Wednesday, January 30, 2013

01/30/2013, Wednesday:   We moved to LaPosa South, a long term visitor area, yesterday. We paid $40 for 14 days stay, and have dump and water here. There are a lot less people now than when we drove through last week.   There were a lot of people leaving the area we had been in too. We waited in line for about a half hour to dump our tank; there's only 2 dump stations. Filling water was no problem, there are 8 faucets. They shut the water off from 6 PM to 8 AM daily as there were a lot of people coming in to get water and dump during the night that weren't suppose to be. We have a sticker on our vehicles so they know we paid until 2/11. But people drive in and out all day; I don't see how they can keep track of who is legal or not. There are 4 long-term areas, only 1 with the dump and water. So people can come in from the other 3 areas also. It's on the honor system. Kind of like not burning your trash and not emptying your grey water tank; we saw both of them last week.

We've been looking at motorhomes the past week. There's new ones and used ones all over. It's fun to see the expensive ones and how fancy they get. Can't quite imagine some of them. We've been figuring out how much we have to stick in to ours to  fix some things and if we want to add extra batteries and solar and satellite.  Do we keep adding to an old home that won't gain any more in value or trade?  

When we drove in to LaPosa trying to find a place to park, we saw a sign that said ATTENTION: BEYOND THIS SIGN YOU MAY ENCOUNTER NUDE SUNBATHERS. Okay, really? I realize Arizona is warm, but this is winter time. We stayed out of that area by the way. But evidently we are close enough that you can see nude people walking around this morning.We're probably about a block away from the nearest one. It is about 11:30 now, maybe 65 degrees. I think we may be moving some other place within the next 14 days! 

It rained last week; we were wondering what the desert would be like when it rained because there's washouts and runoffs all over. It doesn't soak in right away like regular areas. There were puddles all over. And it doesn't smell good either. I love the smell of rain, but not here. Evidently the creosote bush makes it stink when it gets rained on.  

This is the beginning of the dump tank line

It was almost always 8 in line
 People filling water in all kinds of containers
 You can stay long term in this area for 7 months. You can add things, as long as they're not permanent.

 Yup, really...
 Our sunset last night

These 2 greyhounds are for Dean and Valerie!

 These are sales people just waiting for you to come

 I took a picture of this because we had seen the TV show "Shark Tank" a couple of weeks ago and these food tents were on the show!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

01/19/13, Saturday: We are staying at Scaddan Wash which is BLM land set aside for 14-day free camping. After 14 days you have to move 25 miles away, or go to the LTVA (long term visitor’s area). At the LTVA you can stay there for $188 for up to 7 months, or $40 for 14 days. There are other short term areas like we’re in now, but they are not 25 miles away from us. What they suggest is after our 14 days, go to the LTVA for 14 days for $40, then go to another 14 days short term. That’s $40 for 6 weeks. One of the LTVA areas has water, dump station and garbage for free. Where we’re at now we don’t have any of that. So we’re trying to conserve water and see how long it will last, and how long it will take to fill our dump tanks. There are areas in town that sell water and have dump stations for a charge.

Scaddan Wash was the first area we found when we got here. It’s near I-10, the main east/west highway. There is some highway noise, but we figured we’d do the in-town things we want for the first 14 days and then move further away after that. The other areas are only about 5 miles away, so they’re really not far either.

Quartzsite is a small town, about 3500 people, 20 miles east of the California border, 80-some miles south of Lake Havasu and north of Yuma. According to the Arizona Highway Department, as many of 750,000 to 1,000,000 people, mostly in RV’s come to this area, mostly in January and February, for the 9 major gem, mineral, and 15 general swap meets in this town. Also there is a large RV show for 2 weeks in January.  There are large tents that vendors are under, blocks and blocks of them.

We learned yesterday that you go right away in the morning if you want a parking spot and room to walk. We did go yesterday morning and by the time we left about 2:00 there were so many people you could barely move.  There are so many vendors selling the same things, I can’t imagine how they sell. And if you’re selling to full-timing RVers, you only have so much room to store things.  There are multiple tents of cheap items like Harbor Freight sells, tools and gloves, rugs, etc. There are tents of RV items, jewelry, rugs, flags and flagpoles (on RV’s or 4-wheelers). And tents and tents of rocks and gems.

There are people and RVs of every size and shape. Anything goes.  From tenters to large motorhomes, they’re here in the desert. There are also around 60+ RV parks within 20 miles or so of Quartzsite, and BLM land all the way south to Yuma and north to Lake Havasu City and west into California.

