Archive for the ‘Adventure’ Category

Kicked Out!

Saturday, December 3rd, 2016
I did this to keep it from blowing away!

I did this to keep it from blowing away!

On my way to Yuma I stopped overnight at the Imperial Dam LTVA to check on cell signal. Imperial Dam is one of my favorite camps in the southwest. It’s equipped with many dump stations and water spigots, and the facilities are arranged logically so there is little or no waiting to take care of essentials. Although the terrain is quite stark, I have always found places to hike and explore the area. There are a couple of really neat slot canyons within walking distance of camp. And probably the best perk to staying at Imperial Dam is the fact you are only a short distance from the city of Yuma, AZ.

I drove around the roads in the camping area and finally found a place where I could pick up a little AT&T signal. With the amplifier I got from Richard I received a pretty good signal. I settled in for the night and the next morning drove to Yuma for groceries and on to meet Barb in the parking lot of the Quechan Casino.

Barb needed to have dental work finished in Los Algodones and I needed to pick up my yearly meds, so we went together to save money on parking and provide each other moral support while in a strange country. I always enjoy trips to Los Algodones and we finished our shopping so early there was no waiting at the border on our way out. Barb had another appointment the following day so she stayed at the casino parking lot while I drove west to Ogilby Road to wait out the weekend.

The BLM area on Ogilby Rd has always been another favorite place for me to park. There are trees along the washes where you can tuck in out of the wind, the rest area four miles away has free water and dumpsters, I get good cell reception, and it is close to shopping in Yuma. I drove back along the access road to one of my favorite sites and set up camp. The wind was predicted to pick up over the next two days and I was prepared to hunker down until it passed.

Just after dark I heard a knock on my door. It was a BLM Ranger. He told me – to my shock and disbelief – that I was not allowed to camp here. I have been camping here for several years now and was really puzzled why this was the first I had ever heard of it. He said the only place legal to park was within 300 feet of the road. I asked him if this was something new because I know hundreds of RVs park here every year. He said they are all parking illegally and he would be enforcing no driving on roads and no camping anywhere it is legal past 14 days. He then mentioned something about this area being protected because of the desert tortoise. He then told me something that made me roll my eyes in an “ah” moment. He was a brand new transfer to this area from NV and said the other rangers that used to cover this area were terminated. I told him I would move in the morning.

Throughout the night the wind increased until my rig rolled like a boat slapped around by rough seas. At times in the night I could smell dust as the wind forced puffs of sand through cracks in my doors and windows. In the morning the wind still raged on with what seemed like hurricane force. I expected to look out to find my lawn chair gone, my satellite dish tipped over, and my solar panels smashed on a distant fire ring. Fortunately I had weighed everything down with rocks so nothing was harmed. When I opened the camper door it was all I could do to hold it against the wind. I resolved then and there to wait until the wind let up before I would move. To pick up my panels in this wind would turn me into a test pilot on a glass wing! The ranger would just have to understand if he returned. It is hard to believe he would want a glass panel shattered over the desert floor.

If the wind dies down tomorrow I will probably move back to Imperial Dam LTVA. If the weather would warm up a little – temps mostly in the 60’s now – I would ride into Yuma to see a movie. It is actually a better ride to town from Imperial Dam than it is from here. And, I may even stop for a date shake along the way.

Windy in Quartzsite

Sunday, November 27th, 2016
Oh My!

Oh My!

I have moved around several times while here in Quartzsite. Two days ago, I found a spot in the La Posa South LTVA, close to facilities where the dump and water fill are located. My plan was to experiment with my motorcycle trailer to supply water for my rig as I became gluttonous with showers. Now, I’m not even sure I will unload my motorcycle. The cold nights, relentless wind, and the limited supplies in a tourist town have got me to thinking about traveling to Yuma.

Yuma is only about five degrees warmer than here but it makes a difference to these old bones of mine. And besides the warmer weather, there is always the city itself. It is nice to buy groceries without paying the inflated prices of a small market, there are tons of fast-food places to eat, you can get hardware for projects on the rig, and it will be nice to see a movie once in awhile. The biggest problem with moving to Yuma is that the LTVA north of town has no cell signal for me. That’s kind of a deal breaker.

The nearest Walmart to Quartzsite is in Parker, 40 miles north of here. I rode my motorcycle there a few days ago but I didn’t enjoy the trip. Route 95 to Parker is a narrow two-lane road with a speed limit of 65 for most of the way. Of course you know that a speed limit of 65 means most everyone is driving 75 or 80. Route 95 has a lot of traffic, and with that much traffic drivers get impatient waiting to pass, making me uncomfortable when they think I should move over to the edge of the road so they can get by whether anyone is coming or not.

Old naked people!

Old naked people!

Where I’m parked now is right across the wash from the nudist section of the LTVA. When I found this nice spot I wondered why there was no one parking here. As I walked around I came upon signs scattered along the boundary and on all roads warning that you may encounter nudity in this area. Their website talks about the lifestyle they believe in and emphasizes that there shall be no display or approval of sexual activity. That makes sense to me considering they are mostly retired people with bodies well past the sexual stage. I’m far enough away so that I’m not being offended and disgusted by their shameful activities. Why… I can just barely see them with my binoculars!

