Saturday, April 30, 2016

A 'Hike' At Hole in the Wall

TWO POSTS IN ONE DAY?!  Someone must be procrastinating on her work...

I went for a 'hike' which was just me going down the well-worn trail from the campground to the visitor center.  For my fat out of shape butt it qualifies as a hike.

And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
You got to watch out for these ant megalopolises.

Along the path they had plants with markers.  Thas' coo.  I took pictures of pretty and/or interesting ones.

 This plant didn't warrant a marker, but it was so pretty though.  Tsk...the beautifullest stuff is oft unnoticed.
A theater!  Cool!  I wonder what's playing.

You'd think something called 'Sweet Bush' would be less bitter tasting.  I guess they meant it's personality.

Desert Almonds?!  I want sum!

 The Mormon Tea tasted pretty good.  I chewed on a stalk for a while.  The scientific name is Ephedra something.  Ephedra is a strong stimulant often extracted for amphetamines.  Those clever Mormons...they found a caffeine replacement. 

 When you make it to the end of the trail you get to the visitor center.  On Friday, Saturday, and Sundays there's a store open until 4pm. 

These are the holes in the wall for which the park was named.  The holes were made by Jurassic earth worms back when the cliff side was soft sediment.  They helped aerate the roots of giant peach trees, which would grow to 500 feet.  Some of the largest boulders in the park are actually fossilized peach pits.
Squaw *Bush*?!  How offensive!  Who the heck named this plant?!
(The stuff about the wall worms and the giant peaches was a joke).

The Thing About RV Fridges...

I read some where that you have to be level or your RV fridge will not work properly.  This never hit home before to me because I have been at some seriously unlevel places (Pismo Beach craptastic Encore RV park) and the fridge always seemed to work fine.

That's because I had hook-ups.  Shore power, as they call it.  I wasn't boondocking.

Now I've been boondocking for two months and I see what people were talking about.  When you boondock (no hook-ups for power, water, or sewer) the fridge runs on propane.  My fridge is right behind my little office and I can hear when the propane is getting pulled into the fridge to cool it.  It's like when you hear your fridge kick on at your house to cool it.  For me it sounds like liquid filling up something and then a furnace. 

I really don't know how propane and flame can cool a fridge, but it works.  Who am I to knock it?

Well, here is where the whole 'you have to be level or your fridge won't work' thing comes in.  If you're too tilted the propane can't fight gravity to pour into your fridge. 

We're off-level both front to back and side to side.  Not that much.  I have levels on the side and front of the RV and the bubble is just one line off from center.  I thought that would be fine...but the fridge is having problems. 

The check light is coming on now and again telling us that the fridge isn't working.  The solution to this is to turn it on and off.  That's worked so far.  The propane fills and the fridge works again.  If we don't catch it it's a problem. 

I think it's trying to draw propane when we're walking around sometimes and we're messing it up because we're already a little slanted.  I thought it was too mild to worry about, but next time I will take out blocks for the wheels and get us as level as possible.  I was just too lazy to to it this time.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Hole in the Wall

So today we escaped the noisy (and with one very obnoxious dealer) Avi Casino.  We need to go west because our goal is to visit my brother and his brood in LA (Los Angeles, not Louisiana) before it gets too hot to be this south.

We escaped not a moment too soon, because it's bike week.  The first sign was a man showing another man how loud his bike's stereo could go next to us in the dry camping area.  He let it run for several minutes because the biker gang insignia on the back of his leather jacket is a pass to do whatever he wants.  I was still getting ready to ask him to turn it down before he went ahead and shut the God-awful racket off.

We dumped and took on water at the KOA across the street from the dry lot.  I asked if I could purchase (PURCHASE, mind you) some showers.  I was rudely told no, with the added trivia information of the showers being for their guests only.  Not really information I'd asked for or needed to know.  I was a guest there two days ago, but I will definitely not be one again.  Enjoy your bikers.

As I was dumping two more bikers pulled in to the KOA.  Their stereos were low.  They rose the volume all the way up as they drove past me.  In the United States this is how uncouth men harass women.  I did not look at them.  Nope.  No matter how slowly they drove, going out of the way to go through the dump station bay instead of the other road.  I never turned my head toward them.  "HA HA!" --Nelson  "You get nothing!" --Willy Wonka.

I get it.  You are God's gift to women because you're a bad boy biker, and a female who dares to be outside alone in your frame of vision is supposed to acknowledge you.  Gape in awe at your coolness.  Make you feel like really big bad men on your big bad motorcycles.

Sorry, but I'm trying to dump 35 gallons of human feces.  Maybe I can stroke your fragile male ego some other time?

These are bike gang members, not some guy riding a bike on the weekend to feel the wind through his hair.  I was a ghost writer for former bike gang member who found Christ.  He described the lifestyle to me ad naseum.  It did not leave a good impression.

