Category Archives: Quartzsite

Full-Time Costs in 2015

Wow, we’re into February, 2016 already. Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’.

At the end of the year, my bank sends me a summary of purchases made on my Visa credit card. Since I always put campgrounds on the card, I can pull that category and see what we spent. I also put fuel on either my Visa card or Pilot/Flying J card, so I can track that easily. Also, maintenance costs go on my Visa card.

People are often curious about what we spend on this lifestyle. I decided to share a breakdown of maintenance, fuel and campgrounds (which includes utilities). Other expenses like food, clothing and restaurants are no different than when we lived in a stick-and-bricks home. Likewise, health insurance and healthcare haven’t changed – well, health insurance has gone up but it would’ve done that even if we never hit the road.

Maintenance costs for us in 2015 were minimal. We didn’t have any major breakdowns – it was mostly scheduled preventive maintenance. We spent more in the first year owning this coach as I brought everything up to snuff. Hopefully we’ll continue to pay for scheduled maintenance and not have major repair bills. In 2015, we spent $982.15, a monthly average of $85.85. I did most of the work myself keeping the costs low.

We traveled extensively in 2015 – about 10,000 miles in the motorhome. I was surprised to see how low our fuel costs were – thanks in no small part to the low fuel prices. Our fuel costs include diesel for the coach and generator and gasoline for the scooter. In 2015, we spent $3,278.15, a monthly average of $273.18. I expect our fuel costs to be lower this year as prices have fallen even lower and we won’t put on as many miles.

Our largest expenditure last year was on campground fees. We stayed in several parks that are pricier than we normally pay. Campgrounds in the east tend be priced higher than many of the places we find in the southwest. Also, we usually take advantage of monthly rates in San Diego and Arizona. We try to have a few days of free boondocking through dispersed camping on public land or an overnight here and there at Walmart, Cabela’s or casinos as we travel. Our campground cost for 2015 was $7,441.15, a monthly average of $620.10, a daily average of $28.08. I expect this expense to be similar this year.

Adding these three RV expense categories together, we spent $11,701.45 in 2015, a monthly average of $975.12. This is much less than we paid for mortgage, utilities and maintenance in the sticks-and-bricks lifestyle – and we’re seeing the country while we’re at it.

One area of expense is higher than we paid in our sticks and bricks. That’s telephone, internet and satellite TV. In our sticks and bricks we had Comcast for cable TV, highspeed internet and a landline at a cost of about $180/month and Donna had a cell phone at $50/month – my cell phone was provided by my company. Now we have two smartphones, a Verizon Jetpack with a 30GB data plan and Dish Network with over 200 high definition channels. Our monthly expense is about $351 – that’s $4,212 per year. Comcast probably costs more than the $180/month we paid three years ago, but I don’t know what the current rate is.

I didn’t list our full-timers insurance policy costs for the coach and trailer or the scooter insurance. I don’t think it’s helpful to anyone because insurance rates vary based on value of the vehicles, coverage limits and deductibles, driving records, credit scores and the state you’re registered in. Our insurance costs overall are lower than the homeowner policy and motorcycle insurance we had before we hit the road.

We pulled out of our boondocking site at Dome Rock near Quartzsite, Arizona around noon yesterday. It was windy – the wind was coming from the west at about 20mph. It was steady with few gusts so driving wasn’t too stressful.

We drove east through town and then north on AZ95. This route was fairly level and mostly straight to Parker, Arizona. It was cold – the thermometer never reached 60 degrees. Once we passed through Parker, AZ95 hugs the Colorado River. At one of the many resort areas along the river, I saw someone water skiing! Even with a wetsuit it had to be cold.

The road north from Parker to Lake Havasu City has many hills and twists. The road surface was good. It’s mostly two-lane highway with occasional passing lanes. We cruised at 58-60mph. The engine ran very cool – I couldn’t keep it up to temperature in the cool air with the wind blowing across the radiator. The coolant temperature reached 186 degrees on a couple of the longer climbs, but mostly hovered around 178-180 degrees. Running too cool isn’t as worrisome as overheating, but it can lead to incomplete combustion and fuel dilution in the crankcase oil. Diesels run more efficiently at a coolant temperature around 190 degrees.

