After the excitement of Moab with Arches & Canyonlands National Parks, we headed back to Arizona for some routine doctor’s appointments. We had just come down I-17 on the long, steep downhill grades and were now immersed in Phoenix freeway traffic on their inner circle belt – the 101. A fellow passed us, honking and waving and pointing down toward our tires. So we edged onto the very narrow (10 ft.) roadside — and he pulled in in front of us . I got out to look at things, and he said that we had a tire that was smoking. About that time, the right rear trailer tire came rolling up and stopped beside the trailer — caught between the trailer and the concrete retaining wall. Oh My!
The bearing on that wheel had seized up and failed, and the entire tire, wheel, etc. had come off and rolled down the road behind us! And it “was” smoking, too! We profusely thanked our good Samaritan and then called road-side assistance who followed us as we limped to a repair company who could handle the repairs. Three nights in hotel rooms and a complete new axle assembly later, were back on the road. It could have been a whole lot worse!!!
While around Phoenix we were able to link up with our good friends Roy & Theresa. in addition to good food and conversation, we made a trip to the Sonoran Desert Museum outside of Tucson. Such a wonderful place, and their free flying raptor demonstration is fantastic!
Soon, the Christmas Holidays were approaching. A group of Excapee’s “Boomers” gather at Mittry Lake for the holiday festivities, and since that is one of our favorite boondocking spots, we decided to join them. Lots of time chatting and getting to know our new friends and neighbors. We had a wonderful pot-luck Christmas Dinner, and even had a Christmas Tree!
Early in January we moved to Buckeye Hills Recreation Area for some more boondocking with Roger & Cindi. This was a wonderful location about an hour west of Phoenix. One day while there, we all drove down to the northern edge of KOFA NWR to hike the Palm Canyon trail. A lovely hike! Cindi wanted to climb all the way up to the palms, and she shamed me (Mark) into accompanying her. Well, we got more than half way before we ran into this HUGE boulder blocking our way! But we had a great outing.
While at Buckeye, we had a beautiful full moon…
Mid-January we chose to see what the excitement is all about at Quartzsite! Thousands and thousands of RVers come to Quartzsite for the free and nearly free camping on BLM and Arizona Trust lands, as well as the Big Tent and the RV Show.
We spent most of two weeks in one of the BLM Long Term Visitor Areas (LTVA), then joined the Excapees “Boomers” at “Boomerville”. LTVA life was quiet and laid back — we did take a couple rides with Cindi on their ATV, but mostly quiet times, conversation, eating, and Dominion.
“Boomerville” was another story with well over 100 rigs of all types and activities available from morning to night. We didn’t attempt to participate in 1/10th of them but were still pleasantly occupied. There were hikes, classes, discussion groups, happy hours, breakfasts, line dancing classes, and on and on and on. We even led two discussion groups on Volunteering for National Parks, etc. and on Composting Toilets. One of the highlights was the Charity Auction with proceeds going to the Excapees CARE facility (assisted living at Livingston, TX, in your own RV). Over $10,000 was raised in this one event! Everything from baked goods and other contributions from the group to a Dometic freezer unit, an APC control unit, and other items contributed by various manufacturers of RV supplies.
We then spent another couple weeks boondocking along the American Girl Mine Road, just on the California side of the Colorado River, near Yuma, AZ. We crossed over to Los Algodones, Mexico, to have our teeth cleaned while we were in the neighborhood.
We returned to the Phoenix area to visit some other friends, including Judith’s long-time friend Ruthie.
However, after nearly six months of constant travel, Judith was beginning to feel a little bit “unsettled”. We have friends (Bob & Kathy) who have purchased a lot in an RV park about half way between Phoenix and Tucson, Desert Gardens RV Park. We went to visit them and stayed in the park … it was lovely, with natural Sonoran Desert plantings and huge sites! When we inquired about the cost and availability of the lots, the association only had two lots unsold. We looked at them both, did not like one, but did like the other; so after the weekend we inquired about the lot we liked… “Sorry, that lot just sold!”
We had been in town to run some errands, and were in a PetSmart where Judith saw an “adorable little white dog”, but common sense prevailed and we did not buy it.
We already had an appointment with the man who handled the sales for the association, so we decided to at least talk to him. As it turned out, the financing for the other buyer “fell through” and the lot we liked was again available. So we bought the lot! (Buying the dog would have been cheaper!!!)
On our way back to Bosque del Apache, we visited our friends Bud & Barbara who are volunteering at Oliver Lee State Park near Alamagordo, NM.
We are now at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge for the spring. In the past we have thought that we would always go to different places to volunteer – learning new things in each different place, but we do love BdA. Of course, we were here in the fall before, so the birds are mostly different and that is a new learning opportunity (so it’s kind of a different place, we didn’t break the rule — just bent it a little!). We will tell you more about all of that another day…