Friday, December 31, 2021

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 72

 Friday, December 31, 2021, La Posa West LTVA, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 21

Sitting Around The Campfire

A warmer than usual night, only going down to the high 40's. The replacement thermostat worked fine & I was toasty all night. A bit of sun came out as I left for the walk for coffee, but while it didn't rain, there was a very heavy mist in the air that condensed on my sweatshirt. 

After getting back to the trailer I had an English muffin for breakfast & read a bunch of forums on the computer. 

I decided to set up the Clam. I figure it will be a place out of the wind to sit outside the trailer. The plastic stakes that come with the Clam are useless in the Quartzsite desert. Hitting them with a hammer just messes up the top of them. I used the 20 penny nails I bought at KB Tools.

More Winnebago Travatos showed up - we now have 5 of them here at La Posa West, all women traveling alone & all friends. Rumor has it more are on the way.

We had a one of the first very colorful sunsets of this year's stay at Quartzsite:

I sat around chatting with some throughout the afternoon. Lou & Judy in the 5th wheel put together a chicken chili soup for dinner. We all brought something to add, and had a nice New Years dinner. I got to use my new fire starter (a propane weed burner) to fire up a campfire and we sat around talking until 7:00 or so when I headed in to do my eye drops & everyone else headed back to their vans.

More photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Dinner was the get together for Chicken Chili Soup.

Until Tomorrow - 

Thursday, December 30, 2021

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 71

 Thursday, December 30, 2021, La Posa West LTVA, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 20

This must be the winter of the furnace. First a wire popped out of the thermostat shutting it down (well, maybe not) then the sail switch dies, and last night (actually this morning around 4:00AM) the thermostat shuts off. The screen looked just like it did when I thought a wire was loose - dead. This time I pulled the +12V lead, put it back and the thermostat rebooted. I decided that it is time to go back top the old, but simple thermostat. No WiFi, Bluetooth, etc, but maybe it will manage to work through the night.

I bought a bacon breakfast burrito & coffee from Marie's stand this morning. Huge, as usual, but not as good as I remember. Still a very filling breakfast.

After breakfast I dug out the stock thermostat & installed it. The fancy Micro-Air Easy Touch is much easier to set, shows the room temperature, and can be adjusted from my phone, but if it keeps failing, it won't cut it. This is a replacement for one that completely died last Spring. It has a 2 year warranty, so I will send it back, but even if I put the replacement in, I will hang on to the original.

After that I listened to the remainder of Louise Penny's All The Devils Are Here. I had to finish it soon because the NY public Library informed me that Diane Gabaldon's Go Tell The Bees That I Am Gone has arrived - and is loaned for 21 days. This is the first time I listened to one of her books rather than read one; I read much faster than I listen. You can speed up the spoken books, but they don't sound right when you do, so I hope I can get through the entire thing before my loan expires. She does write long books; 46 individual 20MB or so files! 

While it made it to 61°F, with the wind & shade it felt cold sitting outside. I spent an hour or so chatting with the ladies with the Class B vans before calling it quits and heading back inside. We did get enough sun to top off the batteries, but lots of clouds.

Dinner was a Saffron Road Chicken Biryani microwave dinner.

Until Tomorrow - 

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 70

 Wednesday, December 29, 2021, La Posa West LTVA, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 19

Last Night's Sunset

Clear skies, but cool at 39°F this morning. Coffee was $1.20, and I noticed the price of propane dropped to $2.80. As the day went on, clouds moved in. A fairly heavy overcast by 4:00. We did have a bit of a sunset last night.

I spent most of the day finishing off the reservations for my trip back to Townsend. A couple of the campgrounds were near full due to Spring Break, but others had lots of room. The Guido's & I are still planning the return from Townsend to home.

Definitely a cool day. It never got out of the 50's and nights in the 30's are predicted for the rest of the week. Rain tomorrow. Still better weather than Oswego with highs in the low 40's this week and 20's next week. My son tells me they have not had enough snow to shovel, let alone use the snowblower. 

Dinner was the left over Chinese.

Until Tomorrow - 

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 69

 Tuesday, December 28, 2021, La Posa West LTVA, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 18 - 1 Miles, 3,765.5 Miles for the Trip

Back at La Posa West LTVA

Well, as you can see by today's photo, I'm back at the LTVA. While I was gone one of the Class B's moved into my previous location. No problem - I just found another piece of La Posa West about 100' away! You can see the van & my old location between the trailer & truck.

It took about 2 1/2 hours to set back up. The wind was only averaging 11MPH with 15MPH peaks, so I dug out the ladder and tilted the roof solar panels. I shortened the horizontal bars on the portable panel frame which will stop the end panels from swinging towards the frame, but don't yet have the clamps I need to keep them from blowing the other way. I put the medium length legs on the portable panel. Not quite as much gain as I get with the long legs that put the panels at a better angle for the morning sun, but less likely to be blown over.

I have a Zumimall camera that sends a photo to my phone. Since the Escape 21C does not have a front window, I wanted to be able to "see" out front when I heard something. I had been stuffing the camera under the truck windshield wiper with little success, so as long as I had the ladder out, I mounted it on one of the front solar panel supports. I suspect it would be OK driving, but being nailed by bugs might be a problem. The other problem is it detects movement & let me know to look at a photo (a video will be available after I find a micro SD card). I really don't want a continuous stream of pictures of the back of the truck going down the road!

I'm glad I did all the ladder stuff when I first arrived. While it was nice enough to stop completely when I went to put the outside rug down, the wind is getting stronger, now averaging 13MPH with 20MPH peaks.

My neighbor mentioned that one of the "stores" across from the Post Office had clamps, and I found 6" spring clamps that look like they will keep the panels on the frame. Today's wind is a good test. A photo at today's LakeshoreImages page.

With all the energy I consumed setting up the trailer, I decided it would be a good day to pick up Chinese for dinner. Actually, an excuse to avoid making dinner. 

Until Tomorrow - 

Monday, December 27, 2021

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 68

 Monday, December 27, 2021, Rice Ranch South, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 2

The furnace worked great all night. A very dreary morning. 45°F and heavy clouds. Phoenix has cold & wet weather predicted for the rest of the week. I'm going to wait until we get a sunny day to move back to the LTVA. Maybe tomorrow. If I do make the move the solar panels on the roof are going to have to stay flat - 35MPH wind gusts predicted & I don't want to be swinging them around or putting out the portable panel in that kind of wind. 

I have to admit I have enjoyed the electric heater. I can run the trailer at 70°F without burning up the propane. The same with the water heater. 

A bit shorter walk for coffee. I spent most of the morning & early afternoon changing Dr & dentist appointments to clear the week of the Townsend, TN gathering. It used to be the Annual Southeast Spring Eggscursion, but is now unorganized. Anne & Guido wanted to make it the opening trip for them and I have no problem hanging around a couple more weeks on the road. Evidently there are folks planning to attend - we got the last two sites next to each other.

