Salida, CO and an Update

First an update – I’m in Santa Fe, NM for some warranty work on the scooter.  It wouldn’t start one day, and rather than drive over to Sportique in Colorado Springs I got an appointment at Centaur Scooters in Santa Fe.  We were already heading to New Mexico to meet some Lazy Daze folks at Abiquiu Reservoir on Sept. 20th, then to Albuquerque for the Balloon Fiesta in Oct.  I just had to do a little side trip before getting to Abiquiu.  Good news – the problem was a failure by the starter solenoid and was fixed less than 2 hours after I dropped it off yesterday.  They diagnosed it quickly and had a solenoid available to use.  Also, they filed the warranty claim so I wasn’t out of pocket anything and was able to load up the scooter and be on my way.  Sometimes you get an early failure on a part, so I’m not worried about the scooter.  I really liked Centaur when Chris and I visited in June.  We had stopped in there to look at scooters and see about putting a rack on my prior rig (which ended up not being possible).  It seemed like a great mom and pop shop, well stocked and well run.  They sure did well to get me on my way with no delay.  So, I have scheduled my initial 200 mile service with them, before heading down to Albuquerque on Oct. 1st.

Anyway, after Leadville we moved down to Salida.  We had stopped in there for a week or so back in late June, early July.  There is a free BLM boondocking spot just east of town, on the Arkansas River.  Leadville was nice and cool (highs were in the high 60’s, low 70’s), but really cloudy and rainy.  My 85 watt solar panel couldn’t keep my batteries charged with just an hour or so of sunshine per day.  So, Salida seemed like a good next stop, usually sunny, hopefully not too warm at 7,000 feet, plus we had enjoyed it before.   Salida has a Walmart, dump station/water at the Chamber of Commerce and a decent laundromat.  I utilized all of them on the way to the campsite, that way I would be set and not need to move for 10 days.

Salida Campsite

Salida Campsite.  The Arkansas River is right behind our rigs.

Arkansas River at Salida East

Chris had fun fly-fishing in the Arkansas River near our site.

Chris and I unloaded the scooter that afternoon.  I was really excited to have it at this spot, since the town is cool (cute with a funky vibe) and just a couple of miles away.  The next day (9/6) I made a quick trip in to get something at the True Value hardware store.  The next morning was Saturday and I was looking forward to scooting to the Farmer’s Market and the big Fiber Fest (yarn and roving, spinning and weaving, etc.) in Riverside Park.  Unfortunately, the scooter wouldn’t start even though it ran fine the day before.  Everything worked except the starter button.  We checked the battery, fuses, whatever else we could see, but couldn’t find the problem.  I was quite bummed.

Then, I turned on the water heater and it wouldn’t start.  What is up with these failures?!?  I checked it all over, researched online for possible answers, cleaned the connections, etc.  When nothing worked we took the circuit board off of Chris’ unit (same Atwood model) and hooked it up to mine.  It fired right up.  So, it seems I needed a new board.  The RV dealer in nearby Poncha Springs quoted $323 for a new one, but I ordered one from Amazon for $124.  I had it sent to PakMail in Salida – they do package acceptance for $5.  (Some mail can come general delivery to the post office for free, but Amazon usually ships UPS or FedEx, which can’t go to the post office.)

Later in the day I rode into town with Chris in his truck.  We really liked Cafe Dawn downtown and went several times while in Salida.  Afterwards we drove by the park and Fiber Fest was still going on.  It was much bigger than I expected, lots of booths.  There was some really nice yarn, fiber art, felted hats, lots of interesting stuff.  I kept thinking how much our friend Melinda (who is on her way to Balloon Fiesta after summer in Alaska) would have loved it.  I meant to get a picture, but failed.  Here’s a shot I took of our favorite coffee place on July 4th:

Cafe Dawn

Cafe Dawn

Next on my failure tour, the batteries didn’t seem to be holding a charge, even though we had more sunny days in Salida.  Checking the cells with a hydrometer showed the batteries were only 50% charged.  I called my Dad and also my friend CB for advice.   They are both smart engineers and had good info, things to check/do.  Also, I spoke to AM Solar, the servicer for my solar controller.  I decided to check into the RV park next door and plug in for a day or 2 and get up to 100%.  After 2 days one battery was up to 75% and one was still barely above 50%.  There must be something wrong with them.  I had just gotten them at the end of August in Steamboat Springs, so I swung by Napa after leaving the RV park and explained the situation.  They had to order a set that would arrive the next morning as they didn’t keep the 6 volts in stock.  I asked them to put a slow charge on them and I would come by in the afternoon when ready (something I should have thought to do with the Steamboat Napa).  I picked them up Friday, the 13th, and this set seems to be doing fine.

