Sunday, February 24, 2013

Ride to Stone Cabin.

Location, Bouse, AZ

A relaxing week with only a few items on our agenda.

On Thursday it was Connie’s birthday so the gang (9) of us went to Salome for breakfast. The restaurant had burned a few years ago but is back in business again. Good food also.

After breakfast we drove to Brenda and went to the Desert Gold RV Park craft show. It was well attended. This is the RV Park we used to winter over at. We also got to see our friends Bill and Linda who manage the park.

On Friday afternoon we loaded the ATV’s for a trip to the Stone Cabin on Saturday. The plan was to trailer the ATV’s to Gold Nugget road off I-10 as it is too far to drive them from here.

Saturday morning we drove to Gold Nugget Road and off loaded all the ATV’s. There were nine units in all which included some side-by-side Razr’s as well as ATV’s. It made for quite a sight as we all followed each other. Jack made the trip interesting by getting us lost on the way to the cabin. It just made for a nicer ride.

Jack and I unloading.

 Gary and I relaxing until someone makes a decision.
Clyda in EJ's side-by-side.

We did manage to find the cabin exactly at lunch time.

Someones idea of a birdhouse for the cabin.

Other people also found it about that time which makes for interesting conversation about “Where are you from?”, “Have you been here before?”, etc.

After a lengthy lunch we rode back the normal way. We reloaded all the ATV’s and came home. All in all, a nice day and a nice ride.

We will leave here tomorrow and dry camp for a few days before traveling to Bakersfield, and other adventures.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Back in Bouse, AZ.

Location, Bouse, AZ

We are back at our friends Jack and Judys place south of Bouse.

We stayed 3 days on West Darby Wells Road south of Ajo. It is one of the nicer dry camps we have ever had. The weather was beautiful and we hated to leave.

On Saturday we drove south to Organ Pipe National Monument. We had been here several years ago and of course the border crossings into the park had created lots of media hype in recent years. And yes, a young park ranger was killed in 2002 by drug smugglers however; the park is well patrolled by both park rangers and border patrol.

The campground is so nice that we wish we had camped there for a few days. It is laid out in a fan shape on the side of a hill over looking Mexico. All sites have paved pads with water nearby. For only $6.00 with the senior card it is a great deal.

On Sunday we drove to Quartzsite and camped over night at Rice Ranch. We walked around the Rice Ranch and Tyson Wells selling areas but there are few vendors now.

On Monday morning we had the rig in Lifestyles shop to have the water heater looked at and the low point drain valves replace. Both valves were cracked and leaking so we could not let our water pump on when it was not being used as it would cycle on as the water pressure dropped.

While the RV was in the shop we went to the bakery for pastries and then to the selling area near the Post Office. We got the low down on town politics from the lady selling metal gee-gaws. She told us that last year the seller permits were down 300 from the year before and this year they were down 700. That’s 1000 permits in 2 years. Many sellers we talked to said they aren’t coming back.

So, who will take the place of Quartzsite in coming years? Tucson has taken over the gem and mineral aspect of Quartzsite. The general sellers need some place to go. I was told that an area in Tucson is slowly becoming a selling area. Maybe it will take the place of Quartzsite in the future.

We had lunch with jack and Judy and EJ and then checked out the fabric and bead store. Eventually the RV was done but they didn’t have an electric heating element so we picked one up at Gamblers which I will install later. A few Ben Franklins later, we picked up the RV after buying some groceries, and proceeded to Bouse and got parked just in time for cocktail hour.

Yesterday I moved a few wheel barrow loads of rock for Jack and then installed the water heater element. Of course that meant draining the hot water heater. I had put in a new sacrificial anode this summer but it already was deteriorating so I put in a new one from my spare supply. After I removed the electric element I saw lots of calcium deposits in the water heater so I flushed them out with the help of a wire hook and the water hose. BAD DECISION! With the electric element out, the water ran back inside around the outside of the water tank and inside the RV under the sink soaking part of the carpet. I knew this before I started the job but completely forgot about it as I was cleaning the tank. BUMMER! I need someone to follow me around and whack me up side the head when I am about to screw up.

Lots of paper towels and bath towels later mo9st of the damage was cleaned up. The carpet however will take a while to dry. It only reinforces our decision to remove the carpet this summer and replace it with vinyl flooring.

Lots of wind yesterday. Overnight it rained and today we have snow on the mountains to the east and intermittent showers including some hail. Temps are in the 40’s.

We have a general plan for the next couple weeks as far as our travels go. Once we leave here on Monday, we will be heading home slowly. There is more dry camping planned and visits with friends before we park the rig.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Camping near Ajo, AZ.

Location, Ajo, AZ

We are actually dry camping on BLM property on West Old Darby Wells Road south of town.

This is a popular dry camping spot and I know about it from other RV’ers on the internet.

We drove from Tucson yesterday to Why, AZ (don’t you love the names?) then north to Darby Wells Road. We are not too far off the highway but don’t really hear the traffic so it is far enough. I am not real comfortable driving this big rig off highway. In fact yesterday we drove a couple miles back from the highway looking for a suitable spot for the rig but not near anyone else. People here like there solitude. I had to turn it around by pulling into side road and making a Y turn. It worked OK but I don’t like to do that.

Sunset last night.

We drove into Ajo today and looked around. The old downtown looked familiar but north of town sure has changed. The grocery store in old town has moved north on the highway and is now a big new IGA store. There are 2 new gas stations, two Dollar stores, newly paved streets, newly painted buildings in old town and a very large solar array south of town. We would not have seen the solar array had we not pulled off the road to check out a monument to citizens moved from the old cemetery to the one in town. It appears from the inscription that the cemetery was moved to make way for the solar array.

I judge small towns in America as good if they can support a Dairy Queen. Ajo fills the bill. We checked it out, Budd.