Lake Havasu City is a town with a population of about 52,000. It sprawls along the man-made lake. We’re located on the north side of town at the Havasu Falls RV Resort (map). This park has tight pull-though sites 50 feet long by 22 feet wide. They are paved and level. I managed to get our 56-foot length into the pull-through without dropping the trailer by pulling in at an angle with the trailer slightly turned.

Site 67 Havasu Falls RV Resort

Site 67 Havasu Falls RV Resort

The RV park is on high ground with a view of the lake/river.

View looking southwest from the RV park

View looking southwest from the RV park

Although we have have clear, sunny skies today, the cold front that blew in yesterday will linger. I doubt if we’ll see a temperature above the low 60s. The weather guessers are calling for a slow warming trend with the temperature reaching the 70s by this weekend. We’ll stay here and explore until next Monday. Then we’ll move to the rodeo grounds on the south side of town for the Alpine Coach rally and the Western Winter Blast Pyrotechnics show.

Cradle to Grave in Quartzsite

Friday was our last full day at Golden Village Palms RV Resort in Hemet, California. We started with our usual time on the pickleball courts and played until nearly noon. I spent the afternoon organizing the trailer and packing everything away. It was just about 5pm by the time I loaded the Traeger and scooter and locked the trailer. It was time for a shower and happy hour. Our friends Ron and Marilyn Cross invited us for dinner at their place but we took a rain check until next time.

Donna took her backpack and walked to Marshalls where she returned a couple of items, then walked to Stater Brothers to pick up a few groceries. When she returned and emptied her backpack, Ozark thought the backpack was a nice place for her to explore. She crawled into the backpack and made herself comfortable. We were surprised to see her do that – she doesn’t usually like to get under covers but she was happy to hide in the backpack.

Ozark peeking out of her backpack hideout

Ozark peeking out of her backpack hideout

Our last sunset at Golden Village Palms

Our last sunset at Golden Village Palms

We hoped to make an early getaway Saturday morning but we weren’t ready to hitch the trailer until 10am. A few minutes later we were on the road. I wanted to leave early because high winds were in the forecast for the afternoon. We took CA79 north to Beaumont where we hit I-10 east. The wind picked up but it was a tailwind as we headed east. With the tailwind and downgrade from Banning to the desert floor, we were coasting along at 62mph. We made a stop for fuel in Thousand Palms at the Pilot/Flying J travel center. I probably could’ve waited until we crossed into Arizona to fuel up and save a few bucks, but I don’t like running below a quarter tank. I took on 50 gallons for peace of mind.

East of Indio, I-10 climbs to Chiriaco Summit, then drops back down to the desert. The wind shifted and we had a cross wind from the south. In a few areas there were columns of dust blowing – not really a full-on haboob – just a light dust storm.

Dust storm ahead seen through the windshield

Dust storm ahead seen through the windshield

Donna sent a text message to Jeff and Deb Spencer (Rolling Recess) when we crossed the border into Arizona. They’ve been here for about three weeks now – they had a booth in the big tent for the Quartzsite RV show. Jeff told us to take the Dome Rock exit and follow the road for about two miles and we would see his GMC Denali pickup truck. The Dome Rock Road exit is about 11 miles into Arizona. We found Jeff and his wife Deb waiting for us on the side of the road. They led us back to the area where they’re boondocking. It turned to be only a few hundred yards from the place we stayed two years ago. I wrote about it in this post.

We set up quickly in a level spot with plenty of open space around us. The road we followed in dead ends at a wash, thus we have very little traffic here (map).

Our piece of desert west of Quartzsite on Dome Rock Road

Our piece of desert west of Quartzsite on Dome Rock Road

Donna invited Jeff and Deb to join us for dinner. In her usual fashion, Donna chose a recipe she’d never made before to serve our dinner guests. She prepared a Marseilles-style shrimp stew with fresh shrimp she picked up the night before at Stater Brothers. She also toasted French baguette slices and spread them with rouille (a sauce made with mayo, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, cayenne and paprika). It was delicious. The toasted baguette with rouille was the perfect accompaniment for the stew – that and a bottle of champagne.

