Mohave and visiting

Picking up where I left off last time, Chris and I had decided to have a meetup midway between us (I was south of Barstow, CA and he was at Alamo Lake, east of Parker, AZ.)  We decided on Goffs, near the Mohave National Preserve.  I figured we would be able to find a site to camp at, since there are BLM wilderness areas nearby, Mohave allows ‘roadside camping’, and they have a couple of traditional campgrounds.  So, on Tuesday 3/19 Riley and I headed off through Barstow, where we dumped tanks and did some grocery shopping.  When we got to Goffs and met up with Chris we headed up Lanfair Road, one of the lesser used roads in the Mohave Preserve.  Most of the visitor stuff is in the middle, off Essex Rd.  We found an old mining road, where there are a few sites that have been used for camping previously.  We set up there and had a fantastic location – perfect climate at about 3000 elevation, not much road noise due to few autos traveling on that road, and great hiking among the network of old mining roads.

Mohave Site

Mohave Site, just off Lanfair Road (the dirt road on the left there)

Each morning we would head out for a hike.  There were so many roads branching off and hills to climb.  We always had someplace we wanted to visit the next day.  One day we hiked up to a high rock outcropping and could see some type of structure off in the distance.  We decided to hike there the next day.

Mohave View with homestead

Mohave View with structure in the distance (the brown bit near the right side of the picture, about midway down)

It turned out to be an old homestead.  There was a crumbling wooden house structure and a foundation from a separate building.  Like a mini ghost town.

Homestead 1

The old homestead

Also, there was a car.  We call it the ghost car.  It looked like a truck, but on closer inspection it was originally a sedan.  They had cut the roof off over the back to make a truck out of it.

Chris and the "ghost car"

Chris and the “ghost car”

Ghost Car

Ghost Car

Anyway, we had a good time in the desert – visiting, hiking, cooking, just hanging.  We didn’t see much in the way of wildlife, just some bunnies, a few birds and a couple of impressive lizards.  We heard coyotes, but never saw them.  Lots of desert plants blooming in March.

Lizard1

Lizard1

Lizard2

Lizard2

Barrel Cactus

Barrel Cactus

Desert Bloom

Desert Bloom

Desert Bloom 2

Desert Bloom 2

Old mining roads make good trails.  Vegetation is slowly overtaking, but you can still make out the path.

Old mining roads make good trails. Vegetation is slowly overtaking, but you can still make out the path.

At about this time my folks were on a road trip to Las Vegas and I thought maybe we could meet up somewhere and have a visit on their way back home since I was so close.  I emailed the suggestion and they arranged to stop in Laughlin, NV for a couple of days, March 27-28.  They got reservations at the Riverside Casino which has an RV park, so I got a site there.  Chris and I headed over on the 27th.  He was going to get a site at Katherine Landing at the southern end of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, on Lake Mohave.  Also, he has family in nearby Bullhead City, so would be able to work in a visit or two while there.

I met up with my folks on Wednesday just after pulling into the RV park.  It was so, so good to see them.  We got to visit a bit, then we got them checked into their room.  They were going to check out the casino and see how was the video poker.  I headed back to check on Riley and finish getting myself settled.  When I got back to the casino my mom had already hit a Royal Flush and won $1000.  Yay!  Then she forced me to take $100 to gamble with.  I hung with them at the bar and enjoyed playing the poker machines.  They had to remind me how to play at first.  Once I got the hang I did OK, only going through $40 over the 2 evenings.  We enjoyed dinners at the casino cafe, and Chris joined us for breakfast on Thursday morning.  I can’t believe I never thought to have one of the waitstaff take a picture of us for the blog.  Darn!!

On Friday they headed back to Texas and I moved over to Katherine Landing where Chris was set up.  He was fishing on the lake with his kayak. There are a lot of power boats on the lake.  It has a marina and gets very busy.  Not great for fishing, unfortunately.

Katherine Landing Campground

Katherine Landing Campground.  Large Oleanders between sites provide some separation, but not much shade.

