Friday, March 6, 2009

A review of the world of OZ (AZ)

I've been trying to collect my thoughts about this lifestyle and the people we've met. It's been an interesting journey. I'm going to work on some commentary in the next few days as we head back home.

Almost back to reality...

I found my camera!! It had slipped under the seat in the car after we left Quartzsite. So, here's two photos. One is of the Indian rock paintings in Quartzsite at Dripping Springs and one is of some sort of machine left behind at a mine. The Dripping Springs was mainly a dripping rock wall of green slime. I guess you can't get too picky in the desert when it comes to water.

We're leaving Havasu in a few days heading for home. Wish we could stay longer, but there are pressing issues at home including taxes and seeing Cara. We have become a personal friend of the ATV repair guy here in Havasu as now both quads have been worked on for a couple of different reasons. As nice as the guy is, I won't miss him. But there are many other people we've met who have made our trip fun.
We have gone on a couple of rides with an older couple, Laverne and Wayne, who are camped near us. They both ride older 2x2 quads and prefer to ride FAST. There's no "moss" growing under their wheels. I found it hard to keep up sometimes as I actually thought I might like to see some of the countryside... and these two are at least 15 years older... There is plenty of quad trails out here and some great places to boondock (camp in the desert).
This RV park has the most friendly staff. They put us in a very large site big enough for the quads, kia and trailer. We've had a fire almost night. We went to Oatman, which is a old gold mine town which has shops, an hourly gunfight, and the cutest burros who roam the streets. You can buy carrots to feed them and the babies have stickers on their heads which say "don't feed me - I can't eat carrots." The burro photos are still on the camera of course..

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Grand Canyon is incredible. After our 2 hour ride on the Grand Canyon Railway, we spent three hours walking along the south rim edge and taking it all in. The train ride was fun. Our seating on the way to the canyon was first class and very plush as we were in our own car with two other couples. The ride back was in a different car, more people and not quite as comfortable. But the ride home included champagne, wildlife viewing (deer, antelope and elk) and a train robbery. During both rides, we were entertained by a couple of singing cowboys who of course, gave their own renditions of "Folsom Prison Blues" so we felt at home. The train robbery was conducted by a couple of elderly cowboys who came aboard after the train stopped for them as we were told "only idiots jump on trains for minimum wage." What they really wanted was tips of course. This is the time of year to see the canyon. The weather was beautiful and actually kind of warm. I thought we'd see more snow, but it's all fading away. If we had taken this trip in January, it would have been very deep as the south rim is about 7,000 elevation and they got lots of snow this year. Another wonderful aspect to being here in February is that its not crowded at all. Sometimes we were completely alone on the trails and overlooks. The tour guides said beginning in March millions of people show up to tour the area. There is a free shuttle so we managed to see quite a bit of the canyon in a short time. But next time, we plan to ride the train and spend the night at the rim at one of the many cabins or the small hotel. Seeing a sunrise or sunset over the canyon would be spectacular. The meals that were included with the tour have all been buffets of course. They were acceptable - not fantastic - but okay. The entire trip was not a bad deal at all - but we did save at least $250 with special winter specials.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Grand Canyon...

We're at the Grand Canyon Railway. No photos yet, we haven't been on the train yet. Jada's in the kennel (it's very nice) but she's not very happy about it. The trailer is in Lake Havasu at the campground along with the quads. We're in the hotel for a couple of nights right along "historic Route 66." Tomorrow we'll have wonderful photos. Unfortunately, however, my little camera is missing. Not sure if it's gone forever or if it is simply lost in the trailer. I have a feeling it's gone... So, I'm taking my good camera on the train and it will not be out of my sight for a moment. I'm sad about the other camera since I've only had it a year and the fact I don't actually remember the last time I saw it... old age is setting in.. I'll provide an update of whether the train "package" was worth the money. It included meals, train trip and hotel (and Jada's kennel).

Photos - I hope

These are photos from Yuma. We found this steam shovel while out on the quads. The other photo is from a silver mine museum out in the Kofa desert. It was a very interesting place.

Monday, February 16, 2009

quick update...

