Archive for the ‘Adventure’ Category

RTR in Quartzsite

Thursday, January 19th, 2017
I thought this was odd.

I thought this was odd.

During the second week of January, I moved from the LTVA over to the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous gathering. Every year, like-minded nomads gather in Quartzsite to share experiences, learn new things about living and traveling on the road, and see friends – old and new.

Most of the seminars at the RTR are geared for people just starting out in this lifestyle, so after doing this for the last five years, I didn’t learn a lot that was new to me. Many travelers new to this way of full-time mobile living – especially solo women – find comfort and safety in traveling with a group of like-minded individuals. It is normal – and I guess healthy – to have a little apprehension in this world of ours, and to join with other people and travel with them is a good way to start this adventure.

The main objective of the meeting is not so much to learn how to live on the road as it is to just make friends. Everyone’s lifestyle is so unique that the only way to figure out how to do this is to just go do it. You can get tips from those that have been full-timing for years, but how they do things may be completely different from what is important to you. I went to the rally to say hi to several people I have met during my travels the last few years.

Each year the RTR gets bigger. There were estimates of 500 people there this year – more than double the number that showed up last year. I don’t enjoy large crowds. It seemed to me that the people were different and not as easy to meet this year. I guess the bigger the crowd the easier it is to stay by yourself. It probably is more me than them. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are 1000 people that show up here next year. I will not be one of them.

With so many people gathered together there are bound to be disagreements. On the second day there was a disagreement over playing music in the evening. Some wanted to play loud music around their camps and others didn’t want to hear it. The music players were consequently bannished to the DMZ (Designated Music Zone) two washes over. There were other squabbles about picking up dog poop, smoking, and toilet paper in the washes from those that came in tents unprepared for taking care of their waste. But mostly everyone got along well.

Raw, unfiltered honey

Raw, unfiltered honey

On one warm, sunny afternoon, my friend Todd and I went to town to browse the booths that crowd the streets of Quartzsite this time of year. It’s all the same from year to year but it is kind of fun to wander the shops a time or two. I bought a large spoon with holes in it that I will use to strain pasta, a jar of raw honey, and a new outdoor rug for the front of Minnie. Just a warning for those coming to Q. They have increased their police force and are handing out more tickets. They probably figure they need money from all the tourist in town as much as the shops do.

Porch

Porch

I’m now back at the LTVA waiting out a stretch of rainy weather. Donna is planning on joining me in a few days. We will try to visit some of the bloggers she has met online and then go to the Big Tent extravaganza. Richard and Dianna are driving up from Yuma to join us. Then we are planning to drive to Yuma to camp with Richard and Dianna and make a trip to Mexico for dental and drugs. Let’s hope we can get out of Mexico before we sever all trade across the border.

More Power!!!

Friday, January 6th, 2017
They need a sign like this over in the "Clothing Optional" area.

They need a sign like this over in the “Clothing Optional” area.

I traveled back to Quartzsite on New Year’s Day 2017. Richard and Dianna went southwest to Yuma the same day, planning to spend several weeks at Imperial Dam LTVA. I will move down to join them soon. While I have been here I have stopped to see Barb and meet some of her friends she camps with, and exchanged texts with Todd, a friend I first met at last year’s RTR. You may recall that Donna and I ran into Todd and Cathy in Flagstaff last year and traveled north to the Grand Canyon with them. Todd is coming to the RTR and we made plans to meet there.

I had quite a few projects that I wanted to tackle this season while in Quartzsite. Every time you do any remodeling on your RV there are always parts you need that you didn’t contemplate. I knew the flee markets and RV parts stores in Quartzsite would have everything I needed.

I installed two more batteries under the seat in my rig and cut a hole to vent them out the side. I covered the hole with a vent cover and screen so no bugs can get in. I moved the AGM batteries under the table and installed a switch so I can cut them in and out of the bank. With all the batteries in one place and close to the solar charger, inverter, and converter, it was easy to connect and efficient as well.

Free Juice.

Free Juice.

With more battery power I knew I would need more solar so the next project was adding another panel to the roof. I like the idea of having some of my solar panels that I can set out beside my RV. Besides being able to tilt the panels, I can move them around in a way I like to call, “chasing the sun.” But panels on the roof are easier to live with. You don’t need a place to store them while traveling and they charge even while driving and parked at Walmart.

Vent

Vent

Charging and battery profiles are sometimes complicated and I have attended many intelligence briefings in the form of WhatsApp texts with my brother in Yuma. I would like to have one of those expensive meter electronic systems that would give me better information about my charging but that will have to wait for my ship to come in.

That’s about it. It has been cold for much riding and walking. When I would travel to town to get parts I always got sidetracked looking at all the junk for sale, but I haven’t made the trip yet with the express purpose of browsing. I guess I’m afraid I will buy something I don’t need.

Back to Mesa

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016
Even cold in Arizona!

Even cold in Arizona!

This is a quick note to chronicle the last two weeks. Several days before I had planned to return to Tempe for Christmas, Mom had a serious reaction to a new medication she was taking. During the night caregivers at her apartment noticed she was severely bleeding and called the ambulance to take her to the hospital.

One of the bad side effects from this new blood-thinner medicine she was on is gastrointestinal bleeding. Several people have died from it. As you can imagine we were very concerned for a few days as she continued to bleed. Finally, the bleeding stopped. The GI Dr. did a scope procedure on her and decided not to do any further treatment. Sometimes anesthesia for elderly people can be more life- threatening than the problem itself.

