Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Memorable Day - January 29, 2015

Today was our first attempt at emptying the crapper using our blue boy.    Trust me, we experienced some black tank nightmares in the past, so we were a little leery.  (My human Grandma stuffed up the toilet pipe by using too much paper and not enough water.  The movie “RV” was not far from the truth!).  The stench was so horrendous!!! Worse than moldy cheese!!!  But other than that, the task of pulling the tank and emptying the blue boy was quite uneventful, thank goodness.

My parents went to yet another Happy Hour, except this one was a marathon!  They left at 1 p.m. and didn’t come back until 6 p.m.!   But it was a special occasion—they met up with members of the RV Dreams forum  Steve and Dianne organized the event, and everyone had a great time meeting face to face with the folks they knew only through on-line postings.  Steve and Dianne have been so helpful to us—these “snowbirds” spent the last 4 winters at La Posa South LTVA and know all the ins and outs of boon-docking here. 
Daddy is intent on seeing scorpions, tarantulas, and snakes, but has been unsuccessful--until tonight!  Outside with our ultraviolet flashlights, we just found our first scorpion specimen!

Now we hear the coyotes howling and yipping!  Wish we could catch a glimpse of them.  But alas, my eyes are getting heavy--it is way past my bedtime!
Talk to you soon!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Rambling RV Rat's Quartzsite Tours - January 27, 2015

We ventured out these last few days touring Quartzsite, home to 3,600 permanent residents.  It has a couple of banks, laundromats, watering holes, and fast food joints.  It sponsors an RV show and a rock/gem show each January, transforming this small town into a metropolis of RVs and caravans.  Every parking lot, land parcel, RV park/resort (some of which are so packed together they resemble parking lots!) and the 11,400 acres of BLM lands are filled to the gills with RVs!  Daddy says it reminds him of Sturgis, SD during Bike Week!

We visited Quartzsite’s historical sites and places of interest.  For example, the desert area near Quartzsite was used as a military training camp by General Patton.  The soldiers marked the site with rock formations spelling out “Quartzsite”.  My pic didn’t come out too well from the ground—if only I could have borrowed an ultralight to take an aerial shot!


The area is also home to several pictures that Native Americans etched into the landscape (Mom says they are called intaglios or geoglyphs).  It took us several attempts to locate, but we finally found the one called Bouse Fisherman.

(If you have a few drinks, close one eye, and stand on one foot, the photo of the intaglio looks just like the diagram on the plaque picture!)

 Forget that--this is more important!  I think some of my rat ancestors created intaglios as well!  Look at the one we found while hiking in the desert.

Now look at my self-portrait created back in 1987 for my Daddy's birthday—do you see the resemblance?

We also participated in our first geocache, which we stumbled upon by accident!  I can’t tell you where it is—you’ll have to locate it yourself!  But if you find it, we are the ones who inserted a pocket edition of the U.S. Constitution!

Of all the places we visited (and we really saw EVERYTHING in Quartzsite), Celia’s Rainbow Gardens is my favorite.  It is an 8-acre section of Quartzsite Town Park inspired by a special 8-year-old girl  As I walked the trails to view the lovely plantings, reflected by the pond, and said a prayer at various memorials, I was moved by the labor of love being conducted by volunteer members of the community.  I hope someday I get the opportunity to volunteer at the Garden myself.  Celia’s story and this beautiful park truly touched this rat’s heart!

Well I sure am tired.  Time for my beauty rest.  Talk to you soon!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Techie Talk - January 24, 2015

We are all settled in at La Posa South, the Bureau of Land Management Long-Term Visitor Area (BLM LTVA).  My Mom’s not as friendly and personable as I am, so she found us a spot 3 miles from the entrance that gives us lots of privacy and a great backyard view but easy access to the main road.

Sunrise View from Door of RV
Full Moon Setting at Daybreak

Daddy planned well for boon-docking, dry-camping, being off the grid (for all our non-RVer readers, that means no hookups for electric, water, or sewer). We have a 150-gallon water bladder to fill with fresh water and a jumbo size “blue boy” to empty our waste water from the holding tanks for the toilet, shower, and sinks.

The Full Monty

Most importantly, Daddy designed and installed our solar system personally. For all you techies: six 6-volt, 305-amp AGM batteries, wired series parallel, giving us a total of 915 amps at 12 volts. These are powered by the sun (three 270-watt, 32-volt solar panels wired in parallel).

