Click to Return to RVeCafe Homepage

Fall - 2010
page 2

Return to page 1 Jump to page 3
Click to see What's New at RVeCafe  
Our first stop, Cracker Barrel on the west side of Phoenix
Thursday, December 16, 2010: Yesterday the "desert rats" went to the big city. Phoenix is only 130 miles away via Interstate 10 from our camping location in Bouse. Ralph and Janet had several reasons to visit Phoenix and invited us to tag along. We planned a whole day of shopping. Morgan was left with our neighbors, Bob and Noreen and they reported Morgan did just fine. We left camp before the sun was up at 7 am so we got to see the sunrise right into our eyes as we were driving east. 130 miles does not seem so far when you can drive the 75 MPH Arizona speed limit and Cracker Barrel is only about 80 miles away. It's a BIG day for desert campers to get to visit the "big city". So much shopping to do.
Shopping at Cracker Barrel
After breakfast, Gwen and Janet browse the Cracker Barrel store for gifts. There is always a lot to look at before our next stop. This Cracker Barrel was in Buckeye, the western most edge of the Phoenix area. This happen to be the first shopping mall as we entered the greater Phoenix area.
After breakfast, a stop a Wal-Mart Costco was the next stop
Wal-Mart was only a short distance from Cracker Barrel and the girls had long shopping lists for grocery items here. We always take our large cooler and buy a bag of ice to keep the refrigerated purchases fresh. Today was to be only 75 degrees so very comfortable and not much to worry about heat spoilage. Costco is one of my favorite places to shop and our next stop after our visit to Pet Smart to get Morgan a new bed. I think we wandered around Costco for an hour getting dog food, cat litter, a small cordless drill and a "Green Machine" carpet cleaner (like the style I borrowed from Janet).
Hobby Lobby, the whole reason for visiting Phoenix Ralph is returning cables he did not need for his solar system
It seemed to us guys that the whole reason for visiting Phoenix was so Janet and Gwen could visit Hobby Lobby, their favorite craft shop. Janet had spotted Hobby Lobby her last trip to Phoenix and when Gwen heard about it, they began to plan. I actually don't think either found much to buy but I found a base to put under our kitchen table lamp to raise it to a more useful height. During Janet and Ralph's last trip to Phoenix they had purchased the parts needed for their solar system. Ralph learned after returning that he did not need the expensive cables so today was the day to return the cables. We also picked up a couple of solar panels for our neighbor, Bob.
The girls are squeezed into the back seat with the new dog bed Sunflower Market shopping
You can see the box of solar panels behind Gwen's head in the bed of the pickup. With our purchases at Wal-Mart, Costco and the dog bed at Pet Smart, the girls had to squeeze into the backseat with the dog bed. Gwen's next shopping request was to visit Sunflower Market. This was a market we had discovered while traveling New Mexico and Gwen wanted to return for the great fresh vegetables. I wanted to visit for the bulk foods, specifically Muesli which I normally buy from Winco Foods but found it here as well.
Gwen gets a free massage at Sunflower Market Dinner

On the way out the door at Sunflower Markets was this young man set up to give free chair massages. Gwen took him up on his offer and got about five minutes of massage which help relieve some of the shopping stress from her neck and shoulders.

By this time it was dark and we were all hungry for Mexican food. Janet had seen the Arriba ad on TV and wanted to give it a try. It was very good, the best Mexican food since Los Dos Hermanos in Sierraville, California. It was also surprisingly affordable with 99¢ Margaritas and dinner prices less than $10.

When we arrive back at camp and gave Morgan her new bed she showed her appreciation by stretching out and sleeping on it all night. Her old beds are on the top of the new bed, you can see she had out grown those and really liked all the padding of the new, larger bed.

