Monthly Archives: January 2015

Imperial Recreation Area, Yuma Arizona, January 26 -31, 2015

We are still a foursome; Diane and Ronnie , Rochelle and Ralph. We drove south on Hwy 95 to our next camping site in the Imperial Recreation Area just north of Yuma, Arizona. The area is next to the Yuma Proving Grounds. We’ve had quite a lot of activity in the air above us; several helicopters and one F-18 Navy jet. I swear I’m in an episode of China Beach with all the helicopters and their thumping noise.  BTW for all you Detroiters, the GM Proving Grounds are right next door.

Entrance to US Army Proving Grounds

Entrance to US Army Proving Grounds

Display just outside the gate of the Yuma Proving Ground

Display just outside the gate of the Yuma Proving Ground

More tanks, many used in Viet Nam

More tanks, many used in Viet Nam

It's not often you see a tank crossing sign!

It’s not often you see a tank crossing sign!

We are parked along the shore of the Senator Wash Reservoir and it is really wonderful to have this water system in the desert. There is a Long Term Visitor Area (LTVA) here and you can camp the entire season for $180 or $40 for 14 days. Lots of snowbirds here!

Our yard for our time here at Senator Wash

Our yard for our time here at Senator Wash

We circled the wagons

We circled the wagons

The Senator Wash Reservoir provides water for agriculture in and around the Yuma area. And who knew? Certainly not me. However, I just learned that during the winter months Yuma grows 90% of lettuce for the entire country. That’s a lot of lettuce. It was surprising to me that there was so much green around Yuma.

Lettuce growing in the desert

Lettuce growing in the desert

Cabbages too!

Cabbages too!

It’s a 20 mile drive into Yuma, a city of around 95,000 people. They have everything in Yuma including all the major stores and chain restaurants. There is a great mall called the Yuma Palms. Diane and I went into Yuma to do laundry, grocery shop and have lunch.

Yelp guided us to a very good Mexican seafood restaurant. The food and service was excellent. I use Yelp everywhere we go and I’ve never had a bad meal.

We scouted out the LTVA and Mittry Lake for possible campsites in the future. Some folks spend the entire winter season here. They even landscape their campsites by gathering the rocks in the area and making circular driveways, planters, fire rings and boundaries around their sites. There are sun shelters, wind barriers and dog pens.

Mittry Lake

Mittry Lake

There is a reason so many who are able, winter in this area. The sky is clear blue, the temperature is 75 with a gentle 7 mph wind and the humidity is a comfortable 30%. Yuma is reasonably priced and caters to RVers. There are things to do and places to go in town, including Farmer’s Markets, Flee Markets, entertainment, mountain hikes, ATVing and more. I like it here!

Next stop is Ogliby and Sidewinder Rds 14 miles east of Yuma and just over the California border. Another boondocking location I learned about from the Wheelingit.us blog.

There's even six-foot Flamingos in the desert!

There’s even six-foot Flamingos in the desert!

Out for an afternoon stroll

Out for an afternoon stroll

Chillaxing after a walk

Chillaxing after a walk

Until next time…

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Quartzsite, Arizona January 26, 2015

Just us and 150,000 other Rvers in this small desert town, 20 miles east of Blythe, CA.  We’ve been here over a week and were planning to leave today, but the rain moved in.  Hopefully the rain will clean all the desert dust off the rig and Mini. Yesterday was the last day of the big RV show.  Folks are starting to pull out for other destinations and we’re ready to hit the road too!

Diane and Ronnie joined us on our Dome Rock hilltop and its been wonderful having friends here with us.  Ralph has known Ronnie for 13 years through a motorcycle group.  Diane is a wonderful woman, full of  life and a woman after my own heart.  She said, “Let’s sit by the campfire and slam down a couple glasses of wine!”  Oh hell yeah!  I  added Pomatinis (pomegranate martini) and we were off! We’ve had an easy, relaxing time going into the town for the RV show and having lunch in Q.

It's pomatini time!

It’s pomatini time!

There's a storm brewing.

