Back east through New Mexico, Texas and Louisiana

Friday started out like any travel day.  We wanted to get on the road fairly early.  I had the car on the dolly and ready to go on Thursday while all the wild wind was happening.  So I was doing my regular pre-trip routine of checking air pressure in the tires on the Motorhome and dolly.  When I checked the right outside rear tire the valve stuck open.  OH Crap!!  I fiddled with it to try to get it to seal but it was no good.  My mind went back to our trip last September when we had the same thing happen while we were staying at a winery overnight.  $$$$$ signs flashed before my eyes as I remembered that situation.  But there was no stopping the escape of air.  I remembered the tech guy at that time had removed the core and got a new one in before we lost all air and then all he had to do was fill the tire with air and we were good to go.  Ok,  I can do that.  I had bought some valve cores at a Walmart earlier just in case.  I removed the core and the air came gushing out.  I tried as I might to put that new core in but I wasn’t successful.  There was just too much air coming out.  So I waited until the pressure in the tire dropped enough and then got the new core in.  Needless to say there wasn’t much air left in the tire.  Now here’s a dilemma; tire fixed, still flat.  The thing is I drive a diesel pusher with a built in air compressor for the air brakes and air bags.  I just have to get that air in the tire.  Fortunately I had bought 2 lengths of air hose at Walmart and Harbour Freight in the past couple of months.  And on the from the coach is a schrader valve tied to the coach air system.  When I was at the Arizona Market Place a few weeks ago I found a fitting that would lock my air hose to the schrader valve.  Time to give it a try.  I had to add a couple fittings to the air hoses and then got it hooked up to the coach.  Kim helped me stretch the hose (the 2 hoses were 25′ each but were of the coiled variety and barely reached 25′ combined back to the tire) and voila it worked.  Within just a few minutes the tire was full again.  Yayyyy.  I have to tell you, I was a little stressed.  Back in September I had to call a Mobile Truck Tire Service to come and it cost around $500 CDN for the call.  This time the parts cost me about $30 and I was good.  If you own a Diesel Pusher you need to check into how this could work for you.  Some coaches are already equipped to do this and others need to have a connection installed but if you avoid one service call you’re way ahead of the game.

So we continued to get ready to get on the road and made a stop in Yuma at a tire service store.  I had them install a new valve stem on this tire.  This was the same tire that I had the problem with in September.   They got me in right away and I was on the road in about an hour.  They cleaned and remounted the tire with new balance beads and valve stem and the cost was about $72 US.  I was happier.

We got a late start but we did manage to drive to Benson, Arizona that day and stopped at the Walmart overnight.  This was a good overnight but we did hear a few sirens.  There were signs posted for no overnight parking but according to my Allstays App it wasn’t enforced and we had no problems.

On Saturday we got on the road fairly early and headed further east.  Coming across New Mexico we were driving into a strong headwind with off and on rain and the temperature had dropped significantly.  I stopped in Deming, New Mexico for fuel at the Flying J and it was cold.  The wind was blowing and the rain was falling and the temp was 5C.  I was out there pumping diesel in shorts and a tee shirt.  The locals must have thought I was crazy.  And did I mention it was cold?  As we continued on the road we noticed snow in the fields beside the road.  It wasn’t a lot but wes enough to cover the ground.  Not exactly what you would expect in southern New Mexico.  We drove to El Paso, Texas that day and stopped at the Walmart overnight.  This is a nice Walmart but it was a Saturday night and it must have been drag night because the cars were racing up and down the street until quite late.  There was also a Fire Hall nearby too because we heard a lot of sirens during the night too.  We stayed here on the way west and then it was actually a nice quiet stay.

Sunday on the road again.  Was a nice morning for a drive.  Our intention was to stop in Big Springs to go to an Air Force Museum there but we discovered that it is closed on Sundays so we continued on.  We drove from there to Sweetwater, Texas.  We stopped at a… can you guess?  A Walmart.  This was a nice parking area and we had stopped here also on the way west.  We had a good spot and there were a few RV’s around us.  As it became dusk a fellow in a Diesel Pickup pulling a trailer of fabricated steel pulled in amoung us and parked.  No problem you might think, but this guy slept in his truck over night and left it running alllll nighttttt.  It was not a good night’s sleep for me.  If I got 4 hours that would be stretching it.  I thought a few times about getting up and moving but didn’t.  

