Monday, February 11, 2019

Dancing in the Dark in the Arizona Desert!

When we last spoke, we had just arrived in our winter location of Quartzsite, AZ, and were looking forward to fun times in the warmth of the sun.  While we have been blessed with fun times, the temps have been quite cooler than usual here.  In fact, Mom, who is like a polar bear and usually keeps our home temperatures on par with a meat locker, has had the heat on in our rig at some point EVERY day since we arrived.  Many RVers have migrated further south to combat the cold, and I’ve seen far less skin than usual on the folks in the “Magic Circle” (A.K.A. clothing optional section) at the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) LaPosa South Long-Term Visitor Area (LTVA) when we are out hiking or off-roading on the trails that intersect that area.  We also experienced some torrential rain in our early days here in Quartzsite, more rain that we had seen in the prior four seasons combined! 

But rain didn’t damper our spirits as we attended the 14th Annual Montana Owners Club (MOC) Rally held on Plomosa Road, where we enjoyed reconnecting with old friends and making acquaintance with “newbies” to the Club.  Nothing is better than good food, great conversation, and singing around the bonfire, not to mention bonding with some adogable canines like Mabel, Lucy, Manny, and Prancer!

Good buddies Stephanie and Curtis invited us for a delicious dinner of salmon and veggie burgers and spaghetti squash that surprisingly tastes and has the consistency of al dente pasta!

Dad joined Curtis and several others from the MOC for a day on the fairways in Blythe, CA.  Dad didn’t do too well, blaming his poor performance on this roadrunner trespassing on the fairway.

Meanwhile, Mom and I took up the invitation from The Fergs, buddies from our RV Dreams community, to attend a day of music and camaraderie sponsored by the Escapees Solos and Christian Fellowship Birds of a Feather (BOF) groups.  The singer not only has a great voice, but is a talented musician and lyricist, performing many original compositions.   It was a fun day for all of us!

Many different groups hold their Rallies on Plomosa Road immediately before, during, or after the Quartzsite RV Show, Escapees Boomers BOF among them.  After hearing about their many fun activities in “Boomerville”, my parents became members, and I was sure glad they did.   We were sitting around the MOC Rally firepit singing “American Pie” yet again, when I went back to our RV to get a jacket to protect me from the evening chill.  I suddenly heard Donna Summer’s melodic voice calling me “Hot Stuff”.  I realized this couldn’t possibly be emanating from our MOC guitar group.  And then it dawned on me--it was the Boomers!  I ran back excitedly to the firepit, gathered my parents, and high-tailed it over to Boomerville for the best desert dance party ever!  Norm, a member of the Boomers, had two huge film screens set up for video viewing.  Several over-sized patio mats created a dance floor.  Music ranged from 50s to 90s, so there was something for everyone.  We had such a great time that evening, we made plans with our new MOC friends (who are also Escapees members) Lesa/Pierre to attend again the next week.  That was a second fun-filled night of dancing in the dark, mesmerized by the twinkling stars and overhead passing of the space station, in the middle of the desert!  Can you ask for anything more?

We were inside our rig one afternoon and answered a knock on our door.  It was John and Shirley, who just arrived to the MOC Rally, albeit a few days late.  This was déjà vu for me.  You see, the very first friendship we made on the road was with John.  He knocked on our door way back in August 2012, while in Tower Campground in Sioux Falls, SD, within our first week of starting this nomadic lifestyle.  He was, and still is, a great resource for info on solar and mechanical issues, and we always enjoy his/Shirley’s company.

That afternoon my family attended another concert in the desert, sponsored by Escapees Solos BOF.  We were entertained by Sky Hawk, a country western band.  Sure wish I knew the two-step!  The fun continued that evening when we hosted Curtis/Stephanie for dinner along with good friends from Escapees RV Club, Chick/Deb, whom we haven’t seen in 2 years.  So good to catch up!

We stopped at the Quartzsite RV Show to say hi to friends Herb/Kathy and Jim/Lisa at the Escapees RV Club booth and to pick some brains with Battle Born regarding lithium batteries.  Then Dad did something unthinkable:  he bonded with a rodent other than me!  Sure, the “Sugar Bear Pocket Pet” was cute, but it certainly could not compete with my adorableness!   Sure, it was compact, but who wants that when you can have a human-sized stuffed rodent!  I was a bit jealous, if truth be told, and was worried it would steal Dad’s love and attention from me.  But then the Pocket Pet did something I NEVER do:  It pooped on Dad’s shirt!  My position as #1 favorite rodent is safe and secure, and I will remain the only rodent allowed in our house!

I'm Still #1!!!

