Castle Dome City, Imperial Dunes and Air Show

Once again it’s been a while since I updated the blog, so I’ll share with you some of our past week

On Saturday we travelled northeast of Yuma to Castle Dome City.  It’s situated east of Highway 95 near the Yuma Proving Grounds.  The road in from the highway is paved for the first couple of miles and then changes to a very bumpy gravel road for the next 5 miles, but the drive was worth it.  Castle Dome City was once a thriving silver mining town.  When the price of silver dropped too low the mines were abandoned.  What remains is a ghost town of the late 1800’s with the buildings and property left as they were.  It has become a museum of sorts with some additions added from the area.  For $15 each you can take a walking tour of the town and of an area outside the town where the mines were.  Inside the town there are quite a few buildings with some furnishings remaining. It had many of the buildings you would expect to find in an old western town; only about 7 are original.  You will find a Hotel, Bank, Sheriff’s office, Post Office, Church, Saloons, and various small residences.  This was an interesting place and well worth the price of admission. 

Sunday morning we decided to take a drive a few miles west to the Imperial Dunes.  The Dunes reach as high as 300 ft in some areas and they are quite expansive.  This is a popular spot for dune buggies and various types of ATV’s.  This day there were quite a few RV’s parked along the edge of the dunes and many dune vehicles in use.  It was quite windy back at our RV park but out here at the base of the dunes the wind was somewhat lessened.  An interesting note on the dunes is that they were used to film the Sand Dune scenes in Stars Wars the Return of the Jedi.  While at the dunes we saw the remnants of the old Plank Road that ran east and west through the dunes.  Back in 1915 when automobiles were becoming more popular, this road was the only way for cars to travel across the dunes between Arizona and California.  The road was made using 8′ lengths of lumber, much like railroad ties, laid side by side to form a long row 6 1/2 miles long.  The road didn’t hold up to the elements and traffic and was eventually replaced by an asphalt road.  What remains of the road is a decayed section that rises up over a small dune in the distance.  Along with that is a small section of reconstructed road to show what it originally looked like.  Still very interesting.

On Monday morning I played a little bocce ball and in the evening I played poker in the clubhouse.  During the afternoon we drove into Yuma to get a few things and decided to drop over and see Bill and Patsy and Rob and Pat for a bit.

Wednesday morning we were back in Yuma to do a little shopping and we met up with George and Suzie and Rob and Pat at Lin’s Buffet for a late lunch.  Once again the food was great and so was the company.  Of course I ate too much again.  After lunch we returned to the RV and enjoyed happy hour with Rob and Pat and Bill and Patsy at George and Suzie’s.

Thursday’s weather was cold and windy and rainy off and on.  Even so I played bocce ball in the morning with some of the diehard bocce ball players.  After lunch we went to the Arizona Market and made a stop at RV Connections for a part I needed for the RV.  For supper Kim made Mississippi Pot Roast in the Instant Pot. Absolutely delicious….hmmm

Mississippi Pot Roast

Saturday turned out to be a beautiful day.  Sunny all day and much warmer with very little wind.  That was nice because I was going the RC (remote control) Air Show just outside Yuma.  Bill Richards (of Bill and Patsy) is an avid RC hobbyist and he had told me this would be a really good show.  He was right; what an impressive display of aircraft and skill.  They had everything from small planes to helicopters to stunt planes and even jets.  I was really impressed with the jets.  They had real jet engines in them and wow, were they fast.  During the show they were flying at about 150 to 200 miles per hour actual speed.  They even sounded like jets and you could smell the jet fuel as they flew.  After the aerial dislay the planes were all lined up on the runway and we could walk around them and see them up close.  These were impressive planes and very detailed.  Some had wingspans over 8 1/2′.  Couldn’t have asked for a better day, the weather was almost perfect. 

We had happy hour with George and Suzie and Ron Font dropped by for a bit.  After supper we walked to the clubhouse to hear some Karaoke.  There were a few really good singers.  We stayed for a couple hours and then called it a night.

George and Suzie dancing at Karaoke

Well those are the highlights of the week.  Looks like the weather here is going to start improving.  It has been a cool, windy winter here by Arizona standards.  We may be having temps in the low 80’s by the end of the week.  That will be nice.

