Monday, February 28, 2022

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 131

 Monday, February 28, Gilbert Ray Campground, Tucson, AZ - 12.1 Miles, 4,577 Miles for the Trip

Site C8

While at $46.00 per night, Desert Trails is expensive, it really is not designed for over nights. The price for long term stays is more reasonable (although still expensive) at $685 per month including electricity. They have a huge library, game rooms & outside game areas, a couple of shops, and weekly entertainment. Not my type of place, but it looks like those there for the long term were quite pleased with the place.

I slowly packed up the trailer & hooked up to the truck - I have an 11:00AM checkout time & a 12:00 noon arrival time at Gilbert Ray, 12 miles away. When I got there I spent 15 minutes trying to find my reservation. They have the strangest reservation system for the campground that I've seen in all my travels. You are actually reserving with Pima County, including fair booths, exercise programs, etc. They don't email you an actual reservation; only a link to a county website with which you must make an account, but no easy link to any reservations. The link does have your permit number and tells you to review it for accuracy, but there is no way to view your permit (at least that I can find). 

They couldn't find my reservation & I was off by one site in my notes - I had C9 & when they finally found it I was/am in C8. They have the correct leaving date, but my arrival was listed as yesterday (which would have made it 5 days so I didn't appear on today's check in list). No where in anything I can access tells me my actual dates (or what I paid) but the check out sheet on the post has the correct day for leaving. I checked with my Credit Card statement, and evidently, I did pay for 5 days, so one of us messed up. No way I could have caught the problem because, again, they do not send you a copy of your reservation. 

I lied - you can find your receipt & reservation dates. Just in case anyone else has a problem with reservations here at Gilbert Ray, here is how you find it: Go to the Pima County web page, log in (You do have an account, don't you?). Go to "Historic Transaction Data", find the date you paid for the site (hope you remember that), click on the "Receipt Number" (for "Permit", not "Reservation"), and on the Permit page click on "Permit #" and it connects you to a page that shows start & stop dates. By the way, the amount paid shown on that page is incorrect - it does not include the processing fee. As I said, a strange system.

Anyhow, I'm in site C8, an electric only site (as are all in Gilbert Ray) for $21.17 per night, $26.47 if I include what I paid for the extra night. The backgrounds for the sites in loop C are not as pretty as those in the top of loop A, but still lots of cactus around the site. A long walk to the only bathroom serving the loop. No showers, but they do have an outdoor hot water hair &dishwashing station (at least that is what the sign says). 

 After setting up I went for my morning walk even though it was 12:30 by then. Found 3 Escape 19's in loop A, one of which is a campground host. I've met the other two on this and previous trips. 

While walking, I listened to Raymond E. Feist's The King's Buccaneer, a very long, but interesting story (like most of his novels). I got back to the trailer I sat outside & read - current book is The Star of the Desert by Gordon Wallis. I'm having a tough time with the book - lots of mistakes & unbelievable plotting. I finished it and added it to my Yes/No field as a No. The great reviews on writing & story make me hesitate to believe any Amazon review. I started Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse.

I set up my welcome sign & a hummingbird feeder. It took about a 1/2 hour for a hummingbird to find it, but only one, and only one visit so far. 

Dinner was a Bubba Burger, snap peas, & peaches. By the way, this batch of snap peas from Walmart, unlike the last bag, are stringless. Same bag...

Until Tomorrow - 

Sunday, February 27, 2022

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 130

 Sunday, February 27, Desert Trails RV Park, Tucson, AZ, Day 3

Almost 50°F for my morning walk. After breakfast I made a bunch of phone calls to folks back east. Mt brother is still planning to move from Nantucket Island to the Catskills in NY, but is having difficulty finding the average building costs for the area. He should get enough selling a Nantucket house to build just about anywhere in the US, but he would like to have some idea of what the actual cost will be.

I switched from AAA road assistance to Good Sam. AAA was costing $194.00 per year for trailer coverage & my son, while Good Sam is $129.99 for two years, then $129.00 from then on, unlimited towing (AAA limits towing to 100 miles), and lets me add my son for free (AAA charges $34.00 for Kyle). I've read on line complaints & praises for both companies, but since I haven't actually used AAA for the last 5 years, I'm willing to take a change, particularly since AAA dropped campground books, and tour books, the products I usually picked up before a trip. They still have maps, but I generally use an atlas or my GPS. I should say I think I've switched. I know I started Good Sam, but after canceling AAA, I got an email from them saying that they would be billing my credit card automatically in 5 days. So far, no answer from my email to them...

During the afternoon I drained the black & gray tanks, washed & put away the sewer hose, getting ready to leave tomorrow. The rest of the day I sat around and read. I finished John Saul's Nathaniel, and started Bear Witness by J. & D. Burges. So far, not as good as the first in the series.

Dinner was a couple of Johnsonville Cheddar brats & the rest of a can of Bush Maple & Cured Bacon beans. Not as good as their Brown Sugar & Hickory.

Until Tomorrow - 

Saturday, February 26, 2022

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwast, Day 129

 Saturday, February 26, Desert Trails RV Park, Tucson, AZ, Day 2 - 0 Miles, 4,564.9 Miles for the Trip

I switched to Verizon last night and found it very slow. Rechecked the speed & it was down to 2.4Mbps down & 2.9Mbps up. I switched back to AT&T and it was more usable at 24.4Mbps down & 4Mbps up. I guess that there are lots of folks on the Verizon tower around dinner time.

Another cool morning with my 8:30 walk at 37°F. By 1:00 it was up to 65°F. I had to get use to not rushing my coffee so I could turn off the inverter; even made a Jimmy Dean Biscuit & Sausage Gravy breakfast bowl in the microwave without any concern for the batteries (not that it has been a problem since I have 3 100 amp hour lithium Battleborn batteries).

