Saturday, January 17, 2015

Lake Havasu City… You’re Never Too Old for Balloons

Lake Havasu was hosting a Balloon festival while we were here. We were able to go see the balloons launch several times.

They launched each morning about 8am.

The colors of the balloons are brilliant against the rising sun and a backdrop of the Arizona Mountains.

I love the balloons that have the different shapes.

We were able to find great parking each day.  The balloons took off from all over town.  We found a parking lot that was just a few feet from balloons that were setting up and taking off.

The second morning there were 4 balloons in the same parking area—it was fun to see the inflation process up close.

Each balloon would launch from their designated spot around town. 

The balloons take flight and then each of them find their way to the canal near London Bridge.

They lower to the water--barely touching the surface of the lake.

One balloon lowered to the water, but then seemed to have some issues getting itself away from the shore and back up into the air.

There were ultra-light flyer's flying among the balloons.  We watch anxiously, front down here it looks like they are inches away from the balloons.

There were 2 bi-planes that performed aerial tricks before the balloons launched each morning.

We enjoyed breakfast at a local favorite restaurant, before heading home for the day.

I am not feeling 100%, so we will hang around the RV this afternoon.  We also enjoyed the pool and hot tub this afternoon.

I have been trying to make double meals for several weeks.  I am so grateful to have a meal already prepared for dinner. 


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

London Bridge fell Right Down… and Landed Here

We pulled into Lake Havasu City on Tuesday. It is a pretty little town.  We got settled into the campground, went for a short swim and sat in the hot tub.

Today we visited the London Bridge.  We were surprised to find out this is the 2nd most visited sight in Arizona.  It is second only to the Grand Canyon. 

This bridge was made famous with the nursery-rhyme.  (You know… "London Bridges falling down, falling down…") It was built in London in 1831.  The bridge was plagued with constant repairs.  So, in 1968 Robert McCulloch, the founder of Lake Havasu City, purchased the bridge from London for approximately $2.4M.   I'm still not sure what would possess someone to buy a bridge!  Seriously, you could buy a new pair of shoes or even a new car.  Just kidding, of course... it brings in a gazillion $ a year from tourists.

The bridge was meticulously disassembled in London and reconstructed in Lake Havasu City in 1971.  The final cost to purchase, disassemble, transport and reconstruct the bridge was $5.1M.

The town has done a good job building around this bridge.

There is an English Village, which is really just tourist shops; at the base of the bridge.  We spent some time walking along the lake and the bridge.

The weather is just beautiful.  We are enjoying the high 60's.

I am fighting a head cold, so we walk around the London Bridge area and take a leisurely drive home exploring the area.

But I was happy to have a shorter day.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Vast Expanse that is Arizona

Can you believe this view!  We feel so blessed to have this RV Life.

We are spending a quiet day around the campground. George went for a bike ride and I am planning to work heavily on our blog.  I vow to myself to never let it get this far behind again.  However, as always, I am always willing to let fun trump the "to do" list every time.

I have not been having a love affair with Arizona.  It feels dusty and windy.  
The scenery around Quartzsite is, if I am being totally honest, UGLY.  
However, the sunsets are amazing!!!

Our closest neighbors... I guess our wild parties won't bother them.

It is not uncommon to have flags on RVs in campgrounds.  Some people have American, some have their state flags or their sports team (BRONCOS).  Some people have flags that they think will help us "know" who they are.  Generally, we just wonder why they might have a flag of a frog or a turtle or a crazy cartoon character.

Across the road from our campsite there was a Montana 5th wheel gathering.  There were 30+ Montana 5th wheels parked together.  We think maybe as many as 75% of them had some type of flag on their 5th wheel.  It was just a hoot to see.

We are still enjoying our boondocking site near Quartzsite.  We can see other campers, but they are far enough away we can't hear them and our constant running generator is not bothering anyone else.  Having the generator makes this barely feel like we are roughing it.  I do not expect to be able to go without the generator.  I am sure there are those that would be willing shut off all electricity—any furthermore be happy with the “technology break”.  That is NOT me.  I am glad for the laptop and the Internet connection to the world.  And our Denver Broncos play in their first playoff game of the year today… I would not want to miss that!

An additional reality for us and the necessity for having power… I sleep with an A-Pap machine all night.  It has made such a positive difference in my life, I would not want to be without it.  Our refrigerator and TV/DVR run perfectly on the power we can generate from our little generator.

