Gila Bend Sweet Spot

We arrived at this great spot Monday about 3PM. Called Augie’s Quail Trail RV it is on the old Butterfield Trail stage route. We are actually in the Sonoran desert this time. We have a wide level spot with full hookups and great views out back of forever.

They have a great clubhouse, showers and laundry area. 

Up by the office they have a nicely landscaped area with century plants in bud.

 

Near the front area are the ruins of an old mercantile store. Someone needs to resurrect this as there is not much around for any shopping.   Oddly enough there is not even a grocery store in this town except for the Dollar Store.

Gila Bend is the site of 3 new solar power construction sites being built for Arizona Public Service.  Supposedly over 1,000 workers will be in the area to work these jobs.  West of town, 3 square miles of land are being cleared for the Solana Project.  Abengoa Solar of Spain is using a variety of contractors, including Kitchell Corp.,  Sundt Construction and R.E. Monks Construction Co.  Soon, large, curved mirrors resembling oversize livestock water troughs will begin arriving on the site from a factory in Surprise, with other equipment coming from New Mexico. The hardware that will hold the mirrors has been placed in the ground. That hardware gets so hot in the sun that workers use lights and conduct much of the labor after dark.  Solana’s mirrors will concentrate sunlight on tubes filled with oil, and the hot oil will be used to make steam, spinning a turbine and generating electricity much like natural-gas or coal-fired power plants.  Large tanks of salt will store heat Continue reading

Leaving California

After Sunday Brunch again at El Torito with Lee and Alanna, we zipped up the RV and headed onto the infamous LA areas freeways.  We actually made it to the Palm Springs area by about 1PM.  We stopped at a rest area near Whitewater and they are right, this may be the windiest place in Southern California, as we could hardly walk our small girls!  We drove on towards Desert Center and when we arrived there it was very windy there as well as evidenced by their flag and palms.  Went back into our Mojave desert area and let the girls loose. They were ready for a good run after 8 days on a leash everywhere they went. Had a good dinner, enjoyed the peace and quiet and read until bedtime. During the night it got really cold (about 37) and our furnace would not come on. Next morning we were up and out early heading to Quartzsite, AZ and the nearest Keystone repair facility. In January and February over 100,000 RV owners show up in this area to go to RV shows, camp in Bureau of Land Management lands for free, enjoy the warm sun and ride ATVs in the desert. Our furnace has an intermittant problem and as usual they could find nothing wrong, except they did remove it when it did not work for them, check and reinstall. Leaving 3 hours later and $135.00 less we were on our way to Gila Bend, AZ.

Our last day in Anaheim

Since this was our last Saturday here we decided to go to Manhatten Beach and meet our friends, John and Dianne, for a late breakfast at Uncle Bill’s Pancake House. It is located on crowded Highland Ave, is a local institution and been here for years. We parked at the Civic Center and walked over 2 blocks. Had to wait as we expected but enjoyed the visit and time flew. Place is crowded on weekends with families but food is good and abundant. That is the ocean in the background with a view from the patio!

I had the Avocado Jack omelette – Wow!

Freeways in LA are always busy but only took us about 40 minutues to get there from Anaheim. Came back and got diesel to prepare for our trip out tomorrow.  Be sad to leave as it is cooler and rainy back east. So we spent the afternoon soaking up the sun and getting organized to travel.

More about our Anaheim location

As the week gas progressed the weather has been pretty cold and even had rain all day on Wednesday. This is supposed to be sunny Southern California, but the girls don’t see any advantages to this. We decided to go out for dinner Wednesday and wanted to avoid any of the nearby locations which would cater to families with kids from Disneyland.  So we drove over to Anaheim Hills to a Wood Ranch BBQ restaurant.  May have been the worst steaks that the guys ever had and could not even cut them.  The ladies did not fare a lot better but we could at least chew our meal. Sad as this is a California chain and had a big crowd, wonder what they ordered?