When we got up Monday morning we went to the gas station in the Walmart lot to get fuel.  When we pulled in on Sunday we were getting near empty.  The price on diesel was really cheap.  The only problems was the pumps weren’t working properly.  I spent about 20 minutes getting 14 gallons.  Well that was enough to get me on the road and I knew there was a Flying J up the road about 30 miles.  So on we went.  When we arrived at the Flying J we noticed that our friends George and Sue were still there (they had spent the night in their parking area).  While I fueled up Kim strolled over to their RV to surprise them.  They actually were quite surprised.  After fueling I pulled the Motorhome over beside theirs and we chatted for a bit.  We ended up going into Denny’s together for coffee and chatting before we parted ways and headed off in separate directions.  We’ve spent the last few days lagging behind George and Sue on the road east but we finally caught up at the Flying J.  Very nice to see them again. 

Wes’s house

So we continue on east with a destination of my cousin Wes Wilson’s place.  He and his neighbour friend Steve arranged for us to park at the local Fire Station overnight.  It seems Steve has connections.  He’s actually a volunteer firefighter at that station.  We certainly appreciated his hospitality and that of the Fire Department.  We got the car unhooked, so to speak, and headed over to Wes’s house for the afternoon and evening.  We had a great time as usual visiting with Wes.  He had invited Steve to join us but he had a Firefighters meeting to attend to that night.  So early in the evening Kim, Wes and I are sitting on Wes’s front porch having our “tea”.  Steve pulls in the driveway.  Meeting was adjourned early.  It seems the Fire Chief’s cows had got out and were wandering the roads.  He was looking for volunteers to help him round them up.  Actually that’s not really a problem. folks down here are always willing to help their neighbours. Steve though, decided to come over for a vist instead.  Steve is a great guy and we were happy to have him join us.  There were lots of stories and lots of laughter too. The night was getting late so Kim and I said good bye to Wes and headed back to the motorhome.

Tuesday morning arrived and we got the car on the dolly and headed off.  Our destination was either Shreveport, Louisiana, or if we were up for it, we would drive a little further to Alexandria, Louisiana.  We made it to Alexandria and pulled in a Walmart for the night.  Nice big Walmart and very large parking lot.  We picked a nice spot far from the store and parked.  We had a few other Rv’s join during the afternoon and evening and it was a pleasant stay.  I slept very well. 

Wednesday our travels brought us to Pass Christian, Mississippi.  On the way through the more eastern part of I-10 you travel about 19 miles on a raised causeway over the bayou. A really nice ride and the views are beautiful.

We’re staying at Wolf River RV Resort for the next 7 days.  It’s a nice clean campground.  Nothing fancy, but the sites are level and the hookups are good.  We’re about 20 minutes to Biloxi and a little over a hour to New Orleans.  It was easy access from I-10 and a few miles away so there isn’t much noise around.  This is an AOR (Adventure Outdoor Resorts) campground, so because of our membership at Rock Glen Resort in Arkona, Ontario our cost is $9 US per night.  Pretty cheap camping.  The weather here for the next week is going to be 20C + each day and lots of sun. We’re going to use these next few days to relax and spend time at the beach.  The beaches along the gulf coast are very nice.  They are very wide and its nice white sand.  We also plan on taking a trip into New Orleans at some point.

And now you’re caught up again. We’ll soon be making our way back north to Ontario. Not yet though; we’re holding off as long as possible. Hope you enjoyed the post and I’ll update you again soon.

Kingman, Laughlin and back to Yuma

Wednesday was a workday for Kim so I got busy on my blog post which was titled Quartzsite, Bullhead City, and Route 66 and was posted here last week.

On Thursday we decided to drive back to Kingman in the morning.  When we were here earlier we didn’t have much time to look about.  So this time we stopped in the old business area and walked around a bit to get a few pictures of some of the buildings.  It was a coolish day and a little windy but we did do a little walking.  There are still quite a few buildings from the golden years of Route 66.  You can tell by the style of the bulding.  A lot of Art Deco inspiration and originally there would have been lots of neon lights. 