Moving on...quite literally.  I was headed for a BLM boondock in San Bernadino county (not sure on the city).  It was a much longer drive than anticipated and I regretted not feeding my mom before we left.  Garmin, my GPS and frenemy, said 48 miles.  It was more like 70.

We'd planned on boondocking on a dry lake bed.  The road to it was too rough.  We ended up instead at a pay campground called Hole in the Wall.!21224&query=sitedetails

It's a beautiful camp site, but it ain't free.

I don't know if you can see that, but it says $12/day.  TWELVE DOLLARS A DAY?!  What am I?  The Queen of England?!  But wait...there was a little small print that said it was half-price with an access pass.

My mom has an access pass!  WHOO HOO!  Six dollars a night!  (A nice guy at a National Park in Nevada gave it to her because she's handicapped.  We almost forgot all about it).

SIX DOLLARS A NIGHT IS STILL TOO HIGH!  (Says the girl who tried to spend $100 at a craps table before the obnoxious dealer told her to get lost {long story}).

But we're sick of driving and I don't want to try to go down that sketchy road again to the boondock.  I paid for four days.

So yeah, a lot of people who read this blog come from my Facebook and don't know how to camp in a National Park or Reserve (or whatever).  So that picture up there is of the self-pay maker.  It tells you how much per night.  On the post to the right is a bucket full of envelopes.  You fill out the envelope with your license number, spot number, number of nights you want to stay, name, and whatever else.  Then you put cash or a check inside to pay.  You rip off the tab from the envelope, which you also copied your details on.  The sealed envelope goes into the metal box.  The tab goes on the post with the number of your campsite.  You pick whatever site you want usually.  There's no reserving.

Here's our site.  It has a fire pit and two picnic tables.  No hookups (not for $6 a night people) but it does have an old-timey water pump which I plan to use to do our laundry.

Also in this camp ground is several pit toilets.  What's a pit toilet?  I guess there's a pit under the toilet.  I didn't look down the commode.  I get grossed out easily.

The campground is GORGEOUS.  I mean, postcard worthy views on all sides.  Now I'll destroy what your imagination comes up with with my craptastic photos.  My camera sucks...but I'm cheap.

This is what an empty campsite looks like.

Can you find the jack rabbit?

Back of our campsite


RV Sue is probably rolling her eyes at my pathetic framing and composition.

Maybe the jackrabbit was in this one...?

Okey-dokey.  We're here until Saturday, then onward to the west.

It's worth noting that if you come out here you better be well stocked on everything you need and have plenty of gas in your tank.  There's a dump station and water, but 30 miles from the nearest anything.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

New Casino, Same Problems

We're still boondocking in the dry lot at the Avi Casino in Laughlin.  Today we got a cheap room in the hotel so we can spoil ourselves with a little luxury. 

For the last two casino boondocks here's the pattern:
  1. We arrive and we love it.  Free camping right by a casino resort with loads of amenities.  Woo-hoo!
  2. Hmm...awful lot of people walking around our RV. 
  3. Sure is noisy.
  4. OMG!!! It's insanely noisy!
  6. Oh good...drunk people falling over themselves in the casino parking lot.
  7. Now the drunk people are in the street.
  8. Cars are honking at the drunk people who won't get out of the street.
 Ugh...all of the above I can put up with.  It's just like Blue Water.  I dealt with all that and still didn't want to leave.  But then the boat races started. -_-  Here we have a different problem.

Fricking fireworks.  AHHHH!  When we first got here we thought cannons were going off in the dry lot.  No.  It was actually half a mile away.  And so loud car alarms go off with every boom.  This is an Indian reservation and they sell 'blow your arm off' sized fireworks.  x_x  Kill me now.  Once or twice a day the ear-shattering noise starts and sometimes goes on for half an hour.  My terrified cats all come out to press their heads in our armpits.  This is just...ugh.

And it sucks because we like it here.  We have a good dump situation, and a nice casino to play and dine at.  But, yeah...we'll be out of here day after tomorrow.

Friday, April 22, 2016

We're at an RV Park

I am writing this at the KOA at the Avi Casino.  Yesterday was very hot, and we toughed it out.  My mom went into the Casino until sundown to beat the heat.  I was okay with just a fan blowing.  I have a fan for my cats too, but it wasn't enough.  Sultan came out of his hiding place panting.  Then Scrappy, our long-haired cat, came out and also panted.  There's nothing more heartbreaking than a panting cat.

We're in desert areas.  It's a dry heat.  People say that and you roll your eyes, but it's true that dry heat is much more tolerable than humidity.  I am fine up to 98 degrees with just the fan on me and windows open.  My mom and cats are not.

Since today was going to be another 98 degree day, I drove across the street and splurged on a $30 (all-in) RV spot.  I can't let my poor animals suffer.  This is also cheaper than running the generator all day.

Tomorrow we're back down to a high of 86.  That's extremely comfortable for us.  It gets even cooler Sunday.  We'll go back to the sandlot for free drycamping.  I'll do my normal dump/water/trash/shower routine before we leave to take advantage of amenities while we can.

