Fortuna De Oro & Castle Dome City (Yuma, AZ)

[(Warning! – lots of pics)  Go to the website for easier viewing.]

On one of our visits to the “big tent” in Quartzsite we got a promotional coupon from one of the vendors, Fortuna De Oro RV Resort.     They were offering a free 4 day, 3 night stay at their resort in Yuma.

Their website claims; “A place to call home! Discover Fortuna De Oro under an open sky. With over 1,200 sites, a 9-hole golf course, full-size softball field, brand new sports complex featuring tennis, pickleball, bocce ball, shuffleboard, and horseshoes, two pools with spas, and an on-site restaurant, you will love what this 5-Star resort has to offer.”

Several other Alpine Coach Owners expressed interest in taking advantage of this offer, so we decided to head South to join them.  They departed on Monday.  We left our desert campsite on Tuesday morning after it dried out.  It had been raining a little overnight, just enough to make it muddy in spots.

We passed the Quartzsite “big tent” on our way through town.  The show was over on Sunday.  It sure looks different already with all the RVs and outside vendors gone.

The Quartzsite “big tent” after the show.

We got to the RV Park without any trouble, thanks to the Rand-McNally GPS.  We checked in, presented our coupon for the 3 free nights, and were directed to a site.  There was someone in that site.  So we disconnected the truck and drove back to the office to get another site.  Our new site was much better.  It was near the end of the row instead of the middle and closer to the dog park.  This park has some long streets, er, rows.


Here’s our spot.  It sure was nice to plug in for a change and not worry about draining the batteries too much with the Keurig coffee maker or microwave, etc.,  We also performed a much-needed sewer dump after our > weeklong boondocking stay in the desert.IMG_2768


The resort is really nice.  But at $40 a night, a little too pricey for us if we want to stay on budget.  Thank goodness for the free promo.  The weekly or monthly rate is a little more palatable, maybe sometime in the future.





On Thursday, we jumped in the Silverado and drove back up I-95 for 20-30 miles to visit the Yuma Proving Grounds that we passed on the way down here.  The Military Fam Camp there has an opening on the 1st of February, their weekly rate was reasonable, so we checked it out and reserved a spot.  After gassing up the truck on base and visiting the tank display near the entrance gate, we decided to head over to Castle Dome City that was nearby.

This place had a $10 per person entrance fee.  It was a nice way to spend the day.  Check out the different links here, or here.  The youtube video is really well done.  Enjoy the pics:





Here was a room full of handwritten messages in the “veteran building”.


I added my “2-cents” to a blank spot on the wall.


Here’s another room that was full of business cards.


We added our card to the wall here as well.




Stepping up to the bar.










Isn’t this the title to a movie?



There was even an old service station with lots of cool memorabilia.


They even had golf carts back in the day.



There was a separate portion of the tour across the main dirt road from the city “museum” proper.  Here’s the entrance sign.


And this is the result if you don’t pay the entrance fee at the museum 🙂IMG_5977









Another fun day!

Stay tuned… we head over to the Cocopah Casino & RV Park after our stay here at the Fortuna De Oro .



More Desert Fun – Vendors and ATVs (Quartzsite, AZ)

As mentioned in my last post, my brother Steve and his longtime girlfriend Cheryl as well as my Mom and Stepdad Jim arrived Friday evening from Casa Grande to camp out with us for the weekend.

On Saturday, we drove into Quartzsite to check out all the vendors.  This was their first time here.  We literally spent all day walking through the “big tent” and adjoining vendor areas.  I didn’t take many pics – so, if a couple of the following look familiar, it’s because I reutilized the same ones from the last time we were here.  Trust me – it didn’t change much… just as crowded as ever 🙂

Quartzsite vendor area near the “big tent”
RVs for sale at the Quartzsite Show


Vendor area near the “big tent” in Quartzsite. Notice the Beer Belly Adult Day Care bar area 🙂

We found a vendor that sold the same dog pack that Stilla and I purchased when we were in Oregon.  It’s really handy for those times when it’s crowded and you can’t use a leash.  So my brother and mom each purchased one of the packs called; “Outward Hound“.  Too bad we didn’t see the cheaper price on  Oh well, someone has to support those local vendors or else we wouldn’t have any shows to go to, right?

Men wearing Poms

I also found a decent deal on an ATV flag which I am carrying in the picture above.  I guess I felt that I was missing something because the last time we rode with a group, because everyone had one of these flags except me.  I understand it is a requirement if we go to the sand dunes near here.

