Sunday, January 30, 2011 Lorraine’s report
We’ve moved on and are now in Yuma, AZ. It’s so nice to have water, 50 amps and sewer. After 7 days of dry camping in the dusty desert, it’s nice to have all the comforts of a stick and brick home. I know Norma and Joy were happy to move into town and get power, water and sewer so they could have a nice hot, long shower. I think they missed that the most, and although they were only 5 days at Quartzsite, it was a bit long for them.
As it seems to be the case for us, we were busy the entire week, except for last Sunday. We got the blog done and Chuck and I stayed home the entire day. He watched the playoffs with Richard, Mark and Steve, while the gals, Patsy, Sue, Sandy, Joan and I played “Pass the Love” all afternoon. Fun times for all of us.
For dinner, Sandy and I threw together our food and had a nice dinner for the 4 of us. Rob/Norma and Rick/Joy came over for a visit and to share their experiences of shopping at the Big Tent at Quartzsite.
Monday morning found Chuck having the Hydro Hot service man come in to service the Hydro Hot. He was here from 10 am until after 2 pm. There were several problems, and the guy would have to finish the job the next day.
When the repair man left, 4 couples left the Tiffin Group to head over to join the RV America Group. Steve/Sandy, Rob/Norma, Rick/Joy and Chuck and I made it over to their campsite by 3:30 or so, while Chuck stopped at the extremely busy dump site to empty the black tank and take on water.
We enjoyed a very nice 5 o’clock happy hour with all our “old” friends and met some new friends there. I’m not sure, but I think there were at least 13 or 14 people in that group and we made it 19 or 20. There was a lot of food, fellowship and laughter around Virgil’s campfire that evening.
Tuesday found us waiting for the repairs to be finished on the Hydro Hot. I think he had to replace a circuit board for that area, an unexpected expense. When the repair man was done, we went in to Tyson Wells for shopping/looking.
We spent another wonderful evening eating and visiting around Virgil’s campfire until it got to cold to be out. That night was also the new bee’s initiation into the “Trailer Trash Club”. Each year Mike has a ceremony for any man, new to the group to be initiated in a short ceremony, the only requirement is that you have to spend one night camping with us at Q. I think there were 5 new couples.
This year was a first; Linda talked about doing something for the gals of the group last year with me and she started the “Quartzsite Diva’s” group for the gals. Each gal who has stayed at least one night became a Quartzsite Diva. It was a lot of fun for everyone. Thank you Linda and Mike, it was fun!
The gals then came into our rig where Linda taught us a new game called Blind 5. Linda, Sue, Sandy, Norma, Joy and I had a great time playing and enjoying each other’s company.
We also had to say our “goodbyes” to Richard and Patsy, who would leave the next morning to head back to Texas. Thank you both for all the great times we had with you; we will miss you and wish you safe travels and we’ll see you “Down the Road”.
Wednesday found us heading into Rice Ranch, Tyson Wells and to finish up the “Big Tent”. Virgil and Carl had to figure out a wind break for us to eat out, as the wind was blowing pretty hard for 5 o’clock. We didn’t have a fire that evening and we went into Norma’s rig to play games fairly early, since it got cold and was so windy out.
Thursday we said our “goodbyes” to Steve/Sandy and Mark/Sue and Debbie/Bob. We headed out with Rob/Norma and Rick/Joy and went on into Yuma with our destination being Fortuna De Oro RV Park on the east side of town.
We arrived with no problems and were put into spots right next to Interstate 8; the gal at the office said there was a big cement wall blocking the highway noise. Wrong, we spent two nights right by the freeway, with Norma and Joy having to put in earplugs to try to get some sleep.
Chuck wanted to go to Cracker Barrel for dinner, so off we went. We enjoyed a very nice evening there.
Friday morning Chuck took Rob and Rick over to check out a place that puts a water filtration system into your rig; we got it last year. They came back and off we went to the Yuma Swap Meet. We all enjoyed a warm sunny afternoon looking and shopping around. But I must say the swap meet is a lot smaller than in previous years, with lots of shops gone. I was told by one shop owner that a lot of the people have moved to the old Mervyns store site and are now selling there. We will have to check that out.
Joy’s sister, Angela and her friend, Gordy were in Yuma for a bridge tournament and wanted to meet up for dinner. So I got on the phone and found a place that took reservations for 8 people. We ended up going to the Outback Steakhouse for a very nice dinner with a lot of laughs and some great food. Again, we had to say our “goodbyes” to some new friends.
By Saturday I finally caught up on the laundry, with me washing up the last loads-10, with all the rugs. Chuck, Rob and Rick were going to stay home and wait for the guys that came by the other day to wash and wax the rigs and cars for $100.
While they were doing that I wanted to head over to Dillard’s with Norma and Joy for some looking and then to Wal-Mart for restocking. The gals liked Dillard’s and ended up buying some great outfits. Wal-Mart was packed with everyone coming out of the desert.
But before we left, I wanted to stop by the front office here and see if my friend from Bellingham, Diana could do something for us about the unbearable site, with all its noise. I have known Diana from our Hospital Auxiliary Days, when she was president and I was the treasurer.
