Thursday, January 31, 2019

Boondocking in Quartzsite with friends and finally meeting and fellow blogger

Well....we've been here in Gold Canyon since Mid October and have  been anticipating meeting up with Steve and Debbie from Down the Road(Fast and Loose). We've been enjoying our time here with Pickleball and Line Dancing and a couple of Happy Hours too. The RV Resort has expanded their grill area and have some very good food to eat there or take out. We typically get a wrap and chips to share. Even with the many things we can do here we do get the itch to move around. I mean that's why we have wheels, right?

We've been waiting for the time to head out in the motorhome to Quartzsite, AZ about 169 miles west of here. We take US 60 to I-10 to Quartzsite. Steve and Debbie and Debbie's brother and Sister in Law Diane were staying at La Posa South LTVA(Long Term Visitors Area) about 4-5 miles south of Quartzsite. This is government land which typically would be $40 for 2 weeks or $120 for 6 months. The government was shutdown at this time so no fees were collected....FREE. This is dry camping. No hook ups like electricity, water or sewer connections. Something we have done a couple times before in campgrounds but never in open desert. So we filled our water tank and propane and emptied the waste tanks, hitched up the car and off we went. It was about a 3 1/2 hour drive.

We originally thought we would stay about 4 or maybe 5 days. We ended up staying a whole week. I tell you this because we learned so much during our stay on conserving water and waste tank capacity. Glenda is a daily shower person so she really had to conserve on water....shaving legs, washing hair, etc. She did an incredible job on water usage. We have an 84 gal fresh water tank and didn't want to have to refill while there. You'd be surprised how fast you can use up your water if you're not keeping track.

We have 4 - 12v batteries and a 2000 watt inverter to keep our residential refrigerator running. In the motorhome we don't have the capacity to use propane to run the refrigerator so we had to make sure the batteries didn't die on us each day. The inverter also can run a few other small watt appliances. That's where our 5500 watt Onan generator came in handy. We could start the generator in the morning to top off the batteries and use some of the appliances like the coffee maker and microwave. We used the propane to run the water heater and the furnace. However the fan for the furnace uses battery power so we set the furnace lower at night so it would only run a couple of times before morning. If we watched some TV before bed we also ran the generator to top off the batteries.

Well that brings me to our 120 watt solar panel. This is a portable panel that we used all day long to keep the batteries charged until the sun went down. Remember, we had to keep the inverter on all the time for the refrigerator and other draw items in the motorhome.

Lots of folks that dry camp for long periods....like weeks or months, use multiple solar panels to run most everything in their RV and keep the batteries charged.

We found out that we could comfortably function on our batteries, inverter and solar panel for the kind of living we would do in a dry camping setting.

Now for the fun stuff.....Steve and Debbie had saved us a wonderful spot near them off the main road into the LTVA. Once we arrived, Steve lead us to our site over a couple washes. We surveyed the area and got set up.





We were in Quartzsite during the Big Show/Rally where folks come to see new RV's, RV products and services. There had to be over 100,000 RV's scattered throughout the BLM land and surrounding area. A very busy area due to the big show. The next morning the guys headed to the big tent for some breakfast and to explore. 



Just about any RV product or service was represented there. We wandered through the tents until afternoon. There was even a vendor that was selling sugar gliders as pets for traveling.

They resemble a squirrel

We had a fun day and then made sure to get a warm fire going to discuss our plans for the next few days.





 We decided to take a trip to Nellies Saloon....AKA The Desert Bar out side of Parker, AZ. We drove the 40 miles to Parker and then got into Steve's truck for the bumpy, dusty 4-5 miles of washboard dirt and gravel road to the Desert Bar. It was packed when we got there and that was about 11:30 or so. They've been upgrading the place and adding seating. This is a place were ATV's roam freely.




The line to get food....it took us about 45 minutes or so to order




The gang...Steve, Dianne, Debbie, Steve, Glenda and Me

We had a great time and the food is very good. We found out the place is run solely on solar power.

Debbie's brother, Steve got a terrible headache while at the Desert Bar so we split up after getting back to our car and Glenda and I headed to another area near Blythe, CA to see the Intaglios.