Pilot Knob, Old Yuma and Mexico

It’s been a few days since I’ve posted but I’ll try to bring you all up to date on what we’ve been doing..

Sunday we checked into Pilot Knob RV Resort.  The park is located about 8 miles west of Yuma just off I-8.  Its a nice park with full hookups and the lots are not too close together.  We are on a corner and the view from our patio is to the west out towards the Imperial Dunes. The Dunes are a very popular place for off road enthusiasts. We travelled back to the Arizona Marketplace in the afternoon and picked up a sunshade screen for the awning.  We had looked at them when we were there on Thursday and decided to pick one up.  The price was very good compared to what we’ve seen in Canada.  I texted Patsy to see if they were around and we drove down to east end of Yuma to Sundance RV Resort where they were staying. We visited for a little while and made plans to go to Mexico on Wednesday with them. We also stopped at Walmart to pick up a few groceries before heading back to the park.

Bocce Ball

Monday morning I joined some of the other people in the park to play Bocce Ball.  Kim and I had played Bocce Ball with friends when we were in Madoc on Labour Day and it was a lot of fun.  The Bocce Ball court here in the park is nice but it has some challenges because of all the rock in the soil.  It made for an interesting game.  We played for a couple hours and I did fairly well.  A lot of fun anyway.  Monday evening I played some Texas Hold’em poker in the clubhouse.  Our friends Rob and Bill travelled up from their Resort to join the game.  They quite often stay here at Pilot Knob so they know a lot of the people here.  I was a little later arriving to the game than them so I got placed at a different table. It was limit poker and the game ended at 9:00 pm with everyone cashing out their chips at the end.  I managed to play the whole evening with my original $5 entry but I had nothing left at the end.  Didn’t get very many good hands so it was tough to win many pots.

Tuesday morning we headed into Yuma to visit the Old Downtown area.  They were having a open air market on Main Street which we just stumbled upon, so we walked around and explored some of the stores and the merchants on the street.  There was a country and western fiddle group played in one area so we stopped to listen for a bit.  They were actually quite good.  Of course we stopped at McDonald’s for a few minutes to use their WiFi.  Also, we went to the Yuma Palms Mall to go to Sportsman’s Warehouse to have a peek.  We’re looking for some new collapsable chairs.  The store is much like a Cabela’s or Bass Pro, but was definitely more geared to hunting and fishing.  At lunch time we found a Chick-Fil-A close by the Mall.  We’ve come to love Chick-Fil-A and don’t often see them, so when we get the chance we stop in.  On our way back to the park we noticed the Stinger B parked in the BLM behind the park, but the Jeep was missing.  A little while later we saw the Stinger B with Tom and Deb in it heading further back into the BLM with Ken and Shirley close behind.  I texted Deb to tell her they might have a couple visitors in a bit.  So we headed out into the BLM to find them and had a short visit with them.  Tuesday evening was another Poker night.  This time it was a no limit tournament.  This is my favourite.  It was a 5$ buy-in and you could rebuy twice for 5$.  Those of you that play Hold’em poker know what that means.  There were 18 people in the tournament and I got knocked out at 11th.  It only cost me the original 5$ I didn’t use any rebuys.  It’s just a friendly game, no one gets too serious and the guys at my table were a lot of fun.  

L -R Tom and Deb Duchaine, Ken And Shirley Kay, and Kim

Wednesday morning was our trip into Los Algodones, Mexico.  Bill and Patsy and Rob and Pat and Kim and I travelled around the town.  They’ve been there often and were willing to show us around.  They know many of the local vendors and we were able to get some nice discounts on things that we bought. You can drive your car into Mexico if you want but most people park in a large parking lot on the USA side and walk across the border, which is what we did.  Just as were entering Mexico we ran into Tom and Pat Duchaine on their way into Mexico too.  We chatted with them for a bit as we were walking in.  About mid morning we stopped in one of the local restaurants for breakfast.  Kim and I shared a Ham and Cheese Omelet with Rice and Beans.  It was very good and the price was right, $3.99 US.  About 11:00 Bill and Patsy and Rob and Pat headed back to the USA and Kim and I wandered around for a while making a few more purchases.  If you don’t mind haggling with the vendors you can get some really good deals.  About lunchtime we were done our shopping and but Kim had wanted to have some Mexican food for lunch.  So we found another little courtyard restaurant and Kim ordered a Beef Burrito and a LARGE Strawberry Margarita.  I wasn’t hungry after my big breakfast so I just had a Corona Cerveza (beer).  The restaurant was very busy.  After lunch we got in line to re-enter the USA.  The line can get quite long depending on the time of day.  It took us a little over an hour to get to customs and about 30 seconds to pass through.  An interesting fact about Los Algodones is that many Americans and Canadian Snowbirds travel there for their Dentists and Dental specialists and also for Vision care.  The prices are extraordinarily cheap, but the facilities and Medical staff are top notch.  Los Algodones is actually the Dental treatment capital of the world.  Most of the travellers there each day are there for Dental treatment or Vision or Pharmaceutical Prescriptions. 

