Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Return of the 50-Amp Pavement Princess

After almost 7 weeks of uninterrupted boondocking (except for the quick trips to town to dump our tanks), we finally tore ourselves away from our desert paradise and returned to civilization.

But not before we experienced more fun and adventure!

We did manage to hike up to Palm Canyon, although the day we picked was windy and quite chilly. We saw the palms in the sunshine this year!

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Along with us on the hike were Deb & Rod, JoAnn & Doug, and former owners of the Broken Arrow Horse Camp and RV Park in Custer, South Dakota, Geri & Larry. JoAnn & Doug came back for 2 weeks to enjoy the peace and quiet of the desert with us. We were all ready for a late lunch after the windy 1-mile round trip from the parking lot to the palms, so a stop at Taco Mio in Quartzsite for tacos was the order of the day.

We first met Geri & Larry when we stayed at Broken Arrow in 2008. We were incredibly impressed with the warm, friendly way they treated all their guests, and actually extended our stay there a couple of times before we got away that year. We returned in 2009 and got to know these great folks better. We were surprised to learn from Pat and Mike Mcfall that they sold the campground recently, but delighted they are now enjoying the freedom of retirement and fulltiming. They came to spend a few days with us out in the desert and try this boondocking thing.

While they were with us, they invited us out with them for a day of 4-wheeling:

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Larry let Jim & I ride his 4-wheeler and he rode his dirt bike. Geri had her own 4-wheeler. We rode all over the place, coming across this mine shaft at one point. Larry, Geri and Jim are examining the entrance to the shaft, wondering just how deep that thing is!

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We also revisited a place I found a geocache last year, this time Geri found it. Me, Larry and Geri look for the geocache:

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And of course, we enjoyed happy hours and meals together several times.

JoAnn, Geri, Deb and I on the “Girl’s side”:

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Rod, Larry and Doug on the Boy’s side:

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Rod, me, Deb, Geri and Larry enjoying the campfire:

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But, with the temperatures warming into the 80’s during the day, we knew it wasn’t going to be long before we needed air conditioning. Besides which, the snakes and other critters are already starting to make an appearance, so it was time to go.

We are once again in the Phoenix metro area, this time at what we call a “mega-plex” RV resort in Mesa with close to 1,800 sites! Even so, I think we have a smidge more room than we did last year. We’ve found the staff and neighbors to be very friendly here. Within a day, neighbors on 3 sides had introduced themselves. Everyone has a smile and greeting. We’re close to all the necessary shopping and services, so now, we’re enjoying the 50-amp pavement life.

Here we are:

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We have an appointment to have some repair and maintenance work done on the Castle next week. I’ve been washing and grooming the dogs and will get them to the vet for regular shots while here. Of course, there’s a lot of cleaning to be done too, inside and out.

Since we’re working so much getting things cleaned up and all, we need to go relax by the pool in the afternoon! We are sure enjoying the luxury of having full hook-ups, too.

While we were out in the desert, we decided to try an experiment with the dogs – I was tired of having to maneuver around their crates all the time, whether we had them in the main living area or in the bedroom. So, we figured out some alternatives. We took the bedding out of the crates and now put that on the floor at the foot of the bed when we go to bed. It took a couple of nights for them to understand that once they are put to bed, they need to stay there all night, but they are fine with that now. If we’re going out for awhile during the day, we put their water in the back and close the sliding door so they stay in the bedroom/bath area. That way, they aren’t barking at everyone who walks by the rig. We now have to put their food containers in the shower though – Jasmine figured out one day that she can open the container and help herself!

After we finish with our stuff here in town, we may spend a couple of weeks at either Usery Mountain or McDowell Mountain campgrounds before we leave this area, heading to who knows where!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Desert Living…continued

Well, guess what – in addition to getting that “geezer card” just after my recent birthday, I am really official now – I just received my first Social Security check!  Wow…

Now, of course, with that advancing age comes a certain, uhmmmm….shall we say, “mild forgetfulness”…ok, let’s be honest, I have senior moments now and then.  When I posted last night, I forgot some important stuff! 

