Off to Arizona! Yes, in July…

We are currently in the middle of a trip to Arizona. This trip was not planned as we would really like to avoid the desert in the throes of the summer. However we are here for another reason. My mother broke her hip in May, had two surgeries and then rehab. After almost 2 months total she was ready to go home so we came to help her transition back to her house.

Visalia had been getting hit with some warm weather and we are not unfamiliar with heat (we also lived in the Redding area). However we usually try to avoid hot areas. Somethings, however, you cannot avoid.

I was looking at weather forecasts but only saw heat. So I looked at heat maps. I found that Kingman AZ would be a good stop for an evening as they were only around 100 degrees during the day and was very similar to Visalia.

We left late on Monday, around 7pm. The plan was to drive when it was cooler and to drive to Barstow, around 200 miles, and spend the night dry camping somewhere. The trip was uneventful but odd since I am not used to driving the trailer at night:

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We got to Barstow and it was over 90 degrees. We found a cozy spot at the TA truck stop between some trucks and under a light. We opened a few windows and turned on the Fantastic Fan. It was warm to start but we were tired and had no problem going to sleep.

We got up on Tuesday, fueled up and headed on the boring drive on I40. Barstow is where I40 starts and ends in Wilmington NC:

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Start of Interstate 40” by BrianricecaOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Perhaps we will be able to get to the other end of I40 some day but not this trip.

Just a blah 4 lane highway out in the middle nowhere. I was watching the outside temperature and the engine temperature. I set the cruise control to 60mph and the truck did great. We were planning on stopping in Needles at the Basha’s grocery store but it has been closed! The only grocery store in Needles is now closed. Given the closest grocery store was 19 miles away AND it was 109 we decided to just get some fast food and head on down the road. I was hoping that Kingman would be better and cooler since it was higher.

We made it to Kingman around 2pm and found a spot at the KOA. We took a 30amp spot because it was the shadiest spot we could find. However 30amp means we can only run one air conditioner at a time. It was 97 degrees, we had the AC going above our bed and decided to take a nap.

We woke up to distant thunder and this:

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This was cooling down the area with Roxie enjoying it:

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Shortly after this picture the rain started spitting. We got some things together to go eat at Cracker Barrel, our first time. By the time we got into the truck the rain was really coming down. On the drive to eat we saw numerous lightning strikes and knew we were smack dab in the middle of a big thunderstorm. It was really pouring once we got to the Cracker Barrel around 6:30. The rain had pretty much stopped by 11pm and had dumped .79″ in that time. One of the roads we tried to get back to the KOA was closed due to the flooding. I loved the neon KOA sign that they had up:

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The thunderstorm dropped the ambient temperature to 68! We slept the whole night with the windows open and enjoyed the cool breezes. It was wonderful!

We made it my mother’s about 2pm the next day but stopped off for a bite in a city park in Wickenberg:

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Once we pulled in (actually backed in) to her driveway we went to visit. She was doing well as she has a strong will and wanted to get back to her routine.

The next thing I needed to do was to get 30amp service for us so could run our A/C. This required a trip to Lowes to get the correct 30a breaker. I removed a 20a breaker that she was not using anymore. I plugged in the 30a and ran a separate connector and all worked well. That was until Roxie tried to run the A/C and microwave at that same time!

We are here for a bit more then back home. Not quite sure which way will be the coolest on the return!

Alumafiesta 2014 Trip – Days 12&13 – Roughing It

Well, roughing it as well as you can in an Airstream. I have felt guilty at times when I see the people in their tents scrambling around to take care of everything, especially if it starts to rain! I get over my guilt pretty quickly though.

This was our first full day (Day 12) at the Hi Jolly BLM north of Quartzsite. We got up late, because we didn’t have to do otherwise. I started tinkering on the portable solar setup I got. I made an adapter to go from the panels directly to my trailer umbilical The guy that sold me this did not recommend this as he felt directly to the batteries is the way to go. But if you know me you know I do not always take advice. After I got it all wired up I connected things and watched the Tri-metric in the trailer. I saw 13-14v and POSITIVE amps! It was working! Over the period of about 5 hours of sunlight I recouped about 10% of my batteries (200aH). I am pleased. I now have to figure a way to secure them so I don’t mind leaving them out when we go.

However leaving them out this day was not an issue. We did not go ANYWHERE! Well, except for a short bike ride around the BLM area. This is pretty rare for us, not going anywhere. I think we were so tired of going place every day on the trip that we just needed some downtime. It was great.

We got up the next day, again not early, and broke camp. Hooked everything up and got on the road. We were going to see about camping at a location I read about in a blog entry. Corvina Beach campground in the Salton Sea State Recreation Area. We stopped off in Blythe for lunch at 11am (local) since we were still on Arizona time. Leaving Blythe I decided we would take hiway 78 southbound which took us along some farming, over a mountain range, across some sand dunes and into the Imperial Valley. Then it was a short jaunt up hiway 111 to the site.

For some reason I went straight south out of Blythe instead of heading west to catch 78. This was most fortuitous for us. We had just done 2 nights of dry camping so we wanted to fill up on fresh water and dump the grey. We passed a city park (Miller park) and I saw a sign that said something about ‘dump’. I circled around and found it actually said “Don’t Dump Waste” right near a grate with fresh water spigots (there were actually 3 of these). I lined up the trailer to fill it with water and we did so. I then tried to call the City of Blythe to ask if it was OK to dump grey as I don’t consider it waste (that is the black tank). I could not get through to them so I made an executive decision.

I turned the trailer around and dumped the grey. It didn’t take long and I was at ease in doing so.

As we headed north in the Imperial Valley I knew we were going to go through Niland. What is in Niland? Salvation Mountain! I have been wanting to go here for years so we too a little side trip.

It is very interesting in every sense of the word. Check out their website to read about it. It is something everyone that everyone should see once, if you have a desire to. Below is a photo gallery of it. On the way out we saw a guy ride by on a regular bicycle that had been elongate about 6 feet. Then we saw a small sedan with couches on top and about 15 people piled in. We heard on of the volunteers tell some people that they should come out and camp, volunteer and then go take a bath in a local hot spring. Wow.

We made it to Corvina Beach around 3pm and the camp host recommended we stay where he used to stay so we did:

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Seems like a good spot to us.

Lucky for Roxie we also were able to receive FOX on the TV so she could watch American Idol. So it was a good day all around.