AGM Batteries - Series Parallel

Control Center Stashed in Cabinet Makes Mom Happy

Supplemental energy is derived from a wind turbine, which can provide up to 40 kilowatts of power per month. All controlled by a Midnite Classic 150 and a Magnum 2800 watt inverter. He even installed a Trimetric meter that monitors our daily usage and recharging stats. Wow, my head is spinning from all that gobbly-gook jargon!

Yours Truly - Rambling RV Rat

Bottom line for non-techies: we’ve got enough power to run everything but the air conditioner and do not need to supplement with a noisy generator. So should the apocalypse occur, we are ready! 

Time to relax and watch the sunset!  Talk to you soon!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Round 'Em Up - January 23, 2015

We arrived in Quartzsite, Arizona on January 11 for the “Circling of the Montanas” Rally organized by the Montana Owners Club.   This is our first Rally, but it seems like everyone here knows “Big Boomer” from the forum!  These last two weeks have been a blast.  We went for a walk every morning at 7 a.m. with our buddies John, Vickie, and Jim, and witnessed a magnificent sunrise each time.   

Each day, the group celebrated 5 o’clock somewhere with Happy Hour, imbibing on some liquid treats (I’m ready to call Alcoholics Anonymous and sponsor my parents!), and chowing down on a smorgasbord of good eats, all while marveling at the sun’s spectrum of colors during sunset.
The Nellie E Saloon Desert Bar
We visited some unusual places like the Nellie E Saloon Desert Bar, a completely off-the-grid saloon located in an old mining camp in the middle of the Buckskin Mountains.  Thank goodness we hitched a ride with John in his pickup—despite its best efforts to be a “monster truck”, there was no way “Big Boomer” could have handled the narrow, jagged, rocky roads!  We went to Crystal Hill to “mine” for quartz, crystals, and other relics.   We met such a great bunch of folks, shared some funny “RV horror stories”, and picked up some useful full-timing tips. It is interesting how we all own Keystone Montana units, yet each rig has unique characteristics, the personality of its owner shining through.  For example, John has model airplanes affixed to the ceiling in his rig—how cool is that!   Speaking of cool, check out this video of our “circle” taken by drone, courtesy of  Tomorrow we depart the rally and venture off on our own to the BLM La Posa South Long Term Visitor area.




Saturday, January 10, 2015

Showdown at Tombstone - January 10, 2015

We’ve been on the road for a week—and dirty laundry seems to be multiplying like rabbits!  So Daddy booked us for a couple nights in a full-service RV park outside Tombstone, AZ.  With a water, sewer, and electric hookup, Mommy can do laundry in our unit since she dislikes using Laundromats.  Additionally, the campground has a free shuttle service to the Old West section of Tombstone, so we won’t need to detach!

Daddy went to register and seems to be gone forever!  In the meantime, Mommy's looking around and she’s not seeing any spots large enough to handle “Big Boomer”.  Through accessing the campground's website, she learns that the $30 per night charge does NOT include electric.  We must pay separately for our metered electric, even though only staying for 2 nights.  And nowhere does it mention a shuttle to town.  Now she’s talking to herself and using some uncomplimentary adjectives before Daddy’s name.  Daddy finally returns to the truck, saying registration took longer than normal because they couldn't find our reservation.  Now Mommy's eyes are bulging and she can no longer keep her anger in check.  You know where this is going, don't ya:  We are not at the right campground!  Sure as I love cheese, Daddy followed the driving instructions of Gerda, his GPS guru, and she led him to Tombstone Territories RV Resort instead of Tombstone RV Park and Campground!

We "unregister" and finally get to our reserved campground destination.   As Homer Simpson would say, "Doh".  Daddy sure came close to getting planted with his boots on!

Tombstone RV Park and Campground staff are very friendly and accommodating.  The pull-thru site was a bit shorter than what “Big Boomer” really needs, but the staff permitted us to stay hitched since we were only there for 2 nights.  The shuttle service into Old Tombstone runs between the hours of 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.  So you can request a ride in or out of Tombstone at your convenience anytime within that time period.  We visited the typical tourist attractions, the OK Corral,

OK Corral Re-enactment

Boot Hill Cemetery-Where Daddy Was Almost Laid to Rest
Boot Hill Cemetery, Big Nose Kate’s, the Courthouse Museum.  I especially enjoyed viewing the diorama and listening to the history of Tombstone narrated by Vincent Price in his distinctive and recognizable voice.  Daddy insisted we visit the Tombstone Harley-Davidson and get him some souvenir shirts.  Daddy's obsession is buying products made in America.  It took an hour of combing through piles and racks, but he hit pay dirt--two XL t-shirts within the store were actually made in the U.S.A.!