Line of people returning to USA
Mexico/ USA border

Wednesday afternoon George and Suzie Yates arrived at Pine Knob Resort and they are in a site not far from us.  George drove by and invited us over for happy hour. So we headed down to their place.  While we were there Ron Font stopped by.  Ron and his wife Loree are from Ontario and they have a seasonal site at our home park Rock Glen and spend the winters in Arizona.  We had heard of Ron and Loree before so it was nice to finally meet Ron anyway.  Loree wasn’t feeling well but we’ll meet her another day while we’re here.

Thursday the weather forecast was for rain all day but in the morning it was just light rain. I headed down to the park office to register for another week.  We decided to go to Yuma to get a few groceries after lunch.  By the time we got back to camp the rain had stopped and we had a short happy hour with George and Suzie before the skies darkened and the wind picked up.  Back to the RV before the rain but only by a couple minutes.  We had homemade hamburger soup for supper made in the Instant Pot.  It was very good.

Well now you’re all caught up as I write this post on Friday Morning. Weather, all in all, has been pretty nice here in Yuma with yesterday as the exception. Been some nice t-shirt days but it always begins to cool in the late afternoon when the sun gets low in the sky. We’ve had one rather cold night since we got to Yuma. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the update. Bye for now.


Yuma, Rv Repairs and a Surprise

On Tuesday afternoon we arrived at Imperial Dam LTVA, northwest of Yuma.  After getting setup we took a drive into Yuma to pick up some groceries.  We went to Fry’s, a grocery store, which we had heard about from our friends in Quartzsite.  Prices seemed pretty good if you have a Fry’s card, which we got there and were able to use right away.  Fry’s is quite a large store with lots of selection.  We drove around Yuma for a bit and it seemed to have a large selection of stores and restaurants.  Tuesday night the winds here got very strong and it howled most of the night.  I was a little concerned about my tilted solar panel but it held strong.

By morning on Wednesday the winds had decreased substantially.  We had been having a problem with our shower leaking somewhere but could never exactly determine where the water was coming from. After my shower in the morning there was quite a bit of water on the floor and after removing a panel in the bedroom at the back of the shower I found the leak.  It was a connection from the valve to the showerhead.  After lunch we headed into Yuma to find a RV parts store to get a new rubber gasket for the connector.  We found an RV parts store near the airport on E 32 St.  Wow, what a store.  They had a huge inventory with many hard to find items for RV’s.  I found the part I was after and then we wandered the store a bit.  If you’re in need of parts for your RV while in the Yuma area this the place to go.  While in town we stopped at McDonald’s to sit in the their parking lot and use their WiFi.  We discovered that the Harbour Freight store was just down the street and so when we were done catching up on emails and Facebook we headed to Harbour Freight.  This is mainly a Tool store and they certainly had lots of them.  I picked up a few things and then we headed back to camp.  I busied myself with trying to fix the water leak and unfortunately it was a no go.  It turned out that the leak was actually from an elbow (probably a split) in the water line.  Bummer….  Well…  I had quite a chore getting the old elbow off: there just isn’t much room to work.  Finally, after much effort the elbow was off and sure enough it was split on the side.  Back to parts store tomorrow for a new elbow.  Our happy hours are a lot quieter now with just the 2 of us.  Today’s was delayed a little while I was wrestling with that water line elbow. Tonight’s supper was beef stew in the instant pot, and it was very tasty.

