Published on February 2, 2019, by admin in More Stuff.

Quartzsite LTVA

When I spend the winter in southern Arizona, I fall into a quiet routine of daily uneventful living. It is a lot easier to document when I’m traveling, visiting new and interesting places, and experiencing adventure as I explore the highways across our land. I was surprised at the length of time since my last post and decided to write something no matter how simple the story turned out.

The main reason I decided to update was to tell about a new addition to my rig. In the last episode I wrote about the little car I added to my lifestyle. The Smart car is working out well and I’m glad I made the jump from motorcycle to car. When you turn 70 years old, everything seems easier on four wheels instead of two. My only regret is that my little car only seats two, so when I’m hanging out with Richard and Dianna, whenever we all want to go someplace, they always have to drive.

After solving the situation of supplemental transportation, I started to ponder an upgrade to the electrical system in Minnie. For the last few years my batteries have slowly lost much of there power. It was getting so bad that I could hardly get through the night on a full charge. All batteries will degrade over time but I have to admit that I didn’t take the best of care with mine. I mixed types and capacities – which you are never supposed to do – and through the use of inadequate equipment, never charged them to a point that removes deposits and extends their life. After pondering the choice between buying new lead acid batteries or taking the plunge and going with newer technology, I decided to go with newer technology and switch to lithium.

Lithium batteries last a lot longer than lead acid batteries, they have a greater usable capacity, they weigh much less than other batteries, and best of all, they require basically no maintenance. The only drawback, and this is a big one, they are way more expensive. I figured that a lithium battery would probably last as long as I’m physically able to live this lifestyle, so I took the plunge and bought one.

Big battery

The battery I bought is called Lifeblue. It gets its name from the chemical composition (LiFePo4) and the battery monitor system sent to your phone through Bluetooth. So far through testing I have used only a small amount of the 300 Amphours capacity. Through normal usage, the daily power I use would almost drain my old batteries. The new Lifeblue shows 75% of power still available.

Phone display

They could have put these all on one screen.

One problem I foresee is that I may not have enough solar to replace all the juice I use. Here in the desert southwest, the sun is low in the sky and we have had many cloudy overcast days. I tilted two of my panels on Minnie’s roof to help capture more sunlight, but the future forecast is for several days of cloudy weather. I way more prefer to use free sunlight to charge, but some generator time could be in our future.

I have been hanging out here at the LTVA with Richard and Dianna. Richard drove me all the way to Yuma to pick up my battery and helped me install it in Minnie. Both Richard and Dianna have done so much for me and I can’t thank them enough. It has been wonderful spending time with them here in Quartzsite.

Published on November 27, 2018, by admin in Adventure.

First trip.

For over a year now I have pondered the idea of getting a little car to pull behind Minnie. Honda has served me well over the last three years and I learned how to accomplish many chores using the bike, but somethings are just more convenient and easier with a car. It would be great to have both but I couldn’t see a scenario where traveling with a car and motorcycle would be very practical.

There are advantages to traveling with a motorcycle. It would take me places I wouldn’t think of going in an auto, I could carry it on the back of the RV and never have to worry about backing up, and best of all I could ride for hours on a tiny bit of gasoline. I devised ways to ride for groceries, water, propane, laundry, and parts. I even rigged a tow behind trailer to haul my kayak down to the lake. Honda has been my workhorse, my escape to backroad adventure, and my travel companion for many miles over the last few years.

The decision to change my mode of transportation came about by several factors. When I rode for a few hours the old body would complain about the bouncing, the hard seat, and the vibration. The weather was always a factor and long distance on a small motorcycle is just too tiring and dangerous. I finally made up my mind that a small car to pull behind Minnie was the way to go.

A couple weeks ago I was looking at Craigslist and saw a Smart Car for sale a few miles east of Apache Junction. I always thought that even used Smart Cars would be out of my price range but this car was something I could afford. I was 100 miles away from Phoenix at the time so I asked Daryl and Donna to go take a look at it for me. The next day they drove out and checked it out.

It’s a 2009 Smart for two convertible with 69,000 miles. Daryl and Donna checked it out and drove it around a bit and texted me that it seemed in good shape. I told them to put a deposit on it and I would head back to town in the morning. Two days later I was the proud owner of my own toad!

The car only cost me $3300. Getting it licensed, insured, and set up to be towed cost another $2000. I cleaned up Honda, put a new tire on the back, changed the oil, fixed the headlight, and advertised it on Craigslist Sunday morning. By 1:30 I had it sold for $2100. I guess I made the transition from motorcycle to car with very little pain.

