November 13 to December 9, 2006 - Back in the Southwest

On November 13th we drove out of Big Bend National Park through Study Butte, TX and headed north.  At a rest area this homemade motorhome stopped while we were finishing lunch.  It had a back porch with a spot for a motorcycle and really did look fairly good in person.   If we would have had a few more minutes we would have talked to the driver.

After driving through Alpine and Marfa, TX for the first time we landed at Eagle's Nest RV Park in Van Horn, TX after 224 miles.  This is the same campground we stopped in March and it turned out to be the very same campsite.  Someday we will spend some time in Alpine and Marfa.


We did not unhook the car in Van Horn.  Our only outing was to walk down the street to buy some milk.

November 14 we drove towards Las Cruces, NM.  We stopped and fueled up in Anthony, TX in fierce winds and then stopped for lunch at the New Mexico Welcome Center.  At the Welcome Center Bill ran into Don, who we know from Escapees and from our last visit to Livingston, TX a couple weeks back.  A small world. 

The last 30 miles were brutal with the wind hitting us broadside, but Diane kept the motorhome under control.  After 166 miles we were again at Hacienda RV Resort, which we also last visited in March.

After many days on our own cooking we were happy to go out to dinner at La Posta de Mesilla, a favorite place.  This time we had no friends to share the place with, but we enjoyed it anyway.  The winds died down just before we headed to dinner so we were able to set up the satellite dish, that is why it is sunset when our campsite picture was taken.

The next day we tried Lorenzo's de Mesilla for Italian and it was good, but La Posta is still our favorite place in the Las Cruces area. 

Our neighbor was from Canada and used to live in the Northwest Territories.  That explains the spare tire on the roof of their Alfa See Ya motorhome, they might need a spare visiting Northwest Territories:

November 16th we drove 234 miles to Saguaro SKP Co-Op in Benson, AZ for one night.  We had last stayed here for a week in November 2004 and it was almost criminal to just make it an overnight. 

November 17th we drove 181 miles to our short time destination, Carefree Manor in Apache Junction, AZ.  This is a place we have stayed many times before and the last time was in March.  We were parked next to our friends Larry and Connie, you can just see their motorhome to the drivers side of ours:

We had last seen Larry and Connie in October in Rapid City.  Here they are taking advantage of the shade our motorhome provides.  In the picture are George, who you can just see his hair, Diane, just the top of her head, Connie, Larry and Bill's empty seat while he takes the picture.  We were all celebrating the good life.

We shopped, we visited, and we ate while in Apache Junction.  We added a new restaurant to our list of good ones, The Good Egg.  It is a small chain that only serves breakfast and lunch and they do it well.  We were glad to find the California restaurant chain, Islands, had a location in Mesa.

We had sent our mail to Congress, AZ so we could have Thanksgiving there and visit some friends.  Then we learned that both sets of friends were going to be somewhere else for Thanksgiving and we wished we had not sent the mail to Congress and stayed and visited with Larry and Connie some more.

On November 21st we headed to Escapees North Ranch in Congress, AZ and after 113 miles here we were.  We had last visited in November 2004.

Here is the view of the campground area:

There were birds so Evita was happy:

Our friends Bill and Barb, who we last saw in Dawson City, YT, were still here so we got a short visit in.  Maybe it was OK we came here since we caught Bill and Barb before they headed out.

Thanksgiving dinner was good and we also got to see Denny and Susie, who we last saw in Livingston, TX.

We did get one meal in town and it was a good one, El Ranchero in Wickenburg was a 4-star Mexican restaurant.

We called to get some work done on our solar and battery systems and were surprised they wanted us in Lake Havasu City on Saturday so on November 24th we headed to Craggy Wash BLM just north of Lake Havasu City and dry camped.  It was 161 miles and Craggy Wash is far from level.  It took us a while to find a spot to camp:

The photo shows us all set up, but it wasn't easy.  While maneuvering around a leveling jack spring came loose.  One of the campers, Joe, helped Bill get it back on.  It was not easy and we were glad Joe had a bottle jack.  We are going to get our pry bar out of storage next time we are in Washington State since that is how we fixed the same problem in April.

