We finally got out of Quartzsite around noon and hit the road. It was a relatively short drive of about 120 miles to Needles, CA where we wanted to spend a night in an RV park. We stayed at the Needles Desert View RV Resort. These places always crack me up. We were met by a kindly old dude who led us in his golf cart to our space (the last available spot in the park). The spaces are all very close together, and being a back-in site, ours was butted up another back-in just behind us. But hey, it’s a resort. I could tell because the guy next to us kept his golf clubs standing outside the whole time we were there. The place had all the amenities, though all we needed was the laundry room.
After getting ourselves set-up, Mary got to work on the laundry and I started in on the install of the newly acquired surge protector. I thought it would be a pretty straightforward procedure and for the most part it was. I had the old Surge Guard to use as a guide and only had to determine which way the power was flowing. Not exactly easy once I looked at how the wiring was going every which way down in the compartment below the sink cabinet. But again, I had the old one as a guide. I assumed the incoming power would connect to the top and go out the bottom, but there was no indication on the unit to confirm that. It was originally installed by Camping World and they didn’t leave me the install instructions, so I wasn’t absolutely sure. I just looked it up on the web. It was as I expected.
What wasn’t expected was that Camping World got the connection wrong. They got the hot wire connected to the proper post, but connected the ground wire to the neutral post and the neutral to the ground post. Really? It’s a wonder it worked at all, and may be the cause of our intermittent power problems. It took me a little while to actually believe my own eyes. I researched Romex wire (the 3 strand wire Lazy Daze uses) to be certain that black means hot, white means neutral and bare copper means ground. I pretty much knew that, but when confronted with a professional install that shows otherwise, I had to doubt myself a bit.
I removed the old unit, got the wires connected properly (I hoped), and turned the power on. It all worked perfectly. All that was left was to screw it down. I installed in the sink cabinet where the old one was and it is an easy process to check the illuminated display – something the Surge Guard unit didn’t even have.
So it was on to Red Rock Canyon.We wanted to get there on Friday to better our chances of getting a camp site at the BLM Red Rock Campground located about 2 miles east of the park. This place is so close to Vegas that we figured weekends would be very busy. There were a number of spaces available in the main campground and plenty in the RV area which consists of just a big bare patch of land. We opted for the much nicer camping area. It is mostly tent campers here, but a few vans and RV’s do use it, so we felt fine moving in. They are spaced nicely apart and have a nice view of the surrounding area. The one drawback is that a large bluff overlooks the campground to the west and means we loose our sunlight by 4 PM. On sunny days it’s not a problem, but we’ve had lots of clouds during out stay here, so we have to be a little careful. I don’t like running the generator in this campground, just as a courtesy to tenters.Did I mention I hate weekends? Especially in a place like this so close to a large metropolitan area. We decided on a shortish hike in the park for Saturday. I expected it to be busy, but OMG (and I never use that term) what a zoo! We picked a hike we hadn’t done before out to Calico Tanks. It’s only 1.5 miles up into the sandstone rocks and leads to some pockets of water and some nice views. We figured it would be a good leg stretcher for our first real hike in some time.It started off well enough. It was very sunny, but cool, especially in the shade as we started out. Like many hikes here, there is an established trail to start, but soon various different unofficial routes branch off. This must be due to how many people use this place and that most of the trail, once it moves up into the rocks, is over plain sandstone. We expected to encounter plenty of people, but were surprised at how few we saw on the way up. Once we got there though, that all changed.As we sat eating our lunch at the end point, one group after another arrived. I mean groups of 10 or more in some cases, the voices all echoing among the rocks. On the way back down, we must have passed 100 or more people on the way up or down. It turns out this is the most popular hike here. A good tip-off was the large parking lot. It was full when we arrived and when we returned, it was overflowing down the road in both directions.
Sunday we picked a less -traveled hike and got an earlier start. The road through the park is a 13 mile one-way loop. If you miss your turnoff, you really do need to go all the way around again. And you have to go all the way around even if your starting point is right near the end. Ours was 9 miles in. The drive is nice, but once you’ve done it a few times, you just want to get to your starting point and go. We picked the Pine Creek trail. It’s basically a 3-mile roundtrip hike, first over slightly rising desert terrain, then up into a canyon. This, like most areas here, is a climber’s delight and we hiked up with a number of them. Once we reached the canyon, the established trail dissolves into a web of random paths. It’s a case of making a best guess and following a path till it ends or goes in a bad direction, then picking another.We’ve done this hike before and learned it’s best to stay higher, out of the canyon for the best views and easier walking. Along the way there are lots of really wonderfully colored sandstone rocks and boulders. Where else can you see polka-dotted rocks next to striped? Only in Vegas baby! This is one of our favorite walks, and was thankfully not very crowded at this early time. Plenty of folks were coming in as we were leaving though. We had a nice lunch next to the diminutive stream before heading back.
Monday’s hike we originally planned to do the six-mile White Rock loop trail that would take in several of the trailheads in this portion of the park. Mary had hurt her thigh slightly on our first hike on Saturday, and decided she really wasn’t up for that long a walk. We decided on a hike up and back to La Madre Spring, then do the really pretty part of the White Rock loop.
From where the White Rocks trail branches off from the La Madre Spring trail, it becomes really really nice. It gently winds up and down and through a pinyon and juniper forest with nice views of the sandstone mountain it runs along. It is much shadier than the all uphill open La Madre Spring trail. While it does have a nice gentle up and down path, it is overall uphill for a mile or two before it crests and heads downhill. We stopped for lunch at the crest, then headed back.
In all, I think we did nearly the same distance as we would have with the original loop, but we only encountered a handful of other people along the way, and that alone made this a very pleasant walk. We returned very tired and were happy for a hot shower back in camp. We will be leaving here on Wednesday for a day of restocking and hook-up power, before going further north to Death Valley. Stay tuned!