Camping at American Girl Mine

After spending a couple of weeks at Quartzsite we were starting to get frustrated with the crowds and rude people. We had a huge rally group park right on top of us and one guy nearly hit our dog (who was on his cable by our rig) with his RV. Time to go!

We decided to head down HWY 95 towards Yuma and decided to stop one night at KOFA wildlife refuge.

Overnighting at KOFA wildlife refuge

After chatting with some other RVer’s we decided to head to American Girl Mine. This is another BLM area on the California side of Yuma.

All set up at American Girl Mine BLM area

There was a big gathering of fellow RVer’s including Aluminarium, Wanderwasi, Drive-Dive-Devour, Bold & Adventurous, Finding Marshall, 2 Wander Away and many others!

The first night there we had a low key gathering for happy hour and enjoyed a glorious sunset!

Sunset in the desert

We’ve been big fans of Aluminarium since we started this journey so it was awesome to meet Leigh, Brian and Curtis! We love their website Campendium which provides so much good info on boondocking areas, state parks and RV parks. You can leave a review of any place you’ve stayed as a helpful resource to others.

Leigh was also kind enough to feature us on her blog!! Of course, it could be the fact that we were sucking up wearing our Campendium hoodies too! ūüėú¬†

Wearing our Campendium hoodies!

While we were there, Jase of Wanderwasi was kind enough to get some great drone footage of us and our rig!  This was such an awesome thing for him to do and we so appreciated having this great memory!

There was a lot of great walking/hiking areas including the old mine shafts and tailings.

American Girl Mine
American Girl Mine

Just up the road was Tumco Ghost Town.  Another great area to explore with a ton of history behind it.  Very interesting to see the remains of the old buildings and mining areas.

Tumco Ghost Town
Walking the trails at Tumco
Walking the trails at Tumco

Another awesome aspect of being in the desert were the hummingbirds!  We had so many come and visit our feeder and I was actually able to capture this great shot of this pretty girl.    

Female hummingbird captured with my iPhone 6. She would let me sit within inches of her!

The desert is amazing in so many ways. ¬†It’s so surprising to me that so much can survive there in the extremes of summer.

Surviving the odds

And of course, the sunsets will blow you away!

Another glorious desert sunset

We spent nearly a month in the area and while we enjoyed it immensely we were really ready to see our property again!  So on February 5th we loaded up and headed to New Mexico.  We are currently staying in Santa Fe as the snow is just a little high yet at our place, though with the current warm temperatures everything will be turning to mush and mud soon!

The RV park we are staying at is nothing to write home about, but it’s close to Santa Fe, an hour and a half from our property and is convenient if nothing else. ¬†Sometimes this life is not very glamorous but then again it provides a lot more freedom!

Christmas in Quartzsite

Christmas & New Year’s Eve

Back to Quartzsite we go!  Our plan was to have a nice quiet Christmas and NYE with minimal fuss and we certainly achieved that.  This time we we stayed on the north side of town at Plamosa Road BLM area.  This area is nice and quiet and a lot further out in the desert than Dome Rock.  Our closest neighbors were half a mile away and there was a real sense of peace and tranquility.

All set up at Plamosa Rd BLM!
All set up at Plamosa Rd BLM!

Our two weeks at Plamosa was pretty nice.  Most days were sunny which afforded us long walks with great desert views!  And what clouds we had really helped give us spectacular sunsets!

A riot of color!
A riot of color!

Christmas day found us in the kitchen!  Mark made fabulous lox and bagels to start our day along with yummy mimosas!

Then for dinner we had the most yummy – PRIME RIB (if you don’t like red meat, look away now lol)! ¬†Our prime rib was made Paula Deen style (recipe here), with smoky green beans & bacon and herb roasted red potatoes. ¬†TASTY in the extreme! ¬†Dessert was Rum Chata over ice!

The week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve found us walking a lot (had to burn off that dinner!) and just taking short drives around Quartzsite. ¬†People were starting to roll in and the place was really filling up all around town!

For New Year’s Eve we again planned a quiet day/night. ¬†While in California we had gone to Costco and found a huge magnum of Prosecco! ¬†My favorite!

We enjoyed a wonderful day of reflection and all that we had done, seen and achieved in 2015.  We know that 2016 brings a lot of fun things for us and perhaps some changes as well.

We will be working on our new property this summer and well as taking a trip out to South Carolina in August when our daughter graduates from college! ¬†This is such a huge achievement in her life and we are so proud of her and all she has accomplished. ¬†ūüôā

We also hope you and your family have a wonderful, safe and healthy New Year!  May 2016 bring you everything you could ever desire or deserve.

Happy New Year!!
Happy New Year!!

Ok, now where was I?

Oh yes… on to Quartzsite!

The holidays kind of got me sidetracked. ¬†We left New Mexico on November 2nd with the intention of stopping in Quartzsite and taking it all in before heading to California for the holidays. ¬†Since we had never been to “The Q” before I checked out Wheeling It’s blog to see where they recommended. ¬†There are many BLM areas in Quartzsite that are free 14 day stays as well as an LTVA area (Long Term Visitor Area) where you can pay to stay ($180 from Sept 15-Apr 15). ¬†That area includes a dump station and water. ¬†The basic BLM areas provide no services at all.

Ahhh... all set up!  Time to relax.  Our spot at Dome Rock BLM
Ahhh… all set up! Time to relax. Our spot at Dome Rock BLM

We took Nina’s recommendation and stayed at the Dome Rock BLM area. ¬†It’s a pretty basic desert BLM area with a lot of large flat surfaces to camp on. ¬†It’s on Dome Rock Rd that gets a lot of traffic and Interstate 10 isn’t too far off so there is a bit of road noise but it has easy on/off highway access and for a 2 week stop it worked out perfectly.