While at the Salida spot Chris and I took the opportunity to wash and wax our rigs.  It takes a while using just buckets of water.  The wax didn’t seem to do well on the silver/grey paint on the part I waxed, leaving swirly streaks where I applied it.  Figures, everything that could go wrong was going wrong lately.  Now I had ruined part of my paint. Terrific.  I read online that 3M makes a restorer for heavily oxidized paints and was able to pick some up at Napa.  Haven’t had a chance to try it yet.  Hopefully it will work OK to restore the silver.  Chris’ rig looks really good all washed and waxed, though.

When I got back to the campsite after leaving the RV park I found that my friend Carol, who I had met in Caballo Lake last year, was camping near us.  I didn’t remember that she was from the Salida area.  She makes really beautiful sets of cloth napkins and potholders and had a booth at the farmer’s markets at Salida.  I drove in to town on Saturday to do the market and run errands. It had been raining for a few days and more was forecast, but it turned out to be a really nice morning, great for the vendors.  I hoped to get some cranberry/almond/cinnamon swirl bread at the baker’s booth.  I had gotten some in July and had lusted for more ever since.  Luckily they had some and I’ve been enjoying it for breakfast.  If you ever get to the Salida farmer’s market look for it, it’s fantastic.

Salida Farmer's Market

Lovely day at the Salida Farmer’s Market

Carol at the Farmer's Market

Carol (on the right) at the Farmer’s Market with her beautiful napkins and potholders.

I really liked Salida.  It’s a good size, has a nice Safeway and a Walmart, walkable area downtown with parks and residential nearby, renovation of historic buildings downtown, etc.  As I said, it’s got a funky vibe.  There are a lot of cool refurbished vintage bicycles that people ride around town (didn’t get a pic), they have thrift shops with names like “Free The Monkey” and “Wanderlust Road”, and houses of different eras are intermingled, like Victorian next to a mid-century craftsman, next to adobe… I loved looking at the houses as we drove into town:

Salida Houses

Salida Houses

Salida House

Salida Houses

Salida’s a town that I could live in, but it’s been ‘discovered’ and real estate seems to be  pretty expensive.  Well, it’s a nice place to visit for now.

House

The little house in the middle with the for sale sign was about $300k!

Just before leaving we had more Lazy Dazers roll in.  John and Linda (and Sadie), who stopped to see us at Rabbit Ears Pass, stopped by on the way to Abiquiu from their home in Colorado Springs.  Also, Frank and Cookie, who I had briefly met in Quartzsite, were traveling with them, so we had 4 Lazy Dazes at the campsite for the night.  It was great to have a visit with them, and we all went out to Amica’s Pizza for dinner.  Great pizza and company, a terrific evening.  Can’t wait to spend time with them and a whole bunch of Lazy Dazers in Abiquiu over the next several days.

Hanging out with Cookie, John and Linda (and Riley and Sadie)

Hanging out with Cookie, John and Linda (and Riley and Sadie)

I think/hope the troubles I have had recently are done.  Sometimes trouble comes in waves.  Hopefully it all doesn’t sound like too much of a bummer.  These things happen, sometimes all at once.  Just the normal life of an RV’er.  It’s all probably less than when I had a house to take care of – when the A/C went out a few times (replacing the whole HVAC was fun), sections of fence falling over in storms, having to fix sprinkler heads, replacing the roof, etc.  You have a moment of upset, breathe, figure it out, maybe replace some piece of equipment, and move on.  Literally – you move on to some new piece of real estate that offers stunning mountain views, or forests, or lakes and rivers.  You move to where the weather is nice and the town is interesting.  It’s all good, and I’m loving it.  🙂

Isabella Lake and Kern River

After leaving the heat of Lake Mohave, just north of Bullhead City, AZ, we drove directly to Isabella Lake.  I really wanted some cools, and higher elevation would get it done.  Isabella Lake is northeast of Bakersfield, CA, at the southern end of the Sequoia National Forest.  The lake itself is at about 2,600 feet, but the Kern River upstream from the lake gains even more in elevation.  There is a series of Forest Service campgrounds along the river, some developed and some primitive, allowing free dispersed camping.  I had heard about the area from Bob Wells while at the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous in January.  We had been talking about my plans to visit Yosemite and he was quite familiar with the area.  He thought it would be a good spot for April, once southern California started getting hot and Yosemite is still pretty chilly.

