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.