Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Death Valley Desperados

Thirteen years ago a few southern California Lazy Daze owners came to Death Valley to spend New Years.  It grew to become a large gathering every year with anywhere from 20 to 40 rigs showing up. This year there are at least 25, which they said is a small turn out. They call themselves the Death Valley Desperados, but I haven’t heard how they got the name.


We are staying at Sunset Campground, just another huge parking lot with 750 sites. Can’t imagine it all being full.

We’ve met some nice folks and have enjoyed visiting with them. There is a gentleman named Terry Tanner, who’s mission is to put LED brake and tail lights on all Lazy Daze RVs, since he thinks the factory lights aren’t adequate. Jim has been interested in getting them, so Terry just happens to carry around extra sets and installs them at get togethers. We now are the proud owners of  some bright new LED lights.

There is another couple with a 30’ like ours who have 5 tilting solar panels and 4 batteries, unlike our 2 and 2, so Jim spent a good bit of time looking at his setup and getting ideas. This could cost us a bunch of money!

And this is a 1988 Lazy Daze owned by a very nice older couple who are the original owners. He recently repainted the exterior himself with spray paint. You sure couldn’t tell it was that old. They put 160,00 miles on the first engine, which they replaced a few years ago. Nice to see these rigs will last a long time if you take care of them.


We’ve done lots of hiking here in Death Valley, which I will save for another post. This is from a lovely drive along Artist’s Palette road. You can see how it got the name.


Friday, December 25, 2009

Death Valley National Park, CA, Stovepipe Village Campground

We arrived in Death Valley on the 23rd and decided to stay at Stovepipe Wells for a few days, since the Lazy Daze get together starts the 26th at Sunset Campground near Furnace Creek. There are 14 full hookup sites here, and almost two hundred no hookup parking places in a big open lot.  We splurged and spent the $30/night to hook up for a few days since we will be dry camping at Sunset. It’s not a pretty campground, but the surrounding mountains are nice.


The first day here, we visited the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes at sunset.  We walked on the dunes and had fun sliding down them. The sand is so soft it turns to powder between your fingers. And lots of it gets in your shoes.PC230004   PC230012 PC230008 PC230007

Yesterday morning I was sitting outside with Oreo when Debbie came running over and said to be careful because there was a coyote. Sure enough I looked around to see him walking behind our site, looking my way. He was very healthy looking, so I guess he was wandering the campground in search of  handouts.

Thankfully, no cats were harmed!  It was the first time we’ve seen one this close that wasn’t the least bit scared of people, so it was obviously used to being fed.PC240002

Later yesterday afternoon we hiked through Mosaic Canyon, a beautiful narrow canyon lined with marble rock. After 2 miles and some rock scrambling, there is an impassable dry falls. Someone told us about a bypass, and that the trail goes on for 2 more miles. We did find it and get around the falls, but decided we had hiked far enough. Coming back was downhill and we did quite a bit of butt sliding getting down the rocks. It was a really nice hike.PC240004 PC240005 PC240012


Today we drove west to the Panamint Springs area. It’s a scenic drive, with lots of twisty, steep road.  We went from sea level to over 500o ft in about 20 miles. Then we continued on past the resort to Father Crowley’s viewpiont, a lovely vista point where we would have liked to make camp. On the way back we saw a group of wild burrows grazing on a mountain top.


We are really impressed with Death Valley so far and look forward to seeing the rest of the park. No cell or internet but they have WiFi at the lodge so will try to post this there later.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Back at Terrible’s

We are back in Pahrump, NV for a few days, hoping for some warmer temperatures before we venture into Death Valley. There is a lot more snow on the surrounding mountains than there was  6 weeks ago when we were here the first time.


Yesterday we went to the Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, about 30 miles from Pahrump on the way to Death Valley. It is an oasis in the desert, a wetland fed by hot springs and small streams throughout the refuge. They are home to several species of endangered pupfish that don’t exist anywhere else in the world. At least that’s what the signs said!  We did get to see some in one of the springs. They are only a few inches long and a pretty silvery blue  color. It was a good place to walk and there were only a few other people around, which was nice after the crowds in Vegas.





We thought we might leave here today but it rained this morning and we are under a high wind advisory. Of course our site was reserved so we had to move  3 sites down in the frigid rain.  Jim was not a very happy camper!

At least it didn’t snow, but the mountains are much whiter.


We may not have internet in Death Valley, so we would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas in case we can’t post for awhile.

Hard to believe this is our second Christmas on the road!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sam’s Town Casino and RV Park, Las Vegas, NV


We are in the big city, staying at Sam’s Town for 2 nights. We were in Vegas a few years ago when I attended an ophthalmology meeting and didn’t think we would ever have reason to come back again, but here we are. We came mainly to do some shopping before going to Death Valley, and between yesterday afternoon and this morning we spent some time and money in Costco, Best Buy, Petco and Trader Joe’s.