After we completed our Saturday shopping day, on Sunday we took the ATVs into the hills just East of our campsite.  Cheryl didn’t feel up to it so she stayed at the campsite and watched the dogs.

We primarily stuck to the major trails and found a few abandoned mine shafts that we briefly explored.



After a while we came across one of the many dry river beds, aka “washes” and followed it until we lost any evidence of a trail.  We ended up using the GPS to “bushwhack” cross country to get back to a road.  Good times… loads of fun!


Brother Steve only knows one speed – Fast!

Here we are taking a snack and refreshment break.


And all good things have to come to an end 🙁

Here they are packed up again and ready to roll back to Casa Grande on Monday.


It was great that they were able to come out here for the weekend.  This was the first time in ages that they got out on the ATVs.  They just get too busy at the “dirt farm”.  I wish they could have stayed longer.  We’re not sure when we’ll get back to Casa Grande.  We signed up for the Fireworks show in Lake Havasu starting February 11th.  So we plan on just killing time in the Yuma area until then… maybe we’ll head back to Casa Grande after the fireworks.

For my next post, we headed on down to Yuma because; 1) we’ve never been, and 2) we got 3 free nights at the Fortuna de Oro RV Resort.  A few of our fellow Alpiner’s are already down there taking advantage of that, so stay tuned…


Eating Some Dust, ATVing (Quartzsite, AZ)

On Thursday we got a call from fellow Alpine Coach Association member (Tom Polk).  He had left the Rally Site the previous day to join some other friends at a RV Resort in the town of Quartzsite.  He invited us to go on an ATV ride with himself and some other friends that were at the resort.  So, on Friday, we got an early start around 8:30, and rode the ATV into town to meet the group.

For those of you that haven’t spent any time in the desert before, trust me – It can get really cold at night and in the early morning!  We rode the ATV about 10 miles to the designated start point, and it felt like our fingers had frozen, even with our gloves on!  Of course, we were doing about 45 mph or faster at times in order to get there on time.

Once we were in town, I noticed that one of my front tires was really low on air.  I could feel it wallowing around when we took corners on the asphalt streets.  It wasn’t so noticeable when we were still on the dirt and rock trails.  Luckily, one of the riding group members had an air compressor in his casita/garage.  The mini-compressor that I have been carrying around in the back of the ATV all these years didn’t work when I plugged it into the cigarette lighter-type outlet on the dash of the Can-Am ATV.  🙂  Good thing I found out it didn’t work while we were still in civilization – instead of when we were out in the middle of nowhere.

Anyway, we hit the trails with the group without further delay.  Stilla was able to take some pics while we were riding throughout the day:


This portion of our trail was like a super-highway… not entirely typical of the trails that we rode that day.

We had four ATVs in our group for the day.



We had to keep a little distance between vehicles to keep from eating too much dust.


Typical desert scenery.



Here we are traveling through a scenic wash.  We did that several times throughout the day.  Good thing it wasn’t raining, eh?


We even did a little boulder hopping.


Here are our ATV’s in a circle, during one of our breaks throughout the day.



The town of Quartzsite is in the background behind that hill in the middle.


Everyone had a side-by-side ATV except for us.  It seems that most folks are trending towards these type of off road vehicles (OHVs) nowadays.  I still like to have the ability to “jump off” the ATV when you get into big trouble… you can’t do that with a side-by-side.  Those side-by-sides are sure cool though… almost makes you wonder why anyone would buy a Jeep anymore.  I said “almost”.


One of our “breaks” during the day was at a lonesome “cabin” in the middle of nowhere.  It even had a name – I believe I was told it’s called “Moe’s Cabin”.  We took time to eat the lunch we had packed with us.  There was even a picnic table and a couple lounge chairs outside the cabin.  Fellow Alpine Coach driver “Steve” is on the left and “Tom Polk” is on the right.


Undergarments hanging on the porch at “Moe’s Cabin”
Entrance to “Moe’s Cabin”

This cabin had all sort of bric-a-brac and memorabilia inside.  It seems that folks leave odd items all the time.  Someone said that there used to be a couple mannequins there, but they probably got swiped.  I added one of our non-business “business cards” to the collection on one of the walls.


Strange and unique items left inside “Moe’s Cabin”




The cabin even had a satellite dish 🙂


We ate a lot of dust but had a lot of fun… what a fun day!  Thanks for inviting us along Tom Polk!


