Posted on January 25th, 2015 by Brenda
As you may or may not already know, Quartzsite, AZ is a top gathering place for RVers in January and February. Why you may ask? What makes this town with a population of just over 3600 people (according to the 2010 census) turn into a town of hundreds of thousands, even millions every winter? Well, on top of the great weather (average 60′s and 70′s during the daytime), great scenery and a great spot for friends to meet up and hang out, Quartzsite has a large Sports, Vacation and RV show that happens every year in January. Simultaniously there is a Rock, Gem and Mineral Show that happens every January and February. The Desert USA website, explains: “Eight major gem and mineral shows as well as vendors of raw and handcrafted merchandise peddle their wares to snowbirds, collectors and enthusiasts.”
With so much BLM land (both 14-day limit, free sites as well as long-term fee sites) that surround Quartzsite, it makes it an ideal place for large groups to gather. With people’s travel schedules and lives that get in the way, this can be a great place to meet up once a year and catch up with friends. Potlucks, bon fires, crafting lessons and a movie night (that we put on) are great ways to enjoy each other’s company.
Since most choose to park out in the desert, with all of the vastness of dirt, rocks, tumbleweeds and cacti, everything can really start to look the same.
David did a great video of where we were parked to get an idea of the vastness around us and to prove that yes, you can boondock with an all electric, luxury motor coach out in the middle of nowhere. Also to prove to our family and friends that we actually did take our coach off road.
We ended up lasting 12 days before we left. However, with the state our tanks were in, we could have easily lasted a few more days, but alas, it was time to move on for us. We filled up our diesel before we parked for those 12 days and also filled back up after we left to get an estimate of how much it actually cost us to boondock in the desert. When we filled up we were surprised that we had gone through 42 gallons of diesel (we have a 150 gallon tank). We filled up at $2.70 a gallon, which came out to $113.40 bucks. Divide that by the 12 days we were out there and we spent $9.45 a day to boondock. Certainly less than an rv park would have cost. Now, we had not done any serious boondocking since we bought this coach, so this was a test of our tanks as well as our 2 solar panels that we have on our roof. We do not have the capability of tilting them, nor did we position our coach for maximum exposure, as we didn’t remember to when we parked and set up. With that in mind, we still believe that our solar panels were not working properly. So, under different circumstances, we may have faired better.
Unless you park in a large group, like the Montana group above or you park in town at one of the various rv parks, you may need a little help in finding your spot when coming back from town. Flags are a great way to help identify where you are parked. Not only are there various flags (American, sports, military, etc) that you can adorn your coach with, many flagpoles can have solar lights and such added to the topmast. So if you happened to not park in a large group, when trying to find your way back home in the dark, and it gets really dark out here, these lights can be a nice addition as well as landmark. But don’t fret if you don’t have a pole, flag or lights, it can all be found here under and around the tent during the show.
Speaking of vendors and the tent event, this place is huge! A great, and FREE, event for Rvers, you can find everything and anything you ever thought you might and sometimes might not know you ever needed, here in one place. There are vendors selling new items such as expandable ladders, LED lights, chairs and yes, the ever-popular flagpoles, flags and lights for said poles. Other wares such as crafts, specialty foods, camping memberships, surplus tools, rv parts and everything in between can also be found all over. The tent is not the only place for shopping. Oh no, there are vendors set up around the tent, across the street in the Tyson Wells area, all around town on Main Street as well as across highway 95 (which runs north/south through town).
Let’s not forget one of the favorite stops for all of us, I’m sure, the food vendors. Can I just say the “Carny” food is always a good choice for something to indulge on.
The food vendors are as vast and different as the rv vendors. You can find hand-made ice cream, wood fired brick pizza, BBQ, fresh mini donuts, hand dipped, beer battered onion rings, fried dough, fresh cut curly fries. The choices are endless. I can feel my arteries clogging as I type this.
After indulging, or (clearing my throat), over indulging, a nice long hike may be in order. If you have not walked the tread off of your shoes yet while shopping around town, you can always get out and walk around the desert and the various hiking trails that can be found. Being that most people park outside of town on BLM land, you can just step outside your coach and take off.
Sunset is a great time to be outside enjoying the desert. The sunsets out here in Arizona are simply spectacular. You can see all around you for miles, surrounded by mountains, they can be breathtaking.
It’s also a great time to get some video of the sunsets with the quadcopter.
Speaking of the quadcopter, this has to be the most quadcopters we have seen, in one area, flying around. The desert can be a great place to fly because you don’t have to worry about trees or wires getting in the way. You can do some really great long distance flying and the odds of having a signal interrupted out here are minimal. There really is nothing around to get in the way of some good flying. David had a personal best of 1.86 miles away and thus back totaling 3.72 miles round trip, with a top speed of 63 MPH! Whew!
