December 22, 2014 Quartzsite, Arizona

Campsite south of Quartzsite
Campsite south of Quartzsite

Hummingbirds and a trip into KOFA NWR

Above is a shot of my new location at the Mile Marker 99 BLM 14 day stay area just south of Quartzsite on Route 95. I am really enjoying this spot, more than the other two 14 day BLM areas north of town. Very quiet, not that many neighbors, good hard surfaced, level campsites, and several minor washes that run through the site so there is a fair amount of vegetation here…

Costa's hummingbird
Costa’s hummingbird

…so that means there are hummingbirds here also. And yesterday I got serious about trying to get some decent shots and set up my feeder in the wash amongst the saguaros and small trees only a few feet from my door. By mounting my feeder quite low and shooting slightly down at the birds I was able to get the out of focus, uncluttered desert floor to serve as a non intrusive background for these shots.

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Female Costa's hummingbird
Female Costa’s hummingbird
Costa's hummingbird
Costa’s hummingbird
Female Costa's hummingbird
Female Costa’s hummingbird
Costa's hummingbird
Costa’s hummingbird

These shots are all taken with my 600mm lens and I am positioned as close to the feeder as I can get and still be able to focus the 600 lens, about 15 feet.

Anna's hummingbird
Anna’s hummingbird
Female Anna's hummingbird
Female Anna’s hummingbird

Quite a bit of difference in the quality of these two shots, compared to the previous ones, once again taken through the windshield of the motorhome like the shots in the last post. I have no idea why, but the Anna’s hummingbirds only come to the feeder when it is on the front of the motorhome, while the Costa’s come to it wherever I put it.

Checking out KOFA NWR

Just a short distance from this campsite are two roads off Route 95 that go into the KOFA National Wildlife Management Area. The first one leads into the Crystal Hills area and I took the very dusty, very washboarded dirt road in about 7 miles hoping to find some desert bighorn sheep, the main highlight of this area. They claim to have a population of 700-800 sheep in the refuge, but the refuge is huge, and the odds of seeing sheep along the few roads in the refuge are still pretty small, and I did not beat the odds.

After jostling myself back out to Route 95, I drove 5 miles farther down the highway and headed back in to the refuge on MST & T Road, AKA Signal Hill Road. This dirt road was a little easier on the car until you reached the last mile or so where it ascends Signal Hill where you get a modest overlook of the desert, but still no bighorns. That last mile or so was tough sledding for my Prius, probably better suited for something with a little higher clearance. I sure do abuse this little car!

Quartzsite sunrise
Quartzsite sunrise

I close with another shot from this mornings sunrise. Just love this place!

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December 18 and 19, 2014 Quartzsite, Arizona

A Couple Short Moves Down the Road

Moved south a couple of miles on Route 95 to the La Posa 14 day stay area right off the east side of Route 95, only about three miles north of the center of town. I made this short jaunt to see if my blog posting problems could possibly be due to my 2 mile distance from the Verizon tower at my previous campsite, something I kind of doubt since I was showing 5 bars of 4G there as well as here at the new site. But I thought ( hoped and prayed ) I may as well try it and see since I am getting nowhere resolving this issue with Go Daddy, my blog host.

Finally gave in and called GoDaddy and they sold me a swap over to a new kind of server and they will do the switch for $100, since I was too intimidated by the “help” sheet they emailed me on how to move from one server to another. Hope this will be the solution ! ( it wasn’t )

With all the RV dealers in this little town, I figured this would be as good a spot as any to finally get my rear right leveling jack ( or solenoid ) repaired or replaced. I have been limping around from site to site with only 3 jacks lowering, so I have been carefully scrutinizing every site where I set up to make sure the right rear of the motorhome always has the high ground .So I made a 10 AM appointment at RV Lifestyles for tomorrow to hopefully get my right rear jack working again.

December 19, 2014

After replacing one rear solenoid ( one with the end handle snapped off by me when attempting to turn it while it had been frozen by corrosion, not the one for the non-working jack ) and the non-working jack’s 2 springs, they did manage to get it to work, albeit at a much slower speed than the others and with no guarantee that it would work for long. They also added hydraulic fluid to replace that which I had drained out to get the jack to retract last time I used it, plus all the fluid lost today in working on the system. The consensus was that the system was working all the time but the retraction springs had been worn out by what must be a bend jack that puts too much tension on the retraction springs. The system and the solenoid were actually working as they should all the time.

I hesitate to recommend any RV dealer for service, but I will say that this place at least treated me quite well as far as charging for their work. The RV was in their service bay for 4 hours and they worked on it intermittently as they were waiting for tech support calls from HWH as they tried several ways to go about getting it to work. I have had other places charge for every minute they had the unit in the bay whether they were actually working on it or not, but the owner here charged me for an hour’s time ( at $100/hr. ) where he could have gouged me for more if he chose to do so.

