|Oct. 12 2004
A New Chapter starts..... Heading south for the winter to AZ.
Left Iowa heading south.
Stopped in Branson, MO so Terry can do some fly fishing below the dam.
We arived in the rain last night but today it is a nice sunny day here
and getting settled for a few days at the Escapees RV park. Will find out
in a little while what he caught. No won't have trout for supper as he
only does catch and release. But he took a camera so we shall see.
He did catch a couple of
rainbows and a nice brown about 22 inches in length.
That is what he told me
as he sez it is hard to take pics of the fish when alone.
Have to be in Chunate, KS
on Sunday Oct. 17 to get work done on the 5er Monday.
We got the fiver worked
on for a week at the HitchHiker II factory.
By the way Nu Wa treated
us right, and put us up in a new demo for the week
while they worked on our
unit. They did good work.
On Monday Oct. 24 we
will be off heading southwest slowly twards NM and AZ.
We are now at Navajo Dam,
NM for a week or two while Terry fishes again.
We will be here to watch
the election on DirecTV and the Internet.
RV park in Navajo
Dam, NM. We would have stayed in the NM state park but they have
a rule that a second vec has to pay another $10 a day to park in the campground.
So the private park was
cheaper on a weekly fee basis. $105 a week.
Like last year we also have
our car along for side trips.
Saves on gas and wear and
tear on the truck.
I tend to drive the truck
and Terry drives the car and we talk via two way radios.
The car a, 94 GrandAm w\4
cil engine, has only 72K miles on it and is like new.
The truck is 2003 and only
has 13.5K miles on it.
Don't think we will pull
the 5 er up this road anytine soon. Navajo Dam, NM
Not like we did or would
even think about it.
We did drove up to Silverton,
CO get this pic. below.
The town was pretty much
closed down for the winter. Very few people around.
then headed to Williams, AZ the gateway to the Grand Canyon and the train
to the Grand Canyon, but only stayed one night since it was cold and bad
weather was forcast. Stayed at Railside RV park ($22 with escapees
discount). . Nice park and friendly owners. When in Williams do not buy
gas. $2.79 for diesel. $2.44 for reg. We did get 30 cents off with cash
because the rv park had an ad in their flyer. But just down the hwy gas
was much cheeper. It was a tourist trap rip-off.
All three gas stations were
Nov 13, 2004
We are at Escapees North
Ranch RV park near Wickenburg, AZ 60 miles northwest of Phoenix.
A site is $55 per week till
the end of Nov. The park is mostly empty. Thought there would be more people
in here this time of year. We plan on staying here through Nov. and then
heading toward Quartzsite and Yuma. Life is but a dream, and we are going
slow to see what we like and where to stay, as this is the first time in
this area. We like the southwest as you have hills and desert and the terrain
changes unlike TX. which we went to last year. And the desert is GREEN.
It has rained each day so things may be looking up in the short term for
See how green things are.
Great views of the area
from our site. It warms up during the day but gets cold at night. We came
down into the valley over the over mountain in the background. Doesn't
look high from this pic but it was. The sign said no trucks over 40 feet
from Prescott on Hwy 89 and we did not pay attention.... WRONG....
But little traffic so we
got through it OK. They only have 30 amp service here, but that is what
we use so our heat pump works just fine. Can run heat pump, computer, TV,
stereo, microwave, frig. Just don't try to use the toaster at the same
time. Some of these big rigs have to have 50 amp. Don't want or need it.
When the temp dips below
40 then have to switch to the furnace.
We went to Congress Cafe
in Congress, AZ for Friday night fish fry (found them in the escapees rv
park flyer) just 4 miles up the road from the park and what a great meal.
Stuffed salmon, cod, scallops, hush puppies, and cole slaw for $8.99. it
was great. had to ask for a doggy bag. Do stop by and enjoy. I am
still impressed. Just a little hole in the wall cafe but great food.
Took off from
Wickenburg and headed toward Quartzsite, AZ
It was cold day when we
left the Escapees park. Time to head further southwest.
Note: Back in the midwest
it is snow and cold so have to take that into account.
Even though the Escapees
park rates were $55 a week during Nov. it added up to two weeks at that
rate and 4 days at the daily rate and $30 for electric and also had a couple
of propane fills so was not as cheep as we had thought it would be. Two
and a half weeks at just under $230.
Made it to Quartzsite and what we found....