Anyway, we arrived after a long, 330 mile day.  We set up on the shore of Isabella Lake, which allows dispersed camping at the Auxiliary Dam site.  Camping is free with the inter-agency annual pass, which I had gotten last year knowing I would be going to a lot of national parks.  We got there in time for a nice sunset.

Isabella Sunset

We did get our cools.  The highs were in the 60’s and 50’s the first few days we were here, so that was great.  Bob had warned that it would be windy and he was right.  There was a lot of wind in the area with gusts to 35 mph, and on the lake with no trees blocking you really feel it.

It’s a big lake.  You can’t tell from the picture above.  I was on one small arm of the lake.  The shoreline visible across the lake is actually a peninsula that sticks out, with another arm of the lake behind it.  Then there is another mile or so of lake off to the right.  The lake is pretty low right now due to drought and lack of snow melt.

There were usually clouds on the mountains across the lake.  Mountains make their own weather and it almost always looked stormy over there.  Pretty cool looking actually.

Lake Isabella

Cloudy day over our campsite on Lake Isabella

Also got to watch a couple of windsurfers most days.  I couldn’t get a good picture, as they were way out in the lake.  This is zoomed in.

Wind Surfer

Windsurfer

It’s a big fishing lake and they had a fishing derby April 20-22.  On the weekend before (April 12-14) a lot of folks came up, both for recreation and fishing.  Probably a lot of folks getting an idea of where the fish hang out before the derby.  Anyway, the shoreline was wall-to-wall RV’s.  This was about 1/4 of the line. There were many, many more RV’s over to the right.

Busy Isabella

Busy Isabella

The town of Lake Isabella is just the right size.  Small enough to be easily navigated – one main road through town.  Big enough to have services, including a really nice Von’s grocery store.  One thing I wanted to do was find a place to pick up packages.  I needed to place an Amazon order, but needed someplace besides the Post Office that accepts deliveries.  Found one at Valley Office Emporium.  Also, there’s propane at the big True Value hardware store in town, and a decent laundromat.

Next we moved across the river, below the dam, to the Keyesville Special Recreation Management Area, a BLM site.  It has a lot of trails for dirt bikes and other off-highway vehicles.  Also, they allow dispersed camping.  There is one paved road through the area and a lot of dirt roads forking off.  Many roads I couldn’t drive too far due to ruts/rocks, and some had low-hanging branches that I wouldn’t fit under.  I eventually found a good site right off the road and camped for a couple of days.

Keyesville Site

Keyesville Site

They allow gold mining in certain sections of the Keyesville area.  One day Riley and I were out walking and I met Annie, whose husband Lee is a prospector.  (Also met their dogs Miley and Chelsea.  Wish I had thought to get a picture.)  They are from Salinas, but like bringing their motorhome to Keyesville for a nice trip and to do some gold panning.  They were parked in an area right on the river.  I wasn’t sure my RV could fit under the trees and over the ruts to get there, so hadn’t driven down there.  It looked like a great place to camp, though.

Camping on the river in Keyesville

Camping on the river in Keyesville

Kern River in Keyesville SRMA

Kern River in Keyesville SRMA

One day I thought it would be good to hike across the river and up by the dam to the Forest Service office.  I realized pretty quickly that we wouldn’t be able to cross the river – the road is really busy and the bridge is narrow with no sidewalk or shoulders.  We went across the road to the “Main Dam Campground” which is closed.  I thought maybe somewhere in there we would be able to access a way to go up and walk over the dam.  Walking through the campground it was obvious it had been closed for some time, not just for the winter.  It’s directly below the dam, so I’m sure they closed it due to the devastation that would happen if the dam were ever breached and started flooding downriver.  It’s like an episode of Life After People in there, with nature taking the area back.  (I never did find a way to get up to the top of the dam.)

