Alamo Lake State Park (AZ)

Sorry readers… haven’t been able to post since we got to Alamo Lake State Park last Thursday due to limited connectivity.  Our Verizon MiFi Jetpack had zero signal and our iPhones on the AT&T network only had one bar and we were “off network”.  We were lucky to even be able to make phone calls.

We are now in Prescott Valley at the home of Scott and Julie Richardson.  Julie is a friend and former co-worker from my days at the Missile Defense Agency (MDA).  We were both in the MDA Contracting Directorate together at Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado Springs.  Julie retired at about the same time that I resigned from my position back in May of 2014 and moved here to their lovely retirement home in Prescott Valley, AZ.  We drove straight here from the lake (about 150 miles) when we learned that they were home and also willing to put up with us for a day or so.

Scott & Julie Richardson at their “retirement ranch” in Prescott Valley, AZ.

Plus – They have great internet connectivity 🙂

But first, let me bring you up to date with our adventure(s) since I last posted.   It’s been a fun week with lots of off-roading on the ATV and even some fishing in the Sea-Eagle inflatable…

19 Feb (Thursday):

We got ready to leave Havasu Springs Resort and I noticed one of the tires was low on the Silverado.  It was only at 20 psi, it should have been at 35 psi.  The truck has a built-in sensor in each tire that alerts the driver on the instrument panel when it’s started or while driving.  At the same time, one of the rear tires on the Coach was reading about 85 psi and it should be at 95 psi.  I have a tire pressure monitoring system from Pressure Pro that I bought shortly after we got the Coach.  It has sensors that replace the valve caps on each tire.  Each of these valve caps have a non-replaceable battery in them that send a wireless signal to my display that I plug into a cigarette-type power outlet each time we get ready to roll.  This particular tire, a rear inner dual, has been slowly leaking down (2-3 psi each month) since I last filled it in Colorado Springs back in January.  I’ve had this problem before on the opposite side inner-rear tire.  It seems that Redlands Truck & RV didn’t properly tighten the stainless steel valve stem extenders that I had them install a couple years ago while we were in Quartzsite having new shocks put on.  The only way to tighten the valve stem is to remove the tire.

So, I used a can of Fix-a-Flat that I keep on hand, for the Silverado tire and then topped it off with my air hose connected to the Coach’s on-board air compressor.  With that done, we hooked up and headed into Parker AZ, only a few miles away, to find a tire repair shop for both vehicles.


After a quick stop at an RV Supply store to ask for recommendations and directions, we were directed to a small garage/service shop in downtown Parker.  The tire technician couldn’t find a leak on the Silverado… guess the can of Fix-a-Flat did it’s job.   They even pulled off both rear tires and leak-checked them.  Although, this was due to miscommunication between their techs.  Oh well – Total cost was only $13.


While a tire technician was working on the Silverado, another one made good time removing the rear tires on the Coach.  He was amazed that I was able to use the HWH leveling jacks to raise the right rear of the coach when it was obvious his hydraulic floor jack wasn’t up to the task.  Once the inner tire was off, we quickly confirmed that the valve stem was leaking by using a soapy water solution in a spray bottle.  The leak was evident where the valve stem goes through the rim, and was made worse by wiggling the stem.  A quick tighten was all that it needed.  Total cost $14.

With our tire situation resolved, we stopped at the local WalMart to stock up on groceries for our week at Alamo Lake State Park.  We were told about this state park by our new friend and fellow Alpine Coach driver, Nick Escamilla.  We met Nick at the Fireworks Rally that we had just attended (link here).  Nick and his wife Romana did an awesome job hosting the rally.  They told us they had spent a week at the park prior to going to the Fireworks Rally and said it was a “must-see” for anyone that likes ATV’ing and fishing.  But they warned us to take everything we might need in with us, because it’s about 35 miles from the nearest gas station or grocery store.

I made online reservations for the park and was able to find what looked like a good spot in the C loop for the 20th through the 27th.  The park has different rates for different areas, depending on whether you want full hook-ups, just electric and water, or are willing to dry-camp.  We followed Nick’s advice and reserved a spot in the C loop.  Our cost was $22 per night for 30 amp electric and water hook-up.

So, we headed south out of Parker and turned east on 60.  We figured we would find an overnight spot somewhere on our way there since it was still the19th and our reserved site wasn’t available until the 20th.  However, after passing several opportunities that just didn’t have that “it” factor we quickly found ourselves at the turn-off to Alamo Lake at the town of Wendon.  So we decided to just head on up north towards the lake.


After traveling the 35 miles or so up to the lake, we still hadn’t seen any spots to spend the night at, so we ended up at the ranger station and asked the nice ranger guy if a spot was available for the night.  Our reservation wasn’t until tomorrow and the spot was currently occupied by someone else, but the site across from them was open.


The park ranger directed us into the site across from our reserved spot and told us that when the current occupants leave our reserved spot in the morning, to just move on over and then come back to the ranger station to settle up the extra night’s cost.