My baby a few months ago

Last night I was looking up vets to euthanize Sultan.  His back legs were almost completely useless and he had caked himself with urine.  We got this cat when we lived in Massachusetts in 1997.  He was a full grown cat when we got him.  This is a very old boy.  He's my cat, since he bonded the most with me.  I love him more than I've ever loved any cat I've had before.  He's my baby.

Euthanizing cats is always a miserable experience and it's not just because I'm killing a member of my family.  Vets make this so difficult, and they treat you so poorly when you're trying to do this.  I had to put down Whitey, Sexy, and Fluffy before.  With every cat I had the same problem. 

The vets don't want to service people who aren't their regular customers.  You're a piece of riff-raff who didn't get established with them.  Oh, and NOW you bring your cat in?  To put him down?  They can't make money off you once the cat is dead.

Every time I'm going through listings calling vet after vet, often with tears in my eyes, just to get a rude person on the phone saying they'll make an appointment for me in two weeks.  Zero compassion because they're jaded to this kind of misery. 

With Fluffy and Sexy we had to drive two hours to a Banfield clinic in a Petsmart.  For some reason this is the one and only vet I've found who tells you want you need to hear:  Bring them in. 

We need a home euthanasia kit for cats and dogs.  I need to be able to give my beloved pet an intramuscular shot myself and let them die peacefully in their home.  This is not a specialized skill that only licensed vets can do.  Don't give me that crap.  I can follow specific instructions on how and where to give the shot.  Is that any more complicated than freezing off a wart with liquid nitrogen?  And I would put down my baby, because I love him with all my heart and don't want him to suffer.

I had to put down an animal before that I could not take to a vet.  This was a young male turkey who had eaten plaster and gotten brain damage.  It was our fault for keeping him in the house where such dangers existed.  We didn't know better.  Now I have a pet turkey who couldn't walk and his head shook so badly he couldn't drink.  Was I going to let him suffer a slow torturous death from thirst?  No. was a mercy killing.  I tried to behead him with clippers.  My mom was inside hiding, because she loved him too.  I knew that if I couldn't do it she would have to, and I would not do that to her.  So I put his neck in the clippers, but my arms wouldn't work.  I lost strength.  I was killing something I loved and just could close the clippers.  I had to psych myself up for ten minutes.  My mom checked on me thinking I had done it by now, because I killed chickens really efficiently in the past.  Well, not my baby. 

Then I closed the clippers and they didn't cut or break his neck.  Dear God...I had hurt him and he was still alive.  I had to do it again and again as fast and hard as I could trying to kill him as fast as possible.  Finally I just had to squeeze and hold until he was finally dead.  It was horrible.  I would have never used the clippers if I knew it wouldn't be one quick swipe.  I still tremble all over just thinking about it.  My poor sweet turkey. 

This is the female, not the one I killed, but the same breed and just as much beloved. We gave her to a grape grower in Victorville who had a male Bourbon Red who wanted a girlfriend.  It's perfect, because grapes were her most favorite thing ever.  When we dropped her off the guys daughter was petting her and we could tell Pavi would be loved.
To digress a moment, I know you're thinking who the heck has pet turkeys.  It wasn't our intention to have them as pets.  They just acted like puppies from the beginning and wormed their way into our hearts.  If you want to get meat turkeys do NOT get bourbon reds.  They are cute, playful, affectionate, and will melt your heart.  They love to be pet on their bald little heads and plop right on your lap for a snuggle if you let them.  They also befriended our cats and snuggled/played with them too.

Anyway, the story about the turkey was to show that I can kill an animal I love if I see they're suffering.  I know I can do it, and frankly, I WANT to do it.  If it has to be done I should be the one to do it so they can die in a familiar and peaceful place and without the stress of a car ride.

I go online once again for a home euthanasia kit.  Still does not exist.  Mobile vet?  Yeah right.  Tomorrow was going to be me calling all the Laughlin vets to get the runaround again.  There doesn't seem to be a Banfield around here.

As I'm searching I come across a testimonial about a woman who had a cat who drinks a lot (Sultan drinks tons due to kidney problems) who had it's back legs go.  She said the vet gave her cat potassium and he was right as rain two days later.

@_@  Really?

Sultan probably did have a potassium deficiency too!  He drinks a lot normally, but in the heat he is going through water

I crushed a potassium supplement and mixed a tiny bit with a bite of food for him.

Dude.  This morning he was a lot better.  Still a little shakey on his back legs, but he's walking again.  He's going to the litter box.  He's begging for scraps.  His head is up.  He's alert.  He's washing his paws and his face.

My baby is getting a stay of execution.  ;_;  I'm crying as I write this.  I'm so grateful.

But he needs to be bathed and shaved, my cat Scrappy too.  That's one of our goals while we're in Laughlin since we'll be heading west towards less inhabited places after this.


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Casino Boondocking in Laughlin

Okay my lovelies!  I'm at a new dry camp and it's time to report.

