Awake & up at 4 a.m. again so it has turned out to be another long & kinda grumpy day. Despite the traffic noise from nearby I-8 during the night I had slept fine until Max let me know he wanted out. Unlike the ranch, there is no secure coyote proof fencing here so when it's dark outside & one of the guys have to go out, I go out with them. It was an RV Park just a few miles east of where we were that I saw 2 coyotes cruise past the rig early one morning a couple of years ago. Had litte Motormouse been outside by herself they would have got her. One has to be soooooo careful out here about that sort of thing.
PHOTO BY KELLY
First order of day before heading out was to fix an annoying problem that had totally bugged us Sunday all the way from the ranch to the campground west of Casa Grande. Awhile back Kelly had picked up a couple deer whistle alert things that people put on the bumpers of their cars to supposedly alert deer with it's high frequency. Last week I decided to put these 2 things on the motorhome but of course we don't have a bumper or flat level spot on the front of the rig. Had me a look around & decided to put them near the side view mirror arms where they joined the coach. Minutes after leaving the ranch Sunday morning I heard a whistling sound & immediately thought it was coming from the engine compartment. Didn't take me long to imagine all kinds of worse case scenarios so when I reached a stop sign I put the transmission in neutral & revved the engine expecting the whistle to increase with the engine revs. But, there wasn't even a whistling sound until after I had started down the road again. Most annoying. And then it dawned on me.....it was the deer alert whistles sitting near the mirror arms close to the open windows. I knew that the sticky stuff they were attached with was a 'forever' thing so figured when we reached our destination later in the day I would have to dynamite them off. Well, here's what I didn't know!! Kelly found that the whistles simply pivoted in their base & they could be effortlessly turned around out of the wind. Time taken for Kelly to reposition the two alert whistles.....30 seconds. Time taken for those whistles to totally drive us nuts all the way from the ranch to the campground..... 5 & a half hours!!!!
High cloud cover with a haze in the air made for a lackluster morning drive west to Gila Bend. The normally beautiful mountains were distant frumpy looking hulks lacking their usual picturesque detail. At times the haze took on a brown hue suggesting big city pollution but there are no big cities around here. Phoenix was too far behind us to affect the weather way out here. No wind to carry any pollution either so don't know where it came from. Their is a nuclear power plant near Tonopah but the only thing I saw coming out of it's stacks was what appeared to be clouds of white steam.
KELLY’S BUSY WORKING AT HER DEERPARK LODGE JOB FAR FROM HOME
Stopped at a Shell station on the north side of Gila Bend for propane, water, & a 6" tuna sub from Subway. There are 2 Shell stations in Gila Bend & both of them are well known to RV'ers for their water, dump stations, gas, diesel, propane, & eats, etc. Yep, there's a McDonalds in town too. Both Shell stations have big paved parking lots for large rigs now & there are RV Parks close at hand. Gila Bend is like an oasis for travelers on their long journeys to & from the west coast & points east like Phoenix, Tucson, Memphis, & New York city, etc. A very popular & convenient stop for RV folks.
Decided on the Buckeye route so headed north from Gila Bend on highway 85 up to I-10 & made a left for Quartzite. The cloud cover thickened & almost threatened rain a few times making it kind of a gloomy day. However, we were heartened by the traffic heading east over on the other side of the median because it seemed like about 4 of every 10 vehicles going by were RV's. That brightened our day immensely because we knew they were all pouring out of Quartzite. And the more rigs leaving the Q meant more room for us when we got there. D'ya think word got around that the Bayfield Bunch was headed for town!! Having been in Quartzite the past 3 years in a row we knew only too well what awaited us there but this year we were going in after the big 'dust up in the desert' & were hoping for much quieter times. When we came over the ridge east of the Q & looked ahead out over the valley we knew we were right. Instead of a massive sea of white dots we could immediately see there was more Mother Earth visible than white dots.
CASTLE DOME MOUNTAINS
Took the first exit into Q & rolled downtown to quiet streets with little traffic & no congestion. What a pleasant treat that was for us. Left at the main intersection & headed south on 95 for about 5 miles to a familiar road, turned right & turned right again into the hard packed shale like stone desert. How nice to see only a couple dozen rigs scattered about over a large area compared to the hundreds & hundreds & hundreds that are usually jammed in here. Headed for the farthest corner of the area about a mile in & coincidentally found the exact same spot we were in last year while here. Nearest rig is about a quarter mile away so I think maybe we'll be able to handle that. Anything closer than that is absolutely not acceptable!!!!
OUR SITE FOR A FEW DAYS SOUTH OF QUARTZITE
On the afternoon of February 4th, 2009 while boondocked near Sierra Vista Arizona I climbed up on the rig's roof & put the solar panels down before our departure the following morning to our new ranch sitting job near McNeal Arizona. Little did I know that it would be nearly one year to the day before I would be back up on that roof putting those solar panels up again. And today was that day. After setting up the Star Choice dish & setting out some tables & chairs I scooted up the ladder (ok, so I hauled myself up the ladder) took a few pics, & then set about putting the two panels up, which reminds me I have an email to send to someone who had inquired about our solar installation.
PANELS DOWN FEB 4/09 PANELS UP FEB 1/10
Been awhile since we've had our full blown boondocking heads on so we are slowly transitioning once again from shore based electricity & water to what is called, 'dry camping.' Water conservation now becomes more important as does the use of lights etc. Although with our solar set-up we see little difference from plugged in electricity to solar produced electric. We do everything pretty much the same except we run the generator for a few minutes in the morning while the coffee perks. Helps give the 4 solar batteries a little boost after the sunless night.
NEAREST NEIGHBORS PANELS UP
Had a bit of a'dust up' with our Star Choice reception today which took the better part of 2 hours to resolve including a phone call to Star Choice. Not their fault but we do suspect either a faulty cable or television. Of course I was ready to junk the whole system & throw it out the door but Kelly stuck with it & all of a sudden for some unknown reason the signal appeared & we were tuned in. Very, very, close call though because there could have been injuries if that signal had not come in when it did. Kelly very narrowly missed her Oprah show & I later realized that was the inspiration for her dogged determination in sticking with the problem.
THE CASTLE DOMES
GROANER'S CORNER:(( It used to be only death and taxes . Now, of course, there's shipping and handling, too.
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