Mom is back in her apartment now. She is still very weak and sometimes confused. We have discussed several times whether she needs to live somewhere where she gets more consistent care, but being in her own place is comforting to her and to move her to a nursing home would be stressful. It will be a hard decision to make but one that needs to be made soon.

I’m camped in Bulldog Canyon again. It is only a short drive from Mom’s apartment so quite handy for me. When she was in the hospital I camped the other side of Phoenix at Buckeye Recreation area. Even though it was closer to the hospital it was still a long ride to go see her. I actually stayed one night in the parking lot of the hospital.

After Christmas I will return to the Quartzsite/Yuma area. I have met a lot of people over the years that will congregate around Q in January and I’m hoping to see some of them again. Then I will travel to Yuma and spend some time with Richard and Dianna. I still have some dental work planned while I’m there but that’s as far ahead as my plans go. And even those plans could change.

Lazy LTVA Days

Sunday, December 11th, 2016
Lots of stuff!

Lots of stuff!

This is the first time I have needed shade since arriving in Yuma two weeks ago. The temperature this afternoon hit 80. I love it! Give me 80 degrees over 60 degrees any day.

I rode to Yuma this morning to pick up some supplies. My refrigerator has been cooling good since the problem a week ago, and I though I would pick up some ice cream to really give it a test. I’m still a little gun shy of the trouble maker, so I’m not brave enough to load it to the gills yet.

I have been using my tanker trailer to fetch water. It follows along behind my motorcycle like there is nothing there. I see a lot of people pulling blue boy tanks behind their car, and the little plastic wheels only work at 5mph or less. I pull my bike trailer at 20mph with no problem. The tank is actually made for sewage transport and I get some funny looks when I pull it up to the water station. I have never used it to haul anything but water, and I suppose I should camouflage it with a blanket or something so as not to alarm spectators.
IMG_20161210_120535

Yesterday I hiked one of the slot-canyons west of the LTVA. Each year the canyon changes slightly due to a fresh supply of eroding water cascading down the wash. It seemed to me the final vertical wall and boulder were much harder to get over than they were the last time I was here. I’m not sure if the wall was higher because of eroding, or it just seemed like it because I’m getting older. I’m going with erosion.

Because I have a good supply of water I do some laundry by hand. I’m not about to wash everything by hand, but doing a few things now and then stretches the interval between laundromat visits. It’s also nice to wash in hot water. Propane is available a mile down the road, and even though it is more expensive than it is in Yuma, the proximity makes it the better bargain.

I found an ingenious method to wash clothes. I fill a tub with socks and underwear, add a little soap, agitate with my hands, soak and then agitate more, and then wring them out and throw in the shower stall. Then I take a soapless shower and stomp around on the clothes – kind of like you would make wine from a tub of grapes – until they and I are rinsed.

I can feel the call of a date shake becoming very powerful. If it were not for the fact I had ice cream in my pack I would have stopped this morning on my way back. I think I may have to make a special trip!

Carnivore

Monday, December 5th, 2016
I don't know! Mexico in background. Where the wall will be built.

I don’t know! Mexico in background. Where the wall will be built.

Not long after I moved to the Ogilby Road, I noticed my refrigerator was not working. When I checked the freezer compartment everything was soft and wet. This was not the first time I have had trouble with this fridge and it probably won’t be the last. But why does it always happen after I have freshly stocked the thing with food?

Appliances in an RV seem to develop problems a lot more than their counterparts do in a sticks-and-bricks house. I’m not sure whether it is the constant banging around from movement or maybe they just aren’t built as well. I have replaced refrigerator coils, microwave, water pump, and A/C thermostat. My furnace is not working at the moment and I have lost battery connection to the compartment under the coach. I guess it is a good thing I know the systems pretty well now, and I can fix most problems myself. If I had to take it to a shop each time something broke, my savings account would be broke, too.

Fortunately, I have a 12 volt refrigerator that I bought when I was having problems last year. Unfortunately, it is a lot smaller that my coach refrigerator and there is no freezer compartment. I transferred as much of the food that would fit – mostly expensive items – into the little portable, and inventoried all the frozen items from the freezer. There were several packages of meat: hamburger, hotdogs, and sausage; a few frozen dinners I resolved to eat that evening; and a box of ice cream bars that were a total loss and tossed into the garbage.

I knew the eggs and cheese would last a couple of days without refrigeration, and most of the condiments would be okay, but unrefrigerated meat is something you don’t want to mess around with for long. I fried up the hamburger and with the TV dinners cooking in the microwave, I just had room for the meat in the small fridge.

Over the next two days I felt like I was on the Atkins Diet. I have never in such a short time eaten so much meat. I literally fried up half a pound of bacon and ate it in one sitting! For lunch I had sausage and hamburger and more bacon. For dinner I ate the last TV dinner and washed it down with more hamburger. I’m not sure how much meat I ate yesterday, but my carnivorous ancestors would have been proud.

The wind finally died down on Sunday and I moved to Pilot Knob LTVA. I wanted to remain close to Yuma in case I needed parts for my propane supply to the fridge. Once I pulled out the little jet orifice that regulates the propane gas to the refrigerator, I knew right away it was just plugged. With a little cleaning and picking, I had the jet looking like new, and as soon as everything was back together and turned on, the unit started cooling again.

This LTVA would not be on my list of favorite places to stay. The area is quite barren – void of any vegetation except creosote bushes, there is no dump or water available, and the close proximity to the highway and railroad tracks makes it noisy. While I was out walking yesterday I asked a man I met why he likes to stay here and he told me it is because there are no crowds of people. He said the other LTVAs have too many people. I guess if you want to be alone this would be a good place to stay.

Right now the thermometer in my freezer says 3 degrees.