Speed Run to Merced, Holidays in CA, AZ Doings


To allow me to have a timely update to our blog I need to do a catch up post on our trip from Texas to California, Holidays and Arizona doings. So here goes.


My last day of work at Amazon started like any other work day. On Saturday December 19th, I got out of bed at 4 am, left for work at 5 am after having breakfast and taking the furry freeloaders out for a walk. Got to work about 5:45 and began my day by walking about ½ mile from the parking lot to my department.


My view of the distribution center from parking space

But this was MY LAST DAY OF WORK! Well a half day. I was working from 6 am to 11 am and had four hours of personal time I used to fill out my day. I was assigned to the line on the north side. At break time I started to say goodbye to all my work friends on the north side. At 10:45 I said goodbye to the north side leadership team and said I was going to the south side to say goodbye to my friends and clock out. Said my goodbyes to the south side friends and leadership and clocked out. It was funny to leave work when it was day light  and no traffic in the parking lot. Because I worked around fork lifts on the dock area I had a safety vest. I always wore this in the parking lot with all the traffic, I thought it was more dangerous in the parking lot than on the dock.

I drove to our campground in Alford, TX, got cleaned up, did the final tear down of our rig, hooked truck to trailer and we were on our way to CA at about 2:30 pm. With a trip of 1,700 miles I was unsure how long it would take. We were hoping to get to Merced by December 24th. But I did not know how long I could safely drive in a day. We made it to Midland, TX at about 9 pm. We stopped at a truck stop to get some dinner. About 10 miles west of the truck stop on I20 there was a rest stop and another about 75 miles. I thought I could make it to the second one. After about 5 minutes I got really tired so we pulled into the first rest stop for the night. We made about 350 miles, a great start. It was a noisy night with trucks coming and going but we were beat and had no trouble dropping off to sleep.

I woke up about 4 am, guess I am used to that given I was doing it for 9 weeks, and hit the road while my navigator slept until we stopped to have some breakfast.  We made over 700 mile this day. I really was not tired, guess I just got into a groove. We stopped at another rest stop just east of Tucson for the night.


Some views of our drive


Again I woke up early and hit the road while Vicki slept until west of Phoenix where we got some breakfast. When you are driving in the early morning it can get pretty boring and then on the radio came Love Shack by the B52s, a song I always liked back in the day. Well, I cranked up the volume and sang along. Vicki can sleep through anything!


Singing Love Shack by B52s, at least the dogs did not howl.


We continued west on I10 passing our future 2016 winter home of Quartzsite. The Plan was to get on US 95 north and pick up I40 west then jump on CA 58 through the Tehachapi Pass into the Central Valley of CA and go north on CA 99 into Merced. There was a chance we would make it to Merced today. BUT Mother Nature had other ideas. The navigator, Vicki, was picking up high wind warnings on CA 58. Then we hear three tractor trailers were blown onto their side and CA 58 was closed to high profile vehicles. So we pulled off I10 and got something to eat while planning our next step.

After fueling ourselves up at Mickey Ds we went with plan B. We were going to head west towards LA and then go north. We took a tour thru the High Desert (See pictures below). The clouds are partially covering the San Gabriel Mountains. (Just over those mountains would be LA area – Glendale – Burbank).

We were a little north but close to Simi Valley. We will be continuing northwest very close to Edwards Air Force Base and then over the Grapevine into Central CA. We did not make it to Merced. I was beat. Not much in the way of a rest stop close by as we jumped on I5 so we stopped at a Petro truck stop for the night. Another thing to check off the bucket list……

We got a little later start on December 23rd. I was very tired from the last 2 days of driving and especially the 22nd on non-interstate 2 lane roads with lots of traffic. Hit the road by 8 am and got to Merced about noon and set up camp at the Elks RV Park. This would be our home for 16 days.


We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas with Geoff and any other free time he had. He is very busy with his job and was closing out his two year term as president of the Modesto Area Disc Golf club. In Merced we were busy seeing doctors for physicals, dentist for routine work and visiting with friends. Vicki had good visits with her doctors. Unfortunately my doctor had a personal emergency so no appointment for me. Hopefully in April when we go through Merced I can get an appointment. Dentist was routine for Vicki, for me not so much. During my cleaning an upper wisdom tooth chipped. Without an opposing tooth it really was not doing much good so out it came. Not that big a deal.


Christmas Eve with Geoff at BJ’s Brew House, a favorite of ours.



Christmas Tree at Geoff’s apartment


We also hooked up with friends from work and golf buddies and wives. Had a great time with all. Also snuck in two rounds of golf with my golf buddies.

Also during this time I was busy getting the trailer ready for boondocking for our AZ winter camp.  Made sure I could fill up our fresh water with our pump, use of the waste water tank to dump waste water and make sure we had enough power for making coffee and running hair dryer. All was good except the power part. Needed to buy another Honda generator.


Saturday January 9th we hooked up and started our 500+ mile trip to Quartzsite, AZ. We could make it in one day but I did not want to come in late, find a spot on the desert and set up camp. So we split the trip into two days. We stayed Saturday night at a rest stop just west of Needles, CA. Next day we make it to Quartzsite mid-morning. With help from Steve and Diane (Steve and Dianne Blog), friends we made at a RV Dreamers Rally, we selected a site and set up Forrey Winter Camp.  Thanks Dianne and Steve for all the great assistance for the newbies.


