Back at the “Dirt Farm” (Casa Grande, AZ)

Author’s Note:  Some of you readers that are also my “Friends” on Facebook® may wonder what we’re doing in Casa Grande when my last Facebook “Check-In” was in California… well, the fact is; I’m still behind on the blog because I continue to have picture download issues to my laptop.  The screen will go blank all of a sudden and all I can do is restart the laptop!  It seems to happen most often when I upload pictures from my iPhone… possibly a memory problem or maybe a video driver?!?  I stopped trying to download pics directly from my iPhone to the laptop because if it freezes during the process, I then have to do a time-consuming rebuild of my iPhoto application (i.e., all the pics on my laptop), and that’s no fun 🙁  So as a result, I paid a little extra ($.99 per mo) to increase my iCloud space and have been letting my pictures on the iPhone upload automatically.  Well, that’s fine except now my iPhone uses a lot of data uploading to iCloud and then when I want to do a blog post I then still have to expend even more data downloading from the iCloud to the laptop which turns out to be another long convoluted process that is also dependent on good internet connectivity.  Today (8 Nov) as I write this post, I just recovered once again from having the laptop freeze up on me, but this time it froze up  while downloading pics from iCloud!  Aaaargh!  We will travel to San Jose today and I will try to get the laptop fixed (a 15″ mid-2010 MacBook Pro; 2.66 GHz Intel Core i7 processor; 4 GB 1067 MHz DDR3 memory; 500 GB DATA Hard Disk Drive; running Mac OS X Lion 10.7.5).  If I can’t get it fixed, I’ll maybe look at “biting-the-bullet” and purchase a new one.  Anyone looking for a used laptop?  🙂

We left the Emerald Cove Resort on the 10th of October and made it back to Casa Grande on the same day.  A ~200 mile travel day.  We parked in front of my Mom’s house at the “Dirt Farm”.  My brother Steve & Cheryl also have a house here on the ~5 acre farm.  As I’ve mentioned before –  the term “Dirt Farm” is the name they gave the place, not mine… kind of a term of endearment or nickname.

The Urban Escape Vehicle at the “Dirt Farm” in Casa Grande, AZ.

You may recall from my last post I mentioned my Mom was in the hospital but is back home now and doing better every day.  We’re all thankful for that 🙂

Some of you have asked about our little dog “Coach”.  He’s doing fine as you can see in the picture below where you see him checking out his old favorite spot by the window on the back of the couch in the coach.  How do you like that play on words?  Life on the “dirt farm” appears to agree with him and Mom keeps him shaved so he stays cool in the hot Arizona sun.

Little Coach checking out the Couch in the Coach.

We settled in at the “dirt farm” and helped out around the place as needed.  Stilla always enjoys cooking meals in the kitchen as opposed to the Coach.

Brother Steve and stepdad Jim working on yet another project around the “dirt farm”.
Mom and Stilla keeping an eye on the many chickens that have the run of the “dirt farm”.

Soon after arriving we got to spend a day helping to round up some of the roosters running around the farm so they could be harvested, cleaned, and made ready for the fryer.

Brother Steven and stepdad Jimmy chasing down some roosters at the “dirt farm”.
Mom getting ready to put some chickens in the pot and freezer.

We also spent a few days helping brother Steve & Cheryl shop for a new motorhome.  We made a number of trips to Phoenix and toured dealerships.  They finally decided on a Super C to replace their older model Class C.  We didn’t get to see the new motorhome in person yet because we left just before they picked it up.

We also spent a few days cleaning up and detailing the travel trailer that I bought for my oldest daughter when she moved (←link) to Phoenix from Colorado Springs.  Sorry, no pics… I was downloading them at the time my laptop froze up again.  Maybe later…

Typical Arizona sunset in Casa Grande.

As always, we enjoyed our time (~15 days) staying with family in Casa Grande, but the next Alpine Coach Rally is scheduled to begin on 31 October, so we said our ‘see-ya-laters’ and left the “dirt farm” on 26 October to make our way.

