CA

On this trip we are purposely trying to "float" more than usual - to give our wanderlust free reign. In other words, we have no plan. And guess what! It's unfolding perfectly!

That's always been easy for Randy, who has never been keen on schedules and plans. I'm the opposite. I tend to believe that, without a goal and a plan to reach it, not much gets accomplished. In the past year I've come to recognize that my need to "be in control" is often not appreciated by others and, in fact, not always beneficial to me either. Sometimes at New Years I choose a word or phrase to focus on for the year. For 2015 I chose this mantra: "Let it be".

On our last three trips to the Southwest, I plotted our routes in advance - not mile by mile, but a general guideline. I always want to cover certain areas for my guides. But this trip, I promised Randy he could decide where we go, what we do, when to move on, and when to stay put. At least until mid-April and May, when we will retrace our New Mexico route. That guide is overdue for an update. But, until then, our itinerary is based on whims and weather.

Last week, when we left the Blythe Intaglios, we drove south without a real plan although we had a few options in mind. Our unplanned week soon filled with surpises and pleasant contrasts.

Pulling in to our favourite Ogilby Road boondocking spot for a quick overnight, we recognized a fellow blogger, full-time RVer and painter, PlienGuy. He had chosen this location based on my guides. We had met a couple of times previously but could finally spend time visiting and getting to know each other better. David told us about a campsite he had discovered on Mittry Lake that had great kayak access. We were already thinking of going there but that made the decision easy.


Boondocking with PleinAirGuy on Ogilby Road

Mittry Lake

Our campsite on Mittry Lake

Mittry Lake

Bonus! We could launch our kayak from camp.

Paddling on Mittry Lake

A beautiful day for paddling

Paddling on Mittry Lake

With a picnic on the lake

On the way to Mittry Lake, we took a slight detour - into another country - Mexico! We parked and walked across to spend the day in Algodones, Mexico. Why?...Why not!

Algodones, Mexico

The streets are always so colourful.

I had a chance to practice my Spanish (trying to learn); we wandered through the colourful stalls and shops; and enjoyed live afternoon music in a courtyard cafe. Even the long line to clear customs to return to the USA was sort of entertaining.

Algodones, Mexico

A perfect excuse for a Margarita or two

On the way, Randy spotted a sign at a nearby casino and, since it happened to be Thursday, our non-plan took another twist.

Salsa lessons

We've now added some basic salsa steps to our dance knowledge. The instructor was great, there were about 20 students, no pressure to order food or drinks, and we enjoyed a totally unexpected, fun evening. We camped overnight in the casino's parking lot - with at least 50 other RVs!

And now, we're in this desert campsite just outside the Holtville Hot Springs LTVA.

Holtville Hotsprings camping

Our Hot Springs camp

This genuine oasis in the desert is designated as a Long Term Visitor Area (LTVA) and home to a large community of boondockers every winter, including many fellow Canadians; some buy a permit ($180.00 for the season) and spend the entire winter here.

Holtville Oasis

The hot spring tubs: the unofficial gathering place

There's always an interesting conversation taking place at the pools. Sometimes it's educational: the ins and outs of solar panels, politics, the state of the universe - you name it. We jokingly call it "hot tub wisdom". And, if the topic gets too heated, one can always jump into the cold pond (pictured at the top of this page). We've used the hot tubs on previous trips but this is the first year I swam in the cold pool. It offers exactly what an oasis should: a refreshing and pleasant contrast.

What's there to do here when not at the pools? Long walks. It's three miles to the pools and back from our site in the 14-day free camping zone. And we each have our hobbies. I read and write; Randy plays his guitar; and every night we count the stars and our blessings.

starlight and candlelight

Starlight and Candlelight

I've come to the conclusion that this "no plan" thing can be rather liberating. The other benefit is one I hadn't anticipated: with no plan for tomorrow, it's much easier to focus on today. To live in the present moment. Maybe I should let Randy "plan" all our trips from now on.

Days On The Road at time of writing: 30
Camping Costs To Date: $57.00

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Wonderful post! 
So good to see you two relaxing, dear friends! Thanks for sharing your adventure with us..

road trip outings 
Why don't you give classes in different locations or actual small road trips for newbies ?

Good post !  
Totally agree with these thoughts. How great that you can stay into May !

Mittry Lake and Hot Springs 
I've been to both places you wrote about, and enjoyed each of them. They are so different, but I think the fact that there is water available makes them …

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