20 Feb (Friday)

On Friday morning, the occupants in the site across from us left early in the morning, so we moved on over, put up the flagpole, set out the tablecloth, and put up Stilla’s chili pepper/cactus awning lights since we were going to stay put for a while…  Nice spot with nice views!  We even have a few Saguaro cacti in the back yard.


Then we went back to the ranger station / general store to pay for the additional night and got I also broke down and got an Arizona fishing license for $55.  The general store portion of the ranger station had plenty of basic commodities, like milk, cereal, drinks and ice cream.  But I was certainly glad we had already stocked up on food after seeing the prices.


Here’s a layout of the parks campsite loops.  We are now in site C34.


And here’s a bonus… it’s a hand-drawn map of the area ATV trails and significant destinations, courtesy of the nice ranger guy.


We took the pickup and toured around all the campgrounds and quickly decided we liked our choice of spots.  We even drove over to check out the dam.




Here’s Stilla and little Coach with Alamo Lake in the background.  You can tell the water level is low.


After we got back from touring the campground loops and the dam, we downloaded the ATV and rode down to the lake.IMG_6765



We found out that there is a dirt road that bypasses the state park campground and leads to many  boondocking spots.  Oh well, maybe next time… it’s nice to have electricity sometimes.



Back at our campsite, we relaxed for the evening.  Nice view eh?


And Stilla made us some Nacho plates for our own personal “Happy Hour”.


Well, gotta go now… Scott and Julie are going to show us around the Prescott Valley area… maybe Sedona…

Will finish updating you later… stay tuned.



Havasu Springs Resort (Lake Havasu, AZ)

Our stay here at Havasu Springs Resort has come to an end 🙁  Time to move on today (Thursday).  But first, here’s what we did the last couple days;

On Tuesday we hit the pool and relaxed in the hot tub for a while.



Then we took another long walk and explored the other half of the resort that we didn’t get to earlier.

Here’s another view of some RV spots and “vacation homes”… they can really pack-em-in when they want to, eh?


Another nice cactus garden.


Here’s the office building at the park’s entrance.  This is where we first went when we rolled into the park.


We also visited the bar/restaurant.  Looked like a very nice place, but we had already eaten so we just did a quick look-see.

Manicured tree near the motel area of the resort.


Our view out the windshield.  All-in-all, a pretty uneventful day.


On Wednesday, we attended the mandatory presentation at the sales office.


It wasn’t painful at all.  The presentation was very professional and no high-pressure sales tactics.   They talked about their Colorado River Adventures resorts (9 of them I think) and their affiliated programs, such as Coast-to-Coast, etc.,  We watched a video presentation and then talked to the sales manager.  We never got as far as discussing costs or their different levels of membership.  We explained that we just weren’t in a position to commit to anything like this right now.  We still haven’t sold the house and we already have other memberships such as; Passport America, Escapees, Elks, VFW, American Legion, Good Sam, and military fam-camps.  So, we thanked them for the opportunity to stay here and said we would consider such a membership in the future.

After the presentation, we decided to take the raft out on the lake.  We drove the Silverado over to the boat ramp and unloaded the Sea-Eagle raft from the back seat.


After mounting the trolling motor, I launched the boat while Stilla parked the Silverado.


I came back in to shore to pick up Stilla and little Coach.  Then we toured the whole resort side of the lake.



We passed a pontoon-type  fishing boat, also a Sea-Eagle.


And another miniature lighthouse.



We pulled in to the inner harbor after being on the water for an hour or so and visited the gift shop that was next to the snack bar/restaurant.



Then we headed back to our put-in spot, but before calling it a day we toured some more of the coastline away from the resort and went around an island or two while just enjoying the sunshine and scenery.




Not bad for $10 a night… even with the mandatory sales presentation.  Anyway, it’s time to move on now.

I reserved us a spot at Alamo Lake State Park for the 20th thru the 27th.  So we’ll still have to find a spot for tonight (the 19th) on our way there.  We have about 110 miles to find something.

Stay tuned…


Winter Blast Farewell & Hello Havasu Springs Resort (Lake Havasu, AZ)

On Monday morning, the Alpine group met for breakfast and fond farewells.

Here’s a series of photos I took during our last breakfast together before everyone went their separate ways:






The parking area here at the SARA Park quickly cleared out.


Bye everyone… til next time!


What a great time we had here with some of our old friends and even more new ones!  The Pyrotechnics show every night was just icing on the cake.  The real fun was spending time with fellow Alpiners.  Hopefully, we’ll see many of them again in March at the Alpine Pre-Rally in Valencia, CA and then right afterwards again at the FMCA Rally in Pomona.

There were still a couple Alpines left in the parking area as we departed.  I thought for sure, we’d be the last to leave… we weren’t in any hurry and weren’t even sure what our next destination would be.