My next post will cover our travel to the rally located in San Juan Bautista (near Monterey, CA)… stay tuned 🙂

A Little River Time & Some Off-Road Fun (Parker Strip, AZ)

We left the Elks Lodge in Lake Havasu on 5 October and headed south on 95 to Parker, AZ where we drove across the Colorado River to the California side.  A whopping 50 mile travel day.


After crossing the river we immediately turned north on Parker Dam Road until we reached the Emerald Cove Resort (←link).  Click HERE for a virtual tour.


We knew about this place because a good friend from the Alpine Coach Association is a member of the resort and we visited him briefly earlier this year (February) when we stayed across the river at La Paz County Park.  Link HERE for a link to that post where I also wrote about Chris leading us on an off-road trip to the Desert Bar on our ATV’s.

Our “true” pull-thru and full hook-up site at Emerald Cove Resort (below).



We downloaded the scooter but never disconnected the Silverado during our 5 day, 4 night stay.  And since we were “guests” of an existing member, we only paid $10 per night.  Can’t beat that, eh?


Our “host” and fellow Alpine Coach Owner, Chris Cratch was parked in the next row directly behind our site (below).  So we naturally spent a lot of time hanging out together and socializing.  Chris’s wife Sonja was off visiting family so we didn’t get to see her this time.

Our friend, and fellow Alpine Coach Owner’s site at Emerald Cove Resort near Parker, AZ but on the CA side of the Colorado River.

It’s clearly still early in the season as evidenced by all the empty sites (below).  Many of the “snowbirds” are yet to arrive.


Some of the full-time residents (aka mules) have the run of the resort as you can see from the pics below:




Stilla posed for a photo op located near the Tiki Bar and swimming pool here at Emerald Cove (below).


Here’s some views of the Colorado River here at the Emerald Cove Resort:




One day, we rode the scooter up to the Parker Dam.  After crossing the Dam, we rode south along 95 back into the town of Parker and then crossed again to the California side, effectively completing a big loop.  Fun!


Chris got his pontoon boat back from being serviced, so we naturally had to help him get it into the water and he took us on a “shake-down” cruise:




Lunch on the river at the Blue Water Casino after docking at their riverside bar & grill (below).


Here’s some more pics we took from the couple times that Chris took us up and down the Colorado River on his pontoon boat while we stayed at the Emerald Cove Resort:

We had to watch out for the many folks that were water skiing or inner-tubing behind boats on the river.
One of many RV and mobile home resorts along the Colorado River here on the Parker Strip.
View of some of the riverfront homes along the Colorado River here on the Parker Strip.




Notice the camel and zebra in someone’s riverfront yard (below).


Back at the RV Resort, I flagged down the ShadePro® awning service guy and arranged to finally have some sun screens made and installed for the front windows.  We decided we needed the external shades after two+ months facing the sun while parked at dear daughter’s house in Bowling Green, KY.  We already have a couple internal sun shade screens that we put up on the inside of the windshield with suction cups along with some (cut-to-size) silver insulation material, but it still gets hot (greenhouse effect) when the sun shines most of the day on the front windows.  The external sun shades are the way to go, but are certainly not cheap.  We paid $450 to cover the windshield, drivers side window, door, and passenger side window.




Chris also had his Polaris Razor® side-by-side here with him at the resort and invited us to go off-roading.  Stilla wasn’t interested this time and didn’t want to go through the effort of downloading our ATV from the back of the Silverado, so I jumped in with Chris and off we went for the day.  He even let me drive for part of the trip.

Chris Cratch in front of his Polaris Razor®.

Here’s some pics (below) from our day trip on the trails in the California desert west of the Colorado River:


Lots of really cool rock formations and trails to explore…





We checked out an old abandoned mine site.  Lots of old core samples still sit in the broken down buildings (below).




More awesome views…


and another old abandoned mining building.


We even came across what was left of an old car…


I tried to identify the make and model, but couldn’t quite make it out.  What do you think?  An old Ford Falcon maybe?



A couple more abandoned mines:





The following pic shows a trail leading up to a memorial…


It seems that a young kid lost his life here and the family has made and continue to maintain a pathway to a memorial of sorts…





View from the mountain top memorial site for “Jeremy”.