As we walked in the neighborhood we saw some of the local color.  Right next to the  RV park is a school campus that is so neat and clean. Here is a shot of their cushioned playground right at the end of the school day.They have large areas of day lilies planted next to the fence where I was standing as I took the pictures. How neat to go to school in the shadow of Disneyland! 

As we continued north we walked towards downtown Anaheim and through smaller residential neighborhoods. There are pretty flowers everywhere especially beds of purple statice which is a very hardy plant. There are 1000s of clumps of Bird of Paradise planted at all the palm trees and along the drives into Disney. Funny looking flowers but make for a pleasant walk and drive!

Details of our Location on W Ball Rd

Anaheim RV Village is really a nice location.  Maybe a little more road noise than we like but it is Southern California and near 2 major freeways. There are some neat things we can see as we walk the dogs.  #1 – There is a lemon tree right by the gate. We can pick up the fruit as it falls to the ground. And a lime tree in back by the dog run!

#2 – We are about 4 blocks due east from Disneyland and we can see the fireworks show Friday thru Sunday night about 8:40 PM.

Good for us, bad for the girls. Way too close for them and it usually sets off a car alarm somewhere here in the park. Since we will only be here 8 days it may not be so bad.

#3 – We are less than two miles south of downtown Anaheim and museums and a Vons grocery store on Lincoln. Vons is a Safeway/Tom Thumb store so all the things we usually shop for are here. Already been there once!

#4 – We are less than 2 miles west of an El Torito Mexican restaurant. Check them out at http://eltorito.com/menu.asp?page=SundayBrunchBuffet  We went there Sunday and ate our “one meal” of the day. We have eaten at this chain in several other California cities and it always pleases. This is us at their original location several years ago.  But not much has changed about us as we are still on the go!

Driving a large rig through LA traffic!

Since we knew our route would include several busy highways we decided to enter the area about mid-morning. So we left Desert Center about 8:30 AM Friday, Feb 10th.  As we passed into the Palm Springs area we saw the biggest wind farm we had ever seen. It went on for miles and included large, medium and small turbines.   Not sure how many there are but it was impressive!  The San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm is a wind farm located on the eastern slope of the San Gorgonio Pass in Riverside County, just east of White Water, California.  Developed beginning in the 1980s, it is one of three major wind farms in California, along with those at Altamont and the Tehachapi passes. The gateway into the Coachella Valley, the San Gorgonio Pass is one of the windiest places in Southern California.  Thank goodness we did not encounter the wind with our tall rig.

We drove on into Riverside and then Anaheim.  We had reservations at Anaheim RV Village on W Ball Road.  What a nice clean place!  We had the end spot and our own patch of grass.  After setting up, Wayne had to have a short siesta! 

Dry Camping in Desert Center

As we drove from Blythe we checked our resouces on the iPad and picked up there was an RV campground in Desert Center, CA.  So we took the exit and followed the path. What a wonderful surprise!  Can’t say enough nice things about them. Quiet, very clean, and the nicest people. We could stay inside the Lake Tamarisk Desert Resort with full hookups or go out back and dry camp in the Mojave for $20.  Since we were prepared for that we decided to give the girls a break and let them roam the desert.  We had it all to ourselves and had access to the clean bathrooms and pool a few steps inside the gate.  Warm sunshine and cool nights made for a perfect 2 day break.  Had a chance to rearrange the basement and do a couple chores inside.  Only ran the generator about 3 hours as we hated to break the silence any more than that.

This is a small town right next to Joshua Tree National Park so we will try to include it on the return trip.  This resort was built in the 60s for Airstream Land Yacht owners and has evolved into about 120 park models and the rest of the spaces are available for RVs with full hookups. Great winter location with ideal desert weather.

