Saturday, January 25, 2014

Quartzsite, Arizona

Quartzsite in January usually means the largest gathering of RVers on earth.  So says the web  page.  Estimated attendance of 150,000 and set up on 20 plus acres of Quartzsite land.

You can pursue more info at this web address:

There is nothing else quite like it.

This is just one entrance to the big main tent.  There are similarities to state fairs, except no rides or animal judging or contests.  Everything an RVer might want--generators, parts, repairs(big tents set up to change tires or repair or add on stuff).

This includes food, clothing, travel(big section for RVing to Alaska), solar, and other improvements to the RVer's life.  Stuff you can't do without, according to many of the hawkers.   But it is a fun place to walk around.  They even have Flo from Progressive Insurance.
Note, all of you from New England.  The parking fee here in Quartzsite is free.  And also the entrance fee to the show and all vendors is also free!!!

All kinds of kitchenware for your RV.

Even cooking shows, like this one that usually had a very attentive---and hungry---audience.

Outside the main tent---and all over Quartzsite--were smaller tents selling all kinds of things.

These signs seemed to feature more offcolor sentiments.

and more of the same.

Some signs are humorous.  This sign makes one say

"ouch"  but it might also get you inside to see what they offer in the not-so-humorous line of plumbing.

In the area of the large tent are also some permanent looking tent displays of rocks and gems.

You can judge by the size of the normal pallet they are on, how large these geodes are.

Some of these boulders have wonderful color, even before they are cut or polished.

Other stores have large--sometime 4 or 5 feet across--polished colorful rock slices.

And, of course, many, many examples of small to large jewelry sized turquoise and other gems.

Outside the main tent, in the area, and around town, are all kinds of eating stops.

I thought this one was rather appropriate. 

Especially like the little addition at the lower right hand corner.  Jan laughed at this too.

Sort of what you might expect from an outdoor bar.

Lots of tables, a good selection at the bar, and plenty of cowboy hats and others. 

SO----what was not allowed( see small red circle)?  Good thing.  One note to make.  If you take a survey of full and part time RVers , you will probably find that most of them are carrying firearms in their RVs.  Some have normal and concealed permits for firearms.

One of the main reasons for Beer Belly's popularity was some good performers such as this one.

Did not recognize the name, but his big banner is indicating talent from Nashville.  That might not mean a lot--depending on the talent.  But this gentlemen was quite enjoyable.

This was our choice today.  We had stopped at another BBQ the other day --away from the tent.  Quite good.  This one, just outside the tent entrance was also very, very good.

Note the size of the smoker/grill.  Got to love the large truck exhaust pipes on top of what looks like an industrial sized oil tank.

Needless to say, they were quite popular--especially with the vendors who had been working here all week.

You don't have to look very far at Quartzsite for unusual vehicles.  Tons of ATV's rushing over the local hills and mountains and dirt roads. 

Also unusual vehicles like this old VW camper.
Not sure of the year.  Looks like 60's designs, but the camper might be from the 70's???

I love to see old busses and campers that have been remodeled. As you can see in the picture below, this
Flxible Bus is dated from 1950.  Hint----these are the shape buses that we used to travel on for trips when we were in junior and senior high school.  And no----they were not old then.

From the side of the bus Flxible 1950.

Everything looks good.  Tires, paint, and body are in good shape.  Note- the mirrors are of a newer and larger size.  Also, the 2 air conditioners on the roof are of a new design.  Would loved to have seen the inside.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Texas Hill Country to Quartzsite Arizona

From Potter's Creek at Canyon Lake , Texas, we decided to head west on some back country roads to meet up with Route 10 west.

As New Englanders, we often see public buildings and some private homes flying the US flag.  In other states like Tennessee, we often see the college and university banners and flags.  But in Texas--it is quite normal to see many private homes and businesses flying the US flag and the Texas state flag together.

This was at a typical driveway in the Hill Country.

The Texas Hill Country is miles and miles of rolling back roads. 

Occasionally, you will see beautiful, fancy entrances for local ranches.  Some of those ranches will have Texas Longhorn cattle, or beef cattle, or one that we saw with Pronghorns inside a very high fenced area.

Some farms have some very unusual homes.

What a porch on this house!

Eventually the backroads connect to Interstate Route 10.

And surprise, surprise--a sign for Cooper's BBQ--one of the famous Texas Barbeque restaurants.

Cooper's BBQ in Texas   Clicking on this link will take you to the main web site for Cooper's.  We had tried their BBQ in Llano with Jimmy and Adonia.

With a name like Cooper's, it has to be good!!!