Well, Diana took very good care of us and got us moved to a much quieter area away from right next to the freeway. So the guys moved the rigs while we went into town for shopping. Thanks guys, we all appreciate what you did for us.
We arrived back home in plenty of time to get ready to head out with some of the people from Q to go to see the Yuma Lights. The Yuma Lights are phenomena out in the desert about 10-15 miles outside of town on a hillside. So we packed up a bunch of food and headed out. There were about 18 of us that enjoyed another great evening of a fire over which we cooked hot dogs, since the grill wouldn’t light, food, fun and what I thought were the lights. We had a very enjoyable evening. Thanks Joe and Alice for showing us the lights 4 years ago.
That was our week. I want to wish Sue D a very “Happy Birthday” on Monday. I also want to say “Hang in there Manuel. We’re praying for you.”
Until next time……Lorraine
1/30/11 Chuck’s report
Ok, we are back into a much more normal life for us, we have electric power, water and a sewer hookup, life is good. We spent 7 days in Quartzsite boon docking or camping without any of the above utilities so we had to conserve water (read that as short, Navy showers) and watch our electrical usage. We had to run our diesel generator at least twice a day to recharge our batteries and anytime we needed more power, ie to run the microwave or when Lorraine used her hair drier. We got better at this as the week progressed but we like to not have to worry about it when we have full hookups like here.
Let’s see, last week we were still with the Tiffin group, about 50 coaches, until Monday afternoon. I had an appointment to get the annual service completed on our Hydro-Hot diesel boiler. They showed up right on time on Monday morning for what was supposed to be about an hour’s worth of work, changing filter, changing the burner tip and cleaning the combustion chamber. We found a couple of other items that needed taken care of and they had to trouble shoot it. Ended up they found we had a bad control board and they found a small leak that they would have to take care of the next day. So after about 4 hours of work, they finished as much as they could do and told us to let them know where we were moving and they would see return in the next morning.
We were planning on moving over to camp with the same group we’ve been with for the past three years, RV America. Steve/Sandy, Rob/Norma and Rick/Joy were also moving over with us. While I was getting work done, Rick/Joy went to get in line for the sewer dump and to take on water. With all the folks camping in the desert and only two sewer dumps and four water hookups, there can be quite a lineup and wait to get this done. Lorraine had already put everything away so as soon as the maintenance guys were finished, I headed over to get in line. Lorraine took the car and helped direct all the others over to our new spot, I got there about an hour and half later after dumping our holding tanks and taking on a full tank of fresh water.
We got set up and ready for the normal 5:00 get together they have each night, weather permitting. This has evolved into a full meal deal, with the gals outdoing themselves with snacks and other goodie to eat. We all fill our plates, sit around the campfire and visit until it gets too cool, then head into someone’s rig for cards or dominoes. After all the fresh air, I think everyone sleeps pretty well while in Quartzsite.
Next morning the techs for the Hydro-Hot showed up to finish up with us. They changed out a pop off valve that was leaking and changed out the control board. I was pleasantly surprised to find out they didn’t charge any labor time, they worked on our system for over 5 hours and only charged us for the annual maintenance and the cost of the parts they replaced. So even though the control board was expensive, the lack of labor costs made the bill much less than what I was expecting. They also cut an access panel to allow easier access next time we need to do the annual maintenance work. All in all, I am pleased the work they did and the price they charged.
Tuesday and Wednesday we returned to town to complete our visits to all the shopping areas in and around Quartzsite. We didn’t find too many things we needed or wanted, maybe we’ve finally outfitted our coach the way we want, yea.
Our friends from Louisiana, Mark/Sue came over to RV America group on Wednesday also. Sue is a professional painter and has been painting name signs for folks to hang in their windows. We got one from her a couple of years ago but they have a different style now and Lorraine wanted a new one. Sue has been so busy painting these, I think she said she’s painted ten while in Quartzsite, that she didn’t have much time for anything else. But we did get to visit with them a bit more while they were here.
The RV America group was much smaller than the TRVN group we were with, 12 rigs compared to 50, so we could spend more time getting to know everyone. Mike/Linda sort of set this up every year and in the past years they have initiated any of the guys who were there for the first time into the group and give them a baseball hat with the words “Quartzsite Trailer Trash” on it. This year Linda also surprised all the gals with a visor hat with the words “Quartzsite Diva” on it. So now all the guy have their hats and the gals have their visors too, thanks to Mike and Linda.
Thursday morning found Rob/Norma. Rick/Joy and us getting stuff put away and getting ready for travel. Steve/Sandy stopped by for a quick visit before we left too, they had left the day before while we were in town and we didn’t get to see them off. So with handshakes and hugs all around and lots of “See you later” type of farewells, we started down the road towards Yuma. We made one stop at the Yuma Proving Grounds to visit the big guns then pulled into Fortuna De Oro campground.