So we got to Quartzsite
the mecca of the snowbirds. The summer population of this place is 3,000
and in the winter about 700,000 to 1 million. So we got here and parked
the 5 er and got in the car and started looking around for the RV park
of our dreams. And at a good price as we are not ready to camp in the LTVA
this year. We looked and looked and got on the cell phone as we sat in
each park and called for rates. What we found out was Tyson Wells
RV had a great rate but you had to move out during the show dates. That
is why we were in town so no to that. When you pull into an area and they
have 30 to 40 RV parks it can be a challenge to find one just right for
you. You hate to settle on one and then later find something that is better
at a lower price. So you just keep on going and looking around. Well, we
came back to one of the first ones we looked at. One other thing to consider
is at this time of year each park has lots of spots with no one in them.
But when you talk to them they say the spots are taken. And the rates change
with the month. Jan is the big month for shows so rates go through the
roof if you want to just come in for Jan. You need to commit to several
months to get a good rate. So when all was said and done we picked Desert
Sunset RV park. $175 + electric a month and they stay the same month to
month. Many spots empty but just three not reserved for us to choose. But
did find a great spot with southern exposure and no one next to us on the
south, and lots of room to park the car and truck. So are happy with what
we found. I had to holdout. and look and look, but it worked as we did
good. The manager of the park used to run a air crop dusting service in
Iowa, our home state.
But now if they just had
a decent food store. I do not know how they feed 800,000 snowbirds. They
have three but if all were put together would not make one good store.
For more info on the area see...
Our site at Desert Sunset
So in the next 2-3 months
we will have comments on what Quartzsite is all about.
I want to explore why so
many people come to the area and what is good and what sucks.
Our FIRST impressions are
the venders are taking advantage and have high prices. But we shall take
it easy and explore and see what we find, and let you know.
Went for a drive up to Parker
Dam yesterday and to shop for food at Safeway in Parker. But today we stopped
at the Quartzsite General store and found a good store with a full meat
market. So Quartzsite does have a decent grocery store. Also took a short
drive out in the desert. Did it in the car will next time use the
truck. We are trying to take things slow as we will be here for sometime
and no need to rush.
We found Parker and the
road to Parker Dam to be a treat. One of the nicest scenic drives in the
area. And a great county park is between the city of Parker and the the
dam. Has long term camping for snowbirds. Called La Paz County Park. Will
have to take another drive all the way up to lake Havasu City next week.
County Park Web Site
Went for a drive to
Blythe, CA to shop today and even though it is only 20 miles from Quartzsite
did not find it to be the paradise of southeast CA. Sure there are the
main stores you would find in a mid sized town. Alot of it is rundown.
The Inerstate bypassed it. Wonder why it is not on the Colorado river.
Will later go back and check out Ehrenberg, AZ. Was hoping to find a nice
area to camp and fish the river. Did not find that but will try again.
The weather has turned warm
again, at last. It is now 6 P.M. and it is 73. Just taking it easy as we
have a lot of time to kill till mid January and the BIG shows. Many venders
have set up and people are starting to pull in. Sweet Darlene's Restaurant
& Bakery is not even crowed yet. We go for bike rides and check out
what new venders have opened. The Tyson Wells Sell-A-Rama will have hundreds
of booths open in mid Jan. This place will be just nuts. Now is a good
time to get out and look around when you can still drive on main street.
They are working on the
main street (Bus 10) so traffic will be a mess. There are no exit ramps
right on Hwy 95 and 95. You have to use one on each side of town (Ext 19
or Ext 17) and then use main street (Bus 10) to get to the main Hwy 95
north and south. Thus everyone getting on or off of I10 must go through
this construction to get anywhere. That is why we picked an RV park on
Hwy 95 just north of downtown so we do not need to use main street. We
can use north south streets to get where we want.
Went for a drive up to Lake Havasu
What a disappointment! Just
another big city on the side of a hill. and the bridge, no big deal.
All of the city is
on the hill and down by the lake is open. Looks like the city was orig.
built up high and as time went on grew down the hill. Now just a big city
(54 thousand people) with lots of fancy houses and not much else. Would
not want to live there. But the drive south from there to Parker is a great
scenic drive. and nice state parks. Now that was nice.
Had late lunch at China
Garden restaurant in Parker and went to Safeway for supplies.
The checkout girl sez Mr.
Bunge you saved $13 using our saver card. She said did I pronounce your
name correctly. I said no the "e" is silent. I told her it was a German
name that came from a person who made barrels with the hole in the side
and then a cork is placed in the hole. A barrel maker. So it is called
a "bung hole"... among other things. Not many people forget may name after
I tell them where it came from. She laughed and laughed and thanked me
for telling her the story. It is fun to make a dull day for someone spark
up a little bit.