On our way up here to the “Winter Blast” Rally last week, we passed a sign that read; “RV Park – $10 Full Hook-Ups”.  So remembering that – we headed back south from Lake Havasu City… saw the sign again and turned on in to the Havasu Springs Resort.  (This is where I’d normally put a link to the resorts webpage, but the connectivity is so slow here… I gave up)

Now, we figured there’d be a “catch” to the $10 per night but also figured – what the heck, we’d check it out.  And sure enough, here’s the “catch”.  We’d have to sit through a 90 minute presentation on this place.  I’m sure they are trying to drum up new resort members or buyers of their vacation homes.  The presentation is a small price to pay for three nights at $30 🙂  So, I’ll report back after the presentation and let you know the details if anyone is interested.  It is a very nice resort so far, except we haven’t been getting good internet or cellphone signal here.


We were given a quick tour on a golf cart as soon as we arrived to check out sites.  We settled on a relatively open spot in the gravel that overlooks the water.  The other sites we were shown had trees that might have interfered with our satellite TV dish, plus, we would have been packed in rather closely to other rigs.


We wandered around part of the resort after we got parked and set up.  Here’s the building that we have to go to on Wednesday for our presentation.  I think they’d charge us $50 per night if we didn’t do the presentation.


We walked down along the water and mini-beach.  All the areas of the park are dog-friendly… just not any of the buildings.



They have a pretty nice fishing pier that is open 24/7.



Picnic areas and nice green grass in front of the motel rooms and near the pool.


Pool and hot tub area.


View of the pool area above our parking site.


Here are some of the vacation homes.




One of the dock areas.  I believe there are more on the other side of the resort.


Nice cactus view along one of the lake-side paths.


We’ll check out more of the resort on Tuesday and maybe hit the pool.  Anyway, this is a good time to catch up on laundry since we have full hook-ups with 50amp power.  The washer/dryer has been going non-stop since we parked.  It’s a pleasant change to not have to monitor battery usage or run the generator.  We can splurge and leave the coffee pot on, or watch TV late into the night, etc., 🙂


Will post again on the blog within the next day or so… contingent on internet connectivity.  Until then… don’t work too hard:)


Winter Blast – Day 3 (Lake Havasu City, AZ)

Sunday morning found the Alpine SoCal family enjoying another continental breakfast courtesy of our fine rally hosts.  Another warm and sunny day was on tap.





After our continental breakfast, coffee, and chit-chat… folks started  heading off to begin their individual planned activities for the day.

As we headed back to our coach, we met a couple of our fellow Alpiners returning from their morning hike.  Jack had returned to “The Crack” to conquer the route he had attempted the day before.  I reported in my last post that Jack turned around yesterday when confronted with the dry waterfall “cliff” that I wrote about.  This time, he reported that they had conquered the canyon and had basically taken the same return route that we did.

This park has some very neat trails, hopefully we can get the opportunity in the future to check out some of the others.


However, we had already decided to spend the day checking out the ATV trails on the east side of US 95 that we’d heard so much about.  There was reportedly a massive network of riding trails waiting to be explored.

David Guhse took a photo of us – all geared up and ready to go…


We put little “Coach” in his doggie back pack and after a short drive through the residential area across from the SARA (Special Activities and Recreation Area) Park where we are staying, we soon hit the network of trails and were on our way.



Luckily, we had taken our hand-held Garmin GPS so we can find our way back by following our “bread-crumbs”.  Otherwise, with the many forks and criss-crossing trails, we might still be trying to find our way back 🙂


Lots of beautiful desert scenery:




After stopping at a particularly difficult section – deep in one of the many valleys.  We decided to stop to eat the lunch (sandwiches) that Stilla had packed for us.

We were soon joined by another couple that were out exploring on their Can-Am ATVs.  They are also staying at the SARA Park to enjoy the fireworks.  Since we also have a Can-Am ATV, we already had something in common.  We chatted with them while we had lunch and they shared the location of a mine that they had just found.


They were also carrying along their own little dog, so Coach had someone to talk with as well, while we ate lunch.


After our lunch break, we followed the directions our new acquaintance(s) had given us and soon found the abandoned mine.

It turns out there were at least three separate mines in the immediate vicinity.  We walked a little ways from the ATV to check them all out.



Here’s a few pics of some holes in the ground… in case you didn’t know what those look like 🙂

I dropped a rock into this one and never even heard it hit bottom.



More holes:



We used the GPS to keep us on somewhat on track but took an alternate route to get back near our starting point.



What a cool area… so much to explore… definitely have to come back here.


We made it back without incident with plenty of time to spare before our scheduled chicken dinner, also courtesy of our rally hosts.



Here’s some fellow Alpiners enjoying their chicken dinners.




Looks good, doesn’t it?  Tasted good too!


After dinner, we had our general membership meeting to discuss old and new business.  We successfully dodged (I think) being nominated to  host any future rallies.  Unfortunately, we just don’t know what our long-term plans are until we can get the house sold, and can’t afford to make any commitments just yet.

Alpine SoCal general membership meeting/session.
Alpine SoCal general membership meeting/session.
Alpine SoCal general membership meeting/session.

Our rally hosts (Nick & Ramona Escamilla) and co-hosts (David & Nicole Guhse) now officially get an A+ rating for their outstanding performance… after the meeting they broke out “make-your-own sundaes” with all the fix in’s.