Picked up the RV around 4 PM, damage was $460, and moved back down Route 95 in town and into the Shady Lane RV Park for 2 nights of getting the batteries fully charged, Christmas cookies  baked, and a lot of laundry done, along with dumping tanks and refilling water. They have a December deal of $23/night, tax included, hard to beat.

Shady Lane RV Park in Quartzsite

Nice level pea stone site, no separation or greenery, sites tightly spaced though now in December I have no one right next to me. Good 30 amp power, water and sewer at each site. Very nice, very clean laundry, although they don’t unlock it until 8 AM, a big negative to early risers like me. Friendly, helpful staff, and you should be aware they do not take credit cards, cash or check only!

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December 15, 2014 Quartzsite, Arizona

Home, Sweet Home
Home, Sweet Home

 Pastel Sunrise and a trip to Blouse

Awoke this morning to a different, but very nice, pastel sunrise, rather than the usual brilliant, dramatic sunrise of the last few days.

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Pastel sunrise
Pastel sunrise
Quartzsite sunrise
Quartzsite sunrise

Took a drive east on Plomosa Road to Blouse. Although the signed 14 day limit free camping area on Plomosa Road ends after the first three miles, there were people set up out in the desert not far after the 3 mile marker and lots of folks boondocking between MM 12 amd MM19 where signs did indicate 14 day limit camping. MM12 is just east of the summit of the small mountains as you head towards Blouse and this looks like a great get away from it all area to camp. I don’t know how strong a Verizon signal you might get out here, but it is very pretty desert.

The small town of Blouse has a little general store and a couple of cafes as well as a community park with campsites located around MM20, $14 for water and electric with a dump station, appears fairly well kept, though nothing special, but it would be hard to beat the price.

Returned to the RV and watched a couple of football games. Still having a bear of a time with pathetically slow uploads for the blog. Please stay tuned as someday it may get fixed and I will be able to resume posting on a regular basis again.

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December 13, 2014 Move to Quartzsite, Arizona

Plomosa Road boondocking site, QuartzsiteExploring our new home

Plomosa Road Boondocking, Quartzsite

After making it through all the traffic lights of Lake Havasu City, there is only clear sailing on 95 south to Parker.  There are quite a number of campgrounds and three State Parks along the 30 or so miles from Havasu to Parker, and one very green and gorgeous looking golf course set amongst the desert hills. From Parker, then a short jaunt down to Quartzsite.

I have never visited Quartzsite, the famous ( infamous? ) gathering spot for hundreds of thousands of RV’ers during the winter months. The relatively small town of Quartzsite, that hosts a plethora of private campgrounds in addition to the hundreds of acres of BLM boondocking areas surrounding the town, does not even have a decent grocery store, much less a WalMart or any other significant shopping venues. What it does have is an abundance of tacky flea markets and flea market style junk stores, in addition to several RV dealers and service shops, and of course, gem and rock shops. I was able to find a specialty cabinet hinge for one of my overhead storage cabinets in one of the many RV supply shops.

Since I cannot tolerate crowds and congestion, I am here in December, before the hordes descend after the holidays and the RV shows and other such attractions get going.

Plomosa Road boondocking site, Quartzsite
Plomosa Road boondocking site, Quartzsite

This is my new home at the 14 day free BLM area located on Plomosa Road off Route 95, about 5 miles north of the town of Quartzsite. My kind of spot, you can just make out my nearest neighbors on the left side of the image above.

Plomosa Road boondocking site, QuartzsiteSolitude in the wide open spaces

These sites, along the first three miles of Plomosa Road are easy to access, mostly very flat, firm ground, with very nice views of the hills to the east.

Quartzsite Sunrise
Quartzsite Sunrise

With my windshield pointing east for the most efficient use of my solar panels, I continue to have access to wonderful sunrises almost every morning.

Quartzsite Sunrise
Quartzsite Sunrise

 Still a few weeks away from the hordes descending on this spot, this place is everything I could wish for! The campground hosts tell me that by the start of the new year, these three miles of open space will be all but jammed up full of snowbirds. By then, though, I will be long gone.

This is a free 14 day limited stay camping area, and there is another one ( 14 day free ), La Posa, just a mile or 2 down the road to town, just south of this one. If you drive south on 95, after it crosses over I-10, there are 4 Long-Term Visitor Areas, also managed by the BLM, where you can stay for extended periods of time for a fee, $40 for a 14 day stay and $180 for a 6 month stay. These areas are also easy to access and supposedly offer a dump station, some water filling areas, and dumpsters, which the 14 day free sites do not offer. I was able to dump a trash bag, at no charge, at the Quartzsite refuse station located on Route 95 a couple miles north of town ( open only Sunday – Wednesday ).

More on Quartzsite to come if I can ever get my GoDaddy hosting problems resolved, ie., this post took over 6 hours to produce where it should only take a few minutes if everything was working as it should.