Stopped and made an appointment
at the Chevy dealer in Parker for Wed. to look at our car as the left front
wheel is making a clicking noise. We took the wheel off the other day and
all looks tight, but need to check it out. Don't need it falling off doing
65 down the road. It has been a great car 94 Pontiac GrandAm with only
now 74 K miles and never had anything go wrong. (Oh I guess we did replace
the alternator) We bring it along as it gets great gas mileage (4 cil)
and to save the diesel dully for the work of pulling the 5er. The car is
fun to drive with tight steering and tracks straight and true. So the first
time in ten years something needs fixed. Can't beat that. The best car
I have ever owned. No rust and looks like a new car.
Another great night in Quartzsite.
Still have the 5 er door open and warm. Will check out the meteor shower
later tonight that is predicted. No supper tonight as still full from the
China Garden lunch.
Car update.... went to the
dealer in Parker. They found that if they took off the hub cap the noise
stopped and when you put it back on it starts. What a deal. Will
move the front hub cap to a back wheel and see what happens.
While in Parker stopped at
Radio Shack and picked up a nice toy. It is a tiny FM transmitter that
I can plug into my PC speaker headphone jack and it will broadcast stereo
to my portable FM boom box. Can't get NPR down here on any local station
so this will be great. Can lay in bead in the AM and listen to Morning
Report. I can stream NPR from the internet from a station in TX. The download
bandwidth from this site is low so it doesn't use up my bandwidth usage.
Some stations stream to fast and bandwidth usage is to high. I get 500Meg
a day with the Direcway system. Have never used even close to that. If
you go over your limit they cut you back to dial up speed for awhile. The
FM transmitter unit is called the Beamit 400W Company web site
I love this thing and it
was priced right at $30.
Went for drive to Ehrenberg
as they call it a fishing wonderland.... Not what we found... might of
missed it, but found only a few RV parks right off the interstate and not
much else. By the time the Colorado river gets below Parker not much left.
The water is taken out and sent to points elsewhere. Hate to see what the
river looks like in Yuma. So went to Blythe for food and stopped at the
BigKmart store. It is the only big box store in town and found it to be
worthless. Not much product and mostly junk. Roumer has it WalMart plans
to build this fall. Hate to shop at Walmart as I know what this company
is doing to this country and jobs but this town could use something. So
back to Quartzsite and felt more at home. We are liking Quartzsite more
and more... have not found a RV park anywhere near that we would rather
Went looking at the venders
and to see who is new. Many more are setting up. And now back at the RV
site listening to Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor streaming
on the internet.
Going to have homemade Pizza
in a little while. And then watch a DirecTV movie.
Door and windows still open
and sunset at full max.
Found another DataStorm
user has moved into the area. Added their site to the Hitchitch Journal
Look for it "Oh Boy! We're
on the Road" on our RV Journals and Adventures section in our main site.
Having US Postal Mail Service
Had three packages of drugs
sent to me here at General Delivery. One showed up. And it was mailed last.
Talked to the supplier and the other two were sent on the 11th. The one
I got was sent on the 15th.
Still nothing at the Post
Office on the last two. Will keep checking but there must be a reason in
the local ad flyer at all the vender stands is a big notice for a 800 #
to call to comment on the US Postal Service. In case you need it, it is
1-800-275-8777. Saw another person in line complaining about lost mail
also. This is not good! I am lucky the drug mail service sez they will
reship without cost to me. We are talking hundreds of $$ if the stuff doesn't
show up. I have always had great service from the USPS. So will not be
upset just yet. The workload here must be great with all the General Delivery
stuff coming into town. And it is not peak season yet. And the line already
backs up with 30 people. They do the General Delivery stuff out a side
window to the parking lot and not at the main counter. But it has
to be the best job in town. 9 months nothing, and 3 months crazy.
Update... Dec 21...the two
drug pkgs. showed up. the window person sez they just came in today. But
I took the first plastic pkg. to show them what it looked like and pointed
to the shelf and what I thought was it. They were both marked with the
wrong name and older received dates. Got the stuff so all is well.
But who can complain, another
great day of warm sunshine. With the snow and cold back up north. Can't
even imagine what winter is like anymore. Oh yes I can, but that is why
we are here.
We are seeing not many RV'ers
in the RV park yet. Looks like a vacant lot in our area. They must
all come for January. How can an RV park hold sites open for people that
just show up for one month. People come in but all the sites are taken
(for one month) so not available. This is our first year here so shall
see how this works out as time goes by.
