This morning, Saturday the 16th of February we slept in until 7 AM then puttered around getting breakfast and preparing to get underway. We could not see going hiking or even serious birding in the cold and predicted precipitation. I know 40 may not seem cold to those of you in the northeast facing sub teen temperatures and wind chills below zero, but it is cold when you expect to be out in shorts and a T shirt. Anyhow we made all the preparations to get going and at the last minute our neighbor came out off his Casita and I had to greet him with my usual big hello. We talked for a bit and then I excused myself and went in to pull in the slides and stow the leveling jacks. Usually I take a moment to take in all the obstructions around the coach before moving it. This morning I had decided to go straight back and then swing wide to align with the exit before hooking up the car. Somehow I did not have a complete image of my surroundings, but it seemed so clear as there was no RV near me and there were no trees or poles that I could see to my rear where Carol was sitting in the car waiting for me to get in position. As I moved back I immediately swung the wheel hard right to speed up the alignment process. My motion was impeded and as my foot went to the gas to overcome the rock I must be trying to roll over it came to me that there was another obstruction, the water spigot standing a couple of feet out of the ground. I had hit it with my left front tire and bent it over to a 45 degree angle and water was spouting from it. I then looked at the coach and saw a neat crack in the fiberglass just in front of and above the wheel. I spoke to the campground owner and she turned off the water and I left her my card to assure her I would pay for the repair. I applied gray tape (otherwise known as high speed tape) to the crack in the quarter panel and we were off, trying to figure out how we could avoid being distracted in the future. I think the answer is that some distractions are just inevitable and stuff happens.
I expect I will get a fiberglass repair kit and apply a patch from the inside of the cracked panel that will just leave a surface mark on the exterior to go with the many other stone chips and marks we have suffered over the 47,500 miles we have driven Gee 2 in almost four years.
Eventually we decided that we would continue on to Benson AZ a drive of about 320 miles. We have stopped there many times, but this year as new Escapee members, we chose to stay at the Saguaro SKP Coop on the edge of town. There was no room for hookups, but we decided to stay in the boondock area, a sort of level asphalt parking area with no water, electric or sewer. It cost $5 more than staying at the Wal Mart four miles away on the main drag with trains going by every few minute. Worth it.
I’ll save this and add to it in a day or two once we know where we are going. It appears that our next stop will be at the extreme west of Arizona, maybe just over the border into California near the Imperial Dam adjacent to the Yuma Proving Ground.
Several days later: We are “on the beach” at Senator Wash just a mile or so from the Imperial Dam on the Colorado River. The wash is an interesting body of water. It is totally artificial. It is dammed at one end and the authority fills it and drains it on a rhythm of their own devising. The area is a desert community of RVers. On the floor of the desert is a BLM (Bureau of Land Management, Department of the Interior) LTVA (Long Term Visitor Area). Anyone can stay there indefinitely for a semiannual fee of $180. The only facilities are a dump area, water supply and scattered washrooms. A slightly more desirable are near the water is a STVA (yup, Short Term Visitor Area) limited to 14 days in any 28 days for an annual fee of $75. The fee structure could only have been devised by a government agency and the daily rates are enough to make me confused. Suffice it to say we are in the STVA on the edge of the water,
There are two agreed reasons for the movement of the water level, one relates to the need for water for irrigation and the other to the need to generate electricity in periods of high demand and to store it in periods of low demand, so called pumped storage. Anyhow when we arrived he water was lower than we had seen in any of our past visits. Most of the lake bed was dry and exposed. We parked above the ridge line that indicates the general high water mark which left us walk of a couple of hundred feet to the water. This morning the water was within 15 feet of our outdoor carpet.
We are among a large group of people living a very water conservative life style. We arrived with 100 gallons of freshwater in our tank and an empty 60 gallon gray water tank. We still have about 25 to 30 gallons of freshwater and room for another 10 or 15 gallons in our gray tank after five days. When the gray is full or the fresh empty we will have to secure everything in the coach and drive up to the dumps to empty the tanks and pick up fresh water. This is an annoyance more than anything else. It does mean showers are brief and meal preparation is guided by limiting what will need to be washed. Dining out is not a real option as it is a longish drive on desert roads to get to a place that offers every fast food alternative and few decent restaurants. Carol is great at preparing wonderful meals from the supplies we have on board while dirtying the minimum of cookware. The grill helps on occasion.
Damages and fixes: The weld we had done back in Virginia has broken and I have made a repair with the guidance of a handy mechanical type with tools that should hold using angle iron and C Clamp. We drove 60 miles each way to Quartzite in the car to save a couple of bucks on a replacement interior light ($4.75) some replacement entry stair wraps and a couple of sundries. The lunch and the shopping made it worth the drive. I have not had much else to do on the coach unless you count cleaning and thinking about improvements.
We have met people we would never meet in our Rochester life and had some interesting conversations with people whose backgrounds don’t even begin to relate to what we usually know. Ken, a former waterworks maintenance supervisor has more tools on his coach than your normal auto mechanic has in his garage. The guy next to us, pulled out his TV and remade the cabinet to hold a lighter LCD TV on its front while preserving the cabinet for storage. Charlene, in front of us, is a loner in a converted van who lives in a dirt floored hogan with no plumbing when she is at home. And the beat goes on. No two are alike.
Our next stop from here in a week, will be an RV Resort that is part of a chain (Western Horizons for the RVers among you). They have sales people at busy fuel stops handing out coupons for 5 days four nights FREE in exchange for a 90 minute sales pitch. I have pitched uncounted numbers of these coupons over the years. When I looked at this one I realized that out friends the Hoggs will be staying at the Indian Wells Resort in Indio, CA which is between here and LA and is part of the chain. We have arranged to stay there starting on the 27th. This will give us a chance to visit and to get our laundry done before going on to LA to visit with Miriam, Yechiel and the kids. We have no plans for what we will do between now and the 27th but I am sure we will fill the days.