We stopped at the visitor centre again and toured the small Route 66 Museum they have there.  The cost was small Adults $4 and Seniors $3, and it also included admission to the the Mojave County Museum.  The display at the visitor’s centre was limited but interesting.  We ate lunch at Cracker Barrel and then went to the Mojave Museum after.  This is a must see if you’re into history.  The collection is quite expansive and covers a lot of different aspects of the history of the area.  We headed back to camp at Bullhead City mid afternoon. 

While we were sitting outside a guy stopped by while walking his dog and asked where we were from in Ontario.  He said he was from Grimsby.  They just arrived in the park today and are soon headed to the east coast and Myrtle Beach on their way home.  We chatted for a bit and a little later his wife and him stopped by and we chatted again.  Their names are Bjorn and Els Christensen.  They are travelling in a large 5th wheel and this is their first trip with the rig.  

Friday we drove across the river to visit a couple casinos in Laughlin, Nevada.  I got a players card at the Riverside Hotel to see if I would get any free stuff.  We got a 2 for 1 coupon for the buffet.  While in the Hotel we toured around a bit.  They had a big bowling alley and I think there was some kind of tournament going on.  Also in the hotel is a car display.  It cost $2 each to enter so we paid our money and had a look around (My admission was free with the players card).  It was an impressive display of vintage cars from the early to late 20th century.  I really enjoyed this;  lots of old cars from before my time and also lots of cars from 50’s-60’s-70’s.  There were also some late model cars on display as well.  Photography was allowed so I got lots of pictures.   

It was now mid afternoon and too late for the lunch buffet so we went down the street to In-N-Out Burger instead…mmmmm.  We’ll maybe use that buffet coupon tomorrow.

Saturday morning was laundry time so we spent a couple hours doing that and touring around the park while waiting.  We decided to go back to the Riverside for lunch.  The cost was around $9.99 so with the coupon it was $5 ea.  Good price, and the food was good.  It definitely wasn’t as good as Lin’s Buffet in Yuma but it’s hard to beat Lin’s.  After lunch we drove back to the Arizona side of the Colorado River and looked for a place to park by the water.  We found a nice spot and Kim spent some time beachcombing.  The sun was warm and it was a nice day for stroll.  

For a while now Kim has wanted to rearrange our outdoor storage compartments.  So Sunday was the day.  We pulled everything out and began to do a massive reorganization.  If you know Kim very well you know she loves organizing.  The trouble with storing anything in an RV is  you want to maximize your space and still be able to access things when you want them. It’s frustrating when the things you want are at the back and you have to take out everything in front to get to them.  The results after the exercise were good.  We tried to keep like things together and keep things accessible.  We saw Bjorn and Els early in the day and invited them over for happy hour if they had time later. They’re pulling out tomorrow so they had some things to take care of during the day Sunday.

Early in the afternoon we set up a video chat with Josh and the boys.  It’s nice to be able to do that and stay connected to them.  It was Ethan’s birthday on Tuesday the 12th so that was one of the reasons to chat with him in particular.  Everyone is doing good and we’re looking forward to seeing them all when get back in a few weeks.

Bjorn and Els stopped by and we visited for quite some time.  Bjorn is a sailing enthusiast.  He owns a C&C 33 sailboat and they sail out of Port Dalhousie Yacht Club.  He and I chatted at length about sailing and racing.  Many years ago I used to sail with a family friend named Gord Clarke.  He had a Viking 33 which is a sister model to the C&C.  Both were made by C&C Yachts in Niagara-on-the-Lake.  We also used to race in Port Dover back in the late 80’s.  We seemed to have many things to talk about between sailing and RVing and things in general.  It was very nice meeting them and hopefully we’ll meet up again.

Monday morning we also packed up and moved on.  This time heading back down to Yuma into the BLM area behind Pilot Knob.  This is a free area and we’re going to stay here until Friday and then start making our way East.  We had a little rain on the way but nothing too significant.

Tuesday we drove into Yuma to go to Walmart for a few groceries and also a couple other stops.  While in town the rain came pouring down.  We haven’t seen rain like that at all in Arizona and it was like a heavy rain storm back in Ontario.  The roads weren’t able to handle all the water and the sides of the roads became big puddles of water.  When we got back to the BLM it appeared as if there had been very little rain all day.

