January 15-31 2022 Arizona and California

We got new shoes for the Van. I researched this to death and decided on the All-climate Michelins. And we went to Discount Tire because they offer free rotation every 5000 miles and you can find them in most every state.

After we got the tires, we decided to spend the night at Paradise Casino. They charge $10 for overnight parking there. It’s a pretty small casino with an amazing restaurant. We didn’t win but still the dinner was great. Old school Vegas prices for Prime Rib dinner ($7.99) and NY Strip steak dinner.($6.99) plus Shrimp Cocktail.($1.99) makes you not feel so bad about all the money you threw into the machines.

Our overnight spot at the casino

Next day we spent some time in a couple of parks in town. One of the parks has free water so we loaded up our jugs and then headed across the border into California to the Sidewinder BLM area. It’s just amazing how much free land is out here to camp on. Most people will camp as soon as they get off the highway but if you drive back a mile further, then you will find complete solitude. We had the whole place to ourselves.

Next day we continues another half hour into California to some other BLM land that had hot springs. We decided to pay the 40 for two weeks camping because the permits is transferable and we can use it when we head over to Quartzsite in a few days. The people here are super nice and have been coming to this spot from up north for over 20 years. It’s peaceful, relaxing, and wonderful.

Our spot

Headed to El Centro California on the 17th to see the Betty White Birthday documentary. we had some mall food beforehand and were amazed at how strict California is with their mask mandates. Every single person in the mall was wearing a mask and there were signs everywhere saying it was required regardless of whether you are vaccinated or not.

The documentary was really good. I’m glad we went and saw it because from what we heard they will not be selling it to a streaming company in the future.

After the movie we decided to spend the night at another casino parking area. Donated our usual amount to the slots and had a good nights rest. Had some amazing Indian Fry bread with icecream.

The full moon was amazing that night

From there we headed North to the town of Quartzsite. That’s where all the action is for the next couple of weeks. First thing on our list was to find a campground with showers. We found a nice place right in town called the Q-View. They even had Bingo and once again I won!! It was only 7 bucks but then again it was only 2 dollars to play. It was a lot of fun. The campground was in a great spot so we were able to ride the bikes around town.

Once showered we headed over to the RTR. That stands for Rubber Tramp Rendevous and was featured in the movie Nomadland. Basically it’s a gathering of full time travelers, mostly van people. They have classes throughout the week to teach about solar power or building techniques or camping etiquette.It’s pretty informative especially for the newcomer. We were lucky enough to meet Bob Wells who we have been following on YouTube for years.

Next stop for us was the Powwow. This is a large vending area. Mostly selling rocks. There are so many rocks for sale here. Greg and I don’t really understand the whole rock selling extravaganza here but to each their own. Our goal at the pow wow was not to buy rocks but to buy Italian Ices and we were successful at that.

We had a nice lunch at Silly Al’s and then some icecream and Kettle Corn for desert. It’s a fun little town.

Next day we headed over to another meet and greet gathering. Another YouTube channel that we have been watching for years called Adventure Van Man. He posted his location in the desert so we headed over. We were quite surprised at the amount of vans and campers that came out. It was a nice few days to spend here with likeminded people like us. Every night was a big campfire so we got to talk to lots of other people about their vans and their travels.

Brian from Adventure Van Man

We spent 4 days at the gathering. The weather was absolutely perfect. The wind was calm and the sun was shining. It was a bit dusty though cause we had a spot by the road which is a dirt road, but the only real traffic was from other vans or campers who for the most part drive pretty slow so as not to kick up too much dust. Every once in a while there will be a bunch of ATV’s or side by sides. They aren’t as considerate with the whole dust thing but it’s the nature of camping in the desert. You just deal with it.

Greg and I are featured at the 7:34 minute mark

We headed a little closer to the actual town of Quartzite on Saturday in the hopes of getting a decent spot at the Long Term Camping Area. We had gotten a 2 week permit at that Hot Springs spot and we were able to use it here in quartzite. These long term spots offer water and garbage dumps as well as dumping of tanks for the bigger RV’s. There is so much going on this week in this town that the BLM long term camping is packed out!!! However, having a van is such a bonus because we can kind of squeeze into spots that most can’t. We got a great spot in walking distance of the big tent. We spent the entire day walking in and out of all the aisles at the big tent and at the flea market across the way. And then it actually started raining here in the desert which is just so weird. So we spent a little longer than we had planned under the big tent to keep out of the rain. To me, this RV show and vendors blows the Hershey RV show out of the water. There is just so much more to see and do here.