Moving to Quartzsite

Friday, November 11th, 2016
20th Century Artifact

20th Century Artifact

I arrived in Quartzsite late Thursday night and found a temporary place to park. The plan was to pay in the morning and search for a nice quiet, out-of-the-way, piece of desert I could call home for a few weeks. What I didn’t plan on was that everything was closed for Veterans Day and I would have to wait until the next day.

It was sort of ironic because I used the dump station, filled with water, and threw away a couple bags of garbage, all with great intentions of paying tomorrow. Now, with no one here to collect my money, I will have another day to contemplate dishing out the money for an LTVA or moving out to a desert boondock. I hate parting with my money but an endless supply of water for showers is a very tempting thing.

There are a few tasks that keep us vagabonds tied to the realm of civilization. As long as we can find a place to legally park, get food and water, and find someplace to dispose of our poo, we can pretty much live off-grid and under the radar. It usually takes a little planning, but we get good at it.

I rode around town this afternoon. There are a surprising number of RVs at the four La Posa sites and Hi Jolly was filled almost to the same level I have seen in January. Only the Plamosa Road – several miles out of town – was sparsely occupied. No venders are in town yet.

While riding through Hi Jolly this afternoon I saw a van I thought I recognized. It was Sheri and her little dog Tony. I met Sheri and Tony a few weeks ago in Cottonwood and we became friends and spent time chatting on our walks in the evening. She has been in Chandler at the same time I was in Mesa. How nice we got to see each other again here in Q.

Barb is still camping in Yuma. She has been crossing into Los Algodones, Mexico for some dental work but is planning on coming to Quartzsite in a few days. I was happy to find out that Dean is still traveling with her and I will get to see him, too.

There are other things to talk about – like a new phone, a Bulldog Canyon hike with Daryl and Les, babysitting Donna’s little dog Hanna, and trying out my new metal detector, but I have never used this phone to post and worried it will be a problem. I’m going to stop now and try it.

Bulldog Canyon

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016
Campsite

Campsite

Ready to fly

Ready to fly

I enjoyed the time I spent on forest road 525 outside of Sedona, AZ. My campsite was close to a model airplane runway where I could sit outside in the morning and watch the pilots flying the little planes through all sorts of aerobatic maneuvers. One morning I talked with one model pilot that offered to let me try my hand at flying his airplane. Sadly, I left the area before I could try it. Probably just as well that I didn’t learn to fly his plane – I would get hooked and have to buy one!

The temperature in the Phoenix area finally dropped back from the high 90’s to a more tolerable range in the low 80’s. I found a free, dispersed camping area near the Salt River called Bulldog Canyon where I can stay for a few days while I visit Mom.

Campsite

Campsite

Bulldog Canyon is accessible only by obtaining a combination from the forest service for a locked gate. The locked gate is designed primarily to keep people from trucking their trash out for disposal in the desert and driving where they can damage fragile vegetation. You can never stop all the abuse on public land, but the gates give the forest service a little more control.

This is an area used heavily by OHVs. So far it has been very quiet and dust free, but I imagine that in two more days the weekend warriors will bring their machines out to play and the silence will be broken by the roar of ATVs. I usually try to camp back away from the traffic, noise, and dust, but the only campsites were right along the road.

Mom is still struggling with shoulder pain. She is taking some heavy medications for pain and becomes very confused at times. She stays mostly in her room and sleeps a lot. The Doctors are still not sure what is causing her pain. If we could resolve the issue of her shoulder pain, I’m sure she would return to a more normal life.

I’m not sure how long I will stay here. There is a time limit on how long you can camp in this area, but if the weekend is chaotic with off-road racers, I may have to move out before my time is up.

Making Friends

Friday, October 28th, 2016
First fast food in two weeks!

First fast food in two weeks!

The 14-day time limit was up at my Cottonwood camp so I packed up and moved this morning. Where I am now is only about 15 miles away, but it is in another national forest so I should not be bothered for a few days. The weather for this weekend is still too hot to return to the valley but I’m hoping next week will be more normal.

I really enjoyed my stay at the Cottonwood campground. A couple of days were pretty warm, but for the most part it was lovely weather. Remember that I have been in the mountains of Colorado and New Mexico for the last month, waking to freezing temps every morning. For the last two weeks, it has been good to soak up some Arizona sunshine.

I met some nice people while camped in Cottonwood. When I take walks in the evening I sometimes stop and talk with people I meet along the way. I follow a blog called Me and My Dog and My RV, dewelldesigns.blogspot.com, and one evening I met the owners of the blog, Barb and Katie(a cute little K9) by their motorhome as I was out walking. We saw each other several times during the time we were camped together and always had great conversation whenever we would meet. She introduced me to Dean, another camper living the lifestyle we share. We will all be in the southwest this winter and hopefully see each other down the road.

I plan to be here for the weekend and then head back into Phoenix on Tuesday or Wednesday. Richard has been exploring some dispersed camping areas near Usary Park and I hope to stay there for a few days. It will be good to see everyone again.