For five years I have been following the blog of Howard and Linda Payne - RV-Dreams. While preparing to hit the road I participated in their online forum, got to know a few fellow dreamers. When we launched in 2015 I continued to read the blog, but eventually moved away from the forum.
We were signed up for a Spring rally in 2015 but had to cancel. When they came west this year I jumped at the opportunity to finally attend a rally - and a boondocking rally in Quartzsite was perfect for us!
Although we don't have solar, we do want to spend some time off grid. Both to save money, and to see places we couldn't otherwise visit.
Let's spend a week in the desert with 39 other rigs - some who have been boondocking for years! We'll learn so much :-)))
Before heading out to the wilds, we arrive at the Scenic Road RV Park in Quartzsite for the weekend. We've stayed here before where we have a decent sized space with 50 amp FHUs, level dirt with cement patio and a little shade tree. The WiFi is fast most of the time, but we're limited to one unit per password at a time (probably why it's faster than most). The owner and staff are friendly, and the Passport America rate makes it a very reasonable option in a town full of RV parks.
My delayed meds arrive at our friends' place in Blythe so we take the short drive to pick them up on Friday, and enjoy a short visit at their lovely home. We'll get together again before we leave the area.
A bonus of the rally is that our good friends Linda and Steven (The Chouters) are also attending. We haven't seen them since Memphis in late 2016 and are looking forward to getting caught up with this wonderful couple.
Friday afternoon we meet up at their RV park, La Paz Valley, outside of town where Linda fixes us a delicious dinner. Having good friends who are also excellent cooks.....score!
Although high winds are in the forecast, we pick up Linda and Steven on Saturday to take them for their first visit to the famous Desert Bar. I think the road is even more rough now than it was last year. Despite the forecast, the place is packed!
Every time we come to this area in the winter we meet up with Paul and Kim who I met on the RV Dreams forum. I reach out and they agree to make the drive from Lake Havasu to join us. We forget there's zero cell service so the actual connection takes a while :-) It's fun to see them again and find out what they've been up to.
Steven is the hero for standing in the food line - and the food is very good. The line finally thins out about the time we're leaving. We listen to some music and get photos before making the bumpy ride back to the highway. It's a fun and unique experience, but we all agree we probably don't need to do it again!
|The variety of building materials is as interesting as the people watching.|
|Just a metal "front", the church has hosted many weddings over the years. An interesting choice to share the saloon's space.|
|This antique shell keeps watch over the parking lot - where you may not imbibe!|
|Steven, Linda, Jodee, Bill, Paul and Kim - thanks for the shot Steven :-)|
Monday is the big day and I find I'm a little nervous. Just a seven mile drive to the rally site on Plomosa Road, we join about 18 rigs already getting set up. Howard meets me at the entrance. It's nice to get a recognizing smile when I introduce myself - "finally, after all these years!"
Eventually 40 rigs arrive, and our first evening we form an initial large circle for announcements, and then break into three smaller ones to get to know others better. Such a lot of great people living this life we love.
|Linda and Scoopy welcome us to the rally.|
|Where there's RVers, there's doggies :-)|
|First night at the rally. Photo by Linda Davey.|
|Linda explains to Sue and Larry with enthusiasm.|
|The desert glows under the sunset.|
Our first two days start with seminars on managing our tanks and power systems. Lots of good information that make a big difference in our understanding of what we have and how we can use it all efficiently. Still, we're not completely clear on batteries and what our information panel tells us, so we arrange for some one-on-one time with Howard at our rig.
|Linda and Howard share their insights on the all important topic of poop.|
|Cinn answers questions about her composting toilet.|
|Howard does a great job of helping me understand watts and amps and load and volts and all that power stuff.|
|Another fluffy lap dog - Yoggie the labradoodle.|
|Interpreting the manual. Thanks Howard!|
|So nice to really understand what all this means.|
|Ron and Wayne figuring stuff out.|
|So many off road trails to explore.|
|Climbing to find the view.|
|We're not disappointed.|
|Cholla catch the sunshine along the ridge.|
|I've never seen red leaf ocotillos - there are several here.|
|Tiny concretions scattered over the sand.|
|Another stunning sunset over our circle.|
Linda Payne is known for her braided t-shirts, and teaching the technique to rally-goers. I watch while others cut and braid and sew in the sunshine.
Friday is a tour of the Golden Eye Mine southwest of Quartzsite. Not Linda's thing, Steven rides with us. While the location and history is interesting, the owner/guide loses us with his 30 minute irrelevant medical history and ramblings about BLM and Camping World. It is very hot in the bright sun, with little shade for relief, and before the tour is over I've returned to the relative coolness of the Jeep. Bill and Steven are not far behind and we head home.
|The tour eventually begins from the original cabin, built in 1947|
|The original mine in the area was owned by the Kellogg (cereal) family.|
|Building pillars made by filling 50 gallon drums with concrete, then stacking.|
|Aged and weathered buildings always fascinate me.|
|Old knots of cable, rope and wire.|
|Learning about the history of the tower and the six miles of short tunnels below us.|
|The elevator carried miners in and dirt out.|
|Old dirt buckets.|
|Site of the claim owner's original find - until the BLM closed him down, he took over 4500 "nuggets" from his claim.|
|Bill making someone's solar dreams come true.|
We stop at the "famous" Purple Pharmacy, next door to the Purple Liquor Store, then head for margaritas and a yummy lunch. We meander the narrow streets lined with dentists and vendors. I make my first prescription drug purchase across the border - very weird. After a couple hours we have everything we need and walk back into the US. I get to use my new passport, and we're all through the check point in minutes.
|Clay footballs and critters|
|Linda and Kelly checking out jewelry.|
|Decisions, decisions, decisions......only one liter per person :-(|
|Pretty cool for the middle of the desert! Photo by Linda Davey.|
We ran the generator for 25 hours total, using 12 gallons of diesel. Our flooded batteries did not stay sufficiently charged, and we will replace them with AGMs before we need them again. We only used 1/2 tank of fresh water, filling our gray tank to about 1/2 full. We have to guess how full our black tank is, but it looks like we were at 2/3 full. We want to get a battery meter so our usage is easier to track, and we'll do some capacity tests to determine our actual gray and black tank fills.
|Thanks RV-Dreams, it was a great rally!|