We ventured out for a short time to the Escapees National Happy Hour.  Though attendance was limited due to the inclement weather, we did have a chance to catch up with friends Deb/Randy, who came to Q for a few days of camping and camaraderie from their home in Congress, AZ.

Before we knew it, our MOC Rally was over.  We said goodbye to our fellow Montana 5th Wheel Owners and moved from Plomosa Road over to the BLM La Posa South LTVA, just in time for it to re-open after the government shutdown.  We found our site from last year, easily recognizable from my rock art, and we settled in.  We quickly reconnected with more desert dwellers with whom we met through RV Dreams over 4 years ago like Pam/Red, Steve/Dianne, Harry/Vickie, Cori/Gregg, Debbie/Steve, Allen/Donna Sue, and Guy/Sue, at a Fish Fry hosted by Pam/Red.  Then my own family invited everyone for dinner,  which new MOC friends Lisa/Pierre and our buddy Joe, with whom we worked at Crazy Horse Memorial, also attended.

We attended an RVillage get together/pot luck, and enjoyed meeting new folks, especially Kelly/Denise, part time RVers who live in the Black Hills, the beautiful area in which we spent our summer!

Friends from Amazon, Gloria and Rick, dropped by to say hi and catch up before they moved on to Yuma, and Jerry/Jack and their beautiful lass, Finley, popped in for hugs while they were in town shopping for a new RV.  It is what we love about this lifestyle:  there is a true sense of community.

We received a warm welcome back from Dance Instructors Vernine/Maggie and our fellow line dancers at the QIA, especially since everyone (including us!) didn’t expect to be in Quartzsite this year.  Surprisingly, we are doing well in Level 2, and have so much fun in Beginner class now that we know what we are doing (at least most of the time).  And to think, it only took us returning for our 5th year to reach this milestone!

Those torrential rains we experienced early upon our arrival have turned the desert into a garden paradise.  As we hike, geocache, and off-road with Rat Patrol, our side by side buggy, on a daily basis, we are greeted by a carpet of green on the desert floor.   Buttercup blooms and ocotillo are starting to show their faces along with flowering brittle bushes. 

For several years we have been unsuccessful in our attempts to get tickets to a University of Arizona agricultural tour.  This year, Stephanie and Curtis apprised us that the University of California does tours as well.  So all of us went to Holtville, CA Desert Research Facility Farm Smart Tour.  What a treat!  The University presented an informative, entertaining tour of the agricultural operation, which included a sneak peak of some resident burrowing owls.  These 225 acres of land in the Imperial Valley have been farmed for 107 years.  The farm receives the largest allocation of water from the Colorado River.  I never realized the complexity of reclamation, irrigation, and water allocation.  In fact, farms must order water 24 hours in advance, so monitoring weather and soil conditions is an important part of the process.  Guess they are doing their jobs properly:  Agriculture is a $4.5 billion industry in California.   We were provided refreshments, awarded door prizes, and Dad and I helped the staff demonstrate a recipe, receiving an apron for our efforts.  Best of all, we got to harvest all our own fresh veggies:  cabbage (both red and green), carrots, green onions, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, kale, lettuce, and chard.  We must have come home with 50 pounds of goods, which we shared with friends.  What a steal for $25/person (and stuffed rats are FREE!).  I highly recommend this tour--a true Rambling RV Rat 5-cheese experience!

Clever idea for planters!

A couple of resident burrowing owls!

Sacks full of fresh veggies!

We dropped Stephanie/Curtis off at Foothills, where they were boondocking on Arizona State Trust Land.   It is a very pretty area with which we were not familiar, so we were glad for the opportunity to explore a new dry camping option.  Afterwards, we popped in to BLM’s Senator’s Wash LTVA to see fellow Amazonians David/Nancy before they leave the area and head back to Texas.  People might complain about the hard work associated with Amazon, but to us it was time well spent.  We have met such wonderful people in the two peak seasons my parents’ worked at Amazon, and we have made lasting friendships.  

We spent a day up in the Mesa/Phoenix area checking out new RVs and running errands, and accepted the invitation presented by Grand Canyon friends Kathy/Allen and Mitch (the cutest multi-mixed breed ever!) to visit them at White Tank State Park, where they are work-camping.  What a gorgeous place, with tons of trails and wonderful vistas, all within ½ hour of the heart of Phoenix!  Kathy/Allen were instrumental in helping Dad transition to plant-based foods.  So with whom better to share some of our cache of hand-picked vegetables as a thank you for providing us such good company and a delicious lunch!


The Man Upstairs has been painting some masterpieces, blessing us with some spectacular sunrises and sunsets.

As I review this post, I am amazed at how much we have done!   And to think we have only been in Quartzsite for one month!

We would like to thank the following organizations for all the great service and support they offer to the RVing community:

 Escapees RV Club



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