Went for a drive to
Yuma to check out the foothills area where many people have told us you
can find a spot to stay on private sites.That is true many, many sites
for rent. And also many regular RV parks in the area. Some with Golf and
some plain. All price ranges. You can just tell when the the park sez Golf
and Resort, or just Resort it is going to be expensive. And the entrances
to some of these places give it away as to the rent they will want. And
even with the big fancy ones the sites are still like a parking lot. The
mom and pop parks seem to offer move room. It is all what you want
and what you want to spend. Thank god we don't play golf as that could
be expensive in this lifestyle. Yuma is a big city and has a lot to offer
but as we were looking around asked each other would we be happy here.
For right now Quartzsite still looks good to us. It is an 80 mile drive
to Yuma form Quartzsite so not an everyday event. May go back after the
holidays, if we see any bargains to snap up. So for now sitting tight and
waiting for Christmas to get over with. So glad not to be in the rat race
having to find just the right gift for everyone.
Terry went and joined the
Runner Rock Club in Quartzsite and went to a morning's session
on the basic equipment and safety, as well as the shop rules. Went back
at 2 pm for more fun.
Here is some of the work
areas in the rock club bldg.
He has been going back for
more classes and and is having a great time. He went Sat. am and helped
with a pancake breakfast. Served over 250 people.
Had been having boot problems
at times with "Can't find operation system" on boot.
Well system went down and
tried to boot with the above error msg. Thought Oh. No! Not a system
rebuild and reload all programs. I have lots of stuff on this system and
have it tweaked just they way I like it. Been there done that, and not
much fun. Tried everything, got out the HP user book and the restore CDs,
(don't forget to make your restore CDs when you get a new computer) held
off with that and as a last resort before starting over, reseated the cable
to the main :C hard drive and all came up. Have had to reseat the cable
to the backup drive after bouncing down the road in the past. System sits
on the floor under the desk and gets dirty. (Buy an compressed air can
and blow out your system from time to time.) These things can over-heat
if not clean. Happy Camper again... for now. Of course did dskchk, defrag,
etc. from boot to make sure all is well. If updates or email stop you will
know that didn't fix it.
I run Spyware
and Spybot-Search and Distory(all
free) along with Zone Alarm Pro
and Norton AntiVirus so
don't think I have outside things causing problems. I hope you have these,
as they are free and a must to keep a system clean. You do know
Alarm has a free version.
have a great Holiday of your choice!
Guess you can get a bargin
at the venders in Quartzsite.
Today we bought a Olympian
portable super gas grill.
Camping World sells them
reg. for $99 we got it for $25. Brand new and not used.
We had one and just
wore it our after many years of great service.
Our RV park is filling up
fast. Rigs are rolling in and the whole place has come to life. The venders
are getting excited with the influx of people. All hoping to make a killing.
The traffic should go into gridlock soon. That is why we picked the north
side of town so we can take some back streets to get around.
Just paid the electric for
the month. used 577 kWh and paid $92.32. WOW
Can parks in AZ charge whatever
they want? Update: I found out...
Yes they can. AZ state law sez mobile home parks have to resell electric
at the same rate as homeowners pay, but recreational vehicles are exempt
from this law.
The web site for APS (the
electric company here) sez the rate is Basic service charge $7.50 + Environmental
surcharge .35 cents + 7.394 cents per kWh. That means I just paid almost
double the going rate. Looks like a rip off to me. Turned off the electric
heat pump. It does get cool at night. Switched to gas forced air heat.
Will go looking at a catalytic heater to install. Almost 100% efficient
as compared to forced air at about 50%. And will not leave the desktop
computer on overnight anymore.
Can see why people stay
out in the BLM lands now. It has been raining and cold all day so kind
of grumpy anyway. Any day fulltiming is still better than working. Compaired
others in the rv park with my usage and how fast the electric meter runs
with or without the heat pump. They were using 2/3 less electric
than us. Looks like the heat pump is eating up power. So off it stays.
Getting the Arizona Republic
newspaper delevered to our site now. I love to keep up on the news. So
I also went ahead and wrote a letter to the editor about how Snowbirds
are getting ripped off on electric charges by RV parks. That ought to get
me in hot water.
Our RV park is now full
and the BLM lands around town are filling up fast and venders are coming
out of the woodwork. And the number of dealers with hundreds of trailers
and motor homes for sale is something to see. Just how they think they
are going to sell all those units is beyond me.
We went for a drive through
the BLM areas and the south one had a sign no water. And I think that is
the only one that was to have water. For $30 for 14 days you are to be
able to dump and get freah water. But not this year. Saw a water for pay
truck driving thru the boondocking area. Must be a few unhappy campers
out there. Update: Looks like they have water
We have had good weather
compaired to other areas. Was windy on Tuesday but have not had much rain
to speak of. Just been cooler than normal. No complaints. Will get out
and wonder through some of the vender tents tomorrow.