So we ended up staying for two tank cycles at that nice BLM on highway 95 in Lake Havasu City.  We dumped at the Lake Havasu State Park, down London Bride Road (where a real London Bridge was brought piece by piece to Arizona...but really isn't much to look at)

Pretty Sunset at our BLM
The dump situation at Lake Havasu Park was great, because on a weekday you can get a pass for $10.  We assume this includes use of the facilities, so use them we did.  They have a nice two bay dump station with a trash dumpster and potable water.  After dumping we pulled over to the RV park and used the showers.  We did this for two dumps. 

The park itself is beautiful.  Right on Lake Havasu with boat launches and a big fish cleaning station by the dump station.  Both times we dumped there were guys their cleaning and filleting their fish.  Man...I want to fish so bad, but today we're in Nevada, hence I knew I wouldn't get the value of a $55 fishing permit.  We're on our northward migration.

So we liked the BLM boondock enough to stay for seven or eight days, but today we just had to get out of there.  I met a lone male camper, 53, who was recovering from a stroke and doing pretty good.  He was very lonely and had an unwieldy rig set-up with a 45' Class A that towed a 15' trailer.  He was not legal for California, since he was so huge.

I'm usually (not always) a friendly happy-go-lucky person who is fine making friends with my neighbors.  My mom and I are also very caring and generous.  We want to help people, but we can't get wrapped up in this.  We have our own lives, our own routines, and we allow ourselves to get taken advantage of if certain personality types get too close. 

We were happy to take him with us when we got groceries.  After that we wanted to stay put for the next few days.  But...his bike broke down and he needed to go into town again.  So we took him on a day when I really wanted to be working writing.  Then he had to do laundry and I sent my mom with him.  He was inconsiderate to her in the laundromat, making her (a disabled woman) carry his detergent by sneaking it into her basket.  And then he didn't hold the door. 

At the same time he started making more physical contact with me than I'm comfortable with, which is a situation I've run into with a long of single men I make friends with.  I'm not flirting.  I'm polite.  But they're veering conversations towards sex and hooking up at every opportunity.  Trying to get me out alone (sans mother) and then the touching starts.  Clutching my shoulder and arms 'jokingly' while making a point. 

I write romance, but I don't have a romantic bone in my body and I'm not looking for a hook-up. 

The final thing that made us run was him declaring that he would be caravaning with us now.  Not asking.  Telling us.  This is the sort of person he was.  Not a terrible person, but someone who was accustomed to getting what he wants without considering what the other person wants.  He was used to women taking care of him and eager for more of the same.  We told him we were leaving Friday, but left today since we were out of water anyway.  I didn't say goodbye.  Hopefully we won't run into him again because I'm sure he was enraged when he saw the empty place where we were.

He can't follow us without taking a long route because we went north from Lake Havasu City to Laughlin, taking the 40 through California for part of the trip.  He can't even sneak up that road since he's too big and there's an inspection station stopping all vehicles along the way.

I tried so hard to get this beautiful full moon over the mountains.  My camera is full of fail.
The lesson here is not to invite single male travelers into our lives.  The are naturally lonely, and as a young female full-time camper I am appealing to them.  We aren't going to be inviting such campers over to eat or taking them on excursions with us.  It just leads to clinginess.  We are happy on our own.

Now we need to start heading West, and I've been saying that for a while, but the Western boondocks from Lake Havasu just didn't appeal to me.  I decided to go a bit farther north and decide where I wanted to go after a casino break.

We found what looks like an AWESOME casino boondock.  Mind you, we've boondocked in Laughlin before, back when I had the trailer.  There's plenty of blacktop boondocking.  But we aren't just passing through this time.  We wanted a destination to spend one or two tank cycles at.  That means being close to a dump station.

We're at the Avi Casino in Laughlin.  This has to be the best casino boondocking situation I've seen to date.  They have a gigantic hard packed sand lot just for dry campers.  There are trash cans provided!  And right across the street is our $5 dump station an potable water.  HELLS TO THE YEAH!

Hopefully this will be nicer than our last casino boondock fiasco.  We just got here and haven't gone into the actual casino yet.  I'm parked right at the front of the lot so we can walk there.

Here's the well lit lot with trash barrels!  Nice!

Here's the back of the casino.  It should be an easy walk.  :)

Here we are!  All settled in.  Nice and level too!
 I booked Sunday night at the casino hotel since it was only $40 all together (including taxes).  We'll enjoy the casino hotel for a day and I'll try to get some work done.  This isn't an economical shower option for us by any means, but for $40 I think we can splurge. 

It's hot today, but should be cooling off tomorrow and onward.  We may stay here for two tank cycles again.  :)

Friday, April 15, 2016

Not an Early Riser

Since I don't put enough pictures in this blog--here's my cat Scrappy sleeping on top of my mom.
I need to do my writing without any distractions.  That means staying up late at night when my mom's asleep.  That also means that I sleep late every day, getting up sometime after 10 or 11am.

