Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Side X Side, Stride X Stride - Dripping Springs, Quartzsite, AZ

So sorry to fall behind on our chats, but I’ve been busy, busy, busy!

What an adventure we are having with the side X side!  We go out twice a week exploring, taking different trails, testing just what we can and can’t do.  We know we have clearance limitations, but when all is said and done, having a small UTV is better than having no UTV at all!

So now that we have some experience with tire articulation and maneuvering, we set out to visit Dripping Springs, a popular Quartzsite destination among UTV/ATVers.  We fared well heading along Trail 0059 to 0061.

Then we began going through a deep wash surrounded by high rock walls.  Pretty cool—until we encountered a very rocky section of the trail within the wash, with big boulders over which we needed to climb.   Thankfully, we cleared these boulders, taking our time.  

We cleared these boulders.

But when we scouted the path ahead of us, we found two more rock sections that would prove very difficult to clear.  Dad has some smoke coming out of his head, so I knew he was assessing the situation and trying to devise a plan to negotiate these rock obstacles.  However, Mom, always the pragmatic one, reminded him that we would need to achieve success in navigating these same obstacles on our way back to camp, too.  Rats!  We came so far, I didn’t want to turn back!  She noted that we were only 1.25 miles from our destination, so why not hike the rest of the way.   Great idea!  First though, Dad negotiated the return trip over that first set of boulders.  He added some smaller rocks to make the trail more level and evaluated where he would place his tires.  I ran my video camera to capture the endeavor (It will be on my youtube channel shortly).  Meanwhile, Mom was saying her prayers that Dad did not get injured, that Rat Patrol would incur no damage, and that we didn’t get stranded 8 miles from where we are camped.  Touchdown successful!  Dad's body parts inventoried, everything intact.   Rat Patrol evaluated, no problems found.  Collective sigh of relief from the three of us.  Onward ho!   Stride by stride we followed the trail.

We were greeted by a forest of chollas, all lined up like the firs at a Christmas tree farm.  We ascended a hill and came upon an old stone cabin.  (Had we taken Rat Patrol, this is where we would have parked to access the Spring).   We were intrigued by the Indian petroglyphs on nearby boulders.  We saw a juvenile chuckwalla sunning himself on a rock. ( And for once, I got a decent photo!)   We admired the scenery, noting that all the trees, cacti, and flora were so much greener and healthier than those in other parts of the desert.   Hooray, we arrived at our destination!  We dipped our feet in the Spring and marveled at the fact that this little piece of paradise exists in the middle of arid lands.

An army of chollas

Remnants of an old cabin


Juvenile Chuckwalla

Creosote blooming!

Me and my Dad dipping our feet in the Spring!

As we hiked back to Rat Patrol, we checked to see if any geocaches were along the route, but the only one in the area had been “disabled”.  So I had a brilliant idea—why not plant my own geocache for others to find!  After enjoying a picnic lunch that Mom prepared, I got busy hiding my geocache while Dad submitted it to  Would you believe they rejected my submission!  Apparently, they wanted a “plan of action” for maintaining the geocache.  Not one to tell lies, Dad said we visited the area for several months each winter.  Well apparently, that maintenance plan was not good enough.  They expect you to check up on the geocache on a “regular basis” throughout the year.  What?  Who in their right mind comes to the desert of Quartzsite during monsoon season just to check on their planted geocaches?    And I find it hard to believe that anyone who claims to maintain their geocache on a “regular basis” within these desert lands actually does it, since most of the population are snowbirds!  Disappointed and quite disenchanted with, I decided who needs them anyway.  If you are ever in Quartzsite geocaching, go find my hidden treasure at:  33.6026930, -114.0866010!  I left my art rock self portrait as a clue for you!  We continued on our way and arrived home safely.  It was an exhilarating day!

I left a rock art self portrait as a marker for you to find my cache!

We discovered several “finds” when off-roading at Q Mountain and the hills at Tyson Wells LTVA recently.  While Dad unearthed the geocache “Turn on the Sprinkler”, Mom spotted a nest in a nearby Saguaro, and I found an antler in a neighboring wash!  We spotted a jackrabbit, who sprinted and hopped like he was jumping hurdles in a cross country meet.  We climbed Q Mountain and explored the nearby abandoned mine, something we hadn’t done since our first year out here in Q.

Dad and I coming down the hill near Tyson Wells LTVA! Photo courtesy of Nervous Nelly Mom, who waited at the bottom for us.

Just a few of the hundreds of trails in the Quartzsite area.  View from top of Q Mountain.

Mom forgot quickly about geocaching when she spotted this nest in a saguaro.  Much to her disappointment, it was unoccupied.

Dad strikes a pose at the top of Q Mountain.

Yours truly blogging, surrounded by some of my treasures from Q:  antlers, crystals, and a new hat!

So how do you like my new hat as displayed in the above picture!  Pretty cool, huh?  And I got it as a FREE gift.  All my parents had to do was replace the old awning on our rig where the motor crapped out with a new awning purchased from Shade Pro at a cost of $1,012.  That's a lot of cheese!  And the replacement awning isn't even a motorized one, it is a manual!  But we were very happy with Shade Pro’s service—their representative was punctual, reliable, and a very experienced installer.  From the time we phoned to schedule an appointment for a quote to completed installation took only one week.