In addition to the people I mentioned when I summarized all the folks who’ve been out here, I neglected to mention that Brenda & John were here when we first got here.  Of course, they now have become big landowners over towards the “big city”, and we wish them well with that venture.  Then there was Pat and Mike McFall.  They arrived in their new-to-them, beautiful Foretravel motorhome and spent several days here.  Pat and I even got some line dancing practice in while they were here!  Sylvia and Glenn Avery also found their way out for a few days.  Some of these folks were here around the time of my birthday and got to enjoy that celebration with me.  And, one day, we got a surprise visit from JD and Becky.  This is the couple who recognized us last year when we were in Quartzsite and came out to our camp site for a visit.  They are both now retired and fulltiming – congratulations, JD & Becky! (Now, about that blog…sure would love to see one from you two).

I also intended to post this picture of snow on the mountains north of us.  When we got up Sunday morning, there it was!  Thankfully, the snow missed us, we just got some chilly rain and wind in the weekend storm that blew through.


Today, JoAnn and I were able to get back to back appointments for hair cuts in Parker.  After we got done with those, we went to a restaurant recommended by the woman who cut our hair and had a good lunch at the Crossroads CafĂ©. 

A stop at Walmart was next on our agenda.  I’ve been having some challenges getting my prescription refills accomplished, and today was no exception.  Somehow, my doctor’s office managed to approve my refill at a Walmart somewhere else!  So, the local store has to call the wrong store to have them back out the order and transfer it.  Aaarrrgggghhhh…..and they fuss at me if I don’t take the meds??

It was good to be back in our desert paradise where Jim had a nice piece of fish ready to grill for me!  Thanks, Honey.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Desert Living

Last year, we spent 40 days out here in the desert.  This year, if all goes according to plan, it will be just a smidge longer, about 43 days.  Last year, we ran our generator about 175 hours.  This year, with solar panels (four 100-watt panels) we’ve run the generator less than 60 hours.  We know that we will never get our money out of the solar panels, but not having to depend on the generator to keep our 4 house batteries charged is making our boondocking experience a lot more relaxed and pleasant.  We’ve talked about adding 2 more batteries when we need to replace our current ones, so we’ll see how that works out sometime in the future.

So what have we been doing with all this time?

Well, we watch the sunrise:


and the sunset:

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And in between, there’s a bit of food!  Rollie and Rod at the Super Bowl Shrimp Boil at our place:

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Janna, Deb and Gina get their share of the shrimp boil:

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One night Deb grilled the most delicious Salmon!

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And socializing!  Below, Jo, Mike, Janna and Fred waiting for Deb’s grilled salmon dinner:

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Deb and Rod by the camp fire:

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And just taking it all in:

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We get water, go sightseeing, grocery shopping, to Weight Watcher's meetings, dental and medical appointments, haircuts, for walks and/or drives, take naps, read books, cook and of course, have happy hours and eat!

We’ve gone to Yuma and Mexico, and over to Blythe, California.

Today, we climbed a mountain!

Going up wasn’t so bad, and yes, JB, we did sign the book!  We saw two desert big horn sheep on the trek, but Jim’s pictures turned out fuzzy, guess we’ll have to try to find them again!

Here I am, with the log book:

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Mike, Janna & Emmi at the top of the mountain (just over 1,500’ elevation)

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Coming back down was a little slow for some of us (me, Rod and Janna):

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We’ve enjoyed the company of several different folks who’ve stopped by – Gina & Rollie, Jo & Fred Wishnie, and JoAnn and Doug have all been here at least once, some twice!  JoAnn and Doug came back yesterday to spend a few more days out here, Gina and Rollie stopped by last week on their way back to Louisiana, after saying their farewell to their son, Thomas, who deployed to Afghanistan from Camp Pendleton.  We send our heartfelt thanks and prayers for Thomas as he gives his service to our country! May God’s peace and protection be with him and the entire family during this time.

Janna and Mike got a bad case of Hitch-itch and left us today.  We’ll sure miss them,  but we wish them safe travels.  We hope to catch up with them soon, “somewhere down the road”.

Our plans are, as usual, in Jell-O at this point.  On one of our trips to dump and get water, when we returned and started setting up in our spot, we broke a jack – not so broken that we had to go get it fixed right away, but we are having some challenges getting and staying level now, so we have an appointment later on this month in Mesa to get it replaced.  We’ll probably go into “the city” a little early so we can catch up with some cleaning chores that don’t get done real well out here.  After that, well, who knows!