Monday, January 30, 2017

Driving in Baja Mexico

I just returned from driving a week in Baja Mexico. After dire warnings not to do such a crazy thing, I bit the bullet, joined a caravan of three other vehicles and did the deed.

The adventure began in Quartzsite, flowed into Yuma, where we purchased Mexican Car Insurance. Eight days of full coverage and road side assistance (our cell phones wouldn't work-you use the phones on the side of the road) cost me $118. Then, a $25 fee for spending 7 or more days in Mexico came with a traveler's permit at the customs office, in Algondones. We recrossed the border and slept in the Q. Casino Parking Lot.

Next morning, passports at the ready, we drove in. Easy enough. Never would have dreamed coming back through U.S. customs would require three hours, due to the incredibly long line on a Sunday Afternoon.
Should have figured it would be that way.

Okay, back to the adventure. We spent the first night at this cute little place right on the ocean in San Felipe. Not Mexican Cheap. American cheap, yes. $15 bucks after a bunch of haggling in Spanish.The place two doors down wanted $25-no deals.
We went to dinner at Rosita's, a fantastic restaurant in walking distance. We piled in on van, just to save gas, etc.
The next day, we drove to Puerticitos, paid $20 each car to camp, enjoyed a really sweet hot springs on the ocean and corralled enough food for a pot luck. I made grilled cheeses, one guy made a massive pot of chili, one cooked up some gotta-go hamburger for us non-vegans.
The next day, three cars drove to Gonzonles, and pulled into a spot in Camp Sacrificio. We had drove all over the sand lots nearby, looking for the 'free beach camp' some kids on winter break had told us about.
Almost lost my muffler, gas tank and tires on that two hour adventure.
Whew. For $5 each, we camped and walked the along the Sea of Cortez. Amazing.
That night we had a bonfire with drift wood.
Then the wind picked up. Sand pitting faces, rigs and bare toes, we piled in the cars and made a bee-line back to civilization.
After two more nights in Las Palapas, photo above, we headed home.
San Felipe deserved more than the two days walking tour we managed from our camp. I found sea glass, watched shrimp boats, avoided pit bulls frolicking along the sea shore.

Twice, I was tailgated on the way home. Had I been alone, I do believe the first pick up would have hit me. Thanks to my alert companions who watched the thing unfolding from their rear view mirror, I was spared enduring a wreck. My friends pulled into a rest area, I followed, my tailgater came inches from hitting me and sped away. I had given him many opportunities to pass, but unlike other, rare vehicles, he seemed to have no desire to do that.

Did my Idaho Plates smack of Money?
anyways, home sweet home never seemed so lovely
Back in business, here in Quartzsite.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

At Long Last

Here in Quartzsite, I've finally finished one of my most pressing goals: writing The Proving Grounds -the Cost of Hiking the Appalachian Trail. As the snow-bird season ramps up in Arizona, time is precious. So much to do, so many people to meet.

Sorry for such a long delay in posting.
I've been dancing, learning how to take care of my motor home and meeting great folks. I sang karaoke a couple times, then decided I didn't really like singing in public so much anymore.
I'd rather dance!
Anyways, I hope everyone is staying safe. Looks like the rest of the country is going through some bad weather. Amazingly, its that time of year again when thru hikers are heading north.
Best wishes on your journey.

Monday, November 28, 2016

RV Rubber Roof Info

 I came to Quartzsite to learn how to take care of my RV. As my new friends agree, the more we can do for ourselves, the better off we are. Mostly its an economical thing, but also it involves our deepest independence. Should we find ourselves out in the boonies, alone, we'll have some skills, enabling us to inprovise until we reach help.

In the last two weeks, I've been redoing my roof. The following three photos show the before pictures. Now, I know it was totally white when I first bought it, two years ago.