I also made reservations for the first month of my trip back from the Quartzsite rally. As much as I don't like reservations, they seem to be necessary. Even this early I found weekends booked (as well as some weekdays) at many of the places I used to just arrive unreserved. So, the trip will be as planned as the trip out. 

Dinner was the remainder of the pot roast and applesauce.

Until Tomorrow - 

Sunday, December 26, 2021

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 67

 Sunday, December 26, 2021, Rice Ranch South, Quartzsite, AZ - 6 Miles, 3,764.5 Miles for the Trip

Under Repairs

Well things certainly can change! Another cold morning, but this time it wasn't a problem with the thermostat - the furnace is dead. I suspect the sail switch or gas valve. When the thermostat calls for heat the fan starts & runs for 15 seconds, but the "click" of the gas valve opening doesn't happen, and the fan shuts down.

While I can sleep OK at the 50°F temperatures, the problem is to work on the furnace it must be removed, which means shutting off the gas, which means no refrigerator unless I have AC. So, I packed up the trailer and headed for one of the near by RV parks. There are many of them in Quartzsite, but many are already filled. I found lots of space at Rice Ranch South, and am in site I 11, an electric & water site for $27.50 per night, their daily rate. About as basic as you can get - no picnic table, bathrooms, showers, etc. Just a large parking lot with hookups. Each site does have a sewer connection, but I was given a lower rate for not using it. I stopped by the dump station on my way out of the LTVA so I should be good. I'll top off the fresh water tank when I leave.

I called Blue Line Mobile RV Service and am waiting for a call back.

I have to say Jeff Kreutzer of Blue Line Mobile RV Service is as good as it gets. He called back within an hour, arrived within 20 minutes of the phone call, found the problem - the sail switch, and had everything back together within 45 minutes. Charge for the on site service call was $67.50. I've paid more than that just to have a shop look at my trailer!

I told the people here at Rice Ranch South I was expecting to stay for a week - I think I'll shorten that to 2 days. 

Dinner was a pot roast sandwich & applesauce.

Until Tomorrow - 

Saturday, December 25, 2021

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 66

 Saturday, December 25, 2021, La Posa West LTVA, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 17

The Puzzles

Merry Christmas!

A cooler night at 46°F, made even cooler since the + wire going to my thermostat popped out of the connection, shutting down the furnace. I was fine under the blankets, but when my 7:00AM eye drop alarm went off I noticed that the display on the thermostat was off & the temperature at the head of the bed was 51°F. I reconnected the wire & the heat was back on.

A quiet walk for coffee this morning. Traffic on I 10 (which I cross using the US 95 bridge) was much less than normal. The clerk at the 76 was dressed as Santa, but, unlike a couple of years ago, was not giving away the coffee; $1.53 this morning.

A cloudy, but less windy morning - I thought about putting the longer legs back on the portable solar panel frame which gives it a better angle on the sun, but after going outside, discovered that while there is less wind than yesterday, at 12MPH is is still enough that the shorter legs make more sense. I do need to come up with a method of attaching the outer edges of the panel to the frame. I wish the manufacturer left a wider margin around the outside of the panels; even better, a couple of eyelets. The unit is made up of 4 panels with a 1/2" cloth "hinge" between them and a 1/4" border around the outside. I can shorten the horizontal frame pieces, which would prevent the panel ends from blowing backwards, but still need a way to prevent them from blowing forward (when they do that the outer panels fold over the inner panels, shutting the entire thing down.) 

Around 1:30 I made a bunch of Merry Christmas calls, including a Skype connection that worked well to my grandkids currently at their other grandmother's on Long Island - Oceanside, NY. I opened the presents for my daughter & family - lots of snacks and puzzles including two of the Hanayama cast puzzles that drive me crazy. I also got a 300 piece jigsaw puzzle. I'll have to find a piece of cardboard large enough to assemble it since the only table in the trailer is also my dining table.

Dinner will be early - a pot roast cooked in the Instant Pot. I plan for it around 3:00. I used the saute mode to brown the 1 pound chuck roast for about 10 minutes, then pressure cooked it along with onions, carrots & potatoes for 30 minutes. Used a total of 6 amp hours from the batteries, and one or two directly from the solar panels. I've used the Instant Pot for a bunch of pressure cooked meals & it works well with the inverter. A larger one might be a problem, but this one is a 3 quart version and only draws 700 watts at full load. When pressure cooking, the heating element is only on for 10 - 20 seconds every 3-5 minutes. The biggest problem is getting rid of the left over liquid. I sacrificed a plastic storage container.

As to the pot roast, an excellent piece of chuck from the Coyote Grocery Store. I probably could have added another 10 minutes to make the beef a bit more tender, but that would have overcooked the carrots & potatoes. Since dinner was early, I'll probably snack a bit before bed.

Until Tomorrow - 

Friday, December 24, 2021

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 65

 Friday, December 24, 2021, La Posa West LTVA, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 16

Another warm night. in the 50's - the furnace never came on. On the other hand, it rained most of the night & early morning. Most of the time it was so light that you could barely hear it on the roof. No water running in the washes and no nearby puddles. The rain stopped around 10:00 and we now have mostly sunny skies.

Since it was raining, I didn't do my coffee walk - made a pot here in the trailer. After breakfast it was reading forums & my Kindle. Current book is Zeros by Chuck Wendig, and a Larry Niven audio book - A World Out Of  Time.

Very windy - my weather station showed 28MPH top wind speed with an 18MPH average. The portable panel blew over - I put the shorter legs on it and so far it is still there!

I took a short walk around the campground, but the wind blown dust was annoying & I couldn't keep my hat on so I quit and sat in the trailer. Still warm at 67°F. 

Late afternoon the wind died down enough that I went for a mile & a half walk around the campground. Watched a nicely restored GM Motorhome pull in, heading south down Old Yuma Road (an internal dirt road that parallels US 95 between La Posa West & La Posa Tyson Wash).  

While grilling my chicken I wandered over to meet the two women in Class B vans parked next to me.  One of them is an alumni of Oswego. She was there while I was teaching, but as an IT major, never took any theatre courses.  It is a small world!

Dinner was a duplicate of last night - grilled chicken thigh, potato salad and applesauce.

Until Tomorrow - 

Thursday, December 23, 2021

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 64

 Thursday, December 23, 2021, La Posa West LTVA, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 15

Not So Grand Sunset, But Some Color

A warm night; 52°F was the low, and it hit 75°F this afternoon. 

We haven't had a spectacular Quartzsite sunset since I've been here this year, but there was a little color last night. Strangely, it was in the southeast, not where the sun went down. In any case, today's photo.