Marseilles shrimp stew

Marseilles-style shrimp stew with toasted baguette

Jeff brought firewood and built a fire on the leeward side of our rig. We’re parked facing west and the wind from the south hits the driver’s side, making a nice wind block on the passenger side. While we were eating dinner inside, the wind really picked up.

Long shadows as the sun sets in the desert

Long shadows as the sun sets in the desert

I had four camp chairs set up around the fire. While we were eating dinner, we heard one of the chairs blow over. Jeff went outside and found it in the fire! It was one of the chairs we bought here at the Quartzsite big tent two years ago. Jeff joked about its lifespan being cradle to grave in Quartzsite. Oh, well. Donna’s had her eye on some new chairs.

Chair didn't fare well in the fire

Chair didn’t fare well in the fire

After dinner, I pulled the living room slide in – the wind was causing the slide topper to flap like crazy and make quite a ruckus. We went outside and sat around the fire. Deb cooked up s’mores while we chatted. As usual, the time flies while we’re enjoying good company. It was past 10pm before we knew it.

This morning, Donna and Deb went out for a three-mile power walk. After their walk, we toured their Domani fifth-wheel trailer. They pulled out today. We plan to spend another night here before we head up to Lake Havasu tomorrow. The wind is blowing again and is expected to increase throughout the day. I’ll probably pull the living room slide in again tonight.

This morning, our Verizon reception was weak – a couple of bars of 3G. I almost skipped writing a post because of it. Then I relocated the Jetpack and the signal improved to two bars of 4G LTE. It’s always nice to have an Internet connection.


Leaving SoCal

My time here at Golden Village Palms RV Resort in Hemet, CA (map) has been mostly consumed by playing pickleball. It’s such a fun and social game, Donna and I both love it.  Donna has had a number of writing assignments cutting into her pickleball and free time – but hey, a little cash flow always helps. Of course, our main reason for relocating here was to assist my step-dad, Ken Keller, through his pre-operative and post-operative surgery. Thankfully he’s come through that without any complications and is back to living his usual routine.

We extended our stay here by a week to be sure Ken was alright. When I extended the stay, a gal at the office named Espey did us a real favor. The usual weekly rate for a Premium-Plus site is $378 – which we paid when I originally booked online. When I extended our stay for another week, she took the time to book each day as a daily reservation applying our Good Sam and Passport America discounts for each night. This resulted in the second week booking at $246. A savings of $132 – it took her a bit of time to circumvent the usual computerized booking method, but she was willing to help us out! Nice!

My pickleball game has improved with the nearly daily play. I’ll have one more day of play before we move on. Donna and I are both feeling the hitch itch and we planned our next move on Wednesday night. We’ll leave here Saturday morning and make the 180-mile drive to Quartszite, Arizona. Our friends, Deb and Jeff Spencer (RollingRecess) are still there and they decided to stay an extra night so we can meet up.

Our original plan was to meet with a number of nomadic friends and acquaintances in Quartszite last week, but being available for family needs trumped that plan. So now we intend to boondock near Dome Rock – just west of town for Saturday and Sunday nights, then move on to Havasu Falls RV Resort in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. After a week there, we’ll move to the rodeo grounds in Lake Havasu City for the Alpine Coach Association rally at the Western Pyrotechnics Convention and Fireworks show. This should be a good time.

In preparation for our travels, I checked tire pressures on the coach, trailer and scooter and broke out our Porter-Cable compressor to set them to the proper pressure on Thursday afternoon. I don’t take tire pressure for granted – tire failure is no joke and under-inflated tires are the number one cause of blow-outs. I also checked and topped off the oil level in our Onan 7.5kW Quiet Diesel generator. Today I’ll stow the windshield cover and load the trailer. We should be set to roll and ready to boondock fairly early on Saturday. I’m looking forward to a couple of very quiet nights in the desert.

Donna walked to Marshall’s yesterday afternoon to do some shopping. She said it was the nicest Marshall’s store she’s ever been to.  After Marshall’s, she stopped at CVS and then Stater Brothers where she picked up some tilapia for dinner. She plans to go back to Stater Brothers today to re-stock our pantry for the next two weeks on the road. She loves it when we’re parked within walking distance of a variety of stores.