What happened?
By using my cell phone and taking photos to various local dealers, I learned my roof was in a state of swift decline.
While the owner's manual says I only need to wash it periodically, it doesn't warn about vast areas of inky black showing up.
 Everyone agreed, the first step was to wash the rood with mild detergent and rinse like a mad woman. Buckets and buckets of water had to be hauled up via ladder. I worked on this alone, not wanting to claim any one's free time.
As I rinsed, black streaks striped my fiberglass exterior like a zebra
Whoa, more scrubbing and rubbing.
A neighbor lent me his folding ladder, enabling me to rip off the deteriorating caulk.
This job turned out to be harder than I thought!

Once all was cleaned, rinced and allowed to dry for days, I applied the first coat of liquid rubber with a brush.
Several videos are now posted on  My You Tube Channel, including product and tools used.

After four days of curing, I summitted my roof again, in socks, and rolled out a second coat. Now the streaks from my brushed work did not show.

Thankfully, the weather held until last night, thus allowing my second coat to cure for five days.

I'm told to use Dicor caulking along the horizontal, rolled roof seams Once the rain dries and the sun returns, I'll get on that project.

Warning. If you do have to deal with this, wear gloves. It seemed the black would never leave my hands. After tons of scrubbing, removing perhaps every once of wax from the fiberglass in an attempt to remove every last visage of zebra stripes, I used Mop and Glo  with a damp rag to restore some shine. Hopefully the brutal sun will do its magic and bleach out the rest.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Hike to the Mine

This abandoned mine is visible for miles around. Of course, I had to go see it for myself. If you wish to see the film I made, please visit my youtube channel:

Upon bushwhacking past various motor homes and campsites, I found a jeep road and climbed through the dust and sand. The water bottles came in handy. Even though its November, its hot in them thar hills!

A close up shows plenty of graffiti on the various rusting installments. Once on the hill, you can see how close Quartzsite really is.

On a nearby hill was a flag waving. I climbed that hill as well and saw one could be at the Pilot Truck Stop within half an hour.

So far, no snakes. The town is getting busier by the day. Cops are quite visible. Last night, blue lights shown bright beneath a full moon. Caught somebody, doing something.

They tell me to keep everything locked and chained with serious heavy duty stuff. None of these whimpy locker padlocks. Especially, if you have a Honda Generator, by god. Reportedly, 30 were stolen by a bold pair of guys. The treasures weigh but 47 pounds. Even I could walk off with one of them.
And, they're like gold. Everyone wants one.

So, I'm told, if someone is selling one, and has no papers or owner's manuals, beware. It might just belong to my neighbor!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Quest for Power Continues

First, a swift over view of the current situation.

I've never run out of power, but hoard it like a penny pinching miser. My lights are LED bulbs, I power up the laptop when I'm focused on writing, and recharge the phone while scouting Quartzsite, when ever possible.
I use my water pump to access the 60 gallons in my holding tanks when ever necessary, but usually keep it off. The propane frig uses a trickle. So really, I'm good with one 100 watt solar panel.
But what about box fans? The over head fans and stove top fan work great, but I seldom use them.

Two days ago, I called a highly recommended electrician. He came by my rig to figure out why my 7,000 watt generator would not provide any power to the outlets. He and his buddy both figured it would be a simple matter of hunting down some flipped switch, some malfunctioning breaker box.
After turning the entire camper in side out, we found there indeed was no transfer switch, no wiring at all, no junction box, to direct current from this high powered machine into the right places. Sure, it could run the air conditioners. But, while testing, as happened before, the beast coughed to a halt after running ten minutes.

So. Wow. Embarrassed, I said, the thing used to run. He checked the fuel pump and said, once I got that fixed, he'd return to install the proper access junction box. A very outstanding man, he charged me nothing for all this troubleshooting. He left and I restored my rig to order.

I called the recommended generator guy. So far no response. I shopped for additional solar panels. The quote was the price of an expensive Honda Generator, 2100 watts, and get this. Only included on solar panel-160 watts-mounted on the roof and wired into my existing house batteries. A regulator completed the package. I would keep my current pure sign inverter.
I told the solar guy no and left.