This was not possible at our Bluewater Casino boondock.  There was some huge boat race going on at this marina/casino.  The parking lot speakers were blasting announcements at 7am, and extremely loud boat engines were revving. 

x_x  Ugh.

I tried to keep sleeping with earplugs, but it just wasn't happening.  So we packed up. 

This is our first time hunting down a "pay" dump station.  We needed to dump, take on water, dispose of trash, and shower.  I researched and their sister site hoping to find a place were we could do all of the above.

The answer was the La Paz County Park.!20937&query=sitedetails  The dump station was $10 and we were able to shower also for $2 per person.  We got rid of our trash at the dump station trash barrels.  We also filled our fresh water by pulling near a bathroom and connecting to a spigot.  Is this really allowed?  I'm not sure.  The camp host said it was 'probably okay', but there was also a place selling water on site.  We got away with it.  The showers were very nice too--and cheap!

We are trying to head West to California to a boondock with a lot of potential that's not too far outside Los Angeles.  I'm a four hour drive away from there.  I don't really want to drive four hours with my mom following behind.  That's a major journey for our caravan.  On top of the distance there was also a strong wind advisory. 

Nope.  We're not going to make this trek today.  All I want is a nearby boondock on BLM land.  I want to be some where peaceful and quiet to recover from the noisy casino.

We head north to Lake Havasu toward this boondock:!4456&query=sitedetails

Except I turn left instead of right while coming up 95 North and take the camper down treacherous dirt road for far too long.  When I get to an electrical station I turn around and lead my mother back out.  She has four wheel drive that is tearing through the dirt no problem.  I have my heart in my stomach with white knuckle fists clenching the wheel.  OMGOMGOMGWHATDIDIDO!?!?!  I really thought the RV was going to tip over, fall into the ravine, get stuck in the dirt, or have a tire pop.

While I'm trying to escape this road I see RVs parked up high across the highway.  THAT'S the turn I should have made, going right instead of left.  Thanks for nothing Garmin.

Now we got to a BEAUTIFUL camp site.  OMG.  It looks like something you'd normally have to pay for.  We're up in the mountains with lovely vistas all around, and there are fifty or so other campers spaced far apart around us so we feel safe.  The road in was hard packed dirt, and there was plenty of level spots.  HALLELUJAH!

Look!  I actually took pictures for once.  We're level--I was holding the camera crooked

Lots of other RVs but we're nice and far apart.
 We're set until our next dump.  Frankly we may just come back here for two tank cycles.  I really missed campgrounds like this.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Still boondocking at the Blue Water Casino

Be sure to also read my previous post for all the details about boondocking in Parker Arizona at the Blue Water Casino if you were led to this post by the title.  This is my second day here and the other post covers the particulars.

I should be writing my novella but I'm procrastinating because I need a nap and I'm too lazy to climb into my cab over bunk right now.

Blue Water Casino Boondocking Pros and Cons
  • PRO:  It's free.  They're friendly.  They don't mind us here.  There's no time limit (at least that's what they told us this time).  It's well-lit.  Seems safe
  • CON:  Noise.  It was noisy last night.  No rules on when generators can run and traffic in the casino parking lot kept happening into the wee hours.  Some exhaust smell wafted through my windows.  When I woke up this morning speakers were playing music through the parking lot for a while.  I'm not sure why, but it was only for a short amount of time.
  • PRO:  When you sign up for the player's card in the casino you get a 2 for 1 coupon for the buffet making a $24 meal only $12 for two people.  Since we both signed up for cards we got two coupons and just used the second one today.
  • CON:  Sometimes the buffet is lousy.  You're only eligible for the lunch buffet, not dinner.  The first time we used the coupon it was a nice brunch set-up.  Today it was Mexican themed and the tamales were uneatable.  The salad bar is always great, but I had a hard time finding any appetizing hot food.  Try to save your coupon for one of the better themed days.  Mexican food day gets a thumbs down from me.
  • PRO:  There's a little movie theater connected to the casino.  It's April 13, 2016 and they're playing Batman vs. Superman and Action Harvey (or whatever it's called, it's that action movie were you see everything through the eyes of the main character).  I really wanted to see B vs S when it first came out, but the bad reviews have swayed me.  It's too bad...I really love Wonder Woman.
  • CON:  No level spots in the RV area.  This may not always be true.  There's some kind of car race going on so another more level looking dirt lot is closed off.  If this is open to RVs usually then there's better spots to be had.  While we're here we're dealing with a front to back slope that is screwing with our tank sensors.  
  • PRO:  You're right next to a Walmart Super Center and a Safeway Supermarket.  We stocked up our lil fridge.  
  • CON:  Once again, this might be due to the car race, but it's crowded up here.  We're not quite 'rv park crowded' but it's pretty close.  With the window and screen door we can just about smell the farts of those around us.
  • PRO:  There's a casino to gamble at.
  • CON:  There's a casino to gamble at.
 We had a big meal at the casino and spent an hour or two shopping.  We're in for the rest of the day...or at least until my mom decides she can't resist the allure of the slot machines.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Parking in Parker

Here's my day today:

In the fridge was less than a pound of steak which I needed to turn into four meals (lunch and dinner for mom and me).  So I made beef fried rice.  This gets us through another day without grocery shopping, because as I mentioned in in the last post, the grocery shopping options are limited in Quartzsite.