Much to Tabatha the Country Campground Cat's dismay, it is back in the cage for her tomorrow--we leave Tombstone and head to Quartzsite, AZ. 

Talk to you soon!


Friday, January 9, 2015

Heifer Heaven - January 9, 2015

We got back on the road early yesterday morning, though none of us were feeling any better.  But we were anxious to get to Fabens, Texas.  What’s the attraction in Fabens?  Well, if you are a beef-loving carnivore, you will not want to miss the Cattlemen’s Steakhouse and Ranch! 

 Once they took one bite of their meals, Mommy and Daddy were in heifer heaven!  Talk about an instant cure for feeling under the weather!  Juicy, succulent aged beef, cooked medium rare, so tender you can cut it with a butter-knife!    I dare anyone to challenge my Dad’s appetite—he got the 2 pound Cowboy, and ate every last morsel!  Baked potato, a tangy home-made pineapple cole slaw, and a crock of spicy baked beans complement the meal.  MMM, MMM—salivating just thinking about it!

And if you don’t find the food worth the visit, get a load of this:  A paying customer gets to overnight in their rig within the Restaurant’s gated parking lot!  You get to hit the sack with a full belly AND a peaceful mind! 

We explored the ranch property, which includes some cool animal sculptures, a zoo/wildlife/avian area, and the movie sets for “Glory Road”, “On The Border”, “The Day After Tomorrow” and a bunch of other flicks.

So no matter how I slice it, Cattlemen’s Steakhouse and Ranch gets a 5-cheese review from this rat!

Talk to you soon!


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Daddy's Droopy Drawers and the Shots Heard Round the World - January 7, 2015

Well it seems the constant change in temperatures and environments  (we stayed in several hotels, including ones in NY City while sight-seeing last month), has caught up with us—Daddy is now sick as a dog! With his runny nose, hacking cough, headache and fever, he has contaminated us all!  Mommy is experiencing similar symptoms and I'm not feeling so good myself.  And despite Mommy’s best “Florence Nightingale” efforts for the last week, including her shopping spree of a half dozen over-the-counter medications, she could not nurse him back to health.  Yup, even Nyquil, the nighttime sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, fever, sore-throat, best sleep medicine did not help!

So, Mommy took over the wheel, found a medical clinic in Abilene, Texas, and Daddy is now at his first doctor’s visit in 20 years, not to mention his first experience with Obamacare!  A double-whammy!  Anyway, he just received a diagnosis of severe sinus infection.  Antibiotics and steroid needed ASAP!  Needless to say, he’s not looking too happy with his drawers down at is ankles and two needles being inserted in his butt cheeks!  Ouch!!
We will go to the nearest Wal-mart  to pick up Daddy's oral prescription and camp overnight.  Hopefully, it provides him some relief, and we all get some rest so we can get back on the road tomorrow morning.
Talk to you soon!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Our Adventures Begin - January 5, 2015

After spending the holidays with family and friends in New York State, we hit the road on January 2 with snow falling and 20 degree temps. We took the Southern route and luckily, always remained about ½ day ahead of unusual cold and/or excessive precipitation.  Our first stop was to visit Jeffrey, our good friend and  "Yankee" transplant, in Lancaster, SC.  Then we headed via Interstates 20 and 10  for our latest destination:  Arizona.
After a few over-night stays at “Wally Worlds”, we all agreed we wanted some full-service accommodations.  So we are staying at Lincoln County Parish Park in Ruston, LA, arriving just in time to see a spectacular sunset!  With its beautiful lake, nature trails, and a sand beach area for use during the summer months, this place is lovely!

Reasonably priced at $25, it has spacious pull-through sites.  And believe me, it truly can handle “big” rigs.  We are 65 feet in total and fit just fine without unhitching. Sweet Cheeks is especially happy.  She sees some fine feathered friends here —ducks, geese, cranes, and even a blue heron!  

This place gets a 5-cheese rating from me, Rambling RV Rat!

Speaking of cheese, time to fill our bellies and tuck in for the night. 

Talk to you soon!