Mohave Lake and marina, from the Fisherman Trail

Mohave Lake and marina, from the Fisherman Trail

Ski Cove, then end of the Fisherman Trail

Ski Cove, the end of the Fisherman Trail

Chris and Riley at Katherine Landing info station after a hike

Chris and Riley at Katherine Landing info station after a hike

More desert blooms, at Katherine Landing:

Beaver Tail in bloom

Beaver Tail in bloom

Blooming cholla

Blooming Cholla

I had originally planned to stay a day or 2 at Katherine Landing before heading back to CA.  But, I ended up staying longer to hang with Chris.  Probably would have stayed even longer, but it got unbearably hot, up to about 90.  Without hookups and no AC, it was really uncomfortable. We drove around the surrounding BLM land looking for a place with higher elevation but couldn’t find anything suitable.  So, we headed out on Thursday, April 4th.  Chris was going to make his way to Prescott, AZ and his sister’s place, and I headed to Lake Isabella, CA.  It’s at at the southern tip of the Sequoia National Forest and about 3000 feet elevation, so much cooler.  That’s next….

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To Yuma

So, I am behind in posting again.  Sorry!  Last time I wrote we were at the Lazy Daze gathering in Quartzsite.  Besides the organized dinners and happy hours, we had a great breakfast one morning.  Everything was so good.  I hadn’t done a breakfast potluck before – it was terrific!

Potluck Breakfast

Potluck Breakfast

After the breakfast I had an appointment to get my furnace fixed.  It blew hot air, but had a loud squeal.  John and Roger knew a good guy that runs a mobile repair shop and he was parked nearby.  When he took the unit out we found a LOT of mud dauber nests in the pipes.  I had put on mesh covers last spring to keep bugs out, but they must have been there from years before.  It was a surprise the furnace was working at all!

Mud daubers cleaned out of the furnace

Mud daubers cleaned out of the furnace

Before leaving Quartzsite Chris and I wanted to hike the mountain just west of our site. We had walked all over the nearby desert each morning, but hadn’t tackled that yet. It looked hard, but turned out to be not too bad.

Top of the mountain

Top of the mountain

At the end of January everyone was gone or heading out.  The 2 week LTVA passes were expiring and people had places to be.  Melinda had gone to the Escapees Boot Camp.  Roger headed to San Diego (then started an RV food blog). John and Linda to Prescott, then home to Colorado.  Jim was going to Mesa to work at Spring Training.  Andrea was going to an Escapees park to get the rig weighed, then to LA to visit family.  It was sad to be parting from all the folks we had been hanging with for 2 weeks. Hopefully we will be able to meet up again in Albuquerque in October for the Balloon Fiesta.

I was planning to go to Yuma to meet up with Randy, Laurie and others.  They knew of a pretty BLM place on the water that would be warm for February.  Chris was heading to Casa Grande for a solar installation, but came with to spend a few days on the way.  We stopped at Imperial Dam, just north of Yuma.  I wanted to check out Senator’s Wash and had one day left on my LTVA permit (good at all the sites around Quartzsite and Yuma).  I really liked the surroundings.  There were a LOT of people there, but we found a spot at the ‘Northwest Territory’ that was a little less populated.  There was a hiking trail that started just across the street.

Imperial Dam Scenery

Imperial Dam Scenery

On the 5th we arrived at the Paradise Casino where Randy and Laurie were parked, close to downtown Yuma.  As soon as we got there we found out there was a Farmer’s Market in Downtown Yuma on Tuesdays, so we jumped in Chris’ truck and headed over.  It was really good, but I forgot to take pictures.  The next day we got to run some much needed errands, like going to a nice, big grocery store and doing laundry.  We checked out the immediate area, including the brand new park next door on the Colorado River.

Sunrise Point Park

Sunrise Point Park

After a couple of days Chris and I were ready to go to the BLM site but Randy and Laurie were enjoying the benefits of close proximity to the city.  So we headed on over there ourselves on the 8th.  It’s a little spot in the middle of Yuma farmland called Fortuna Pond.  Surprisingly pretty, but packed.  We couldn’t find a spot along the shore that would fit both of us, but found a spot where we could park side by side.  It was nice, but unfortunately no real hiking nearby.

Fortuna Pond

Fortuna Pond

On the 13th Chris left for Casa Grande and I was heading west into California.  Bob Wells was staying just west of Yuma with some of the RTR folks.  Since it was on the way to Anza-Borrego State Park I wanted to spend a few days with those guys.  Will do a new post soon on California.

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More from Quartzsite

[Sorry this is a long post.  I have been a lazy blogger, having too much fun to post.  There is a lot to catch up on.]

Riley and I are still having a good time in Quartzsite, AZ.  The RTR (Rubber Tramp Rendezvous) had lots of good seminars and fellowship. For the first week or so it was just us and we were pretty spread out.  As it got closer to the big tent show (Jan. 19-27) a lot of big Class A RV’s pulled in near us and parked side by side like sardines.  And wow, do they like to run their generators.  It was pretty loud, but we still enjoyed our spot.