A couple more scenic California desert views:



On October 8th we attended an Octoberfest party that the Emerald Cove Resort put together in an open area next to the river:

Octoberfest at Emerald Cove Resort.
Octoberfest at Emerald Cove Resort.
Octoberfest at Emerald Cove Resort.
Octoberfest at Emerald Cove Resort.

Naturally, with Stilla being German, and with myself having spent many years stationed in Germany, we are pretty critical of Octoberfest type events… so we’d rate this one rather low.  But, it was still fun once we got past the undercooked bratwurst and sauerkraut from a can.  The live band was good 🙂

On the 9th of October we said our ‘see-ya-laters’ to Chris and thanked him for allowing us to join him as his guest at this fine member-only resort.  We headed straight back to my Mom’s house at the “Dirt Farm” in Casa Grande, AZ.  We got word that my Mom was admitted to the hospital to have her gall bladder removed.  Thankfully, she’s doing fine and was released from the hospital but we wanted to get back and help out as we could.

Check back for an update on our time at the “Dirt Farm” in my next travel blog post coming soon…


A Little Lake Time (Lake Havasu City, AZ)

After the Pahrump Rally was over (3 October), we headed back towards Las Vegas but instead of going south by Hoover Dam on 93, we took Hwy 95 towards Needles but then turned on NV-163 to Lauglin / Bullhead City.

In Bullhead City we stopped to visit good friends and fellow Alpine Coach Owners John & Lorraine Foster.

(L to R) Lorraine, John, and Stilla in Bullhead City.

John & Lorraine are some of the nicest people you could ever meet and we like to consider them close friends.  Lorraine is also one of our current newsletter editors for the Matterhorn, our Alpine SoCal Chapter quarterly update on all things going on in our 74 member-strong club.

In Bullhead City we parked in a Lowe’s® parking lot where John & Lorraine met us.  They took us over to their nice Condo on the Colorado River just across the street where we got caught up and enjoyed each others company for a short while.  They weren’t able to attend our most recent rally in Pahrump, so it has been awhile since we last got together.  Thanks for the hospitality John & Lorraine!  Hope to see you guys at the next rally 🙂

From Bullhead City we continued south to Needles where we got on I-40 east…


until we reached the exit to Lake Havasu where we went south on 95 to Lake Havasu City.




After filling up the Urban Escape Vehicle at the Pilot/Flying J on the corner of I-40 and Hwy 95 (64 gallons for $176.25) we found the Lake Havasu Elks Lodge.  We’ve been here before for dinner, which is always fantastic, but had never parked in their RV lot which had been recently remodeled and upgraded.

The Urban Escape Vehicle at the Lake Havasu Elks Lodge.
View from our spot at the Havasu Elks Lodge with the lake in the background. Notice the huge Elk sculpture at the entrance in the center of the photo.

The new upgrades to the RV parking area at the Elks Lodge also came with an upgraded price – it is currently $25 per night for full hook-ups.  We paid for two nights (arrived 3 October, left on the 5th).

We pulled into the RV lot and got set up with barely enough time to make the spaghetti dinner.  We were the last people to be served an awesome spaghetti dinner complete with margaritas for only $21 🙂

We spent Tuesday, the 4th of October, tooling around Lake Havasu on the scooter.  We went out on the man-made island across the London Bridge and did the loop while we checked out some of the RV Resorts for future reference.





There was a Jet Ski competition going on while we were in Lake Havasu.  The quakysense® World Finals (←link).  We were fascinated with the acrobatic and underwater stunts performed by some of the Jet Ski drivers we had the opportunity to watch practice (below).


We also visited the London Bridge and browsed through the Visitors Center/Museum (←link) located in English Village.  If you haven’t been here before, it’s a must-see.  And the pedestrian zone under the bridge is chock-full of shops to wander around in.  The ice cream is pretty good too 🙂



The famous London Bridge in Lake Havasu, AZ.

Stay with me for my next post as I continue to play “catch-up” on the travel blog with my laptop and photo download issues…  maybe I can get a new laptop soon.