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2009 Winter RV Travel to Arizona
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The Taco Run
January 2, 2009: Yesterday Monica began talking about the "Taco Run". Just line up at 4pm on January 2 and we'll lead you to authentic Mexican food, she instructed.

Monica continued with the instructions to follow the signs. The tacos are only 2 miles from the park but you must go down a dirt road, turn left at the irrigation ditch, then avoid hitting the geese, chickens and ostriches. Just beyond the animals will be a right turn to the meal.

We've arrived above. It doesn't look like a normal restaurant and it isn't. This is a family coming up with a method to help support Rosa and Jorge who are about to have a baby this month.

We've arrived
Click on the photo above to enlarge. The photo to the right is the "kitchen". Rosa is calculating the bills on the left of the photo. The menu is simple. Click on the photo below to enlarge and read the menu. Tacos Carne Asada is beef, Cabeza are beef cheeks. I had one of each. Monica is giving more instructions below. The kitchen
The lobby
Juan cleans our carpet January 3, 2009: This day began early with Juan arriving to professionally clean all the carpets in our trailer. We've owned the trailer since April, 2007 and this is the first professional cleaning so it was due. If you recall, the carpet put into these trailers is very poor quality so we were wondering if the carpet would survive a proper cleaning. Well, it survived well and looks new again. Juan was recommended by the folks at the RV park and did a very good job. Gwen and I removed all the furniture onto the concrete patio to make it easy for Juan.

After the carpet cleaning, Gwen and I went to a Saturday morning breakfast at the clubhouse for buttermilk pancakes and ham, $2.

Later in the morning, we drove to the Imperial Dam LTVA (long term visitor area) to visit with Dick and Doris. They are parked very near the same spot as last year. The LTVA is a BLM area where two weeks of camping costs $40 or 7 months costs $180. Many snowbirds take advantage and park in the desert for many months. We will be visiting another LTVA near Quartzsite next week.

Below is the sunset view from our back window.

Visiting with Dick and Doris
Sunset from the back window

We don't have Cracker Barrel in Oregon
January 4, 2009: This morning began with breakfast at Cracker Barrel, an interesting theme restaurant not located in Oregon. They serve grits with every breakfast and a hash brown casserole. The restaurant was very crowded but the staff has management down to an art. They even used radio transmitters to coordinate seating.
Broken cat tree A new post
Cat purch ready

After breakfast, the next project was to repair the broken cat tree. The plastic disk holding the top perch was useless. I visited Lowes and pulled the lumber I needed out of their trash can so they gave it to me. I glued two 2 x 4's together, then trimmed them the best I could using a sabre saw. I used the original bolt plus added screws to secure the support better than it was originally. Everything worked and Annie likes her perch as well as she always has.

Sunday at 6 pm is ice cream night in the park club house. The price is 50¢ per scoop.

Annie likes it to
Sunday is ice cream night

Ice Cream at the Peanut Patch
January 5, 2009: This day began with 1 mile of trash pickup on Avenue 3E. The park is responsible for the trash pickup between CO 16th and CO 17th. I chose to help out but there were at least 20 others who also volunteered to help. It was quick work. Filling an empty propane tank came next. After brunch, Gwen and I road bicycles to The Peanut Patch. We both got a double scoop of chocolate peanut butter ice cream so the ice cream eliminated the benefit from the exercise. Once back to the park, we sat in the hot tub to soften those tight muscles. After dinner, Gwen went to the clubhouse to play POKENO while I watched the Fiesta Bowl.

January 6, 2009: We began the day by going back to the farmer's market. This time Gwen met one of her crafter's forum friends also visiting Yuma at the same time. Then we paid $1.93/gallon to top off the diesel tank.

We joined the "players club" at the Cocopah Casino to get a $4.95 price for the lunch buffet. Click the photo to enlarge.

Not sure what bird this is

After lunch we went to the dreaded Walmart Superstore for food. Our last chance for cheap groceries before leaving for Quartzsite tomorrow.

While at the Casino we saw this bird. Thanks to reader Rod, we now know this is a Long Billed Curlew. I believe I saw it pulling earth worms from burrows with its long, down-curved bill.

Nightime desert near Quartzsite
January 7, 2009: We've made it to the desert near Quartzsite. There is half a moon out tonight so the desert is not as black as it could be. The Chapter 37 rally does not begin until tomorrow but there is already a dozen rigs parked in our group. We went to a small cafe as a group this evening. It was affordable and good food. I took this photo after returning from dinner. It's a 15 second exposure at f3.5. I would have gone longer but my camera is limited to 15 seconds. It was a nice warm day as we arrived this afternoon.

