Friday, February 27, 2009


(Chuck)We are at Sidewinder. It is in California, West of Yuma, Arizona. In my official daily log we are noted as Olgiby Road, CA Sidewinder Road, FB (N32 48.819 W114 49.029) 415’ elevation. The FB means free boondocking. We generate our own electricity with solar, water is brought in with a 45 gallon water bladder and we have a whole lot of the best Western desert scenery available to man. We are living like Kings. Our friend Judy Sheeley would say “It would take a lot of this to kill ya.”

We were here last year about this time and we hiked the hills (desert mountains) that lay just to the East. There are great places to go through the mountains and circle around each way back to our rig, each trip seems to take about two and one half hours. They are good hikes and good exercise.
(Jan) Yesterday we took off hiking up the usual ‘trail’ or water course that we had followed several times last year. As we got to the first major ridge we decided to ascend to the right and locate the geo-cache that is called “Black Rock Overlook”. We had found this cache one year and 2 days ago with a group of fellow Boomers coming up from a different route.
We had decided that our goal on this trip was to find a high valley on the mountain that we could see on the Google Earth Maps. We found it, although we didn’t climb down that way. We continue scrambling down among the big ‘chocolate drop’ boulders and then down a water course to the south. Back at the Rig we enjoyed some ice water a little 'lawn chair testing'.
(Chuck)Today we were eyeing the highest peak and wondering to ourselves if we could find a way to get to the top. We took the challenge and made the summit a little after 10:00 am. We reached the top from the South West side and went down by a steep ravine that runs to the East. While at the top Jan called our friends Mickey and Karen. (Jan) Our friends are boondocking in this area about two miles away. We could see their rig from the peak so I gave Karen a call. She got out her binoculars and could see us and Mickey took a picture with his telephoto lens. It was quite an interesting, steep climb and what beautiful views when you get to the summit.

(Chuck)At the top there is a survey marker and a small container with a notebook to log any climbing entries. We added our names and the date to the book. In the log was an entry dated November 24, 2005 from a fellow Boomer Barry McAlister. Barry is an extreme adventurer and it’s an honor to have our names in the log with his. Barry would not have bothered to climb the mountain if it wasn’t pretty difficult. It made me smile when we were at Craggy Wash to hear that he had also climbed the bigger mountain to the South.

(Jan) The hike down involved some climbing at times. The ravine we followed was a dry stream bed that probably featured some small waterfalls when the water was flowing in the spring. We're very cautious when climbing and use our hiking sticks at all times.

Looking up to the top.........
Looking down to the bottom.......
(Chuck)This was our second hiking trip into the mountain in two days and we seem to lie around our rig in the afternoon. The temperature is in the low 80’s and if you are in the shade the slight breeze makes it seem cool. It is beautiful winter weather to enjoy.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Back to Shae and Q

On Friday afternoon we dumped our tanks and filled the rig with water at LH State Park and then headed back to Shae Road. The Paynes, Bennetts and Merrimans were boondocking there and we all went to have BBQ Ribs the next day at the Blue Water Casino in Parker. Good food and excellent company! Later that day and Sunday afternoon, too, we all sat outside to soak up the warm sunshine. We all had a fun time and Karen and Kaaren taught me some new beading tricks.

Monday morning we decided to head down to Q and found a great site at Plomosa Road on BLM ground. Our friends Bryan and Susan came out to visit as they are staying in Quartzsite. We ran into town to get beading supplies for me at a couple of stores, went to Herb’s Hardware and then we decided we were hungry so we headed to La Casa Del Rancho. Their Nachos are the best! We headed in to their place on Tuesday afternoon and played a game of Hand and Foot. We had both learned different rules but had a great time playing. They’re neat people and we enjoy our time with them.

Wednesday was moving day again for us. We have wanted to get back to Sindwinder over in California so after a stop to visit Joanne and pick up our mail we headed west on I8. It’s very nice here; quiet, gorgeous sunsets and great hiking. It’s the first time we have been by ourselves since Jan.19th! We took time to get a little bookwork done and do a few projects around the house. This is the set of our new frames with all of the grandkids and our family pictures in them.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Craggy Wash

(Chuck) Yes, It’s a lifestyle, and a good one at that. We have the chance to live with some of the best front door views in the country. This is Craggy Wash. It is a BLM area just North of Lake Havasu City, Arizona. There is a large wide area about eight tenths of a mile up the wash from highway 95. This wide spot is surrounded by several large desert mountains. They are rugged and offer some great hiking. This is the view out of our front door.

