Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Bullhead City and Laughlin

The open road north toward Bullhead City, Arizona and the Laughlin area had finally arrived.  After spending some time with friends in Pueblo, Colorado where we stayed for 11 days, it was now time to hit the road.

New Mexico should have been an uneventful road trip through some pretty scenery, but we encountered some blustery winds not too soon after crossing the state line.  Mother Nature had decided to, should we say, "gingerly" take one of our solar panels right off our coach roof.  Some of the brackets were quite a mangled mess.  We stopped at the first available exit to check the damage to the coach.  What we do remember is not too much traffic around us when we heard the noise, so  this event only affected us, thank goodness.  The rear A/C cover will need to be replaced along with touch up repair to the roof, but that will come later.  For now, we will make the trip to Quartzsite to get a new panel and then we’ll have our solar panels all working together as one.

Being plugged in at a resort is usually not what we do, but we had decided to use a special coupon for a 2-weeks stay in Bullhead City that we received from some friends. After losing the solar panel, it was good to have full hookups at Silver View RV Resort where our reservation was.  A first time visit of this area has given us some good memories.  A good one time visit for us but not an area that really draws us.

Looking down toward Laughlin and the Colorado River from the RV park.

It was nice not having neighbors on the one side.

A few good sunsets were enjoyed.

Some of our points of interest included ~

Our first trip into Laughlin (about 4 miles from where we were) was to the Fast Past Car Show which was held in the parking lot of the Golden Nugget Casino.  It was a beautiful day to be outside admiring about 100 classic cars that they had on display. 
A casino resembling a Mississippi River Boat.

We had to walk into the casino!

The blue of the Colorado River is so pristine.
65 Chevelle convertible

In the parking lot of the Golden Nugget

Blown 55 Chevy

Studebaker convertible

Kay with the Studebaker
57 Chev Nomad with LS5 motor

57 Nomad side view

55 Chev

69 Chevelle

Bad ass 66 Chevy Nova

66 Nova side view

66 Nova

55 Chevrolet Nomad

A very big attraction in this area (and into Nevada) is the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.  It consists of 550 miles of vacation land with rock cliffs, sandy beaches and blue/green waters.  The recreation area is comprised of Lake Mead and Lake Mohave, both of which were created by man made dams that back up the Colorado River.  It is truly the life blood of this entire area as it winds its way through the Mohave Valley on its course to the Sea of Cortex, Mexico (which they say it never really reaches) from its origins in the Rocky Mountains.  The flow of the river is controlled by a series of dams providing recreational and hydroelectric uses for man.    Many RV/camping spots are a reality along each side of the Colorado River both in California, Arizona and Nevada.

A day trip to Oatman, Arizona – a gold mining town born in 1906 as a tent camp for miners – offers some different scenery.  The town is located in the Black Mountains about 18 miles east of Bullhead City.  A town landmark is the burros that roam the streets.   Jeff purchased a couple of pieces of turquoise that were mined from Kingman, Arizona and Kay found a unique sign for the coach.
The town named after Olive Oatman


 Our highlight trip took us approximately 95 miles north of Laughlin to Boulder City.  It is here where the largest hydroelectric facility in the nation resides – Hoover Dam.

What a view - what a marvel!

Built in the 1930s to harness the power of the Colorado River, it’s hard for the visitor to imagine this structure generating more than 4 billion kWh’s a year – enough to serve 1.3 million people.  Most of this power, 56% goes to southern California users; Arizona contractors receive 19% and Nevada user gets 25%.  The original $165 million price tag has been repaid, with interest, to the Federal Treasury through the sale of this power which is marketed by the Western Area Power Administration to over 40 entities under contracts that expire in 2067. 

~ 17 main generating units

~ Visitor and parking facilities

~ Hoover Dam bypass bridge

Some interesting statistics on the Dam ~

Type:                                     Arch gravity

Height:                                 726.4 feet   (221.3 meters)

Crest length:                      1244 feet   (379.2 meters)

Crest width:                       45 feet   (13.7 meters)

Base width:                        660 feet   (201.2 meters)

Volume of concrete:      3.25 million cubic yards   (2.6 million cubic meters)

The Dam's floor plan

The tunnel connecting the Power Plant and the Dam
One of two air duct that allowed fresh air
 to help "cure" the Dam's concrete structure.

At the end of the air duct this is pretty much what
the camera lens sees.

The water level of Lake Mead is about 70 feet below normal.

Intake towers that feed water to the turbine (upper view)

Lower view of the intake towers.

A view of the marina at Lake Mead.

Another view of Lake Mead


Of course, we can’t forget to introduce you to the friends we met in Bullhead City.  Sharing travel information/stories, meals, happy hour and lively conversation really does make special memories.   On a Sunday we had a very interactive breakfast with friends creating their omelets of choice. 

Click here for the Recipe for Omelet's in a Bag

(l-r) John & Carol, Jeff and Bob & Norma
at the outdoor seating.

The Omelet's in a Bag are ready to eat!!!

Can't forget the Bloody Mary's!

Next stop for us will be for the new solar panel.

Hugs ~

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Solar Panel in Quartzsite

The 100 mile trip to Quartzsite didn’t take us very long from Bullhead City.  We had decided to try a new spot on BLM land at MM112 called Hi Jolly when we arrived on a Thursday afternoon.  Being only 3 miles north of the main town, it would be an easy trip for our appointment at the solar shop.

Quartzsite, Arizona is a little town in the Southwest desert.  We usually come prior to one of the biggest gatherings of people in the country which is usually in January each year.  Over one million visitors, some of them called "snowbirds" because they migrate here from the northern climates, converge on Quartzsite in the winter.  Quartzsite hosts thousands of vendors at its famous indoor and outdoor swap meets, where shoppers can find anything and everything they could possibly want to buy.  For us, we come to replace our solar panel.  

Our appointment for the panel at Solar Bill’s was on Monday so we had some time to rest.  For Kay it was perfect timing.  She was pretty much out of it with a 48 hour flu bug so being stationary so she could sleep and get her energy back was just what we all needed.  Jeff kept busy taking care of the patient.

Monday came and the appointment went well.  We are now solar-whole again with the addition of a Sonali 200 watt panel (+a nice 25 year warranty).  Jeff chatted with owners, Bill and Donna, about the possibility of adding additional batteries in the future.  Good information going forward.  The whole experience was great!

One of the owners with Jeff, and her "Buddy".
The new panel is on the right.

Our next destination ~ the desert in California!

Hugs ~