Everyone crowded in for the dessert.  No one was to be denied.


What a treat!  I topped mine with the Snickers crumbles as well as the Butterfinger’s chips… yumm.


And what better way to enjoy our dessert than with some more fireworks!


Yes, it’s official… you can get tired of fireworks.  After 4 nights – they were still spectacular but were wearing on us just a little.  Even little Coach hardly noticed them at all tonight.

It’s been a great rally!  A big thank you to our host(s), co-host(s), and all the great Alpine Coach Association members!  Tomorrow morning everyone will be going their separate ways… see you down the road 🙂

Stay tuned to see where we end up next… even we don’t know.



Winter Blast – Day 2 (Lake Havasu City, AZ)

Day 2 (Saturday) of the Alpine SoCal “Winter Blast” started out with another fine breakfast courtesy of our (so far) outstanding hosts (Nick & Ramona Escamilla) and co-hosts (David & Nicole Guhse).

Notice the Valentines Day motif.  awww… 🙂



I heard about a nice hike located right here in the park from Jack Giddens.  He and a couple others had attempted it the day prior.  Sounded fun, so we decided to give it a try.

The trailhead is located at the entrance to the rodeo grounds here where we are parked, and since the parking area is so huge, we thought we’d get a head-start and drive down to the trailhead parking lot.  There we broke out the doggy back-pack and my “sympathy” stick and headed on down the trail.


Coach was perfectly happy with the situation as you can see.


We stayed on the main trail and headed down the wash into a canyon.

I found some information online about this hike, click here and here  for more info.


We paused for a flower picture because you don’t see flowers too often here in the desert.


The scenery was incredible.




There are trails all over these hills… see the people way up there in the pic below?


The canyon started to get tighter and tighter…

Even little Coach said; “Carry me again… Carry me…”



We meandered our way through the canyon, which by the way – I understand is called “the crack”.



Finally, we came upon this drop-off that Jack had reported about yesterday.  It was like a little dry waterfall chute and was treacherously smooth.  Oh, and did I mention it was definitely more than a ten foot drop… this is where Jack and his entourage from yesterday had turned around.


I wasn’t about to turn around after going this far, so I scooted down on my stomach while Stilla held me with my “sympathy” stick (cane).  After I was a foot or two from the bottom the cane came apart and I plopped to the bottom.  No harm done, just a bump on the knee. 🙂



Once at the bottom, Stilla lowered little “Coach” to me in his back-pack and then Stilla lowered herself while I held her feet as she slid on down.

Now we were committed… no turning back now.  Hopefully, there’s another trail to get back out of here!

Next, we came upon a spot where there was no way through without getting your feet wet.  I opted to take my boots off and my trousers had the zip-off legs.  Stilla decided to trudge on through.


If you were able to stay (balance yourself) on the mini boulders it was only knee-deep.


We continued on… all the while, thoughts of that movie where the guy is trapped in a slot canyon and had to cut off his arm, was going through our minds…





And then, at last! We came back out into the daylight.  What a cool canyon.

After coming back out into the open, we saw a trail on the right that went up and back towards the way we came, but this time above the canyon.  We followed it up for this magnificent view of the Colorado River.


Then we stayed on the main trail heading back.  There were several chances to go higher when the trail forked, bet we were careful to stay on the lower trail… finally we ended up back in the wash where we started before the canyon got tight.

And were we glad to see the rigs back at the rodeo grounds as we got closer to the parking lot 🙂

Nah… it wasn’t bad at all.  An awesome way to spend the day… and we got some much needed exercise.


After we got back and relaxed a bit, it wasn’t long before it was time for the scheduled “Cowboy BBQ” sponsored by the park.

Here’s a view of the huge grill sending up some smoke and good aroma as we walked down to the lower parking lot area to partake.


Close-up view of the huge grill.   Yummm.


We saved some seats for our fellow Alpiners as the line for the food grew longer and longer.


A band was in full swing.



Here’s a couple pics of our happy SoCal Alpine Coach group:



Good food, Good people, Good fun!

We walked back to the rig to get ready for the evening’s happy hour and fireworks show.

We passed by this mound of sand that was the center of activity for all the kids… and even some teens.  They were having a blast sliding down the sand hill…  Oh, to be young again, eh?



Another Arizona sunset reflected off the front of the Urban Escape Vehicle.



Then – We all gathered at our designated viewing spot and enjoyed each other’s company and the spectacular fireworks.  Here’s a few pics that came out alright once I used the Canon instead of the iPhone.  Of course, pictures can’t do justice… you have to see it in person.






There was music and announcements specifically for the fireworks extravaganza on the radio, but it was difficult to get tuned in for whatever reason.  At one point, I went to the Coach and retrieved our old AM/FM ’57 Chevy radio that I used to take to car shows.  After messing around with it for a while, we were finally able to get it tuned in and hear some of the announcements and music.


And finally, if you want to see some more of the fireworks… just click on the following video clips I recorded with the Canon.  Hopefully, they represent a little of the better displays.  Several of my clips wouldn’t copy over to the blog due to size.  So these will have to do.  Enjoy!

