Photo page of the simple, frugal life at Rancho Costa Nada

About Page  Rancho Excerpts Contact Page Home Page Photo Page Photo Sidebars Tenting Today Revolt of the Sergeants City Haul Tenting Tips from Beet No Time for Work Gramps Backpacks the UK Rancho Costa Nada My Photos Photo Diego Garcia Journalism Rancho Reviews Rancho Full Monty Tenting Today in Full Tics and Tells Chuckwalla Wire Blog Chuckwalla Observatory More Tics Custom Rich-Text Page Custom Rich-Text Page Blank Blank Custom Rich-Text Page

Simple and dirt cheap desert living at Rancho Costa Nada

Life at the Rancho.  A few snaps taken at or near Phil Garlington's Rancho Costa Nada in the Smoke Tree Valley, Imperial County, California.

One of the 8' x 8' desert bum boxes. Quick and affordable housing. Usually appointed with a bed and chair. The cube takes a few hours to build, and protects the desert rat from wind and sun.

Boy Tuke with a pet scorpion. The family homstead's main house consists of three trailers cobbled together.

House sitting at the walnut farm. The Rancho's a blistering 120 in July. One alternative is a tent site in Northern California on property owned by friends.

The mad former Marine running the gunnery range. He salvages brass and aluminum tail fins. No, it's not legal, and it's really dangerous.

What three bills will buy. The hogan sits in the middle of ten worthless acres.

The free trailer set on the BLM's long term visitors area. The escapee from frozen Nodak can put his trailer out in this dust bowl the entire winter for a couple of bills.

Two chairs for company, three for society

The Blythe slammer

Potato clout.

The Hobo at home

Start of a sleeping cube

Typical road

Meth bust...duh! This isn't me, by the way. Just some sap caught cooking in a desert trailer.

Hobo loading pallets

Rocks, or sand, or washes

Smoke Valley matriarch

The Rancho rifle range

Looks like maybe the Old Woman Mts

Creosote, palo verde, catclaw, smoke tree, cactus, and rattlers.

Dusty trail to the Rancho

Potato away!

What an idiot

Okay air conditioning. An air scoop fashioned from an elbow joint of PVC. In another version, the scooop is attached with a ratchet tie. Works best at speeds above 40 mph.

Couple of coots

Ebb tide at the Rancho

Pistol range

The homesteader out on the range


The hogan wall. Courses of sandbags and newspaper bales inside plywood walls. Layers of sandbags are held together by broken glass.

Spike camp

Of mice and men, plan-wise. This is the hogan until the first big wind storm shredded the solarium and kayoed heat vent and wind tower. Now the hogan is a flat-roofed cube that is vacated during unpleasant weather.

Summer alternative to the desert

Local transit. Chuckwalla has no official signing for bikes, and the intramural bike path has fallen into disrepair. But back roads, firelanes, irrigation ditch pathways, and abandoned railroad right-of-ways create a network of cycling options.

Chuckwalla Mayor Robert Crane taking a breather from annual budget session

Street art

Flower Spa raided again. Massage parlor has a history of violations.