Morning Coffee Time
January 8, 2009: We have 14 rigs parked in a circle this morning. About half have satellite Internet. The rally does not start until this afternoon at 4 pm so all these folks are early. Our rig is parked at the distant right behind several rigs so you can't see us. Morning coffee was offered along with a small campfire (it's about 45 degrees outside). Click the photo to enlarge.
The first happy hour of the rally today at 4 pm
The first happy hour of the rally met today at 4 pm. Of course it was centered around food and a campfire. I stood in the center of the group and took about 15 photos as I was turning around the full 360 degrees of the circle. I then combined all the photos into one composite to show the full 360 degrees of the circle. First click the photo to enlarge. If the photo enlarged has a little magnifying glass with a (+) in the glass, click again to get the full enlargement. Start at the full right side of the photo and scroll to the left. Once you reach the left edge of the photo, you've seen the full 360 degrees of the circle.

Morning Coffee and rolls
January 9, 2009: The sun is just up and a hardy group of Escapees are having morning coffee. Our rig is the roof to the far right of the group. Click the photo to enlarge.
Breakfast at a downtown booth Jim and Alona

After morning coffee we headed to town to shop at one of the hundreds of "flea market" booths. We found a little cafe booth with wonderful breakfasts which we couldn't pass up.

Later that afternoon our friends Jim and Alona from Howard Prairie Lake Resort drove from their current workamper assignment managing an Aneheim RV park to visit with us. It's a very long drive, about 3.5 hours. We had a good visit before they left to visit another friend in Quartzsite.

Our afternoon ended with a Tri-tip dinner which was provided by the hosts. The rest of us provided side dishes. The wind picked up to 30 mph with gusts to 45 mph which meant we all huddled against a few motorhomes parked to block the wind. You can click the photo below to enlarge.

Tri-tip dinner
Crowded against the motorhomes to avoid the wind
Unwrap the mint Toss the plate

January10, 2009: The morning began with a bag breakfast. An egg mixture with vegetables plus some sort of meat are put into a ziplock bag then heated in boiling water or in a microwave to make an omelet like meal. After breakfast came the Escapee Chapter 37 Triathlon. The first event was to open a wrapped mint while wearing welders gloves and using a knife and fork. The mint must be eaten before the gloves and place setting can be passed to the next team member. The second event was a plate toss. Gwen tossed the furthest of the group. The plate is in the air just in front of Mary Ellen. The third event is to line up the team, spread the legs and toss the ball from the rear to the front. The front person then carries the ball to the back and does it again until all team members have made the toss.

Toss the ball between the legs
Full moon on the desert

Gwen and my team won the triathlon event. Our prize was a bag of mints with a few other candies thrown in.

It looks like a full moon tonight. The desert seems very bright in the full moon. The moon has a slight orange hugh as it rises through the distance dust on the horizon. A saguaro stands just to the right of the moon. You can click the photo to enlarge and/or click HERE to zoom out.

January 11, 2009: La Posa South is one of the Long Term Visitor Areas (LTVA) in the county. The Imperial Dam area is another. These are Bureau of Land Management areas, desert areas, where campers (most with RVs) can camp for upto seven months. The fee to camp here is $40 for two weeks or $180 for seven months. The BLM has fresh water, sewer dump, La Posa South
and trash pickup here and at Imperial Dam but in none of the other areas. La Posa South is about 3 miles south of Quartzsite. We are camped in the Roadrunner campground located 5 miles south of Quartzsite. This is a "free area" for a two week period. Once the two weeks is over, the camper must move 25 miles or more before camping in another free area. There is a whole community of people who are camped in the desert during the winter months. They are in $29 tents to 1.5 million dollar motor homes. Many are parked in groups of like thinking campers and many are camped alone. We plan to explore the areas around Quartzsite to identify the different areas and camper life styles. This may be one of the areas we will want to camp after retirement. We are investigating solar power to charge our batteries. Click the photo to enlarge.
Paul and Gwen at the Reader's Oasis Books in Quartzsite

January 12, 2009: One of our adventures today took us to Reader's Oasis Books. Paul is the owner of Reader's Oasis and has a unique marketing plan. We began talking to folks years ago about someday coming to Quartzsite. Everyone insisted that our first stop be the Reader's Oasis Bookstore to see Paul. At first we were puzzled, "what's so special about this bookstore?" we asked. The answer was always, you've got to meet Paul, the owner. Some chuckled, other's just snickered and kept it a secret. But most couldn't wait to tell us about Paul. Gwen insisted that I couldn't make this a photo which could be enlarged ... then insisted that her part in the photo be REMOVED. I agreed reluctantly and replied, "I just want to know WHERE your right hand is?"

There is no doubt that Paul gets his picture taken a lot and those photos must be explained to all friends. The new term for "word-of-mouth" marketing is "viral marketing". This is when customers voluntarily market your product for you for one reason or another. Paul has figured out a method to take advantage of viral marketing.

After Gwen got her chance to "look for books", I took Morgan for a walk in the desert. You CAN click on THIS photo to enlarge. Dale and Morgan on a desert walk
Cathy grooms Morgan One of the booths at the town full of flea market tents is a dog grooming booth. Morgan got herself a bath and a trim from Cathy.
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