The town of Quartzsite is quirky, to say the least. ¬†It is basically one big rummage sale with a few good deals thrown in. ¬†Since we arrived the first week of November there wasn’t a lot going on really but that was alright with us. ¬†We spent a lot of time enjoying the abundant sunshine, had tacos at Taco Mio (awesome tacos!) and managed to get our pizza fix on at Silly Al’s.

We made a couple of day trips as well. ¬†Lake Havasu City is a MUST SEE as well as the London Bridge! ¬†If you’re ever in the area you must get there to see this beautiful place. ¬†The river is glorious, the town is pretty cool and the drive is breath taking!

One really great thing about this life is you get to meet some amazing people! ¬†Laurie & Scott of LaurieandScott.com contacted us to let us know they were heading to Quartzsite and would love to get together. ¬†Awesome! ¬†So we met up with these two wild and crazy kids at Beer Belly’s Adult Day Care. ¬†Beer Belly’s is an open air bar in the middle of everything! ¬†At the time we were there they were not serving food but apparently when they do they have great burgers.

As things worked out, we had a great time with Laurie & Scott! ¬†They even camped with us one night and we had so much fun chatting with them. ¬†They are such great people! (Instagram @laurieandscott). ¬†They are really into health and fitness and offered a bunch of great ways to stay healthy on the road! ¬†If you’re struggling with diet and fitness or just need some encouragement, by all means, contact these wonderful people! ¬†They are fabulous coaches and will help you reach your goals while still enjoying life! ¬†Everything in moderation, people. ūüôā

With Laurie & Scott at Beer Belly's!
With Laurie & Scott at Beer Belly’s!

We also managed to meet Wheeling It (Paul, Nina, Polly & the cat crew) in person! ¬†I’ve been following their blog for years and they are truly the sweetest people. ¬†Extremely helpful and Nina knows her stuff when it comes to finding the best boondocking sites! ¬†It was a brief meet and greet with promises to get together in Desert Hot Springs for happy hour. ¬†Our kind of people! ūüôā

After spending two weeks enjoying the free camping it was off to California Рand the HOT SPRINGS!!  A month of visiting family for Thanksgiving & Hanukkah and soaking in hot pools of glorious spring water.  Ahhhhh!!!

Goodnight, Quartzsite!  See you in a month!
Goodnight, Quartzsite! See you in a month!

On to Quartzsite!

We left northern New Mexico on November 2nd with the idea of high tailing it down to Quartzsite.  The snow was coming in and if we had stayed we would have been stuck!

Our original route would have taken us across northern New Mexico through Farmington, then down through Shiprock to Flagstaff and head south from there. ¬†Something told us that perhaps we should take the long way. ¬†Head south through Albuquerque all the way down and then across southern Arizona to Quartzsite. ¬†It turns out we made the right choice! ¬†The night we left it snowed almost 8″ in Flagstaff and as that would have been our first overnight stay we might have regretted it!

Instead we took I-25 south to Elephant Butte Lake and decided to stop there for the night.  New Mexico has some of the best state parks out there and this one was no exception.   $14/night for power and water with a nice patio shelter and view of the lake.

Our spot at Elephant Butte Lake ~ Monticello South.
Our spot at Elephant Butte Lake ~ Monticello South.

Really nice area, beautiful views and gorgeous sunsets!  What more can you ask for?

Our view of Elephant Butte Lake
Our view of Elephant Butte Lake
Gorgeous desert sunset
Gorgeous desert sunset

We were going to head out the next day on to Arizona but after checking the weather report we were expecting 25-35 mph winds and decided to stay put. ¬†We don’t like driving in high winds and as we were not in a hurry we hung around another day!

The storm rolling in...
The storm rolling in…

The winds got so bad that we had to bring our slide in. ¬†We were rocking back and forth and had some torrential rain at one point. ¬†We were safe and dry inside even if we were cramped up a bit! ūüôā

Hanging out inside with the slide in.  Close quarters!
Hanging out inside with the slide in. Close quarters!

After the storm passed it was still pretty windy but we caught this gorgeous rainbow from the aftermath!  So pretty.

Rainbow after the storm
Rainbow after the storm

While this was a short stop on the way to Arizona, we would love to come back to this park at some point.  We highly recommend it!

The next morning we got on the road. ¬†We didn’t have an overnight stop planned so we decided to drive until we got tired. ¬†We like to drive 300 miles or less per day so we kind of had an idea we would be stopping outside of Tucson. ¬†As we got closer I found a state park just outside of Tucson called Picacho Peak. ¬†It seemed like a good place to stop.

Made it to Arizona!
Made it to Arizona!

While the views were lovely, it was very close to the interstate with lots of highway noise and a train that ran right by the park. ¬†At $25/per night for electric only it wasn’t a very good deal, IMO. ¬†But, it was safe and the views of the peak were very pretty.

IMG_3625
Picacho Peak

The next morning we headed on to Quartzsite!  It was just a short 3 hour drive.  But then we had to make a decision on where to boondock.  After checking out a bunch of blog recommendations we decided to go with Dome Rock BLM.  The Wheeling It crew highly recommended it and it was a great place to boondock for our first time in Quartzsite!

Ahhh... all set up!  Time to relax.
Ahhh… all set up! Time to relax.

In our next post I will give more details on Quartzsite and our experience there.