Monday, January 26, 2015

More Desert Fun

The view from camp in the morning sun.  Priceless!


Wasn't the timing just perfect for my solar install 10 days ago?  This new-to-me energy source has enabled a long-term hangout in this happy place.

The days have been full, what with the ...

Lunching


Clockwise from left: Nancy, Jeanne, Denise, Kim
(Photo courtesy of Barbara)

and the ...

Meeting and Greeting




The first-ever BloggerFest was a success with over 50 in attendance.  A mix of full-timers and some-timers.

L to R:  Lynn, Gayle & Jim, Jerry (with Sally).  The SEC is represented here by Tennessee, Florida, and Mississipi. (Alabama is manning the camera).  


Judy (center) is swamped by her fans.


Debbie and Wanda compare notes on Zion National Park.


Jeanne (L) and Barbara (R).



I think we all enjoyed putting faces and voices to the blogs we follow.


You know, I'm old enough to remember the world without internet.  I just can't remember what we did without it!




Thursday, January 22, 2015

Lazy Days

There are moments when all anxiety and stated toil are becalmed in the infinite leisure and repose of nature.  
~ Thoreau ~



The desert day possesses a calm tenor all its own.  Life’s to-do list has gotten very small, yet the hours never drag. 

Given the serene surroundings in addition to time to think, it's hard not to philosophize about life's vagaries, twists, and the general randomness of it all.  For example, I'm caught wondering what got me here – luck, fate, or a combination of forces.  I don't know.  

All I know for sure is that my GPS helped!  

My Walden-On-Wheels 

I had a couple of visitors yesterday – Denise and her beloved Bennie Boy!  I’ve been following Denise’s blog – Sassy’s On Da Road - for a long time.  

It’s hard to tell if the sun is in Bennie’s eyes or he’s just ready for a nap.  

It was great to finally meet them both.



The First Annual Blogger Fest



I suspect this is going to be a big event.  Every single blogger I’ve talked to who is near Q plans to attend. 

Speaking of blogs, after seeing countless desert sunset photos over the years, I’m happy to add to the collection.  The living room window offers this magnificent view most evenings. 



What absolute luxury to have time to watch one of Nature’s most impressive regularly-scheduled programs. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

La Posa

The Sun Sets Over the RTR



Technomadia stopped by on Saturday.  Chris and Cherie’s technical knowledge is impressive and the Q&A informative. 



I left the RTR yesterday and moved to the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Long Term Visitor’s Area (LTVA) at La Posa just a couple of miles from Quartzsite.  Though this location is much closer to town, it’s pretty much dead quiet and blissfully serene.  



I’m situated in the back in a sweet little landscaped spot (thanks Debbie!) with no drive-bys kicking up endless clouds of dust. 

The best part is reuniting with this summer’s Pacific Northwest road trip gang – Debbie, Jim, and Gayle - who are, in turn, reunited with their Lazy Daze friends.  



Lovely surroundings, peace, excellent company – what else could you want? 

And how nice to wake up to charged house batteries even after running the furnace for a few hours at night.  It will take me a while to become accustomed to this whole solar thing.  I stopped to make lunch yesterday and, out of habit, parked in the shade.  Gotta remember not to do that!  

I drove to town this morning to run errands and do laundry.  OMG, the town is packed and traffic is horrendous!  After doing my part to make it worse, I was ready to return to camp by early afternoon.  I plan to stay immobile for the next few days.  

Fortunately, the Big Tent Show and the Tyson Wells vendors are but a short walk away.

Web Photo





Sunday, January 18, 2015

Hello Sunshine!

Going Solar





Yep, the GDB is now sporting a 95-watt solar panel.  This panel is the largest my limited roof space would allow but should be plenty for my limited power needs.  

Life should be easier now without worrying about playing the stereo or the silly stuff - like running the furnace at night when it’s 40-degrees out. 

Yippee!

When I first started traveling in the GDB, I drove many miles just about every day so keeping the coach batteries charged was not an issue.  But I’m boondocking more and more.  Having to move away from camp every day to run the generator for an hour to keep the batteries charged finally got old.  

Now, in addition to the significant power boost courtesy of Mother Nature, I won’t have so much generator maintenance.

Brian, who spends his winters at Q, installed the system.  He was the lead solar technician at Solar Discount here in town for years so I knew I was in good hands.  He came out to the RTR for an assessment and did the install a couple of days later at his camp.



Brian was recommended by full-time blogger Me And My Dog.  He’s a great guy – honest, thorough, and charges reasonable rates.  In fact, as I was writing this post he called to make sure all is well. 

Brian worked hard all afternoon while I spent some quality time with Sasha, the wiener dog.  We lazed in the sun together and, at one point, she fell asleep with her head on my shoulder.  Her sweet loving nature reminds me a lot of Doris.