While not as large as Organ Pipe's Twin Peaks campground, this place is large enough that I managed to walk a mile around the park without repeating any of the roads. For the most part, very tight sites where, if you have a slide out you will likely be in your neighbor's site, at least if your site has a picnic table. Not much road traffic noise, although there is a shooting range near by that produces lots of morning gunfire.

I finished Nita Prose's The Maid. A bit different from my usual mystery, but worth the read. Started John Saul's Nathaniel. 

Around 3:00 I headed for the showers. Nice shower head with adjustable water temperature, plenty of hot water & a stall large enough to be comfortable. The drying area is part of the shower stall & the floor gets wet. 2 hooks for clothes & towel, and a shelf for soap & shampoo. Overall I'll give it a B, even better if they separated the drying area from the shower. It is possible to use the bench outside the showers next to the sinks, but not practical for the shy!

Dinner was a microwaved evol Butternut Squash & Sage Ravioli bowl.

Until Tomorrow - 

Friday, February 25, 2022

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 128

 Friday, February 25, Desert Trails RV Park, Tucson, AZ - 134.8 Miles, 4,564.9 Miles for the Trip

Site 64

Since I had a relatively short drive, I was in no hurry to get out of the campground. I left around 10:00. I checked the propane before I left & I was down one tank. My AllStays app showed propane at the Texaco station in Why, so I pulled in. Price was $3.99 par gallon + tax. Luckily. there was a sign on the propane pump saying "Out of Order". So, on I went. On Ajo Way west of Tucson I stopped at a gas station that had an ACE hardware store next door. ACE had propane at $2.64 including tax, so I got the tank filled. Not sure why, but the tank took 5 gallons, quite a bit more than the 4.7 it usually takes. Either their meter is off or I have a very full tank!

I pulled into the Desert Trails RV park around 1:00 & was assigned site 64, a full hookup site for $46.00 per night with taxes & fees. I guess my campground average price is going to start climbing. It was $12.43 per night up to today. The park has WiFi, but I couldn't find any of the networks provided in the handout.  AT&T is 9.4Mbps down and 5.5Mbps up. Verizon is 55.5Mbps down & 5.6Mbps up.

After setting up I headed to the nearest Allstate office to get my NY proof of insurance card for the next 6 months. I really need to sit down with an independent insurance agent to see how much better I could do if I moved my auto & homeowners to someone other than Allstate. They keep getting more expensive with every renewal.

Back at the RV park I started 2 loads of laundry & changed the sheets on the bed. There is a taco truck sitting outside the laundry - sure is tempting for dinner. After dinner I did a 3rd load of laundry.

I had a couple of chicken tacos for dinner. They were pretty small, so I went back and got a sincronizada, which I have never heard of. More than enough.

Until Tomorrow -

Thursday, February 24, 2022

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 127

 Thursday, February 24, Twin Peaks Campground, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, AZ, Day 4

I thought I posted this earlier, but didn't see it when I looked through the Organ Pipe postings, so the results of a speed check for AT&T & Verizon here in the campground: Verizon 40.8Mbps down & 1.7Mbps up, AT&T 36.9Mbps down & 10.8 up. 

Another cool night at 39°F at 7:00AM, and 40°F during my 8:30 walk around the campground. To give you an idea of the size of the place, skipping every other row and going from top to bottom, it is 1 1/4 miles before you hit the tenting sites at the bottom.

Back at the trailer I baked a tube of Pillsbury Cinnamon rolls for breakfast. I like Amy's much better, but at least running the oven warmed up the trailer. 

After breakfast I read my usual forums & journals, and chatted with a new Escape owner that is taking photos of all the Escapes in the campground - they counted 7 of us. A clear, but cool day - at noon it is still only 50°F outside. My 2 rooftop solar panels (160 watt each) are putting 15 amps into the batteries. Good, because with the heavy furnace use overnight and during yesterday, I was down to 75% on the batteries, the lowest of the trip. I thought about getting out the portable panel to get another 20 amps or so, but since I am heading to a water & electric site tomorrow, I'll leave it in the truck. 

By the way, by tomorrow I will have been without hookups for 79 days almost in a row (I did have 2 days with an electric hookup while my furnace was being repaired). A bit shorter than my record of 91 days, but still a good example of how solar & good batteries can let you avoid generators.

I spent much of the late afternoon sitting out in the sun & finishing Sheri S. Tepper's Grass, and starting Nita Prose's The Maid.

Dinner was a Johnsonville Cheddar brat & Bush beans. 

Until Tomorrow - 

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 126

Wednesday, February 23, Twin Peaks Campground, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, AZ, Day 3

Nighttime Image

Since we are suppose to have clouds today & tonight, I decided to try for some star photos last night even with the campground lighting. The first image was taken around 8:30, and has what I believe are a bunch of Elon Musk's satellites or a slipped camera mount. Look for the vertical streaks on some of the "stars". They are easier to see in the large version of the photo. These were 20 second exposures at high ISOs (3200 - 4000). There was too much spill light to try for a star circle image.  More, including the moving stars at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Another cool morning walk. While 4°F warmer than yesterday, more wind and no sun made it feel colder. While it threatened rain, it held off for my walk. After I got back to the trailer I put on a sweatshirt and read my usual morning forums & journals. Around 10:30 a light rain started to fall. Rain off & on for much of the morning & afternoon. Still lots of wind and no sun.

I drove to the visitor center to find out if they had an outgoing mailbox - they do; it is across the street. While there, I bought my first "T" shirt of the trip.

Back at the trailer I made lunch - a couple of microwaved White Castle sliders, and because of the dreary weather, made cocoa rather than something cold to go with them. Still raining; I even ran the thermostat up to 67°F to knock the chill off the insides of the trailer. 

4:00 and we had a brief burst of sunshine. The clouds are back, but the wind died down. 