David did a great quadcopter video showing the surrounding camping areas and the tent event around town. This should give you a good idea of what to expect and the shear scope of things if you have not been to this area before.
This area is ripe for outdoor sports. Off roading, ATVing, paragliding, even hot air ballooning can all be found around town here. Enthusiasts from all over the country come here to fly and 4×4 and such. You never know what you’re going to see. Just the other night David was out flying his Phantom quadcopter (because it’s easier to see with it’s lights) playing with another Phantom quadcopter pilot who was at another coach at another part of the desert, while watching a paraglider land in the sunset, while people were outside starting up there campfires and grills.
It may be the desert. Life may be harder out here. You may have to tweak your habits a little to boondock longer periods of time, for example taking “Navy” showers and such.
But the rewards are endless.
Sunsets are spectacular.
New and old friendships are made.
The peacefulness is priceless.
Life Is Good!
Even if it comes with a layer of dirt.
Care to join us next year? We’re considering getting a group together. A campfire talking, outdoor movie-watching, cook out happening kinda group.
Some quadcopter flying may be involved.
I’m just sayin.
Just comment below if you’re interested. I know it’s difficult to plan that far in advance. That’s why it’s just a thought right now. (Be sure your email address is entered in when you make the comment. Not in the comment, but in the email field which only we see. We than can make a list to use later.)
Posted on January 15th, 2015 by Brenda
Before the Indio, CA rally (post here) we spent all of November and December in Fort McDowell, AZ at the Eagle View RV Resort. What a great place. We really want to give a shout out to our new friends Craig and Lydia for telling us about this gem and also to apologize to them for telling you all about it.
After traveling around for two months straight we were ready for some down time. We met Craig and Lydia in Colorado at another rv park and they told us about this place that they go to every winter. It sounded nice and peaceful so we decided to give it a try. Boy, are we glad we did. It’s surrounded by mountains (Four Peaks, Superstition and McDowell Mountains) and the Tonto National Forest. So needless to say there are great views all around.
David did a quick video of some of Tonto National Forest when we went out hiking.
There is a lot of wildlife around the area. Wild horses can be seen crossing the streets right outside the rv park. Coyotes, Road Runners, wild hogs, they all are here and can be heard mostly at nighttime. The Road Runner actually runs around the park and we found him resting inside one of the Saguaro cactus.
Arizona is a great place to view some amazing sunsets. And we had some doozies. Remember you can click on the pictures to enlarge them.
Since we had some time on our hands, we decided this would be a good time to replace our awning fabric. We didn’t like the light grey color that came with the coach, so we ordered a darker greyish/black. It’s actually a black and white thin pinstripe but you really don’t see the stripes once it’s up.
We tackled this project by ourselves and seeing that we were surrounded by great neighbors, Joe, one of our neighbors, stopped by to help as well. Great people here at Eagle View.
Believe it or not but it really wasn’t that difficult to replace.
The longest part, and hardest, was finding out that Tiffin had put a casing around the vent pipes so close to the end bracket of the awning that you couldn’t put a screwdriver in there to get to the screws. So David had to Macgyver something to work. This took way to long. We really believe that Tiffin needs to look into this. If anyone needs/wants to replace their awning material and have an awning guy do it for them, a lot of their money will be eaten up in labor costs for the hours it took to get these three little screws out of the end bracket.
You can really see a big difference in the colors of the awning once we got one up. We are pleased with how it came out.
We had some great evenings before the cold front came in, or as Arizona people call it, there 2 weeks of winter. We hosted an outdoor movie night for all our neighbors and enjoyed sitting outside around our fire pit (our propane one as wood fires are not allowed) watching football and such.
David didn’t pass up the nice weather to get his quadcopter out and shoot a video of the park.
While Fort McDowell makes you feel like you’re out in the middle of nowhere, you really are only a couple miles from restaurants and shopping. Located right next door is the community of Fountain Hills.
Fountain Hills is of course, named after their famous fountain. Once a Guinness World Record Holder for the largest fountain, it became operational in 1970 and can shoot up to 562 feet! To give you an idea of the sheer size of this fountain, the picture to the left shows the fountain only at 300 feet. The town does not shoot it any higher anymore to conserve power. Set in the middle of a 30-acre lake, it’s a lovely and lush park in the middle of a desert surrounding. A popular meeting place, while we were there, their were many festivals and such happening in and around the park.
We really enjoyed our time here in Fort McDowell and Eagle View RV Resort. So much so that we made reservations for next winter for three months! We met some great people in the park that have now become good friends. It’ll be nice to meet up again and catch up.