We made it back to the starting point in town by 3 PM.  It was about a 45 mile trail ride, but when we add the distance traveled to and from our campsite out in the desert North of town – we had put on 65 miles for the day!

After we said our goodbyes to the group, we headed back out to our campsite in the desert.  We made it back by 4 PM and let our little dog “Coach” out of the Coach.  Boy was he happy to see us!  He did just fine during the day.

By 4:30 or 5 PM, we heard from my brother Steve, his long-time girlfriend Cheryl, along with my Mom and Stepdad, Jim… they were enroute to join us for the weekend!  They had left Casa Grande earlier in the afternoon with their pickup camper towing a trailer full of ATV’s.  They found us without much trouble and we had a happy reunion.

We all piled into my pickup after I emptied the back seat and drove to the Grubstake Restaurant in Quartzsite for dinner.  Almost a big mistake… it was great food, especially the fish dinner.  But it was so crowded that we had to sit outside in the chilly evening air and we waited about 2 hours to get our meals!  We didn’t even get the meals at the same time, they brought them out piece-meal.  Oh well, it was still great to have them join us here in the desert 🙂

We made plans to visit the “big vendor tent” in the morning (Saturday) and decided to save an ATV ride for Sunday… but I’ll put that in my next post.  Stay tuned for more desert fun…


More Desert Rat Rally XIV (Quartzsite, AZ)

We’ve been so busy having fun that I haven’t posted in a while.  So, I’m forcing myself to get caught up a little bit this morning.  Here we go…

In my last post, I mentioned that we had some work done on the coach while sitting here in the desert.  On Monday, fellow Alpine SoCal member (Mike Fleming), aka “Engineer Mike” installed my steering gearbox bracket stiffener.  I purchased this bracket almost three years ago, but have been carrying it around in the “basement” since then – waiting for the opportunity to install.  Some Alpine Coaches have experienced stress cracks on the OEM steering gear bracket after a lot of miles, or for whatever reason…  Although the Urban Escape Vehicle didn’t show any evidence of needing this upgrade, I still decided to “insure” against this happening in the future by getting it done.  “Engineer Mike” personally designed and had this kit fabricated – so who better to install it.   Here’s a couple pics of the work:

Engineer Mike in his all-to-familiar pose during Rallies.
The OEM Hauck bolts had to be grinded off.
David and Engineer Mike. Getting the Steering Bracket Upgrade completed.

After Engineer Mike finished up with the bracket, Thanks Engineer Mike!!  I then utilized the expert services of another Alpine SoCal member, (Orman Claxton).  Orman is a factory trained and certified Aqua-Hot technician.  It’s important to have the unit serviced each year to keep it running well.  And, we used the heck out of it back in Colorado during all the recent cold winter weather.  This is the type of service that I would normally do myself, but I decided to have the “expert” do it for me while I had the chance so I could watch and learn.  Orman replaced the diesel filter and nozzle.  He also adjusted the ignitor and replaced a worn housing gasket while I got training on cleaning the combustion chamber 🙂  Thanks Orman!!

Orman Claxton performing Aqua-Hot service on the Urban Escape Vehicle.

Whenever there’s work going on, a crowd always gathers.  It’s mandatory for guys… just like when a hood goes up on a cool car.



After a full day of getting stuff done on the Coach.  We went straight to the tent for another catered dinner.  Great BBQ ribs and chicken was had by all.  Sorry, no new pics of that –  you have to take my word for it – very tasty!  And they packaged up leftovers for anyone who wanted them 🙂

After our dinner, we joined others from our group at one of the community campfires.  We did this almost every night.  Here’s a pic in front of the fire of our nearest neighbors that we joined most evenings.  See you next time Jim and Sally, Greg, Igor, et al., …


On Wednesday, or was it Tuesday(?)   Hmmmm, it’s all a blur now, we finally left our group campsite out in the desert and went into Quartzsite to see the “Big Tent”.  We spent most of the day wandering through all the vendor stalls.






I forgot to take a picture of the “Big Tent”, you’ll just have to take my word for it – it’s huge… you could easily spend all day in there.  Although, I couldn’t help but notice that there seemed to be much more non-RV-related vendors than in years past.  A little unfortunate in my opinion, but the female-types seemed to like that.

When we returned to our desert group site, we were invited to join many of the Alpine Coach group members for a dinner in town at Silly Al’s Pizza.

Sign on North-side of town.

It was crowded in Silly Al’s but we amused ourselves with the good company and some Karaoke (performed by others of course), while we waited for our Pizza.