Just before dinner I walked over to the bathroom. It looks like someone used the solar shower. Solar is the only source for hot water and there wasn't much today. The bathrooms are unheated and it is 47°F outside. All I can say is they are candidates for the polar bear club!

Dinner was a steak sandwich & a salad.

Until Tomorrow -  

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 125

 Tuesday, February 22, Twin Peaks Campground, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, AZ, Day 2 

Down to 44°F overnight, and only 46°F during my 8:30 walk around the campground. I ran into a number of former Quartzsite gathering folks on my walk. Still a bit windy and cool - at 12:00 it is only 58°F. 

As to nighttime photos, parts of the park might be "dark skies", but not the campground. An amazing amount of spill light from the bathrooms. I stepped out my door at 9:00 and the entire side of the trailer was glowing. I suspect if I hiked down to the tenting end of the campground I might have found some dark...

After lunch I sat outside in the sun and wind. I noticed a couple of people coming back from the bathrooms with towels & asked how the solar showers were. The answers? From the man - not even warm, and from the woman - they need more sun! Decided my shower would be in the trailer & fired up the water heater. The shower went fine other than the water tank is still filled with soft water from previous fills, making rinsing take longer than I'd like. I suppose I should rate the trailer shower since I do it for the campgrounds. Small stall, no drying area, no interior shelves, but an interior seat (the toilet lid), lots of hot water & a medium pressure shower head. Overall, I really can't give it better than a D, but it is mine!

I tried sitting outside after my shower, but fairly heavy clouds moved in & with the wind, even at 65°F it was uncomfortable to sit in a chair. I went for another walk around the campground. I didn't do each row - doing that would result in well over 2 miles. At 4:00 the generators started. At least everyone is good at shutting them down at 6:00.

Dinner was a grilled steak & a salad, and the remaining half of a Walmart chocolate mousse. They are too rich for me to eat an entire one in one sitting.

Until Tomorrow - 

Monday, February 21, 2022

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 124

 Twin Peaks Campground, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, AZ - 196.8 Miles, 4,430.1 Miles for the Trip

Site 9

Mittry Lake road is definitely a busy thoroughfare. Traffic didn't die down until 11:30PM, and started up at 7:00AM. With the windows closed (temperature was down to 49°F by 7:00AM) the noise wasn't bad. We did have a pleasant sunset.  The sunset photo plus many from Organ Pipe are at  today's LakeshoreImages page.

I headed out around 10:00, stopping at a Walmart where US 95 intersects with I 8 to refill the freezer and grab a couple of their chocolate mousse desserts, and Gila Bend for gas at a very busy Loves truck stop for $3.76 per gallon. It took almost as much time to get out of the station as it did to fill the tank.  It would have taken even longer if a helpful trucker hadn't let me slide in in front of him.

Fairly heavy clouds & 70°F for most of the drive, then after Ajo on AZ 85 the temperature started to drop Down to 63°F and windy by the time I arrived at the park. I'm in site 9, which is a generator site (I didn't notice when I reserved) with a near by bathroom with a solar shower. $10.00 per night for dry sites with the Senior Pass. The site is a pull through with a concrete slab and a concrete patio with a picnic table & charcoal grill. I had to raise the right side of the trailer 2.5" and the tongue 3.75". While the sites are rather close together, there are cactus between most of the sites. A large campground with over 200 sites. I have to admit that it would have been better to reserve further down the rows in the "no generators" area - Generator hours are 8AM - 10:00AM and 4:00PM - 6:00PM. At 4:00 it started sounding like a NASCAR parking lot. At least the hours are short.

After setting up I walked around some of the loops. Saw a number of fiberglass trailers including Casitas, Scamps, an Oliver and many Escapes. Some are folks that came here from the Quartzsite gathering. I took a few cactus photos

If the wind dies down & the sky remains cloudless, I'll try for some nighttime star photos. Organ Pipe is a "Dark Sky" location, although with all the RVs I might have to do a bit of hiking to get away from the outdoor lights.

Dinner was a Lean Cuisine Orange Chicken Bowl.

Until Tomorrow - 

Sunday, February 20, 2022

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 123

 Mittry Lake BLM, February 20, 2022, Mittry Lake BLM, Yuma, AZ - 11.1 Miles, 4,233.3 Miles for the Trip

Mittry Lake Campsite

While a short drive, 6 miles of it was on a dirt road. While wide and no ruts, it was washboarded in sections. I kept down to 15MPH to keep from filling the back of the trailer & truck with dust. I hoped to get one of the spots on the lake, but being a weekend, they were all filled. There are a couple of large flat areas with lots of RVs parked in them that had space, but I drove past them hoping for one of the lakeside cutouts to be open. I finally settled for a corner lot near the southern end of the lake. A bit too close to the road, resulting in some dust, but it is on the water - not the lake, but the canal running out of it. I even have a small waterfall & some water fowl. For one night it is fine. The Google Earth view shows brush in the area I'm parked - it is gravel now. The three off road sites you can see in the overhead view already have RVs in them.

I did an AT&T cell speed check and the result was 65.9Mbps down & 4.4Mbps up. I didn't check Verizon since I have unlimited AT&T data. I took a walk along the road that "T's" off Mittry Lake road and found Betty's Kitchen, a Wildlife Refuge parking lot complete with a vault toilet. Well off the road, but no overnight parking. There is a sign at the start of the road that states no overnight parking beyond this point, but so far I've seen 2 RVs come out of the road. Maybe it connects to another area.

The rest of today's photos are at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Dinner was an evol Portabella & Goat Cheese Ravioli Bowl.

Until Tomorrow - 

Saturday, February 19, 2022

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 122

 Saturday, February 19, 2022, Imperial Dam BLM LTVA, Winterhaven, CA, Day 3

I had problems with the refrigerator yesterday. I suspect it was because a fairly brisk wind was blowing into the lower vent, either putting out the flame or simply cooling off the boiler. In either case, the air inside got up to 44°F. The solid stuff still stayed cool enough, but too long at the higher temperatures isn't good. I used a cookie sheet to block the direct wind, and the temperature started down.

