|Thu, 16 Feb: We left RoVer's Roost a few minutes before 1000 and headed west on I-8. Yuma was about 160 miles and we didn't need to be there before 1400, so we took things easy getting ready. We hadn't hit the road for a while so we were extra careful going through our checklists.
Bob drove the first leg. The State of Arizona was quite thoughtful and put in a Rest Area almost exactly half way which made changing drivers safe and convenient. About 1240 we pulled into a parking area some 25 miles east of Yuma for lunch. Even with these stops we arrived at the Yuma Fairgrounds about forty minutes before parking started and had to queue up. We expected it and it was no big deal.
We were expecting to meet Ray Bailey (Cathie decided to stay home), and sure enough, he called just about the time we got in the queue. He arrived about fifteen minutes later and was about six behind us. Despite that, we managed to get parked next to one another. We haven't seen Ray since late September, so it was great to catch up.
We got parked and settled in by 1500. The Yuma County Fairgrounds has very limited (and not very reliable) power. The theory is that each RV gets 20 amperes of power, which is enough to keep the batteries charged. We were drawing about six or seven amps, but the voltage kept dropping to a dangerously low level and our power monitor kept tripping. We finally gave up and decided to eschew fairground power and use our batteries and generator. Seems to be doing just fine.
We three (Ray, Bob, & Sandi) went to the local Texas Roadhouse for dinner. We love their onion "blossom", and the Swansons had early bird specials. It was great visiting with Ray and catching up.
Fri, 17 Feb: The morning was pretty lazy as the vendors don't open until noon. The "Tailgate Sale" area did open earlier so we spent a few hours roaming around and seeing what was being offered. Lotsa old equipment, much of which was a mystery to we two "newbies". Ray, the "old ham" knew what most of it was and it was fun sharing his reminiscing about the "good old days" of ham radio.
At noon the vendor building opened and we joined the mob heading in to spend $$$s. There were a few things we were looking for, but it turned out our largest expenditures were for more LED lighting for the RV. We've slowly been transitioning to LED lighting as new products become available and/or affordable. This trip we upgraded the lights over our dining table, bedroom ceiling, shower ceiling, and bedroom sconce. Our batteries will thank us (but probably not our wallets).
We also attended a seminar on mobile antennas as we're still trying to figure out what kind of HF antenna we want for the coach. We've pretty much decided on the Buddipole, and the seminar cemented that decision. Now to get them to answer their phone so we can order one...
Dinner was on our own, and we then spent a quiet evening reading. Sandi is engrossed in a fascinating (and terrifying) book Still Alice, about a Harvard professor who contracts early onset Alzheimer's. As we said, terrifying is the best way to describe it.
Sat, 18 Feb: We slept in a bit, but the PA system and military aircraft from nearby (as in "across the highway") Naval Airstation Yuma served as our alarm clocks. We had a relaxed breakfast and then wandered back to the vendor building for more "lookie looing". We bought some wire and connectors, but not much else. Ray was shopping till he dropped, and seems to be having a ball.
Dinner tonite is the "Buzzard BBQ", which is supposed to be something to experience. We're looking forward to seeing if it is as good as advertised.
The dinner was quite good, even for a buffet-style dinner with 450 others. After dinner they started with the door prizes—lotsa door prizes!!! Bob won one, an LED work lite. All in all the event was very well organized and worthwhile our time and money.
Tomorrow is "get outta Dodge" day. We have to be off the Fairgrounds by noon as another group is due in the afternoon. We'll head back to Casa Grande where our spot is waiting for us. Watch for travel details in tomorrow's post...