The Blythe Intaglios or Blythe Geoglyphs are a group of gigantic figures etched on the ground near Blythe, California in the Colorado Desert. The ground drawings or geoglyphs were created by humans for an, as of yet, unknown reason.
We found the etchings and tried to take a few photos but they were so large it was hard to get the whole etching in the photo.   
The body and 2 legs of a horse figure

The head, torso and legs of a person figure

I did get a little more of the person figure in this photo

The desert landscape is very unusual around these etchings

According to Wikipedia....The Colorado Desert contains the only known desert intaglios in North America.[1] These intaglios are mostly located along the Colorado River. The Blythe Intaglios contain three human figures, two four-legged animals, and a spiral; although Harner (1953) reported two spirals.[2] The largest human figure in the Blythe Intaglio group is 171 feet (52 m) long. The intaglios are best viewed from the air. 

If you would like to see better photos, click on this LINK.  It was dark by the time we got back to our site but we had plans for the next day with Steve and Debbie. 

After breakfast we got together with Steve and Debbie  for a trip to Yuma, AZ. Along the way we looked for a cache at the Yuma Proving Grounds where they have actual cannons and tanks on display at a visitors center. We didn't go inside due to the government shutdown. But we did find a couple caches. 


 As we drove along on our way to Yuma we passed a sign for a little church in the desert. Steve said we had to go back and we're glad we did. You see January 21 was our 47th wedding anniversary.

Since we had a church available, we thought it would be fun to have a mock renewal of our vows by "Pastor" Steve. We enjoyed celebrating our anniversary with good friends.

This little chapel was built in 1995 by farmer Loren Pratt on the edge of his fields along the road, in honor of his deceased wife Lois. It measures 8 ft. x 12 ft. inside. The sign on the dirt road that leads to the church reads: "Stop, Rest, Worship."



The happy couple with Pastor Steve

Our next stop was in Yuma at the Territorial Prison State Historical Park. We stopped to have a little snack that we had brought and find another cache. Then we paid our admission to tour the prison. 


The guard tower

Not a place you would like to be sent to



Steve was causing trouble

The Dark Cell where the trouble makers went 






The prison had been in disrepair due to some of the area being taken to build a train track by the prison. IT just so happened while we were there a train went by.

Then it was time to check out a date farm and get a date shake. We stopped at Martha's Garden Date Farm just outside Yuma. Steve and I tried one and we found them similar to a Blizzard from DQ. Of course they had a very distinctive taste. Would love to have another one right now.




After our stop at the date farm, we drove through a couple of RV parks associated with the Cal-Am park we're in here in the Phoenix area. They were ok but close to the I-8 interstate. 

It was getting late and time for dinner so we found an authentic style Mexican Restaurant in Yuma. The Las Herraduras Restaurant. They had great Margaritas and the food was very good too. Steve and Debbie picked up the check for our anniversary dinner. We really appreciate their generosity and friendship. It was a fantastic day. 

The next day Steve had to work so Debbie told us about a cache on a nearby small mountain with a big Q on it. We made it to the top of the mountain(hill) but no luck finding the cache. 



ATV's everywhere

An old Mine

That afternoon some other friends, Red and Pam, had invited us and some other RV friends to a fish fry. Red is a big fisherman and had a huge mess of crappie and some other fish I can't think of.

Everyone brought some type of side dish to share and the buffet was on. No one went away hungry.




It was a fun way to meet some new friends and get reacquainted with old friends. Never a dull moment in the desert. 

The nights were cool so we typically had a nice camp fire at the site we shared with Steve and Debbie. Steve and I shared a few beers that we had saved up from our travels in the summer. 