It’s not very fast. 0 – 60 mph takes about 16 seconds. It’s made by Mercedes so probably parts and labor will be expensive. It only seats two and there is not much luggage space. It will have limits but I think I can grow to love it just the same. Thanks to Daryl and Donna for running me all over town and helping me get things set up. Donna has experience with towing and helped me with tips and tricks on how to hook and unhook. Thanks again guys!

I need a backup camera to tell when something happens.



Published on November 8, 2018, by admin in Adventure.

On the 7th of November, one day after the midterm elections, I left Tempe and drove to Quartzsite , AZ. and purchased an LTVA season pass. Even though I usually move around southern Arizona in the winter, I still like to buy the season pass for the Long Term Visitors Area. That way I have a home base so to speak.

Not as pretty as forest but nice sunshine.

Quartzsite is not awfully busy yet. The biggest migration of RV dwellers wait till after the holidays to descend here, consequently causing the population of the town and surrounding desert to swell to many times it’s normal size. I rode into town today and only a handful of booths were open. When the Big Tent Show is in swing, and rows of shops selling their wares are open and after your money, it is hard to find a parking spot within a quarter-mile of the main drag.

The temperature has been almost perfect. This next week is forecast to be in the mid 70’s everyday. The one thing that’s not pleasing in the open desert is wind and today is one of those days. You never want to leave for the day and forget to take down your awning. Wind can come up very quickly and rip away anything it can get a hold of.

I parked in the same place I did last year. It is across the wash from the nudist area. I like it because it is isolated from other campers. Other campers keep away for fear they will see something shocking.

Yeah I see… Last night I was setting up camp and there he comes…. walking down through the wash wearing nothing but a sombrero! I yelled, “Don’t look Ethel!” but it was too late. She’d already seen a desert bush.

Published on November 2, 2018, by admin in Adventure.

Lots of cows in our camp.

More testing

After my doctors appointments in Tempe, I drove up to Payson for a couple weeks. It is almost time to head for southern Arizona and stake out a spot in the desert to ride out the winter.

I had three reasons to stay in the area for a few days: I still needed to wait for test results ( all ok), the election was coming in a couple weeks, and best of all, Donna and Hanna decided to come up in her motorhome and camp with me in the tall pines and cool weather.

It was chilly nights above Payson and it rained a few times that we were there, but Donna has a car she tows behind her motorhome and we could run around in comfort. We went to see some nearby boondocking sites on a few days, made a trip to places Donna remembered from her time with the Cancer Society, went into town for a movie, and made several trips to Walmart for odds and ends. I think we only stayed all day in camp on two occasions.

S’mores tonight!

We had a campfire on most nights. The nights got very chilly so it felt good to slide our chairs close to the flames and roast marshmallows. I very seldom have a fire when I’m camping alone but those s’mores sure tasted good. About 7:30 or so we would retire to our motorhomes and watch a little tv or read.

I won’t go into any more detail about our camping trip because Donna is going to write about it too.

S’mores tonight!

Right now I’m parked in Bulldog Canyon, just north of Mesa along the Salt River. When I was in Payson the tall pines blocked most of the sun during the day and my solar panels struggled to keep me charged. For the last two days my panels have really appreciated being here in the open desert to soak up sunshine and turn it into electricity; they are usually able to fully charge the batteries shortly after noon.

Tame wild horses.

My plan it to head for Quartzsite next week. Even though I make home base at one of the LTVAs, I still seem to wander abound southern Arizona all winter. Last year I was working my way over to Boot Hill when I made a detour back to Phoenix. I like to go back to places I know I went to when I was young because Ican’t remember them anymore. And my memory is getting so bad as I get older it seem like every place I go to is new – even if I was just there – Wonderful!

Published on September 27, 2018, by admin in Adventure.

Not much to tell about. I’m just hanging around Payson until my scheduled doctor appointments are taken care of. I’m testing out a new (to me) phone I received from Donna. It is an iPhone, so will involve relearning different system operations. It has been many years since I had an iPhone.

I can upload pictures in black and white. iPhone has no setting to lower camera resolution.

Over the last few years Don gave me a Samsung 4, Daryl gave me a Nexus Google Phone, and Donna has given me an iPhone 6+. It’s nice to have siblings that upgrade to the latest technology and give me perfectly good devices. Thanks again guys!


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