Pizza at Silly Al’s

The Pizza was awesome… worth the wait.  Or could it have been the long wait that made it so good?  Naw, it was really good!  We’ll come back here.

By Wednesday morning,  most Alpine Coaches had already left… I remember hearing that we had 73 Coaches in attendance.  Too bad we arrived so late to the Rally, but it couldn’t be helped with all we had to do at the house and the bad weather we experienced back in Colorado.

That’s all the update for now… I’ll catch you up on the rest of the week next time.  We had my Mom, Stepdad, Brother Steve & Cheryl come by with their ATV’s for the weekend and we also went ATV’ing  with some Alpine Coach group members before that.  I’ll post about it next time – Good times!

Desert Rat Rally XIV (Quartzsite, AZ)

Well, we made it!  Here we are at our premier spot in the desert, just North of Quartzsite, AZ.



We got here just in time on Sunday to partake in the Margherita Mixer Hour and then the catered Mexican dinner from Taco Mio.   Good times!  But, first let me bring you up to speed on our trip here.

As mentioned in my last post, we got the Harley downloaded from the truck and uploaded the ATV at my brother’s “dirt farm” in Casa Grande.

IMG_5734 IMG_5737 IMG_5738

After making sure everything was properly stowed again after our one night stay at the “dirt farm”, we headed out for the ~3 hour road trip to meet up with the Alpine Coach group at the rally that was already in full swing since the 14th of January.  We got here mid-afternoon and had just enough time to set up “camp” before we went into the giant tent that our group had rented.

It was great catching up with all the people from past rallies.  Many wondered where we had been.  The camp co-host, Ann Fleming, even provided Stilla with extra tickets for Margherita’s since we won the “award” for being last 🙂

Here’s a few pics from the inside of our huge dinner tent.  I took more pics, but unfortunately many were blurry, just a few came out alright:

IMG_5760 IMG_5759 IMG_5751

On Monday, Stilla and I, both took pictures around our boondocking site throughout the day:

Our Alpine Coach Association, Desert Rat Rally XIV, community tent.







Also, on Monday – I had some work done on the coach, but I’ll save that for my next post… the sun has been out for a while now, and I have to get on with the day.  So much to see and do…

I will post again tomorrow to bring you up to speed on activities since Monday… until then 🙂

We’re late, We’re late, for a very important date… (Casa Grande, AZ)

It took a lot of work… but we’re finally back on the road!  Goodbye ol’ house 😐


On Thursday, with the help of my Dad, (Thanks again Dad!) we finished up some last minute details on the house and then concentrated on loading the Harley into the pickup along with any last minute forgotten items.  Back at the Elks Lodge, Stilla had some of her German friends come by the Coach to say goodbye.


On Friday morning, (our travel day), I found myself up on a ladder trying to get as much ice off the roof as I could.  I had to use a hair-dryer and broom to get the chunks of ice off the slideout awnings so we could retract them.  I gave up trying to get the ice off the roof.  A lot of the snow had melted the previous day and turned into 1 – 2 inch thick ice that stubbornly refused to break up and fall off.




While I was working on the ice problem, good friend Danny surprised us by stopping by to say goodbye.  Bye Dan! We’ll keep in touch.

We finally decided it was best for Stilla to follow me (at a safe distance) in the truck.  I didn’t want any of the ice chunks falling off and going through the truck windshield.  So, down the road we went… with ice chunks slowly melting and falling onto the highway behind us… goodbye cold Colorado… we’ll see you again when it’s warmer.

It took 70 miles before enough ice had fallen off the roof of the Coach so we could hook up the truck up for towing.  We even stopped at the rest stop just before Pueblo, where I got out the ladder and tried to break up some of the ice, but it was still too thick.

Just as it was becoming dusk, we stopped at the casino/gas station after Santa Fe but before Albuquerque to get fuel and noticed that my running lights weren’t working on the truck.  The brake lights and turn signals were fine, but the driving lights wouldn’t come on.  I’ve had this problem before.  I think it has to do with the Vansco Multiplex system the Coach employs.  I’ll have to work on it once we get to Quartzsite.  Since we didn’t have tail lights on the truck, and I didn’t want to just hook up an emergency flasher light, (which I carry), we decided to spend the night at the casino.

They charge $20 for electrical hook-up at the casino but gave us each a $10 players card.  We enjoyed their buffet for $20 and spent another $20 playing the slots.  Fortunately, we won just a little at the slot machines so we pretty much broke even by spending the night there.