Thursday, later in the morning, we drove back to Yuma to the RV Parts store once again.  The elbow I needed was out of stock but there was a sample part on the outside of the bin.  I asked the lady clerk if they might have more stock and mentioned the sample on the bin.  She said “we can take care of that” and removed the sample for me.  It was in perfect condition and was only held to the bin with a zip tie.  That saved me from searching for other stores with the part, so I was thankful, and I was on my way.  We decided to try Lin’s Buffet for lunch.  A few years ago, while visiting friends after a cruise in Tampa, they took us to a buffet for lunch and Kim thought that the name was Lin’s so we thought we’d try this one out.  The food was was great and there was lots to choose from.  Lunch price was $10.49 per person, which was good considering it was all you could eat.  We certainly ate as much as we could.  We’ll be back here again but maybe next time for supper.  Stopped again for some WiFi but this was at a gas station.  Then back to our Motorhome at Imperial Dam. 

On the way we stopped at the visitor centre outside the Yuma Proving Grounds.  They have a large outdoor display of tanks and artillery.  We walked around and took some pictures.  While there another couple stopped to asked us a question about the display and during the ensuing conversation they mentioned they were from British Columbia.  We said we were from Ontario and they asked ‘where in Ontario?’ We told them Ingersoll, and the Lady said she grew up in Beachville and went to high school in Ingersoll.  So we talk for a bit more and discovered that they are staying in a Fifth Wheel almost next to us in Imperial Dam.  Wow, small world sometimes.  They had moved to British Columbia 35 years ago.  After we finished talking and seeing the rest of the display we headed back to camp.  I set about installing the new part in the shower, and thankfully all is good…  No more leaks.  Yay!!!!

Friday morning was quite cool to start out. It was kinda chilly in the Motorhome at daybreak. I got up at a little after 7 am and started the generator and started the coffee as well as the furnace…just to take the chill off. We had a relaxing morning and then after a slightly early lunch we hopped in the car and took a drive around this LTVA area. We toured around for a bit and then headed out to the main road in to tour another road, and Lo and Behold, here’s comes the Stinger B. Stinger B is the nickname (officially or unofficially) for Tom and Deb’s Motorhome. Ken and Shirley lead the way with Tom and Deb right behind, heading up into our camping area. We waved frantically as they went by. Upon further discussion later, they wondered who these strange people were who were waving at them. Anyway we followed them in and parked close by them as they were refilling their water tanks. We walked over to their rigs and said Hello. I think they were surprised to see us standing there. We visited for a bit and then we suggested they follow us in to where we were parked as there was ample room for them to pull in around us. They did and so now were all parked together again. They busied themselves with setting up and such and then joined us for Happy Hour. It was just a beautiful day this afternoon. Bright blue skies, warm air and very little wind. Another nice time together and such a coincidence that they were coming in at just the time we were sitting at that corner. Life is definitely funny like that. Special Thanks to Ken and Shirley for letting us use their Wifi Hotspot to post this Blog Entry.

Good Byes and Hellos and Kofa too

Happy Hour on Thursday afternoon was our last here in Quartzsite with Bill and Patsy and Rob and Pat.  They are pulling out on Friday and heading to an RV park in Yuma for a month.  We’re planning on leaving in a few days and heading down to that area so we’re planning to meet up with them while we’re in their area.  As usual happy hour was great fun.  Lots of interesting things to share.  Its been a real pleasure getting to know both couples over the last 2 weeks or so.  That will leave 6 of us behind here in the desert.  George and Sue, Tom and Deb, and Kim and I.  

Friday morning Bill and Patsy and Rob and Pat pulled out.  Lots of hugs and good byes.  They had a nice day to travel.  Shorlty after they left another couple pulled in with their travel trailer.  Ken and Shirley are new to us but are friends with the rest of the group.  They live in Nevada and are retired.  They decided to come further south for while where it’s warmer.  You might think that Nevada is warm this time of year, but as with the desert here in Arizona, the higher elevations are noticeably cooler.  Where they live in Nevada the elevation is around 4500 ft., whereas here in Quartzsite its about 600 ft.  We noticed this difference coming through Arizona ourselves.  When we were in Huachuca City the elevation was abut 4500 ft and the nights were quite chilly.  We had a heavy frost the morning we left.  Just a week before they had 4 inches of snow.  We drove 6 hrs. here to Quartzsite and the daytime temp went up 3 or 4 degrees C and the nightime temps were 7 or 8 degrees C higher.