Main Dam Campground Site

Main Dam Campground site in disrepair

In one of the trees there were 2 HUGE bird nests next to each other.  Must have been raven nests because one squawked at me the whole time I was looking at them.  (Was a female raven, based on the sound of the call on my iBird app.)

Giant bird nests

Giant bird nests

Next we moved upriver to the Thunderbird campground.  When we pulled in I noticed some rock climbing ladies rappelling down the rock face across the road.  On the 2nd picture below I’ve put arrows where 2 are rappelling down the rock and 2 are already down at the base (click to see bigger).  My nephew Kevin is an expert rock-climber.  I’d be too scared, but cool to watch.

Thunderbird Rapellers

Thunderbird Climbers on the rock face across the road

Rapellers

Rapellers

One thing that was cool about the area was the number of fighter jets that fly over the upper Kern river.  I saw one fighter jet fly really low over me at Anza-Borrego.  It came screaming over the mountain, turned on its side, then straightened up and flew over the other mountains.  So cool, but so fast.  Couldn’t get a picture.  Same thing here.  I think they are coming from Edwards AFB south of here.  Most days I hear or see 1 or 2.  On the 18th it was super-crazy with the jets.  I think I saw 12-14 of them on that day alone.  Just screaming up the river, following the road/valley.  One was really low, actually in the valley, maybe a couple of hundred yards up.  Not sure what that was all about, but crazy cool.  Must be having a lot of practice runs, or trainees are getting some fly time.  Sure wish I could get a picture.  They go by too fast to even think of getting out the camera.

On Friday, the 19th, we packed up and moved upriver.  I wanted to see if I could find a site at one of the other campgrounds, like Springhill.  On Google Maps it looked like there are some shady sites there (it was getting a bit warm).  Both Springhill North and South had a lot of sites, but either small or with too many low-hanging branches to be able to get too far in.  Eventually I had to turn around in a small space when the campground road ended.  In the process I somehow managed to drive over a rock in the road in such a way as to lodge my differential on top of it.

Stuck on a rock

Stuck on a rock

Couldn’t go forward or back to get off of it.  Oh no!  I tried my leveling blocks to drive up and over, didn’t work.  I tried chiseling the rock with a hammer and chisel, didn’t work.  Eventually I had to go looking for someone in the campground with a jack.  (I had a nice hydraulic jack on my trip last year, but left it home figuring I wouldn’t change my own tire since I have Coachnet.)  Didn’t find a jack, but found a guy that could help, and when we got back the 3 fisherman with the campsite next to my mishap were back from fishing and able to help.  They tied a rope to my hitch from their van and gave me a tug, which dislodged me and I was able to back it off the rock.  What a pain!  At one point I thought I would have to call Coachnet, but didn’t actually have any signal on my T-Mobile phone, plus my Verizon MiFi didn’t have any signal there either.  I decided to go back down to Thunderbird, where at least I had a decent campsite and Verizon signal.  (And I didn’t want to be without both phone and internet communication.)

Thunderbird Site

Thunderbird Site

Kern River at Thunderbird

Kern River at Thunderbird

On Sunday, the 21st we moved back to Keyesville.  It was hot, Thunderbird had gotten too busy, and I wanted to see if I could get the NASCAR race on the TV.  I hoped we could get the same spot we had before (part of it was shady).  On the way back downriver I was able to see all the activity on the lake for the fishing derby.  Everywhere you could put an RV on the shoreline there was an RV there.  Tents were everywhere you could put a tent.  Lots of boats.  I stopped at a lookout spot and got a couple of pictures.

Derby Campers

Derby Campers

Derby Boats

Derby Boats

The site I wanted was occupied, but they moved out on Tuesday morning, so I snagged it then.  Highs of 85 here lately – need to get shade on the tin can!

So now we are about to move again.  After almost 3 weeks in the area we leave tomorrow to head north towards Yosemite.  I have 3 nights in a Yosemite Valley campground.  On the way we will visit Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.  After Yosemite we head to San Francisco.  So lots of cool things to see coming up.  Very excited!  I’m sure Riley will like the sights and smells too.  🙂  He did enjoy our last Keyesville hike this morning:

Last Kville Hike

Last Keyesville Hike

Desert Livin’, Part 2

So, we spent Sunday 3/10 in Indio, running errands.  Wanted to go to Walmart, Trader Joe’s (Everyone raves about TJ’s. Good, but small than expected.) and do laundry.  Also, hoped to be able to watch the NASCAR race in the afternoon.  Got parked at the laundromat, fired up the TV, aimed the antenna and I was able to watch the race and do laundry.  Thanks Dad for installing the great solar setup and new Jack antenna!!  I had originally planned to spend the night in Indio, but we got done so early that I went ahead and headed on. Joshua Tree has overflow parking on BLM land right outside of the park, just off I-10.  So I  pulled in there, near 3 other rigs.  I like to find a good boondock spot right outside the national park so we can go in early and beat the crowds or find an available site in the popular campgrounds (like we did at Zion and Grand Canyon last year), so this site was really handy.