On Saturday morning we got rolling about an hour after the sun had come over the horizon.  We made it to Casa Grande just as it was getting dark again.  Whew!  Time to refresh ourselves for the night, catch up with brother Steve & Cheryl, Mom and Stepdad Jimmy.

This morning, (Sunday), I’ll download the Harley from the truck and upload the ATV which has been stored here at the farm.  Hopefully, we can make it to Quartzsite at a reasonable time this afternoon.  The party already started there and we’re late…  I’ve already heard from some of the Alpine Coach group that are there, hope they saved us a spot in the desert 🙂


There and Back Again (Colorado Springs, CO)

We made the final road trip to Casa Grande on Sunday with “stuff”… made it back to COS on Tuesday.

Cloud bank coming over mountains near Santa Fe NM

On Sunday: We, (Stilla, Little dog “Coach”, and I), left our house at 6 AM after hooking up the fully-loaded trailer and made it to Casa Grande by 9 PM.  After 15 hours of driving, we met my Mom, Stepdad (Jimmy), Brother Steve and his squeeze (Cheryl), for a late-night dinner at the Iron Skillet Restaurant just South of Casa Grande. The 900 mile trip down here took us 15 hours and we only got 9.2 miles per gallon with the heavy load.  Every time we pull the trailer, it’s like having an open parachute behind you.

After a good night’s sleep at the “dirt farm” in my Mom’s house, we spent Monday recuperating from the trip.  We also downloaded a few items from the trailer to the Conex.  Most items, we left in the trailer.  Then we gave the trailer a good washing with my brother’s pressure washer.  It also took a good amount of carwash soap, buckets and ladders to clean off all the road-grime and magnesium chloride.  That magnesium chloride is nasty stuff.  They put it on the roads for ice control and it’s hard to get off the under-components of your vehicle.  The stainless-steel wrap on the front of the trailer and fenders have spots all over that will have to be buffed out now to get rid of the effects of the stuff.  We parked and locked up the trailer in a safe spot on the farm.  (Thanks Steve, Cheryl, Mom & Jimmy)!

On Monday:  We got a 6 AM start back to Colorado Springs.  What a difference without the trailer (parachute) behind us… we made the 900 mile trip back to COS by 8 PM and we got a much more palatable 14.8 miles per gallon 🙂

On Tuesday:  We picked up my 90 day refill of meds from the Ft Carson hospital that I had requested the week prior and we stopped by Home Depot (again) for a couple last minute things to finish up the house that’s for sale.  I had to special order some 3-toggle light switch plates that they didn’t keep in stock… I needed them to match the others that we had already replaced.  I also finally finished up the carpet and trim pieces on the garage steps, which is yet another home project that I never got around to completing when we lived there.  Now, if the weather would just cooperate, I can finish staining the rear deck and painting the front porch.  These are the last items on our list to complete so we can head South.  Hopefully we can complete this quickly and hit the road with the Urban Escape Vehicle.  We’re late for the Alpine Coach Rally in Quartzsite.

Looking West from the driveway – For Sale sign in yard.
inner garage door steps (finally completed trim pieces and tacked down carpet)
front porch with partially completed concrete paint (using “Restore” product from Home Depot)

With any luck, my next post will be coming to you from the warm Arizona desert 🙂

BTW- If anyone else out there is selling a house, beware of scam artists on Craigslist.  We had someone use our pics and name to represent it as a rental… hoping to con someone into sending them a deposit.  My realtor found and fixed this on Craigslist but not before someone stopped by to look at the “rental”.  I guess these scumbags try to get people to come by and look at the house through the windows, and when contacted, the scumbag says he’s out of town, but if you send him a deposit to secure the rental – he’ll send them the rental contract and keys…  scumbags!

House for Sale (Colorado Springs, CO)

Yay!  We finally got the house on the market.  Link here to Zillow. Or here for the MLS.

1111 Hill Mesa Pic


It’s been a grueling couple months… Now we can just hope it sells quickly.

Regardless, it’s time to move the Urban Escape Vehicle to warmer climes.  We plan on being in Quartzsite by the 14th or 15th for the Alpine Coach “Desert Rat Rally”.

I still have to make one more trip with the trailer to Casa Grande AZ.  I already loaded it with the final garage stuff (tool boxes, wall lockers, etc.,) and will probably head down in a day or two.  I’ll leave the trailer there this time and come back to get the coach and the Harley… then we’ll be free again!!  Can’t wait.