We Begin our Pilgrimage

Our life is in these two vehicles and the experiences we have with them

Roger’s only experience to RV life was in 2016 when he and Shirley rented an RV in Boise, Idaho, and took his sister Jeri and her daughter Sheri Lynn on a ten day sojourn to Glacier National Park in Montana.  There were many lessons such as setting up the RV at an RV Park hooking up the electricity, water, sewage (ugh) and getting it all accomplished in the warm sunshine which was far superior to the cold, ultra-dark nights of a remote RV park so far from civilization that they didn’t have water, electricity or sewer services.  Such an “encampment” is called “boone-docking”. Sort of like living off the land like Daniel Boone and his Rough Riders … oh no… the Rough Riders belong to Teddy Roosevelt many years after Daniel Boone had settled Kentucky.   Anyway, Sheri Lynn assured everyone that within 3 days we’d have learned all we needed to know to survive in any situation. I believe this must have been in her Church Relief Society handbook. At any rate we survived and somehow, like all bad memories, several years later when Sheila and Roger decided to purchase an RV and become “nomads,” only the positive, enjoyable memories came to mind.

Roger’s only experience in RV life came in 2016 when he and Shirley rented an RV in Boise, Idaho and took sister Jeri and her daughter Sheri Lynn on a ten day sojourn to Glacier National Park in Montana. There were many lessons learned along the way, like setting up at an RV Park, i.e., hooking up the electricity, water, sewage (ugh) and getting it all accomplished in the warm bright sunshine…which was far superior to the cold, ultra-dark nights of a remote RV Park so far from civilization that they often didn’t have water, electricity or sewer service. Such an “encampment” was called “boone-docking,” i.e., living off the land like Daniel Boone and his rough riders . . . oh, no!!! The Rough Riders belonged to Teddy Roosevelt, many years after D.B. had settled Kentucky!!

So one day as I was enthusiastically describing our new nomadic lifestyle to a new acquaintance, Gay Dearington, daughter Tami had introduced to me, Gay immediately took over the conversation to describe how she and her late husband had traveled the highways and byways of the West in their RV. One of their annual highlights of the year was the big “RV Encampment” held annually at Quartzite, Arizona. As she described it, thousands of RVers from all over the U.S. congregate for a month in Quartzite, in what appears to be the biggest “flea-market” in the country! They have several very large tents, one reputed to be a mile long, occupied by vendors offering mostly RV “goodies” of every descriptions to attendees. Membership in RV camps, seat cushions, sun visors, gloves, sewer hoses, tire air pressure monitors, magnetic bracelets to cure every ailment, etc. etc., and the list goes on and on.

Welcome to Quartzsite. Each white dot is an RV scattered across the landscape.

Roger’s nephew, Mike Odell, sister Helen’s son, is a “Snowbird” who works as a construction crane operator during the summer, and winters down South.  We found that he was in Quartzsite and made contact with him and his wife Loretta, upon our arrival in Quartzsite. It was gratifying to “hook up” with them as they had been RVing for over 10 years.  They were very understanding and helpful in assisting us to learn the ins-and-outs of our RV.  Mike stated that our “learning curve” was going to be rather steep (like vertical) the first year or so, but promised it would flatten out after a period of “trial and error”.  This encouragement gives us “hope” when we really mess something up!! The first problems Mike tackled for us was to figure out how to turn on our hot water, for which Sheila was very grateful.  I would never have figured it out, and would have been heating water on the stove or microwave for the foreseeable future.

Michael studying the Tire Monitoring System
Pricilla was helping him study

We went out with Mike one day to try out our newly acquired “Gold Bug II” metal detector, that brother Garth had helped us acquire.  No, we didn’t find any “nuggets” laying around, but did get some much-needed exercise!  Mike did much better with his newly acquired toy, and found several coins.  That night, we treated Mike and Loretta to a steak dinner at the local “yacht club” for fixing our hot water problem, and yes, that really is its name!  The owner has a real sense of humor, and named it that, notwithstanding, the restaurant is a thousand miles from the ocean and in the middle of the Sonora Desert of Western Arizona.  We then went back to our “bus” and played “spades” for a couple of hours.