Jan 16 Sunday
Went for a drive in the
truck south to Kofa National Wildlife Refuge
This is a huge refuge and
many road and trails to explore. 665,400 acres.
We drove most of the afternoon
and came out on the east side of the refuge.
See the above link for a
great map and info.
We drove some of the way
on an access road that was built when they put in a cross country pipeline.
Many more trails to explore.
The weather is great... Sunny and warm. 7 day forcast is for more of the
Went for another drive in
the desert east of Quartzsite.
Terry the great explorer.
Great for ATVs but a little
narrow for dully diesel trucks. And this was the good part of the trail.
But that never stooped us. The desert is a wonder when it is green and
cool. Don't try this drive in the summer.
We love it here and are
planning on coming back next year. Today the temp was about 77 and sunny.
Should be that way for many days to come. Things are dry and you
can drive anywhere in the desert on approved roads that is. We have had
very little rain unlike southern California and when we do, it dries up
right away. Terry went to the Rock
Club this morning and faceted an amethyst. What ever that is.
(This is Terry, I saw that) It is a semi precious stone in the quartz family.)
Things a building here in
Quartzsite, we have taken to driving the back streets to avoid the TRAFFIC.
We were here early so learned
how to get around and avoid some of the congestion.
The big RV Show starts Saturday.
It is not an RV show as such as in rv units but everything connected with
it. And yes you can buy a new and used RV on the grounds all around the
The link for the Big
Show or click on the graphic.
So come on down to Quartzsite
where it all is in going on. The RVers Woodstock.
Jan 21 Friday
This place is filling up
fast as one poster on the Datastorm
Forum stated as of yesterday the population has doubled since
the day before. The traffic is near gridlock. People will be pulling in,
in great numbers for the weekend and the big show. It is a Woodstock for
55+er's and anyone else who has ever heard of this event. Love the action!!
This is not the country club set. But the big MH rigs are here too. All
are welcome!! We even have a pop up in the RV park right behind us.
The Quartzsite Sports Vacation
and Sports Show ended today.
Went down about 2 pm to
see if there would be any closeout sales. Guess what NONE. Looks like they
are just taking all the stuff off to the next show. To tell you the truth
not much there I wanted to buy anyway.
Some of the $5 a day dry
camping areas next to downtown are already clearing out. Maybe by next
week we can get back to normal and just enjoy the town without all the
traffic. Still want to explore the desert in the truck. Many trails
we have not tried yet. We have found a few great restaurants to eat out
at. Something we never do but here we have found good food at good prices
and also to get into the local scene. Silly Als is a pizza place which
serves GREAT food. The Silver Buckle is another big bar with good food
and live music. The vender stands that sell food can have high prices but
the local establishments do not seem to raise their prices and are friendly
Terry has climbed the Q
hill just outside of town several times.
So what is next... in Feb.
we have the Bluegrass Festival and Chili Cookoff and a Car show in the
red big tent sets up next week. So Feb. will be also be great for people
watching. See the link below for more of what is going on in Q.
Tonight we are having a
dish from my mother that she used to serve at Card Club many years ago
when she was living. It is called Chicken Sparta. I have not had it in
many years and thought it would be nice to have something she was proud
to serve to company. You make it and leave it in the frig overnight before
you bake it. Yum... I hope our making it does it, and her proud.
It is clear and warm and
will have another great sunset in a few min... Windows and 5er door is
5:30 PM The people out in
the BLM lands boondocking it are Happy Campers today.
It doesn't get mutch
better then this.
Feb 11 Friday
Things have settled down
here, many RVers have moved on to other adventures so the pace of life
has slowed down and it was fun with all the excitement with the vender
and the RV show tent, but I also like it with a slower pace. Get me to
a large city and I want to get the hell out of town just as soon as I can.
It is raining in Quartzsite
how rare... Alerts are out for 1-2 or more inches. A lot for here. Looks
like it will last into the weekend. A little rain in south AZ is much better
than snow and cold back up north, Ya think!! Nice to sleep to with the
rain hitting the 5er. But nice and cozy inside with supper cooking. Northern
bean with ham bone soup and homemade corn bread and another regular loaf
of bread also in the oven. Ops... it is out of the oven and here it is...
with Terry included. It is So much better than store bought stuff.
And with fast DataStorm
sattelite internet access and DirecTV, what is there to want for. And have
been emailing back and forth with George and his Tioga team who are in
Mexico at Santa Rosalia.
where they are at
And their Vagabonders Supreme web site
What a world we live in.
