Our rv adventures continued in Deming which was a little greener this fall due to some earlier heavy rains. The rain also brought a plague of flies; they were awful, swarms of them just waiting for us to open a door. We got good with a fly swatter!
The LoW Fall Rally was a lot of fun. It turned out I was a champion at a game called Ladders, and my team made it to the finals, though we were beaten (barely) at the end. I managed to do something to my back with my smooth moves, however, and couldn’t seem to work out the problem on my own. I went to a chiropractor in town. He got my back quite a lot better, but managed to really screw up my neck.
November brought a very welcome end to the election campaign (politics being one of our taboo subjects). I was so proud to be an American on election night.
We made some good new friends and enjoyed meeting up with older ones as well. Four of us drove our rigs to Las Cruces for a change of pace and parked for three nights at Wal-Mart which is a very common rv adventure. We drove out to White Sands National Monument for an afternoon of dune-hiking one day. It was so beautiful and the sand was so cold on my bare feet. There were NO FLIES in Las Cruces!
Thanksgiving Day there was a big potluck dinner in the recreation hall. I've always thought the best part of Thanksgiving is the leftovers and we had none to take home, which was sad.
Any self-respecting turkey is too big for our little oven, so the next day, I bought a chicken instead. Robert and I took Mehitabel up to City of Rocks State Park for an overnight on Sunday afternoon. We had a nice walk among the rocks and saw some huge jackrabbits before putting our chicken in the oven. There was a waxing crescent moon with Venus and Jupiter just two degrees apart; it's a wonderfully dark sky in this part of New Mexico, and the skies are brilliant with stars.
In early December, we left Deming and started the trek to Yuma, caravanning with our Las Cruces buddies, Sandra & Tom. Just over the NM/AZ line, we stopped at a nice rest area and discovered that Sandra had a broken serpentine belt. A new rv adventure! She made some phone calls and found someone willing to come out and tow her to Willcox, about 50 miles west of our location. The rest of us followed in our three rigs, and parked that night at Dick's Tire & Auto Repair.
The next morning they got Sandra's rig fixed up and by early afternoon we were off on our rv adventures again. For the next 4 nights we parked at the Desert Diamond Casino in Tucson where Tom and Robert managed to lose some money without trying too hard, and we all did some exploring.
One day we spent several hours at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, which is a fantastic place. There are great exhibits in the buildings, walking trails through the desert, and huge saguaro cactus everywhere. There is a big screened room with 16 hummingbirds zooming around like little missiles.
We visited several art galleries in North Tucson one afternoon, and the following day drove south to Tubac, a really nifty arts community.
Parking at the Casino was fun, and free, but it is next to an Air Force Base, and F16s kept screaming overhead. Poor Bijou didn’t like that part of it at all.
On 12/11 we drove about 50 miles and camped at Picacho Peak State Park. We all had much needed showers that afternoon. Sponge baths are okay when you're having fun on your rv adventures, but boy, there's nothing like a nice, hot shower. I think all our rigs have showers in them, but we tended to use them as storage areas. Mine is where the kitty litter lives. We stayed two nights at the park; as it got dark we would sit and watch the long line of worker bees coming down I-10 from Phoenix like a string of liquid silver beads.
AZ is a mountainous state. In every direction as you drive across the flat land, you see mountain ranges, sometimes 2 to 3 layers of them, fading into the distance. There are long, long freight trains crawling back & forth across the desert which are quite colorful. I remember seeing them in West Texas on my trip through that area last year. They tend to go alongside the highways, so you see lots of them.
On 12/13, Tom and Sandra decided to go straight on to Yuma so our caravan split up. The wind was gusting hard, so Robert and I decided to go just half way, and we camped two nights in Gila Bend. Augie's Quail Trail RV Camp is nice and that was pretty much all there was to the town.
On the 15th we got to Yuma and headed north on 95 to Martinez Lake, a Marine Corps recreation area next to the Yuma Proving Grounds. We spent two nights there, and were awakened the second morning at 4:00am by a muffled boom, followed in 6-7 seconds by a quieter boom. The Army was doing their tank training, and there was a boom every 5 minutes or so for the next hour. Sounded like our rv adventures were under attack!
It rained intermittently on the 16th and continuously on the 17th. We hooked up my car in the mud (not fun) and headed for Quartzsite, where we camped on BLM land out in the desert, along with hundreds of migratory RVers. There was water and a dump site available in this part of it, and they charged just $40 for a two week stay.
There are several locations, without water and dump site, where you can stay for free for two weeks.
Frugal Shunpikers Guides to RV Boondocking - If you love boondocking, you'll find these books invaluable. There are two new ones that cover California. Definitely check them out!
The nights were in the 30s, daytime temps in the upper 50s. I ran the generator a few hours a day so we could turn on an electric heater to take the chill off in the morning and evening, and I could get some work done on the computer.
I got a solar panel installed, with an inverter. I didn't really understand how this stuff worked, but we saw a lot of solar panels on the rigs out there. I could now run a computer, hair dryer, TV and so forth off the solar panel, pretty much anything other than AC, microwave or vacuum. So dry camping, or boondocking, became much more comfortable and I didn't have to run the generator as much.
Farther down the road into the desert is a sign for the "Magic Circle" which is a nudist campground. It was a bit chilly for that kind of rv adventure, I thought, so we stayed where we were with our clothes on.
Quartzsite has a population of about 3000 in the summer, but the number starts swelling in October as the "snowbirds" gather in the desert for their winter rv adventures. There are literally hundreds of vendors of every kind that set up in the winter months, so it's like a gigantic flea market. The grocery stores here offer just the basics, but 25 miles away, in Blythe, CA, is an Albertson's. We were surrounded by mountains, and the sunsets and sunrises were glorious.