The Journey, Season 1 Finale

Well, we left Wolf River RV resort on Wednesday morning. Our destination for the day was Jackson Mississippi. Our plan is to stop for the night in Jackson and join the Natchez Trace Parkway just north of Jackson and travel it up to its northern end over the following 2 days.

We travelled up I-49 from Gulfport to Jackson and stopped at the Walmart overnight. There was a lot of construction on I-49 as we entered Jackson and the road was pretty rough for a few miles. This Walmart was reasonably quiet later in the evening. In the morning (Thursday) we made a fuel stop at the Flying J nearby and then drove north to Ridgeway where we got on the Natchez Trace.

The Natchez Trace Parkway extends 444 miles from Natchez, Mississippi north to Pasquo, Tennessee near Nashville. You’ve probably never heard of Pasquo before and neither had I. It’s just a four corners southwest of Nashville a short distance. It probably sits just outside of the City limits. The Trace is a two lane road that is “off limits” to transport trucks and commercial vehicles. That makes it a great road for RV’ers and cars and bicycles. It has limited access points along its route so once you’re away from any urban centres there isn’t very much traffic. In some parts you can go for miles without seeing any other vehicle. But it’s the scenery on it that people love. For its whole length it feels like you’re driving through a park. Lots of trees and rivers and fields. There are also many places to turn off the road to hike or take pictures. Rv’ers, though, need to use caution when turning off as many of the turnouts are not friendly to big rigs and anyone with a toad. We are pulling a car on a dolly so we had to have an easy off and on without having to backup. After a time on the highway and because traffic was light, we would just slow down at the turnouts and see if it would work for us or not. The speed limit on the Trace is 50 mph and it is enforced. We did see one car that sped past us pulled over by a state trooper a few miles down the road. For the most part though we didn’t see a lot of speeders. As you get closer to Nashville the speed limit actually decreases to 40 mph.

The last 25 miles or so of the Trace at the north end were very hilly and curvy so it was not really enjoyable for the driver. There was no time for me to look anywhere else except the road ahead. If we travel on the Trace again I would bypass this part. That being said, just a few miles from the end there is a bridge that you travel across that is elevated very high above the valley below and the view is fantastic.

Natchez Trace Bridge

So to back up a little: We drove from Jackson to Tupelo Mississippi on the first day of the Trace. There are some free campsites on the Trace in this area but they are very small and fill up quickly depending on the time of year. There are also some private campgrounds in the area as well but of course you had to pay there. So we decided to try something new…lol. We’ve never been to the Walmart in Tupelo so we went there. Perhaps you didn’t know but Tupelo is famous. This is where Elvis was born. His childhood home is still here and it is a tourist stop. We unfortunately didn’t visit. I was concerned about trying to park our rig there. Next time through we’ll have to see it.

This is a nice Walmart. Very large lot and there seemed to be a separate parking area just for RVs and Trucks. By early evening there were about 6 RVs parked in this area. But unfortunately for us we had a trucker pull in right beside us who had a reefer trailer and both the truck and the reefer ran all night. So, as much as we had a nice spot, I started up the MH and moved. We found another spot that was far enough away that we could only barely hear the noise. I felt for sorry for the other RV’ers who were left to listen to it all night. While I was out earlier I noticed a couple of the small Motorhomes that seemed to be travelling together. One was obviously a rental. They had parked with their doors facing each other. Unfortunately their Walmart boondocking etiquette left much to be desired. They had their jacks down and all slides out. They had their chairs out and were sitting around a campfire. Albeit it was one of those portable propane ones but that is an absolute no no. Walmart allows overnight RV parking in most of their store parking lots as a courtesy to travellers on the road, but it’s this type a behaviour that makes us all look bad. If we abuse the privilege like this we may lose it. It’s not a campground folks. If you want to sit around the campfire find yourself a site somewhere else!

So after we finished driving the trace on Friday we checked into a campground on the east side of Nashville for a couple nights. Our “go to” campground in the Nashville area is Two Rivers Campground which is situated near Opryland. There is a KOA park and a Yogi Bear park all close together in that area. We’ve stayed at Two Rivers twice in the past and it’s a great campground but it is a little pricey. I’m afraid I waited too long to try to get a reservation and they were full for the nights we wanted so we had to go with plan B. We stayed an I-24 campground and although a little cheaper than Two Rivers it just didn’t measure up. The sites were very close together and somewhat un-level. Many of the sites were quite short so space for big rigs is somewhat limited. The campground is currently being upgraded so it may improve in the near future, but as it was, it served our needs for a couple nights.