Now instant communication with friends around the world.
I remember when I was a
kid in my bedroom on the farm back in Iowa. I would look out my window
at the stars and listen to the world on the short-wave radio kit I built.
I thought that was great... little did I know how good it would get! Sure...
have some aches and pains and take lots of pills but life is still great
in this RVing lifestyle.
Feb 12 Saturday
It is a great day in the
desert. Sun is out and windows and 5 er door is open and 5:30 PM and listening
to Garrison Keller streaming over the internet and suffering in the forums.
Sunset in Quartzsite will be fabulous. Read a great publication today Quartzsite
Pioneer Bill Keiser's "Lost Mines and Prospectors' Lore" put out by the
Yuma County Historical Society and the Quartziste Historical Society. Takes
you back in time to the pre and early1900's with stories about life in
this area. Good read.
Well OK it does rain in
Quartzsite... for the last few days at some point each day it has poured
down rain. And to say the least it is wet here.
Not like CA and all the
stories in the national news but for here WET.
But it gives us time to
work on taxes and relax. Still much better than up north. Will be fun to
see the desert bloom when the sun comes out for good. Life is so ruff...
my morning newspaper got wet and had to go out and buy one. That's about
as bad as it has gotten....
Today is a brand new day
in Quartzsite with clear weather and warm sun. ENJOY! It is 6:30
PM and we still have the door to the 5er open and watching for the big
Ok, OK It is now 3/04/05 Friday
All is well in Q except
we are sick.... The crud has got us... and it is not nice. Started with
a little sore throat and moved to the lungs! Now coughing up clear flem
every few minutes and cold sweats. I have had it for a week and Terry got
it later, so we are just grumping around the 5er not wanting, or feeling
like doing anthing. We are not going out to meet RV friends, a self imposed
isolation you might say. DO NOT want to give this to anyone else. This
had better clear up next week or you can come and find us in strangle holds
on each other to end our misery. All I can think of is when we are feeling
better LIFE will be that much sweater.
A Family Dollar store opened
up here in Q and they did $50,000 in sales in four days. They have some
GREAT prices for lots of things. The word is a big chain grocery
store is going in also. That shoud shake up things. The General Store has
been here for many years and do a great job. They have a real meat dept.
and do a good job but don't know how they could compete with a big chain
store. Q is on the grow after many years of decline. Have to grab a tissue
and caugh, so bye for now....
Has been busy the last couple
of days. Went to Blythe on Monday to get checked out by a local doctor.
OK so now I have pneumonia... and pills and inhalers and such. Having so
BUT a good thing did happen
George and the Tioga Team came to town. We have met the team a couple of
times the last two days and are sooooo happy to meet them and compare fulltiming
See his fulltime travel
site at http://vagabonders-supreme.net
I know you have all been following George and the teams travels all along,
but want to make his link is listed if in the off change you have not.
It was great to meet the
team in person. We had many questions for the boondocking master.
Pic taken by Mr. Sony Mavica
with help from George.
March 10 Thursday
The weather has taken a
turn for WARM.... Mid 80 the last few days. We are used to 60s to 70s so
this is a change. Not too hot but getting there. Maybe if I wasn't sick
I would like it better.
Can leave our 5er door open
till LATE at night. Makes us want to think about next year just boondocking
it out in the BLM lands.
March 13 Sunday
Sometimes my postings
on RV forums need to be shared here.....
This thread was about
electric rates in RV parks....
A poster "offshore" made
this post on RV.NET
We have been fulltiming
since last Sept. We are staying at Lakeside RV Park in Livingston LA. I
have a 50 amp service and winter or summer I am not metered for my electricity.
I pay a monthly rate of $362.00 for electricity, water, sewer, trash pickup
etc. I am backed up to a 17 acre stocked lake, all the sites are paved
as well as the road. We have a large pool and lots of recreation. And we
My reply ....
The more I think about electric
rates, lot rent, living on the cheap, etc. the more I come to the idea
of just going for the gold and staying where it is nicer. We were all brought
up to spend money wisely but as I sit in a low cost rv park in Quartzsite
for the winter I ask why. For just a little more I could be staying in
a park with ALL the things I thought we would have when we thought about
doing this. Everyone has their idea of what they want and I am in the second
year of fulltiming it, and still working out what is best for us. Life
is a trip... still learning... you would think we would get there by now.
Onward like my site sez HitchItch.