Not so 35 miles away in Parker, and our permit runs out on April 15th anyway.  (We got 12 days use for $40 so I figure we got our money's worth).  We're fixing to get ready to leave. 

We went to the Quartzsite LTVA dump station for our final time. Dumped.  Got rid of our trash. Took on water.

Next...there is a laundromat in Quartzsite that also sells showers for $7 a shower.  This is much more expensive than the $2 token showers we were enjoying in Yuma, but far cheaper than the $12 truck stop showers.  We showered here once before and it was time to shower again.  Since we knew we were coming back we let the laundry pile up again instead of trying to keep up with it with our portable washer.

So we showered and then I hunted down some propane while my mom started the laundry.  Six gallons of propane got us from 'low' to 'full'.  That's $12 from the camping fund.  @-@  This will keep our fridge running and stove cooking for another two weeks or so.

Propane bought, clothes clean, bodies showered, tanks dumped, water filled--we're all ready to go.

Then the guy who owns the laundromat points out that I have a low tire.  -_-  This is the same tire I had to go back to the RV place to have filled previously. 

UGH.  I get so angry at this.  It's a brand new RV and it came to us with this tire problem.  I thought it was just low air, and that angered me because I don't have the tool to get to the backwards nozzle of my dually-type outer wheel.  The nice man at the laundromat directs us to a tire place and says they will air me up for free.

We go to this tire place and it's clear that the tire isn't low, it's a flat.  And he'll fill it up if I don't want to pay the $35/hour to deal with it. 

What?  Deal with it!  I don't want a flat. 

The guy turns out to be really nice and he shows me how to get the hubcap off and put it back on so I can put air in the tires with my compressor without having to buy a special tool.

There's a nail in the tire.  x_x 

But it's fine.  It is quickly patched, inflated and put back on.  He goes around and checks all the other tires for good measure.  It was only $35 as he said, but I tip him $10.  I'm so happy to have an end to this recurrent tire problem, and the knowledge on how to fill my tires going forward.

BOOM!  We're out of there!  My opinion of Quartzsite got a lot better after the laundromat/shower and tire place.  There's two good places there that I will patronize if I come back.

We take a quick drive north to Parker Arizona.  I've decided we're going to spend our tank time (the time it takes to fill our black and grey tanks and empty our water tank) in the parking lot of a casino. 

This is the Blue Water Casino in Parker Arizona.  If you're thinking of boondocking here, go right ahead.  They have a dirt patch (kind of sloped, but not too bad) in the high back of the lot where RVs can boondock.  Sometimes they want you to check in with security.  Today we tried and they said no problem.  As long as we're on the dirt we're fine.

"How long can we stay?"

"As long as you want."

Well that's nice!  We'll do that. 

Well, actually we will probably leave  Friday or Saturday.  We're in the mid to high eighties here for the next few days, but will shortly be in the nineties.  In the desert we can deal with high eighties with just some fans going.  When it gets into the 90s our elderly cat starts getting the we'll continue north after we've spent out this tank time.

Let's face facts here, a casino boondock is not free.  x_x  We've already dined out and gambled, though my mom's winnings had us breaking even.   My mom can not resist slot machines, but she can usually keep to $40-$60 an outing.  I think she'll be wandering down there a lot while we're here. 

This will give me time to do some writing.  Maybe I can get my next novella done before we leave?  We'll give it a try.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Not Liking Quartzsite

We're in the LTVA (Long Term Visitor's Area) in Quartzsite as a pit-stop in our northward migration.  I'm glad we discovered Yuma to the south of here because Quartzsite is depressing. 

It's been dreary.  We're parked in the middle of craggy dusty desert.  The views are great when the sky is clear, which isn't right now due to a forest fire nearby.  There's no supermarket, just 'markets' with $4.00 loaves of bread and $6.00 cases of soda.  There's nothing much for us to do outside the RV.

We also don't like the dump station here compared to the swanky one we got to use in Yuma.  There is only one dump station for the four huge sections of LTVA.  It has two bays.  That's it.  Those bays have been in regular use since we got here and the area is mostly empty.  I can't imagine the hassle of trying to dump at peak season. 

We have to dump and take on water every four days.  We're on our second month of boondocking and we know how fast our tanks fill and water empties.  Four days.  We don't have a 'blue boy' (portable dump tank) so we drive to the dump station and water spigot every four days.  I don't ever want to have to wait in line to do this, or have to hurry up the process when others are waiting in line behind me.  My tanks take a long time to drain.  My water takes a long time to fill. 