CB's Rig

Here’s a picture of CB’s spot at sunrise, taken from my roof

Lots o' rigs

Later in the week lots of rigs arrived and they stacked them in like sardines

Before

Before

After

After (looks like I’m at an RV show)

I got to do some shopping at the vendor area.  They are geared to RV owners, so I got things like vent covers, LED lights, tools, etc.  Then, when the big tent show started, I got to ride over with CB and and his friends that were visiting from L.A.  It was HUGE, but was mostly just one big infomercial.  Lots of handy-dandy products for sale, and lots and lots of people.  It was packed.  I did splurge on a 6’x9′ mat for outside my door.

At the RTR I got to meet lots of neat folks like Kim, Ryan, Susan, Dori, Sandy, Joyce, Brad, and of course Bob, the organizer. I can see why many folks go back to the RTR every year.  Good times with great people.

My last sunset walk at the RTR

My last sunset walk at the RTR

By the 22nd the RTR was winding down and I headed over to the area across town where the Lazy Daze folks were gathered.  They had found a great area at the La Posa West LTVA, only about a 15 minute walk to the big RV tent show.  I had stopped by their site the prior week when out getting propane and doing my tanks, and was super excited to spend a couple of weeks meeting all of them and learning about repairs and improvements to my rig.  On the way over there I stopped by the bike shop and had 2 new tires/tubes put on, and also did laundry.  (There are always chores to do.)

The BLM area is a network of dirt roads, but well marked.

The BLM area is a network of dirt roads, but well marked.  Roger has his sign here, too.

Lazy Daze campsite

Lazy Daze campsite

Our site on the right, same style rig (it's a 2003 I believe) on the left

Our site on the right; same style rig (it’s a 2003 I believe) on the left

On Thursday the 24th I went with Roger, Linda and Jim to the big tent RV Show.  I wanted to get some more LED lights and a new fixture for my couch area.  The place was quite packed again, but I did get the fixture I wanted.  (Later I realized it wouldn’t fit and will have to exchange it when I get to Yuma.)  On Friday Jim was heading to Walmart in Parker and I got to ride along.  Jim has been a full-timer for 2.5 years and just a couple of weeks ago found a great vehicle here to tow.  Now Jim is the one providing rides to folks like me!  I hadn’t been to a proper grocery store since Casa Grande, so I was ready for a Walmart run.

Riley and I have kept up our daily walks.  I really enjoyed walking with folks at the RTR and have transferred that to an 8:30 a.m walk at the Lazy Daze camp.  Chris and I have been walking every morning and Linda and Jim have joined occasionally.  On our first walk Jim, Chris and I hiked up a hill with an old abandoned mine on top.

Jim and Chris at the top of the hill near the abandoned mine

Jim and Chris at the top of the hill near the abandoned mine

View of the big tent and surrounding area from the hill

View of the big tent and surrounding area from the hill

While here I have been able to do some work on my rig.  Although the LED fixture I got at the RV show won’t work, I have an IKEA fixture that I got from CB.  It’s a strip light that I wanted to hang under my back cabinet, above the table.  John and Roger explained how to take up the cabinet shelf to get to the space above the cabinet bottom.  (There is a bit of ‘subfloor’ in there where wiring runs.)  Then, when I had it up, John came over and drilled a hole for the wire to go through. He wired it to an existing switch that was originally for a fan that was replaced later with stereo speakers.  Now I have a great light in my main area that draws almost no electricity from my batteries at night.  Since I have solar and can boondock for extended periods, power usage needs to be as efficient as possible.  John also helped fix my step light and the trickle charger for my cab battery.  It’s so nice camping with Lazy Daze folks that know how all the systems work and can help those of us that need it.

When I first arrived I parked next to a new blue/white TK floorplan.  It looks almost exactly the same, although 20 years difference.  The newer paint jobs are a bit swirly, but this owner paid extra for the classic look paint scheme.

My 1992 Twin-King on the left and same floorplan 2012 rig on the right.

My 1992 Twin-King on the left and same floorplan 2012 rig on the right.

The Lazy Daze group is a fantastic bunch of people.  In the evenings we have a happy hour at 4:00, and then Roger starts a campfire about 5 or 6.  We sit and chat until about 7:00 or so when folks break up to go make dinner or just in for the night.  We have had a few cookouts, too.  Roger has a great grill.  He made a Tri-tip last night and everyone brought a dish or desert.  We also had a hot dog cookout on Sunday.  Tomorrow we are going to have a big breakfast, Roger on the grill.