After breakfast I changed the sheets, loaded up the laundry basket and headed to the laundromat. I wasted $5.00 spending $10.00 for a shower rather than going to the barbershop, but it was convenient to shower while the clothes were in the dryer. I stopped at the Coyote Grocery Store on the way home to pick up a chuck roast for Saturday, and chicken thighs & potato salad for tonight & tomorrow night.

Back at the trailer I sat outside for awhile, but while it was warm enough, the wind was a PIA. Gusts hit 18MPH, and even blew a couple of the unglued joints of the portable solar panel frame apart. If the problem persists, I'll either have to screw or pin the removable joints, but I'd rather not.

Dinner was a grilled chicken thigh, potato salad & applesauce.

Until Tomorrow - 

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

22 Trip To The Southwest, Day 63

Wednesday, December 22, 2021, La Posa West LTVA, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 14

A Costa's Hummingbird

My weather app said it would be partially cloudy all week, and rain on the weekend. So far it is wrong - while there is a cloud or two in the sky this morning, mostly blue skies. 

I did my usual walk for coffee this morning - $1.20 today. I even get different prices on different days from the same clerk. 

I have a new neighbor. A Class B van is in the space that the Class A left a week ago. I haven't seen the owners, but it looks like they are set up for awhile - ground cloth, tables, etc.

After breakfast I decided it was time to clean up the trailer. When I'm on the road, moving every couple of days, things get put away. I tend to get sloppy when I'm in one place for more than a couple of days. Things get left in corners, unused seats, counter tops, etc. While one of the larger Escapes, the 21C is still a very small house, and one needs to put stuff away to make it livable. Another problem specific to Quartzsite (and most of the southwest desert) is dust. Even with the windows closed, fine dust seems to get over everything. So, cleaning day!

I also dug out the weather station. The transmitter sits on a painter's pole attached to the front of the trailer. Gives me wind speed & direction, and rainfall, along with the usual temperature & humility, barometer, etc.

I now have another new neighbor. A good sized 5th Wheel right across the street (if there was a street). I hope there will be room for the folks from California (if they come this year).

I sat outside & read for a bit, then dragged out the camera for some hummingbird photos. My iBird Photo Sleuth tells me this is a Costa's Hummingbird. There are a couple of different ones that feed, but I think all these photos are of the same one.  More photos of hummingbirds and my new neighbors at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Dinner was a Beyond Beef Cheeseburger & applesauce.

Until Tomorrow - 

Dinner was a Beyond Beef Cheeseburger & applesauce.

Until Tomorrow - 

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 62

 Tuesday, December 21, 2021, La Posa West LTVA, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 13

A dreary day - no sun & heavy clouds. At least it is warmer, although without the sun it was a chilly walk for coffee. Only down to the mid 40's last night & 54°F at 11:00AM. My 620 watts of solar is only producing 125 watts, but it is still to the plus, slowly putting back last night's furnace use amp hours. Unless the sun breaks through, I doubt I'll be up to 100% by the end of the day.

Verizon is still up & working! I hope it is fixed for the season. 

While the $180.00 payment when ariving at the LTVA sounds like a lot, as of today (#13) the cost is down to $13.85 per night, with the exception of Big Bend National Park at $8.00 & a free night at Jeff Busby along the Natchez Trace, the least expensive camping of the trip. It only gets cheaper each night!

I went out looking for a micro SD card for the camera I'm thinking about installing at the front of the trailer. It has always bothered me a bit not to have a front window (although not enough for Escape's solution for a 21C) so I am going to put a camera that lets me see the output on my phone. While I'd like to permanently mount it, there really isn't a good place to do that plus getting hit by bugs at 65MPH probably isn't a good for it. Anyhow, the camera needs a micro SD card to record video, and unless I missed someplace not obvious, there isn't one to be had in Quartzsite. I'll put it off until the next trip to Parker.

At 2:00, the batteries are up to 92%, but with the additional gloom, the solar is only producing 37 watts, so the trailer is running at -5 watts. According to the Victron 712 battery monitor, I could keep that up for 10 days! Of course, running the furnace at night will consume more amp hours than the resting trailer.

I spent the rest of the day reading.

Dinner was a salad.

Until Tomorrow - 

Monday, December 20, 2021

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 61

 Monday, December 20, 2021, La Posa West LTVA, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 12

The Moon

I took a almost full moon photo a couple of nights ago. Kind of soft - there is lots of dust in the air. Still somehow I feel like I need to do a moon shot every trip & this was the first time I had clear skies (or a clear view of the moon).

A little warmer overnight - only down to 34°F this morning. I tried to download a new audio book from the NY Public Library around 9:00AM and both AT&T & Verizon was having none of it. Then, around 11:00AM, Verizon came alive. No idea how long it will last, but it is working well enough to make reading forums enjoyable. Even Facebook works! While Speakeasy only shows 7.2Mbps down & 6.5Mbps up, it is usable. What's more, its been usable all afternoon, something that hasn't happened with either service since December 9th.

I made cornbread muffins for breakfast (well, since the mix makes 12 of them, they will be breakfast for a couple of days). Easy enough to do, although the cleanup, trying to save water and avoid filling the gray tank takes a bit of planning. 

A Stealth 5th Wheel (although there is nothing stealthy about it) moved into the far end of this section of La Posa West. There are a few roads in the LTVAs, the main ones marked by the BLM & even appear on my Garmin GPS. That said, there are also many unmarked "roads", only identifiable by the multiple tire marks compressing the Quartzsite gravel. This section of La Posa West has two unmarked roads into it, both crossing a wash. Inevitably, each year someone parks in one of them. While the 5th wheel is OK, the truck blocks one of the roads. Since the other one is the most used, I'm sure he didn't realize he is blocking a road, but if we get enough rain to flood the main entrance, the one he is parked in may be the only way out until the rain and the wash stops. An update - he must have realized the truck was in the road - he moved it to the front of the trailer. He also has a jeep next to the trailer that is right on the edge of the road, but most things can get around it and I suspect he moves it a lot.  If interested, there is a photo of the Stealth on today's LakeshoreImages page.

I sat outside for a bit after lunch, then decided to upgrade my Verizon account. They sent me email that said I could save money by changing. The new plan gives me 35GB more Jetpack coverage before slowing down and saves me $.14 per month. If things go as usual with making a Verizon plan change, my next bill will be for $1000.00 with an explanation of why!

After that, back outside, at least for a time. I eventually decided it was time to finish the DC to DC Converter replacement. Of course more than just mounting the new on and attaching the wires. The new one can produce 30 amps. No idea if it ever will, but the old one had a maximum output of 9 amps and was wired with #12 wire. I changed out the wiring to #10. At least it was short runs - the WFCO power station is about 2' from the Victron DC to DC converter. I temporarily connected the input to the trailer battery to set the parameters of the converter. It is Bluetooth, so not much difference from the solar controllers; I did it on my phone. After setting it up I connected the correct wires. I won't actually use it until the next time I move the trailer.

