Quartzsite – 2014

Even the desert has gone upscale. Yucca Valley, CA.

Even the desert has gone upscale. Yucca Valley, CA.

Well, I am hopelessly behind on my blog posts. It just plain got away from me. We got out of town pretty easily on January 18 and traveled just 100 miles to the San Luis Reservoir. We could have gone quite a bit further, but then we would have had to stay in an RV park for $30. Instead, with Mary status as “senior”, we stayed at San Luis campground for $18. No real amenities, but we didn’t need any. We figured we could hang around the campground late enough to watch the 49’er beat the Panthers the next day.

We took off just after it was clear they would win and headed south to Bakersfield for our second night. Another day of driving took us through the Yucca Valley to Twentynine Palms, near Joshua Tree National Monument. We stopped briefly at a rock pile next to the road north of Yucca Valley where graffiti dips have had their way with this group of giant stones. Some of it is actually kind of nice, but it still just chaps my hide to see this.

We stayed at Twentynine Palms RV Resort for the night. We’ve stayed here before and it is nice enough for our needs, but this time it was quite full. We had to take a back-in site, which is no big deal really, but perhaps because the place was so full, our surge protector kept kicking off our power. Since it had no display on it to let me know what the problem was, I had no way of knowing if the incoming power was too weak or surging. No one else in the place seemed to be having a problem, so I was perplexed. This was not the first time this has happened. I decided that a Progressive surge protector was an item I needed to explore at the big tent RV show in Quartzsite.
222_rogersAcreWe headed out early on Tuesday morning and arrived at Roger Nickey’s 1/2 acre – the name he’d given his chosen spot at the La Posa BLM camping area just outside the town of Quartzsite, AZ. We found him with no problem and proceeded to pay our $40 for camping. The fee is good for up to 14 days, though we will not be staying quite that long.

Out to meet us right away was John Leach and Roger, to fill us in on the various doing for our group. There were probably 15-20 rigs already there, and finding a campsite consists of just picking out a flat area and pointing the rig in the best direction for sun on the solar panels. We were informed that happy hour usually starts about 4 PM, and tonight was a pot-luck with Roger’s special, tri-tip. We had unfortunately forgotten about the time-zone change for Arizona, and we showed up an hour late for dinner. Most everyone had finished, but there was just enough tri-tip left for Mary and I. We loaded up our plates with what was left and headed over to the nightly campfire to catch up with friends and new acquaintances. Mary took a number of “round the fire” shots of the folks there, so check out her blog to see them. So ended our first night in Q.

169_incamp1There isn’t really a lot to write about for the day to day life in camp. There is almost nothing to do each day here. The days are quite warm, but nights dip into the 40’s. We tended to stay in bed reading until it warmed up outside, then we would step out and wander around the camp, stopping to chat with whoever happened to be out at the moment. There is one hike nearby, up to an abandoned mining operation, that we did the last time here 2011. We thought we might do that, but actually never got around to it. The highlights for the first few days before the big RV show opened, were visiting, the happy hours, the campfire afterwards – and the sunrise/sunsets. The first couple of days, they were not so much, but as clouds came over, the skies came alive with fiery crimson color.

