Out of the Cactus Forest for a night. Stayed in a cute town called Ajo. A Roadside Taco stand across from the RV park was AMAZING and then we also ate dinner out as well. Plus a great shower and some restocking of food. It’s always nice to be back in civilization. Especially this morning, I was able to go to Mass (in person) and then a cute coffee shop across the street. the RV parks in this area are all booked solid with the workers that are building The wall down the road. We are very close to the border where the wall is being built. We were lucky to be able to get a spot in this RV park for the night.
The next day we headed back into the BLM land. Our plan was to go to the National Wildlife area. You need a permit for that area and need to watch a 12 minute Safety Video because the Military nearby practices in that area and there could be bombs and stuff that could be live. Anyway, we watched the video and applied for the permit and started down the road to that area but the road was not so great and the pull offs to camp were few and far between so we turned around and headed out to a different area. The area we are in now is The Darby Wells BLM area, it’s just out of Ajo and the road was not too terrible. The Air Force base seems to be on the other side of the mountain and we are lucky enough to be able to watch them.
Even at night, they light up the sky. I can see why people in this area think they may be seeing UFO’s because there’s all kinds of weird lights in this desert dark sky.
I find this part of the desert to be much greener than the other deserts we have been in. Also there’s cool rocks jutting out of the ground here. We hiked about a mile to checkout the Locomotive Rock off in the distance.
Next day we took a bike ride around the area. There are lots of loop trails on these forest roads. We finally saw some wildlife. A ground squirrel scampered across the trail. They are the size of chipmunks but with a poofy squirrel tail. Along the trail were lots of mines. The mine for copper in this area. We found a big rock that looked like strands of copper throughout it.
The evenings here have been pretty chilly. We either have to go into the van at sunset or have a fire. Last night we had a fire. The sky was so clear and the stars were so beautiful. The moon was just a sliver but because the sky is so dark we were able to see the whole moon lit up but the sliver a little brighter. The two planets that are going to pass each other on the 31st are getting closer and closer towards each other with each passing night. They are so easy to spot in these dark desert skies. This morning, I woke up to a beautiful Sunrise and then a Rainbow out the vans window.
December 18- Today we head out of the desert again. Waking up to temperatures in the 30’s with no heat in the van is not what we had in mind. So today we head to Yuma which is lower elevation and about 10° warmer than here. I found a SUPERFANCY RV Resort on Passport America that we are going to try to get a spot for the night. I’m not gonna get my hopes up because they might not accept vans like ours or might be filled up.
Yes!!!! They accepted us!! West wind RV and Golf Resort allowed us in. The first thing they asked us is if we are “self contained.” To which we answered yes, even though the answer is “sort of.” It’s ridiculous that they even have such rules at these fancy places but I guess they don’t want old jollopies in there bringing the place down. This place was HUGE. Over a thousand RV’s in this place. A big pool, hot tub, pickle ball, shuffle board. Billiard Room, ceramics, wood working shop, full restaurant. This place was crazy. We were planning on doing laundry here. They had three laundry rooms but to do laundry, they charge you five bucks just to get a laundry card so that you can add money to the laundry card to do laundry. I guess if you are spending the whole winter there and doing laundry every week, then that would make sense but for us that would double the cost of laundry. Kind of silly when we could just go down the block and use actual quarters. Other than that, we loved this place. The restaurant was excellent. It was fish fry Friday which Greg loves and they had soft serve icecream which I love!!
Next day, we loaded up on our water. In Arizona, they have water vending machines everywhere. They are just square structures in parking lots where you buy water. 25 cents a gallon or 5 gallons for a buck. We usually head into the desert with about 12 gallons of water. That will get us through 4 to 5 days. At that point, we usually want a change of scenery anyway so that’s perfect.
So we headed across some lettuce crops to our next destination. Did you know that Yuma, Arizona is the lettuce capital of America? This is where all our lettuce comes from. So to get to this spot where we are currently camping we had to drive on dirt roads that go through the lettuce crops.
Fortuna Lake is where we currently reside. We have a nice lakeside spot for the next few days. This is very different BLM land than what we have experienced thus far. The majority of the people here are legit Nomads. That’s a fancy word for homeless. The campers are much closer together because of the center focal point being the lake. So we are not as secluded. People have been coming over to chat with us. We have an amazing spot right in the lake so people also have been using the area right in front of us to fish. This lake is stocked every month so the fishing here is good. I would be a little concerned though as crop dusters go by every night spraying the lettuce farms with pesticides. I won’t be eating any fish from here any time soon. Plus the fishing license in Arizona is $55. Might as well just head to the fish market in town. Lol.