I have been trying to get Oreo used to a harness and leash since he  enjoys going outside. This picture was taken in front of our rig, and you can see Debbie’s across the street. What doesn’t show up too well is the razor wire on top of the concrete wall surrounding the RV park. Even though this is just basically a parking lot with hookups, they do have nice clean restrooms and a laundry room, and with our Good Sam discount  it was $22/night, better than any other parks we found here.


Jim got all our programs transferred and loaded on the new netbook, and was debating on what to do with the old laptop. He found out that Best Buy will buy back your old working computer if it was purchased there. Luckily ours was, and they were able to find our receipt from 2004.  So Jim wiped out the hard drive, turned in all the manuals and disks, and we got a gift card to Best Buy for $87!  Pretty good deal since it was going to get trashed anyway. The other alternative was a check for $57, but we opted for the gift card.

He then turned around and bought a 2GB memory upgrade, which only cost us a few dollars more than the gift card.

This afternoon we took advantage of the casino shuttle to the strip, walked around for a couple hours (and remembered why we didn’t want to come back to Vegas), then had dinner at California Pizza Kitchen in the Mirage. And here we are in Venice!


I took this picture of our site before we left. We were pretty close to our neighbor but luckily we were on an end site so we didn’t have anyone on the other side by the car.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

New Toy


Our Christmas present to ourselves arrived today, a Samsung netbook to replace our big, heavy power hog HP laptop that we’ve had for years. The difference in size and weight is incredible.  Jim is working on getting it set up and loading all our programs on it.

It is supposed to have a 7-8 hour battery life, so it will be great to have a computer we won’t always have to plug in, and one that’s much more portable for the times we don’t have an internet connection at the campground and have to take it somewhere to get WiFi. 

We are leaving Cattail Cove on Friday for a couple days in Las Vegas on our way to Death Valley. The Lake Havasu area has been a great place to hang out this past month.  We would definitely come back here again.

  Just a couple more shots of the clear blue water in the lake.PC130008


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Stuck on Lake Havasu

Yesterday we paid for another week at Cattail Cove, since we have found  more to do in the area, and we just like it here.

Stopped at Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge, which is 7 or 8 miles south of our campground. What a lovely area. The park is beautifully landscaped, has hiking trails and really nice docks for fishermen. It is all run off solar power.

Had a nice chat with one of the volunteers, who have 3 campsites along the Colorado River.  We thought it would be a nice place to volunteer sometime in the future, so it will go on our list of place to keep in mind.


PC110003   We also saw this interesting boat, which was just skimming the coast but we weren’t sure what he was doing.


Today it’s time to dump our tanks and go to the Swap Meet at La Paz County Park.  The life of full time RVers is so glamorous!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sunrise at Lake Havasu

We had the rainy, cold Monday like much of the country but yesterday the skies were clear and today it is partly cloudy. I am just posting these pictures for Jim’s benefit since he never gets up early enough to see the sunrise. This is what he’s missed the past 2 mornings.



Now if only the highs would get out of the 50s.  So glad we have power here!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Desert Bar, Parker, AZ

Took a drive to this really cool place yesterday afternoon. The Desert Bar is truly a bar in the desert 5 miles down a fairly decent dirt road north of Parker, Arizona in the Buckskin Mountains. Looked like BLM land, since there were no houses and just a few people target shooting along the way.PC060024

There is a facade of a church made of solid steel, an outdoor bar and 2 stages, and a small indoor bar with unusual steel swaying barstools and a wood burning stove that is suspended from the ceiling.


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Since it was cool and a little overcast, there were only a few people there but the Mojo Band was playing old rock and roll.  The outside grill serves hamburgers, chili, and even a veggie burger.

The owner bought this old mining camp in the 70s and decided to open a bar. His house looks really interesting, too. All solar powered and he dug a well for water after initially hauling it in with an old fire truck. No AC but he built these cooling towers on the house and bar.  PC060028

The house.  You know this guy must be quite the eccentric.


The most unique part was the outdoor restroom, built into the rock. What a view out the open air windows.  Jim said the men’s room was not so impressive.





It was a fun way to spend the afternoon, and we’ve been pleasantly surprised at how much there is to see and do around this part of Arizona. And how beautiful it is along Lake Havasu and the Colorado River.


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Cattail Cove State Park, AZ

Our short 15 mile drive south to Cattail Cove State Park ended up taking over an hour and a half yesterday morning. An ambulance passed us shortly out of Lake Havasu City, and sure enough there was a major accident on Hwy 95 a few miles ahead of us.