This is another view of the South mountain from across the valley. Last year Jan and I had climbed several of the smaller peaks in this wash and this year we set our sights on the big one. We climbed the South mountain and it was quite an effort. We took it slowly and safely and we were pretty happy with ourselves when we had finished. There is no trail and it involves a lot of rock scrambling. Here are a couple of shots from the top.

This is Craggy Wash there is room for twenty to thirty rigs in this area. On the other side of the peak
behind me is the Airport.

Jan is adding to one of the cairns at the peak.

It has been a while since my last haircut, so we took time to do that also. It is a lot less maintenance when it is short. Jan has cut my hair for the last 35 years.

Here is a blurb from the Lake Havasu City Convention and Visitors Bureau site:
Home to the world-famous London Bridge, Lake Havasu is both a water lover's paradise and a desert lover's dream. Visitors enjoy the top-rated RV resorts and condominiums with spectacular views and convenient locations. And, with more than 300 days of sunshine per year, Lake Havasu is ideal for golf, tennis and desert tours.
More than 400 miles of stunning coastline will refresh you with exceptional watersports, including fishing, skiing, kayaking and houseboating. Or, if you prefer, explore the lake from the beautiful beaches, campsites and hiking trails. For a memorable fun-in-the-sun getaway, call 800-2HAVASU.

We will soon be moving South towards Yuma. My sister will arrive in town the first week of March. Our plan is to take all week to make the journey. Happy Trails

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Lake Havasu City AZ

(Jan) One of the reasons we came up to Lake Havasu City was to see the Winter Blast. It is a fireworks show put on by the Western Pyrotechnics Association. We attended Saturday’s event and the show was fabulous. There were so many blasts going on at any one time, it was hard to know where to look and hard to get a decent photo. That afternoon we had arrived at Sarah Park around 2 o’clock. Betty was hosting a Boomer Birthday Party for Duane complete with a cake that read ‘Happy Birthday Ed’. The story is that she got it for half price at the grocery store because Ed died!

There were fireworks each night Wed. through Sun. and some of our friends went each night. We were having fun most afternoons hiking or sitting outside and then as the sun went down and it got cold, we headed to our rig for the evening. One night Bryan & Susan and Ken and Maryanne came over to play Skip-Bo. It was a fun evening and thanks to Maryanne’s incredible luck drawing wild cards, the girls won most games. On Sunday after church, Maryanne hosted a potluck at The Steps. We spent the afternoon eating and visiting with the Boomers who came to join us for the day. Later in the day Ken W and Ken P got out their guitars and we had a sing along. Dee, Bruce and I helped with the singing along with Maryanne and Susan joining in at times; everything from folk songs to country ballads to ‘Amazing Grace’. Wonderful!

Look who showed up one afternoon. These folks have a miniature bull and donkey that they have custom designed their van for! They take them from town to town to present shows.

On Monday it was moving day for many of us. We had coffee in the morning with Dee and Bruce and then everyone else came out of their rigs for ‘where are you headed’ and goodbye hugs. We headed up through LHC and parked at Craggy Wash. We were greeted by another group of Boomers who were here for Winter Blast and that evening we joined Ron & Sharon, Kathy & Bruce, John and Kay & Bernie for Spaghetti night at the local Elks Club. Tuesday night we had Happy Hour with Kevin and Deidre and enjoyed the evening meal with them.

We’re only 2 miles from Home Depot and Super Wal-Mart so we’ve gone in to pick up supplies and groceries. There’s a great opportunity for hiking here so we’re getting ready to get out and explore.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Shae/Steps Notes

After the rainy week-end at Shae Road we had a beautiful double raindow! It was one of the most vivid we’ve seen. Tuesday morning the weather started off bright and clear but chilly. Night time temps were in the 30’s so we waited until 11:00 to hike and climb the hills across the wash to the south of us. When we looked off to the northwest we could see snow on the peaks over in California.

Arriving back at our site we had a good chat with our neighbors Mickey, Bill and Kaaren. That afternoon the guys filled our holding tanks with water and Kaaren invited me in and taught me how to sew the closer on my beaded bracelet. She is a patient teacher and an exceptional beader. Thanks, Kaaren!