179_johnBatOne item of note happened on Thursday, 2 days after we arrived. I stepped outside the rig, I noticed a wet patch of ground near the back. Often, when the water heater is on, we will get some leaking out of the check valve, which happens when the water heats and expands. But this was much more than would be normal for that. Looking under the rig, I saw water leaking from somewhere. Uh oh, I though. I’ve got a pipe leaking. As I walked around the rig to investigate, something was obviously not right. I could’t quite place what is was for a moment, but it suddenly dawned on me, that one of the dump valves was missing! These things don’t just fall off mind you. Looking under the rig, I discovered the valve and 90˚ elbow had broken off somehow, and all that was left was a jagged end on the drainpipe leading from, thankfully, the gray tank. Had it been the black tank, we would have had a couple of days of, er, um, waste on the ground. As it was, there was just a wet patch of desert under the rig. It could only have happened when we picked up firewood as we left Tewntynine Palms. We stopped at a nursery that had wood to sell. The entrance had a burn on the dirt road entrance that I must have hit wrong as I exited.161_RVphil1Fortunately, here in Q there are lots of RV brains to tap. I talked to Jim and Gayle who directed me to John Leach. John is the camp go to guy for Lazy Daze problems. He “knew a guy” who was doing repairs in town and who was practically on call for him. He gave him a call, we got an appointment for a couple of hours later, and so it was we met Phil of Phil & Ann’s RV Repair, who had set up shop at a nearby RV Park. Phil turned out to be a full-timer himself. Traveling with his wife Ann, they hit the major happenings like the Balloon Fiesta and Quartzsite. They’ve attached a tool shed to a semi truck and tow a 5th wheel.
164_rvPhil3We arrived on time, Phil checked out the problem, then directed me to the nearby hardware store to pick-up the needed parts for the repair. I already had a new gate valve, but needed a new elbow and length of pipe. He had the rig repaired within a hour and we were good to go.

Friday night, we were invited to Gayle Cumming’s birthday celebration at Silly Al’s Pizza, and along with hub Jim, Debbie, John & Susan Vowell. we headed out for our night on the town. It was very noisy, but the pizza and conversation was good, good, good! The place has the reputation of the best pizza in town. Judging by the packed condition, and hour and a half wait AFTER we finally ordered, everyone in the area knew about it as well.

Repaired tow hitches.

Repaired tow hitches.

We vowed not to hit the big tent of the RV show until Monday. The first couple of days are so busy with other eager attendee’s that one cannot even get close to the counters of the various booths. Although with the 49’er game on that Sunday, we heard the tents were easily managed. We did venture up to the Blue Ox booth on the outside of the tent Friday morning to scope out the procedure for getting our tow hitch serviced. This is something that should be done on a yearly basis, but we never have in our 8 years of RVing. I had hoped to make an appointment for the next day, but was told I could only walk up on opening day. Since friend Debbie was already bringing hers and Jim and Gayle’s up, I volunteered to go with her to get them all serviced. We got there at about 8:15 AM and were actually the 8th, 9th and 10th tow hitches to be taken. I had a bit of dread as to what they might say about my hitch, being so old and neglected. These things cost up to $800 for new models, and I didn’t want to hear I needed a new one. But it got a cleaning, some replacement parts and an A-OK. When we stooped by the next day, there must have been 200 other hitches also waiting to be picked up.
223_9er1Jim Melvin, who we met in 2011, had set up his 32″ TV outside his rig for the Sunday games and a number of us stopped in for one or the other game. Around half-time, things broke up a bit, as a spectacular sunset trumped the game. We wandered off, goggling at an amazing sky. Disappointing as the end of the game was, it was also a fun evening.
237_9er3Monday we got an early start for the Big Tent RV show. We are camped close enough that we could just walked from our camp. I had a few things to check out while there. I wanted to pick up a new pigtail power cord to attach the LD to the Rav. The old one has gone through hell, and I just didn’t really trust it anymore. I also wanted to see about a new surge protector. And one last item on my list was a pure sine wave inverter. I’m hoping a pure sine version will preform better than the modified version I now use. I understand damage can occur to some electronic divides using this kind. We later browsed more of the booths outside the perimeter of the tent and ended the day with a massive 2 scoop cup of ice cream – reward for the day. I didn’t buy anything, but plan to return before we leave when I decide what I can’t live without.

Tuesday, we got together a fair sized group for a walk up Palm Canyon, one of the few hikes in the area. I’ll post pictures and a brief write up soon.

On Wednesday, Mary and I took a drive out to the Cibola Wildlife Refuge. On the previous Monday, we met an old work friend of Mary’s for dinner. Fred was in Yuma for some work related teaching, and wanted to come up for dinner. It was out to Silly Al’s Pizza again. It was just as crazy and noisy and another long wait, but it was fun to catch up. Fred told us about his visit to the wildlife refuge during dinner and we decided we had to go. Again in the next post, I’ll relate that terrific experience.

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