Una Pachanga en el Desierto

pachanga  006“Una pachanga en el desierto” (a party in the desert) is how Hector described our experience in Anza Borrego State Park to his mom on the phone the other day. So I couldn’t resist using those words as the title to this post.

The word “pachanga” today is Spanish slang for “a lively or very fun party”.   But the origin of the term is the name of a dance in Cuba; a fusion of charanga (which itself is a fusion of a couple of other types of music) with trumpet-based Latin band music.  Which is quite appropriate for the fusion of people here in this desert.

pachanga  025We arrived at the Clark Dry Lake Bed in Anza Borrego almost a week into the New Year, and found a community gathered here. We saw our old friends Polly and Curtis. We met Byron, Sam, Emma, Frances, Moose, and Kiki here. And those are just the dogs and one cute cat.

pachanga  007pachanga  063There were also humans of differing backgrounds and different ages in different RV’s (with a strong Airstream contingent) enjoying this beautiful desert.

Apparently at one point this community grew to over 40 adults and several children, plus their dogs and cats.pachanga  065

By the time we arrived a few days into the New Year the group was quite fluid; some had left, some were getting ready to leave, some returned, new people arrived, and others visited from nearby.pachanga  060

We had the opportunity to reconnect with “old” friends and meet many new ones:

Paul, Nina and Polly

Paul, Nina and Polly

Nina and Paul (Wheeling It) their dog Polly and cats Taggart and Rand in their Class A motorhome, the Beast. Nina is famous for writing the best RV blog ever. We first met them just a year ago at the “Q” after following their blog basically forever.

Brian and Leigh

Brian and Leigh

Leigh and Brian (Aluminarium) and their dog Curtis in their Airstream. It is hard to believe we only met them for the first time last summer in Oregon. We feel like we’ve known them a really long time.

Iain and Kate

Iain and Kate

pachanga  044Iain and Kate (The Scenic Route) in their Airstream. We met this delightful pair originally from the UK at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta last fall.pachanga  047pachanga  046pachanga  048

The Zephyr … with outdoor movie screen deployed

The Zephyr … with outdoor movie screen deployed


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Chris and Cherie

The famous Cherie and Chris (Technomadia) and their cat Kiki in the Zephyr, a vintage 1961 General Motors bus which they have extensively renovated and modified.   Their highly informative blog and RV Mobile Internet Resource Center have been most helpful to us. It was great to finally meet them.

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Seth and Drea

Seth and Drea (@sethkhughes, @dreaknufken) and their dog Emma in their Airstream, an adventurous, funny and creative couple.  Seth is a photographer so Hector was happy to have a chance to talk some shop.

Todd and Russ in the Bamabell

Todd, Russ, Frances and the ‘Bama Bell

Russ with Francis

Russ with Frances

Todd and Russ (Wandertopia, @toddmb, @haynieruss), and their cute dog Frances, in their awesome vintage Bluebird Wanderlodge with a George Jetson interior and incredible cockpit with a million gauges.  pachanga  042

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Mike and Kelly with Scout and Sam

pachanga  028Kelly and Mike (Follow the Tumbleweed, @kmpuccio) and their dogs Sam and Scout in an adorable 21’ vintage Airstream.

Mike is from Peru and Kelly from North Carolina.  We need to ask them how they met 🙂pachanga  024

Kerry and Byron

Kerri and Byron

Kerri (@solojourner) and dog Byron in her Airstream.  I really admire solo women travelers.

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Glenn seems to have successfully evaded Hector’s camera 🙂

Glenn (To Simplify) in an extensively modified camper van. He is another pretty famous blogger and really nice guy.

He left soon after we arrived so we look forward to seeing him down the road.

Tim (Van Tramp) and his dog Moose in his modified camper van. Tim discovered the awesome spot in Grand Teton National Forest where we camped last fall.

Vince and Spencer … we went searching for Pegleg's gold

Vince and Spencer … we went searching for Pegleg’s gold

Vince and Spencer in an Airstream. We met them at Grand Teton National Park last fall. Vince just began his full-time adventure after retiring from a career as a doctor.


John and Pam

John and Pam

pachanga  054Pam and John (Oh, the Places they Go), in their class A motorhome. We’ve been following each other’s blog for over a year.  They arrived towards the end of our stay and we’re so glad we finally connected with these two avid hikers and retired educators.

pachanga  023pachanga  033This amazing group of full time RVers graciously welcomed us into their community. Many in this group are younger than us and many work while on the road.