When the Life Flight helicopter came to the scene we knew we were in for a long wait. There was a pick up truck towing a long travel trailer that flipped and rolled. The truck was crushed and on it’s roof. The trailer was demolished and debris was everywhere. I read online this morning that the preliminary investigation showed that a strong wind gust caused the truck to veer off the road with 5 people and 3 dogs inside. Only one was killed, which is amazing considering how bad it looked when we finally got by. Also 2 of the dogs were found but a chihuahua was missing. Sad story.

The area around this park is beautiful but the campground isn’t the greatest. We do have water and electric at our sites, though, which is really nice since it got in the low 30’s last night and is supposed to be cold for the next several days. They had the pay for 5 nights, get 2 free deal, so we signed up for a week. The nightly rate is $23 but with the deal it comes to a little over $16/night which is well worth it to be able to run our electric heaters!


We have no TV at all here but a fairly good internet/phone connection. No malfunctions of anything yesterday at our place but Debbie’s 2 week old Cradlepoint router quit working yesterday. It replaced the one that died a few weeks ago, so I guess our bad luck is rubbing off on her.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Another Problem

I was hoping for no incidents yesterday, but that wasn’t the case. It was cold and we hadn’t run the generator the night before so I turned it on when I got up. We had the heat strip and a small electric heater running. I decided to toast a couple bagels since we had power. About a minute after turning on the toaster, the power went out and we heard what sounded like  a circuit tripping.

I checked the circuits in the kitchen and they were all fine.  Jim went out to see if there was one on the generator but couldn’t find it.  Got out the manual and he finally found the breaker on the generator. So we had a good learning experience if that ever happens again. And he discovered a very loose bolt on the OHV valve cover, so it turned out to be a good thing, except that Jim isn’t very cheerful when things go wrong at 8 in the morning. He’s still in bed as I write this and I’m trying not to screw anything up this morning!  Let’s hope I succeed.

Later I took us on a hike where we had to scale the side of a mountain. I had a panic attack and almost couldn’t make it. Then we couldn’t find the trail back down. We managed to make it back but didn’t appreciate the views and forgot to look for sheep, due to the stress of getting stuck and lost!  On the positive side, it was a good workout.


I was unaware of this picture even being taken.


The other day we took a ride across the lake on the Havasu Landing Casino shuttle boat, the Dreamcatcher, which unfortunately has a very loud engine that we’ve been hearing go by all day and night.


It was interesting to see the state park from the water. You don’t realize how close it is to town sitting at the campsite.


The Havasu Landing Casino has to be the worst one we’ve ever been in. It was about the size of a large ranch style house, and everyone had a lit cigarette in their hand or mouth. We just did a quick walk-through and then took a stroll around their RV park. It mostly contained permanent looking trailers, and we wondered how many serial killer were living there. Not an impressive part of California, but then again it is on an Indian reservation.  And the kids get to ride the ferry to and from Lake Havasu City for school. About a dozen Native American kids got on with us on the way over.  Strange place but the ride was fun.

Our 14 day limit is up today so we are heading south to a different state park.  Not sure which one yet but there are 3 others within 25 miles of Lake Havasu City.  It’s always an adventure.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Bad Luck?

Jim broke his shaving mirror a few weeks ago, so that must be the reason for every little thing that has gone wrong recently. He feels like a day can’t go by without something bad happening. Of course, I keep trying to tell him that little things happen to everyone just about every day, but he thinks it’s just us.

The other night, he knocked over a candle, getting wax all over the kitchen curtains. (No big deal. I got it out and they look fine.)

We were at Wal-Mart a couple days ago and he hit a giant speed bump too fast (it was not painted and really did blend right in with the street). The bottom of our bumper got lots of paint scraped off of it, but otherwise seemed fine. Then the next day he noticed wire hanging down from under the front of the car. It was the wiring for the lights when the car is being towed by the motorhome. A large chunk of wire was cut from dragging on the ground. He debated on taking it to an RV shop, since there are quite a few of the here in Lake Havasu City, but finally decided to tackle it himself, using a borrowed crimping tool from our neighbor. He reconnected the wires, taped it all together and put them back in such a way as not to be subject to dragging again. And the bigger surprise was that when he hooked them up to the rig, the lights actually worked!

So today he is tackling the kitchen faucet that has been dripping recently and I’m sure tomorrow it will be something else. At least we don’t have to go to work, and our water pump has been working for a week now!

We are still having fun here in spite of all the little annoyances. Went for a nice bike ride yesterday and sat out and watched the sunset with our Canadian neighbors. They have property in Mexico and we enjoyed hearing about their travels. We have met several people who winter in Mexico and love it, so we will have to check it out one of these days.

This is what we’ve been treated to almost every night here. What a great way to end the day.PB270035