Fresh Mexican tilapia over sauteed mushrooms with roasted sweet potatoes and steamed broccoli

Fresh Mexican tilapia over sauteed mushrooms with roasted sweet potatoes and steamed broccoli

The weather yesterday was the nicest we’ve had since our arrival in Hemet. The temperature reached the upper 70s with clear, blue skies and little wind. I know I shouldn’t complain by saying this has been the coldest, wettest season since we hit the road over 30 months ago as it doesn’t compare to what many experience in the north or east coast. But one of the reasons for choosing the nomadic lifestyle is to follow the sun!

I’m not sure if I’ll post this weekend – if I remember correctly, we should have a good Verizon signal at Dome Rock and I can update at some point.


*Just so you know, if you follow one of my links to Amazon and decide to make a purchase, you pay the same price as usual and  I’ll earn a few pennies for the referral. It’ll go into the beer fund. Thanks!

Low Voltage

The weather here in Quartzsite has been ideal. Overnight, the temperature drops to the low 50s or high 40s. The daytime warms quickly and the thermometer hits the mid to upper 70s in the afternoon. A breeze out of the north picks up as the day warms, but I wouldn’t call it windy.

Yesterday, Donna continued working on formatting her Kindle book for publication. I spent the morning cleaning and treating the rubber slide-out seals. I used a three-step process. Each step employs a treated cloth wipe. The first two wipes are special cleaners and surface preparation. The third wipe contains Krytox, a fluorocarbon lubricant. This treatment keeps the seals pliable and allows the slides to move over the seals smoothly.

After lunch, Donna wanted to go into town and look around. We scootered over the I-10 overpass to Main Street. I stopped at an RV lot set up by Orange County RV (from California) which had six or seven high-end RVs for sale. We took off our shoes and entered a Liberty Coach built on a Prevost chassis. This million-dollar-plus coach was a treat. I took a couple of interior photos, but the pictures don’t do it justice. The wood work and trimmings are unbelievable. The walls were suede trimmed with tooled leather. The floor was Travertine tile.

Liberty Coach interior - tooled leather trim

Liberty Coach interior – tooled leather trim

Liberty Coach interior

Liberty Coach interior

We walked through a few more coaches, a Tiffin Zephyr, a Country Coach built on a Prevost chassis and a few others. A couple of the Prevost-based coaches were over the top – almost gaudy. Checking out the Tiffin Zephyr, Monaco Dynasty and Holiday Rambler Navigator, Donna remarked that she was happy with our Alpine Coach and felt that the quality was right up there with these coaches.

We rode through town, then crossed I-10 to the marketplace on the south side near the big tent. The marketplace was like a carnival midway at a fair. It was filled with vendors and food sellers (mostly fried foods). After sampling some jerky at a vendor table, we bought bought sea salt and black pepper jerky, cranberry-jalapeno jerky and black label ale jerky.

Quartzsite marketplace

Quartzsite marketplace

We returned to our site by 3pm. The Dish Network installer was supposed to come out between 3:30 and 4pm. He called a little past 4pm and I gave him directions. To my surprise, he drove straight to our coach in the middle of a desert filled with thousands of coaches.

He went to work quickly. He had the dome programmed and the receiver connected in no time. Then we hit a snag. The dish in the satellite dome wouldn’t find and lock on to the correct satellites. I suggested firing up the generator to make sure we didn’t have low voltage coming from the inverter. He didn’t think that was an issue and continued to work through diagnostic steps.

After 30 minutes or so, he said he thought I had a bad motherboard on the dome. Then he said, “Why don’t you fire up the generator, just to cover all of the bases.” I started the generator. A few minutes later the dome was locked onto satellites 110, 119 and 129, just like it should. These electronic devices are sensitive to voltage! I’d had the inverter running most of the day – that’s why I suggested starting the generator in the first place.

Last night we watched a few episodes of Modern Family in high definition. I’m liking this!

Today, we’ve decided it’s time to move on. Experiencing the big Quartzsite show in the desert was a worthwhile experience, but I’ve had my fill. This many people in the desert creates some stress. Most people have their sand toys and I’m tired of dealing with all the dust they kick up. We’ll kick the tires and light the fires this morning and head back to Mesa.