We really enjoyed the great energy of the group.


Todd and Drea in a serious game of leg lifting

Todd and Drea in a deadly serious game of leg lifting

There were doggie dates, group outings and group gatherings day and night.

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We joined the group for Taco Tuesday twice at a local Mexican restaurant in town.

We caught a bit of Karaoke night, but apparently left too early and missed some fabulous performances given as the night wore on.

pachanga  015Nina and Paul were planning to move on shortly after we arrived so we got together with them early on. And, as always thoroughly enjoyed their company and the conversation.

Paul and Hector as two (the only?) Cuban American fulltime RVers always have interesting stories to exchange and we have fun comparing notes about about Miami.  Our visit this time was too brief, but we hope to be seeing them again soon.

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Painkillers and De Lime in De Coconut we enjoyed by all

Painkillers and De Lime in Da Coconut were enjoyed by all

We hosted a happy hour with a Caribbean theme and rum drinks. Where we discovered that Chris and Cherie know more about Caribbean cocktails than we do. Those two are full of surprises.

pachanga  056pachanga  055At another gathering there were some moments of panic when Iain and Kate were accidentally locked out of their Airstream. After much hilarious effort, we discovered that it’s not possible to break into an Airstream (without breaking a window that is).   But they found an extra key and all was well.pachanga  058

One day there was a “dumping exodus”, when several Airstreams drove out to empty and fill their tanks and returned to exactly the same spots in the desert, pretty funny.

pachanga  103And love was in the air – Angel was quite smitten with Scout, a much younger dog who belongs to Kelly and Mike. Scout, so handsome, gently responded to Angel’s persistent, playful teasings. Angel is pretty fierce.  And we are thrilled that she continues to be going strong.

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pachanga  108pachanga  052All of this fun and social time has taken place in the midst of a spectacular setting in the desert, surrounded by mountains on three sides. We eagerly awaited the sunset show every night, some evenings subtle and others electric.

And, as we neared the new moon, the endless night sky has become more and more stunning.

We love the desert.

And una pachanga en el desierto is a great way to begin our New Year.

~ Brenda


16 thoughts on “Una Pachanga en el Desierto

  1. A lovely time was had by all it appears! What a group! Great photos and I am jealous we could not get started out from our home Maryland in time to be there. Maybe next year. My wife and I are a couple of months into our full time adventure and currently in Del Rio Texas headed toward the desert southwest but first all these places in between. Hope to meet up with you some day and share a cocktail. I make a mean Cosmo and Manhattan.

    • There are lots of wonderful places in New Mexico and Arizona well worth spending quality time in, and of course here in California, enjoy! Hope we do meet down the road, I’ll take you up on that Cosmo 🙂
      Safe travels,

  2. Looks like a wonderful gathering. I am often amazed at the diversity of folks out on the road. Glad you were able to finally meet up with John and Pam.

  3. Una pachanga en efecto . Como siempre se traza la diversión o la crea ! You guys always know where the fun is and add a special flavor to it!

    Supongo que no es de extrañar que la gente más amable en la tierra encontrarían las otras personas más agradables en la tierra! Friendly folks draw other friendly folks!

    You guys STILL know how to party!

  4. Happy New Year, Brenda and Hector! Loved the photos and hearing about how much fun everyone had, especially Angel. ; ) What a wonderful community!

  5. Looks like party central with all the ‘famous’ people. Gorgeous scenery, adorable pups, good food and drink, and a fun group to hang with…. doesn’t get much better. Enjoy Q!

  6. Boy, you had a great party time in the desert. We are so glad it worked out to join most of you for couple days.

    You certainly captured the flavor of the gathering in your gorgeous photos, Hector:) That photo of Mike and Kelly in front of their Airstream should be in an Airstream brochure. That is an absolutely beautiful photo!

    We had a wonderful time spending time with the three of you. Can’t wait to meet up again on the road.

      • Hector will send you a copy. It was great meeting you. Angel is missing Scout 🙁 but she will be happy to hear he sends his love.

    • Yes, it was, and unexpected! When are you guys leaving Texas, and where are you headed? We’re headed to the Q next, then Desert Hot Springs, then San Diego.

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