I’m creating this offline at the trailer in our free camping site in Q. I’ll post it later when I get to the only hotspot in Q – the library. There aren't any photos. The website is not allowing it today for some reason...
Well, here’s an update on our travels.
Arizona is the home of mines. At one time, the mines in this area produced a lot of silver. We visited the Castle Dome Silver Mines Museum which is a tribute to a vast area of silver mines. A family is rebuilding the area complete with buildings and artifacts. It was a very interesting place, although they could use some serious help with their display signs. They have recreated everything from the bars to miners cabins and even have an original pair of Levi’s on display from the 1880s which was found deep in one of the mines. The bathroom complex was, well, a collection of outhouses and with holes in the ground. A big bucket of white powder (??) was used to sprinkle in the holes from time to time – I guess to keep things from getting too ripe – so to speak.
Our other experience of note was a boat trip with Dick and Audrey in his ski boat on a nearby natural wetland area. It was windy, unfortunately, and it took a LONG time to get the boat back on the trailer. (Actually, we spent more time getting the boat back on the trailer than we spent on the water.) Audrey and I ended up being in water to finally help in the process. I was up to my waist and barefoot hoping there wasn’t any fish hooks to step on. The wetland area was really designed for fishing boats as it consisted of channels of water (not very deep water) separated by tall cattails. It was an experience – enough said.
We left Yuma and arrived in Q again which is very quiet now as all the big fairs are over. We decided to try the free camping since we’re only here for 8 days. It will require us to truck out the garbage, but otherwise, we can easily survive with our large water tank and generator/solar. And as it turns out, we needed that extra money to fix my quad – again.
The day after we arrived, we decided to head out for a long day of exploring on the quads. We spent a couple of hours driving around, stopped for lunch, and then decided to see if we could find that “Apache” cabin again. Of course, as soon as I turned off the main dirt road, the quad stalled and refused to start again. This was the first time it refused to start after cooling down. So, Steve had to tow me the 15 or so miles back to the trailer. Luckily, it was mostly easy road with few hills. We damaged the front plastic on the quad from the tow rope, but that’s fixable. It’s difficult to be towed up and down hills. We decided to take the quad to a Kawasaki dealer in Lake Havasu this time as we heard nothing but horror stories about the guy in Parker who did the prior work on the quad. YEAH!! They just called. It’s a short in a wiring system. They can “jury rig” a solution for $88 or we can order a new wiring harness for a mere $650. Of course, that’s a no brainer… And we can have it back today! I won’t miss the desert bloom!! YEAH!!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A quick note...

I’m doing laundry in Yuma. The campground doesn’t allow rugs in their machines so I am here. Or actually, I'm at Starbucks enjoying the wifi. But I'm in a hurry because Steve's only good for sitting so long and then he's done. SO, here's just the facts.. so to speak.
Jada got very sick last night. Of course, it was me she jumped on to be let out at 2 a.m. Then, after getting sick from both “ends” outside, she decided it was time to play with her squeaky toy at 2 a.m. I decided to keep her confined and sleep on the hidabed so I could make sure all accidents occurred outside. Oh, I guess I forgot to mention that it was raining – a drenching rain outside all day and into the night. So, she dragged me out to a muddy area and refused to do her business on the gravel. Then, of course, she took off after a critter and yanked the leash out of my hand and dragged it across the mud with me in pursuit in my pjs and flipflops. That was bad enough. But of course she leaped into the trailer before I could wipe her feet and galloped up to jump on the bed to give her dad a big muddy kiss. So, the casualty list included three towels, a couple of rugs, the duvet cover and me. So again, that’s why we’re doing laundry yet again. Oh, the joys of a dog.
Tomorrow Dick and Audrey join us at Yuma Lakes. We’ve talked to several other members and none are all that happy with the campground or management. I have to admit I should have listened to that “inner” voice of mine last year and not signed up. But oh well, I’m hopeful the other campgrounds are better. I can’t believe a campground these days doesn’t offer cable – just bingo games, shuffleboard and grouchy seniors. Well, on the plus side, the pool and spa is very nice and the breakfasts have been pretty good.
We took the quads out only twice and of course, mine decided to die again this time. So much for fixing the issue. The riding is okay – tall mountains, mining claims and such. But the hills aren’t nearly as pretty as quartzsite and there isn’t much cactus. We’re waiting to see how Havasu is for riding. And we might be dropping off the quad there to be fixed. I hate playing the "is it going to die" game while climbing a hill.
Dick and Audrey took us to the giant Yuma “swap” meet. The name is a bit misleading. It's a place filled with new stuff like socks, art, rv supplies, tools and just about anything else. It's under a covered patio and has music and even a bar.
We're getting a bit bored here in Yuma. On Sat. we're heading back to Quartzsite for 8 days. We really want to see the desert bloom and it looked like it was getting ready to really show color when we left two weeks ago. Then on to Lake Havasu. And of course, finally home to do taxes.