While doing a grocery run to Blythe, CA, we decided to check out some of the other Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Long Term Visitor Areas (LTVAs) which are covered by our seasonal permit.  Midland is a lovely, panoramic area, overlooking the Maria Mountains.  Supposedly, it has a dump station (although we didn’t see it), but no water source is available on site. The place is peaceful and secluded, with few inhabitants.  If Mom had her way, we would have been packed up and moved there within an hour!  

Spectacular views of Maria Mountains from Midland LTVA, Blythe, CA

Not the case with Wiley and Coon Hollow, the two LTVA campgrounds near Mule Mountain.  The access road is reached via the Wiley Road exit off of Route 10.  You must travel 6 miles down a poorly maintained sandy road to access Wiley Campground, and Coon Hollow Campground is still another 3 miles beyond Wiley.  There is a dump station centrally located right between both campgrounds, but no water source on site.  The washboard road was such a nightmare, none of us could imagine having to travel on it to get groceries and/or water every week.  Not to mention the campgrounds’ proximity to a state penitentiary did not make this a prime camping location in our minds.

We attended the free screening of the film “Haci Ali” at the Quartzsite Improvement Authority (QIA).   The place was packed!  Everyone was relieved the fire marshal didn’t show up—it was standing room only.  The cooperative efforts of the Quartzsite Historical Society, Town Council, and independent movie makers from Turkey, has resulted in the anticipated release of this documentary within 15 cities later this year.  Known locally as “Hi Jolly” (an “Americanized” pronunciation and spelling of his name), Hadji Ali came to the Southwest in 1856 as one of the first camel drivers hired by Jefferson Davis for the U.S. Army’s experiment of using camels to transport cargo across the desert lands.  The experiment went south for a variety of reasons, the most pressing that with the Civil War brewing, funding was cut off.  Truth be told, the movie lacks substance (it is only an hour long), mainly because very little information is really known about this Quartzsite legend.  I applaud the town Fathers (and Mothers) though.  They have done a magnificent job of attracting tourism utilizing “Hi Jolly” as their poster boy and promoting visitation of his burial site.  Their efforts have resulted in town of Quartzsite being the third largest tourist attraction in all of Arizona (at least according to the Mayor)!   I wish Quirky Quartzsite much success in its marketing and branding endeavors. 

They even had a cake (camel/triangle logo to replicate the insignia on Hi Jolly's grave) to celebrate the premiere!

Steve and Dianne hosted another Happy Hour, the last of the season since so many folks were leaving Quartzsite already.  In fact, many of them are now attending an RV Dreams Boondocking Rally.  Since we had other social engagements during the Rally timeframe, we opted instead to host a dinner party with Linda and Howard, the founders of RV Dreams, Ruth and Dale (Dreamers who also are not attending the Rally), and newbie RVers Beth (with whom we line dance) and Ron, who want to learn more about boondocking.  We all had a fun, informative evening, and I made two new canine friends, George and Gidget!

Me and some of my RV Dreams peeps!

Gidget and George, my newest canine friends.

We were blessed with a gorgeous sunset as well!

Well the Equifax hacking debacle has hit home.  Dad had two fraudulent phone purchases charged to his credit card recently.  Thanks to the alerts we have set up, we were able to cancel the card immediately after the fraudulent activity transpired.  We were supposed to get a new card shipped to us overnight via FedEx to Quiet Times.  Long story short, it took a full week and four phone calls to get the “overnighted” replacement card from the bank.    Why does every problem with the bank take multiple calls to fix?  No one there knows the concept of true customer service!  Sorry, the Rambling RV Rat is now done with his rant.     

Tabby was a bit perturbed last week.  We took her on a road trip to Lake Havasu City to visit the veterinarian for her rabies vaccine.  I was perturbed, too, having to spend time driving and sitting in a vet’s office when that day was the best weather we have had in a LONG time.  (At least I got a few nice photos as we stopped at lookout points.)  We enjoyed bright sunshine, no winds, and temps in the comfortable mid 70s.   Generally, this season has been much cooler than usual, and I have the proof:  Mom has not used her battery operated fan at all this year.


Friends Susan and Rodger from Amazon are due to arrive for a visit within the hour, so I’ll sign off now.  Talk to you again soon!

We would like to thank some amazing organizations for all they do for the RVing community:

Escapees RV Club

Escapees RV Club

rvillage logo

Image result for rv-dreams


  1. Glad you finally made it to Dripping Springs. We have felt bad that you haven't been able to join us on our rides in the mountains due to your low clearance. Glad your experience with Shade Pro was better than mine. The most incompetent company I have ever delt with in our almost 8 years on the road. 5 of us couples had our credit cards compromised in Q 2 years ago. Come visit at the rally before everyone leaves tomorrow!

  2. We didn't mind not being included. We enjoy going solo so we can stop regularly and linger to view new sites to us that you vets of ATV/UTVing have probably seen for years. We don't like to inconvenience anyone anyway. We have ordered a lift kit for future use, but have had a blast with Rat Patrol, even with its lower clearance! Actually, a bunch of the rally folks are coming over here on Tuesday for Happy Hour (sent you a note via messenger). You are welcome to join us. We actually forgot about your incident with Shade Pro. Glad we didn't encounter any issues.

  3. Drop by Bryce Canyon anytime after May 1st and we will hook you up with a full size UTV for tour. Glad to see you all safe and having fun.