The gentleman working the smoker--above in the first picture---brings in the brisket, chops, sausage, ribs, and chicken.  So hard to decide.   But, we did!!

Note the flags.

Very typical.

Easy now, Eustis!!     

Yes, that sign is a speed limit sign in West Texas on Interstate Route 10.

80 miles per hour----not kilometers.

We cruise along at 60 to 65, but there is not much traffic on this section of highway.

 The scenery is still rolling hills, but eventually is levels out.

The vegetation changes from hill country woods to desert dry.

So hard to get those sign to stand still as you drive by.

A sure sign we are entering New Mexico.  

Love the nickname  " Land of Enchantment"

These are long drives for us---300 plus miles each day.  I know that is small potatoes for some of you, but for us geezers, it's plenty of mileage.

At Deming, New Mexico, we look forward to arriving here at Rock Hound State park.

We missed Rock Hound last year, because it was full.   Plenty of room on this trip.

Some of you might remember that last year we purchased a one year pass for New Mexico state campgrounds.  That pass more than paid for itself last year and we camped for free for a few weeks.

So here we are again on the same pass--good until March14, 2014, and we stay for free for 2 days.

If we wanted water and electric hookups, we would pay $4 per night extra.  But, we are all set without hookups---so free it is!!

This is the view from our site back to Deming.

Does Lady Blue look a little lost against the hills in the back?


There are a number of cars that visit here just to hike the trails.  Some of them wander off the trails to hunt for rocks---geodes, crystals, and more.

NO, Bruce, you can't take that rock!!!!

 The view from the trail is very, very impressive.

 The view from Lady Blue reminds me of the stereo view discs we had of Arizona as kids.

AS Jan and I arrive at Quartzsite, Arizona, we are impressed by the number of RVs that we see camped out on the BLM(Bureau of Land Management.)  This is our group of Lazy Daze owners that are camped on the desert land.  There are may more LDs than last year and each day seems to have more arriving and some leaving.  Roger, our group organizer should be quite proud of the numbers.  Thanks and great work, Roger!!
 We sign in at the gatehouse for 2 weeks.  You can stay on BLM land for free, but many RVers sign in on LTVA (Long Term Visitors Area) land for $40 for 2 weeks -14 days--which allows you access to 
 free water and dump station.  It is also within walking distance to the big Quartzsite vendor tent and other displays.
As an added bonus,  we also get to see super sunsets like this one.  I missed taking a picture of another great sight.  There were about 20 plus people sitting outside Jimbo's Lazy Daze( see his blog to the right) watching Jim's huge TV screen for the Patriot-Denver football game and the 49er-Seahawk football game.  Lots of Denver and 49er and Seahawk fans!!  But Jan and I were not the only Patriot rooters.  What a sight--all these Lazy Daze boondockers watching a satellite feed on a huge screen, outdoors, on a beautiful night in the middle of the desert.  Thanks Jim!!  There might be some pictures on his blog or the Lazy
 Daze group site on Yahoo Groups.
Couldn't resist one more sunset.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Rocky Creek COE and Potter's Creek COE

Finally, all caught up with dentist appointments.  Time to head west.

We know we are running out of Corps parks the further west we go.  There are two more in Texas heading west on our route.  The first is Rocky Creek on Somerville Lake near Bryan and College Station, Texas. There are two in New Mexico and none in Arizona.  Luckily, there are more in the western and northern states.

If you are not familiar with College Station, think Texas A&M University---50,000 students, 10,000 graduate students,  Oh---and also a heck of a football team.
Another beautiful Corps park with lots of space between the sites.  Another thing we have enjoyed about these Texas Corps of Engineer parks in that there is usually a section or two set aside for those who do not have reservations.  So, if you find an empty site, it's yours.
This is the feel of the park.  A large, well kept park, with lots of open spaces.  By the way ,can you see Lady Blue?  

 As we get older -------oops---as I get older, somehow the simple things are enjoyed.  There was something here that was nice about seeing the large prickly pear cactus again.

It doesn't take much to please some people!!??

Rocky Creek is home to a number of animals. There is a fairly large herd of deer. We saw at least thirty at one time.  Seems like some campers may be feeding them.

Also a number of birds and some armadillos.

On the way in, we had to stop for about 6 or 7 wild pigs-----very big wild pigs----crossing the road. No camera available!!!

You may have noticed a large puddle of water in our second picture of this post.  Most of our stay at Rocky Creek was rainy, as were most of days we have been in Texas.  Things to remember as we head into very dry desert country.