Morgan loves her new bed
Rain in the desert Friday, December 17, 2010: This is an unusual photo of our camping location in the desert. Unusual because it is raining which it hardly ever does and because you get to see the steep access into and out of our campsite on our narrow, gravel road. We are camped to the left while Ralph and Janet are camped to the right. We welcome the rain because it settles the dust. I only measure .04 inches of rain yesterday but that amount of rain will keep us dust free for about 2 weeks. Today was mostly sunny this morning but solid clouds and threatening rain again this afternoon. That's OK with me, it would be nice to get a little more rain to keep the desert floor solid. Be sure to click the photo to see another view of the rain clouds in the desert. Normally we have a great view of all the mountains around us but they are obscured by the rain clouds on this day. Kathy and Terry traded their 40 foot toy hauler for a 2010, 32 foot fifth wheel and have rejoined us today in the desert. They will have Solar Bob reinstall their solar system while parked with us in Bouse.
Saturday, December 18, 2010: What does a desert camper do with the trash. Fortunately there are two transfer stations nearby for us to use. The closest is 2 miles from us. There is NO charge for us to use the transfer stations. I'm not sure why, I believe the county pays the garbage fees to help keep the county clean. As long as it is household garbage, there is no fee. The transfer station nearest us is open 7:30 - 2:30 each Thursday - Saturday while the other transfer station near Quartzsite is open Monday - Wednesday. The load in the truck is from three campers, not just us. I took this photo while the "trash lady" was screaming at me, "no cameras" so I don't know what they are trying to hide. Taking the trash to the transfer station
Transferring water to the freshwater holding tank Monday, December 20. 2010: Water! It's a problem in Arizona. We've tried the tap water and it tastes salty. For that reason we always buy RO water (reverse osmosis) for drinking water. It's 25¢ per gallon when you supply your own container. We have about 10 one gallon Arizona tea containers we use for RO drinking water. Otherwise we buy tap water (5¢ per gallon) at the community park for our freshwater holding tank. It's this water which is used for showers, dishwashing and anything coming from our faucets. We do filter the water
before it goes into our cooler but still tastes salty. To get the water from the community park (2 miles from our camping location) I use a 25 gallon cooler with a hose bib as a drain in the bottom. I connect a hose and gravity feed from the roof of the truck into the freshwater holding tank. If we do this about three times each week, we are good with fresh water.
Thursday, December 23, 2010: When leaving our summer job as camp hosts last October, I accidentally backed into a tree limb and destroyed the awning cover and the scare light. Unfortunately, I also broke a gear in the motor assembly AND put a nice crack in the side of the trailer next to the light. So ... today was the day I finally got all the repair parts from Carefree of Colorado (the manufacturer of the awning). I've had the replacement scare light since visiting my parents in California. I had the light delivered to their house while I was visiting. So all I needed was the replacement gear and the cover but Carefree of Colorado would sell ONLY the whole motor assembly. Destroyed awning cover
Replace the destroyed scare light Replacing the whole motor assembly DID made the repair very easy. See that ONE bolt on the arm of the awning just below the motor cover? That is what holds the entire motor assembly in place, so the only bolt to loosen on the old assembly and tighten on the new assembly. Fortunately, the awning itself was not injured. The scare light however was totally destroyed. But Carriage sent me a replacement light quickly.
It took the help of our friends Terry and Kathy along with Gwen to hold the awning in place while I replaced the motor assembly. I'll bet you didn't notice the patch over the crack in the side of the trailer. Now you'll have to look back at the photos to see if you can see it. The repair is complete. If the patched crack is the worse thing that happens to our trailer, we will be lucky. This little accident in reverse has cost about $300 in repair parts. We have also made a new rule, Gwen is to be outside watching the trailer anytime I'm in reverse (even if it's raining like it was on the day we left Indian Valley). Patch job complete
Terry and Solar Bob are installing Solar on Terry's rig Friday, December 24, 2010: Terry and Kathy traded their huge fifth wheel toy hauler for a smaller, more manageable fifth wheel. Before trading his toy hauler, Terry removed all the solar system then brought his new rig to park next to us in Bouse. Today, Terry and Solar Bob completed the re-install of the solar system onto the new rig. Both Terry and Kathy are very happy to have solar again and it looked like their generator was
packed away hoping to not need it again for a while. Terry did a great job of running the wire and mounting the panels. Solar Bob connected all the wires and installed the new Tri-Metric meter. The install took only 1/2 day so Terry was storing his solar charge in his batteries by noon today. You can click the photo for a closer view.