On Wed. after more visiting, we headed north to ‘The Steps’, BLM ground that is along Hwy 95 south of Lake Havasu City. It is a terraces landscape that was reported to be a development site several decades ago. The site is several hundred acres and a great place to boondock, hike and explore. Ever wonder what the top of your rig looks like? This is ours. You can clearly see the three solar panels, TV Antenna(folded position), furnace/AC unit, vent hoods for the fantastic fan in the kitchen and the vent in the bathroom and the shower skylight.

When we arrived here we were warmly greeted by fellow Boomers Ron and Bernita and enjoyed a good visit. Yesterday late morning Bruce and Dee stopped by! We went for a hike together and then had an impromptu co-op lunch. Yummy! An hour or so later Bryan and Susan arrived and joined us. We spent the afternoon laughing and comparing travel and boondocking stories. Pictured above are Bryan and Susan, Dee and Bruce and in front, Bernita, Ron and Chuck. Ken and Maryanne rolled in a while later so we pulled up more lawn chairs and continued sitting outside up until dark.

One final note; need a good way to corral those plastic bags that multiply in your cupboard? Chuck found this solution on a discussion forum on the web. It’s a quart size milk jug with the top cut off. It’s amazing how many bags can be stuffed in and it sure is neat and handy.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Parker 425

(Chuck) Wednesday we arrived at Parker, AZ for the Bluewater Resort & Casino Parker “425” off road desert race. South of town we turned East on Shae Road. The spot where we stayed was 8.5 miles East of the intersection of 95 and Shae Road. It was between the posted mile markers 4 and 5. (Go figure?) This is also designated by signs as Area 10. That seems like a lot of directions, but if you really want to know where we are it is: (N 34 07.363 W114 09.300) 785’ elevation.

Thursday was the qualifying race, and the weather was beautiful. We watched the action in style. It was at times a little dusty. Karen Payne kindly gave Jan the mask, and she found it to be helpful. Here are some photos of the cars that my buddy Mickey Bennett took that day. He had some nice shots and shared them with us. Thanks, Mickey.

Friday was inspection day and we walked along the cars as they were lined up for inspection. They were required to show that they carried the necessary safety equipment, and passed all the requirements for their particular class. As we walked down the line of cars we talked with a crewmember of one of the cars. This is a punishing race. It is brutal on a driver and also on a vehicle. Last year 295 cars and trucks entered the race and 138 finished. The large trucks take three laps around the 138 mile track. Many of the finishers will find their way back in the dark on their last lap.

The cars will get about 5 miles per gallon of SP3 fuel which is 113 octane and costs $8.00 per gallon. That is about $680 of fuel. This is an expensive sport and the cars show it. They start the race in beautiful condition. Many will show the wear and tear of the desert in the end. We saw several that did not finish, some on trailers, and some by the roads with broken suspensions.

We parked our rig very close to the track with
hundreds of other RVers who attend this race. This photo is from the top of our rig looking towards town. There were just as many RVs on the other side of us.

This photo is looking at the track from the inside of our rig. It was dusty in the morning and raining in the afternoon and we had a private viewing box for the race. We will stay here for a few days and find some quiet time for ourselves after the race crowd leaves. Then we will head up to Lake Havasu City.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

V.F.W. and Elks

We’re on our way to Parker for the Off Road 425 race; we’ll be boondocking somewhere along Shea road with the Boomers. We went to the time trails last year and had a good time.

Last Saturday morning, we said goodbye to the Sheeley’s at Boomerville and after a tour of Ron and Sharon’s bus and more goodbyes to several other Boomers, we were on the road to Yuma. Our first visit to the V.F.W. boondocking site was great; two days and only 7.5 miles to Joanne’s house. Chuck’s mom is doing well and healing nicely after her carpel tunnel surgery. We had both learned to play Hand and Foot this past month so had a good time playing several games.

Sunday morning we had another one of those ‘it’s a small world’ experiences when we were walking out of Mass. Got to talking to the couple next to us and it turns out that Judy and I graduated from the same High School, her aunt lived across the street from where I grew up in a town of 201 and her cousin lived 3 miles from our farm in Iowa. We’re also thinking we might be distantly related and are looking forward to comparing genealogy notes.

Monday and Tuesday nights were spent on the Elks RV lot in Gila Bend. Chuck is now an Elks member. There are 659 members at the Gila Bend Lodge; 130 are local members and 529 are mostly fulltime RVers. 317 of those RVers have a Livingston, TX address.
room reservation in London