We drove down to Mexico for one last time on Wednesday for a Breakfast/ Lunch at La Tetilla Restaurant and while in Mexico I got a haircut for $4 plus a tip.  Probably not the best haircut I’ve ever had but was pretty good and it was fast and cheap.  It’s much better than it was anyway.  It took us about and hour and 45 minutes to get back through US customs and while in line we chatted with a young couple ahead of us.  He is a Border Patrol agent based out of Yuma.  He shared of his experiences on patrol.  There definitely is a serious problem here on the US/Mexico border.  The numbers of people who are crossing the border from Mexico on a daily basis is staggering.  Most are apprehended but there are many that get through.  It’s a very long border to patrol and not enough border agents to do the job.  Right now there are Marines and National Guard posted to border duties in the area.  So, anyway, we made our way back to camp which is only a few miles away from the border crossing.  We can actually see the border wall to south of our camp, maybe a mile or 2 off in the distance.

So here it is Thursday and this morning we drove in to the Arizona Market Place in Yuma just for fun and picked up some bread at Walmart.  I’m sitting here in the afternoon, catching up my blog.  It’s quite windy here today and when the gusts pick up it’s very strong.  All of a sudden the motorhome starts to shake and the sound is like a huge vacuum cleaner.  Outside the sand is blowing wildly and so I rush to the front window to see what happened and there’s this rather broad Dust Devil travelling away from us.  I think it hit us almost dead on.  It was actually very freaky.  Just like a little tornado.  I grabbed my phone as quick as I could to shoot a video and by the time I got recording, the dust devil was off in the distance a little but I did get some footage of it.  That was a very interesting experience to say the least.  That wind had some power. The wind isn’t letting up at all and we’ve seen 2 more dust devils blow through around us.

Soooooo….. now the car is all hooked up and everything is put away. If we need to, we’re outta here. Other than the wind, it’s been a bright, warm sunny day. Anyway, I hope your day has been good. I’ll post again soon.


Quartzsite, Bullhead City and Route 66

It’s time to bring things up to date again. We made one last trip (?) to Mexico on Monday before leaving Pilot Knob.  A little shopping and an early lunch in Los Algodones.  It was actually the Mexican food that Kim was most interested in and the real reason we went back to Mexico.  It was an Omelet breakfast for me and a selection of Enchilada, Burrito and Tostado for Kim.  We were in line to return to the USA at about noon and only took an hour or so to get through customs.

On Tuesday we headed to the east side of Yuma into the Foothills area.  Pat gave us a coupon for 3 free nights at Fortuna De Oro RV Resort that she picked up in Quartzsite at the RV Show.  We were able to get in beginning on Feb. 26th (Tuesday) and stayed until Mar. 1st (Friday).  This is a nice upscale resort.  They have an impressive sports complex.  There are Bocce Ball Pits and Shuffleboard Courts.  Lots of Pickle Ball Courts, Tennis Courts and Horseshoes Pits as well.  These are very nice. I’ve never seen facilities like this in an RV Park before.  There is also a 9-hole Golf Course attached to the Park and a large swimming pool complex with a big hot tub.  If you are a very active senior there is lots to keep you busy.  It’s a very nice park with paved roads throughout and fairly large lots with cement patios.  Of course going along with all these amenities is a rather large price to stay, in the over $700 a week range.  When you’re used to staying in parks for under $15 a night or free when boondocking this is a little out of the range we want to pay to stay. 

Once we got settled in on Tuesday we drove to the Sundance Resort, which is next door, to visit with Pat and Rob and Patsy and Bill.  They are also leaving on Friday to head east.    Bill and Patsy and Rob and Pat came over for a final happy hour on Thursday and we ended with saying goodbye until the summer when we’ll meet up together at some point.  Kim and I really enjoyed meeting these 2 couples this winter and we had many fun times with them over the last month and a half.