I brought trash to the garbage cans earlier today.  I was in my tee and shorts and wasn't venturing out to socialize.  I looked like shit.  A sun-ravaged shirtless and toothless old man is coming out to meet me at the dumpsters.  He's yelling at me as I approach, "I'm almost there, honey.  Almost there."  I realize that since I have a trash bag in each hand he is coming to help me dispose of my trash. 

Now I'm going to reveal a lot about my personality.  I'm an introvert and an extrovert in one.  When I want to be out in the public amongst humanity I am an excellent extrovert.  I dress to be seen.  I joke, I laugh, I conversate, and I try to spread joy to the people I'm with.  I enjoy the opportunity to commune with others.  I have fun.  Yay.

But when I don't want to be out in public, when I just want to throw away my trash and get out of sight as fast as possible, I don't want people intercepting me to be helpful.  Especially...and like I said, I'm revealing myself here, disgusting trashy, smelly, gross, loud, and annoying old men.  There.  I said it.  Maybe if he was my neighbor and I was sitting outside sipping gin and he came over to say hello I would have been fine with conversing for a while.  But when I'm in the clothes I slept in, with a bag of trash in either hand, I don't want or need this kind of company. 

"I was trying to toss my trash without anyone seeing me looking dumpy," I said with a forced smile.

"What?  You're in your shorts." 

And then I get my bra-less chest raked by his leer.  Oh goody.  Thank you so much for coming out. 

I realize I'm being harsh on this good Samaritan...but the Hell with him.  He should mind his own business.  I'm not helpless. 

As we're dumping today I see more toothless and shirtless old men dumping their blue-boys.  By and large it looks like single old men are camping here, and it doesn't look like they're vacationing.  It looks like a sad state of affairs.  I guess that's got a lot to do with why I'm finding this place depressing.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Don't use Satellite Advantage in Quartzsite

I hate when I have a bad experience with RV service providers.  I don't like spreading negativity on my blog, but this is too egregious not to mention.

I wanted my tailgater dish mounted on the RV ladder so I didn't have to mess with it every time we moved.  I called these people in Quartzsite to do it for me.  Here's why I had a terrible experience:
  1. Their quote was $340.  The guy in Yuma quoted me $225 for the same service, but couldn't get the mounting kit in time to do the work before we left Yuma.  This was a really expensive quote for a one hour job.  I was willing to pay it just to get it over with.  I expected good service for such an inflated quote.
  2. The service guy Steve was supposed to arrive between 9am and 10am.  He called at 10:17 to confirm I had a service scheduled.  (Um, yeah, you missed the appointment.)  Then he asked me what I was doing and what I had been quoted.  He then asked if I was bringing the rig in or if he was coming to me.  Nothing had been told to him by his boss, Paul.  If they were giving me a good price I wouldn't have cared, but again, they were over charging to begin with.  I was annoyed.
  3. After our phone discussion he said he'd be here in 15 minutes.  He arrived 45 minutes later.  I'm really, really annoyed now.  
  4. He says he's going to drill a hole through the roof of the RV for the wire.  I tell him I want him to run it through the window and tack the wire.  I'm wrong about this and he's right, but the way he explains this to me is that his way is just how it's done and if I don't let him do it that way, "I'll leave right now."  I give up and let him do it his way, because he was right.  But the way he spoke to me, after already fucking up that morning, really annoyed me.  He wouldn't let me talk.  It was his way or him driving away and me still having this annoying problem.  My mother and I now have a pact:  the second anyone says 'I'll leave right now' LET THEM.
  5. We go to the ladder together and I tell him I want the satellite on the top rung, with the top half of the satellite peeking over the edge of the RV so it's not blocked.  He's fine with that.  I also mention for him not to block my back-up camera.  He assures me he won't.  I leave him to it.  I was an idiot.  I should have watched him.  You think when you explain what you want you might actually get it, and if there's a problem they have a chance to mention that while you're explaining.  This guy had no intention of doing it how I wanted and DGAF. 
  6. He takes a metal bracket and attaches it to the very top if the RV ladder and puts my satellite on a platform floating above this.  You can not imagine how sick I was to see that he completely did not do what I had asked, not even close.  How am I going to fix this?  It adds a foot of height to my RV and casts a shadow on my solar panel.  I ask him to fix it.  He says, again, this is how it's done.  It's not mounted in any other way.  I show him a picture.  I remind him of what I told him.  He refuses to fix it.  He says the job is done.  He asks for payment. 
What I asked for.

What I got. It's too dark outside to take a photo now. That's the top of the RV ladder. 
Don't use these people for anything.  There's better service to be had in Yuma, and it's worth the drive just to avoid them.  I am disgusted over how I was treated today.  Ugh. 