Elvis Sighting

Saturday, we toured the countryside around Nashville. We went through Franklin, Tenn. and it was extremely busy. They were having an Elvis tribute weekend with Elvis impersonators from around the country participating. We actually spotted Elvis in our campground in the morning before we left. We drove under the high bridge of the Natchez Trace that I have already mentioned. Then through Belle Meade and into Nashville.

We drove to the downtown area and parked, and then a short walk down to Broadway Street. We’ve only been downtown on week days before and weren’t expecting the crowds that we saw this day. It was almost wall to wall people. All the bars were packed and music was blaring out into the streets from all of them. We did walk around and stopped into a few shops. We always make a stop at Earnest Tubb’s record store and we stood in line to get into Jack’s Bar-b-que for lunch. We’ve had Jack’s before and so it was worth the wait. We both had the Bar-b-que brisket and it was gooo-oood (say that like Andy Griffith would it say it). Another walk around for a bit and we were done. We got in the car and drove through town to Music Row. This is the area where a lot of the music industry has their offices and studios. We just took a quick drive through and then we headed back to the campground.

The rain came that evening along with colder air. In the morning (Sunday) we packed up and headed north into Kentucky, skirted around Louisville and east on I-71 toward Cincinnati. We stopped at a Walmart in Carrollton for the night. Monday morning we drove east to I-75 and then south about 20 minutes to see The ARK Encounter. This is located just north of Williamstown. If you’ve never heard of this place, it’s a full size Noah’s Ark. The builders tried to reproduce the Ark to the size given in the Genesis account of the flood. The Ark measures 510 feet long, 85 feet wide and 51 feet high. Until you stand next to this thing it’s hard to conceptualize how big it really was. This boat was monstrous. Inside it has 3 decks and there are areas with examples of what the animal habitat may have been like as well as accommodations for Noah and his family. It really is an interesting place. There are many displays inside that address many questions that people may have about this period in history and the story of Noah and his family. If you go, give yourself lots of time. We spent a little over 3 hours there and we felt a little rushed.

We had planned to be back on the road a little earlier but after a quick lunch we continued north on I-75 through Cincinnati and Dayton with our destination being Arrowhead Lakes Resort in Wapakoneta, Ohio. We arrived later than planned but we were met at the gate by our friend Bill Richards. We connected with Bill and Patsy earlier after we discovered we were so close to each other. Arrowhead is a membership park but Bill and Patsy were able to make reservations for us as their guests through Coast to Coast. It was so nice to meet up again. Rob and Pat Aljoe were here too so it was nice to meet up with them again also. We last saw the 4 of them in Yuma at the end of February. One last get together before we all arrive home in the next week or so. The 6 of us got together on Tuesday evening for one last extended Happy Hour. We always have lots of conversation and lots of laughter when we’re together.

Home

Wednesday morning we left Bill and Patsy and Rob and Pat at Arrowhead and began our last driving day back to Ingersoll. I think it took us about 5 hours to get home and we rolled into Ingersoll and our driveway a little after 4 PM. Within just a few minutes our neighbour Norm came over to welcome us home and shortly thereafter our son Josh stopped by. We have a few really great neighbours and Norm faithfully kept an eye on the house and checked it fairly regularly to make sure everything was in order. Josh also stopped in every few days to check on the place and pick up our mail. It sure made it easy to be away in the south for the winter. It was good to see Josh. Even though we chatted on occasion and did some Facetime with Josh and the boys it’s not the same as seeing someone in person. We are looking forward to seeing our Grandsons Aden, Ethan and Seth on the weekend. Josh and the family are going to come over on Saturday or Sunday.