This morning it was at 39°F in the refrigerator & -2°F in the freezer. I checked throughout the day and the refrigerator got up to 42°F. Hotter than I'd like; I'll have to keep an eye on it.

I did a couple of walks around the camping area, and sat in the shade of the trailer (84°F outside temperature) and either listened to an audio book - Raymond E. Feist's The King's Buccaneer or read Steven Becker's Backwater Predator. That was about it for the day.

Dinner was a Saffron Road Chicken Biryani with Basmati Rice bowl.

Until Tomorrow - 

Friday, February 18, 2022

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 121

 Friday, February 18, 2022, Imperial Dam BLM LTVA, Winterhaven, CA, Day 2

The Showers

A cool night at 40°F but warm day with light to medium wind. I've found the Imperial Dam area tends to be windier than Quartzsite. I went for a mile walk, ate breakfast, read for a bit then walked another mile to the dumpsters. I've done photos before, but for those that don't want to search through my many stays at Imperial Dam, here are a few from this year at today's LakeshoreImages page.

While they mention that there are showers at Imperial Dam, they don't note that they are cold water & outside. There are standard pay ($1.00 for 5 minutes with a token) at the BLM campground on the other side of the dam.

That was about it for the day. It warmed up nicely (maybe more than nicely with the clear sky & powerful sun) to 78°F in the trailer & 75°F outside. 

Dinner was a Marie Callender's Swedish Meatball Bowl.

Until Tomorrow - 

Thursday, February 17, 2022

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 120

 Thursday, February 17, 2022, Imperial Dam BLM LTVA, Winterhaven, CA - 229.3 Miles, 4,222.2 Miles for the Trip

Imperial Dam LTVA

I did a short one mile walk around the campground, and after breakfast packed up the trailer to head to Imperial Dam LTVA. I took the long way which took me down the east side of the Salton Sea because I had always driven the west side and wanted to see what it was like. On the way I took a through-the-window shot of a snow capped mountain. 

There are a number of CA state parks along the east side, one of which had a waving Escape owner as I went by.  I finished listening to Jeffrey Archer's Turn a  Blind Eye.  I think his books go over better reading than as audio books; I found it a bit slow.  I'm reading Chinle Miller's Uranium Daughter, which is much better writing than her Bud Shumway series, although for some reason I'm addicted to them.

I went on line looking for a source for Silk & Spice red wine, one of my favorites. I discovered that a Walmart in Yuma had it, so I added it as a stop on the way & picked up 2 bottles. About the same $ here as in Syracuse, NY.

I thought about staying at Mittry Lake since I've never been and a couple of fiberglass people suggested it, but I went by the entry road in the wrong lane so I skipped it. I still might move there for a couple of nights since the road goes most of the way to the Imperial Dam area. I looks to be about 5 miles of good dirt road to get there from the north.

I'm on a flat section above the Gravel Pit Pavilion, my usual location. Quite a few RVs as well as tents in the area, but I managed to find a reasonably flat (2" side to side & 1 1/2" lift on the tongue) spot - I didn't bother disconnecting from the truck. The last time I was here (in 2019) there was very weak AT&T service at the entrance area, none where I usually parked. This time I have a good usable (15.2Mbps down & 3.3Mbps up) AT&T connection from the Gravel Pit area. Verizon, which had a strong 26Mbps data speed the last time is worse at 2.1Mbps down & .9Mbps up. I do get KAWC from Yuma, a NPR station so I don't need to use the internet radio as much, although I do hope to be able to connect to WXXI for Echoes & the Hearts of Space weekend music programs.

Since it was already 5:00 Mountain time when I arrived, I just took a site photo, then made dinner. I didn't even put down the stabilizers, which means the trailer rocks a bit as I move, but since it is only me, not a problem. Speaking of time, Imperial Dam is interesting. The LTVA area is on the California side of the Colorado river, but because the most used access is through the Yuma Proving Grounds in Arizona, it runs on Arizona time. So far my phone & watch still thinks that I'm in Arizona, probably because I arrived through the Proving Grounds. Hopefully, they won't start switching back & forth; I had that problem in Lake Havasu City where the phone kept flipping back & forth between CA & AZ towers. I don't think there are any California cell towers within range of the LTVA.

Dinner was a Marie Callender's Sweet & Sour Chicken & vegetables over rice microwave meal.

Until Tomorrow - 

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 118

 Wednesday, February 16, 2022, Anza-Borrego Desert SP, Borrego Springs, CA, Day 3

Palm Canyon

I forgot to post some images from Monday night. A pretty sunset with the almost full moon. While the full moon was last night, the clouds & rain (yes, rain), I didn't get much of an opportunity to photograph it.

Around 7:00 a light to medium rain started, and fell off & on all night. At least the wind died down. Clear skies this morning, and everything dried up by 9:00. 

After breakfast I decided to take the hike out to Palm Canyon. I did the 3 mile round trip hike a couple times before, the last one in February, 2017 before the fire that burned out the palms. The fire was in 2020, and many have grown back, but the area around the oasis is closed, as in the upper part of the water runoff from it. There are 4 water crossings on the trail, but even with last night's rain, there is only water in the one closest to the oasis. The stream that flows from the oasis created the wash that most of the trail follows. There are many signs (piles of palm tree trunks, rocks, etc) that show the strength of the runoff during a flood. The sign points out some of the damage from 2004, including taking out part of the campground. I'm glad I did the hike in the morning. While it is only 73°F out, the lack of shade for most of the hike makes it feel much hotter.   Pictures at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Around 3:00 I took a two token (4 minute) shower hoping that with the showers on the sunny side of the building, they would be warm - nope! Anyhow, I will be leaving with one token for the next time I'm here.