SCENES OF QUARTZSITE, AZ

The first several days kept us busy wandering through the “mile long” tent, window shopping and like any good “flea market”, sampling the goodies of the many “taco tents” scattered along the way.  A trip to the nearest Walmart, 35 miles away in Parker, AZ, or Albertson’s in Blyth, CA, only about 25 miles away, added “spice” and variety to our somewhat limited social life!!

Sheila was totally immersed in the variety, size and beautiful colors of the rocks that were on sale almost at every turn.  One of her many hobbies is making jewelry, so she had a real appreciation for what was available and their cost.  They had Geodes from South America, that were 5-7 feet in length, 1-2 feet in width, with huge crystals inside … some were selling for $500-$1000.  Turquoise was very common, from small bracelet size to 2-3 inch stones that were beautiful and very reasonably priced.  There were specimens of extremely beautiful minerals that we had no idea of their names, but would have purchased if we’d had a trailer to carry them home with us!!

After approximately a week, we decided to leave Quartzite and go to Las Vegas, NV, on our way to Kanab, UT………………..thus closing the book on an extremely interesting first chapter of our travels and leaving us all dog tired!!!

“New-bee” (short for new beginnings!!)

Being a “newbee” (aka newbie) is exhilarating, exciting and also frightening and frustrating. It took us more than two weeks to get ready to go; not including the months before when we were “getting ready.” We picked a day and on that day we did our final packing and got the tow dolly ready with the truck on it and what do you know, we were missing a driver’s side rachet (which is a gadget that tightens the straps around the truck tires that keeps the truck attached to the tow dolly). That took another day to get, install and tie the truck tires to the tow dolly. So we finally started on January 15.

We dutifully made reservations for our days getting to the Quartzsite RV Show and staying in Quartzsite, AZ. The only reseverations that we kept were for our days in Quartzsite. We left Elk Grove at 2:00 PM on Jan. 15. It was rush hour and we needed to get out of the traffic and off the road so we stayed at a truck stop the first night, after one of the straps holding the truck tire to the tow dolly came off and was dragging for several miles. Roger fixed that, after a fashion, and we continued on, only eight hours behind schedule. The next night we were trying to get to a Sequoia resort when a trucker let us know something was wrong. Oh yes, the other tire strap was dragging and was nearly shredded. It was about 8 at night and we were near an off ramp of a highway. After getting the strap back in place we went to a rest stop and slept.

We came to an RV/mobile home park outside of Kings Canyon and decided that this was a good place to stay. The owners were gracious and helped us hook up our water and electricity in the pouring rain and we were all pretty happy to have a place to stay for the night. We couldn’t get the hot water to work and the water in the faucets and the toilet was red in color … caused by the anti-freeze which we had paid $150 to have the “bus” winterized for the frigid weather anticipated when we got to Kanab, Utah. The next day we explored King’s Canyon and Sequoia National Forest and all (including the three dogs) loved the diversion and beauty of this natural setting.

Our Campsite
Kings Canyon – Oh yes, there was snow. Roger always says rain below and snow above.

We learned that the pin in the tow dolly was supposed to be removed when the vehicle is loaded on it. Roger crawled under the tow dolly and the truck and removed the pin. Problem solved.

Sequoia National forest is beautiful

Roger and I drove to the place where we had cancelled reservations and found that there was no way we could have taken the RV on the road that led to that site. We ended up staying at the other site for 2 days and took off for Bakersfield, CA. We visited with Shirley’s sister Sheryl and enjoyed her company if only for a short time, and it was also late Saturday, Jan 19. We stayed in another truck stop for the night and made it to Quartzsite on Sunday, Jan 20.