The next day Glenda and I took a short drive into Quartzsite to check out the Hi Jolly Monument and Cemetery. The Hi Jolly monument is in the pioneer section of the cemetery where Quartzsite’s pioneer families were and are laid to rest. The Hi Jolly Monument is for the famed camel driver  born Philip Tedro, a Greek born in Syria. He converted to Islam and made a pilgrimage to Mecca, hence his first name, Hadji Ali. The American version of that became Hi Jolly. It was also a better name for a camel driver, which is what he was when he first came to this country as part of a U.S. Cavalry experiment in the 1850′s. He is by far the most colorful of the camel drivers because he remained in the desert southwest and became a prospector, scout and was a courier for what was called the Jackass Mail. He was a packer, hauling freight in the area also. Hi Jolly died in December of 1902, in what in now known as Quartzsite, Arizona. In his day the town was called Tyson’s Well, but the history does not stop there. In 1934 the Arizona Department of Transportation erected a monument over his grave. His grave became the beginning of the pioneer cemetery. The monument is a favorite of visitors to Arizona.








After another visit to the big show in town we made a stop at  Silly Al's Pizza. IT was a very popular eatery with so many folks in town for the big show. We had to wait about 30 minutes or more for a table. The pizza was delicious and everyone enjoyed the atmosphere. 


Debbie really enjoyed her wings

We've packed a lot into our week at Quartzsite but Debbie had one more stop for us before we left. That was a hike to Palm Canyon. It's a very short hike but the last 1/4 mile is almost straight up to see the palm trees that grow in the canyon. 

On the way to the trailhead we stopped at the Circle of Life landscape sculpture along the road in. 




Perfect circles around a center collection of rocks and trinkets.
Glenda was enjoying the Circle energy

Then it was on to the trailhead and up the canyon. As you get to the top to see the palms there is a very narrow slot to climb through. We all had a little difficulty but we made it. Debbie, Steve and her brother Steve finished the climb to the palms while Glenda and I hung back to watch them. 
It was difficult but worth the effort and the view. 



Up we go

Getting tight 

The Palms in the distance

Looking back down

The view


Shameless selfie

Time to meet a fellow blogger.....Rick and Kathy Rousseau
Prior to our visit to Quartzsite I found out from reading an entry on their blog that they would be in Quartzsite when we would be there so I let them know where we would be and when. Rick gave me their information and on our last full day in the desert we finally got to meet Rick and Kathy Rousseau from It's about Time. They're from Ontario, Canada. Rick and Kathy have been faithful followers of my obscure little blog since the beginning. I've always wanted to meet them. They typically leave comments on the blog and I feel like they enjoy our travels and my write ups. 

Rick remembered my Shameless Selfies
Kathy, Rick, Glenda an Me

Rick is a very handy person and has set up their 5th wheel with solar panels and some modifications including mods for propane heat inside not using the furnace. They also have accommodations for refilling fresh water and draining the waste tanks without having to move their 5th wheel. They spend a large portion of the winter in Quartzsite. I think they feel the same way we do about the cold winters up north....especially this year with below zero temperatures. Very dangerous. 

We had a great visit and unfortunately we had to cut it short for some plans we had with Steve and Debbie before we left the next day. Thank you for your hospitality. We'll see you again in March

We packed in so much in such a short time but enjoyed every minute of it. Dry Camping is something we hope to do more of in the future. We learned so much and feel so much better about this style of RV'ing life. 

On the day we left Steve went with some friends in their ATV(Buggy)

Q 19

Thanks for following along. We're back in Gold Canyon and back to our life here. Long hot showers and amenities. We have so many ways to enjoy this lifestyle. 

7 comments:

  1. Sounds like a great week at Q. Sounds like you've just opened up a new way of living this lifestyle. Glad it all went well, great job Glenda. Always fun to meet bloggers you've "known" since forever. The Q cache continues to evade Debbie, we tried to find it last winter too. Hope to spend some time at Q next winter too.

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    1. It was fun. Too bad you and Dave we're there. Maybe next year. Glenda is a trooper. Bloggers are the best friends.

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  2. Replies
    1. Thank you....glad to know someone is following along.

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  3. Glad to finally meet up with you Two and hope to see you again in March.
    Wow even though we've been to this area for the last Three years it looks like we have some catching up to do as far as seeing the attractions in the area.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

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    1. Thanks again for following the blog and the meet up. We'll certainly see you in March. Lots to do in the area. Keep exploring.

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  4. You certainly took advantage of your time there! We have done each of those adventures and met all those people. So many great people and things to do in that area, it is a great place to spend the winter!

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