First stop … Quartzsite RV Rally … where about half a million RVs gather for a couple of weeks of looking at stuff, buying stuff, socializing, eating, drinking, fixing things on your RV, and just generally communing with like-minded people. And that makes for fun conversation! We joined the Monaco Owners group from the iRV2 Online Forum for our week in Quartzsite and absolutely enjoyed getting to know those folks. We learned sooooo much about our coach! About two dozen of us circled our wagons in the desert and shared beer, wine, whiskey, cookies and lots of stories! Hope to see everyone again next year, if not sooner.
Evenings were spent around the campfire with the Monaco group.
Days were spent chatting about RV stuff or doing RV projects.
…Or shopping at the hundreds of booths at the RV Rally
I got to meet in person several of the bloggers that I follow. If you are interested in a complete picture of the Quartzsite RV Rally, IslandGirlWalkabout wrote one of the best overviews, with lots of pictures. Her post is entitled “The Merchants in the Desert”. If you have an RV and have ever thought about attending this major event, you should read her blog posts on Quartzsite to prepare yourself. We also met another blogger couple, Nina and Paul, that I greatly admire for her entertaining and informative RV blog “Wheeling It”. This is my go-to blog for all my destination planning research. It was fun to meet them in person.
After the Quartzsite show, we traveled to Yuma for our annual service on our rig. We priced it when we were here last year, and it was a much better deal than our previous service in California. Our appointment was still a week out, so we entertained ourselves by doing laundry and grocery shopping. After our liaisons in Quartzsite with other Monaco owners who weren’t afraid to modify their RVs, Mike was feeling courageous and confident enough to drill notches in our stove countertop. Such a simple modification, and it makes using the stove top so much easier. We’ve got a few more projects lined up now that we have seen what others have done!
Mike drills notches over the stove with his dremel tool. Now the counter top pieces prop up nicely while I’m cooking.
In Quartzsite, we also learned that our sticking door lock mechanism is common. Mike (one of the guys in the Monaco group) showed my Mike how to take apart our door and adjust the mechanism. Voila! The door opens easily without breaking my fingernails pulling on the latch! (not that I actually have fingernails to speak of .. I keep them pretty short)
We were curious about all the things being touted about crossing the border into Mexico to go to Los Algodones for cheap dental, optometry, pharmacy, etc. I have learned that many people without good insurance coverage use these services with great experiences and reviews. We had to check it out.
Los Algodones, Mexico
We were very pleased with our experience and our purchases (massive savings), and celebrated with margaritas and shrimp tacos at a little patio cafe.
Shrimp Tacos and Margaritas in Mexico
It brought back fond memories of our first year of living on our sailboat cruising the coast of Mexico. Everything was so new to us then. We had just retired, sold everything, moved onto a sailboat and left everything that was familiar to us. We were learning how to live outside of the US and learning about living on a boat. I can’t believe we weren’t completely overwhelmed. Maybe we were. Hence, the margaritas. Maybe that’s why the margaritas bring back such fond memories! We learned how to live in “manana time”. Just slow down. It all gets figured out. Now we are going through the same learning process. Learning about our coach. Learning to slow down again.
We ventured out one afternoon to do the Telegraph Hill hike. I missed hiking while we were on our winter break with the kids (even though I did work out at a gym with my daughter). We were ready to get back on the trails! Hiking in the morning would make so much more sense as it is cooler. But I’m just NOT a morning person anymore (if I ever was one). So we always end up hiking in the heat of the day, which makes it all sooo much harder!
Telegraph Hill hike — see all the antennas on the hill? That’s where we’re going!
This is STEEP! My legs are killing me! So it must be good, right?
In Yuma, we nestled into a free campsite on BLM land (Bureau of Land Management) and dry camped for several days (no hook-ups for elect, water, or sewer) while we waited for our service appointment. We’re pretty good at conserving resources (learned that on the boat), so boondocking isn’t difficult for us.
Our campsite on Yuma BLM land behind a VFW hall where old people danced to live music every afternoon. It was kinda cute.
We decided to break camp on Monday evening and spend the night in the parking lot of Yuma Diesel Service since our appt was for 8 a.m. the next day. In the morning, everything looked pretty closed up at the shop. We saw one car pull up to the office, so Mike went to check us in. We learned that the bank had taken possession just the day before! They went bankrupt! So sad. They were really a bunch of great guys and I feel awful about their financial situation.
We camped in the parking lot for our early morning appointment for service.
Early morning and we learn they were closed for business the day before. So sad.
Oh well. On to Tucson for us. We’ll figure out the service issue in another town. For now, we’re headed to Snyder Hill BLM camping just outside of Tucson. We have a couple of days to kill before our reservation at Kartchner Caverns State Park.
Our campsite at Snyder Hill BLM land near Tucson AZ
We hiked to the top of Snyder Hill. Nice view!
Can you see “The Bear” in the camping area down below? (center, top)
We went to Kartchner Caverns State Park for a week to see some of the sights in the area. One of our outings took us to the old mining town of Bisbee. Wheeling It has written extensively about all that Bisbee has to offer, so I’ll just put their link in here and part 2 is here. Nina makes my life so easy! Believe me, you will want to go to Bisbee after reading Nina’s blog posts. We were there on Art Walk Saturday, so we enjoyed walking the historic district. Went for Mexican food and margaritas, … again. Then, since we were too buzzed to drink more, we decided to have dessert on the patio deck at the Copper Queen Saloon while everyone else was drinking and enjoying the funky band! It was a fun day.
Lucy, don’t even think about it!
Original buildings in the Bisbee historic district
We found LOTS of stairs throughout Bisbee
Our good friends, Jane and Bob Forster from Colorado, have a summer home near Tucson. They joined us for a tour of the Kartchner Caverns. I was disappointed that no picture taking is allowed in the caves. It was amazing! It is a living cave which makes it even more special. We were oohing and aahing the whole time. So beautiful!
We took several great hikes at the State Park and also in the Dragoon Mountains nearby. Lucy is hanging tough with us. She is impressing me with her stamina. Some of our hikes have been really hard!
Finding cows on the trail isn’t bad. It’s all the cow pies that create the challenge!
Lots of rocks on this steep trail!
Great views from the top. We hike back to our campsite, the little white specks seen in the upper left side of this photo. Great hike!
This was a beautiful hike to Cochise’s Stronghold in the Dragoon Mtns
We hiked a couple of miles to view the Sandhill Cranes in the Willcox Playa Wildlife Area
Wrong time, wrong day, wrong year? No sandhill cranes (sad face).
We spent a day touring Ft. Huachuca and their excellent museum.
We toured Fort Huachuca which was established in 1877. Then, when the Indian Wars ended, most of the posts in the Southwest were closed. Ft. Huachuca survived and in 1974 it was designated a National Historic Site and Landmark. We spent another day in Dragoon touring the Amerind Museum of Native American cultures and histories. The many museums that we have toured across the United States have been amazing. The details, the documents, the artifacts, the personal accounts. But it always makes me sad how unjust we have treated so many people. (I keep writing my thoughts and erasing them so I don’t start political arguments, so in the interest of getting this finally posted, I’ll say nothing more.)
On an exciting note, our sailboat s/v Aquila is in the Miami Strictly Sail boat show this weekend. Wish us luck on finding her a new home! We’re land lubbers now.
s/v Aquila approaching Miami for the boat show this weekend!
More Arizona touring in our next post. Cheers!