Tuesday, Dec 22, 2020 yesterday we decided to move to a different spot in the lake. A couple of people left on the side of the lake that gets more morning sun so we packed up and moved into our new spot. We also took a bike ride on the crop levee which was pretty cool.
The first night in our new spot was fantastic. These motor powered parasailers were flying over the lake. So cool. And the crop duster planes were putting on quite a show as well. The next day though, the wind was brutal. The dust was unbearable. We spent most of the day inside the van.
December 24, 2020. So we probably could have stayed another day by the lake but we figured all the stores will be closed on Christmas Day so we better get some food shopping done while we can. Plus a shower would be so wonderful right about now not to mention the laundry we have been putting off. So off to Walmart we went, not a place you want to be on Christmas Eve. It was bad, but everyone was wearing masks and doing the best they could to social distance.
From there we found a nice RV park called Arizona West. The owners were away, I guess for the holidays so we just picked a spot and paid using the honor system with the mail slot. Then showers and laundry and I was actually able to go to town for Christmas Eve Mass and then we had pizza. My favorite. We even had time for Greg to take a soak in the Hot Tub.
On Christmas Day, we awoke to yet another beautiful but chilly day. The RV Park staff was busy getting cooking Turkey pot pies for their Christmas feast which they were kind enough to invite us too. We declined as we are COVid Cautious and we don’t know these people or where they have been. So we loaded up on water and then headed back to the lake for a couple more days. Santa brought us this awesome 7 gallon water jug. He knew exactly what we needed.
I’m glad we headed back because when we got there, a humming bird zoomed by the van, looked at us and zoomed away. Greg, right away started heating up the water to make the sugar water. We brought a small hummingbird feeder with us in the hopes that we would be able to feed them along our journey. This little guy was thirsty. He couldn’t get enough of Greg’s sugar water.
Dec 27, 2020. The place by the lake was starting to get a little too crowded for us so we headed out towards Yuma. First thing in our list of things to do was to find a car wash that’s was tall enough for the van. So we headed into the busy section of Yuma and gave the Van a good wash at a self washing car wash. From there we had some lunch at a cute park and took a hike down to the Colorado River.
We figured since California was right over the bridge we would head over that way as we scoped out another bit of BLM land that sounded pretty decent. It was just a few miles away from the Sand Dunes in Southern California so we knew there might be a bunch of off road vehicles. We got lucky though, it was pretty quiet as far as that went. Plus the dunes and the dust made for some EPIC Sunsets.
Next morning the wind was just terrible so we just packed everything up and headed back to Yuma, Arizona to have an indoor day. We walked around a bunch of stores, had lunch, did a little shopping but mostly just did some indoor strolling. They have a great store out here called Sportsman’s Warehouse. It’s kind of like a combo of Cabelas and Bass Pro Shop. They have everything for the outdoor enthusiasts. We also walked around the historic section of Yuma but everything was closed except for the movie theater.
Then we headed back to California to the open area and claimed a spot.
The Sunrises in this open land are pretty remarkable too.
Greg found some amazing bike trails in Yuma. The one we did was a rail trail. Those are the best kind of you ask me. Flat, relaxing and safe. The only thing that kind of stinks is the wind. The wind is brutal here. It’s great if it’s at your back but if you are peddling into the wind, it’s terrible. That bridge there is called the ocean to ocean highway. Many prospectors came through Yuma because it was the only place they can cross the Colorado River.
That night we headed back to the BLM land in California for a good nights sleep. Woke up to some super strong winds and decided it was time for an RV park and a shower. Currently, Dec 30, we are staying at Rolle’s Lynda Vista RV Park. There are Roosters and Citrus trees everywhere!
Tomorrow is New Years Eve and I’ll be sending the blog out and also adding up the fees for camping in December. I also kept track of what we paid in Diesel. I’ll post that tomorrow and then send it out. I think November we spent $153 in rent. I think less this month. I’ll have to wait till tomorrow.
There we have it , $224 for rent and $122 for Diesel. Not bad for the month. Looking forward to January. Happy New Year everyone.
Love your blog and pictures! Living vicariously through you 🙂 Happy New Year my friend.
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I think you have the start of a great book. Recent NPR coverage of the Nomads calls them “Houseless” not homeless:
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Wow. That was an interesting read Mitch. Yeah, living this lifestyle is more popular than most people think.
Happy New Year to you and Greg. Keep the updates coming, not a lifestyle I would prefer but reading about it through your travels is fun! Be safe, stay healthy!
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Happy and healthy New Year. Stay safe and continue to enjoy your retirement.
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Thanks. Love you. ❤️