Stay tuned for more adventure tomorrow… we plan on taking the ATV out and checking out some of these trails in the area that people here have been telling us about.






Winter Blast – Day 1 (Lake Havasu City, AZ)

Friday morning was the official start of our Alpine SoCal group’s “Winter Blast”!  It’s at the SARA (Special Activities and Recreation Area) Park in Lake Havasu City.  We’re here enjoying the 26th Annual Western Winter Blast Pyrotechnics Show.  (Click on the links for more info.)

Here’s our official gathering spot, between the Host and Co-Hosts’ Coaches.


Our agenda for the weekend:


Although on Friday morning we didn’t “officially” have breakfast scheduled – most folks gathered in the morning to enjoy coffee and each other’s company.  Here’s a group of our fellow Alpiners out walking their kids in the morning.


Here’s another shot of a row of elegant Alpines.  17 Coaches are in attendance.



We ended up at the end of a row with no one beside us on either side.  A row or two away from our “gathering spot”.


Since we had time to kill until Happy Hour and Pizza this evening, we jumped into the Silverado and headed into town.  The park is only on the southern outskirts of town, so we didn’t have far to go.

View of Lake Havasu coming into town from the south.

We stopped at a Polaris dealership that had a lot of cool looking off-road vehicles, ATV’s and such… it doesn’t hurt to look, right?


If you have about $30k burning a hole in your pocket – here’s a pretty wild looking new Polaris with a Ford engine you can spend it on.  I thought I’d share a couple pics of this unique vehicle.  Wonder how many they’re selling?





Looks like a fun “toy”… too bad we can’t afford any more “toys” now that we’re retired 🙂

Although difficult to read – the banner says; “Welcome to Lake Havasu City” under the blazing Arizona sun.


We crossed over the London Bridge onto the man-made island to see if anything changed from the last time we were here in January of last year for the Balloon Fest.  Click on the London Bridge link for more info if you don’t already know about it.


We drove down onto the beach and hung out with little dog “Coach” for awhile.  He was here last year too – wonder if he remembers?


The Lake Havasu water isn’t as clear today as I remember it from other times we’ve been here.  Lots of green algae-like stuff floating along the shoreline.  Still pretty though.


The town seems to get bigger each time we see it.


We also stopped at a couple of the lighthouse replicas that dot the landscape in and around Lake Havasu.  I believe there are around 24 of these.  Click here for more info on those if interested.





We watched folks out on their boats, either fishing or just cruising around.  For a brief moment we thought about breaking out the inflatable sea-eagle raft with trolling motor that I carry in the back seat of the Silverado.  Stilla squashed that idea… it was getting late.



Stilla is always on the lookout for German bakeries or such.  So she googled locations in Havasu and came up with this place.  It was more of a fast-food deli and didn’t have what she was looking for.  We walked in and right back out.


After another quick detour at Ross Store, we headed back to the rally site.

We made it back on plenty of time for happy hour and before you knew it – our Pizza had arrived!

David is on the left, Nick on the right.  Nick and Romana Escamilla are our fine hosts for this event.  David and Nicole Guhse are our co-hosts.  And what a fine job they have done so far!  Although it is still early… we can’t give them a rating just yet, right? 🙂




The pizza and salad was fabulous… no one could complain, there were even leftovers for breakfast on Saturday.

And here are some pics of our fellow Alpiners enjoying dinner and each other’s company:






As it got dark, we moved the groups’ ez-up tent out of the way to clear the view for the evening fireworks show.


Another nice Arizona sunset.


Everyone moved their chairs to good positions for the evening’s fireworks show.  I didn’t take any pics of the fireworks… you’ll just have to take my word for it – they were pretty awesome!  The iPhone camera doesn’t do good night-time photos.  Maybe I’ll break out the Canon for some pics later.  We still have a couple more evenings of fireworks… wonder if we’ll be tired of them by then?

Little “Coach” did real well during the fireworks.  He appears to have gotten used to the loud noises… especially if he’s carried 🙂


We did have a couple moments of excitement during the fireworks show on Friday evening.  A couple of them shot way up in the air trailing flames, made slow arcs and came down in our parking area with big thuds.  Fortunately, no big explosions and as far as we all could tell. no rigs were damaged.  Whew… felt like Iraq again for a couple moments…

There were a few long intermissions between firework displays.  At one point, I went back to the Coach and brought back my night-vision device to share with others and look at the stars.   Here’s a pic I took with the iPhone through the night-vision at some of our Alpine friends sitting in their chairs.


And here’s another with Stilla and Nicole looking over the wall, waiting for the next fireworks volley.  Pretty cool, huh?


We’ve been told that the Saturday and Sunday fireworks show are even more impressive… can’t wait to see… it’s been great fun so far.

Stay tuned for day 2 of our Alpine SoCal “Winter Blast” Rally… coming soon.



