Sat Feb 17
It was a short drive to the dunes and just amazing to see them in the distance, along the highway with Sand Rails and ATV’s scattering about like ants.
As we pulled up to a check point we were told to pull over and purchase our permit. With so much activity and traffic I pulled into what I thought was a parking area. Whoops down a bump and got the RV stuck in the sand. The Sherriff came over and said to unhook car and we see about backing you out of here. We did that and got lucky, just barely got out, rocking the RV a bit to get 22,000 lbs out of the soft sand.
We purchased our $25.00 permit for 7 days camping (or $90.00 for a year) and proceeded to search for a place to park. Not wanting to get stuck again I was very cautious. We drove about 5 miles. Parked our rig by the washrooms and said to Suzie lets drive the car about and look for a spot. Driving around all these rv’s in the desert but we could find no way to safely enter without getting stuck, we eventually got the car stuck in the sand too. No problem always somebody there to give you a push. Back to our rig we found a spot near the interstate and the washrooms easy to get into.
Well now set up, it is absolutely amazing to be in the centre of all these ATV’s (all terrain vehicles) from all the little guys in their small ones, the young girls in pink, to golf carts, motorcyles, 4x4 trucks, to custom built sand Rails with huge V8 engines. All of the custom setups, and amazing paddle tires on the rear. The experience was worth the noise and dust. All ATV drivers must wear an approved helmut and have a pole flag at the back or their ATV. Most were wearing goggles and bandannas over their nose and mouth for protection from the dust flying in their faces. We noticed a family with mom and dad in the front and 3 young children in the back seat of a large sand rail, all strapped in with seat belts, goggles and bandanas. A family sport in the desert.
After supper we enjoyed a nice campfire and watched some fireworks being set off in the distance.
Sure is quiet here in the morning, until the early birds fire up their machines, not much before 6:30am. Suzie and I walked about for a while, checking out the Historical Landmark for
Mon. Feb 19
A lot of people from
Now we can truly see the need for these trailers and rv’s that are built to haul all the toys and the need for 4 wheels drive vehicles in
As everybody was leaving it was getting quiet and we began talking to a few other couples. One couple in a Jeep stopped to talk and wanted to know were we were from in
Ontario, they had friends in . They asked if we would like to see a bit of the desert. SURE! I went with 2 guys in1 Jeep and Suzie in another, never travel alone in the desert. Boy did we have a ride, up and down the dunes around the big bowls, the Mexican Border, and climb a very steep sand dune (Competition Hill). Suzie’s jeep could not make it up. Getting dark we headed back home to a nice warm campfire. Wow what a ride. I wanna Jeep! Our friends hooked up their 5 wheel trailer towing the Jeep behind and headed back home to Kingston . Arizona
Along the side of the Interstate we noticed these huge white steel barricades chained together in sections, we found out they were there to keep illegal Mexican immigrants from driving vehicles onto the highways from
through the Sand Dunes. They have to get by Border Patrol. Mexico
Tues. Feb. 20
Heading out from the Dunes we stopped at the rest area to top up our fresh water and carry on to Hot Springs (near Holtville California) about 35 miles. Upon arriving we checked in with the host and found a nice spot, A lot of small bushes almost like campsites. Once set up we drove to town for groceries and the Library for the Internet. Lots of fields with crops, looks like head lettuce. It was strange to see acres and acres being irrigated with sprinklers.
Back home we went over and checked the
Wed Feb. 21.
Bright sunny morning went to hot spring about 7:30 am only 4 people there not too crowded, real nice to have a very warm shower and slip into larger hot tub for about 10 minutes, wow sure feels good. A little later a huge water truck drives thru our camp watering down the roads, keep the dust down. We went back to Holtville Library checked all e mail and updated the Blog, while Suzie got our banking done on line. Back to home dirt for lunch and a bike ride, then return for Suzie to enjoy a book and myself to work on our wooden sign, its almost done. Getting much warmer by 2:00pm it was 95 f, we walked over to the Hot spring for a refreshing hot shower and a dip in the hot pool.
While sitting outside all the neighbours dropped by to say hello and share important information like, where are you from, where is the free dump station, water fill up and Flea markets. These people were from all over,
British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ottawa, Dryden Ontario, Manitoba, and . There’s more Canadians here than Americans. Minnesota
Was another beautiful day, washed car, and finished our Chip Carved sign to hang outside our home. Suzie computing in the shade.