There’s a storm brewing.

We did purchase the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) on the last day of the show and we installed it yesterday.  After a bit of trouble and a couple calls to Tech Support, we got the thing working.  Now we will have peace of mind knowing that we can monitor what is going on with all ten of our tires.  It measures tire temperature as well as tire pressure.

Ralph hasn’t even set up the satilitte dish for Direct TV.  So it has been evenings of campfires, eating, drinking  and socializing.  Love it! He did work on Ralph’s Solar Plant. I went up to help him and kinda got stuck up there.  It’s scary coming down.  Ralph remained calm and instructed me in the fine art of backing down the ladder from the roof.  Not my favorite thing to do!

Up on the roof messing with Ralph's solar plant

Up on the roof messing with Ralph’s solar plant

We will head south on Hwy 95 to just north of Yuma, AZ to a nice boondocking spot at Mittry Lake in the Imperal Dam area.  I just hope it isn’t too crowded. More on that in the next post.

So on this rainy day we will go into Quartzsite to see the few sites we haven’t seen yet.

We will start with the Tyson Stage Stop Museum to learn about the early days of Quartzsite and its early pioneers.  Quartzsite was a stop on the stage coach route which is now Hwy 10.  Then there is the Hi Jolly Tomb and monument in tribute to a camel driver.  Hi Jolly was imported from the Middle-East along with 70 camels  In 1856 Secretary of War, Jefferson Davis had a novel idea: transporting freight and people across the desert Southwest on camels.  He imported the camels along with Syrian caretaker, Hadji Ali.  The Americans called him Hi Jolly.  But, the civil war intervened and Jefferson Davis changed jobs and without his support the project was abandoned.  The camels were freed to fend for themselves in the desert near Quartzsite.   Hi Jolly remained in the area and lived into his 70s.  The town built a special pyramid tomb for Hi Jolly.  BTW, the camels outlived Jefferson Davis and their last reported sighting was in 1942.

There is also Gunny’s Military Museum; a collection of military memorabilia from all wars and branches.  And of course, let’s not forget the Gum Gallery that houses a collction of gum wrappers and other gum memorabilia from around the world.

We will also stop by the 1,000 year old tree in town. That’s one tuff tree to survive 1,000 years in the desert!

The last stop will be the Reader’s Oasis Bookstore and visit  it’s quirky owner Paul.  Paul Winer has spent a couple of decades wearing nothing but a strategically positioned crocheted sock held on by fishing line. Paul is also an accomplished blues musican.  I didn’t tell Diane and Ronnie about Paul.  It’s going to be a surprise!

Photo courtesy of Roadside America.

Photo courtesy of Roadside America.

So much to see and do in beautiful downtown Quartzsite. LOL!

When the guys get back from grocery shopping in Blythe we will leave for our site seeing tour of Quartzsite on this rainy day.

Guess who is behind those dots of light.

Guess who is behind those dots of light.

Until next time…

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On the Road Again, January, 2015

We have been itching to get out of cold and foggy Sacramento since New Year’s and finally headed south on Jan 16 for the two day trip to Quartzsite, AZ.  This year we are here in time to catch the biggest gathering of RVs and Rvers on earth!  Think of Sturgis for RVs.  Said to be 150,000 people in Quartzsite, which normally has a population of 3,600.  It’s going to be a zoo.  However, I don’t think we’re going to see a lot of drunk women flashing their boobs in this crowd!  Ralph can only hope…

We (Ralph) drove 360 miles the first day and we overnighted at a rest area four miles west of Boron, CA.  I think it’s one of the few rest areas in CA where you can stay overnight. I learned about this from the Day’s End Directory published by the Escapees.  We joined the Escapees this year.  It’s an organization based in Texas geared toward full-time Rvers. The Day’s End Directory lists free or very low cost campsites around the country and it is constantly updated by the membership.  It’s a great reference for those of us who like to dry camp (without hookups).  It was a great place to spend the night, except for the train that passed by every hour.  With my earplugs in I barely heard a thing.  It did get pretty cold; it was 45 degrees in the rig when we woke up.  We started the furnace and within 15 minutes it was up to a comfortable 65.

