Boondocking

We have been pretty low key this last month and half, as we haven’t been doing a lot of traveling or site seeing since Bella’s surgery before Christmas.  Myron has been busy helping friends with their solar, and doing updates to ours.

Our solar updates are now complete (for now). Myron has equipped our 5th wheel with 690 watts of solar, Blue Sky MPPT Charge Controller, 440AH battery bank and a 1000 watt pure sine inverter to run all our electrical devices.  We can’t run our roof AC or microwave (bread storage compartment), but I can run my Instant Pot!!!! Since we have solar we have not been at an RV Park since Bakersfield, CA, which was at the end of November. We have been casino camping or boondocking. Boondocking is basically camping without service in a completely undeveloped area. For us we enjoy boondocking in the desert as we both enjoy being outdoors, the peace and quiet and seeing things in its natural beauty. Boondocking is perfect for us, and for the cost-free or cheap, even better! The best part is, we do not have to pay to stay at RV parks unless we want to!

We spent 4 1/2 weeks down by Yuma, AZ enjoying the warm sun, the breathtaking sunrises, sunsets and the beautiful views.

Cost break down for that time:

Camping fees $ 35.00 (Cocopah Casino)
Fresh Drinking water  $  6.00
Dump fees $ 35.00
Propane fill $ 16.80
Gas – generator  $  7.80
Diesel for Dodge  $ 62.00
Total cost:  $162.60 US/ $202.51 CDN

I did not include costs for food and booze because we all have to eat and drink 😉. But let me say this, the booze is cheap down here and the food is also much cheaper for the most part. Cheap for 4-1/2 weeks, in the sun.We are at Cibola National Wildlife Refuge until tomorrow. We are staying on BLM Land directly across from the visitors centre and the cost is free for 14 days.

Tomorrow we pack up and will head west to Indio, California for a busy week of visiting, site seeing and who knows what’s else!

We love being snowbirds!

Pivot Point Interpretative Plaza

Pivot Point Interpretative Plaza is located in downtown Yuma,AZ.

Cost: Free

We toured this outdoor exhibit of a steam locomotive that sits on the original tracks, at the exact site where the first real train entered Arizona in 1877.

They were able to preserve a few artifacts from that time, a concrete pillar that was part of a swing span pivot bridge. The rail bridge would pivot to allow steam boats to pass.

Their website said they have a interpretive sound system that is suppose to recreate the sound of steam boats passing, but it was not working when we were there. They did have storyboards posted along the walkway that were quite interesting to read .

Steam Engine controls.

Cocopah Casino

We decided that Yuma,AZ would be our next stop as there is so much to see and do in the area. We decided instead of staying out in the desert that we would blacktop camp at Cocopah Casino just south of Yuma. The casino will allow you to stay in their RV parking lot for $6.00/night or $35.00/ week. This is just blacktop camping with no hookups. They do have level sites, security that drives around, and daily garbage pick up.

A view from the RV parking lot looking at the casino.

The RV sites are wide enough to have your slides out and be able to park beside your rig.

Unfortunately we didn’t get to cross as much off our list as we had planned, we did however spent quite a bit of time at the Foothills Animal Hospital in Yuma. Our little Miss Bella ended up with stuvite bladder stones that required emergency surgery.

The surgery went great, Miss Bella is doing fantastic and has healed quite nicely.

We did manage to take in some Yuma history which I will post in another blog.

We are hoping to make it back to Yuma later this winter to cross more off our list.

RV Upgrades – MORryde Heavy Duty Shackle Kit Upgrade

After spending a week in Bakersfield, CA with Tom and Lori, we headed southeast to Quartzsite, Az for our RV upgrades and warmer temps.

We were so busy this summer with work, our daughters wedding and the final renos to our house, Myron didn’t have time to upgrade the shackles on the 5th wheel trailer as he had planned. Our 2014 Cougar 337FLS came with  MORryde CRE3000 Suspension, however the factory bushings and shackles are very light duty, and with the amount of traveling we will be doing he wanted to beef them up with MORryde’s Heavy Duty Shackle Kit Upgrade.

Heavy Duty Shackle Kit

Suspension removed

Fighting to remove the worn out bushings

He sure has a lot of tools!

Worn out Bushings, it was time to upgrade

Shackles are already worn badly

Shackles looking bad

The final install completed!!

Ohhhh Myron!

Laughlin to Quartzsite, or Laughlin to Palm Springs, or Laughlin to Yuma………….

Since our time was up in Laughlin, NV and the temp was starting to drop, we decided it was time to make some tracks and head further south.  We were having a tough time deciding where we wanted to go next, when our friends Tom and Lori  called to say they discovered they had a few issues with their 5th wheel. So we headed to Bakersfield, CA to help them out!

Why……..why not!

Check out Tom and Lori’s blog posts below to see what Myron has been up to!