This is just another typical Corps campsite.  All sites have electric and water in this section.  Most Corps parks do not offer a sewer hookup.  And some Corps parks will have a dry camping section--no hookups--for even less than this $13 per night with the senior pass.

When we see armadillos, we are often on the highway or on a road with no possibility of stopping for a picture.  This one was on our walk in Rocky Creek.  He was near the high grass, so I had to try a telephoto on our pocket camera. 

There used to be many of these that we would see in Grandpa's town--Englewood, Florida.  But , they pretty much disappeared with increased development and population.

The deer blend in so well.  We would be walking on the road and would have to stop and stare into the woods until our eyes could pick out the different deer.  Even then, we probably would have missed them except for the white tails that would pop up as we went by. The deer on the left is a buck with 6 points on his antlers.

Sorry, but I couldn't resist adding this picture just in case you couldn't see Lady Blue in the earlier picture.

Jan and I didn't have to go far to watch the deer. 
They came by the back of our motorhome each night at dusk.  This picture was from our back window.

Finally , on the morning we left, there was a clear, sunny view from Lady Blue to the other side of Somerville Lake.
Another of those random thoughts---------when we have a wonderful view like this---I will sometimes also note that this wonderful view comes with no lawn mowing or raking.  

A beautiful sunny day takes us to Potter's Creek Park at Canyon lake.

This park is in the Texas Hill Country just north of San Antonio and a little south and west of Austin.

There are many great day trips that would be possible from this park.

There are many more boaters at this park and in this lake.  Keith might like to know that they closed part of the park.  A temporary closing because they had too many deer.  The sections were closed for hunting to cull about 130 deer from the local population.

Still plenty of sites in three large loops.  Ans yes, it rained again today.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Sam Houston

A choppy day on the beach at South Padre.  A walk by the ocean is always interesting----be it the waves, the ships and small boats, the people, or--always--the birds.  Actually, we were a little surprised to see him right on the Gulf shore.  Most herons we have seen tend to like the water slightly away --marshes and pools.
This picture was from our phone and had been overlooked last week.  So , I could not resist adding it this week. 

You might recall that we had stopped in Livingston at the beginning of December for quick dental checkups. Well---we somehow never have a quick checkup.  Both Jan and I needed a little extra.  Even more than a little extra.  So here we are on January 6th and hopefully ready to finish the "quick dental checkup".  We do like our dentist here and it is a plus that he is set up for everything from cleanings right through dental crowns.  While waiting for appointments, we have been able to visit down to Padre Island( see previous postings) and Brazos Bend(also previous).

We had an email from John of our Lazy Daze friends telling us of a Michelin tire recall.  I checked the Michelin website and called the recall number for light truck tires and saw and heard that the recall was for larger tires than our 225/16's.  Then a few weeks later I received an email from Escapees RV Club and it specified 225's.  WHOA!  Back to the Michelin website and this time there is a whole page just for our tires--manufactured in 2012. A quick call to Discount Tire in Conroe, Texas--about 50 miles from Livingston--and we have an appointment for the very next day to replace 7 tires----yep----all 7 which includes the spare--never touched the pavement.  So, on Friday, January 3rd, we visit Discount and 2 hours later Lady Blue has 7 new tires--no charge.  The old tires had 17,000 miles on them and still looked new, but no one wants to take a chance on blowouts or tire failure.  Credit to Michelin, wish all businesses would be as good to back up their products.

After our tire appointment, we head north about 20 miles on Route 45 to stay the weekend at Cagle National Forest again.  Our site is pictured above the tire picture.  Jan is looking cold because it was cold.
24 degrees this morning.

After a few nights at Cagle, a full hookup for $10 per night on Lake Conroe, we head north on Route 45 towards Huntsville for the long way back to Livingston.  Huntsville is the home of Sam Houston. He was born in Virginia, was Representative from Tennessee, but is most known for being the first and third President of the Republic of Texas, and then U.S. Senator from the new state of Texas, and after that the Governor of Texas.

 Right beside Route 45 in Huntsville is this statue of Houston, finished in 1994.  Do you see tiny Jan standing at his feet??   The gentleman in the visitor's center is a native of Huntsville.  He first wanted us to be sure that Huntsville likes to be known for more than being the "execution capitol" of the United States.

Besides Huntsville Prison they want to be known for the most famous resident, Sam Houston.

A little sight seeing and one more stop at Lake Livingston State Park.  All alone this time.  Maybe because the forecast for tonight is
        16 degrees!!
Wait a minute. We are south--in Texas--where the weather is warm. That's almost colder than New England.   Oh, well--only one night and then back to almost normal.