Yesterday was a work day for Donna. She stayed in the coach and worked on a Kindle book she’s publishing. After breakfast, I went back to the big tent to sign up for Dish Network. I didn’t expect the tent to be as crowded as it was over the weekend. I was wrong. It was more crowded than ever. It took me about 15 minutes to make my way to the RV Connection booth located about 3/4 of the way down the tent. If I had known how crowded it was, I would have walked around the tent and entered from the rear.

The woman I spoke to the day before, Chris, set me up with a Dish Network account. Someone will come to our motorhome out here in the desert this afternoon and hook up the satellite receiver.

I stopped at another vendor outside of the tent. We looked at camp chairs on Saturday and decided to buy large, heavy duty director’s chairs that have a small folding table on the side. I spent some time looking at them and thinking of how to get them home on the scooter. I went for it. I bought two chairs and carried them out to the scooter. A little ingenuity with bungee cords had them securely fastened on the back.

Folding chairs strapped to the scooter

Folding chairs strapped to the scooter

This free, dispersed camping around Quartzsite is getting expensive. I have to stop going to the big tent!

Later, I rode to town to buy drinking water. The traffic was crazy. Crossing the overpass to get into town was a bumper-to-bumper affair. Once I made it to the main drag in Quartzsite, I rode north to the grocery store. The southbound traffic was backed up for more than half a mile. I don’t know the reason for this, other than there are more vehicles in town than the intersections can support. After I picked up a case of drinking water, I took an alternate route back. It didn’t help, every way out of town was backed up.

Donna took a break from her work and went for a hike in the hills. She found a cave in the hill south of us. She climbed up a trail and had a great view of the desert. Too bad I can’t get the pictures she took on her cell phone to download to my laptop. There’s some setting that blocks me from accessing the photos. And she can’t send them to me because she only has Edge service rather than her normal 4G.

I explored a little on the scooter. I think when we leave, we’ll go west on Dome Rock Road a couple of miles to the I-10 on-ramp, then head east on I-10. That way we’ll avoid the madness in Quartzsite.

Today I’ll explore a little more while Donna works. I don’t know how much longer we’ll stay here. I’m starting to get the hitch itch.


Always Something to Learn

The big tent show in Quartzsite opened on Saturday. Donna and I rode over on the scooter. It’s about five miles east of our boondocking location. The traffic was heavy, but the scooter made it easy to get in and park near the entrance.

Our first order of business was to look at induction cooking. This was a topic we had no experience with. When we bought our coach, we were told it had a new induction cooktop. We knew that magnetic induction would only work with pans made from ferrous material. Non-magnetic materials such as aluminum alloy or stainless steel do not respond to induction – and that’s all we had. Before leaving the RV park in Mesa, Donna bought a Lodge 12″ cast-iron skillet* to try her hand at induction cooking. On Saturday morning, she struggled to cook bacon. The pan heated slowly and it took well over an hour to cook 12 strips of bacon! Something was clearly wrong here.

We spent a couple of hours sitting through a demo by Bob Welch of Healthcraft. Healthcraft manufactures cookware optimized for induction cooking. We watched as he boiled water in less than two minutes. He cooked a chicken breast in 13 minutes and made a waterless, greaseless side dish of cabbage, carrots and potatoes. The cookware isn’t cheap; in fact, it’s quite expensive. Healthcraft cookware is very high-quality, made in the USA (Kansas). Most of the production is sent to Japan, where induction cooking is popular. There are Chinese alternatives on the market for less money, but as usual, you get what you pay for.

Induction cooking is suited to RVs because it’s so efficient. It takes very little energy to create a hot pan because the energy is concentrated on the cookware, not radiated to the atmosphere. We couldn’t figure out why our cooktop didn’t work like Bob’s demo. After discussing this with him, he could only offer that either our pan was not pure cast iron or something was wrong with our cooktop. At the end of the day, he lent one of his expensive skillets to us to try out.

From there, we walked through about half of the show. We saw a few things we would return to purchase. We bought new sheets for our bed. When we returned home, we put the cooktop to the test. I put the Healthcraft pan on the cooktop and turned the dial to high. I added a cup of water. Ten minutes later, the water was hot but still not boiling. Something wasn’t right.

