I’m sitting at the table on Debbie and Bruce Bednarski’s deck, over looking the Colorado River at Hidden Shores Resort as I type this. I posted about my friend, Debbie Taylor Bednarski here. Bruce and Debbie will arrive today. I last posted on Christmas Day, so I need to catch up on our activities since then.
My daughter, Shauna came to our site at Mission Bay RV Resort for a late morning brunch on Christmas Day. Donna made a mushroom and sun-dried tomato frittata. We sat at the table outside and enjoyed the frittata with a green smoothie.
Frittata and green smoothie
After brunch, we drove to the movie theater at Fashion Valley. I bought a $10 bag of popcorn and about a third of it ended up on the floor! We entered the theater about 20 minutes before showtime to claim good seats. The movie theater was busy! We sat through 25 minutes of preview trailers before the movie started. It seemed a bit excessive. We watched American Hustle. I give it two thumbs up! Between the early arrival, the previews and movie, we spent about three hours in the theater!
After the movie, Shauna dropped us off back at the RV park. I packed a few things in the trailer, then Dr. Jeff Sandler picked us up and drove us to Donna sister, Sheila’s house for Christmas dinner. Sheila prepared rack of lamb with demi-glaze, potatoes delphinoise and carrots.
Rack of lamb
Donna prepared creme brulee for dessert. I carmelized the sugar topping with a small chef’s torch.
We enjoyed the dinner and the company. We said our goodbyes around 8:30 and Jeff dropped us off back at the RV park.
Boxing Day was a busy one for us. We packed up, I dumped and flushed the holding tanks and filled the freshwater tank. Hitting the road with fresh water full and holding tanks empty is the only way to fly! Shauna came by to see us off. We also said our goodbyes to our new friends, Bob and Sini, and drove out of our site just before noon. I drove the coach to the lot where our cargo trailer was stored. It was a little tricky getting the coach in position to hook up. The handheld Cobra CB radio worked like a champ though. Donna provided guidance and I hooked up without a hitch (pun intended).
Soon we were eastbound on I-8. I took the Greenfield exit in El Cajon. I was given a tip about finding cheap propane there. I pulled into the Chevron station at the bottom of the exit ramp. Getting close enough to the propane pump took some maneuvering. After a couple of missed passes, I was able to position us close enough. With our new cargo trailer, our overall length is 53′ now. The propane was $2.70/gallon. This was a good price.
As we climbed into mountains on I-8, the wind really picked up. It was a quartering headwind from the northeast for the most part. It was a tough slog over the summits – we crossed Laguna Summit, Crestwood Summit and Tecate Summit. All of them are just over 4,000 feet above sea level.
The speed limit for trucks on the descent into the desert is 35 mph. I geared down and followed a couple of tractor trailers all the way down. It’s a 6% grade most of the way. We took our time and enjoyed the ride. The wind died down as we made our way through the desert past El Centro.
We stopped at Buttercup Station in the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area and inquired about camping. There’s a fee for camping in the recreational area – it costs $40 per week to dry camp. There’s no day rate, so we would have had to pay the weekly rate. Outside of the recreational area boundaries, it’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) public land. We were given a map defining the recreational area boundaries. We decided to boondock on the BLM land outside of the recreational area boundary.
We found a nice, fairly level area just before dark. We set up quickly. It was quiet, almost eerie after spending the last three months in a city. The night was clear and stars were bright and plentiful.
BLM near Imperial Sand Dunes Recreational Area – neighbors are not too close
In the morning, Donna prepared yogurt parfaits for breakfast. Donna wanted to explore the ruins of an old gold mining town called Tumco. It was a few miles away. She said she would return in an hour and a half and trekked off into the desert to find it. I stayed back and puttered around in the coach.
Breakfast in the desert – yogurt parfait, biscotti and coffee
Our neighbor saw me out and about and called out, “Good morning.” I walked over and talked to him for a while. His name was Jack. He and his wife spend the summer at their home in Kansas and the winter boondocking in the California desert. He knew the area well – they’ve been coming here for years. I left my phone charging in the coach while I visited with Jack.
When I returned to the coach, I saw I missed a call from Donna. I called her. She said she found Tumco, but it was farther away than she thought. She had been gone for over an hour and said it would take her an hour to walk back. I asked her if she wanted me to pack up and drive the coach to her location. She decided to walk back.
About 15 minutes later, I heard an off-road vehicle outside of our coach and Donna yelling, “Honey, I’m home!” There she was, sitting on the back of a four-wheeler. She’d met a guy named Russell. He’s 74 years old and was out for a ride. They struck up a conversation and after talking to him, Donna felt she could trust him when he offered to give her a ride back to the coach.
We were back on I-8 east a little after noon. We crossed the state line and entered Arizona at Yuma. I stopped in town and filled our gas tank. Gas in Yuma was $3.19 – about 50 cents less per gallon than in California.
I didn’t print the directions to our destination from the Hidden Shores Resort website. I had to rely on our GPS, Nally, to get us here. Nally routed us back to the California side of the river through Winterhaven. We followed S24 north. I didn’t understand the route, because Hidden Shores is on the Arizona side of the river. Eventually, S24 crossed the river at the Imperial Dam, right next to Hidden Shores Resort.
We checked in and were given site C4. This site is down by the river. There are no sites between us and the river. We dropped the trailer in our wide site and backed the coach in. Once again, the Cobra handheld CB made it easy. This is one of the best accessories we’ve bought.
We took a walk and explored around the area last evening. Donna had chili cooking in the crock pot and we had that for dinner.
View from shore near our site
Today, Bruce and Debbie will arrive. Her sister, Kim, and Kim’s husband, Pat Chapman, will arrive tomorrow. I’m looking forward to meeting Bruce and seeing Kim and Pat again. It’s been over 25 years since I’ve seen them.