The big tent within walking distance of the van

We really enjoyed our stay in Quartszite. This was a record for us staying in the same location for this long period of time. There was just so much to do that we didn’t get bored. The only thing that was kind of making us leave was the wind, the dust and the cold nights and the really bad cell signal because of all the people using it at the same time.

So after checking the weather a hundred times a day, we decided to head to Palm Springs California where it was going to be in the 80’s. Our first overnighter was at a dry camping campground behind a gas station on the outskirts of Joshua Tree National Park. It was a free campsite and that works for us. The two things that jump out at you in California are the prices of gas and the prices of groceries. I usually buy half a dozen eggs because they fit better in our small fridge. Usually the cost under a dollar for 6 eggs. In California, the same 6 eggs cost $3.99!!!! Crazy!!! And don’t even get me started on the gas prices!!

Yikes

Next day we headed over to Joshua Tree National Park. We took a nice hike and enjoyed the visitor Center. and I bought a new hat!!!

We decided after that to head to a casino for overnight camping. A huge dirt lot filled with RV’s. And the casino buffet was really what drew us in here. I wish I would have taken more photos of the buffet food. It was amazing. Top 3 for me as far as buffets go. After the buffet, we made our normal donations to the slot machines and had a nice peaceful sleep in the lot.

The Fantasy Springs casino RV lot

Next day we headed to downtown Palm Springs with a stop first to do a hike to Bob Hopes House which is located up on the side of a mountain. It was a really nice hike and quite a story behind the building of his house.

We then headed to the downtown of Palm Springs. So many cute little shops and restaurants. Great people watching too.

From there we went in search of some Hot Springs in the town of Desert Springs. The town seemed a little run down to us and we went inside two supposedly resort lobbies and checked out the pools and were not impressed. I think Greg is spoiled from all the natural Hot Springs we have been finding. These fancy spa resorts are just PACKED with people and children and there’s really nothing calming or peaceful about them. Our plan was to stay in an actual hotel room at one of the resorts. We were going to splurge and sleep in a regular bed and watch regular TV and have our very own shower. But after spending some time sitting in the lobby we changed our minds. They just really weren’t worth the cost. It was $200 a night and probably not worth a penny over $79. So off we went back to the casino RV lot. Had pizza for dinner, made our normal donation again to the slots and got a good nights sleep.

We spoke with one of our Casino Parking area neighbors for a little bit in the morning when we were packing up. He gave us a few locations to visit which we tagged on our Google maps. So we headed out toward the Salton Sea area. First stop was an open beach area where the ParaGliders go to do their thing. We were gonna stay for a bit and then move on to a nearby hot spring resort but it was just so cool watching them that we decided to stay overnight. The camping was free here on the beach so why not.

The walk down to the lake was a salty muddy mess and we weren’t able to make it all the way to the waters edge. Greg read all about the history of this place which involved a lot of dead fish. Down by the water was a bit of a dead fish smell so I’m glad we parked where we did.

I edited the videos of the past two weeks into a 5 minute video. It’s not exactly Emmy material but it’s below if you have a spare 5 minutes.

Woke up this morning to the sun rising between the RV’s. Soon after, the paragliding show began.

Today we are heading to the other side of the lake to where all the Hot Springs are. Time for a shower and possibly some electric.

Arrived around 1 pm to The Fountain of Youth RV Resort. No issues getting in. We got a dry camping spot right by all the pools for $32. This place is really nice. I’m surprised they let us in. It is literally in the middle of the desert. An oasis. There’s a restaurant here, a store, steam rooms, multiple pools, tubs and lots of activities. Water Volleyball and card games going on all day. And this is all walking distance of our spot. Greg is currently soaking away and then later we will go exploring the rest of this place. It’s pretty big.

And there ya have it, another two weeks of traveling. Our totals this month for camping was $191 and for gas was $223. What used to cost $45 to fill up is now costing $75 here in California.

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