After cleaning up I sat for a couple of minutes until making dinner, which was a evol Butternut Squash & Sage Ravioli meal.

Until Tomorrow - 

Sunday, December 19, 2021

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 69

 Sunday, December 19, 2021, La Posa West LTVA, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 11

Back to cold nights - 32°F this morning. I slept in, waiting until 8:45 for the Sunday Puzzle on NPR. After a walk for coffee & breakfast, I tried to read some forums with mixed results - most were too slow to be enjoyable reading. I checked the propane tanks, and one was out. A short time between tanks, but I had not been all that good about checking, so the last time I may have been well into the second tank before noticing that the first was empty. Then again, I have been running the furnace more than usual, and baked a pot pie for over an hour in the oven. In any case, I resolve to keep a better eye on the tanks. 

The 76 station had a sign stating no propane sales today so I headed for my second choice - the Quartzsite Mobil. The price was about the same but they are further away, and usually take a long time to get from the desk to the propane tanks. Only a 5 minute wait today. I Stopped at one of the Dollar Stores for some muffin liners, glue, and a gallon of water. Forgot the deodorant. 

Running out of propane on a 30°F night would not be much fun. While I would be OK under the blankets, the lithium batteries do not like to take a charge below 32°F. They are under the rear seat of the trailer, and with the furnace going they stay above 45°F, however without it, they could well get below 32°F. There is a BMS (battery management system) built into each battery that won't let them charge below 32°F, but I hate to test it, and if it was a cloudy day, it might take quite awhile for the sun to warm up the batteries to charging temperatures.

I also made a round of the tool selling booths, hoping to find a Japanese pull saw to cut my 1" X 4". None of the booths had anything other than hack saws & tree limbing saws. Since I already had one of each of those, I used the hack saw to cut the board to fit. The glue is drying; I'll finish up the project tomorrow.

Back at the trailer I tried to Skype my granddaughter to wish her a happy yesterday birthday (Skype & the internet were not getting on well together yesterday) and while both of us managed to get a word in, it couldn't be called a conversation. On the other hand, I made straight phone calls to my brother & the Guidos without problems. I usually Facebook with Anne & Guido, but AT&T was having none of that.

After that I sat outside in the sun & finished Written In My Own Heart's Blood, then started Locked Doors by Andrew Z. Thomas. First time for the author.

I had a large lunch, so I only snacked for dinner.

Until Tomorrow - 

Saturday, December 18, 2021

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 59

 Saturday, December 18, 2021, La Posa West LTVA, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 10

Adding Vertical Struts

Another busy day. After my morning walk I headed to Maria's Taco stand for biscuits & gravy. Unfortunately, not up to the standards of her breakfast burritos. Her coffee was as bland as usual. 

After breakfast I headed to one of the swap shop areas hoping to find the 1" X 6" I needed to expand the mounting area for the DC to DC converter. I didn't find a 1" X 6", but a piece of 1" X 4" long enough to do the job was sitting on top of a box of firewood. I grabbed it & asked the owner how much. She smiled and said take it! 

Back at the trailer I put together the center struts for the portable solar panel frame. The hardest part of the job was getting up off the ground 15 times or so to cut & glue the 3/4" "T"s into the frame. My 77 year old knees complained a lot! I may still shorten the overall width of the frame to provide a bit more support for the outside edges, but the top to bottom curvature of the previous frame is gone, and there are no longer shadows from the strings on the panels.

After that I took a break and sat in the sun reading. Up to 84% on Written In My Own Heart's Blood; I might even finish it tonight. I'm still enjoying the series.

Dinner was a beef Bubba Burger & rice, along with a bit more of the mixed fruit bowl.

Until Tomorrow - 

Friday, December 17, 2021

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 58

 Friday, December 17, 2021, La Posa West LTVA, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 9

Another cool night, although not as cold as last night. I had a busy day (at least for Quartzsite). Said good by to my neighbor & his friendly dog - my section of La Posa West is pretty empty. I thought about moving to my old spot (where the neighbor was) but am settled enough that I decided to stay.

A little after lunch I made a trip to Parker. First stop was at Ace Hardware to pick up the 3/4" PVC pipe & fittings to add to the portable solar panel frame. After that I filled up the truck - gas at at the Running Man stations on either side of town @ $3.45 is $.35 per gallon cheaper than here at Quartzsite. Since I was in the "Big City", I stopped at CVS for a couple of cans of Gold Emblem Cashew Macadamia Nut Mix. Unfortunately, only one can left on the shelf. Picked up a bunch of groceries at the Safeway next door, then headed across AZ 95 to Walmart. I only needed a quart of juice that I couldn't find at Safeway & deodorant, but there was a good 20 minute wait at each cash register, so didn't bother to shop; I'll just have to stink for a couple of days or find it in Quartzsite. 

Back at the trailer I discovered that a package from my daughter's family arrived at Quiet Times, so I stopped by to pick up it & an Amazon delivery. Same ladies running the place & they still have, like much of Quartzsite, the business for sale.

The Amazon package included my replacement Victron DC to DC converter. It is a 30 amp unit, compared to the older 9 amp. Enough larger that I need to add a 10" piece of 1" X 6" to hold it. Would have been nice to have known before I hit Ace Hardware in Parker - The only hardware store here in Quartzsite closed down a few years ago. 

I had a late lunch when I got back from Parker, so dinner will be a mixed fruit bowl.

Until Tomorrow - 

Thursday, December 16, 2021

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 57

 Thursday, December 16, 2021, La Posa West LTVA, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 8

The coldest night so far at Quartzsite - down to 30°F at 7:00AM. The furnace kept the inside of the trailer at 59°F at the head of the bed with the thermostat set for 64°F. The batteries, under the rear bench seat, were down to 47°F. Clear skies & strong sunshine warmed things up quickly, although "warmed up" is relative - I don't see anyone wandering around in shorts, and at 11:30 is is still only 52°F outside.

So, still a bit cool for sitting outside reading, so I read inside. Tried to read forums, but neither AT&T nor Verizon was cooperating. I'm up to 43% reading Written In My Own Heart's Blood so I have a long way to go. 

I went for a walk, then headed to the Barber / Firewood / Used Books / Beauty Aids / Showers for a $5.00 shower. No difference from the $10.00 showers across the street!

By the time I got back I decided it was worth trying to site outside and read. As long as you were in the sun it was OK, but the shade cooled of quickly. 

Dinner was a chicken pot pie.

Until Tomorrow - 

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 56

 Wednesday, December 15, 2021, La Posa West LTVA, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 7

The Moon Over The Dumpster

A windy night. While my trailer was fine, a number of tents and awnings had problems. Around 11:00PM the wind died down & the clouds disappeared. 

Coffee was $1.20 this morning. I guess pricing is "whatever". 

