Saturday, January 15, 2022

Winter - The tradition resumes Part 1 Senator Wash LTA

 After 2 years of Covid interruption, we are finally back on the road for our wintertime 
boondocking in the desert with friends from all over the US and Canada.

Our first stop, of many to follow, is just north of Yuma, Az at the 
Senator Wash (Imperial Dam) LTVA (long-term visitor area)
Most of the National lands have a 14 day camping limit, but thru out the southwest there are tracts of BLM land that are set aside as areas where people can camp for long term periods. 
In the California/Arizona border area there are bout 7 of these LTVA's.  

While much of the public land is free to camp on, there are no services and stay limits.
Several of the LTVA's, have centralized garbage, water, and dump stations to 
make long-term camping more convenient.   
The fee in the LTA's range from $40 for a 14 day permit or $180 for 7 months.

Yuma is Produce Country.
Heading north on US95 you abruptly leave the green of farm country and enter the
brown earth tones of the desert.

Traveling the other direction, you come around a corner and the shock of the green fields
stretching out before you - after weeks in the desert - is quite a sight.

Our spot with Rob & Pat on the left, with us on the right.

Circle the wagons

Rob & Pats Australian Labradoodle Olivia immediately came over for a long
over due visit with our two.

Our morning stroll around our end of the area.
One interesting thing about this LTVA is how over the years, visitors have removed the larger
rocks scattered about and carved out smooth little camping areas of all sorts.

The larger rocks that were removed from the parking areas are used to outline the
camping spot as well as the driveways

There are rock gardens, and rock artworks scattered about the area.

Large ravines cut thru sections making the area more spread out.

In the distance (center) you can see a small lake.   Beyond that in the valley is the
Colorado River and Imperial Dam.

A remnant of an RV that burned a few years ago serves as a reminder that you
need to have an evacuation plan as these things can go up in a heartbeat

At Imperial Dam the sunrises out perform the sunsets due to the long range views to the east.
This was the view from my bedside window on Thursday morning.

Sunrise at Senator Wash

A few minutes later looking west towards the hills. 
The orange sun reflects off of the stone.

As well as off the sides of the bus.

Senator Wash lake.
You can camp down there for a 14 day limit and then you must move and make room
for someone else to enjoy.

Senator Wash Lake

All thru the area are countless miles of dirt roads.
We take our morning stroll each day on one of them.
Today Kate & I also did a bit of a drive up towards the mountains till she
did not want to go any further due to the deteriorating road conditions.

On our walk this morning, you can see all the RV's back in the distance

We are only about 21 miles north of Yuma, Az so it is a quick run into town for groceries
and other needed supplies.  

Yuma's population swells in the wintertime with the influx of
seasonal residents, including those in RV's, residing in the city's countless number 
of RV parks and the expansive dispersed camping areas
in the desert outside of the city.

Between us and Yuma is the farm lands mentioned earlier.   Today we made a run
into town to go to the Arizona Marketplace - a large outside flea market kind of venue that
has been operating for years.  I picked up a bunch of replacement LED bulbs in a warmer
color for our recessed ceiling lights.

We took the scenic route back thru the middle of the valley thru the farms.
Many of the crops I could not identify but a couple that I could:


You can see a head peeking out just left of center

Broccoli - from farm to table


The groves of date palms lend a cool vibe to the area mixing in with the green vegetable fields.

Date Palms

Here and there you see the white school busses scurrying about.
Some hauling porta-potties behind.
These are the farm workers moving about the fields.

We are expecting to stay here till about Saturday the 22nd, at which point we'll head
80 miles north to Quartzsite where we'll join up with the crowd of wanderers from all
over at our usual meeting place in the desert north of town.

Staying safe and having fun.
Till then.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving - Santa Fe to Tucson

 Weatherwise it's been a roller-coaster couple of days.

We'd been spending the last week in Las Cruces, NM at the Hacienda RV Resort.
As RV Parks go - its not bad - we don't stay here often but it was conveniently located and
only about 30 minutes from the License Bureau in El Paso for me to renew my CDL.

I did that last week and we hung around for the rest of the week mostly chilling, but also
a bit of touring here and there, and a touch of maintenance on the bus in my energetic moments.

One small job was reconditioning my headlights.
The headlights on the Bus are actually from a Honda Odyssey and the outer cover was
starting to get very discolored and crazed from the suns UV.

The good people at Consumer Reports suggested the Sylvania Restoration Kit so that is
what I purchased.    About an hour and a half later & some light elbow grease and my headlights now
look brand new.

Major accomplishments now behind us, it was time to move on to some nicer territory, and
more to our normal preferencres.

We headed west on I-10 about 70 miles down the road to Deming, NM.
Our destination for Weds thru Friday nights was Rockhound State Park.

A cold front was starting to push down from the north and some interesting cloud formations
and rain showers were encountered along the way.

Rain showers on I-10 West New Mexico

At Rockhound we are perched on the side of the mountains overlooking Deming.

Site 14  at Rockhound State Park with Deming visible in the distance

30amp and water with a dump on site.
We had plenty of water onboard so we only hooked up the electric.

Weds night it rained and the temp dropped to about 31°
On Thanksgiving morning there was a dusting of snow on the peaks not far above us.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving meal with the Yule Log burning on the TV.

And Thanksgiving night were treated to a pretty nice sunset to cap off the day.

Today - our last day at Rockhound was a day to do some scouting.
There is a state park about 40 miles north of here - City of Rocks - that we have stayed
at twice.   Once in the Montana, and once in the DogHouse.

We've only stayed a night each time and since it is such a unique place, we've always promised 
ourselves that we would come for longer.   I wanted to stay there this time, but only am
familiar with a few sites that were already reserved, so this was a opportunity to drive up
and make a list of which sites would be ok for a PartyBus sized vehicle.

City of Rocks State Park from a distance

There are a few pull-thru spots in the front of the park that have electric, but
most of the sites, and especially the good ones, are all boondocking - many are
unlevel and only suitable for small units.

One of the Bus suitable campsites

The rock formations occupy the center of the campground with the access road and
campsites scattered about the perimeter.

Winding thru the center of the rocks are walking trails.

Picnic table at another bus suitable campsite

I've made my list of suitable sites - its a short one - but hopefully next time we'll be able
to grab one and spend more time.

Well this post is a wrap for this short trip.

Tomorrow - Saturday - we are back on the road for the 4hr drive to Tucson.

On Monday our adopted 6 kids are arriving and we need to be there to greet them.

We'll hang in Tucson for about a month and then in January we'll finally be back to our
Covid interrupted normal wintertime festivities.   Our friends from far and wide will
be reconvening in the desert for a winter of fun and frolic.

Then in April we'll be headed east to the Queen Mary2 and summer in the British Isles.

(PS  our adopted 6 kids are Saguaro Cactus)

We've been on an Adopt a Saguaro waiting list for almost 2 years and finally our
number came up and we chose our babies before we left for this trip.

When developers clear the desert for new Subdivisions, the program tries to intervene
and find homes for the grand plants.... The King of the Desert
We were fortunate to grab 6 beauties and cant wait to welcome them to their new home!

From all of us to all of you....
Gobble Gobble.   Happy Thanksgiving!

See ya soon!