Winter in the Desert

Adios, California and off to Quartzsite, AZ. We decided we will try to winter this year in the Southwest and Quartzsite was stop number one. It was a temporary stop, we needed to burn a few days before meeting some friends in Tucson. For those a bit naive about the ways of the RV life, Quartzsite is a winter mecca for boondockers looking for warmer weather patterns. It also happens to host an RV show and a large gem/mineral show, as well as a large craft vendor’s area for those of the RV lifestyle. This all takes place January-February, but the scattered tents of vendors are operable pretty much all year.

We picked a spot to boondock for a couple of days off Cholla Rd. which runs off Dome Rock Rd. At this stop we learned, again, that common sense is a terrible thing to waste. We were within sight-line of the county dump transfer station. Don’t set up camp anywhere NEAR a county dump transfer station. The flies were so thick they were flying in formation. Being here for only a couple of days, we did not try to do much sightseeing, but we did take a few miles hike with Woody into the nearby hills. The entire area around for miles is BLM and popular for ATV/dirt bike riding, which also offers a myriad of choices for hiking.

Our temporary back yard, boondocking in Quartzsite, AZ.

Our temporary back yard, boondocking in Quartzsite, AZ.

Jeanne & Woody, King and Queen of the Mountain.

Jeanne & Woody, King and Queen of the Mountain.

Woody, free roamin' in the desert...

Woody, free roamin’ in the desert…

Sunrise on the desert

Sunrise on the desert

Ouch! These Cholla "bombs" are ready for dispersal!

Ouch! These Cholla “bombs” are ready for dispersal!

Sunset on the desert

Sunset on the desert

We also took a stroll through the vendor tents here in town and I came upon an NRA trailer that offered CCW permits. When I retired I vowed I would not bother carrying a gun ever again. I was not willing to try to obtain the retiree’s permit because I am basically lazy and did not want to deal with any type of yearly qualification in order to get some government agency’s permission to carry one. But the actions and comments in recent times by our Fearful Leader and his untrustworthy cohorts at the helm of our government has made me rethink that strategy. And speaking with the NRA rep here, I found Arizona to be a CCW friendly state. For the $40 fee, plus $60 background check fee, I could obtain the Arizona CCW. As a retired flatfoot, the 2 1/2 hr. required class would be waived. There is no range time required, no qualification shoot administered. There is no requirement to ever have to qualify to maintain the CCW, all is done by mail after 5 years. And the permit has reciprocity with 37 of the more intelligent states of the union. Well, make that 36, at the time of this writing the state of Virginia legislators had a group lobotomy and decided to drop 25 states from their reciprocity list (AZ included) because they felt those states had gun laws too lax for their preference. So bing bang bong, checks cut, permit on the way…

From Quartzsite it was on to the Lazydays/KOA in Tucson, AZ. There we hooked up with our friends Steve & Christy and Harry & Kathy. We are all former guests of Bruce Deaton’s Auto Body and RV Resort in Red Bay, Alabama, (sarcasm emphasized). Deaton runs an auto body shop which specializes in RVs just outside the gates of Tiffin RV, and he allows full timers to hook-up and stay in his paint bays when getting work done. If you try to call him up for reservations at his “RV Resort”, he will probably laugh uncontrollably…

In Tucson, we checked out the Tucson Air Museum. We toured the main buildings and surrounding grounds with all their historic military aircraft. Unfortunately, we did not get a chance to take the Boneyard Tour where they say they have, give or take, some 3,000 parked aircraft waiting for use or to be parted out.

My favorite at the air museum. Made me break out in song, "We are poor, little lambs, who've lost our way. Baa, baa, baa…"

My favorite at the air museum. Made me break out in song, “We are poor, little lambs, who’ve lost our way. Baa, baa, baa…”

Top Gun, anyone?

Top Gun, anyone?

We had heard that the Desert Museum was a must-see as well. It is. We did. There are some indoor displays such as snakes and desert bugs/critters, along with some winding paths through the cacti and outdoor displays (large cats, an aviary, coyotes, and javelina’s, just to name a few).

"Hello, Mr. Arizona Black Rattlesnake!"

“Hello, Mr. Arizona Black Rattlesnake!”

At least now I can see when I get zapped by a scorpion at night!

At least now I can see when I get zapped by a scorpion at night!

I'm not sure you would like to feel one of these guys crawling up your leg...

I’m not sure you would like to feel one of these guys crawling up your leg…

Oh, to live the life of leisure! Is it dinner time yet?

Oh, to live the life of leisure! Is it dinner time yet?

They even had Yogi on display at the Desert Museum.

They even had Yogi on display at the Desert Museum.

Talk about the easy life! These Javelinas are sure enjoying it.

Talk about the easy life! These Javelinas are sure enjoying it.

We found Wile E. Coyote anxiously awaiting a FedEx delivery of the latest invention from the Acme Manufacturing Company.