On to the Rally… (Lake Havasu City, AZ)

Yeah!  This post will get you caught up to date… here we go:

On Wednesday morning, we puttered around at the Elks Lodge in Parker until sometime around noon – did some more laundry, and topped off the water tank. Then we headed on up the road to meet our Alpine Coach group for the Fireworks Rally in Lake Havasu.

Here’s our spot in front of the Elks Lodge.  This picture was taken after our neighbors had already left for the day.


It’s a very scenic drive up US 95 after the town of Parker heading into Havasu.  Here’s a few pics to try and prove that claim… what do you think?





There are several scenic turn-outs (view areas) that can accommodate big rigs but we’ve been through here a few times before in the past, so we just cruised on by and snapped pics out the windows.





Here’s the entrance to the rodeo grounds.  We turned off of US 95 just south of town onto the loop that surrounds the park.


We were greeted at the parking area entrance by volunteers or park employees that confirmed we were pre-registered.  I had to put the Coach in neutral and set the air brake so I could jump out and step into a trailer parked alongside the makeshift entrance in order to check-in.  We got a “welcome packet” of sorts that included info on the park and it’s activities along with local advertising flyers, brochures, etc.,


Then I was told to follow the guy on the ATV… he would direct us to our site.  That’s him way-ahead of me in the picture below – I think he was in a hurry to get me there.


There are several tiered levels of parking areas here at the SARA Park Rodeo Grounds.  We chased the guy on the ATV to what I think is the second level from the end – where he stopped to indicate our spot.  Here’s a couple pics of the surrounding parking area:



According to this website; ” SARA (Special Activities and Recreation Area) Park is an 1100-acre park with spectacular mountain views and access to Lake Havasu. The park’s facilities cater to a wide range of recreational activities and also serve as venues for events such as the popular Winter Blast firework display, obstacle races and concerts throughout the year. SARA Park has a network of hiking and mountain bike trails, ballfields, dog park, rodeo and fairgrounds. Other activities include BMX and motocross racing, roller hockey, RC plane field and a shooting and archery range.”

The same website goes on to say in another paragraph; “The park is also home to Havasu 95 Speedway, an ASA-sanctioned paved oval track which is one of the biggest attractions in Lake Havasu City…”

Our parking site was on a slope and we couldn’t get quite level without the HWH leveling system telling me were maxed out on one or more of the jacks.  The HWH display panel indicated an “excess slope” warning and one of the front tires was 4-6 inches off the ground.  So I turned the coach around and moved over closer to one side in our allotted space and it leveled alright.  We found out later that the fireworks are going to be behind us now… hmmm – might have to rethink this if we want to sit in the Coach to watch any of the fireworks out the front windshield.


The coaches and rigs continued to file in throughout the rest of the day and into the evening.





At last count… seventeen Alpine Coaches were in attendance!


After all the rigs had filed in, we found out by the end of the day that we are all alone… no one has the spot on either side of us.  The other Alpines are mostly next to each other and are in the next two rows over from us.  Oh well, we probably need the exercise anyway when we join the others for our scheduled activities.


We had an impromptu “Happy Hour” with our Alpine friends.  There was lots of meeting and greeting going on.  Some folks we haven’t seen for quite awhile – since St George, UT a few years ago even – others we saw as recently as the Desert Rat Rally in Quartzsite just last month.

On Thursday, we drove into town in the morning to pick up a few additional grocery items to get us through the rally and then we just kind of hung out at the park until it was “Happy Hour” time again.  The rally doesn’t officially start until Friday but that doesn’t stop anyone from getting together.  There was more meeting and greeting and then there was a small sample of fireworks after dusk.  Most of our Alpine group gathered at our designated meeting spot between the Host and Co-Host Coaches… will post pictures later.

Little dog “Coach” did fairly well with the little sample of fireworks so far, but he wasn’t without problems… he appears to be limping now while favoring a front paw.  We couldn’t find any stickers or thorns, so we have to assume he jumped off the couch and landed wrong or something like that when we weren’t looking.  He’s already better this morning (Friday) as I’m finishing up this post.

Let the Rally begin!   Stay tuned for more of our Alpine SoCal “WINTER BLAST” rally fun… coming soon.  I’ll try not to get behind again for a while 🙂



YPG (Yuma Proving Grounds, AZ)

Almost caught back up now with the journal entries… I’m only a couple days behind now 🙂

On Tuesday morning, we left the Coach parked at the noisy campsite behind the VFW post and drove the Silverado to the Yuma Proving Ground Museum.

Fair Warning – This post is picture heavy!  As a veteran of 26+ years, I enjoy military history and equipment, therefore, I took lots of pictures.

These are the signs you see at the turn-off from US 95 to the Proving Grounds and Imperial Dam.


YPG sign on US 95 (taken later when we drove by in the Coach)

These giant cannons are on the west side of US 95 opposite the signs above… you can’t miss the turn to Yuma Proving Grounds with these landmarks!  The “Atomic Cannon” was designed to fire a nuclear shell per this link @


Here’s another couple vehicle displays outside the main gate at one of the two base entrances.



