Tuesday, January 25: A shout out to our dear friend Weezie who celebrated her birthday today… Cheers! Although we got up early this morning for an early departure to Yuma, we decided to stick around for a bit to enjoy the 8am “Cinnabon” pancakes-Yum with a capital Y!!! We can’t believe we’ve had Boomer pancakes three times since we arrived at Quartzsite. But… the pancakes are delicious and all donations go to the Escapees’ CARE program (a win-win). Sadly, we are really going through our stash of pure maple syrup from the Cross Brothers’ Maple family-owned farm in Madison, OH. We love their syrup and stocked up for our trip at the Willoughby Outdoor Market this fall.
We left Plomosa Road around 9:30 and got to the Escapee KOFA Ko-Op Retreat in Yuma before noon. Boy, talk about leaving the desert dust behind. Everything was greener as we got closer to Yuma, and the citrus trees lining the streets were a sight for sore eyes. Early into our trip, Fester was concerned because the air brake system wouldn’t come up to pressure which could result in the brakes locking up. As Fester watched the air pressure continue to drop, he was nervous as he backed into our assigned RV spot, afraid he would lose the brake. The brakes did lock up, but he finessed us safely into place. We weren’t sure where the air was escaping, so we walked around the coach while it was still running. I heard air hissing around the passenger side’s back wheels and, upon further inspection, Fester located the leak on the driver’s side back wheels. Fester climbed under the coach and was able to remove the faulty part. Unfortunately, while in that position, he noticed the rear axel seal was leaking fluid – another problem! Our back home friend and mechanic, John Kraus, was able to give Fester valuable insight before we headed to a truck parts store. Fester couldn’t believe his luck. Not only was he able to purchase an identical replacement part, but while at the counter he met a truck mechanic who should be able to fix the rear axel issue. Now we just have to wait for the mechanic to let us know the parts are in and we’ll head to his garage.
Because the RV Park doesn’t accept reservations, we were only able to book a full hook-up site for tonight; tomorrow we move across the street to a dry camping site (basically boondocking). Before dinner, we decided to take a swim and were happy to learn the pool was heated (87 degrees). While relaxing in the pool, we talked to a resident, John, who told us a bit about the park, and how it operates as a co-op 55+ RV community. We were intrigued by the idea of owning a site at the park and will talk to the office manager while where here to get more information.
Monday, January 24: Happy Birthday to Fester’s dad, Ken, in Asheville, NC! Seems we have been taking turns driving off-road, and I was today’s driver. The trail was beginner level, except for a few “dicey” areas (i.e., fun). Fester used the “Quartzsite Arizona Off-Road Atlas” to navigate our way from Plomosa Road to the Sunkist Trail, then to Road 0077 (which shared the Arizona Peace Trail for a while). We eventually turned onto 0077A which lead us to a “guzzler,” which is an innovate way to provide water for wildlife in the desert. A guzzler is a rain catchment device that collects and stores rain water for all types of small wildlife to drink. Rain falls on a large flat area (typically cement) that gently slopes towards a cistern that holds the water. A ramp at the mouth of the guzzlers allows the wildlife to walk in and access the water at any water level. I saw a few animals (probably deer) scatter away upon our approach, but other than that, we didn’t see any wildlife.
We enjoy spotting different/unique types of rigs that people call home, and we weren’t disappointed as we neared the end of Road 0077 (parallel to I-10) and came across a live-aboard large trawler parked out in the desert. Amazingly creative, the huge white trawler had a rear entrance (with latter), as well as a door cut into the blue hull. Home sweet home.
We stayed out later than planned, but it was a good day and my off-road skills (and confidence) continue to improve. As we were driving about, we made the decision that we were ready for a change in scenery and will head to Yuma, AZ, in the morning. We made quick work of connecting the Jeep and loading/packing up our stuff. As luck would have it, our neighbor, David, stopped by. This was the first time we’ve met him, and immediately we noticed his t-shirt with a white blaze down the front – a recognizable symbol from the Appalachian Trail, which he and his wife, Celia, have section-hiked. They are full-timers and have enjoyed a lot of adventures the last 4-1/2 years. We wish we had introduced ourselves sooner, as David shared some good information on places to explore during our travels. Almost as soon as it got dark, we could hear the crackling fire that Shout had just built, so we wandered over to enjoy the fire and say our goodbyes to Sauce and Shout (and their sweet dogs Flag and Neptune). It turns out they are also leaving (to Phoenix) in the morning.