They assigned us to a spot way in the corner, up by the freeway. They said it had a concrete wall to block the noise but it didn’t work too well. We tried it for two nights before we decided to ask for new spots. We are now settled into our new, quieter spots more in the middle of campground. Our dog, Misty, doesn’t much care for this place, she was raised in the Northwest and had a big, grassy back yard, she really misses the grass, this place is all gravel, concrete and asphalt, no grass anywhere.
We have friends who have a lot here in the foothills area, in fact, we’ve stayed on TJ/Sharon’s lot with them in the past. They had a house built there last year and they’ve been down since September, I think. We asked them if we could have our mail sent to their house, we would pick it up from them, saving us the hassle of going to the post office. TJ called us to tell us our mail had been delivered so I made a quick trip over to pick it up but we didn’t stop to visit with them yet.
Our first evening here we headed out to Cracker Barrel for dinner, one of our favorite restaurants we’ve found. They have lots of them down South but this is the only one we know of from here to Washington. Everyone seemed to enjoy their meal, Norma said she calls that kind of food “comfort food”, I call it Southern style. I’m sure we will be stopping by there before we leave here.
Friday we headed out to the Yuma Swap Meet. Lots of the vendors from Quartzsite move over to the swap meet here plus lots of vendor that only display here. We spent about three hours going up and down the isles and once again we didn’t find much we couldn’t live without. I think there are less vendors this year than in the past but one of them told us some vendors have moved to a new spot, we might have to check it out later.
After the swap meet, we returned to the rigs and got ready to meet with Joy’s sister, Angela and her friend Gordon, for dinner at Outback. We had a good dinner and a very good visit.
There are a couple of local guys that do a great job of washing/waxing people’s rig that come to the campground here in Yuma. We haven’t washed ours since before Christmas and it’s showing what a week in Quartzsite can do also. So we told the guy to wash them on Saturday morning, wax them Saturday afternoon.
Well, they didn’t show up on time and by the time they did come by, the gals were already in town on a shopping trip and we guys were in the process of moving to our new sites. I told the guy where our new sites were and they were supposed to show up in about an hour but once again, they were late. We made arrangement to have them show up early on Monday morning, it they are late once again I think we will just go with a different business this time. But here’s hoping they show up and do a good job. They charge a lot less than the guys in Palm Springs but do a good job, or at least have in the past.
Last night we met with three car loads of folks who we were with in Quartzsite at the RV America group to head to the Yuma lights. Our friends, Joe/Alice, introduced us to these three years ago. There is a hill out in the desert that has some sort of unexplained lights that show up after dark. These lights are more like a backlit fog, appearing randomly for differing amounts of time and differing intensity. The first year we were there, we were amazed and having been unable to come up with a definite explanation of what causes these lights. Everyone who has seen them go through the same thought process as we did, lights from the nearby trains or cars from the freeway, reflections from the train or planes, some sort of gas from the mountain to I don’t have a clue.
The first year, the lights were “out” a lot and each year we’ve seen less and less of them. Last year was a “bust” as the lights never did come out for our viewing, this year there was some sort of lights that showed but I think it was different that what we’ve seen in the past. The folks who have gone last year and/or this year haven’t seen them as well and they are pretty much non-believers in them but I still remember the first year and still have hope they will “return” next time we go out.
But even without the lights, we still have a good time with all who were there. I think we had 18 people in our group and there were three other groups close by. We had a fire going, cooked hot dogs over the fire as we couldn’t get the Bar-B-Q to light. We all had a good time, a good visit and most said they would return another year, hoping for a better viewing then. I doubt we will go back this year, once a year is good enough for us, even if we don’t see the mysterious Lights Of Yuma.
Our plans are to stay in Yuma for about another week or so. We will be walking across the border into Mexico to Algodones on Wednesday and Thursday to visit our dentist and so a little shopping. There are lots of pharmacies, dentists, eye glass places, liquor stores and locally made “stuff” that make up this border town. I know most of the Mexican border towns are having lots of gang problems but there aren’t bars and such and the town is only there for the day tourist, sort of closes up at night I’m told.
Once we leave here, we will head back to the Bay area to visit with our daughter and grand daughter once again. We will be there in time for Susy’s birthday on the 16th. Rob/Norma and Rick/Joy will be leaving here on Thursday or Friday, heading back towards their homes in British Columbia. They will be there about a week ahead of us, I hope they get all the bad weather out of the way before we get there. We will probably show up somewhere around the third weekend in February as my j-j-jo-job starts on March 1st and I have to have a physical and drug test first.
And now for some pictures of our week.
The Tiffin group at Quartzsite, lots of Tiffin Motorhomes here.
Setting around the campfire with RV America group.
Linda took this picture from the roof of her motorhome.
The guys getting their Quartzsite Trailer Trash hats and joining the club.
Lorraine and Linda with the new visors for the gals.
On the road to Yuma.
Lots of crops being grown around Yuma.
The tunnel we have to go through to get to the Yuma Lights.
Around the fire at the Lights.
So that was our week once again. We are sure having a good time down South again this year, don’t know why we waited so long to come down. It’s a good life for us.