The following tanks, vehicles, and other military equipment are located on the side of the road just a short way down from the US 95 turn.  We parked and checked them out.  No ID card or anything is needed to view these, they are open to the public… they are just off the side of the road and there is ample parking.










This is the museum entrance on the base located just across from the Fam Camp.  It used to be the installation’s headquarters and is now called the Heritage Center Museum.  (Click on the link)

Heritage Center - Copy

We were going to stay at this Fam Camp but changed our minds when we were having too much fun down by Los Algodones.  Besides – it would have cost us $130 for the week or $40 for one night.

You do need an ID card to gain access to the base which is the administrative side of this massive post.  However, I assume they allow visitors with proper identification to get a visitors pass.  Here’s another good link for more information.

It took us a couple hours to tour through the museum.  You could easily spend more time here if you stopped to read all the literature or sit through the several recorded presentations.



Did you know that General Patton trained his tank corps here to prepare them for battle with Rommel during WWII?


And who doesn’t like Jeeps?


A couple cool pictures of vehicles being tested back in the day.



There were quite a few cool dioramas,  I like dioramas… maybe it’s a not quite grown-up “guy thing”.




The original Installation Commander’s office has been recreated here with all the furnishings.




A couple more cool dioramas:





There was even an entire room dedicated to the cowardly terrorist attacks of 9/11.  The video presentation was riveting.



Great museum – highly recommend it!

After our tour of the museum, we stopped at the mini PX and gas station to save a few bucks on fuel for the Silverado.  Then we exited the base and headed farther down the road to check out the BLM sites in and around the Imperial Dam (Click link for more images) for possible future camping locations.  Wikipedia has more interesting facts about the dam here if you’re interested.

The following pictures are of the Imperial Dam area.  We saw many different long term visitor areas (LTVAs) and other nice camping spots.  We might have to come back here some time in the future.









This guy was para-sailing… or is it para-surfing?



Typical signage seen throughout the area.



When we got back to the Coach parked behind the VFW post, we immediately got ready to roll on up the road.  We weren’t going to spend another night here with the planes and trains.

We pulled into Parker, AZ (about 40-50 miles up US 95) and found the local Elks Lodge.  They had 12 spots with 30amp and water for a suggested donation of $15 per night.  We were packed in pretty tight – we couldn’t even put out the awning more than a couple feet or it would hit the RV next to us.  Oh well, it was nice to have electric again.  It’s been a while.  Stilla loaded up the washer/dryer combo to get caught up on some laundry since we had hookups.

The Elks were having a lodge meeting and didn’t have anything to offer for dinner, so even though it was short-notice, we called some friends from Colorado Springs that we knew were staying at the Pirates Den Resort  just up the road.  They hadn’t eaten yet so we made plans to meet at the Black Pearl Restaurant located inside their resort.

“Greeter” inside the doors at the Black Pearl Restaurant located in the Pirates Den RV Resort, Parker, AZ.

We met Bob and Mary McCord and had an awesome BBQ rib dinner while we caught up on things.  It was sure nice to see them again, it’s been several months since we saw them last in COS.  They belong to the Family Campers & RVers (FCRV), Rolling Springs Chapter that we also belong to along with my Dad and Stepmom.  We only get to see them during campouts or meetings.

After dinner we went over to their site and relaxed in their nice Coach.  They recently got “upgraded” to a spot overlooking the Colorado River instead of being a couple rows back.  Nice Coach, Nice spot!  We called it a night, said our farewells, and headed back to the Elks lodge in downtown Parker.  We’ll see you down the road Bob & Mary!

Stay tuned…





VFW (Yuma, AZ)

Still trying to get caught up with the posts.  Let me bring you a little closer up to date.  But first, I forgot to mention in my previous post about the Yuma Territorial Prison that our neighbors’s (Don, Kevin, and others) invited me to tag along with them to the races Saturday evening at the Cocopah Speedway back in Yuma.  I’m not sure why I forgot to put it in the post for Saturday… guess I better start keeping notes if I get behind.  Anyway, what a blast!  The speedway was well laid out, not a bad seat in the bleachers.  Thanks for taking me along Don!  Stilla opted to stay in the Coach with the dog and catch up on TV shows… her loss.

Here’s a couple pics:


We even had a beautiful Arizona sunset as the races got started.



Anyway, back to Monday… in the morning we folded up the chairs and patio mat, pulled in the slides, and raised the jacks to go to the nearby campground just this side of the Los Algodones (Mexico) border crossing.  I don’t think it was more than a mile away.  We just needed to dump and take on water.  This campground charges $50 for a night.  I’m assuming most folks that stay here are getting dental work done across the border but they probably pay the more reasonable weekly rate.  We paid the $10 fee to dump our tanks and take on water.  Then we stopped back at our campsite to say goodbye to our good neighbors from the last several days.

After saying our farewells, we hit Interstate 8 towards Yuma and then turned north on 95.  There was a Barons gas station that Don gave me a tip about – easy in – easy out, and diesel was around $2.54 a gallon which was a pleasant change.