Time out in Tonapah

We left Mesa Wednesday morning and drove on I-10 past Palo Verde Nuclear facility.  As we headed out of Phoenix we noticed Tonapah on the map.  Wayne has read many of Louis Lamour’s western novels where he mentioned this town. So we took that exit about lunchtime.  Not much there now as the town is mostly a few buildings and two filling stations. But we did eat lunch in Tonapah Joe’s place.  Been here for years and has served as a community gathering spot. It is under new management so hopefully will become viable again.  The menu needs help but we did enjoy the break.

After that we entered California.  A neat border checkpoint.  We had planned to stay in Blythe on the Colorado River but when we checked at Mayflower Park we discovered they did not have sewer connections and the spots were fairly close so on we traveled.  On both sides of the highway for miles there is desert, kinda pretty and very desolate.  Just imagine, it has been like this for hundreds of years!  Last time I was through here was in the early 60s and still looks the same. And after listening to the weather in Dallas it was good to know we were much warmer,  in the 70s.

R&R in Mesa, AZ

The 2 Rs stand for rest and repair!  We made it into Mesa about 4:30 PM on Saturday and lucked out by finding an RV park that had a space.  There are over 26 parks in this one town and some as large as 1500 spaces, mostly full. We were able to slide into a nice quiet, tight spot in an older park of only 78 spaces. On the way we called the nearest large Ford dealer and were set up for 7 AM Monday. We spent Sunday going to Camping World to see if we needed any RV things, Home Depot, filled our truck with good fuel and picked up a new rack for beside the door for keys and leashes at Bed Bath and Beyond. Came home and slow cooked some ribs Wayne had previously smoked, fixed potato salad and ate. Then we sat outside and watched the Super Bowl on our new 27 inch flat screen mounted in the basement.  Not a bad day! This picture shows our small but neat area and the patio.  Monday Wayne dropped the truck at Berge Ford and ended up with a rental while they fixed a small oil leak and checked out the emission system. They had to wait for a new seal but promised it by 2 PM Tuesday.  All under warranty so that is good.   We found a neat fruit stand and bought 5 lbs of grapefruit for $1.00, strawberries for $.50, lots of veggies and 2 bags of oranges for $3.00. Healthy eating for awhile!  We are set to go to the next stop on Wednesday.  And our journey continues!

Leaving Texas – Day Two

On Friday morning as we drove west the fog cleared and there was a large brick structure looming on the horizon. We pulled off to check it out and let the girls have a free run. It is the remains of the Toyah High School built in 1912.  Got some good picts but hard to show the pigeons that now roost there.  Some interesting history about this little town can be found at http://www.texasescapes.com/TOWNS/Toyah_Texas/Toyah-Texas-2.htm#history.  It is listed as an almost ghost town!  But we did see a few hardy folk near the little post office.  And a couple of men picking through some rubble of what was the local bank, also brick, destroyed by a toronado a few years ago.

Then drove on through the oil patch and past towns where every flat space and parking lot is turned into an RV park. Heading through Van Horn it is clear that the economy is booming here and we know it is because of the $3.72 a gallon we paid for diesel.

We lunched at a Texas rest stop and had some good scenery out our side window.  We even took a quick trip into Fort Hancock.  Nothing there but it is known as the town where Red passed through on his way to meet Andy in the “Shawshank Redemption”.  Then continued on heading to Deming, NM.  As we passed through El Paso a warning signal on the truck showed we were having a problem with the diesel emission fluid system. So we slowed down through Las Cruces and finally crept into an RV park in Deming, NM. It was listed as the best +55 resort in New Mexico so figured we qualified.  It was called 81 Palms Resort (did not see 81 palms).  They neglected to say they were within 500 feet of the I-10 and about 750 feet from the railroad.  So it was a place to sleep but with one eye open!  Good – it was flat and wide open and clean. Bad – next morning a front had come in and showed temp of 41 and wind chill of about 20. Hard to disconnect our lines and go in that kind of weather but we persisted.  Funniest thing was the girls discovered big Tumbleweeds in the field next to the RV resort. They actually tried to catch them or head them off as the wind blew them.  Sure gave them some exercise before we loaded and left that morning.