Boondocking outside Joshua Tree

Boondocking outside Joshua Tree

Anyway, Monday morning we drove in to the park.  Turns out there was a big earthquake that morning close to the town of Anza, near where we were camped the prior week. Never felt anything as we were driving at that moment.  Anyway, I visited the Cottonwood Visitor Center and hiked the trail past the Cottonwood Spring. They had a sign showing the mortal holes created long ago, over many years, when Cahuilla Indian women would grind seeds into flour.

Cahuilla Indian Mortar Holes

Cahuilla Indian Mortar Holes

Joshua Tree NP is not all Joshua Trees.  There are 2 deserts that meet in the middle – the Colorado and the Mohave. The Colorado is lower and has a lot of creosote, palo verde, ocotillo, etc. The Mohave begins at higher elevation, and you start seeing yucca and Joshua trees. There is a lot to see when driving the Pinto Basin Road across the park towards the northwest.  Lots of places to stop and read displays and notice the different desert features.

We stayed at the Jumbo Rocks campground and I hiked the trail there – part nature trail, part hike to the Skull Rock.

Jumbo Rocks Campground

Jumbo Rocks Campground

Jumbo Rocks

Jumbo Rocks, with climbers halfway up

Jumbo Rocks

Jumbo Rocks trail, on the way to Skull Rock

Skull Rock

Skull Rock

The next day we drove through the park to Black Rock Canyon campground.  I hiked the High View Trail, which is quite a climb.  Riley stayed home, dogs not allowed on trails.

Driving to Black Rock Canyon we saw a major field of Joshua Trees

Driving to Black Rock Canyon we saw a major field of Joshua Trees

They have the coolest looking blooms

New blooms look like a pineapple or something.  They’re huge.

Full Bloom

Fully open bloom

Black Rock Canyon CG

Black Rock Canyon CG

Bench at the top of High View Trail is much appreciated

The bench at the top of High View Trail is much appreciated

On Wednesday, the 13th, we moved on to Sawtooth Canyon.  It’s a (free!) BLM campground between Lucerne Valley and Barstow on hwy. 247.  It had gotten pretty hot in southern CA, but Sawtooth is just off of a pass between the Granite and Ord mountain ranges, at about 3550 elevation.  So, we would be able to stay cool there for a week or so, until it was time to get water and dump tanks.  The sites are nice, with a covered concrete table area and 2 fire pits/grills.  I set up Riley’s pen and even put out my awning.

Sawtooth Spot

Sawtooth Spot

The campground is really spread out and we walked all over and up to the top of the hill/canyon, where there is a trail for back-country camping.  There were 3 guys with packs going off that way when we were up there.  (More power to them.  I love my Lazy Daze conveniences.)  On Saturday we hiked a big hill that was maybe some kind of road at one time.  Very steep and rocky.

Yeah, we hiked that.

Yeah, we hiked that.

There were a bunch of cars at the 3 sites near us that turned out to be the San Dimas Mountain Rescue Team, having a training campout or something.  So, that was comforting, looking down from the top of the hill.

View from the hill.

View from the hill.

Over the weekend I had been talking to Chris, who I met at the Lazy Daze gathering in Quartzsite in January.  We had parted at Fortuna Pond on Feb. 13th to continue our travels in separate directions.  He was at Alamo Lake in Arizona, enjoying his kayak and doing some fishing.  We missed each other and decided to meet up halfway, which was off I-40 around Goffs, CA, near the Mohave National Preserve.  Also, my folks were about to take a road trip to Las Vegas, and I thought maybe I would try to meet up with them on their way back to TX.  More about visiting in Mohave and NV/AZ in the next post.

Sawtooth Canyon sunset

Sawtooth Canyon sunset, packed up and ready to head to Mohave NP

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