Monday, May 22, 2017

The Winter of Our Content

Since arriving at the BLM area called Senator Wash back in December (Wow, it’s been that long ago?) it definitely is time to update everyone on just how our winter of content panned out.  Were we in California or Arizona?  It depends on the day that’s for sure as the banks of the Colorado River – with Yuma being tucked in Arizona’s southwest corner - shares borders with Mexico and California.  Our daily hikes were shared by both side of the canal with Arizona on one side and California on the other.  Kay’s Fitbit was very busy logging all of the steps/miles that we walked.

Jeff on the California side
Known as the vegetable capital of the world this area is phenomenal as it grows more than 90 percent of the nation’s leafy vegetables from November-March.  Can’t forget Medjool dates, swap meets and “fresh from the field” veggies at very reasonable prices.

We just love the "fresh from the field" goodies!
The bustling area to the east of Yuma is called the Foothills and was pretty much the area that became most familiar with us staying at Senator Wash where we were boondocking on BLM – about 20-some miles to the west of Yuma proper.  The Foothills was created back in the 60’s and today is home to about 15,000 year-round residents and as many as 40,000 people at the peak of the winter season.  With nearby Mittrey Lake which is home to water fowl and off-the-grid campers and Martinez Lake where a smaller community resides that caters water toy activity such as speed boats and jet skis. 

A very calm Martinez Lake

Enjoying a cocktail on a fairly cool day - notice the sweater!

Mittrey Lake, 1-10' deep, 200' elev, 300-500 acres
One area that is quite visible daily as we drive to and from our home at Quail Hill where we are camped, is the Yuma Proving Grounds – home to military activity.   
An Army tank in view on one of our rides into town
Army ranger's land after practicing jumping
This winter was not our usual type of winter since we’ve been on the road, to say the least.    Road trips to Phoenix on one occasion for service work on our PowerTech generator and then off to Quartzsite for yet another service consultation on the generator.  It was pretty frustrating for Jeff, but we finally got everything in working order.  Amen!

Service work in Quartzsite

Playing "heads-up" in the generator compartment
Tent Sale Extravaganza - anything under the
sun for RV's
Other updates to the coach included getting our day/night shades re-strung along with the purchased of a macerator and portable “Blue Boy” (or black waste hauler).  Not having to pack everything up on the coach each time that we needed to relieve our black and grey water tanks is a luxury.  Jeff has an efficient system devised which works perfectly for this.   So, we now travel with this new piece nestled within the cargo carrier on the back of the Jeep.  Two things that we needed before we hit the road were a custom made tarp to cover and secure the items in the carrier and a magnetic sign that we could mount to the Jeep that said . . .CAR IN TOW.   We’re sure that you know why we wanted this.  I’m sure you’ll agree that it must be for all of the inconsiderate drivers on the road that don’t realize just how big we are. 
Taking down the old, and putting up the new. 
What a job!
The Jeep Grand Cherokee did a very good job on its first year as our “toad” vehicle.  We did however need to get a new radiator in February, but aside from that expense we have been pretty lucky.  The Jeep continues to give us the room that we need and tows really good. 

The months of January-March had Kay busy at STI Physical Therapy in the Foothills, two times a week, working on stretching exercises to help with pelvic floor pain.  Jeff even bought her a Yoga mat for doing her stretches in the coach.  Abby, has been her constant coach when she is on the floor.  It’s really cute to see her huddle by the mat next to Kay.  STI had good friends that cared about you!

If you’re a fan of classic American cars, as we are, you can’t miss Yuma’s “Midnight at the Oasis” event, which is a supercharged car show featuring some 900 vintage vehicles.  It was definitely hard to pick which pictures to display, I we think you’ll enjoy the ones that Jeff has selected.
Carol Shelby Cobra

Rat Rod

Beaumont-Canadian Chevelle

'63 Corvette (split window)

'56 Chevy Nomad

'65 Chevelle

'67 Blown Nova

Wayne & Ann Drury with Jeff
Kyla & Mark, originally from Oregon,
but live full-time in the Foothills/Yuma

One of Arizona’s hidden gems was just up the road from us – a visit to Castle Dome Mines Museum combines history with spectacular desert vistas for a perfect day trip.  The museum is a ghostly mining camp (dating back to the 1600s) sprawled across rocky desert at the foot of Castle Dome Mountain.  It includes a rustic town, more than 50 buildings stuffed with artifacts, a restored stamp mill, a self-guided hiking trail past mine shafts and graveyards – all surrounded by the spectacular scenery of Kofa National Wildlife refuge.
Milling machine used to crush the rock
before it was separated and melted down

Mercantile building

Read photo below on why glass had a purple tint
Is this guy old enough to drink? ha-ha

No bank vaults in here!


This is where the blacksmith did his repairs

There’s lots of history but the most interesting piece was that in its heyday followed the discovery of a rich vein of silver in 1864 when during that era more than 3,000 people lived in Castle Dome City, until 1979.

For us, the best part of being in a new place is learning the land and meeting new friends.  We are very blessed to have met some very good people over the winter in many places that we touched – either by coach or in person.  These memories will always be treasured. 

John, a full-timer that we met on one of our hikes,
from Ohio

Good friends Rosemary & Bob from near Sacramento

Our good friend Bill who lives in Phoenix. . .and who
brought us donuts!

New friends from Senator Wash,
Reba & Fred from Oregon

Wayne & Ann from Toronto, Ontario

Betty, our awesome friend
from Prince George, BC
Like all things, it becomes time to move on as we have been at Senator Wash for a good four months.  Plans are to travel from Yuma into Southern California to the desert near Anza Borrego Desert State Park for a few days and then make our way for an overnight stop in Benson, Arizona to call on our friends, Shirley & Henry, who we met at the Escapee’s SKP Saguaro Co-Op last year.  From there since it’s still too early to head to Minnesota, a stopover at one of our favorite BLM spots outside of Safford, Arizona.  We do believe that we are still looking for the warmth and continue on with the relaxation of retirement, surrounded by Mother Nature’s gifts.  

Kay & Jeff