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Winter is Over

We arrived in Yuma Az in December and stayed until today.  Time to head north towards colder climes.  We're already at 90 degrees here mid-day.  It was a good winter destination and we'll be back in six months (probably).
Today we will be packing up the RV and moving 100 miles north to go from 90 degree weather to 80 degree. Here's the to-do list for today:
  •  Shower (at the token shower)
  •  Dump tanks
  •  Take on water
  •  Get rid of trash
  •  Boondock at a laundromat and do our backlog of laundry (we tried to keep up with it with our tiny washer but it got away from us)
  • Go to Bestbuy and buy walkie talkies (My mom is driving the SUV behind me and we need to be able to communicate easily when traveling)
  • Gas up the RV
  •  Drive as far as we can before it gets dark.  (My mom has macula issues and can't see at night).
There's plenty of BLM spots to pull over at if it gets too late.  We're headed to Quartzsite for the next week or so.  
It will be hard leaving the LTVA.  This place makes boondocking so easy.  Huge bays for the dump station, trash dumpsters, free water, mail/package delivery, and token showers.  I feel like we're going to be flying without a net when we leave here.  We'll have to track down dump stations at gas stations and buy water.  Who knows what we'll do with our trash!!  And it will be hard to shower in our coach shower since it's so small and since it will fill our grey tank so fast.  ;o;  We've been spoiled and it's gonna be rough!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Rice Cooker Destroyed Our World

You read that right.  Rice cooker.  It screwed stuff up.

Let me backtrack and tell you about when we used to boondock with our old travel trailer.  I distinctly remember my mother using our coffee maker with our 1,000 watt inverter, four 12 volt battery bank, and 260 watt solar array.  THE COFFEE MAKER WORKED.  It wasn't a dream.  I know it worked.

But no longer.  We have an even beefier system now and we can't run coffee makers, slow cookers, toasters...or rice cookers.

We got rid of the coffee maker when it set off an alarm on my 600 watt inverter.  I was okay with this because this was a smaller capacity inverter than what I had before.  We switched to boiling water for instant coffee.  I think instant coffee is fine, but my mom, the coffee snob (it's her Puerto Rican blood) insists we keep our coffee maker to use when we're on shore power.  The toaster also wouldn't push down without the inverter beeping.  So I got it.  Those two appliances got stowed away.

Then we hooked the TV, satellite receiver, satellite, two computers, two phones a'charging, our cordless headphone charger, and two fans on the 600 watt inverter.

I'll be danged if it didn't stop working!  IMAGINE THAT?!

Turning it off and on again didn't help.  That was the extent of my problem-solving skills.  We shut everything down and just ran our laptops off our 300 watt inverter.  I ordered the inverter below from Amazon:

Okay, so we went from modified sine to pure sine, and 600 watts to 1000 watts.  Good to go, right?

Well, yes.  For a while all was fine.  I figured we now had the ability to run small appliances again since we had with our last 1000 watt inverter.  Out comes the rice cooker.


The moment I hook it in not only does the inverter stop working, all the lights in the coach go out.


The lights come back on on their own, but the inverter won't come back on when I turn it on and off.  I'm not willing to lose another inverter, so I opened it up and tried to change fuses.  The 40 amp fuses inside looked fine and wouldn't come out anyway.  -_-  I stopped trying and opened up my old 600 watt inverter.  There were four 20 amp fuses in here and they came out easily.  They were all fried.  I replaced them.  Then I hooked the 600 watt inverter to the battery leads.

It didn't work.

So now the only inverter I have (meaning the only way I can run my plug in stuff) is my small 300 watt one.  I put it in the cigarette lighter and it's working fine.  I use it there for a while doing my computer stuff.  Then I moved it over to the battery leads and attached it.

It didn't work.

So now I knew it might not be my inverters.  Something got fried with the batteries.

The fuse!

This time when my batteries were installed the guys also installed a 30 amp fuse.  I went under the RV and dug it out of it's housing.  It's one of those big maxi fuses, and yes, it was fried.

HOORAY!!  Maybe my new inverter isn't broken after all!

The next day my mom walks to the solar place (we're boondocking nearby it) and gets me a new 30 amp fuse.  I replace it and neither inverter will work.  x_x

So I carried my inverters over to the solar place.  The 1000 watt one isn't broken but the 600 watt is.  I don't know what's wrong with that 600 watt.  :/  But that's neither here nor there.  My 1000 amp is working but won't work on my battery leads.

We drive the RV back to the solar place.  It's decided that in addition to fixing whatever the heck is wrong with my battery wires I need to upgrade my system.  We add another 160 watt panel and two more 6 volt batteries.  This brings me to 480 watts of solar panels and 6 fricking batteries!

The guys put in an 80 amp fuse.  It's huge.  The only way I'm going to fry it is if we're struck by lightning.  They know me well...

I left them the 600 watt inverter because damned if I know how to fix it and I was just going to throw it away.  I still have the 300 watt one, but it seems to have stopped working.  :/  We're relying strictly on that 1,000 watt pictured up there.  I think we'll be fine with it.

By the way...Today marks our 1 year anniversary as full time Rvers!  WOW!