After leaving San Diego, we headed to the Arizona desert where we planned to make several stops before landing in Tucson in March. For the next month or so, we moved to six different locations, met friends, had a medical scare (everything turned out ok), had maintenance issues, met more friends and enjoyed the desert. At times we felt like desert tumbleweeds. Oh, and I flew to Puerto Rico for ten days during that time – more on that in a later post.
Our first stop was Quartzsite, our third visit in three years during their annual RV show. This year we arrived only a few days before the end of the show, since our main purpose in going was to meet friends.
During our drive to Quartzsite I received a call regarding mammogram results from my medical exam in San Diego. Something showed up in the first mammogram, and the doctor wanted me to have a second one and maybe an ultrasound. Medical issues while RVing are always a challenge, but we continued on while we thought about next steps.
We boondocked in the Dome Rock area of Quartzsite, the area where we stay every year. During a quick walk through the show we met our friends Jack and Karen and made plans to meet a few days later.
Meanwhile, we had to figure out a way for me to get a follow-up mammogram and ultrasound. And, for various mostly insurance related reasons, we decided that it would be best to return to San Diego for the additional tests. Hector had the idea to double back to Anza Borrego State Park, not too far from Quartzite. This would put us day trip distance from San Diego, so we could drive our car to my appointment, thus avoiding crossing the mountains again in Island Girl.
We had a couple of days to socialize so we spent part of our time hanging out with our friend Vince who was staying at “our” regular campsite nearby. And we watched some beautiful sunsets.
We also attended a movie that our friends Chris and Cherie showed on the side of their beautiful bus. They were camped with a group of Xscapers. It was a lovely night and we loved seeing “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” with this very nice group of RVers.
But we needed to get to Anza Borrego so we cut our visit short and did not have the chance to see our friends again. And we completely missed seeing Amanda and Tim, who were staying nearby. We drove to Anza Borrego and found a nice spot to boondock in.
The next morning the three of us headed to San Diego in the car. I made it to my 10a.m. appointment while Hector took Angel to a nearby park. After a second mammogram and an ultrasound, all was good (whew!) and we headed back to Island Girl.
We enjoyed one more night at Anza Borrego. Staying in this beautiful place was by no means a hardship. And we celebrated our good health during another lovely sunset.
The next day we made a very quick stop in Yuma to visit Tim, Becky, Doug and Trish. Then on to Tucson to see Pam and John, whom we met last year at Anza Borrego and MonaLiza and Steve whom we met and had not seen since the summer of 2013 at Prince Edward Island. We had just enough time to enjoy a brief but fun time together at dinner.
After one more night and some errands we drove to Phoenix, where we camped at Estrella Regional Park, a county park. Check out my review of the park here.
We wound up all by ourselves in the dry camping area, which was lovely. And after a couple of days, I left Hector and Angel there while I traveled to Puerto Rico.
While I was gone, Hector enjoyed alone time and mountain biking, met up with some friends, and took nice long walks with Angel.
Hector and Angel met Michael and Martha at a fun and dog friendly bar for lunch. Angel enjoyed the free refills at the doggie bar 🙂
Hector moved to a second county park, White Tank Mountain Regional Park, where we stayed a couple of days after I returned. Check out my review of the park here.
Just after my return from Puerto Rico, we were relaxing in Island Girl when we smelled something burning. I immediately took Angel out of the RV, and Hector identified the problem: one of our power strips had fried. We unplugged it and when he checked the electrical post but the power was still on. And even though our refrigerator was on AC and the air conditioner was still working, the electrical outlets were dead and our batteries were not charging. Ugh.
We were planning to move to Congress, Arizona next, so when I called the North Ranch RV Park, an Escapee Park, I asked if they had a recommendation for RV service. It turned out one of their winter residents, Vern, did RV work. So we made an appointment with Vern and headed to Congress. Check out my review of the North Ranch Campground here.
To make a long story short, Vern determined that we had a short in our external power cord and one of the fuses deep inside the inverter had blown. Then the quest for the fuse began. We lucked out and found one (the last one) that was close though not exactly the right at the third (and last) hardware store we went to in the town of Wickenburg nearby. That one worked, but we ordered the correct one online as well.
Knowing we had a fix, we were able to relax and enjoy the area a bit. We took a scenic drive to the nearby towns of Prescott and Williams. We picnicked by a lovely lake in Prescott and enjoyed exploring some good ole Americana in Williams, on the old Route 66.
We also visited the Hassayampa River Preserve, a Nature Conservancy preserve near Wickenburg that has several very short hikes that allow visitors to get a closer look at this unique area. The river flows mostly underground for much of its 100-mile course through the desert, but it flows above ground in the preserve and provides habitat for many birds and other wildlife.
Although the water was quite low we saw evidence of the force of the river and how it had uprooted lots of trees. In fact, a couple of little bridges and seating areas were elaborately tied down and secured. But we did not spot much wildlife on our walks.
There was an area of Joshua Trees nearby and they were in full bloom with these very large flowers.
After sunset that evening we were treated to the full moon rise. Nice.
The next day we got up for a sunrise photography session. Hector had seen some old buildings that he wanted to photograph in the morning light. As a bonus, the moon was supposed to set just behind the buildings.
We noticed that it was a bit cloudy and as we neared the buildings, we saw that a locomotive was parked just behind them. It looked as if it was not going anywhere anytime soon and between the clouds and the locomotive, the moon was not going to be visible as it set. Darn.
So we drove towards town and as we were driving by some houses with beautiful desert gardens Hector spotted some Harris hawks. These hawks hunt in groups. There were three of them and they had just had a rabbit breakfast. As he says, there is always a reward for rising early.
We spent time observing the hawks and realized that there was an amazing amount of birdlife in this area, many more birds than we saw at the preserve!
So although we missed the moonset, it turned out to be a fine morning after all and Hector got couple of nice morning shots of the buildings with the locomotive perched behind them.
Our replacement fuse arrived, and Vern got everything back in working order, so on we went to our next stop in the desert Southwest, Benson.