As I said before, the desert is not what we expected. I always pictured just sand dunes as a desert. There are a lot of rocks and shrubbery. Very little cactus in this area. So far no animals seen (including no snakes). There are hummingbirds and roadrunners. But dry air and static electricity. 

One of the "streets" in the vendor area

Some of these rocks are taller than we are - what would you do with it?

A vendor "bus"


Camping on BLM land - park wherever you want, by yourself or in a group

I-10 into Quartzsite, a very busy main highway. What you see in the background is the town, which is mostly RVs and mobile homes at this time.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

1/13/13, Sunday: Got a lot of scanning done this week, started on tax paperwork. We went to Casa Grande twice and did some shopping and driving around. Shopping like in Walmart, Home Depot and Lowe's. (Where else?) I think Curt misses his tools and trailer.

There's so many old run-down buildings out of town and in town. We're still amazed at the thousands of Holsteins at the dairies. Also more cotton. I always thought desert was just sand, but there's a lot of rocks too. I don't know how the crops grow in it; if they bring in topsoil, or just the irrigation. We walked behind the campground today; Curt took pictures with his new lens. There's a large desert area, not sure who it belongs to, but there's open gates in to it from the campground. Lots of bike and 4-wheeler trails. There's also old backpacks and water bottles and clothes, a bike. Hmm.

Arizona - flat, desert with cactus, mountains, cactus on mountains, dry air, sunshine. So far we've  been lucky that we haven't been in any dust storms.

We'll be moving on toward Quartszite tomorrow. First, we're going to have the oil changed in the RV. Curt has been trying to find the oil he used in ND, but hasn't found until now. And then there's the issue of where do you change oil? He found a business near Casa Grande that will do it at a good price and has the oil he wants, so we'll do that right away tomorrow morning. Then we need to find out how the BLM camping works, places, etc. Arizona is having a cold spell now, the longest one they've had in 30 years. Really?  Later this week it is suppose to get up to the 70's for a high; today it's 48. So, we'll learn the boondocking secrets, hopefully, and keep warm and hydrated and see if we have to get a solar system or new house batteries.

cotton bales
 cotton processing

lots of graffiti - in fact it's so bad that the spray paint is locked up at Walmart!
 dairy cattle
golf course

Monday, January 7, 2013

1/07/2013: It's hard to write 2013. We're at John Wayne RV Ranch near Maricopa, Arizona. It's southwest of Phoenix. We'll stay here a week, waiting on mail and, if I get ambitious, I'll do some scanning of 2012 paperwork. This campground has about 125 sites; I'd say more than 3/4 are set up for long-term with full hookups and electricity meters. They accept Passport America and we have full hookups with 50 amp which is working great. They have a large laundry room and a club house with a kitchen and area for puzzles, books, TV, games.  It's right off the highway; I didn't hear anything last night but Curt said he heard a lot of vehicles. When I'm at a campground I usually sleep pretty good.

We were at Gilbert Ray Campground near Tucson for 2 days, a Pima County Park. They are first come first served, 7 day limit.  Ft. Willcox RV Park at Willcox, AZ for is a small park we stayed at for 1 night. We had 30 amp for both of those places and had a lot of problems keeping  things running. Usually we can run our fridge, hot water heater and 2 small heaters with no problem. We weren't able to run the hot water heater, and only 1 small heater along with the fridge. If I needed to use the microwave, I had to unplug the heater. Curt did a lot of checking, wondering if it was our problem, since it happened at 2 places in a row. But after getting here at John Wayne, everything is working fine. Yes, it's 50 amp, and it's great!

Before we got to Arizona, we stopped at Deming, NM Walmart. While we were there, there was a vehicle stop by the police, which turned in to Walmart parking lot not far from us. Another police car came, and another..until there were 5 cars there. Needless to say, we sat and watched. The K9 unit was there. The person was cuffed and put in a car and a tow truck took his pickup away. A little later a security office came and asked us to move to the other side of the lot; there were already 4 campers over there. The weather forecast was for snow coming early tomorrow morning and the next day. It was late already to drive further west, and there isn't much in between Deming and Bowie, AZ, which was about 100 miles away. So we figured we'd see what it was like in the morning. As it got darker, there were more RV's coming in for the night. The next morning most of them had left already and we took off too. There was a little snow on the side of the road, just light blowing, and cloudy, but other than that it was fine.

