Staying Put, But Not Really

If you’re a regular visitor to our little piece of cyberspace, you’ve noticed that there aren’t as many posts appearing as last year. I guess it’s true what they say. You try to see everything the first year. By the second year, you want to make sure the trip is worth it before you go to all the trouble of packing, hooking and towing.

We landed in Quartzsite on November 16, and Pete hasn’t left the LTVA since. There are several reasons for this, a major one being the weather.

El Niño has paid us all a visit again this year, and the temperatures are running 5 to 15 degrees below seasonal average, making for somewhat cool days (around 60-65F/15-18C), nights close to freezing and more rain since we landed than we saw for the entire season last year. It’s raining as I’m writing this, and has been doing so since yesterday afternoon.

Water, Water Everywhere

Getting around today will be tricky due to filling washes and flash flooding. This is because the desert floor is so compacted, rain does not generally soak in. Instead it runs off, seeking the lowest place, which is usually a wash.

These work similar to a river system. Small washes run into bigger washes, and the bigger washes combine to make large ones. The large ones get named, just like a river. Right now we’re in the Tyson Wash LTVA, named for the large wash that runs along the back edge of the area. It goes on for miles, and can be over 10 feet deep and several hundred feet wide in areas.

Tyson Wash on a dry day.
The light colored sand is the river bottom, and the water can reach over halfway up the large rock.


Old Yuma Road this morning.

Full wash at the rear of our campsite.

Weather aside, there are other reasons we’re not moving around too much. Gas prices are higher than last year as well, although to be fair, they’ve been falling as of late. We travel to Parker (40 miles) or Yuma (80 miles) to do our shopping, a couple of times to Phoenix (130 miles) for new glasses, but otherwise, we’ve been sticking close to home.

We’re still doing renovations to Pete. We’ve removed the couch we weren’t using, and replaced it with more cupboards and about 4 feet of countertop. This makes it so much easier to cook, now that I have a workspace. We’ve removed the bunkbeds from the back room and added shelves for more storage. As I’m writing this, Mike’s tearing the useless vanity sink (it’s too small and too tight to get into) out of the bathroom. The vanity cupboard will be re-used as a new cabinet in the kitchen, the sink will be tossed, and the washing machine will be installed where the sink sat.

We’ve also been spending time on the computer, searching for work camping jobs for next summer. We’ve decided not to return to the east coast for now, but instead head for southern Alberta or B.C. There are more opportunities there for work camping, and it cuts our gas and distance by more than half, from 3200 miles to 1500. We’ve had a few nibbles from prospective employers, but nothing solid yet. Fingers crossed.

Ravishing Ruby

But out of all the reasons for staying put, Mike’s Christmas present probably has more to do with Hank and Pete getting a break than anything else.

Meet Ruby.

Ruby is a 2003 Honda Foreman Rubicon 500. When we brought her home, there was only 1400 miles on her. That number has changed somewhat. Thanks to Ruby, we now have access to fully explore the La Paz Valley and beyond. And we have.

There are literally hundreds of miles of trails criss-crossing the desert, and some of the best hidden gems are accessible only by these trails. Some are basically graded dirt roads, others are not much more than goat paths, but the views are gorgeous and the trip is always interesting. Here are a few shots from where we’ve been.

View of the LTVA from the top of Q Mountain, with the Kofa Wildlife Refuge in the distant background.

Ancient Petroglyphs

Indian Grinding Holes

The trail to Mitchell Mine.

One major thing she has opened up for us is the Arizona Peace Trail. Similar to our Trans Canada Trail at home, the AZPT is a large loop of connecting trails in western Arizona. Currently it’s over 600 miles, and when completed will be 750 miles, connecting Bullhead City to Yuma. Once finished, it will be one of the longest signed and mapped OHV trail systems in the US.

Arizona Peace Trail, heading towards Bouse.

A mature Saguaro cactus and Brittlebush flowers.

A Painted Lady butterfly feeds on Brittlebush flowers.

Closeup of a Buckhorn Cholla Cactus.

An Ocotillo soaks up the late afternoon sun.

Also, in Arizona, Ruby is street legal, complete with Arizona plates and her own insurance. So if you need gas, run out of milk, or just want to see what’s going on in town, you simply hop on and go. This feels rather strange to me, cruising around town among the cars and transports, almost like I’m getting away with something wicked.

Helmets are not mandatory unless you’re under 18. The only thing we had to add (besides registration and insurance) was a whip with a flag to make others aware of us, especially in traffic or coming out of a deep wash. The flag can be anything, as long as it’s visible. So we’ve decided to show off a little Canuck pride, and added the Maple Leaf, along with a New Brunswick flag. What it also does is start conversations, since it seems like about half of the campers down here are folks from home.

A Change of Heart

I have to admit, Ruby was bought for Mike. I felt so bad about him leaving Buddy at home this year, but Buddy is such a big bike and not made for desert driving. I can’t say I was terribly excited about the idea of bringing home a 4-wheeler. I’ve never been one for rough roads and getting knocked about. I also thought I’d probably be a grass widow with him gone on the quad all the time. But he enjoys riding so much, I couldn’t say no.

But heaven help me, Ruby has won me over. She’s so stable and sure-footed, far more comfortable than I’d imagined. I even get to drive every now and again. And the places she’s showed us, these wonderful views and interesting sites that were so close by, but we either had no way to visit, or didn’t know about them at all.

Packed up and ready for our next adventure!

So, even though it seems like we’re staying put, we’re really not. Every day is still a new adventure. It’s just a smaller rig that gets us there.

Next time: Box canyons, stone cabins and Herring Chokers.


We’d love to hear from you!
Your ideas, your questions, your thoughts, your suggestions.  What topics would you like to see us post about?  C’mon guys, I know we’re not alone out here.  Let your voice be heard!!  Comment below or message us here!
All content on this blog © (2016-2019) 2heartsand2wheels.com and Kelley and Michael Delano, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.  Should you wish to obtain permission to use any of this content, please feel free to contact us at 2heartsand2wheels@gmail.com.
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5 thoughts on “Staying Put, But Not Really

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  1. Hi Kelley and Mike, glad to see your enjoying your Arizona time, Florida has been great so far and the weather excellent.
    We are heading towards Arizona mid February, wondering if you will still be around.
    If you would like, we know of a campground that could use your help in BC. Let me know and I will sent you their contact info.
    Take care, safe travels.
    Claude and Theresa.

    Like

    1. Hi guys, so glad to hear from you! Yes, we’ll definitely be here in February, we’ll save you a spot by the campfire. By all means, please send along the contact info for the campground, we’d really appreciate it. Safe travels, see you soon! 🙂

      Like

  2. Thanks for posting. It makes us feel like we’re there too. We did two weeks in Utah in late Oct. with a rented camper van and absolutely LOVED it. We pretty much boon docked the whole time. Would do it again in a heartbeat. Stay safe and keep posting. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Guys, that’s wonderful you will still be around, maybe we can go atv’ing together. Hopefully weather will have improved, been super nice here in Florida….. the contact info for the campground job is dbidniak@gmail.com, his name is Doug and wife is Sue, the park email is tunkwappark@gmail.com but not sure if they check it very often. Good luck, great people Doug and Sue, oh and you can at from the park too. Keep in touch, see you soon.

    Liked by 2 people

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