Leaking Water Line

http://tomandlorirvlife.com/page/3/

Atwood Furnace

http://tomandlorirvlife.com/page/2/

 

 

Oatman Az

Travel back in time

We decided to take a road trip and head out to a former mining town, now turned lively ghost town!

We drove through the Black Mountains of Mojave County, not far from where we stayed in Laughlin, NV along historical route 66.

The Main Street is where all the action is, small stores, sidewalk vendors, Restaurant and Saloon.

 

Wild Burros are wandering and panhandling throughout the streets.

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If your timing is right you will even witness a bank robbery and a good old fashioned gunfight take place.

 

Notes:

Parking is limited, so you may not want to take your trailer or larger rigs as it is difficult to find a place to park.

If you do bring your pets, be very careful as the Burro’s have been known to kick them. We have a pet stroller we use for Rider and of course Miss Bella gets her usual royal treatment of being carried.

Total Cost: Free

Laughlin, Nevada

 “Mini Las Vegas”

Well, after an interesting trip through the mountains we finally made it to Laughlin, Nevada.

Where did we stay: Don Laughlin Riverside Casino &  RV Park

How long did we stay: 2 Weeks +1 days

Site details: 30 Amp full service (P/W/S/ cable TV)

Cost: $120.00/week US ($ 153.00 Canadian)

which includes — 2 free buffet vouchers per week at the Riverside Casino.Retail value ($40.00 US/ or $51.00/CDN)

Pool & Hot tub- RV Park Guests can access the hot tub and pool at the Casino

Shuttle bus to the casino access on all levels

Onsite Propane, drinking water, & ice dispenser.

Laundry Facilities on site. $2.50 wash/ $2.00 dry

What did we all do:

Don Laughlin’s Classic Car Collection located at Riverside Casino  

The classic car show is located on the first and third floor of the Riverside Casino.

Cost: $2.00 per person or FREE if you sign up for a King of Clubs Players Card

Casino Tours

We did the usual casino tour, and checked out all the casinos on the strip.

Cool little tip: Sign up for the Players Club cards at each of the casino- they give you anywhere from $5-$10 to play with. Hey a night out on their dime, ok with us.

We are not big gamblers and usually have a $10 max each we will spend. $5.00 for slots and $5.00 for cocktail tips.  That’s a $20 date night

More posts to follow!

I Think I Can

Our snowbird trip south has been a lot different this year  than it was last year. Last winter we left Saskatchewan on December 06, and it was just plain cold, -40c with the windchill, but luckily we had no snowstorms to deal with.

This year we left Canada on Halloween and made it Shelby, Montana that night.  The next day we were heading south on I15.  The forecast was calling for heavy snow at elevation above 5,000 ft and with the temps dropping, we decided to push forward and get as far away from the frigid temps as we could. Our 5th wheel trailer is not designed for extreme cold weather and we wanted to get away from winter weather! That is why we are on the road!!

 

 

Winter driving in the mountains during a snowstorm required a little more planning than what I was used to but thankfully with all the years and experience Myron has had long-haul trucking, I was glad he was in the driver seat!  Myron was prepared and he made sure to pack his tire chains.  He purchased these Cobra Truck Cable Chains from Canadian Tire a few years back.  You know that purchase were Becky’s rolls her eyes and says ” Why would we ever need tire chains?”.  Even living in Saskatchewan, I never dreamed we would ever have a need for these chains.  I never dreamed we would need them as we ventured to warmer temperatures!

 

 

 

Between Helena and  Butte the higher we climbed the more snow we encountered and the icier the highway got. “I think I can”, turned into “Nope, not happening”, so we joined the rest of the RV’s and Semi’s as we chained up our  tires.  Time seemed to stand still as Myron placed the chains on the tires and we started to incline up the mountain! I was shocked when I a realized this entire adventure only took 15 minutes! It was like someone must have hit the easy button as Myron handled the situation like a pro! I on the other hand hardly took a breath! We still had several miles ahead of us and another pass to chain up before we arrived in Butte, MT.

 

Where  We Stayed: Flying J Truck Stop — Butte, MT  Exit 122

Cost: Free

Diesel Cost: $ 2.88/Gallon US or .76/litre ( .96/Litre  CDN $ )

MPG: Towing 40ft & Mountain Driving- Average 15.8 MPG US/ 14.89 L/100km

 

Trail West RV Park, Shelby, Montana

We did a quick overnight here as a winter storm was hitting the Montana Mountains the next day and we wanted to make as many miles as we could.

http://www.trailswestrvpark.com/

The RV Campground is located behind the Best Western Hotel at the Corner (I 15 and US-2).

You check in at the front desk of the Best Western. We had to take a pull thru site due to the size of our rig. The regular price for a pull thru is $40.00 per night, but they honored our Passport America and which gave us a 50% discount.

There are 32 sites that can accommodate from 30′-60′ rigs, some back-in and some pull-through, gravel, most appear fairly level, a few tress with some grass, and concrete picnic table, basically wide open but it did the job.

WiFi was great, as out AT&T mobile hot-spot was not activated yet.