Dinner was a evol Portabella & Goat Cheese Ravioli meal. 

Until Tomorrow - 

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 118

 Tuesday, February 15, 2022, Anza-Borrego Desert SP, Borrego Springs, CA, Day 2 

Well, the wind didn't start at 10:00PM as predicted, in fact there were only a few gusts overnight that shook the trailer. It was dead calm this morning, but when I went to town for some cards & groceries, there were a few gusts that tried to knock me over. By the way, prices at the Borrego Springs grocery stores (there are at least 2 of them) are high. They do stock lots of interesting stuff, and at the Central Market, hidden behind a row of store fronts, the meat prices were about the same as Quartzsite.

I stopped at the entry station to see if my 5 year old Anza-Borrego shower token could be exchanged for a new one. The old one is the same size, but doesn't work in the showers. The ranger scratched his head looking at it, then gave me 2 current tokens in exchange for it. Not sure why, but it is an extra 4 minutes. Speaking of the showers, they get a D+ rating at best. First, the most expensive of the trip at $1.00 for 2 minutes. While they do have a temperature adjustment, it has to be all the way at hot to produce reasonable hot water. It has a non adjustable high pressure showerhead that is aimed at the drying area through a curtainless opening, ie your changing area floor is going to be soaked. No shelves in the shower other than a useless soap dish, but a bench in the drying area behind a wall so the spray doesn't soak it. 2 hooks on the entry door.

I checked out making reservations for the May 17th trip back from the Spring Fling, and decided to try a new DEC campground - Fish Creek Pond. A bit longer drive for the first day at 5 hours, but less on the second to Oswego. Went through the entire reservation process and at the end discovered that they require a minimum of 3 nights. Since it is just a one night stop on the way from New Hampshire, that doesn't work. There are only 2 DEC campgrounds open before May 20th, so the only other choice is Wilmington Notch where I stayed last year. Only 4 hours from the Chocorua KOA, and they will let me stay one night. So, I'm booked, in fact, in the same site as last time.  Most of the sites are described as 20' or 30', and I'm 46' with the truck connected.  I fit connected in site 30, so unless they changed it, I should fit.

It is now 2:00 and the wind has definitely kicked up. Lots of trailer shaking, and tents flapping. So far my neighbor's has stayed up, although it sure bends a lot! I thought about a hike to the Palm Canyon Grove to see the results of the fire they had in January 2020, but with the wind, I'll wait until tomorrow. The rest of today looks like sitting in the trailer is a good idea.

Dinner was a Barber Chicken with Broccoli & Cheese & the leftover Bush beans.

Until Tomorrow - 

Monday, February 14, 2022

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 117

 Monday, February 14, 2022, Anza-Borrego Desert SP, Borrego Springs, CA - 221.4 Miles, 3,992.9 Miles for the Trip

Metal Sculptures Along Borrego Springs Road

Have (or, since it's already 9:00 on the east coast) hope you had a great Valentine's Day!

While I didn't do my usual morning walk, I did read the usual forums & blogs after breakfast. I headed for the dump station around 9:30. As usual, I managed to get behind a pair of very slow dumpers. The class C took so long that the guy ahead of me & I both dumped before she was done. Fortunately, I didn't need to wait for her to fill her water tank; I beat her to the water stop.

An uneventful trip along I10 & CA 86 to CA78 & Borrego Springs Road. I stopped at the Torres Martinez Casino for gas - $4.15 a gallon, $.60 less per gallon than at the non reservation stations. As long as I was on Borrego Springs road, and early for a 2:00 Check in (I'm now on California time a hour earlier than Arizona), I stopped to take some photos of the metal sculptures. Many more photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

I still got to the entrance station early at 1:40, and they are strict about no early arrivals. I got a pass that let me park for free at the park nature center & took a couple of photos.

At 2:03 I went back to the entrance station & got my pass. They did have a couple of full hookup sites available because we have predictions for overnight & tomorrow winds of 30 - 40MPH with 70-80MPH gusts and a bunch left early. The problem is I would have to move every day to a new site. While AC sounds nice today, the rest of my stay is in the 60's & 70's. Not worth the trouble, so I'm parked in site 65 next door to the bathrooms. $25.66 per night with token operated showers that cost $1.00 per 2 minutes (hey, we are in the California Desert!) The trailer fits with 5' to spare with the tires against the stop, and the truck squeezes in next to the trailer. All the dry sites are really designed for tents or vans, although there are a few small 5th wheels in the section. A great view across the street from my trailer. Of course with no window, I have to sit outside to appreciate it, but since it is 86°F outside and inside the trailer is warmer (but cooling), sitting outside is a good idea. While sitting outside I found a friend.

By the way, for all those that think the number of bars indicates the data speed, here at the park I have 2 bars, but with the AT&T cell modem set up with MIMO antennas, I have 42Mbps down & 6.7Mbps up. At Quartzsite, I had far less speed with twice the # of bars.

There is one other fiberglass trailer in the park; an Oliver that is now parked in the full hookup area.

Dinner was a Turkey Bubba Burger & Bush Maple Hickory baked beans with a Walmart Chocolate Mousse for dessert.

Until Tomorrow - 

Sunday, February 13, 2022

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 116

 Sunday, February 13, 2022, Dome Rock BLM, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 11

Hooking Up

It actually got cool enough to want two blankets last night - down to 45°F outside & 58°F in the trailer before the furnace kicked on. After breakfast I took some photos of folks packing up & leaving.

Lots of packing & hitching up as the crowd at Dome Rock thins. It isn't empty, but there are lots of open areas that used to be filled with fiberglass. The upper ridge (sometimes known as Snob Hill in good fun) is almost empty. Yesterday it was filled almost trailer to trailer. Still, there are at least 30 trailers scattered around the area. Pictures at today's LakeshoreImages page or the 2022 Quartzsite Fiberglass Gathering page.