Back to the electric thing...
also thinking about updating my stand alone power systems for solar, charger/inverter
so we can live in the BLM lands in AZ. So as you can see we are torn between
living (with a big investment) on BLM land or just spending the same money
in better RV parks.
think... tomorrow will be Monday and some will have to get up and go to
is a whole new life, just like getting started as a young person, finding
their way in the way of the world. Been there, done that, is a much used
phrase, but it doesn't mean squat when you start on a second life called
RETIRED! Many things now need be to be relearned now that we are reborn
in this NEW lifestyle. But do we like learning this new path to adventure....
I think SO!!!
Sometimes you just have
to go out and do things to make you happy. Well today we did. We had several
solar cell units (270 watts total) installed on top of our 5er with a great
solar power controller (Solar Boost 2000E). A new charger/inveter
2000 watt (Xantrex) to be exact and (6) count them ($150 each ) AGM batts
put in the basement. If we can't live off the grid with all this
we need to give up! Any questions on what we got and why just email.
May want to add one more solar cell unit later but for now all seems great.
Oh of course will also have to get a big 1700 watt generator later also....
There is no end to being self sufficient. We are going to live out on the
BLM LTVA's next year. It is not a matter of being cheap but doing
it the way you want to do it along with thousands of others and GET OFF
THE GRID! And being free to boondock and step out the 5er door and not
be in a crowded RV park. We found we don't get to just camp much anymore,
so this will be camping for a few months each year and not just RV park
to RV park. Andn later next summer we want to go back to Green River Lakes
and do the boodnocking thing as that is the only thing that you can do
in the outback up there. See our Green
Ok It has been awhile since
last post. We are on the move... stopped at Parker, AZ and bought a Honda
2000i gernerator to go with our other boondocking stuff. Then went
north to Lake Havasu City and boondocked just north of town on BLM land
at mile marker 191 for a day and then moved to the Grand Canyon. It is
a strange time of year at the great hole. The forest service campgrounds
are still closed and the Mather and Trailer Village campgrounds in the
park were full. Wonder why. The other in park campground on the east edge
was stilll closed and none of the gas stations in the park were open. So
we stayed just south of the park and dry camped in a commercial rv park
at Tusayan. $20 to just dry camp. And odn't even ask about gas prices
just outside the park. Ripoff. Later on out in nowhere land in northern
AZ they were 50 cents cheeper. We did take in all the free tram rides to
the lookouts and had a great day on the rim. Many years ago I got to raft
throught the canyon, and was nice to be back again. It was as grand as
Next move was all they way
to Farmington, NM where we stayed at the county park fairgrounds right
next to the SunRay Park and Casino for free. Next day was a short move
to where we are now in Cottonwood campground in Navajo Dam State Park.
a pdf brochure of Navajo Dam Park
Terry likes to fly fish
here. Picked a non electric site for $10 a day as we make our own power.
Asked the nice campground host which sites were non-reservable since didn't
want to be asked to move in a day or two. She said not to worry, no reservations
till May 15.
Finding with the solar panels
(only 270 watts) do not need to run the generator if we have some sun each
day. I did run the Honda a couple of times (mostly to play with it) but
would not have needed to have started it. Just topped of fthe batts is
all. Would have been fine without it. The monitor mostly sez above 90%
bat charge and will go to the normal range later at night.
The Solar Boost 2000e controller
will increase the output of the solar cells by up to 30%. even on poor
sun days... works better in poor sun. For real with the boost function!!
So today we are fully charged
with 610 amp hours ready to use and for the cold night ahead and the power
drain of the RV furnance, and will watch 27in tv and use the desktop computer
as much as we want while connected to the internet 22.5 K miles away with
the Datastorm internet unit.
All this power boondocking
stuff wasn't cheep, but now that I own it, as an asset in the bank, I'm
not paying out money for services I don't need. Kind of makes a body feel
good about getting power from the sun. Terry is now out fishing and I'm
going to go outside and enjoy the hour or two of sun. 6 PM Tuesday.
Had a little snow
last night so decided to take a more southern route through Santa Fe instead
of across northern NM on US 64. Glad we did as in Las Vegas, NM we hit
white out conditions and stayed two nights in a commercial RV park.
From there headed over to
Lake State Park just north of Clayton, NM.
A great place where we camped
right on the edge of the lake for $8. We were the only campers there.
Some NM State parks want
us to pay extra for our car. But this ranger said they considered the truck
and 5er as one unit and the car as the second. And since we have
an annual day use permit for the the car all is fine. Some parks want to
count us as three units.
Next leg was on hwy US 56
to Dodge City. had planned to spend the night at the Polk county fishing
lake but it did look like camping was allowed, even thought the state DNR
site said so. So just down the road at the intersection of US50 and US283
was a large rest area and picnic area and it had a big sign 24 hr overnight
camping allowed. Just the ticket.