Sunday, January 23: Greetings from Quartzsite, Arizona! I’m finally taking the time to update the blog, as prompted by my father-in-law, Ken. A lot has taken place since my last post on January 11. We arrived in Quartzsite on January 17, coming from the Xscapers’ Annual “Bash” in Lake Havasu City. Later this morning, after it warms up a bit, we’re planning an off-road adventure via the Arizona Peace Trail (AZPT). The AZPT is a 675 mile Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) loop trail through Mohave, La Paz and Yuma Counties and is the longest off-road trail in Arizona. During our last few days in Quartzsite, we hope to visit some “tourist” destinations like the Hi Jolly National Monument, the Tyson’s Well Stage Station Museum, Celia’s Rainbow Gardens, the Indian Petroglyphs and Grinding Holes in Tyson Wash and the Bouse Fisherman (an Intaglio, also known as a geoglyph or earth figure).
Quartzsite – BIG Tent “Card” Punched
Saturday, January 22: Finally… we’re among the many thousands of RVers destined to make the pilgrimage to the annual Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show, also known as the BIG Tent, which kicks off this morning and runs through January 30. We arrived around 8:30, grabbed an info pack (with map) and a free shopping bag for all the “stuff” we collect along the way. Fester has been reading about the BIG Tent over the years, but we didn’t really know what to expect. Think of an RV/Boat Show on steroids with over 600 vendors hawking their wares. We saw RV lights, batteries, solar panels, refrigeration systems, toilets and air conditioners, along with RV Resort and RV Club representatives. There were several organizations (two in Alaska) looking for work-campers during the summer months. We took a few brochures, because who knows? Aside from RV-specific wares, there were knives, pots and pans, Tupperware and cooking demonstrations. Pretty much you name it, and someone was selling it. After having only purchased some candied pecans, we can now say we’ve officially gotten our BIG Tent “card punched.” As we headed toward the Jeep, we saw that the regular vendors had opened for business and were already crowded with shoppers among the many rows of tents.
After an early lunch at Silly Al’s Pizza (yummy), we picked up Sadie for a ride down Plomosa Road to check out other camping areas. Today turned into a chilly, gloomy day and it even started to rain a bit as we headed out. We saw some very nice BLM campsites that were way out there, providing campers with solitude and a remote camping experience in the desolate desert. While heading back home, we decided that this end of Plomosa Road would be a good training opportunity for me to get behind the wheel and drive Zephyr as we start toward our next destination (haven’t decided when/where we’re going). Other than a few “dips” and curves, the road is in great shape and is pretty straight, with very little traffic. Considering I’ve only driven Zephyr at our local college, I can’t wait to get on a real road. We settled in for the night and while we were eating a piece of leftover pizza, we were pleasantly surprised when Jacque knocked on the door and invited us to join them at their new propane fire pit (which they purchased today at the BIG Tent).
Below are just a few highlights of what we’ve been up to since my last post. I hope to catch up on these soon, as they were good times with great people!
Friday, January 21: Pancakes & Bacon Breakfast with the Escapee Boomers
Thursday, January 20: Cinnamon buns, Market Stalls, Beer Belly’s Adult Day Care
Wednesday, January 19: Party at Plomosa! Fester & Jacques fly the drone; Annual Happy Hour Hosted by Xscapers with the Status Crowes band followed by Karaoke by the fire.
Tuesday, January 18: Met Faith’s kids Karen & Greg who are boondocking at La Posa LTVA
Monday, January 17: After laundromat we left Lake Havasu City, heading to Quartzsite; said good by to Jill & Cody’s ’04 Minnie Winnie, the “Big Taco”
Sunday, January 16: Fester & Savannah fly drone over Sara’s Park; Dinner with Savannah
Saturday, January 15: Desert Bar http://www.thedesertbar.com/; Cat Parade BBQ Dinner and Neon Night
Friday, January 14: Dog Walk at Sara’s Park; the Xscapers’ official band, The Status Crowes
Thursday, January 13: Our 2nd Off Road Group Jeep ride
Wednesday, January 12: , Seminar Building a Resume for Working on the Road; Wine Tasting; and Sandcastles; Xscapers Olympics & Unicorn Ride
Tuesday, January 11: Previously posted
Monday, January 10: First dog walk at Sara Park – off leash Bob Ide & Grace; Debbie Powell and Pat with Black Lab Beauregard (Beau)