1/17/13 Thursday at Quartzsite,AZ (BLM land-free)
Internet access via John’s phone is touchy. At this moment I am outside, breathing generator exhaust and barely able to see the cursor in the glare of sunlight, so I may not manage this often.
Up at 6:30 am and out by 9 am, just the time we wanted to be gone. We still have those slow leaking tires and several of our tire pressure monitor sensors are not displaying information. I called the company and she asked if the batteries were old. We just got most of them in July 2012, so she thought maybe that wasn’t the problem. I’m inclined to think they were old batteries when we got them. Anyway, we didn’t have time to fix that problem and John had to fill one of our tires. He has an air hose that will only reach the rear tires. He connects it to the engine’s on board air compressor for the air. Unfortunately, we need our tires to be at 100 psi and this arrangement can only bring them up to 90 psi. Better than nothing!
The drive on I-10 was pretty decent. Lots of trucks and RVs on this trip. We experienced some cross winds on the way, so John was grateful for our Safe T Plus steering upgrade that holds the steering wheel tighter. We saw orange trees near Blythe (approaching the Arizona border).
Arizona – not on daylight time, so 1 hour later. Also, the speed limit is 75 mph. Interesting. Larry suggested Exit 5 (Tom Wells Rd) for fuel, so we stopped there. Worth it, at $3.679/gal and a free drink! By the way, our gas fill spout is located at the passenger side, yet most diesel pumps seem to have a main pump on the driver’s side, with another satellite pump on the passenger side. For things to work, we need to go inside (or Pilot will take our card at the pump), to get the pump open. We go to the main pump to give it our credit card, then place the pump handle on the ground nearby, then go to the satellite pump and pump. Unfortunately, you don’t get to watch the figures for gas pumped while you’re at the satellite pump. At least you get fuel at any pump spot.
BLM stands for Bureau of Land Management. Out in the desert and other wild places, the BLM allows camping rigs to park (dry camping) for free for up to 2 weeks. If you like boondocking and relative isolation in nature, that’s the way to go! Of course, life is more restricted then and you need to dump waste and fill with fuel water before and after these trips.
Quartzsite, surrounded by BLM land, is not so isolated because it’s become a kind of winter mecca for RV people. It’s also got a huge flea market, apparently. Plus, around this time they set up a huge tent for vendors – commercial sales. Several of the vendors at our Indio Rally mentioned that they’ll be there after Indio. In fact, we bought the See Level kit in Indio, but they didn’t have time to install it, so they will install it where we land near Quartzsite. See Level called John yesterday to ask where we’ll be, because they need a permit from BLM to do any business on their land. If they don’t have it they could be fined about $1200-$1500. We couldn’t give them our location, since we didn’t know ourselves.
Meanwhile, Larry had told us where he usually parks, with some directions. Following those directions, we took Exit 17, to get on Hwy 95, following the signs for Yuma. Well, that exit is nuts! No stop lights, yet totally congested with huge trucks and RVs as well as the odd, unfortunate car. We took the left turn off the ramp, then got stuck because the truck in the opposing lane was partially in our lane, stopped, because of the semi that blocked the intersection he was trying to enter. Of course, someone behind us was honking at us, not realizing why we didn’t move. I offered to get out and help direct John to possibly squeeze through. No dice. (I’m secretly glad – such a dangerous intersection). Eventually, that truck moved, so we moved and continued on to Hwy 95 (along that way, we came next to a bike rider). We saw the big tent as we turned right onto Hwy 95. At mile marker 99 you’ll see a turn lane that takes you onto La Paz Valley Rd, which we followed for about .6 of a mile, then turned off. There are dirt roads everywhere and so many RVs – thousands! It’s a flat area, but if I get on a hill, I’ll take a photo of this city of RV’s in the desert.
By the time we got set up, it was 1 pm our time, 2 pm Arizona time. John made final arrangements with See Level (he needed our GPS coordinates to find us), so we all had some lunch, then he was here installing our equipment.
He found a ground wire not connected the way it should have been behind our indicator panel, as well as mice sign (droppings and chewed insulation) behind our outside panel). He said the mice stuff looked old, so we hope it was from previous owner times. We had found a mouse trap hidden in a corner in a kitchen cupboard, so I’m inclined to believe the mouse is history.
When he left, we relaxed in the glorious desert air – perfect temperature and the wind blocked by the side of our rig.
Sun setting (6 pm Arizona time) as we lounged (problems uploading).
Next, we made spaghetti with clam sauce and pumpkin pie for desert. I cooked rice in my rice cooker outside the rig (all that rice steam would be yucky inside our small home), while we were running the generator. When I brought it inside later, I was struck by the gorgeous black sky filled with bright stars. Such a beautiful world we have.
I took a lovely hot shower, then we enjoyed TV until bedtime (9:30 pm Arizona time).
This is the good life!!!!