We did have a view of this arch and when the light was right we could see Lake Havasu (the Colorado River).

Saturday morning Alan came out and talked to us about our solar and battery system. 

We got to know Joe quite well and found out he is a vendor at Quartzsite.  Here is his rig:

He had a really nice kitten who he had not yet named:

We agreed to see Joe again in Quartzsite.  He watched out for us and we watched out for him while we were both camped at Craggy Wash.

November 27th we moved to CRA Lake Havasu RV Resort, a whole three miles away.  We were unable to stay here during Thanksgiving weekend due to non-members being blacked out.  The fifth wheel in the second picture is Robbie and Alice's, a couple Bill corresponded with on the internet and we were happy to meet. 

We had asked to be close to Robbie and Alice so we could not complain the campsite was not very level.  We had to put the back wheels on blocks:

We decided to take some action on our solar and battery situation and called up Alan to have something installed.  We decided the main thing we needed was better numbers so on Wednesday he came and installed a battery meter.  The model is a Xantrex XM500A.  It tells us how many amps are going in or out of the batteries, the voltages, and cumulative values on the batteries.  During the install the wind was very bad and Bill and Alan got sandblasted.

Here is the battery meter showing voltages just over the solar controller which is also showing voltages:

We didn't play tourist in Lake Havasu City even though it was our first time camping here.  We had visited before on a day trip in December 2004 while staying in Bullhead City.

We did find two 3-star restaurants, Mudshark Brewing Co and China Buffet along with enjoying the chain Black Bear Diner again.

Talking about Bullhead City, that was our next destination.  On November 30th we drove 62 miles to Ridgeview Resort in Bullhead City, where we last stayed in December 2004.

There was persistent high pressure up north much of our visit to Bullhead City, so it was windy most days.

December 1st we explored Oatman

This is a green and gold 2003 National RV Tradewinds LTC, the motorhome we were going to buy if they made it in 2004.  But they quit making this motorhome and we looked at others.  In retrospect we are glad we bought a Dutch Star instead of one of these, the Dutch Star is nicer and put together better.  Bill talked to the couple that owned the motorhome and they were not that happy with it and were going to sell it after the winter was over.  It was the same floorplan and maple interior we were thinking about.

We saw this Newell motorhome in town and had to take a picture of the color scheme.

Laughlin, NV views from the campground

Evita didn't much like the wind at Bullhead City so she lazed around inside. 

December 7th we drove the motorhome 12 miles down to Fort Mohave and Mohave RV Repair to get our power awning fixed, our annual refrigerator service and to get the towing plug fixed on the car.  Once Bill got a look at the replacement towing plug he realized he could do the work himself, but they told him we were paying for an hour and there was time in the hour to do the refrigerator service and replace the towing plug.  The awning was under warranty and it did mess up for the tech.  They concluded it was the motor and they had to order the part.  We will be coming back sometime in 2007 to get the motor replaced.  We really liked Mohave RV Repair.  They didn't mind if we were in the motorhome, they didn't mind if Evita was in the motorhome, and they were easy to deal with and reasonably priced.  We also bought replacement light bulbs from them since they had them at better prices than we had seen.  We are going to make a detour to have the awning fixed, but we know they will do a good job.

December 8th we drove 148 miles, some of it through Las Vegas, to Charleston Peak RV Resort in Pahrump, NV:

This is the same campground we stayed at just after Death Valley in December 2004.   In 2004 it was a 155 mile drive between Bullhead City and Pahrump.  We think having I-215 finished in Las Vegas helped us cut a few miles off this year.   As before Charleston Peak was not full:

We met up with Roger and Toni for lunch at Terrible's Town Casino where they had 2-for-1 coupons at the buffet.  It was good and the company so good we moved to their fifth wheel and continued visiting until close to dusk.  We had last seen Roger and Toni in Whitehorse, YT where we were parked next door.

Pahrump weather was clear and calm, though a bit cooler than Bullhead City being about 2,000 feet higher in elevation.

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