Around 11:00 I headed to Parker to get some groceries. I also topped off the gas tank - fuel at Running Man was $3.31 per gallon, much better than Quartzite's best price of $3.56.

I packed up the trailer getting ready to head to the dump station, but decided rather than putting everything inside the trailer away, then getting most of it out for the night, then repacking it in the morning, I'd just wait to dump tomorrow. I only have to drive 174 miles to Anza-Borrego State Park, so I will have plenty of time in the morning. I do have some angry hummingbirds after taking down the feeder. 

I checked the propane & was down one tank, so off to Mobil for a refill. I got there at 3:45 and the propane guy doesn't arrive until 4:00, so I waited. As long as the Mobil station is also a Burger King & it was 4:10 by the time I finished with the propane, I bought my first drive in meal, so...

Dinner was an Impossible Whopper, fries & a diet coke. I do like their Impossible Whoppers.

Until Tomorrow - 

Saturday, February 12, 2022

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 115

 Saturday, February 12, 2022, Dome Rock BLM, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 10

The Saturday Morning Swap Meet

The day started off with the Swap Meet. I tried to get rid of a bunch of stuff I no longer need. Most of the free stuff went OK, but no luck selling the Victron solar controller or my Olympus camera. I'll try again at  the Algonac rally.

After that, it was off to the laundromat. The laundromat is back to the good old days - lots of machines & dryers available. After doing two loads of laundry I went across the street for a haircut & a shower to wash off the haircut remains.

And another walk around at 4:00. Looks like special dinners on what is the last night for many, including Pizza from Silly Al's & steak & baked potatoes. Photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

For me, dinner was a microwaved Innovasian Honey Chicken Bowl.

Until Tomorrow - 

Friday, February 11, 2022

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 114

 Friday, February 11, 2022, Dome Rock BLM, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 9

The Hotdogs on the Grill

Another warm night, although the furnace ran for a bit around 7:00AM. 

After breakfast I took a few photos walking around the area, and attempted to count the trailers. Best guess is 88.

I made another loop during the afternoon, and includes the hotdog roast & another evening concert. The evening count is at 90 trailers.

Dinner was a couple of hotdogs.  Photos at today's LakeshoreImages page or the 2022 February Quartzsite Gathering page.

Until Tomorrow - 

Thursday, February 10, 2022

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 113

 Thursday, February 10, 2022, Dome Rock BLM, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 8

The Dome Rock Hike

A warm night - it didn't get below 60°F & the furnace never ran. I'd actually prefer it getting a bit cooler over night both for comfortable sleeping & to give the refrigerator better cooling.

During my morning walk when i was on my way back from Dome Rock I ran into the group hike heading to it.

After breakfast I made a run back to the LTVA to drop off a bag of garbage - it has emptied out quite a bit. 

I made a couple of rounds of the Dome Rock area during the afternoon, then spent some time in one of the Clams chatting with friends. Frederick Simpson has set up a weighing station & has offered to weigh trailers. Too many have said I don't want to know how much mine weights, but I did get some photos of a weigh in. Photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

After that it was back to the trailer for dinner.

Dinner was a grilled Better Cheddar & mixed fruit bowl.

Until Tomorrow - 

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 112

 Wednesday, February 9, 2022, Dome Rock BLM, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 7

The Dome Rock Evening Concert

Not a lot of new arrivals this morning, but still lots of fiberglass covering Dome Rock. After breakfast I went for a walk & took the first photos of the day.  Lots more photos at today's LakeshoreImages page or the 2022 Quartzsite Fiberglass Gathering.

I got way too much sun wandering around today. Both my face legs are glowing! Even sitting required difficult choices - park your chair out of the wind, but in the sun where it was too hot, or set up in the shade & in the wind where it was too cool. Tough decisions! By the way, for all those stuck in the northeast, it was clear skies & 75°F today here at Quartzsite.

Dinner was a Martha Stewart Chicken in Red Wine with vegetables microwave meal. A bit more expensive than most of the microwave meals, but I have liked all of the ones I've tried.

Until Tomorrow - 

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 111

 Tuesday, February 8, 2022, Dome Rock BLM, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 6

A Hummingbird, Just Don't Ask What Kind!

I walked to the base of Dome Rock this morning, but declined to climb it! After breakfast I wandered around taking a few photos. Eventually, I headed to the ARCO station for a shower. I got a heads up on the ARCO station - they have 2 showers, so there is often a wait, but they are full bathrooms with sink, toilet & a huge shower with both a handheld as well as the standard showerhead. They supply a towel, washcloth & a real, not paper bath mat as well as soap, all for $7.00. I had a short wait, and it was well worth it.

Back at the trailer I put the 70 - 200 mm zoom lens on the camera and took a few hummingbird photos. I used my iBird Photo Sleuth app to attempt to ID the birds, but evidently, it doesn't do too well with Dome Rock hummingbirds, It was 60% sure that these are Anna's, Black Chinned, or Costa's hummingbirds. I guess there could have been 3 different birds, but the first three images were the same bird & given different names.  It is 70% sure that the one in the photo above is a Broad Billed, but the bill sure doesn't look like it.

After adding the hummingbird photos I did another walk around.  As usual, many more photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Dinner was a cheeseburger (real ground beef, not a Bubba Burger) and a salad.

Until Tomorrow - 

Monday, February 7, 2022

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 110

Monday, February 7, 2022, Dome Rock BLM, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 5 - 0 Miles, 3,771.5 Miles for the Trip

Hanging Out

48°F this morning during my walk before breakfast. Lots of folks out & about. After breakfast I read some forums, and eventually headed to Blythe for my eye drops. Of course I had to also stop at Albertson and buy too much stuff. At least the frozen stuff fit in the freezer, although there now is not room for anything else. 