Supper out At Chuck’s Roadhouse in Ingersoll

Well, we’re home. That concludes this years’ Odyssey. I could call this adventure “There and Back Again” but I think Bilbo Baggins already used that title. We had a fantastic adventure nevertheless. We drove many miles, met lots of people, experienced lots of new things and saw lots of new places. We’ve been waiting for the opportunity to take to the road, and now that I’ve retired at least we have begun the adventure. The Journey has begun. Kim has put a sign in the Motorhome that says “It’s Good to be Lost in the Right Direction”. I like that. Thanks for sharing our Journey with us. I’ll periodically be posting blog updates throughout the summer (by now you know how regularly to expect them). We look forward to many things throughout the Summer. Our calendar is already beginning to fill. And not least of all will be seeing many of our Winter friends here and there this summer. Have a wonderful season in the North and, God willing, we’ll all meet again next year in the southwest desert.

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The South Coast, New Orleans and New Friends

So I’m way behind in my blogging.  I’ll try to bring things a little more up to date with this blog and then I’ll maybe catch up on the next one.

When I last posted we were arriving at Wolf River RV park in Pass Christian, Mississippi.  Thursday was a bit of a relaxing day.  After lunch we drove to the beach at Long Beach.  That is just a little east of Pass Christian.  US 90 travels all along the coast from where we are to Biloxi to the east.  The beach on one side and homes and businesses on the other.  It’s interesting to see all of the newer construction (especially homes) being built on stilts.  After hurricane Katrina went through many of the buildings were destroyed.  If not by the winds, the storm surge was so strong and high it knocked over most everything.  There are still some older homes that withstood that storm, but most of them were on raised areas.  There are some beautiful homes all along the coast.  We stopped at a beach near Gulfport and Kim and I walked the beach for a while to do a little beach-combing.  It was a beautiful day and the wind was from the north so the water was very calm.  Kim managed to find a few things but there was no beach glass to be had.  If you are in this area at some point be sure to spend some time along the shore.

We decided to venture into New Orleans on Friday, so we headed out relatively early.  It took about an hour to drive into the city.  The traffic wasn’t too bad on the way in.  Parking is at a premium in the city, especially near the French Quarter, and that is where we were headed.  I had tried to read up on the parking ahead of time so I knew approximately where to go.  We found parking along the river within a relatively short walking distance to the quarter and parked in a compact car spot.  We made sure we weren’t hanging over the lines designating the short space.  If you decide to park close to the Quarter be prepared to pay quite a bit for parking.  It cost us $35 to park for 3 hrs.  If you go over your time or you are parked in a no parking zone there are many parking attendants who are quick to give you a ticket. Your ticket will include a boot being applied to one of your wheels.  They don’t seem to tow vehicles very much.  But the boot is a quick money grab for them.  To have the boot removed you must call a number on your ticket and they will remove it for $98.  When we arrived back at our car we had about 10 min left and there was an attendant busily issuing tickets and putting boots on wheels.  We heard him on his radio letting his people know he had just placed 17 boots on in our little area alone.  There were going to be a lot of unhappy people when they returned to their cars.  A full sized pickup was parked next to us and his was also a compact car space.  I noticed his boot was on.  So if you park in New Orleans be aware of the parking police.  There are some alternatives.  There are parking areas further away where you can leave your vehicles and take transit in to the city but of course they are a little less convenient.

So enough about parking.  We toured around the French Quarter for our time there.  It was a Friday but it was very crowded.  On the main streets it was wall to wall people.  We walked along Decatur St. which is the street that runs close to the River.  There are lots of shops along here as well as restaurants.  This is also where you will find Cafe du Monde which is popular for its Beignets.  We wanted to try some of them but there was a long line of people waiting to get in so we passed it by.  We walked along some of the side streets and checked out the buildings.  There are some really nice historic buildings in the Quarter.  Many with balconies overhanging the streets.  We also walked along the famous Bourbon St.  This is mostly all bars with a few eating places as well.  I know this is a popular area for visitors to New Orleans, but we found it very unsavoury, dirty and smelly.  Once down the street and we were done. 

There is a parklike area in the Quarter called Jackson Square and there were lots of artists displaying their wares and also some buskers.  Right next to the square is a Tobasco Country store and we did go in to look around and buy a few items including some Tobasco Louisiana Steak Sauce for our friend George Yates.  There was a jazz band playing near the square that was very good.  It looked like it might have been a family group.  There was a Sax, Trombone, Tuba and Drums.  They played real dixeland jazz and they were good. 