Here in Quartzsite you have a cash and carry economy. Bring cash, or plan on using a debit card at the bank or ATM machine.
I debate my options while I look forward to my new summer job in Idaho. Apparently its so early in the season, events are just cancelled willy-nilly.
You go with the flow, or go not at all.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Things I Learned-So far- In Quartzsite

In spite of all appearances, this boon-docking thing is harder than I thought it would be. I've hiked some and so far, have not encountered any snakes.
While putting normal systems in place, I've learned a bunch of things.

To keep it simple, let me innumerate them here.

1-Getting the best possible campsite is a toss up. Do I want to kill the car by driving over rugged roads to the best off grid view ever?
Or do I want to locate someplace convenient to town so I can utilize the library, stores and host of fun activities.
Yesterday, I chose the later. Its working much better.

2-Its all about water. Wash dishes in a small bucket in the sink, then wash the car with that water Wash the hair and be shocked by how much dust it collected in three days. Wash the counters daily, and be shocked by the film of dirt. Hummm. Forgo soap, as much as possible. And, use jugs to transport water rather than unhooking the home (RV) very often.

3-Sunset comes fast. Always bring a flash light and water.

4-Adjust the solar panels and keep them free of dirt. No house power also means all the water in the holding tank is unavailable. It means the propane frig won't run, either.

5-Use the silver insulating panels on the outside of the windshield, not inside. This prevents heat from entering in the first place.

6-Sit with feet in a bucket of water to cool off, then use that bucket of water to wash the layers of dust off the fender of the car.

Below, you'll see some activities that were performed way back in the last campsite possible in the South La Posa Campground. The batteries turned out to be fine. They just needed overnight power-charging, which was done at a local mechanic's shop.
After they were reinstalled, the generator started from the outside switch. The switch on the dash, however, refused to start the generator. The air now works, as before, but the outlets still do not.

7- Locate every town resource and ask questions. I found the post office, community center, QIA (a public building used for all sorts of fun activities) two dollar stores, and library. Everyone here seems quite friendly and helpful.

And lastly, as most women know, beware of new friends. They can seem nice until you disagree with them. True colors come out when you least expect it.
But all is well. I'm not called the female-survivalist for nothing.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Warning! Political Rant to Follow

I've really had it. All the drama in this National Election needs to end. We're two weeks to E-Day and the foolishness needs to end.
Please! Would the real candidates please step forward so we can choose who to vote for??

Don't even tell me we're really expected to chose between Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton. Even die hard, flag-waving patriots can't claim we've got a reasonable chance of not being the laughingstock of the entire world.

The debates were entertaining. Thanks for all the Foot-in-Mouth and Criminal coverage, Fox News and CNN.
Now, how about unveiling the real candidates for President?
We live in troublesome times. The health care thing is going haywire, threatening to bankrupt America. With premiums going up by 25% this year, I wonder how families are supposed to survive.
Only if you're stone broke and receive major tax credits from our government, are you able to view insurance premiums as a reasonable expense.
Then, as our Senior Citizen base expands, we find social security lagging way behind the cost of living. Not for one moment do I believe the Cost of Living hasn't gone up. Did any of our elected official received a raise? I say, cancel those raises and split the money among struggling Seniors.
Or better yet, get rid of some congressmen and their staff I don't see them doing much anyways.
Its getting down right disturbing.
The chasm between the rich and poor deepens like the Colorado River carving out the Grand Canyon.

Sometimes I wonder why more isn't said about the crazy economy, but then I realize folks are tired. Its exhausting filtering through lies and half truths. Maybe its time to jump off the gerbil wheel and flee to Mexico. I mean, a little music, a few tacos and some siesta might be what the doctor ordered.
But who trusts doctors, anyways? Mine seems to like prescribing pills, so I ditched him. He can take a hike. I need a physician that looks past pharmaceutical relief.
It's all a scam, this American dream.
I for one plan to live as simply as possible. Let the politicians earn their keep.
Sure, as soon as the real candidates step up and introduce themselves.