I read for awhile, reset the hummingbird feeder & hummingbird mobile stands, then went to the Coyote Market (used to be the Quartzsite General Store) for milk. It is where I usually purchase meat, but since I have the next couple of dinners already planned, I'll wait a bit before heading there again. I even spent some time reading forums in the internet. AT&T seemed to be having a good day, at least up until 4:00. 

Dinner was a grilled chicken thigh, rice & green beans.

I usually make a run to the trash dumpster after dinner. I use grocery store bags for trash (I have this handy plastic thing that the bags streatch across) & they hold about a day's worth. Since I don't have a photo for today, I decided to take one of the moon over the dumpster. Actually, there is a bit of news about the dumpsters - in the past they had 4 standard flip top campground dumpsters, but his year they have switched to a rolloff. It holds more, which is good for having not to fight to get your bag in, although I don't think it would be all that pleasant downwind on hot days.  

If you want to see the large version, you will need to go to today's LakeshoreImages Page.  AT&T is now (at 6:00) so slow it won't let Blogger load the larger image.  Then again, who really needs to see a large image of a rolloff?  There isn't all that much to take photos of right now & I'm tired of seeing a big "2" as the image for the day's page, so I'll put just about anything here!

Until Tomorrow - 

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 55

 Tuesday, December 14, 2021, La Posa West LTVA, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 6

Woke up to a crowing rooster from the bus conversion. A fairly warm night - only down to the low 50's. We are suppose to get rain & wind today. I'll see how the portable solar panel stand holds up.

Around 8:45 I headed for propane & coffee. $14.50 for 4.7 gallons at the 76 station. It is cheaper at some other places in town, but the 76 station is my usual stop. I have to remember who was at the cash register when I cashed out - he only charged me $1.09 for the coffee.

I sat in the trailer reading most of the afternoon. The wind picked up (predicted gusts of 37MPH) enough that I tipped the portable solar panel flat to the ground. Hopefully, it will still be there in the morning! While it is windy enough that the trailer is rocking, and both the hummingbird feeder & the wand that holds the hummingbird mobile blew over, it is not as bad as it can get. Every year there is at least one wind storm that raises enough dust that all the mountains surrounding Quartzsite disappear. 

By the way, Written In My Own Heart's Blood is 850 pages (she sure writes long books) but I'm at 11%, 18% by dinnertime, and there isn't much to do other than read. 

Dinner was a CedarLane Roasted Chile Relleno microwaved meal.

Until Tomorrow - 

Monday, December 13, 2021

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 54

 Monday, December 13, 2021, La Posa West LTVA, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 5

The Bus And The Chickens

Every year I see some sort of unusual living at Quartzsite. Tiny houses on wheels, a large boat on a trailer, camping in a hearse, and last year a guy with a motorhome towing a trailer with 4000 watts of solar and 12K of lithium batteries (not only did he run the motorhome, but kept his Chevy Volt charged). This year it is a converted bus with "Jewel" hand painted on the side & an attached chicken coop (and, of course, the chickens). Hope it is coyote proof!

After my walk for coffee & the rest of the Cinnamon Rolls, I packed up the laundry and headed for the laundromat. I usually take a shower while my clothes are in the dryer, but skipped it this time. The price has gone up to $10.00, and while less expensive than the truck stops, I can hold out for a couple of days. Felt a little strange in the laundromat - I was the only one wearing a mask. 

After folding the laundry, I drove across the street to the Roadrunner grocery store for a loaf of bread & a steak. 

I figured out why the latest Lee Child book Better Off Dead was not up to his usual standards - he is turning over the writing to his younger brother Andrew, who coauthored the last two Reacher books. The Sentinel, the first of the coauthored Reacher books was readable, but this one is terrible. If it was me, I'd let the character die. The NY Public Library notified me that Diane Gabaldon's 8th Outlander book Written In My Own Heart's Blood is in. I downloaded it but will wait to start until after I finish The Dead Priest of Sedona by Charles Williamson. Not great writing, but I do like the Sedona area. They give me 21 days to read a book so unless #8 is even longer than #7, I should be able to finish it. 

I haven't been listening to many recorded books since I'm not doing a lot of driving. I do listen during my morning walk, but that is shorter than most drives. I have been trying "Chirp", a source of discounted recorded books. I've purchased 3 so far and even though one of them was an author I've read & enjoyed, all the recorded books from them have been boring. I think I know why they are discounted! Since the NY Public Library only allows 3 works (recordings or Kindle) at one time, I wanted to have a recorded book or two available for when I reached my limit at the library. I may try one or two more, but so far have been disappointed.

I checked my propane tanks, and one was empty. The 76 sells propane from 8:00 - 4:00 and it was 3:45 so I grabbed the tank and headed out. I arrived at 3:50, and discovered that the guy that pumps it left 5 minutes ago. Looks like I'll be driving for coffee tomorrow!

Dinner was the steak & Southwestern Mixed Vegetables. 

Until Tomorrow - 

Sunday, December 12, 2021

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 53

 Sunday, December 12, 2021, La Posa West LTVA, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 4

I was up at 6:30 listening to the puzzle on Sunday Morning Weekend Edition. At home it is a decent time - 8:30, but 2 hours earlier here. They do repeat it at 8:30, but somehow I'm not listening that late. Actually, the Quartzsite internet is not all that dependable by then. It improves around 10:00, and again around 2:00; slow, but usable. By dinner time it is gone.

I baked a batch of Annie's Cinnamon Rolls for breakfast. The package makes 5 large rolls - I'll have 2 1/2 tomorrow. After breakfast I read for a bit. Last night I finished Diane Gabaldon's An Echo in the Bone, #7 in the Outlander series - I have read all of them up to #7, and while I have #9 on reserve at the NY public library, it is a 12 week wait. I just added #8 to my hold list, and it should be available in a week or two. Currently reading Lee Child's Better Off Dead, his latest Jack Reacher novel. I don't know if I'm getting tired of the series, or this one is not up to his normal witting standards, but the previous books in the series were better.

I drove into town to buy some 6" nails from KB Tools & drove by the Bad Boy Cafe. A sign on the door says it is closed. Two of my favorites are gone - I am going to have to find new ones. 

Back at the trailer I rebuilt the 3/4" PVC frame for the portable solar panel. Only a moderate success. It went together OK and since there are no eyelets, and only an 1/8" fabric border around the panels, my use of parachute cord to tie the panels to the frame almost works. The idea was to run the cord at the seams so it doesn't shadow the cells. The problem is the frame bends enough that the cells bow out from it, making shadows. Even a small shadow drastically cuts the output of a panel. I need to get some vertical supports at the panel joints, however the nearest place I know I can get 3/4" PVC is at Lowes in Lake Havasu City, about 90 miles from here. 