That’s all for now, but I’ll leave you with a beautiful Arizona sunset over our Lazy Daze camp.

Lazy Daze Sunset

Lazy Daze Sunset

On the road again

As I said, I was going to Quartzsite, AZ.  The Rubber Tramp Rendezvous would be the first stop on my 2013 trip. Riley and I left on Friday, January 4th, planning to get to Ft. Stockton, TX the first day, then make stops in Deming, NM and Casa Grande, AZ.  A big storm had just come across west Texas, and I-10 was closed from Ft. Stockton to El Paso.  No biggie, though, because I would stop in Ft. Stockton and by the next day be able to get to New Mexico.  Unfortunately, my engine had other plans.  I started feeling problems with how much gas it was burning and pulled over on the side of the highway.  Then I couldn’t get the engine restarted.  Luckily I have Coachnet service and they sent a tow truck.  He (David at Sheffield Towing, super nice guy) loaded the Lazy Daze onto the the truck and dropped me off at Fernandez Auto Service, about the only shop in Ft. Stockton that is open on Saturdays.

Overnight at Ft. Stockton

Overnight at Ft. Stockton

That was a long, cold night.  But the next morning, after clearing ice off the shop driveway, Mr. Fernandez got the RV pulled up to the shop and began to diagnose the problem.  For some reason the fuel injector was giving too much gas.  My dad was on the phone with Mike, my favorite mechanic back in Georgetown, and they had some ideas of things to check.  It took until about 4:30, but the problem was found to be a temperature sensor.  (Diagnosis delayed a few hours because the first temperature sensor replacement part was defective.) Happily, I was able to get to an RV park in Ft. Stockton for the night, and got back on the road on Sunday morning, only losing one day.

On Sunday I made it to Deming, stopping at Rockhound State Park, where I had a nice visit last year.  Unfortunately, every spot with electric hookups was full.  But they were using the group site as overflow, and I was able to squeeze into a space there.  It was going to be a cold night and I needed to run the electric heater.

Rockhound State Park was full.  But, I was lucky enough to get one of the group electric sites.  And got to enjoy the sunset over Deming.

Sunset over Rockhound State Park and my little spot.

I made it to Casa Grande on Monday.  After stopping at Walmart and picking up everything I would need for a couple of weeks in the desert outside Quartzsite, I found a site at the Escapees park RoVers Roost.  I did a bit of laundry, took care of the tanks and filled up on propane (at $1.85 per gallon, nice!).

Overnighted at the Escapees RoVers Roost Co-op park in Casa Grande, AZ

Overnighted at the Escapees RoVers Roost Co-op park in Casa Grande, AZ

By Tuesday I was quite excited to be so close to my destination.  I got to Quartzsite around noon and immediately went to the Pitstop to fill up my water tank.  Then I headed to the location of the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous (the RTR).  I knew a few people who would be there (like Randy, CB, Tish and Laurie), but hoped to meet many more and learn about living mobile.

Day 1 - found a good site with room for my Randy, CB, Tish and Laurie when they arrive

Day 1 at the RTR – found a good site with room for my friends Randy, CB, Tish and Laurie when they arrive

Starting to fill in.  Randy's trailer (to the left of mine) and CB's Airstream (far right).

Starting to fill in. Randy’s trailer (to the left of mine) and CB’s Airstream (far right).

On our first full day here (Wed., 1/9) CB drove us around and Randy introduced us to the sights, including the Hi Jolly (Hadji Ali) grave.

Randy (left) introduced CB and me to the sites of Quartzsite, including the Hi Jolly (Hadji Ali) grave site.

Randy (left) introduced CB and me to the sites of Quartzsite, including the Hi Jolly (Hadji Ali) grave site.

The RTR has been going GREAT!  Bob Wells has organized it very well, with interesting seminars, morning and evening walks, campfires, group dinners (and a breakfast), and lots of people helping people.

On our 8:30 AM walk.  Riley's herding.

On our 8:30 AM walk. Riley’s herding.

We also have an evening walk every day at 5'ish

We also have an evening walk every day at 5’ish.  It’s a great opportunity to have a talk with someone new, and get some good exercise.  And for Riley to have a nice long walk.

Last Saturday we had a group breakfast.  Myrna arranged it and Bob bought the food.  We cooked pancakes, sausage, eggs (I was the egg cracker/mixer), and toast.  Also, CB cooked up some bacon.

