We made several trips to the RV show in Quartzsite & bought some items that we may or may not have really needed [Jeff a new billfold & a leather necklace for his wedding ring; a new patio mat; sun screen window shades; a portable battery for cell fon/MiFi charging; & 2 much-needed bed pillows]. We also made a day trip north to Parker (for Wal-Mart) & then Havasu Lake City for dog food & to view the London Bridge. There are lots & lots of nice campgrounds along the Colorado River, but mostly on the CA side.
We finally pulled out of Quartzsite tho after 10 days. Although Jeff never really had “the flu” like I did (with a fever), we neither one could get rid of the Quartzsite crud (as someone called the effect of all the dust). We’ll return in a few weeks for the Casita rally at Dome Rock for a few days, so hope not to get this cough back again. For now. . .we’re heading to California, San Diego in particular, to visit Jeff’s sister who he hasn’t seen for a decade or so.
We got gas before leaving AZ & headed west on I-10. Egads that’s a more desolate stretch of highway than anywhere in western KS or TX. Finally we arrived at the turn off for Joshua Tree National Park. We drove forever it seemed into the Park & finally found the southern visitor’s center. We camped for the night near the center ($7.50 half price with my America the Beautiful card) & dumped our tanks before setting up. The sites were blacktopped (much preferred over the sand we’d had at Q), but were so short we had to disconnect our small trailer from the truck just to fit into the space. AND. . .there was no cell fon service. I know, I know, who cares. Well I hadn’t prepared my dad during the previous night’s phone call that we may not have cell svc this night, so I worried all night about him stressing over not hearing from me. All was good — he’d already figured it out when I called him the next morning. We parked near a bathroom that had a wonderful clean, tiled floor, but for some reason, there were NO paper towels or way to dry your hands of any sort. Weird.
Unfortunately, we viewed a tad too much television a few days before at Q & neither the solar panels nor driving the truck had the batteries charged up enough to run the inverter to watch TV at Joshua Tree NP. It was just not a pleasant camping experience all the way around for me that night.
The next morning, we boogied north on thru the Park & FINALLY got to see some actual Joshua trees, although there were many more located in the towns of Joshua Tree & Yucca Valley north of the Park on Hwy 62. Wish we’d camped at the northern part of the Park.
We stopped to view a cholla cactus garden. OMG, those are some dangerous little pieces of work!
Also viewed some massive pillow rocks on the north half of the park.
We zipped on out the north gate tho without getting too impressed with much of anything. This is the first national park we’ve been disappointed with. Jeff was stationed at Twentynine Palms in the Air Force & was surprised at how much the area had grown (well duh).
So hoping to find something more appealing about California than we’d seen so far, we headed west around a mountain range, jumped back on I-10, & then south along the Salton Sea. Read about it, saw photos, but somehow just didn’t seem all that appealing from the road. Big body of water, but I didn’t want to chance the smell. The date palm “farms” along the way were gorgeous tho.
We finally found our way to Anza-Borrego State Park to hook up to electricity & get our batteries fully charged. Nice park, interesting mountains around it, expensive, but the bathrooms had no soap. What the heck! I don’t mean to kick sand in anyone’s Cheerios, but this Missouri farm gal is really needing a “green grass & real trees” fix by now after all this open space, sand, & scrub brush! I haven’t really seen much that appeals to my photographer’s eye either in the past several weeks & I’m still coughing up dust in the middle of the night! The morning sunrise was impressive tho as I sat outside drinking my coffee.
Finally we headed west on Hwy 78 from Borrego Springs & climbed up the most fantastic green, full of trees canyon to get to Julian CA before heading south on Hwy 79 to pick up I-8. Now THAT is a gorgeous drive thru beautiful scenery!
Found our way to Jeff’s sister’s house in very, very busy & crowded San Diego. Loved the green grass & trees at her house. I needed that! We did a lot of sightseeing & eating out & had a great visit. It was good to see San Diego again too! It was cloudy tho & then actually drizzled on us most of the time there. That was nice too.
We headed east then on I-8 from San Diego & spent the night in Yuma’s Wal-Mart parking lot cause we weren’t sure where we wanted to go. Continuing east with no real destination, we accidentally made our way to Painted Rocks BLM (boondocking) campground (@ $4/night with senior pass) WNW of Gila Bend AZ.
Now THIS was a pleasant piece of desert land, ringed with lumpy mountains, gravel based area, a tree-lined wash behind our campsite, no winter time limit, not crowded, & decent cell/internet connection.
I even had to dig out a pair of shorts to wear the first afternoon there even tho it was cloudy. AND. . .those clouds brought a peaceful rain that night & most of the next day. Sure was nice sitting under my awning listening to the pitter pat of rain as I read my email.
We’re still deciding where to go from here other than in the general vicinity of Phoenix then back to Quartzsite. We’ll head southeasterly after the Casita rally to see Ajo, Tuscon, Tombstone, Why, & Bisbee before leaving Arizona for this winter. This sleeping with the windows open & no nighttime heat needed is fantastic. THAT’s the kind of winter we were hoping for!!