I removed the drawer below the cooktop and used a flashlight to find the model number on the bottom. Google led me to the Dometic site where I found the answer. This is not an induction cooktop! It looks like one, but it’s actually an electric radiant heat ceramic cooktop. It’s weak and heats very slowly. Dang, we’ve been hoodwinked! I want to believe that the dealer didn’t know any better and wasn’t trying to fool us. I’ll talk to them when we return to Mesa. The cooktop wasn’t something I could test when I was inspecting the coach because I didn’t have the proper cookware. I wasn’t too worried about it because it was new.

Yesterday, we went back to the big tent. We walked through the rest of the show. I learned something else and this time, it was good news. Our rig has a satellite dome on top. I wasn’t too keen on it, because I’m spoiled by HD programming and didn’t want to get a standard definition receiver. I talked to the guys at the Direct TV booth. They would give me a portable HD dish and receiver if I signed up for a 12-month subscription. This sounded pretty good, but I wanted to check around. The portable dish can be problematic – it has to aimed precisely to pick up the satellite signal.

At the Dish Network booth, the guy told me my satellite dome would receive HD transmission from the Dish Network satellite! This was news to me. I took away some literature and thought I should do more research before committing to anything. At another booth, there was an independent satellite TV installer. They were authorized to install both Direct TV and Dish Network. The woman there gave me the straight scoop.

She told me my dome satellite antenna would receive HD from Dish Network, but could only process one channel at a time. This means the front TV and bedroom TV would be on the same channel, unless I used over-the-air antenna reception for one of the TVs. She told me they would send a tech out to our site, install an HD Dish Network receiver and make sure we had a good signal. All I had to do was sign up for Dish Network through them. She gave me literature and I brought it home with me to do more research.

I looked up our Winegard Roadtrip Minimax dome online. I found out that she was correct. It will function exactly as she said. Today, I’m signing up. I missed the NFL conference playoffs yesterday since we can’t get any over-the-air reception here at Dome Rock. The satellite receiver will change that. Our Winegard dome automatically seeks the proper satellite and locks in.

We bought a new Thermo Shield mattress pad for our bed. We almost passed on it because it was bulky and would be hard to transport on the scooter. The owner of the company, Jay Jensen, told us he would deliver to our location at Dome Rock, no charge!

Our last stop was back at Bob’s booth. Donna ordered the Healthcraft cookware. Later, I ordered a two-burner induction cooktop which I will install in our coach. We’re having the items shipped to a friend’s house in Mesa and will pick them up next week.

While I was researching and ordering online, we had a surprise phone call. Our friends, Keith and Suzanne Gallaway from Phoenix, were in the area and wanted to stop by. They were on their way home from a weekend at Lake Havasu. Keith is the service manager at Lunde’s Peoria Volkswagen. They have a large trailer that is all decked out in VW graphics that they sell VW Driver Gear out of. Last weekend, there was a big VW meet at Lake Havasu called Buses by the Bridge. I think Keith told me there was somewhere around 370 old VW buses there. They attend several VW enthusiast shows each year and sell the VW Driver Gear clothing and accessories.

Keith and the VW Driver Gear Trailer

Keith and the VW Driver Gear Trailer

They are thinking about buying an RV and traveling the country. They run a business called Cruise Planner where they offer various cruise vacation packages. You can check out their web site at

It was fun having an unexpected visit. Keith and Suzanne gifted me a cool VW bus T-shirt. While we were checking out the trailer, Jay Jensen drove up in his pick-up truck and delivered our mattress pad.

Last night, we grilled sweet Italian chicken sausage for dinner served with zucchini and tomatoes.

Sweet Italian chicken sausage with zucchini and tomatoes

Sweet Italian chicken sausage with zucchini and tomatoes

Today, I’ll go back to the big tent and sign up for Dish Network. I also want to pick up a couple of camp chairs we looked at. Fun in the sun here in Arizona.

High, thin clouds made a spectacular sunset last night

High, thin clouds made a spectacular sunset last night

By the way, the new header photo is courtesy of Suzanne Gallaway.


*Just so you know, if you decide to purchase one of these through the Amazon link in this post, I’ll earn a small commission. It’ll go into the beer fund. Thanks!




