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.