We enjoyed an extended Happy hour with our group and got to know our new friends.

Saturday’s weather forecast wasn’t very promising with highs around 18C but also some rain to come.  The rain held off and Tom and Deb invited Kim and I to go along for a ride in their 4X4 Jeep south a few miles to the Kofa Wildlife Refuge.  We travelled far back from the main road on some bumpy, dusty roads to an area known as Palm Grove.  There is a trail at the end of this road that leads up to the base of a mountain where you can peer up into a small canyon in which palm trees grow naturally.  They say these are the only Palm Trees in all of Arizona that are native to the State.  We didn’t take the time to hike the trail this time, but we’ll be back again to explore it.  Next our travels led us to an area called Crystal Hill.  There is a large wash here that people search on to find Crystals and Quartz and maybe some Gold.  We didn’t walk too far down the wash but we also came up empty.  No Gold this time.  I felt more like Yukon Cornelius 

Sunday morning after coffee and breakfast we got the coach ready to move.  We headed into town to fill up on propane and get diesel.  The gauge on my propane tank was reading empty.  We filled up the propane tank and it only took about 26 gallons to fill.  I probably still had better than a third of tank left.  Obviously my gauge is faulty.  Better to fill up than run out I guess.

After lunch I went up on the roof to install my tilt kit on one of my panels.  It took a bit of time.  The main problem was getting the panel separated from the old mounts.  I knew that might be a problem; it was difficult to undo the bolts in the limited space under the panel.  Once the panel was free it was fairly easy to attach the kit to the panel and get the mounts attached to the roof.  When I installed the panels originaly I was very reluctant to put screws into the roof.  On the internet I had discovered a solar installation company that was using a high bond tape to attach the mount feet to the roof. The 3M company makes such a tape called VHB tape.  Once attached to 2 surfaces it is virtually impossible to use force to separate them.  Both surfaces must be smooth and cleaned with isopropal alcohol (rubbing alcohol).  I installed my panels in October this past year and they are no less bonded now than they were then.  Also after attaching the mounts you use a self-levelling sealant like Dicor to completely cover the mounts and seal the tape from any moisture. I finished the installation a little after 3:00, just in time to get together with our group at happy hour.  

Shirley made some treats for the group for happy hour.  She made pizza with a crust made with spaghetti squash, and broccoli bites (not sure what was in them, other than broccoli, but they were good).  Lots of conversation going on and Tom and Ken and I talked football for quite a while. 

Tuesday we plan to head down to the Yuma area and will probably stay in another LTVA for a few days.  I’ll update you again in a few days.  Bye for now


Drones and planning our Escape

Wednesday afternoon Bill got out his drone to fly. He gave us a demonstration and then let Rob and George and I have a try with his help. It was a beautiful day for flying and the winds had diminished from what they had been other days. It was quite easy to fly at least in the mode we were flying. Bill got some nice aerial photos of our camp and of the BLM area that we are in. I also got a nice shot of Kim and I and the motorhome. I’m thinking I need to get one of these. Great fun.

Enjoyed another happy hour in the afternoon. Always a lot of fun.

Thursday was just a relaxing day. I did go up on the roof of the RV to see how my solar panel tilting kit would work with my panel placement. While I was up there Bill and Patsy got back from town and Bill joined me on the roof to help me decide how to reposition the panels so that when tilted they wouldn’t shade each other. I think I’ve got a plan now and I’ll do one of the panels in the next few days. I think the change will improve my panels’ power output quite a bit.

Bill and Patsy gave us a tour of their 5th wheel. Such a nice rv. Lots of room in the main livingroom/ kitchen area. Very well laid out and tons of storage. While we were visiting, we were talking about emergency exits from RVs and we were commenting on how our exit was stuck. Bill gave me some suggestions on how to get it opened. When we got back to the motorhome I gave it a try and voila, it opened. Now for a demonstration on how to exit your RV in case of emergency.

That’s as far as I got. It’s a long way to the ground…..

I’m a little behind in my blog, so this catches you up to Thursday afternoon. I’ll try to get caught up in tomorrow’s episode. Bye for now