Preparation for Our Nomadic Journey

Apr 22, 2017

Today marks the beginning of our blogging on our new adventure - to leave Las Vegas, buy some wooded acreage, and build an arched cabin.

Normally, people would buy the land and at least start construction before selling the home they’re living in. Well, we thought about that but decided we really wanted to take our time and immerse ourselves into our future chosen community before committing to the project in that area.

Our current plan is to search for acreage in Williams, Arizona - a Northern Arizona town with a population of a little over 3,000 which is known as the gateway to the Grand Canyon. We’ve visited Williams a number of times in the past and explored the area while taking backpacking trips into the Grand Canyon. We enjoyed our visits to Williams and considered it a nice area to live in.

Our Yurt

Our Yurt

Williams is famous not only as the gateway town to the Grand Canyon but also for its train station which offers daily rides to the Grand Canyon via the Grand Canyon Express. We’ve taken the steam engine to the Grand Canyon, which got stopped and held up by bandits on horse back. A gun fight erupted and the bandits headed for the hills. During the Christmas Season, the train is called the Polar Express, offering a fun and memorable ride to the Grand Canyon for the family.

Our Yurt

Williams is situated on the Southern end of the Colorado Plateau, making it mostly elevated old growth forested land with Ponderosa Pine at higher elevations and Pinion Pine and Juniper trees at lower elevations. As our plan is to build an arched cabin, live off-grid and heat the cabin with a wood burning stove in the winter, having a large parcel of wooded land where we can collect fallen trees and branches in the summer for winter heating is essential.

Our Yurt

Living Like Nomads

Judy and I had it in our minds to live in our camper while building the cabin. However, being adventurous and loving tent camping, we made a command decision to buy a yurt - an ancient large round tent used by Turkic and Mongolian nomads, which have become high tech and popular today. It will be much more roomy than a camper. Here is the manufacturer’s photograph of the 16.4 foot diameter yurt we purchased:

Our Yurt

That is a king sized bed in the photo. The yurt also has a stove pipe vent to accommodate a wood burning stove. We don’t plan to add a wood burning stove unless the construction of the cabin runs into late fall.

The yurt has already shipped and is due to arrive in four days. I’ll try to remember to take some photographs of it before putting it in our trailer for the trip to Williams.

Becoming Nomads

Phase one of our adventure is to leave Las Vegas and become nomads ourselves, living in our camper while we search for land to purchase. We hate organized camp grounds so the plan is to camp on BLM land until we purchase our future acreage. In this first phase, we’ll live in our camper as setting up the yurt is too large of a project when we can only stay at one place for 14 days at a time (a public land restriction). In essence, we’ll be nomads, setting up camp in different locations in the area until we have our own land to camp on permanently.

We Must Have Power

Those who know me also know that I’m an electronics engineer and a tinkerer. I designed a 350 Watt solar power system for our trailer that will be later used to power our yurt then further expanded into a 1000 Watt solar array to power our cabin. Presently, it consists of three 100 watt monocrystalline solar panels and a 50 watt panel.

I just installed a new 155 ah. battery in the camper and designed a power monitor system to make sure the solar charge controller charges it and two other batteries that will be part of the system. The battery weighs close to 100 pounds. I managed to get it into the camper’s nose box on my own.


Power Monitor

Watching the Calendar

Closing of escrow on our current home will be in a few weeks. We’ve moved most items from our house into storage - all except our bed, a dresser, and my desk. We’re looking forward to the day of closing so we can begin our adventure. I plan to chronicle our departure from Las Vegas and what stops we make along the way to Williams. More later.

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