Before we left the quarter we did manage to try some beignets.  We went to Cafe Beignet..  The line at Cafe du Monde was still very long.  The line at Cafe Beignets was much shorter but it still took 45 minutes to get in and sit down.  Beignets are a square donut-like pastry covered in powdered sugar.  They were good but not what I was expecting.  Our parking time was just about up so we went back to the car and headed over to the Garden District.  Our impression of the French Quarter when leaving was a little meh.  Not real impressed.  We’re glad we went and saw it and some of it was nice, but overall it didn’t live up to all the hype.

The Garden District is fairly close to the French Quarter and is known for the large old homes that line the streets.  We had a walking tour map that we got at the visitor centre in the Quarter and so we toured around the neighbourhood on foot.  In the centre of the Garden District is an old cemetery that is surrounded by a high wall.  As were arrived they were closing the gates for the day so we didn’t get a chance to walk around in the cemetery.  I took a couple photos through the gate.  The cemetery is filled with large family crypts.  These are very old and this cemetery was used by the former affluent residents of the district.  The homes in this area are beautiful.  This is a must see in New Orleans.  There are many different architectural styles and they are all very unique.  Very Nice.  We spent about an hour and a half in the area.  Oh and the parking here is on the street and its free for 2 hours.

So that was our day in New Orleans.  I had hoped to see the ninth ward which is where the brunt of the damage from the levees breaking during Katrina was felt.  But we had run out of time, so maybe if we’re here again we will see that.

We met a couple here in the RV park one afternoon.  Brad and Shelley were their names.  They stopped by one afternoon and we chatted together for quite a while.  They are from the Gulfport area and live in their 5th wheel full time.  They stay here in this park in the winter and then head north in the summer when it gets very hot here in the south.  They returned a little later in the afternoon and invited us on the back of their golf cart for a little ride along the river.  It was a short ride back to an area with a small beach where people like to have campfires and such.  During our conversations Kim asked them where the good local places are to eat and they gave us some suggestions.  Its always nice to ask local people where they like to eat cause you know they are the good places.  They actually invited us with them for lunch the next day at a small local restaurant.  We went to Martha’s with them.  It’s only open for lunch during the week and lunch and dinner on the weekends. Each day they have a different special.  Today the special was Red Beans and Rice.  Kim loves red beans and rice.  The restaurant was fairly small but large enough for probably 40 people or so.  It was almost packed.  And we were probably the only non locals there.  Martha’s probably doesn’t show up on search engines like yelp or trip advisor.  But the food was great.  Kim had the rice and beans and I was unadventurous and had a BLT with fries.  There are a fair number of choices on their menu with some southern dishes in the mix.  Probably one of the best places we’ve eaten at on this trip.  Thanks Brad and Shelley for inviting us.  We spent another evening with Brad and Shelley around their campfire.  Southern hospitality at its best.

We went to the beach a couple more times during the week but none of the other days was as nice as the first.  The winds were blowing in from the gulf and the water was rougher and the winds stronger. We did stop at the Visitor’s Centre near the Lighthouse in Biloxi. This place is very nice. There is a display inside that gives some history of the area and talks about the damage done by Hurricane Katrina. It is well put together and worth seeing. When we entered the Visitor’s Centre we signed the guest register and listed our home city. As were walking around inside a fellow walked past me and I said “Hi” like I normally do. A few minutes later he walked past again and said… “Are you from Ingersoll?” He told me that when he signed the register he noticed our names from Ingersoll and when he walked by and I said “Hi” he knew that I was probably the one from Ingersoll. He said no one around here says “Hi” like that. LOL. This guy was from Otterville, Ontario about 20 minutes from Ingersoll.

Of course we couldn’t leave the area without going out for a catfish dinner one more time.  As we did on the way west back in January, we went to Jenny’s Catfish restaurant in Ocean Springs, east of Biloxi.  Kim had catfish and this time I had the Southern Fried Chicken.  Both were excellent.  The portions were quite large so we had leftovers to take with us.

Hope you enjoyed this belated post. I’ll try to bring it up to date on the next installment.

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.

Ken

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.   

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.

Ken

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

Ken 

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

Ken