Since we didn’t have to be in Lake Havasu for the Fireworks Rally until the 11th, we decided to pull in to another boondocking spot (BLM land) located right next to the highway (95) and behind a VFW post.  We still wanted to visit the museum at Yuma Proving Grounds since we didn’t stay at the Fam Camp there as previously planned.

Here’s the VFW post.  The entrance to the BLM boondocking land is right behind the building.  The post has a band playing almost daily from 2 or 3 until 5 PM.  We stopped in for a refreshment after we got parked and settled.  Unfortunately, the post didn’t have a kitchen… no snacks at all except for chips and pretzels behind the bar.


This tank is on display out front of the post.


Here’s a view of our boondocking spot.  No hookups here.


Most of the rigs spaced themselves out pretty well from each other.  We found what we thought was a quiet corner.


Here’s our spot.



Now, after spending the night here, all I can say is – avoid this spot at all costs if you want any peace and quiet.  There was a plane, maybe a crop-duster, that continuously zoomed in and out around the area until late into the night.  And the train tracks across the highway must be one of the busiest railways I’ve ever seen (or heard) to date. We had to keep hitting the pause button on the TV every time another train went by or the plane made another run, it was so loud. I can’t understand why anyone would stay here for more than one night when there are so many other opportunities to boondock along 95.  We won’t make this mistake twice.

The next morning (Tuesday) we visited Yuma Proving Grounds and toured the BLM spots around the Imperial Dam area for future reference.  I’ll put that in my next post.. until then, have a nice and quiet night 🙂



Imperial Sand Dunes (Winterhaven, CA)

Almost caught up now… here’s what we did on Sunday:

We loaded the ATV back onto the pickup to go check out the nearby Imperial Sand Dunes that we had heard so much about.

The BLM website says this about the dunes; “Located in the southeast corner of California, the Imperial Sand Dunes are the largest mass of sand dunes in the state. Formed by windblown sands of ancient Lake Cahuilla, the dune system extends for more than 40 miles in a band averaging 5 miles wide (map). Widely known as “Glamis” and a favorite location for off-highway vehicle (OHV) enthusiasts, the dunes also offer fabulous scenery, opportunities for solitude, and a home to rare plants and animals.”

Google images has some really good photos… click here.


We took Interstate 8 for about 15 miles from our campsite near the Quechan Casino Resort and took the exit to the recreation area / ranger station.  We went into the ranger station to get more information about the area.  What we found out set the tone for the rest of the day… the fee to take the ATV or even our pickup into any of the dunes was $50 for a week.  Of course, we’re told if we had bought our permit outside the dunes, it would only be $35 for a week.  Only a few places to get the permit other than online.  Oh, and also… if the ATV doesn’t have a current state OHV permit, well – that will be an additional out-of-state permit cost 🙁  And don’t forget – if you don’t have the proper size and color fluorescent orange flag on your OHV, you will certainly get a citation and fine, said the nice ranger lady.

So, after checking our “value-meter”, we decided it wasn’t worth it for just a day of riding on dunes.  However, the ranger told us we could go down the side service road for a few miles to view the “plank road”… that didn’t require a permit.  She also told us about a viewing spot (way up north) that is also free.  We could drive up there and get a birds-eye view of the dunes from a hilltop.  These were the only non-fee areas we could go.  Ya just gotta love California, right?

Here’s a picture of the signs that surround the dunes at every access point… we saw these throughout the day.


So we left the ATV on the pickup and took the service road through the soft sand to look at the “plank road”.  Here’s the information placard.  And you can click here for more information on this “road”.



After viewing the “plank road”, we took the ranger’s advice and drove north on Blythe Ogilby Road.  This north-south road skirted the dunes on the east side, until it meets State Route 78 which cuts through the dunes east-west.  To the north of 78 is the North Algodones Dunes Wilderness Area where no OHV’s are allowed.  To the south is the massive expanse of sand dunes that are designated for off-roading.  Link here for more info on the dunes from my friend Wikipedia.

We took 78 to the Glamis Beach Store.  We had traveled about 50 miles from the first ranger station we stopped at along I-8.  The over-priced Glamis Beach Store even had a note on the their entrance door explaining why they were so over-priced… citing; distance, the short season, and the high electric bills, etc.,  You even had to pay $2 there to just use the restroom.  Here’s a pic I copied from google images.


There were a few “vendor communities” set up along the highway to cater to the many off-roader’s camped at the designated BLM sites.  I forgot to check on prices for camping.


Finally, we reached the “no-permit required” hilltop parking area that the ranger lady told us about.  Here’s a couple pics.  We’ll have to come back when we can stay awhile.



We continued west on 78, and passed through the dunes until we hit 115 south to the town of Holtville.  We skipped a farmers market and  small-town fair that was going on in Holtville and continued back to Interstate 8, then home.  We had basically circled the entire dune area.

Hopefully, we can come back here with my brother and mom/stepdad sometime in the near future to spend a week.  Although, we might have to save up some money to do so 🙂

That’s all for now folks… tomorrow (Monday) we start heading north to get to the Lake Havasu Fireworks Rally we signed up for starting on the 11th.  Stay tuned…