I hope you can see the pictures, but neither AT&T or Verizon will upload them as a group so I tried doing them individually. The webpage itself is smaller than the photos, and appears to have uploaded.  I did manage to check the webpage and it is all there.  I can't upload the larger images here at Blogger, so if you want to see the higher resolution versions, you will have to go to the webpage.

The Frame

The Problem

I called my son in Oswego - they had a 12 hour overnight power outage - he was glad for the 15K whole house generator, although my gas bill will be a bit steeper than normal. I also talked to Dick & Anne in Golden, CO. They are getting much less snow than normal - Anne is glad she is retired from working at the Cooper Mountain Ski Area. 

After that I went for a walk (I made coffee at the trailer this morning & didn't do my 2 mile walk for coffee) then sat out enjoying the sun & 63°F weather.

Dinner was the leftovers of the Chinese meal from last night.

Until Tomorrow - 

Saturday, December 11, 2021

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 52

 Saturday, December 11, 2021, La Posa West LTVA, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 3

Last Night's Sunset

While far from the best Quartzsite sunset, I took this with the iPhone's wide angle lens.

Ten degrees cooler than last night; it was 37°F this morning. I decided it would be a great day for biscuits & gravy at the Bad Boy Cafe, a small restaurant about 1/2 way to the 76 gas station. At the traffic light at Kuehn St I looked east & while the building was still there (unlike Darleen's) no cars parked in front. The only time I've seen the front empty except on Tuesdays, when they are closed, so I suspect they are not open. I hope it is just too early, but I'll walk down to check tomorrow. So, on to the 76 station for a mug of coffee, and back to the trailer for a microwaved Jimmy Dean Biscuit & Sausage. Not quite as good as the real thing, but so far, the only Jimmy Dean breakfast meal I like.

Not a cloud in the sky, and the solar panels are putting out 240 watts at 11:30AM. I'm still down enough (67% & -106 amp hours) that I'm considering digging out the portable panel. By dark, the best the rooftop panels would be able to produce would be around half what I needed to get to 100%. So, I dug out the portable. I wanted to harvest as much sun as possible, at least for today, so I didn't assemble the frame I made out of 3/4" PVC tubing. I'll put it together & tie the panel to it once the batteries are full. Right now, the combination of the roof top and portable panels is around 470 watts. With the clear sky & the panels almost perpendicular, that is about as good as it is going to get.

I tried to do some internet forum reading, but both AT&T and Verizon are overloaded to the point where it is a waste of time. AT&T was fine for internet radio this morning at 5:00AM, so I'm pretty sure the slowdown is due to overloaded towers. Maybe it isn't worth fixing for the 6 months of the year that Quartzsite is filled with RVers, but I can't believe they are not getting lots of complaints. Of course you need to have internet access to complain so...

I sat outside in the sun and read for the rest of the afternoon. Eventually, with the medium wind & 59°F temperature, I moved inside the trailer. At 4:00 the batteries were full & the solar controller went into the float mode, just producing enough output to produce the 1.8 amps or so that the trailer regularly uses. 

Dinner was a trip to the Chinese Restaurant for takeout. The best Chinese food in Quartzsite (since it is the only Chinese restaurant). Different from the stuff at home, but then, every Chinese restaurant I've eaten in has different stuff with the same name. You get enough for at least 2 meals for $14.70 with tax. They have an eat in area, however I brought it home. I took a photo of the place on the way out. Usually, when I take photos with my iPhone I put my finger over the lens. This time I just managed to crop out the start of the sign.  

The Chinese Restaurant

Until Tomorrow - 

Friday, December 10, 2021

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 51

 Friday, December 10, 2021, La Posa West LTVA, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 2 

Home of the Big Tent

I did my first coffee walk this morning. Cool at 46°F, but with the sun, fine with a sweatshirt. In fact, I walked back with it unzipped. Coffee was $1.53 at the 76 gas station. up from $1.23 in 2019. They have a new coffee dispenser - the spigots are low enough that my 24 oz coffee cup won't fit under them. I have to tip it enough that I only get 18 oz or so in the cup. 

Back at the trailer I had breakfast, then called XM Radio to renew the truck license. A bit more than the last 6 months at $36.00 for 6 months so I'm breaking my rule that I wouldn't pay more than $5.00 per month, but I do enjoy the stations when nothing else is available over the air. They offered $8.99 per month for 12 months, but I stuck with the lower 6 month pricing even if you have to call them more often. I have to admit that I don't use them as much as it did before I started listening to recorded books while traveling.

The tilted solar panels are doing their thing. I hit 307 watts around noon, not bad for a pair of 130 watt panels in partial clouds. Still, I'm only at 70% and down 97 amp hours. I'll see how long I can go without digging out the portable panels.

For those interested (and there isn't all that much interesting going on here) I took a photo of the Big Tent area before the tent appears on my walk back from getting coffee.

On the way to the dumpster, I met my neighbor & his very friendly dog. We chatted for a bit - he is also a solo traveler, although in a much larger RV - a Class A Patriot diesel pusher. He is from Montana.

After the visit I walked to the entrance station & discovered that the new vault toilet is for employees only, so there is still no vault toilet at La Posa West. That means no tents or RVs with smaller than 10 gallon black tanks. No idea why they have not added one here - there are multiple vault toilets at all three of the other La Posa areas.

I don't understand the cell connectivity here in Quartzsite. I suspect that the cell companies have not tried to keep up with the increasing usage, although AT&T's indicator on my new iPhone 13 Pro shows 5G E. The only phone call I've made so far here at Quartzsite was filled with noise. 

When I first spent a winter here in 2014, the cell speeds were excellent on both AT&T and Verizon. Each year they have become worse. I did speed tests when I got here - AT&T 23.7Mbps down & 0Mbps up (although it will very slowly upload an image) and Verizon at 5.4Mbps down & 7.9Mbps up. The speed tests don't tell the entire story. The AT&T ping at 50ms slows things down, and while I have been able to listen to a nearby internet radio station (KJZZ in Phoenix) on AT&T, when attempting to do the same with Verizon, the station drops out every couple of minutes. For some reason, I have always found AT&T better at streaming audio than Verizon, regardless of network speed and signal strength. Neither service will connect with my hometown NPR station WRVO. Verizon is so slow loading web pages that it is impossible to use. I am able to post journal updates, at least so far. There are far more users of the networks than in the past - I can see 10 different WiFi networks from my laptop. Still, I wonder what the networks are going to be like in January when an additional 100,000 RVs show up.

I spent the rest of the afternoon working on the DC to DC converter used to isolate the truck battery from the trailer batteries. As far as I can tell, it is dead. I ordered a replacement that should arrive at Quiet Times on the 16th.

Other than a bit of reading (I'm up to 74% on An Echo in the Bone, and enjoying a bit of a history lesson about the American Revolutionary War), that was about it for the day.

I didn't feel like cooking, so dinner was a peanut butter & jelly sandwich & applesauce.