We have had a major cold snap and the overnight temps have gotten down to around 19-20, with days only into the 40’s and quite windy.  It has started warming up again.  We are all having so much FUN and learning a lot.  I am so lucky to be here doing this!!

Arizona – Grand Canyon and Coconino National Forest

Monday morning (10/1) we left Kanab, fully charged and with fresh tanks.  We were ready to be off grid for a week.  I had read about the extensive Forest Service roads above the Grand Canyon in the Kaibab National Forest.  Roxanne and Annie of the Good Luck Duck had written about where they had boondocked in the forest, so I programmed the GPS and headed down there.  Such a pretty drive in the Kaibab on Highway 67.

Kaibab National Forest along Hwy. 67

Kaibab National Forest along Hwy. 67 showing fall color

I drove out Forest Road 22, but didn’t find any sites I liked, so went across Hwy. 67 to FR 611.  Lots of good level sites along there.  We were just a bit off the road, deep in the forest.

Campsite in the Kaibab

Campsite in the Kaibab

Down the forest road about 3 miles is the east canyon viewpoint and Kaibab Trail.  Riley and I walked to the viewpoint/Saddle Mountain Wilderness.  Met a few folks hiking and camping along the canyon rim.

Riley hiking in the Kaibab

Riley on the Kaibab Trail, nearly camouflaged on the forest floor

We stayed 2 days, then drove about 20 miles down Hwy. 67 to the Grand Canyon North Rim.  We got to the campground at 8:30 AM and there were only a couple of campsites available.  We reserved one, then drove down to the lodge/visitor complex to get a view of the canyon.  A few hours later went back to the campground and got settled in to our site.  We were right next to the General Store, where I was able to use their wi-fi.  I had not been able to pick up a signal with my Verizon MiFi device while in the forest. Outside the store I saw a few Kaibab Squirrels.  They have a great white tail, reminding me of a Vegas showgirl.

Kaibab Squirrel, with a fluffy white tail.

Kaibab Squirrel, with a fluffy white tail.

Grand Canyon campground

Grand Canyon campground

I took Riley on the one trail that allows dogs, Bridle Trail, which runs along the road from the campground to the visitor center.  Later I hiked the Transept Trail that runs along the canyon rim from the campground to the visitor center. The view was very hazy, due to smoke from a prescribed burn in the forest south of the South Rim.

View from Transept Trail

View from Transept Trail

On Thursday morning we drove back to the lodge/visitor center area.  I wanted to hike out the Bright Angel Point trail.  Then we drove back up 67 to Jacob Lake, then over towards Page, under the Vermillion Cliffs, and south to Flagstaff.  We stopped at Walmart and the visitor center, then down I-17 to the Willard Springs area of the Coconino National Forest.  RV Sue had written about the area last year and it was on my list of places to be sure to visit on the trip.

We parked next to a shallow pond.  In the middle of the night I heard some odd sounds.  Turned out to be a herd of elk stopping at the pond for a drink.  There were a couple of males bugling.  It was very cool!!

Coconino National Forest Site

Coconino National Forest Site

There is a network of forest roads in the Coconino, too.  Riley and I walked all over.  Some areas of the roads are very rocky.

Riley on a break from the rocky forest road walk

Riley on a break from the forest road walk

We stayed 3 days, then on Sunday drove just a few miles down the road to Munds Park RV Resort.  I did laundry, took care of the tanks, watched the race and football, and got propane. I was pretty happy with this schedule of once a week at a commercial campground to take care of business, then the rest of the week off-grid.

On Monday we went to Flagstaff for groceries, then to a different area of the Coconino Forest.  Roxanne and Annie had found a nice boondocking area not too far from Flagstaff, and I had arranged to park nearby.  Roxanne is the moderator of the women’s RV Yahoo group I am on, so I had hoped to eventually cross paths.  I parked near their site and got to spend some time picking their brains.  They are SO nice! I really enjoyed meeting them, after sort of knowing them from the group, and reading their blog.

Again, Riley and I walked the network of roads in the beautiful forest.  Riley gets to play ball when we are in the forest away from other folks.

Riley has mad ball skills

Riley has mad ball skills.  (That’s the Good Luck Duck in the background)

We only stayed 2 days, as it was getting quite cold at night.  We headed east on I-40,  with a quick stop in Winslow.  I wanted to see the “Standing on the corner in Winslow, Arizona” statue.  Our next stop was going to be Bluewater Lake State Park in New Mexico.

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