Running on Empty

I spent most of the day Thursday preparing to move to Quartzsite. Donna had a number of errands. She rode the scooter to take a piano lesson from the teacher she had when we lived in Mesa. Then she stopped at Bed, Bath and Beyond. She must have enjoyed shopping there since she spent more than an hour in the store. When she returned and dropped off the goods from Bed, Bath and Beyond, she rode over to Sprouts and bought groceries. She came back from Sprouts with the scooter loaded. The under-seat storage compartment was full, she had a full grocery sack on the hook between her knees and a full backpack – $125 worth of groceries.

Grocery getter

Grocery getter

Then she walked across the street to WalMart and bought more! From WalMart she stopped at the salon in the strip mall for a mani-pedi. – a treat to herself for getting her edited manuscript back to her publisher. I walked over to the nail shop to retrieve the groceries.

Friday we were up and at it by 8am. I finished packing  a few odds and ends, then dumped and flushed our holding tanks. I put the wheel on the trailer jack. This made hooking the trailer up to the coach really easy. We rolled out of the RV park at 9:30.

While we traveled west on I-10, I was looking at the price of diesel fuel at truck stops. Near Tonopah, I glanced at the fuel gauge. I couldn’t understand why it looked like we had more fuel than when we left. Suddenly I realized this fuel gauge reads opposite of our old coach. I thought the fuel level was nearly full. Not so – it was nearly empty!

We had just passed a truck stop with diesel fuel at $3.71/gallon. The next exit was a couple of miles down the road. I took the exit and backtracked to the truck stop. I put $300 worth of fuel in the tank (80 gallons) and got back on the road. I was panicking about the fuel level because fuel gauges aren’t the most accurate instrument. Having never filled this tank, I didn’t know if we would be out of fuel right when the needle hit “E” or not. Eighty gallons of  fuel in our 100-gallon tank put the gauge near the full mark, so we probably could have gone another 120 miles or so.

About 10 miles east of Quartzsite, we started seeing groups of RVs boondocking in the desert. Some of the groups had signs – they obviously had pre-arranged a meet-up in the desert. Others seemed to just gravitate near each other. This is common. Although people take their RVs to the desert to get away from it all, they seem to still want some sort of association with other RVers out there – maybe there’s a sense of safety in numbers or just a need for social interaction.

Before we knew it, we rolled right through Quartzsite. We saw the big tent on the south side of I-10, near US95. This is where the vendors will be concentrated over the next 10 days. We pulled off of I-10 at the Dome Rock exit, about five miles west of town. We drove slowly back towards Quartzsite on the frontage road on the south side of the freeway.

We saw clusters of RVs and checked the access roads. The roads are just trails in the dirt and rock of the desert. I didn’t want to pull into a road that I couldn’t get turned around on. Backing the trailer onto the frontage road would be a real pain.

We found a likely looking spot and pulled off the road. I temporarily parked and we got out to reconnoiter the area on foot. After hiking around for about 20 minutes, we had a plan. We rolled a few hundred yards south of the road and parked the coach on a fairly level ridge top. We’re situated with the coach facing east, bringing the morning sunrise through the windshield. Our door and awning face to the south. It’s a nice spot. We don’t have anyone within 100 yards of us, but that could change as RVs are still pulling in and looking for a good site.

Our little piece of desert

Our little piece of desert

View from our door step

View from our door step

Donna fixed a chicken wrap with avocado for an afternoon snack, then we rode the scooter to the big tent. Friday was still a set-up day for the vendors – the show starts Saturday. We walked in and looked around. It seemed like we were the only ones previewing the show. It wasn’t completely set up yet, but Donna bought a hand-operated food chopper (salsa maker) from one of the vendors. When we were leaving, a security guy asked if we had vendor badges. He told us we couldn’t be there without them. We thanked him and left.

The Texas Star - a really cool old Flxible bus converted to an RV

The Texas Star – a really cool old Flxible bus converted to an RV – is one of our neighbors.

Last evening, we had cocktails outside and watched the sunset. It was very peaceful. After dinner, we continued with another episode of Breaking Bad. We are so totally hooked on this series.

Cocktail hour

Cocktail hour

Today, we’ll head back to the big tent and maybe look around town as well. Other than that, we have no plans.

Sunset at Dome Rock

Sunset at Dome Rock