Around 2:00 I went for a walk with the camera. Lots of Clams set up all over Dome Rock. They are a handy way to get out of the sun during the day, and, if you have a propane fire ring, a nice place to keep warm during the cool evening. I didn't count the number of trailers, but all the time I was wandering around, they were arriving.

Dinner was a grilled chicken leg quarter, a salad & southwestern corn.

After dinner I made another round of the camping area. I counted 80 trailers, although I could have easily counted one or two twice or missed a couple. We got buzzed by a back pack para sail.  Photos at today's LakeshoreImages page or the 2022 February Quartzsite Gathering page.

Until Tomorrow - 

Until Tomorrow -  

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 109

Sunday, February 6, 2022, Dome Rock BLM, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 4


Sorry this is late - somehow I missed posting it yesterday.

I took a short walk around the lower area of Dome Rock last night after posting yesterday's journal entry.

More trailers arrived during the morning - I didn't do a count during my walk, but some of the open areas are filled. I took the camera on a second walk around noon.

Lots of photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

And a late afternoon walk. As of 4:30, there are 47 of us here, 45 of which are fiberglass trailers.

I got a text from Rite-Aid in Blythe that my eye drop prescription is ready. I had asked them to change the phone # from my Verizon cell which used to be my home land line to my more used AT&T cell phone which is now a iPhone 13 Pro. I was on the Verizon phone FaceTiming with the Guidos, and I really don't know which phone got the text, but while I got the "bong" that a text message arrived, it wasn't on either phone. I pushed a bunch of buttons & heard the tail end of a voice mail on the AT&T phone telling me it was ready, but again, the voice mail isn't on either phone. I guess it isn't a good idea to try to check voice mail or text messages while you are on Facetime!

In any case, I went to the Rite-Aid website after hanging up & found that the prescription is ready. I'll probably head to Blythe tomorrow.

Dinner was a frozen short rib dinner (well, it wasn't frozen after 5 minutes in the microwave)!

Until Tomorrow - 

And a late afternoon walk. As of 4:30, there are 47 of us here, 45 of which are fiberglass trailers.

I got a text from Rite-Aid in Blythe that my eye drop prescription is ready. I had asked them to change the phone # from my Verizon cell which used to be my home land line to my more used AT&T cell phone which is now a iPhone 13 Pro. I was on the Verizon phone FaceTiming with the Guidos, and I really don't know which phone got the text, but while I got the "bong" that a text message arrived, it wasn't on either phone. I pushed a bunch of buttons & heard the tail end of a voice mail on the AT&T phone telling me it was ready, but again, the voice mail isn't on either phone. I guess it isn't a good idea to try to check voice mail or text messages while you are on Facetime!

In any case, I went to the Rite-Aid website after hanging up & found that the prescription is ready. I'll probably head to Blythe tomorrow.

Until Tomorrow - 

I got a text from Lite-Aid in Blythe that my eye drop prescription is ready. I had asked them to change the phone # from my Verizon cell which used to be my home land line to my more used AT&T cell phone which is now a iPhone 13 Pro. I was on the Verizon phone FaceTiming with the Guidos, and I really don't know which phone got the text, but while I got the "bong" that a text message arrived, it wasn't on either phone. I pushed a bunch of buttons & heard the tail end of a voice mail on the AT&T phone telling me it was ready, but again, the voice mail isn't on either phone. I guess it isn't a good idea to try to check voice mail or text messages while you are on Facetime!

In any case, I went to the Rite-Aid website after hanging up & found that the prescription is ready. I'll probably head to Blythe tomorrow.

Until Tomorrow - 

Saturday, February 5, 2022

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 108

 Saturday, February 5, 2022, Dome Rock BLM, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 3

Dome Rock Area

A cool night, particularly for February - down to 36°F by morning. It did warm up quickly with the cloud free skies & strong sun. The wind has also died down. 3MPH average with a 11MPH peak.

I made a long walk around the Dome Rock area this morning before breakfast, then read some forums & paid some bills.

I made a trip around the area with the camera around noon. Dan was having a good time repairing Paula's furnace - the typical dirty sail switch. I made a Plano image of most of the lower area. The large version is a full sized jpg that is 8.7MB.  More photos at today's LakeshoreImages page or the 2022 Quartzsite Gathering page.

On my second walk around Dome Rock I counted 33 fiberglass trailers. After that I spent an hour or so entering all the locations for the trip back to NY in my GPS. 

Dinner was a Bubba Burger & a salad.

Until Tomorrow - 

Friday, February 4, 2022

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 107

 Friday, February 4, 2022, Dome Rock BLM, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 2

It didn't get anywhere near the predicted low last night - only down to 44°F by morning. One of the first days I didn't do a walk to the 76 station for coffee; is is about 5 miles from here. I did make a loop around the Dome Rock area - there are over 20 fiberglass trailers here already.

After making a pot of coffee & breakfast, I visited with some neighbors, and sat in the sun reading. Still a bit windy, so I ended up behind the trailer since the wind was coming from the north. I probably should have parked on the other side of the area so the sun would be on the front of the trailer & the body of it would block the prevailing wind, but I'm here. If it gets as warm as predicted, I'll be glad the front of the trailer is in the shade.

I took another walk around the area & met a bunch of new arrivals. I'll do pictures tomorrow.

Dinner was a evol Portabella & Goat Cheese Ravioli meal.

Until Tomorrow - 

Thursday, February 3, 2022

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 106

 Thursday, February 3, 2022, Dome Rock BLM, Quartzsite, AZ

I found I was down one propane tank, so it was a drive for coffee rather than a walk this morning. After breakfast I emptied the back of the truck bed & filled it with the firewood. I drove out to Dome Rock and pilled the firewood in the area I planned to set up the trailer. I went back to La Posa West & packed up the trailer. An hour later I arrived at Dome Rock, but the firewood was gone. Oh well, it didn't cost me anything, but if anyone was watching me drop it off it was obvious that I was coming back. 