Looking east towards our rig.

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Our porch at twilight.  Very nice to sit outside at end of day but as soon as the sun goes down it gets chilly.

So what is our life like in Quartzsite, AZ in the Sonora Desert?  Pretty Busy. Vicki is still working her 8-5 job and I am busy being camp boy. We are part of a loosely organized group of Dreamers. This group is made of “Dreamers” who met through RV Dreams.   In our immediate area there is anywhere from 6 rigs to as many as 12 rigs of Dreamers. Usually each week there are two happy hours and about every other week there is event where we go in town for dinner or another event. Steve and Dianne also put on a west coast reunion of Dreamers who were in the greater Quartzsite area. There was about 50 people in attendance.

I will let pictures tell the rest of the story.


First Happy Hour we attended. One of MANY!



RV Dreamer Reunion – January 2016 Quartzsite AZ – This is the group!!!  Thanks for picture Steve and Dianne




After one of the Bowl games the Good Year Blimp flew over from Phoenix to LA

For ten days the Big Show was in Quartzsite.  This is a large RV show held under a tent.  I estimate the tent was 200 yards long and about 35 yards wide.  Lots of vendors but many were not really RV related.  Can’t believe I did not get some pictures.  Lots of RVs for sale outside.  I would guess about 150 RVs around the tent.


Well I broke down and got this T-shirt at the show.  Believe me it was not a medium



If you are from the Mid Atlantic and know me from back east you will understand why I added this picture.  Discovered in Parker AZ












Discovered a great little pizza joint in Quartzsite.  Terrific Pizza and they have a local beer – Mud Shark from Lake Havasu City – Great Stuff.

HIGH DRAMA IN THE LOW DESERT – We had some police action in the hood.  Right behind our camp there was a fellow who had a noisy generator and ran it during quite time.  Generators are not to be run between the hours of 10 pm to 7 am.  Well the guy who occupied the 5ver in the next picture went over to the guy who ran the noisy generator in the 2nd picture.  Well there was a physical altercation.  The noisy generator guy got beat up and police and medical personnel responded.  The “winner” of the fight spent the night in jail and was thrown out of the LTVA.  The guy that got whopped moved to another area of the LTVA after his wounds healed.  The fight happened when Vicki and I were taking a lunch time walk.  Who said this is a quite area?


Police car on left and “winner” of fight rig on right

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Loser of fight rig with sheriff car and EMT truck


Guess what? Another Happy Hour.  This one at Dianne and Steve’s camp


Back a few years ago I worked for a company that made ammunition.  Many of our products  were tested at Yuma Proving Grounds.


Driving through the desert you work up a thirst.  Had to stop at the Prison Hill Brewery.

Onto the Yuma Territorial Prison.  It is really not that big of a prison.  Most of the prison has been torn down through the years to make room for the railroad that is right next to it.


One of the many beautiful sun sets


Just another Laundry Day in the Desert


Took a hike to the top of “Q Mountain”  Just about every town has a mountain that they have the first letter of the town’s name.  Not that high but steep and very rocky.  Difficult to walk up and down.

Steve and I went over to the Quartzsite Radio Control Plane airport.  Met up with Red (belongs to the club and invited us as guests) and Rick.  Was very interesting.  Amazing the planes they build and how they can control them.  Here are a few pictures of the planes.  There was a mid-air collision between two planes.  Just parts floated to the ground.  Very sad given all the money and work that goes into the planes.


Next big doings was taking a trip to The Desert Bar.  This bar opened up 20 some years ago for four wheelers to stop and get something to drink during their ride.  This is back a “road” that is very rough and rocky.  Well, I moved over to let a car pass us going the other way and got to close to a rock and popped a tire. AND IT POPPED!  Luckily by that time we were very close to the bar an got lots of help changing the tire.  Jim jumped right in and Rick was right behind him helping.  I played step and fetch.  Thanks you guys!!!

What do you do for your significant other when you are in the desert? Have a fish fry of course.  Red loves to fish.  He does a lot of fishing in Texas and brought about 100 pounds of fish to the desert.  We had over 30 people at the FF and then we had a campfire that might have been seen in outer space.  Red (left) the fishermen and also head fry cook was aided by Steve (right).


Well I am now caught up to date.  I hope I can keep up to date.

Now I have to get back to work.


Good judgment comes from experience…and  experience – well, that comes from poor judgment.

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8 Responses to Speed Run to Merced, Holidays in CA, AZ Doings

  1. colibabas says:

    Love Shack is one of my favourites too. About time you got caught up on the blog!

  2. Loved the last picture and your summation was great!!

  3. Pingback: Quartzsite Redux | Camper Chronicles

  4. debbiemc14 says:

    Nice catch up! It was nice to meet you both in Quartzite. (I have a couple of months to catch up on my blog too, so I know how you feel).

  5. It was nice meeting you guys. Hope our paths cross again soon. Steve needs a golf partner. I’m only good for driving him around!

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