January and February 2009

What a wonderful time for rv adventures! Even though it was winter, Spring was starting to arrive in the desert; since the landscape tends to be various shades of brown and olive green in this part of AZ, it was exciting to see brighter colors appearing.

Brittlebush - Arizona wildflowersBrittlebush

Robert moved his rig down to Desert Breeze Travel Camp at the Yuma Proving Grounds (YPG) on January 1, then drove back to stay an extra week with me at one of the 14-day free areas on BLM land in Quartzsite.

I was getting more work done on Mehitabel – a new windshield on the driver side, a new patio awning, and a repaired sway bar. The work was completed on the 9th, and I brought her down to YPG to continue our winter rv adventure there for awhile. Robert put his Tioga in the storage area and I got hooked up in our spot. Water, sewer and electric – what more do you need for a great rv adventure!

Skip, R’s son, came for two weeks at the end of January, so we took both rigs back to BLM land for the duration of his visit. The two of them had a grand old time wandering through all the vendors in Quartzsite; they are so much alike it’s scary. They both love to find a good deal, and it doesn’t seem to matter if it’s something they need or not.


Parker Dam, AZParker Dam

We went exploring with Skip while he was there, driving up to Lake Havasu City one day, visiting Parker Dam, and stopping for lunch at Buckskin Mt. State Park on the Colorado River on the way up. This is a lovely park and we'd like to come back on another rv adventure and stay for awhile sometime.

The drive through the Buckskin Mountains is beautiful. The mountains are chocolate colored, there’s an emerald green golf course tucked into a couple of the canyons near the park, and some of the little canyons have palm trees growing in them.

In Lake Havasu City, we lay on the grass in the park for awhile, then went to see London Bridge. That historic bridge was purchased from the City of London by Robert McCulloch after it was dismantled. He had the original exterior granite blocks numbered and shipped to America, then reassembled, piece by piece, over the Colorado River in Lake Havasu City. An amazing feat! The city itself is a planned community he developed in 1964.

Lake Havasu, AZLake Havasu

On another day, we went to the Imperial Sand Dunes in Glamis, CA, a pretty amazing place.

Robert and Skip took the Tioga back to Desert Breeze a couple of days before Skip was due to fly back. The day they left, I drove out to Joshua Tree NP in CA – a longer trip than I expected, so I didn’t get to explore as much as I would have liked. It was chilly and cloudy while I was there, and that weather system followed me back to Quartzsite.

There were gusty winds with rain off and on all the next day. That can be pretty dismal when you’re parked in the desert, but you can’t really complain, as it happens so seldom. I took advantage of the few breaks in the rain to climb on the roof to lay the solar panel down, then hooked up my car, so I would be ready to leave the next morning. The clouds broke up just at the end of the day and there was a brilliant double rainbow - so lovely, with sun gleaming on the wet creosote bushes.

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RV Adventures at Yuma Proving Grounds

Desert Breeze is a very nice place if you’re retired military – there are showers and a laundry facility nearby and there’s always a jigsaw puzzle underway to work on while you wait for your laundry to be done. The army garrison has a small commissary, a library, and even a small (35 seats) movie theater. We went to see "Nights in Rodanthe" one evening and were the only ones there.

Golden Knight Parachute TeamGolden Knight

Desert Breeze is the winter training site for the Golden Knights, the army’s parachute team, as well as the Army Rangers.

Almost every day, we saw men and women falling out of planes and opening their big gold & white, or red, white & blue (Army Rangers), parachutes . Sometimes, they trailed red smoke and did pretty spirals as they came down. They looked like they were having a wonderful time up there, and I imagined some of them would have loved to stay up and drift off somewhere else. They all landed in Cox Field, a big green field in the middle of the base. Folks drive in from all around to watch the show.

One day I saw two big jumps. Two planes circled together very high, and about 50-60 jumped at once, looking like a swarm of bees up there. They free-fell for a good distance, forming a tight star-like design, then one layer at a time let go and moved out, finally leaving just 5-10 jumpers in a small star. When that group let go of their formation, chutes started opening.That was an awful lot of falling without chutes.

How do they manage to all come together after they jump? I think they must swim through the air. Anyway, it was amazing to watch and there were a lot of stiff necks around here at the end of the day.

I got Mehitabel power-washed and spent a couple of days waxing her. Tough work, but it is just part of what you do on an rv adventure.

We went on a movie binge for a couple of weeks, going into Yuma for matinees: “Marley & Me”, “Gran Torino”, “Taken”, “The International”, and “Slumdog Millionaire.” We also saw “W” at the base theater.

Yuma - Lettuce Capital of the WorldYuma, AZ: The Lettuce Capital of the World

I needed new prescription sunglasses and an extra pair of regular glasses, so we decided to take a trip to Los Algodones, just across the border in Mexico. The optometrists there promised a 2-hour turnaround, so we figured we’d do a little exploring and shopping during the wait. Be warned! It only takes a minute to walk across the border from the US to Mexico, but it’s not so easy to get back! 

We walked across the border about 11:00 am and couldn’t believe it when we saw that the line to go back through customs was already halfway down the street. We thought there must be something special going on that day, but no – we were told it’s like that every day this time of year. Hundreds and hundreds of people go across for eye doctors, dentists, prescriptions, liquor – by early afternoon, you can count on standing in line for 2-3 hours to get back.

I had my appointment, chose my frames, then we went way down the street and around the corner to start standing in line. It was 87 and sunny. One lady keeled over into the street, and got carted off in an ambulance. There was an awning over about 100’ of the line, but no cover beyond that.

SBI Video Tour!

As we neared the final leg, my promised two hour wait was up and I went to get my glasses, leaving Robert to hold our place in line. By the time I was checked out and got back, he was right at the door to customs, letting folks go ahead of him. I’m sure I saved a nice amount of money, but next time I’ll gladly pay extra and get it done in the states; this was one rv adventure I didn't want to repeat.

Robert and I went for a hike on the Painted Desert Trail in the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge, and took a drive on an unbelievably rough dirt road out to the Kofa NWR to see what was blooming there. We saw no wildlife, other than a lizard, at either one of them, though we did see some lovely flowers there and along the highway. I had fun going online to identify the flowers. We have seen (and frequently heard) a coyote just outside the fence near Mehitabel.

The rv adventure continues. Stay tuned….

Arizona Wildflower - ChuparosaChuparosa at Joshua Tree National Park

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