So I sit at my dining table clicking away, while I hear the dishes being washed in dishwasher and I find myself chuckling at the sacrifice everyone thinks we are making to live this wonderful life.


Friday, January 9, 2015

Quartzsite… It’s an Odd Little Town

We went into Quartzsite today. It is an odd/interesting little town.  There are $500,000+ motorhomes and tent villages all camping in this area.  We were trying to find a grocery store to pick up a couple of small things.  This is the oddest little town.  There are three stores that they list as grocery stores, but when you walk in there are only two isles of groceries—the rest of the store is either hardware or liquor.  We thought the floor of the grocery store was dirt... upon closer review... it is just dirty!

We searched for a drug store, followed the GPS to what was the only drug store listed in the 30 mile area.  We get to where the drug store is supposed to be and there are a couple single wide mobile homes.  Since we can't decide if it is actually a real drugstore or a "drug" store that might scare us; we decide to wait and pick up what we thought were necessities later.

There are RV “villages” set up in various areas around and in Quartzsite.  Several of the camping areas felt like homeless squatter areas.  Little campers were basically sitting on top of one another and there were tarps being used as make-shift tents.  These are camping areas that are approved for Long Term camping.  A camper only has to pay $140 to stay for 6 months.  There are no facilities, so they have to either haul water in or pay a company to deliver water.  The same with the black and/or grey tanks.  When it is time to empty these tanks, they will either go into town and pay to empty the tank at a variety of places or there are companies that will come to empty the tanks for a fee.  I can say without question… I would not even consider staying in one of the camping areas inside or near town.

Our campsite is on BLM land on Plomosa Road.  It is about 10 miles out of Quartzsite and so it seems to be a little nicer camping area and the campers are definitely parked farther apart.  For our first time boondocking, it is a nice location.  The campers are not close together, but they are close enough to make us feel like we are not out of civilization.

We haven’t decided how long we will be staying here.  We have reservations at our next campground on Tuesday, 1/13—but it is a nice enough area we could easily extend here.
It is definitely greener and much more vegetation than I expect it to be in this area.


Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Propane Saga Continues…

The finale of the propane saga… Well, it's New Year’s Day we really need propane today.  It feels like there is very little hope of making that happen on a holiday.  But we need to try. 

There are only 2 places in Belen that sell propane and they are both closed.  We have looked online and to find the closest propane provider.  The ONLY thing that comes up is the U-Haul in Albuquerque—yes, the one we had such a ridiculous experience with yesterday.  Some people just don’t learn.  So I call the store again!  I explain our experience from yesterday, telling them that we are coming from out of town.  I ask if the person there is CERTIFIED to pump the propane? Will they be taking a break at any time in the day?  Do they have propane (didn’t want to risk them being out)?  Is there any reason that if we drive back into Albuquerque we couldn’t get our propane tank filled… they assure us there is NO reason.

So we immediately head 35 miles back into Albuquerque with great hope.  We get there and are told our tank is not certified and must be certified every 10 years.  Although we tell them our RV is only ONE year old, they show us the date on the propane tank is 01/02.  (We learn later this is a real law, it is rare that anyone enforces it on a tank in good condition.)   I am sure, by now, they are sensing my panic… ok… I TOLD them… "I’m panicking here.  Do you get that?"   Are you kidding me???!!!  Of course, there is no one available to certify the tank on the holiday.

We have a few to no choices. 

  1.  We can wait yet another day.  
  2.  We can wrestle the young man to the ground and force him to fill the propane.  (I’m sure that would be a good witness for Jesus!)  
  3. We can throw a fit and panic.  (OK, I did that and it did no good.)  
  4. We researched and found out Camping World would be open for one more hour.  We called them and they had 40lb propane tanks in stock.   
We would wait another day to get propane, but the temperature was colder than we expected.  The forecast is another 20 degree day, and we are forced to stay an extra day to deal with this propane mess.  Our basement storage is duct heated, so it helps prevent frozen pipes.

So we make the trek over to the Camping World.  We spend $130 on a new 40lb propane tank.  (Which by the way has a date stamp that is already one year old.)   With our new propane tank in tow, we go back to the now infamous U-Haul store.  We spend $30 and leave with a full propane tank.

It has been a frustrating, painful process dealing with the propane.  But we will keep this additional tank as an emergency to prevent this crisis in the future.  I still plan to “deal” with Redwood on this.

We remind ourselves that we are thankful for our gypsy lives and all the blessings that we have.  We will live and continue to learn. 

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