Until Tomorrow -

Thursday, December 9, 2021

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 50

 Thursday, December 9, 2021, La Posa West LTVA, Quartzsite, AZ - 167 Miles, 3,758.5 Miles for the Trip

La Posa West

Not too bad driving through Phoenix on the 202 Bypass & I 10, although there was a slowdown at the junction between them. A bit of sun, but mostly cloudy, particularly after I got to Quartzsite. I purchased the 7 month pass even though I might have saved $20.00 if I purchased 4 14 day passes. The long term pass is easier to deal with rather than stopping in the office every 14 days for a new one.

There are definitely changes. One that I'll miss is Sweet Darlene's is gone. Someone at the Quartzsite Facebook site mentioned that it was gone, but I didn't realize that the entire building was gone. I sure am going to miss the Friday all you can eat fish dinners. Others in town have fish dinners, but Sweet Darlene's was the best. There is also a vault toilet here in La Posa West.  The last time I was here it was the only section that didn't have one.

I drove into La Posa West to the area I usually set up & there is a Class A in the spot I usually pick. There was only one other RV in the general area, so I had no problem finding a location. I spent some time orienting the trailer with the rear to the south so I could tilt the solar panels. An almost level site (off by 1" side to side and level front to back). After setting up, I got out the folding ladder & tilted the panels. I'm going to have to check out the vehicle charging circuit - I normally get 9 amps from the truck through the DC to DC converter, but I checked a couple of times on the drive & I was only getting amps from the solar panels (and not much since it was cloudy). I arrived at Quartzsite down to 71% with 93 amp hours consumed. Hope we have some sun tomorrow!

I put out the hummingbird hangers, but didn't attach the feeder, put out the plastic mat after 15 minutes of raking to remove the larger rocks, and set up the folding table. That was about it for the afternoon.

Dinner was a deep Indian Kitchen Butter Chicken microwaved meal.

Until Tomorrow -

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 49

Wednesday, December 8, 2021, Lost Dutchman State Park, Apache Junction, AZ

Anna's Hummingbird

Another partly cloudy day. At 1:20, the batteries are still at 76% and climbing slowly. I did my usual morning walk, checking out a couple of the sections of the campground that have hookups (water & electric). They are all filled or reserved, while there are a few dry sites available.

As it warmed up, I sat outside & took more hummingbird photos. My iBirds Photo Sleuth app tells me that it is 90% sure all the photos are of an Anna's Hummingbird. While they don't look the same, the neck colors change with the light. There is a 40% chance it is a Costa's Hummingbird. I'm no expert - I just take pictures of them.  More photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Around 3:00 I headed for my last campground shower until at least February. Dark & cold - almost as if the AC was on. A medium pressure shower head (the same one I carry) but the water volume is kept low. A long time to warm up, and then only lukewarm. There is a shower curtain, but it is 1' off the floor so the entire drying area floor gets wet. Large shower room, medium drying area with bench and 2 hooks. Overall, a C at best.

Back at the trailer a flock of Gambel's Quail stopped by. They didn't hang around for photos, but I caught a few.

Gambel's Quail

The clouds mostly went away, so I sat out the rest of the afternoon reading. Of course just as I settled outside the clouds came back. I added a sweatshirt & sat out anyway.

Dinner was a turkey Bubba Burger & a salad.

Until Tomorrow - 

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 48

 Tuesday, December 7, 2021, Lost Dutchman State Park, Apache Junction, AZ, Day 2

During my morning walk I found an Escape 5th wheel and a rare Nest. The Nest is/was a fiberglass trailer started out as a Nest Caravan, designed by Robert Johans. Lots of discussion throughout the design & introduction period by folks on the Fiberglass RV forum. It was only in production for a short time before it was sold to Airstream and became the Airstream Nest. Airstream only built a few before killing the product.

When I got back to the trailer I read my email and discovered that Apple was mailing me a "Return Package" to Oswego with which I had to return my iPhone 10 within 14 days to get a $200.00 credit. I thought they were going to email me return instructions that I could use here on the road. I called Apple and they told me I could return it to an Apple store, so back to the San Tan Village Apple Store. Hopefully, I'll find the return credit on my card.

Back at the trailer I went for another walk. While it is 72°F, there is little or no sun, so it doesn't feel all that warm. I stopped by the Escape 5.0TA and chatted with the owner. Back at the trailer I spent the rest of the afternoon reading. Still not quite half way through An Echo in the Bone

One of the few vegetables that I've always liked from Walmart was their bagged snap peas. They were always plump and stringless. Since I like them raw in salads or just as a snack, the stringless was important. Well, that is gone. While the bag is the same, they snap peas not only have strings, but the entire pod is stringy and chewy, almost like eating a standard pea pod. I guess they changed farmers!

Dinner was a Saffron Road Sweet & Sour Chicken microwave dinner. Not as impressive as some of their other meals.

Until Tomorrow -

Monday, December 6, 2021

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 47

 Monday, December 6, 2021, Lost Dutchman State Park, Apache Junction, AZ - 76.8 Miles, 3,591.5 Miles for the Trip

Site 39

Another late start since I only need to go around 75 miles. I called the Apple Store in Chandler, which was on the way, but they didn't have any iPhone 13 Pros. They suggested trying the Apple Store in Gilbert, but since that was west of the campground, I decided to wait until I got there to call.

I arrived around 12:30, and since my site was empty, I headed for it early. Site 39 is a dry pull through on asphalt. Sloped both side to side (1 1/2") & front to back (lowered 3 1/2". The picnic table is next to the door and on fine gravel. There is a shortcut to the bathrooms, or a bit longer walk along the campground roads. $20.00 per night plus a $5.00 reservation fee. I'm here for three nights. 

After setting up I called the Gilbert Apple Store & they had the phone I was looking for, so off I went on a 18 mile drive on US 60 & the 202. Traffic wasn't too bad, but I'll be glad to get away from 8 lane highways. I did the transfer at the store, and one of the Genius bar folks talked me through installing the digital SIM, my first. The phone is up & running. When Apple does a transfer, it is pretty thorough. I had the previous total towing mileage in the calculator app on the old iPhone 10, and when I opened it on the new phone, the mileage was still there!

Back at the trailer i took a few photos, then read for a bit. The site photo is with the new iPhone 13 Pro.

I set up the hummingbird feeder; slower hummingbirds than those at Gilbert Ray - it took almost a half hour before the first appeared.

Dinner was a Barber Chicken Cordon Bleu, Southwestern Mixed Vegetables, and a salad.

Until Tomorrow -

Sunday, December 5, 2021

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 46

 Sunday, December 5, 2021, Picacho Peak State Park, Picacho, AZ, Day 2

Cooler than the last couple of nights, going down to the low 40's, but lots of sun warming things up in the morning. Before too long it was warm enough to sit outside reading. Lots of RVs heading out all morning long with few arrivals.