We found Wile E. Coyote anxiously awaiting a FedEx delivery of the latest invention from the Acme Manufacturing Company.

Beavers? In the desert??

Beavers? In the desert??

A hummer in the aviary. Nice coloring...

A hummer in the aviary. Nice coloring…

Old Tucson was another sight-seeing excursion we did. It is a group of buildings that were old sets for various movies. They do various performances throughout the day such as a stunt show and a vaudevillian type Can-Can musical.

Old Tucson Sheriff's Office.

Old Tucson Sheriff’s Office.

The business end of the Old Tucson Sheriff's Office.

The business end of the Old Tucson Sheriff’s Office.

Taking advantage of a little R&R in Old Tucson.

Taking advantage of a little R&R in Old Tucson.

After about a week here in Tucson, we decided we wanted to do some more boondocking. Jeanne found a very large area near the American Girl Mine (an active gold mine) just 14 miles west of Yuma in the southern desert area of California near the Imperial Dunes. Harry & Kathy joined us for some solitude in the desert.

Our yard at the American Girl Mine.

Our yard at the American Girl Mine.

"Night vision", in the desert…

“Night vision”, in the desert…

We used the opportunity to go into Los Algodones, Mexico, to pick up some drugs for Jenn & Gus (daughter & son-in-law). The Purple Pharmacy is a popular destination for full-time RV folk to get medications way mo’ cheaper than in the U.S. It is also popular for optometry and dentistry. While walking around we picked up some good ol’ tequila at the liquor store and just happened to spy some Cuban cigars in the tobacco section. A big sign let us know that taking Cuban’s across the U.S. border was a big no-no. Being the brave chicken $hit that I am with no desire to become Big Juan’s new boyfriend in a Mexican prison, we bought a couple of the stogies and smoked them “in country”. VERY smooth!

Cubans!

Cubans!

Downtown Los Algodones

Downtown Los Algodones

The big highlight of our boondocking stay here was that Jeanne got her first taste of 4-wheel “Jeepin’”. Harry & Kathy are members of a Jeep club and very into the art of 4-wheelin’ on Jeep trails. So off into the desert hills we rode, Jeanne following Harry onto some very rough trails that I never thought I would see the day Jeanne would attempt to traverse. But she slayed them! And the Jeep returned to the bus in one piece…

4-wheel mania!

4-wheel mania!

After about a week here we returned to Quartzsite for a few days stay at the Holiday Palms RV Park to dump, fill, and otherwise reload for the next stop in Lake Havasu City with Harry & Kathy. This stop was during Christmas, so we had a very nice dinner put on by the residents of the park. We ended up extending this stop just a bit due to some hellacious winds and sand storms. But prior to leaving Jeanne, Woody, and I took the opportunity to drive out to Palm Canyon inside the KofA National Wildlife Refuge. We took the short hike up into the mountains and got to Palm Canyon about 45 minutes too early. The canyon is very steep on both sides and the 100 or so Palm trees growing in it only get sunlight very briefly at midday. It was too cold while we were there to wait for the sun to hit the trees, so I took what photos I could and we high-tailed it back down to the Jeep and it’s heated interior.

The Palms of Palm Canyon

The Palms of Palm Canyon

Hiking to the Palms...

Hiking to the Palms…

We got a bit of wind our last days here in Quartzsite!

We got a bit of wind our last days here in Quartzsite!

Our next stop was more boondocking near Lake Havasu City. We got a little more 4-wheelin’ in and checked out the London Bridge. The bridge was transplanted here from London by the McCulloch chainsaw guy. They actually dug out a “river/channel” to create an island to which the bridge provides access. And, as always, we got in some nice hikes into the mountains.

Home near Lake Havasu. "Shhhhhh! Keep it down! The neighbors might complain! NOT!

Home near Lake Havasu. “Shhhhhh! Keep it down! The neighbors might complain! NOT!

Checkin' out London Bridge.

Checkin’ out London Bridge.

Another hike in the desert mountains.

Another hike in the desert mountains.

From here, we have several things happening. The RV show in Quartzsite starts around the 16th, we will be participating in a Jeep rally by the FMCA in Quartzsite starting around the 24th, and overall lollygaggery for the next several months until the Allegro Club rally in Casa Grande in April.  That’s all for now…

About rvrrat520

Recreational wanderers just livin' the dream while we can still get vertical.
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2 Responses to Winter in the Desert

  1. David Anderson says:

    Hi C W, enjoy the read. We are headed out in the middle of February, starting out at Valley of Fire, then to Buck Skin starts park, then to Userry Park. Keep in touch and maybe we can find each other along the way. By the way I just saw George and Nicky Phillips who were headed to Quartzite to meat up with the Stayrooks and several others. So they should be there now. Enjoy and Happy New Year to you guys. Dave >

    • rvrrat520 says:

      Thanx Dave. We’re going to be all over the southwest probably til summer, then back to SLO for the new granddaughter due around tax day, maybe we will cross paths…😎

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