We headed to the Dome Rock area seven miles west of Quartzsite to see if we could  find the same spot we camped in last year. But first we had to find water to fill up our freshwater tank. We went to the RV Pit Stop to fill up our fresh water tank and then went to Love’s to fill up the gas tank. Arizona doesn’t add as much tax to the price of gas, so it is less expensive.  And with gas so much cheaper; we are in hog heaven.  Just look at the price of regular unleaded!  Fill ‘er up!  When we first purchased the rig gas was around $4/gal.  Now half that…means we can go twice as far!  Remember, we only get seven miles per gallon. Do I hear a collective gasp?? We are going to explore more of Arizona’s southwest corner on this trip.

The price as been as low as $1.81 this week!

The price as been as low as $1.81 this week!

We are in the same area as last year, Dome Rock, seven miles west of town.  It’s boondocking at its best.  It’s elevated so we can see the twinkling lights of Quartzsite and it’s not as crowded.  However, it is much more crowded than last year because we were here after the big show. We can see the sun rise to our left and the sun set to our right.  It is beautiful.  We tried to get our same site as last year, but someone was already there.  Not surprised.  So we scouted another spot a little higher.  We are right o the fringe of the area so no one can pull in behind us.  Our friends, Diane and Ronnie are joining us in a few days so our location had to accommodate two rigs.  They have a 5th wheel travel trailer so we will both fit it this spot nicely.  It will be nice to have another couple along.  I don’t know how long we will be together, but it will be fun while it lasts.

THE Dome Rock

THE Dome Rock

Our view

Our view

Looking down at Quartzsite

Looking down at Quartzsite

Get ready, get set, RELAX!

Get ready, get set, RELAX!

The day after our arrival we ventured into town for the BIG RV Show.  I’ve never seen so many old people in one place!  Oh…right…that’s me too!  I keep forgetting…sigh…

I have to give some of these really old (smile) folks a lot of credit; they are using canes, scooters, etc to get around.  Heck one guy was using crutches and lugging a large oxygen cylinder along…that can’t be easy.  But yet, they are still out here, spending the winter in Arizona and going to the big show.  I don’t know how some of them get up the steps into their rigs.  Lesser folk would be home sitting on the sofa watching TV.  As my Southern friends would say, “Bless their little hearts”!

At the show there is one very big tent, called The Big Tent and that’s where vendors set up their wares.  And they are expensive wares.  We hear the rent is high in the Big Tent.  There are hundreds of other vendors that set up small tents on the streets and their prices are much more reasonable.  We are toying with the idea of getting a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).  There are sensors for each tire (including the car) that monitors the tire pressure and temperature.  There is a monitor in the cockpit that alarms when things are not right so that you can pull over before you get a blow out or flat. Tire blowouts are a serious problem for these large vehicles and can cause expensive damage to the rig. And 95% of blowouts are caused by low tire pressure.  We (Ralph) check our tire pressure every time we hit the road but, it would certainly add to our peace of mind if we had the TPMS.  We will probably leave Quartzsite with one in hand.  It about $450 dollars for the monitor and six sensors.  Cheap insurance if you ask me.

We’ll pick up a few more LED light bulbs and then we’ll have replaced every light with energy efficient bulbs. LEDs use 1/10th the energy of incandescent bulbs.  This makes a huge difference when we are living off of batteries charged by the sun.

Fred (AKA Freddy the Freeloader) is traveling with us on this trip. He has been really good.  He doesn’t try to get out of the rig like he did when Simon was along too.  We let him out to explore and roll in the dirt!  Oh my, how he loves to roll in the dirt. We have to clean him every time in comes back in.  He’s a great cat; friendly, affectionate, playful and comes when you call (mostly).  However, he doesn’t like it when we are underway.  He hides the entire time we are driving.

Fred enjoying the sun streaming in the window.

Fred enjoying the sun streaming in the window.

So that’s it for now.  Til next time…

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