While my trailer would fit in any of the sites in the park, many have the table located a bit of a distance from the site, some up a couple of stairs. The back in sites are all double wide, while the pull through are long singles. Most of the back in sites are fairly level, at least side to side, while many of the pull throughs are sloped in both directions. All in all, there isn't a bad site in the park (although some are a long walk to the bathrooms).

I'll be reading my current book for awhile - An Echo in the Bone, Book seven of the Outlander series by Diane Gabaldon. Her historic novels are usually long - this one is 800 pages. 

Dinner was Spaghetti, Meatballs & Sausage, a meal I only make when the campground has a dish sink - the cleanup is substantial!

Until Tomorrow -

Saturday, December 4, 2021

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 45

 Saturday, December 4, 2021, Picacho Peak State Park, Picacho, AZ - 55.3 Miles, 3,514.7 Miles for the Trip

Site A25

Except that this time it is dry and it rained in 2019, I could almost substitute the 2019 Picacho Peak page for today's.

I'm in site A25 this time. 2 nights at $30.00 per night plus a $5.00 reservation fee. All sites except the host sites are electric only. Paved site that is fairly (within 1/2" level side to side, and required unhooking and dropping the tongue 3". The only problem with the site is the picnic table is a bit of a walk from the site. It does have a cover, and is half way to the bathrooms. 

Distance to the Picnic Table

They are having a water shortage, and ask for minimal usage. 

I drove 14 miles to Eloy to do laundry at the Family Maytag Laundromat. Same prices as 2019. No one but me was wearing a mask. Standard as well as large commercial machines & lots of large dryers. 

Back at the campground I put the laundry away, then headed for a shower. Large shower room & drying area with a bench & 1 hook. No shower curtain so half the drying room floor gets wet. Small, high pressure/low volume shower head. Lots of hot water & adjustable temperature control. All in all, a C+.

After that I sat around an read for a bit, than made dinner.

Dinner was a Johnsonville flame grilled cheddar sausage and a salad.

Until Tomorrow -

Friday, December 3, 2021

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 44

 Friday, December 3, 2021 - Gilbert Ray Campground, Tucson, AZ, Day 3

Cactus Wren

After a walk around the campground & breakfast, I took another walk around the campground with my notebook recording which sites best fit the 21. While almost all the sites except tent sites would fit the 21, some would require parking the truck across the site. Someone sent a comment that I should make my list of campground sites available.  It is too large (with the attached images of the campground maps) to post, but I'll email a copy to anyone that sends a request.  I did notice that an emailed version strips the images out of the individual listings and puts them all at the end.  Again, if interested, drop me an email.  My email address is at the bottom of any of the LakeshoreImages pages.

After that I made a trip to Walmart. The GPS found a Neighborhood Walmart, which is a small version. The next one, according to the GPS was 17 miles away, but about 1/2 a mile down the same street was a Super Walmart. I also stopped at a post office and mailed my granddaughter's birthday card. A bit early, but sometimes cards take forever to get delivered.

Back at the trailer I read for the rest of the afternoon. I took a few more bird photos, including a cactus wren, and some sunset reflections off the windows of the trailer.  More photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Dunner was a chicken sub.

Until Tomorrow -

Thursday, December 2, 2021

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 43

 Thursday, December 2, 2021 -Gilbert Ray Campground, Tucson, AZ, Day 2

A Hummingbird

A warm night. While I plugged in the electric heater, it only came on once early morning. 84°F this afternoon.

I decided it would be a good day for a haircut. I did a Google search and found Mikeys Barber Shop. While Google found it, I didn't. Went to the address & there was a closed store front. I tried a couple of GPS searches, and Matilda kept wanting me to go to Phoenix. After trying the search a couple of different ways, I found "The Friendly Family Barber Shop". I got there and that wasn't the name, but they did cut hair. On the way back I filled the truck tank at $3.59, then drove by a station that was selling gas at $3.39. Not so much a difference until you realize that you are putting 22 gallons in the tank.

Back at the trailer I set up the hummingbird feeder. The hummers were glad to see it - two of them started feeding while it was in my hands, before I hung it on the hook. Of course once I got the camera out they all went away and only came back sporadically. Still, I got a few - More photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

That was about it for the day, although I did take a shower in the trailer.

Dinner was an Impossible Cheeseburger & a salad.

Until Tomorrow -

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 42

 Wednesday, December 1, 2021 -Gilbert Ray Campground, Tucson, AZ - 140.1 Miles, 3,459.4 Miles for the Trip

Sunset at Gilbert Ray Campground

A lazy, late start, leaving Whitewater Draw around 10:30. Not as cold last night, only down to 38°F. I fell asleep around 8:30 listening to a very bad book on tape, so I was awake at 5:00AM. While I slept off & on until my 7:00 eye drops, I did get to hear the Sandhill Cranes leave. Lots of noise & it was still too dark to take photos (at least that was my excuse for not getting out of bed).

The website for Gilbert Ray says that there is no one at the office this time of year, but there was a sign requiring you to stop in & register. I stopped in - no registration, but they did have a packet for me that listed my site, the rules & a site tag. 

I'm in site 56, an electric only (all sites are electric only) 30 amp site for $20.00 per night. There are bathrooms with running water, but no showers. There are a couple of water fill stations and a dump station. The sites are on gravel and fairly level, at least side to side. I had to raise the tongue 3 1/2" to level the trailer. I'm here for 3 nights. Lots of pretty cactus scattered around the campground. There are lots of complaints about pack rats building nests in vehicle engines - some put lights underneath, prop up the hood, etc to discourage them. Others ignore them.

Site 56

After setting up I ran errands. First to Walgreens to pick up a couple of prescriptions. The longest wait I've had at a prescription counter other than the CVS at Parker, AZ. The next stop was at Oilstop for an oil change. I usually go to the dealer, but when I called the two Ford dealers in Tucson, they were booking for the week of the 20th, by which time I'd be long gone. I have not had much luck with Jiffy Lube, but found Oilstop with a Google search. Not the least expensive at $137.90 for Mobil 1, and they sure did their best to up sell just about every add on product made, although they took no well. Next was CVS for a couple of cans of Cashew Macadamia Nut Blend. While not inexpensive at over $7.00 per 8 ounce can, they are the best nuts I've found. Large cashews and plenty of Macadamias. I made a short stop for milk, yogurt & more at Food City. I went to all the trouble of putting their card on my CardStar app, found it & showed it to the lady at the checkout. She shrugged - evidently, they don't do member discounts anymore.

After that it was back to the trailer. I put 60 miles on the truck just doing errands. Gas is a bit more expensive here in Tucson - going for around $3.59 per gallon.

I took couple of quick sunset photos. The light & color at Gilbert is amazing. More at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Dinner was a chicken quarter from Food City.

Until Tomorrow -