My Site at Dome Rock

Anyhow, I'm set up at Dome Rock. Just for a change, and because the pile of firewood is gone, I am a couple hundred yards west of the location I usually use. There are a couple of Escapes & a Casita here in this area with plenty of room for more. In fact, while I was typing this another Escape 21 showed up & parked the other side of a bunch of bushes, and a 5.0TA a bit west of me. More photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

I put out both wands for the hummingbird feeder & my hummingbird lights & welcome sign, nailed down the mat, and reset all the inside stuff. Set up the aluminum roll table & grill, and the portable solar panels. After that I took a walk around the camping area both for the exercise & to see if I could find my firewood. The walk was OK, but I never did find the firewood. 

It is cool if you are out of the sun, 55°F, but still windy. Not as bad as yesterday, but 13MPH average with a 21MPH peak that cools you down in the shade. The prediction for tonight is 33°F. This is definitely the coolest winter I've spent in the southwest over the last 7 years. 

Dinner was a grilled Johnsonville Bedder with Cheddar sausage & a salad.

Until Tomorrow -

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 105

 Wednesday, February 2, 2022, La Posa West LTVA, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 54

There are Mountains Behind the RV

The windiest day of the trip - 35MPH gusts so far with an average of 25MPH. The "mountains" to the west have disappeared in the dust, in fact, at times, I can't see the class A across the wash from me. They have a large German Shepard that would really like to get out of the wind & dust, but so far pawing at the door hasn't worked. Like many, no attention to the BLM leash rules. Around noon they let him in. I folded down the legs on the portable solar panel so that it is flat on the ground, and took the grill off the table & flipped the table legs up. So far, everything is still next to the trailer, but the table slid off the slippery mat flapping in the breeze. I stuck some of the firewood on the mat to hold it down.

I feel a bit lonely - the class A that was at the other end of this section left this morning so there is no one left but me. Things are definitely thinning out, but there are still a fair number of RVs parked in the flat area on the north side of the wash. Another sign of fewer RVs - both AT&T & Verizon started out at usable speeds, but by noon they were both barely there with AT&T at 1.3Mbps down & 2.3Mbps up and Verizon at .1Mbps down & .4Mbps up. Could be the dust in the air is slowing things down, or the wind is twisting their microwave dishes out of line, but to be honest, it is possible that Verizon is still limiting my speed. It is suppose to go back to full service on the 2nd, but today isn't over yet. In any case, I'm currently sticking with AT&T.

The plan was to haul the firewood to Dome Rock first, then pack up the trailer and do the same. With the wind, I really don't want to be trying to unpeg & fold my 9' X 12' mat and pack the truck, so unless it tapers off this afternoon, I'm going to wait until tomorrow.

I didn't get any pictures, but watching a hummingbird at the feeder in 30MPH winds is pretty amazing. They manage to sync with the swinging feeder & the wind and get their beak into the holes in the bee guard.

While the wind was predicted to end at 4:00PM, it is still blowing strong - 33MPH peaks & an average of 24MPH. For some reason, no one is outside walking their dogs. It is also a bit chilly in the trailer. While I didn't turn up the thermostat; it is still set for 61°F. It is 60°F at the head of he bed, and here in the back where the sun is shining through the windows & dust it is 65°F so the furnace has not come on. 54°F outside and dropping. There is a freeze warning for tonight; I hope it is for somewhere nearby, not here!

Dinner was definitely cooked inside - Left over ribs, mac & cheese & green beans.

Until Tomorrow - 

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

2021 - 2022 Trip To The Southwest, Day 104

 Tuesday, February 1, 2022, La Posa West LTVA, Quartzsite, AZ, Day 53

A warm night; 50°F at 7:00AM. By the time I climbed out of bed Lou & Judy in the 5th wheel across from me pulled out. They are heading to the dump station & La Posa Tyson Wash for the rest of the winter. There is one Class A motorhome all the way to the northwestern end of the area whose owners I haven't met left in the area.

After breakfast I tried using my Verizon cell modem after my 50GB high speed allocation ran out during the middle of the night. I go back on full speed tomorrow, but I got the chance to see how useful the modem was at 600KB. I just love that they call it unlimited - while I could read email & view image-less forums, things like Facebook become unusable. I could use my Verizon phone's data hotspot allocation of 15GB, but instead switched to the AT&T cell modem. AT&T is getting usable as folks leave the area. I still see over 25 WiFi ssids on my unamplified laptop WiFi, so there are still lots of folks on the internet.

After a bit of reading, I went to the Social Security webpage to see if I could find my 1099SS so I could finish my taxes. It would make sense to put a link to the PDF location on your SS landing page, but you have to search around and look in "Replacement Documents" to find it. Of course I'm not replacing anything, but...

Anyhow, I finished my very simple federal & state taxes.

After that it was off to the laundromat for what should have been two loads of wash. Instead I stuffed it all in one of the commercial front loading machines. Bad idea - you could wring water out of the clothes after the spin cycle. Anything I saved with the single washer was spent on the two 40 minutes runs on the dryers necessary to finish things.

I stopped at the Coyote Market for one of their rib meals. Baby back ribs, mac & cheese & green beans, large enough that I'll make two meals out of it. I'll snack for dinner.

The BLM brought in a back hoe to clear out the garbage bags pilled along side the overflowing roll off, and the garbage truck dropped off another roll off next to it, so I walked over to drop off 2 days worth of garbage. Now there are two empty rolloffs next to each other. Would have been more practical if they did that during the Big Tent Show week. Speaking (well, typing) of the Big Tent, all it is is poles. The shell is already gone.

Until Tomorrow -