We also drove about 3 miles back on Darby Wells Road to see how many people are camped here. Quite a few it turns out. The most known from the Hitch Itch website is RV Sue. We saw here Casita but didn’t want to disturb her.

We did drive to an overlook into the large copper pit where the volunteer docent sitting in her car yelled out to us that they were closed. I asked her if it was closed to looking but got no answer, so we looked, took a photo, and left.

The pit.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Checking out another venue at the Gem show.

Location, Tucson, AZ

After spending way too much time in the RV, we decided to get out this afternoon and visit another of the Gem and Mineral show venues. After some mis-direction on my part we finally found an area near I-10 with several motels being used as show places. Parking was $3.00 but everything was within a short walk.

The first venue was the African Village with 3 aisles of booths full of the most unlikely things to be found at a gem show. There were lots of booths with beads of all sizes which anyone would be hard pressed to use in the modern world. I have heard that the beads used in the African trade were made in Italy. I doubt if anyone selling them today would admit that.

Tables piled high with beads.

Clyda looking at a pile of beads. 

We also checked out the show at the Howard Johnson Motel. This show is spread all over the place including all the bottom floor rooms with outside sliding doors. The good stuff is kept inside while the lesser quality is on tables outside.
Clyda managed to find a few items to purchase. I kept my hands in my pockets.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Seeing the sights.

Location, Tucson, AZ

We have moved to Justin’s Diamond J RV Park west of Tucson.

I heard about this park from people on the internet for some time but we have never been able to work out a stay here. Because we wanted to go to the Gem and Mineral Show which is now going on in Tucson, this seemed the perfect time.

We arrived on Thursday morning after an hours drive. In the afternoon we visited the gem show at the Days Inn. The show actually takes place all over town, where ever they can put up a tent or rent out rooms. The quality of gems and minerals is a step above Quartzsite.

On Friday we drove south to Tubac and attended the Art and craft show. We have been there before but not to the art show. It consumes the whole town. Parking was $6 which I assume goes to the city, and we were fortunate to park right in town. We managed to take in the whole show.
 Tents line every street in Tubac.

Flowers anyone?
The weather changed here last night as it did for most of the west. We have had some rain and wind. Supposed to be 32 degrees tonight. Bummer.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Another beautiful day.

Location, Picacho Peak, AZ

Beautiful weather with lows over night in the 50’s and daytime temps in the 70’s.

We had a low key morning and then drove over to Rooster Cogburn’s Ostrich Farm down the road from the RV Park. We didn’t pay the $5 fee to see the ostrich’s as I think it is more of a come on than for what you see.

We next drove to Picacho Peak State Park and paid the $7 daily fee to checkout the camp grounds (each site has electric). There was a long line of RV’s entering and we had to wait to get into the park. It seemed to take forever for the volunteers to work the computer and move the line.

We checked out the camp ground loops and picnic sites and walked a short way up the three and a half mile trail leading to Picacho Peak. There was too much loose gravel for Clyda to walk comfortably on this trail even with a hiking stick.
 Trail to Picacho Peak.

So green! These are flowers and should be beautiful shortly.

I finally pulled out the awning to dry it out. It has been rolled up since last June when we camped at Lopez Lake. Considering all that, it wasn’t too bad and dried quickly in the low humidity and slight breeze.

There is a lot of highway and train noise here but for the most part we ignore it. Thank goodness, they don’t whistle for any crossings near here.

This is a really nice park but for the highway and trains being so close it would be a real winner. We have stayed here several times in the past, usually for only a few days as there is not much to see nearby. Several years ago they started adding park models in the back and selling them. I am surprised how many they actually have now.

They did something most parks could emulate. Only every other site has an RV in it. This is really nice as long as there are a limited number of visitors. Of course, when there are more RV’s, they fill in the empty slots.

Tomorrow we will move on to southwest Tucson for at least a week. We have lots of places to visit and things to see.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Moving south in February.

Location, Picacho Peak, AZ

We have moved on from Casa Grande, AZ to Picacho Peak Resort only 30 miles south on I-10.

We spent only 5 days in Bouse, AZ at Jack and Judy’s fine camp site. They had picked us up in Goodyear on Saturday afternoon at the Marriott hotel when we arrived by shuttle van. After a stop in Buckeye at Cracker Barrel for a late lunch and a quick stop at Wal-Mart for groceries, we drove back to Bouse.

Sunday was a day of rest which I did need. On Wednesday Connie fixed cinnamon rolls for us and a group of neighbors. They are so good! It was good to see everyone.

We packed the rig on Thursday morning and drove the 185 miles to the Elks club at Casa Grande. We seem to make it here at least once a year. Clyda has a cousin here so we make it part of our plan to stop when we pass through.

Friends Jim and Michelle had arrived on Wednesday to join us for the “Running of the Gourds”, the gourd festival at the Pinal fairgrounds.

Friday morning we drove to the fairgrounds along with hundreds of other people. The ladies spent a half hour in line to see all the gourds in the “Masters” building. I jumped the line and joined them as they entered the building where we spent the next hour shuffling along in a line to view all the beautiful creations people can dream up using gourds.
The grand prize winner!

Lots of beautiful beaded gourds.

Friday evening we had Chicken Fried Steak at the Elks Club. The food was good but the smoke in the club got to us. It is what has kept us out of the club in the past.

On Sunday we watched the Super Bowl game at Clyda’s cousin’s house. On Monday I spent all morning scanning old family photos and documents at Clyda’s cousin’s house.

This morning we drove a whole 30 miles south to Picacho Peak Resort where we have stayed in the past. It is a nice place but located next to I-10 and the railroad tracks with lots of trains each day. We only plan to be here 2 days before moving on to Tucson.