Hi Jolly Monument, Quartzsite

On Friday we left Yuma and drove north back up to Quartzsite.  We needed propane so we drove into town to fill up and then made our way back out to the BLM area south of town.  Tom and Deb Duchaine were still in the area so we met up with them in the Roadrunner BLM just south of Quartzsite and stayed until Monday.  We had an enjoyable happy hour with them on Friday afternoon.  Saturday we needed a few groceries so we drove into town to the Roadrunner Market for them and then we stopped by some of the vendors still left there near the RV show site on Keuhne St.  Another happy hour with Tom and Deb in the afternoon.  Sunday morning we drove back into town to go to Gem World to see if we could find some deals.  Later that evening we met Pat and Tom and Rick and Kathy Rousseau at Silly Al’s for pizza at 5:30 and the place was busy.  We ate and chatted for quite a while.  It seems Deb and Tom saw a rattlesnake on their way into Church in the afternoon.  Deb was able to get some pictures to show us.  So far we haven’t seen any snakes and we’re hoping to keep it that way.  As the weather warms up down here the snakes become more active.  I think they hibernate much of the winter so that’s why we haven’t seen any up to this point.  After we made our way back to camp we joined Tom and Deb for a short time for an evening happy hour.  This is another couple we’ve enjoyed meeting this winter.  This may be the last time we see them this season but who knows.

On Monday we left Quartzsite to head north to Bullhead City.  Not too long a drive but we got a late start.  It was a very nice drive and once we got past Lake Havasu it was new territory for us.  We are now in the Mojave Desert area and the scenery is very beautiful.  The ground has become much more sandy here rather than the rocks of Quartzsite.  We’re staying at Ridgeview RV Resort on the north side of Bullhead City.  This is an AOR park so we pay $12 a night with our membership.  It’s a nice park on a ridge overlooking the Colorado River and the Casinos of Laughlin, Nevada.  Sites are tiered back from the ridge and are fairly level with full hookups and poor Cable TV.  They do have wifi here but it’s sometimes very slow like most RV Parks.  The park is under new ownership now and they are making it quite nice.  It looks like a fairly new clubhouse… we have yet to check that out.

Tuesday morning we went on a road trip.  We headed south to Needles, California and then travelled the old Route 66 from Needles to Kingman, Arizona.  There are very few stretches of the original Route 66 left since most of it has been replaced with Interstates.  Needles to Topock, Arizona has only some sections of Route 66 remaining but after Topock it’s all the original highway.

It was a great drive through the desert.  Lots of rolling hills and twists in the road.  We made our way to Oatman, Arizona along the highway stopping to take pictures here and there.  Oatman is an old town near the top of the pass through the mountain.  It has many old buildings and has become a tourist stop with lots of shops.  All very rustic.  While we were there they staged a gun fight in the middle of town on the main street; the only street actually.  When this happens all traffic stops through town until it’s over.  Another thing about Oatman is the burros.  Burros are wild this area and you’ll see them on the streets of Oatman.  They just wander where they like and occasionally get fed by the tourists.  They quite often hold up traffic.  On our way into Oatman we saw a few burros and we had one running beside us for bit.  I think he was racing us to town.  I’ve looked forward to stopping in Oatman and I was quite happy to see that it wasn’t a letdown.  It definitely is a quirky little town but lots of character.  This is a must see if you’re in this part of Arizona.

Cool Springs

We continued on Route 66 through Oatman and drove on to Kingman.  This in an interesting drive on up and over the pass.  The road is very narrow and lots of tight turns and hairpins up and down with few guard rails and significant drops beyond.  I loved the drive, Kim,  not so much.  Also no place to stop to get picures. On the bottom side of the pass is a little stop at what used to be the Cool Springs Cabins.  All that really remains of the original inn is the front entrance which is very cool.  Inside is a gift shop with lots of nostalgic items displayed.  A very nice stop for pictures and a sense of the feel of Route 66 in its prime. 

On the road again towards Kingman, just a short drive now.  As you enter Kingman along Route 66 you’ll immediately notice the buildings for the classic era of driving.  Many buildings have the original facade of the 50’s 60’s.  They certainly would seem familiar to anyone who has watched the Cars films.  It was getting later in the day so we just had a quick drive through and back on the strip and then stopped a Mr D’z Diner for a late lunch.  A very nostalgic place, with the original facade and an interior to match.  We started with Chocolate Shakes and Kim had a Philly Steak Sandwich and I had a Reuben Sandwich.  Food was quite good but the menu was more contemporary than nostalgic.  Still a nice place to eat.  We will have to come back to Kingman again when we have more time to walk about and take pictures.  We had a fairly short drive back to Bullhead City, about half an hour. We drove to the Walmart in town for some groceries and then back to camp.  What a great day we had.