Next day headed on over
Milford Lake at Junction City, KS. The COE has free camping form Oct.
1 till April 15. We got there on the 14 and stayed two days and they didn't
ask for anything even on the 16th. Nice of them. There is even free camping
with lots of sites all year in the West
Rolling Hills section. Get the COE map at the ranger station and it
will show you. Or click on the above link for the map. Nice big sunny sites
right on the lake. What a deal. There are 24 COE projects in KS. We will
be going back to many more as time goes by.
Next stop was Lewis and
Clark State park in MO just accross the river form Atchison, KS. Stayed
two nights at $8 a night. MO state parks have to be the best in the country.
They have spent lots of money building them up as they passed a tax to
fund them a few years ago. They even have a picture of each and every
campsite on the web.
Next was Watkins
Mill State Park another great MO State Park just north of Kansas City
near Excelsior Springs, MO. And just another $8 a night and no entrance
fees in any MO park.
Tours are given of the Watkins
home and Watkins Woolen Mill. The mill is a National Historic Landmark
and is the only 19th century textile mill in the county with its original
machinery still intact. We took the tours and learned much about life in
the late 1800s.
Now we are in Iowa at Terry's
sisters acreage and we are stuck in their yard. Needed to pull off the
drive to get turned around so we could back onto the rv pad we had installed
for when we visit, but didn't make it. It has been raining on and off for
the last few days and more rain is on its way. So here we sit suck 75 yards
from the rv pad.
Oh well... the trills of
the adventure. Just sitting tight and waiting for dryer weather.
We have everything we need
after all we live in an RV.
It dried up some and with
tires spinning and much yelling at each other, we got moved to our summer
pad location. Terry even built a 10x12 deck. The garden is tilled but not
planted yet as it is still cold. We have not had a day that it has reached
70 since we have been here. But the tie downs are in place to hold the
5er from blowing away in
a storm and all is well. Now bring on the nice weather. We got spoiled
in AZ with everyday a perfect day last winter.
Had great evening yesterday
on the deck with our first campfire and smores. I spent the day mowing
and triming the yard, it looks good, and then a nice campfire, Terry's
brother inlaw and nephew came out for the event. Getting ready to
plant the garden as it has warmed up. 75 at 7:30 pm today.
Sat. afternoon at 5pm and
Garrison Keller is on NPR and the weather is great. Garden is planted and
out of the ground. Going to have a campfire, and on Sunday start the smoker
and do pork ribs, and great northern baked beans with bacon in the Dutch
oven. Terry's brother in law just plowed up a large area in back and they
are going to plant a huge pumpkin patch.
post I did on RV.NET forum May 7
and what it costs. fuel etc.
What are you doing
to balance the cost of fuel, etc and living this lifestyle? Driving less,
staying longer in each spot, or nothing at all.
Here is my story... what
After this spring at the
Grand Canyon diesel at $2.79 and now back in IA at $2.09. I have the the
Durimax parked and not using it right now. We fulltime but are parked for
the summer. But when it goes back up this fall and we head back down south
(not that $2.09 is cheep) I did the following...
While in AZ this last winter
spent $4500 for solar panels/controller, 6 AGM batteries ($150 each), 2000
watt charger/inverter, and a Honda 2000i generator. So I can boondock,
and spend the money on gas with the money I save by not using RV parks.
I spent big bucks so my money doesn't go to BIG oil. Stupid YES... Having
FUN boondocking... You Bet... The point is I now have an asset, not a money
drain. The looser here is RV parks and others who depend on the RV dollar,
and now find people cutting back in one area (like staying in big time
RV parks for big bucks and staying insted in Wall-Marts and boondocking
when they can) so they can spend what they save on FUEL. There will still
be people who will use the RV parks while on vacation, but for me, a fulltimer,
if I want to stop at a COE project or county or city park I can save. Many
of these great campgrounds are low cost or free, you just have to work
to find them, and with the internet it is getting to be a game to find
them. A few minutes each day on the internet by using my DataStorm satellite
internet system we can find our next free or low cost stop. Spending less
money on camping fees, so we have more money for fuel. We travel in a 5er
wheel and a seperate car (we use the car to take side trips and drive the
truck for pulling the 5er) so it is a little harder finding a place to
just pull over and park. A Class C or A unit might find it easer to find
a boondocking spot as it looks more like they are just parked.
You all have great summer
in your travels exploring this great land.
So what are you doing, with
the higher costs, to make this life just like you thought it would be?