Posted on January 10th, 2015 by David
As some of you know, we are currently at the Western Area FMCA Indio, CA Rally. This is our third time here and we are part of the Sierra Ramblers group who where nice enough to invite us to join them quite sometime back when we first started out.
We try to come each year as volunteers, helping to guide in the attendees, however, as life often does, things just sometimes do not work out. The good news is we were finely able to make it back.
We flew the Heli-Bott, a name coined by by friend Jay Miller for our Quadcoptor, on arrival day to show the number of coaches that have come in and how it is all laid out. It is funny as you can see all these coaches, yet where is everyone? Pondering.
This year’s theme of the rally was “Out of this World” and based on the theme they have a parade where each of the area FMCA chapters make costumes and floats that are judged for bragging rights. Well seeing the theme of the event, I was enlisted to fly with our chapter in hopes to be the “ace in the hole.” :) Well, we will not know until later tonight if we won, but lets just say, the Heli-bott was a hit with the crowd and the judges. So, we can only hope.
So while we flew in the parade, why not take video and make something of it! We were lucky enough to be right near the front so after we got to the end, we were able to fly back to see some of the other chapters. It was quite fun and I am glad the audience had a good time with it.
All in all, it was great to meet up with some friends while here and we hope to return next year. Then again, there we go making plans again.
UPDATE: The Sierra Ramblers WON the Theme Award of the parade which is the overall top award!
Next Stop…Quartzite for the big gathering.
Posted on December 27th, 2014 by Brenda
At the end of October, while on our way to the Grand Canyon, we spent a few nights at Lake Powell on the Utah side. Lake Powell is a beautiful 186-mile long lake with sandy beaches, houseboats galore and is surrounded by Glen Canyon Recreation Area.
This was a great boondocking site (small fee), right on the water, off of Lone Rock Road. If you were brave enough, you could venture onto the beach and park right on the water. We had planned on this as we had heard many people do and let’s face it, how many times can you park right on the water on a beach like that? When we got there however, we took our tow vehicle down one of the many paths to the water to look for a good path to bring the motor home down. Boy, am I glad we did this. With trying many different paths, we found ourselves almost stuck in the sand twice. We opted not to go down to the beach but find a spot up in the main arriving area that was more compacted dirt and secure.
After being there for 3 days and having the wind pick up and blow more fine sand onto the paths, we ended up helping 4 different people dig out there cars from getting stuck. I am glad we did not try to venture down to the water. Yes, it would have been nice to be there, inflate our kayak and just go. However, I would much rather give that up than have to call a wrecker to get our coach out of a sand pit.
We had a great view from up where we were. We were on a plateau on nice solid ground, looking down on the lake. We had sweeping views from horizon to horizon. And the sunrises and sunsets were spectacular!
While there, we were close to the Glen Canyon Dam near Page, AZ, so we decided to stop in and take a tour.
This was a very informative tour (and cheap at just $5 bucks pp), not to long at 45 min and you got to see some pretty interesting areas of the dam. Interesting fact that we did not know, the Glen Canyon Dam is actually bigger than the Hoover Dam. I don’t know about you, but when I think of a giant dam, I think of Hoover. Not so anymore. There are lots more interesting facts about the dam here.
After a few days we were ready to move on to our next destination, the Grand Canyon. Having never been there before, we were excited about this stop. We stayed at Trailer Village, right in the Grand Canyon village and within the parks boundaries. While the rv park was tight with our 45 foot motor home, it was a pull through site with full hook-ups. With a bigger rig, this really is the only option if you want to be near everything.
What’s nice about staying right on the property of the Grand Canyon is all the wildlife. Every night we had a bunch of Elk traipsing around the rv park. The pictures above are just a small portion of the Elk that we saw. And yes, that is our coach in the background. The Elk really were did not care that there were people around.
The Grand Canyon itself is easily accessible from Trailer Village by car, walking, biking or the bus system. We first took our car around to the various pull-off’s and saw some spectacular views from different angles.
All I have to say is…WOW!
Pictures really don’t do it justice. This is a must see at least once in your life.
Another day we went out on one of the trails and hiked a little bit. Once we got out there we realized we picked a trail that was very popular and paved. While we’re not against paved trails, we were just looking for something more off road. Oh well, it still had some great views.
It was a great day for a hike. It was a wonderful few days in the Grand Canyon. Once we’ve seen it though, I don’t really feel the need to go back. It is quite a drive into the park from either direction and let’s face it, there’s only so many canyons you can see before you start to get burned out. We’ve spent the entire month of October looking at canyons.
Just one more to check off the list.