Brian does any sort of RV-related maintenance work as well.    

Almost as exciting as the solar hook-up is the ease with which I can now check the voltage.  Accessing the battery terminals was made difficult by the stubborn slide-out tray that houses the 2 heavy AGM batteries.  So Brian connected a couple of cable extensions insuring that I can now use the voltmeter with minimal effort. 



I’m certain the paradigm shift to solar will really enhance this part-time vagabond life of mine.

BTW, here is Brian’s business card:








Friday, January 16, 2015

More From The RTR

The desert weather continues sunny and warm.  



Palo Verde trees provide a contrast of color and texture against the bright blue desert sky.  At night, the Milky Way provides a breathtaking luminescence. 

Web Photo

So, I’m still hanging with the nomads here at the RTR.  Daily seminars include solar set-ups, boondocking, and budgeting for full-timers, to name a few.  One morning, RTR founder – Bob Wells - led an informative discussion on stealth camping in the city.  



Later that day, Donna and Mark hosted a potato bake.  The potatoes are cooked over coals and then loaded with pick-your-own toppings.  The end result is delicious. 



I spent another afternoon strolling Tyson Wells, the vendor area encompassing 20 acres. 

With blocks and blocks of boxes of rocks  



and all manner of minerals manipulated into mountains of merchandise  



with plenty of opportunity for crystal gazing.



I think my favorite vendor is the deep-discount grocery with its rows of name-brand scratch-and-dent items at bargain prices.  



But really, it’s mostly about the carnival food.  



In the end, I opted for blueberry frozen yogurt instead of a corndog.  (If I only had 2 weeks to live, it would be different). 



In order to get an accurate head-count for this year's RTR, one must just about double the attendance figure to include all the humans + the canines who love them.  I wish I could gather all the 4-footers together for one big goofy group portrait.



I’ve tried to photograph Debbie’s Rupert before but he always comes out as a blur.  Finally, I manage to capture his goofy beguiling expression above.  Rupert has a way of looking deeply into your eyes and saying: Hey Lady, I know you!  Let’s play! 

Here’s Elliot - the straight man of this comic duo.     



Layla hails from Kentucky and travels with Dan. 



Isn’t she gorgeous?  Layla has her own Facebook page and lots of friends.

In other news, the GDB has undergone a much-needed modification to be revealed in the next post. 

Stay tuned!



Monday, January 12, 2015

Still Life With Nomads



Nothing says Winter Fun like setting up housekeeping in the balmy desert!  



Where else can you regularly get sunshine, highs in the 60’s, and low humidity? 

It's a pleasant combination - agreeable climate, great scenery, and a community of adventurous folks who generously lend a hand.  

Doug changes out the GDB's water heater anode


Woof looks on


Each time I visit the Sonoran desert, I fall a little more in love.  The surrounding beauty captivates.  



Then there's the showy Saguaro.  Growing as high as 60-feet, the first arms don’t appear until the plant is some 75 – 100 years old.  These majestic green towers produce flowers and fruit in addition to providing homes for all manner of native birds.  Fortunately, the State of Arizona protects these wizened wonders from harm.  

The Saguaro are noble creatures, to be sure, but it’s hard not to get all anthropomorphic and silly about them.

A welcoming family of three


Gumby meets Picasso

Cactopus?  A specimen with 8 arms.  

Botanists classify Saguaro as ‘tree-like’ so I guess that means we don’t have to hug ‘em.  I’m just sayin’ – ouch

And if all this wasn’t grand enough …. Debbie’s here!





Friday, January 9, 2015

Rubber Tramp Rendezvous

Arrived at the RTR two days ago.  This year's gathering is situated in a plum location ringed by seemingly endless desert mountains and lovely flora, including ample saguaro. 



The daily seminars are always informative.  Like this morning's van-dwelling gadget show-and-tell.



On the day of arrival, the GDB’s completely inadequate 5-inch ground clearance caused a problem at the entrance to the RTR campsite.  I scraped the ground effects on the passenger’s side that houses the coach batteries.  The noise was horrific.  Fortunately, the damage was only cosmetic. 

Today, while making announcements, RTR-organizer Bob asked for volunteers to excavate the entrance in order to flatten the offending barrier.  




The task was accomplished in no time.  Thanks everyone for pitching in!

Jim

The weather has been spectacular – just like you would order it – daytime highs in the 70’s, nighttime lows no lower than the 40’s.  And the skies impress at sunrise, sunset, and deep into the dark night. 



The nomads are housed in a variety of tiny homes including vans, teardrops, trailers, and motor homes.  



We got a tour of a most excellent T@B teardrop.  Recently retired owner Sharon is now a full-time wanderer and blogger.    



As always, it’s the spirit that counts.  And the spirit of the RTR is alive with its community of old and new like-minded souls.