While at Tucson, we went to the gun show they had there at the fairgrounds. We thought it would be interesting given the latest shootings and politics. I don't know what their regular attendance is, but there were a lot of people there and we had to wait in line to get tickets and get in. It was really interesting to see the guns and ammo that was leaving while we were waiting in line. There were a lot of comments that this was happening because of the politics. After that we stopped at some RV dealers and looked at some motorhomes.

Arizona desert...cactus, flat, with some mountains and rocks thrown in.  The weather has been from upper 40's to upper 60's for highs and lower 20's to upper 30's for lows. We've been able to stay away from the snow so far.

We think these might be pecan trees; there's a lot of places selling pecans

We can't quite figure out what their poor cows eat. There is no grass.

The clouds in Deming the morning we left.

Cotton bales. It took us a while to figure out what it was. 
A few dairy cows.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

I should have ended the 2012 year with a final blog on 12/31/2012, which I forgot to do. So, today is January 1, 2013 - Happy New Year!

My last entry was on Christmas Day. We were near Roswell, NM at a campground. The campground is pretty small, so I had to get inventive to do walking for any length of time. I went around the area, in and out of the empty pads, etc. We did go to Roswell one day to visit the "alien places". I think we were expecting more. Roswell is an old town, not well kept up in places we were driving. We went to Alien Zone, which is a gift store of alien items, but also has two areas that you can take pictures with aliens. There was a couple in there with a little girl about a year old and she didn't want anything to do with the pictures. After that we went to the museum which has a lot of documentary information regarding the Roswell incidents and other space things and a gift shop. We stopped at an antique store next door which was interesting to see what items they felt was "antique". There are a lot of buildings in Roswell that have a "green alien" in front of or on their buildings. We went to the free zoo; they have an antique carousel that I wanted to see and do some geocaching. The zoo is open year-round, but the carousels were closed up in a building. So I walked through some of the area and took pictures of the animals that decided to be outside. I didn't get any caches as there were people around in the specific places to be.

We got the backup camera from UPS and Curt put that in and after a bit got that working. Good!

12/29/12: Before we left today, we did a webcam Christmas gift opening with all of the kids with Google+. It worked out well for viewing, but the volume was real low, so we'll have to find a mic to add to it for next time. It's always fun to see the kids and grandkids and pets. On the way to Alamogordo we stopped at the Billy the Kid Visitor Center.

12/30/12:  From Alamogordo to Las Cruces, we stopped at White Sands National Monument. We could see the white sands area from quite a distance because of the color. We had been to some sand dunes when we were traveling through Michigan. We were expecting the White Sands to be like that. They are not as white as we thought it would be, but then it would have been brighter if the sun would have been out and not a cloudy day. The sand dunes in Michigan are huge and take forever to climb; these sand dunes are just small hills. If we hand't seen the other ones, we probably would have been more impressed. There's a gift shop there that sells round plastic sleds that kids and adults were trying to slide down the hills with. I did convince Curt to climb up one with me to take pictures. From there we went to Leasburg Dam State Park. This is about 15 miles north of Las Cruces. We hadn't made reservations, but we hadn't had to so far with any of the state parks. There was only one spot left, and it was not  reservable and could only be in for one night. The campground host told us that we could call in the morning to see if any of the other spots could be reserved tomorrow, but the reservation center and visitor center were both closed today. She said that one of the campers that had just come in before us was leaving in the morning and we could probably get their spot.

12/31/12: I tried calling the reservation center around 8:00, but got a recording that they weren't open until 10:00. I called about 10:10 and was told that there were no openings for the next two days. Somebody beat me by 10 minutes? Since Las Cruces is a bigger city, I decided to get my blood work done here so I can get my medications refilled too. I called one one of the clinics and she said just to have my doctor call in an order and that would work. So I called my clinic at home and got the ball rolling for that. I was going to have my blood work done yet today (I hadn't eaten yet). Curt mentioned maybe I should find out if the insurance will pay for all of it or if it will be going to my deductible. If it goes to the deductible, then I may as well wait for the new year. I called BCBS and they said it would go to my deductible, so I ate. (It was about 1:30 by the time the nurse had called me back.) We went to Coachlight Inn & RV Park in Las Cruces for the next two nights. They have openings and accept Passport America. It's behind a motel, kind of like a parking lot with hookups, but it's a place to stay. We'll stay here for two nights and head out on Wednesday, the 2nd, to keep going west.