Fri Feb. 23
Was windy overnight so we took our awning down before going to bed. There was a storm coming through
We took a short drive to
Calexico, California to check out the Swap meet (that’s what they call Flea Markets here). It was Huge and anything you could want was there, new, used, TV’s, computers, lights, furniture, clothes, carpet, appliances, tools, windows you name it and cheap. Was different because all the vendors were Mexican, all the signs in Spanish, We were right on the border across from St. Thomas Mexicali, B.C. . Afterwards we treated ourselves to a nice Chinese Buffet for lunch and a bit of shopping at Wal-Mart. All the employees here are bilingual as a large percentage of customers are Mexican too. Our cashier apologized for beginning to speak Spanish to us. She was very busy, 1 customer Spanish, 1 employee talk to her English, next one Spanish, then us, must be very confusing at times. Mexico
Back to home dirt passing a lot of fields when the crops are done they burn the whole field, not sure why? Lots of new farm machinery around and crops being harvested mostly all by hand lettuce, and even potatoes. All of these fields have an elevated canal (or mote) around them and once the crops are planted a sprinkler system is installed between rows so that they can be irrigated (we are in the desert). It looks like a massive undertaking, then remove all the pipework when all the crops are done. This part of southern
Sat. Feb 25
Went back to St. Thomas Flea Market in Calexico (8:30am), and a lot more vendors today, amazing to see people rummage through barrels and bags of stuff and come out with a treasure, a lot of new items, cheap if you have the desire and patience to look for it, we have the time. And a lot of stuff is free some vendors just want to clear it out.
Was a nice day for a drive so we stopped at Holtville Library to check email and up date Blog, they are closed sat and sun. But free wifi still available, so we sat in parking lot with neighbour from Hot Spring, computing. Back home for lunch and relax a bit after a busy morning.
A while later we went to visit neighbour from
. And 2 other couples for refreshment and snacks, pickled asparagus, cheese stuffed peppers and turkey kielbasa, cheese and crackers. We enjoyed sharing views and ideas, as we are the Newbies we got lotsa info. Free camping in Parker and Laughlin, Pala Verde, and a lot of information on solar panels, nice to hear from people using this stuff. Some of these people have been doing this for 30 years. Almost supper time and we go for a quick shower and dip at the Hot Spring then relax for the evening. Dryden, ON
Mon. Feb. 26.
We went for a nice drive to
Slab City at Niland , through the desert and lots of green fields with crops, and huge storage facilities full of straw or hay bales. California Slab City is just outside Niland east of the Salton Sea. Apparently this was a city developed as WW2 army base and was forgotten about by the government. People moved in over the years and stayed mostly in trailers or whatever, on the old cement slabs for the buildings, some old trailers are burned out and left to rot, People just live there free and camp too, there was even some new rv’s there. We did not want to camp but had to see this place we had been told about. It was kind of depressing as the pictures might show. Salvation mountain was painted by a current resident Leonard Knight with donated paint.
Another interesting expedition.
Tues. Feb 27
It was a very windy day with dust blowing about but we are taking off. The water truck comes by again to keep the dust down on our way out. An interesting drive through the
Imperial Valley countryside, lots of field trucks passing. There was a large pasture with hundreds of sheep, acres and acres of various different crops and different types of irrigation. Also more farms with thousands of steers, just amazing.
From farmland to a desert highway (just like you see in the movies) heading into the Northern end of the Imperial Dunes. The high winds caused lots of blowing sand and sand drifts across the road, just like a snow storm up north, only warmer and not slippery. We even saw a SAND PLOW clearing the sand drifts from the roadway. And we saw some dune buggies and motorcycles out riding the dunes in the wind. After we got through the dunes for many miles the highway turned into a roller coaster ride of up and down dips. Kind of a cool, a nice road, just following the shape of the land.
After only 2 hours of driving we came across a beautiful rest area right beside the
Colorado River ducks at the water tap. Nice quiet spot here think we will stay for 2 nights. just as we are coming into Palo Verde. Let’s stop here and park by the river, a beautiful view and sheltered from the wind by a row of huge trees. This is a free camping area (3 day max.) with flush toilets, water and a host. Also there is a free boat launch ramp into this slowly moving river. And guess who was there!! Our Loons from home, they came south with us. We saw 4 for sure. Gotta like the rules, no swimming, no water skiing, and don’t wash dishes, fish or
Thurs. Mar 1.
We left 9:00 am from Palo Verde and drove about 45 minutes to Quartzsite. We attempted to stop at the Flying “J” in
Fri March 2.