Saturday, December 25, 2010: After a relaxing morning, Terry, Kathy, Gwen and I drove to Parker, Arizona to visit the Blue Water Casino where the Christmas buffet was only $12.95 for seniors ... but wait ... if you have the VIP casino card it was only $10.95. Of course we all had the VIP card. Everyone wanted turkey but the enchiladas were so good we all went back for a second taste of enchiladas. This is the same casino with December buffets specials of only $6.95 during the weekday. This buffet was much better than the usual however. In the photo, we are standing outside the front of the casino which faces the Colorado River after our meal. We took a nice walk along the river then back through the empty amphitheater to the crowded parking lot. When Terry and Kathy got their VIP cards last week, they got $10 in "free play". Together they won $60 using the "free play" money. That helped to pay for the solar install they just completed yesterday. Terry, Kathy, Gwen and Dale after a good $10.95 casino buffet Christmas dinner
We visit our friends Eddie and Ruby in Quartzsite Monday, December 27, 2010: What a great day. We found Eddie and Ruby in Quartzsite for the winter. Eddie was our relief help during our summer camp host job near Downieville, California. We knew they were coming to Quartzsite for the winter so today, we searched them out. They are really in good spirits and enjoying the Arizona winter. We brought each other up-to-date since we parted from each other last September. Eddie and Ruby are making plans to drive to Alaska this next summer. They are also talking about adding solar charging to their trailer before the trip. We hope they come to visit us before we leave Bouse so we can introduce them to Solar Bob.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010: It's a stormy day at our campsite. While local TV stations are showing deep snow in the rest of the country, we are getting 1/2 inch of rain and some wind. Our trailer is the nearest with Ralph and Janet next then Solar Bob and his friend Jim further away. Morgan and I are on a hike to the nearby mountains for this view. Bouse is in the distance, we are 2 miles from the paved road. Click the photo to see a wider view. Our campsite on a stormy day
Barrel Cactus Thursday, December 30, 2010: Not a good night last night for me. The wind was blowing at 20+ and vibrating our solar panels keeping me awake. I decided my fancy, EZ connection was NOT so good in the wind so climbed onto the roof this morning and changed back to bolts. I'll use the pins again when we begin traveling and the panels are going up/down all the time. After breakfast, we drove to Parker for laundry and grocery shopping. We ended up at the Blue Water Casino again for the buffet plus VIP members get $10 in free play on Thursday. I lost $1 while Gwen won $10.15 so we appreciate the gift from Blue Water AGAIN. Morgan and I came across this Barrel Cactus yesterday on our hike. It's about 10" in diameter and 1 foot tall and seemed very healthy on the top of a hill.
Friday, December 31, 2010: This is a busy place in the winter months. We check here for our general delivery mail and the postmaster allows UPS and FedEx deliveries to be made here for us to pick up. This postmaster has some help during peak hours. Compare this post office with the tiny Goodyears Bar post office, where we last received our general delivery mail. The Bouse post office is about twenty times larger but still tiny. Happy New Year everyone. Bouse, AZ post office 85325
A potential campsite Monday, January 3, 2011: We finally got around to exploring the desert around us. Gwen wanted to see the area to learn if we were missing some better campsites. We drove down many desert roads in search of the perfect spot. We found lots of other campers who seemed to like their sites. This one in the photo seemed nice with a large hill to block the wind from the west and a huge flat area for spreading out and inviting friends. Yet, we still didn't find anything we liked better than where we are currently camped.
Just after dusk in the Arizona night sky
Wednesday, January 5, 2011: This is just after dusk looking west in the Arizona night sky. You can just see the outline of the hills below the crescent moon. We had more friends arrive to try our campsite today. Dick and Mary Ellen arrived with Dick's sister Barb and her husband Forest. Forest and Barb are new to long term RV travel and to boondocking. Gwen and I can remember when we felt uneasy with camping outside of prepared campgrounds. We built our experiences slowly and much of the time followed others who were already doing it to learn from them. Hopefully, Forest and Barb will do the same.
Traffic everywhere Leaving Phoenix in traffic
Thursday, January 6, 2011: We had a long list of things to do in Phoenix so made the trip today. We saw more traffic (cars) today than in all the last three months combined. Our list included Cracker Barrel, Michaels Crafts, Hobby Lobby, Costco, Target, Sunflower Market, AAA, and Arriba Mexican Grill. Take a look at the photos, they show the opposite of where we are camped. Lots of traffic everywhere. We got a typical Arizona sunset in traffic on the way out of Phoenix.
Return to page 1 Jump to page 3
Return to RV Trips Copyright, 2010 by