Stock up with supplies and checked email at the library then we went for the strawberry social with the neighbours. About 30 people showed up and socialized enjoying fresh strawberries cake and ice cream. They had set up their vehicles to block the strong north wind and it was quite comfortable in the sun. We recognized a couple there and got talking with them. We had played Holy Board with them at Galvin Bay Resort (our home park north of
), small world. They have been down here for 3 months at a campground. After that we treated ourselves to a great pizza at Silly Al’s downtown. Will stay here till Monday then head north towards Parker Arizona. Peterborough
We left Quartzsite heading north to Parker Arizona, about 45 minutes, We stopped at Bluewater Casino and parked our rig.(free camping at Casinos) along with about 40 others. After a bite to eat we took nice drive up I- 95 following the
We traveled to
It was only 11.45 am so we decided to travel north to
Went for the ½ price breakfast buffet,($3.49) at the Edgewater Casino across the strip . Then we checked out the Casino and the river walk area that links all the casinos on the river and the strip down to the Golden Nugget enjoying the scenery, sunshine and flowers along the way. The Lobby here has beautiful greenery and waterfalls. Here we got a free players card and a 2 free Travel Mugs just for signing up. Back to home we got the car and drove to the library to check email.
Thurs. Mar. 8
I went across the river to
, AZ. to get an oil change on car and buy a few groceries. The time zones can be confusing , we kept our watches on Mountain time ( Bullhead City ), but Laughlin is on Pacific time 1 hour earlier and you only need to cross the river. Arizona
After that we had a quick bite to eat we took a scenic drive to
It was only 18.5 miles but about 14 of them were on a dirt road thru the desert and mountains that had no regular maintenance. It was an awesome drive, steep hills sharp turns and watch out for the boulders on the road. After about an hour we arrived at a stretch of pavement, no signs but we turned right and followed a narrow winding road to Oatman we found out later is was the famous Route 66. Well talk about stepping back in time. Everybody has to go to Oatman. Old buildings not manufactured old but old., the boardwalks and stores. A very unique thing is the wild burrows that wander into town from the desert during the day. They know people will feed them, we brought a bag of carrots with us. Even some of the baby burrows too, which you are not allowed to feed, they will choke. Walking around we heard some music coming out of this old worn out door and peeked inside. We found the Oatman Hotel. Wow amazing inside, just old and lotsa character. The walls were just covered with thousands of $1.00 bills that people had written on. After a small snack we toured the hotel all this is free. This hotel was built in 1902 and has not been renovated since. Upstairs we were able to see the famous suite where Carole Lombard and Clarke Gable spent their honeymoon on March 18, 1939, and they often returned here for the solitude. Outside we heard the loud shot of a double barrel shotgun. This is to alert everyone of a gunfight. They are not allowed to close the road for this so they just asked people to stand all the way across the street to provide a human barricade. This is the only road in the area and is Route 66. The gunfight was staged and enjoyed by all. Following that we followed route 66 into Oatman AZ. Bullhead City and back to , only ½ hour drive this time. Nevada
After supper we went to a show “Country Music
”, at our Hotel the Ramada, this was a tribute to Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Garth Brookes and Shania Twain. Again the tickets were free just for using your players card. The show started at 8:00pm USA time which is 9:00 pm our time, a little later than usual for us but we did enjoy the show thoroughly. Nevada
Was a quiet day, I washed the car and waxed it and we went to the library, to update banking and our blog and toured a bit more about Casino Dr. We stopped at the River Palms Casino and got a players card there and received 4 free tickets for the show “Fusion”. Then we went for the Prime Rib dinner at the Edgewater Casino across the road only $7.99 to celebrate my sisters birthday, excellent prime rib.
Sat. Mar. 10
We took a drive to Avi Casino on the Indian Reservation (about 10 miles south) to check out the Casino and flea market, another really nice casino. We then indulged in their $.99 all day breakfast including ham, 2 eggs, homefries and toast. What a deal! We stopped again at the library to check email and returned home for supper and relax for a bit. At 8:00pm we went to the Fusion show with our neighbours Bill & Sheila from
for and enjoyable evening of comedy, magic and illusion. Pretty good show for free tickets. Winnipeg
Sun. Mar. 11
Daylight savings time has changed overnight and now both
Nevada and are on the same time zones. Our elderly neighbour beside (77)us from Arizona told us that there was free Wifi internet connection at the hotel if we sat in the courtyard by the pool. So we packed up our laptops and went to the courtyard to check this out. It was nice and warm but pretty windy. While relaxing around our rig in the afternoon reading, we saw a couple of roadrunners come through the parking lot and managed to get a few pictures even thou they move very quickly. We did take a ride on the train that runs around the hotel property noticed they had a different engine running, quite nice. It does a complete trip every 15 minutes. Calgary