Tuesday, Jan. 13th, we left Bisbee and our great travel companions, Len & Nancy. We are headed for the annual Quartzsite Boomer Rally with a short stop over in Yuma to get our solar system fine tuned a little. One of our controllers was not engaging. As we had hoped, it took a simple reset procedure. Larry, owner of Starlight Solar
, added a convenient switch in the event we had to reset the system again. Theoretically, we should not have to be resetting anything. We will keep watch. Larry is very conscientious about making sure his customers know what is going on and that the system operates correctly. We boondocked overnight in Larry's parking lot.
After Larry finished working on the rig, we had a few more errands to run on Wednesday afternoon. About 3 pm we headed for Quartzsite. We arrived at Boomerville about 5:30 pm. Boomerville is an area of BLM land on the outskirts of Quartzsite where the group of Boomers, a Birds of a Feather Escapee group, gather for the RV Show and Rocks & Mineral show.
When we checked in, we were rig number 55. Last year nearly 150 rigs gathered. It does not cost anything. We are allowed to boondock for 14 days on the BLM land. If you need water or your black tank dumped, there are mobile services that come out to us.
There are lots of activities: Breakfasts, walking, hiking and lots of group discussions ranging from traveling to Alaska, Mexico to Genealogy to how to tap into a propane gas line to add a heater. The schedule of activities is a live, active growing entity. As interest in a topic comes up, there seems to be someone willing to share their knowledge and/or experience. A central place for 4:00 Happy Hour is set up. This is the time of day when upcoming events and any announcements are taken care of. At dusk a big campfire it started. We participated in a couple of hikes and did some of our own. We even found one geocache that was within 2 miles of our location.
The big RV Show opened on Saturday. We decided to wait a day for the locals and weekenders to bombard the place. There is a simultaneous Rock and Gemstone show. Why this scrap of desert was chosen for this massive gathering of RV'ers I will never fully understand. In as much as this week is an "all things RV show", it is also the biggest swap meet/flea market I have ever seen. We have spent the better part of three days and still have not covered everything.
Some of our treasured purchases include: Beads for my hobby (J.C. was really helpful, he has quite the eye for nice beads and then I find the accents). A new shower head which produces more water pressure without using more water and we added a water shutoff that works for navy showers. A pair of portable chairs with backs on them. Much more comfortable than just the triangle seat. A portable fake fire pit that runs on propane. These units are pretty expensive ranging from $170 to $240. Too rich for our blood. We found a booth selling factory refurbished ones for $75. Since so many places don't allow wood fires we splurged. A ceramic brick heater. These heaters are very energy efficient and we don't need any kind of electricity. We will be having the gas line installed in the next week or so. We have to laugh at ourselves because we are spending money to save money. I suspect we are heavy on the spending side. I don't think we will break even but it feels good and it is part of the lifestyle.
There is so much to do and see, there just is not enough time to do everything. We hit our favorite fish fry place, Grub Stake on Hwy 95 just so I could make fish tacos with the leftovers. Another evening, we went to a place called Silly Al's on W. Main Street. It is primarily a pizza place. It is jam packed day and night. This outing was to meet up with Froggie Donna and her new hottie husband Stu. We have been following her blog for a couple of years. It is so good to finally meet her in person. We will be attending the same rally in Yuma next month. So we will have the opportunity to spend a little more time to get to know them.
The southwest storm hit us with a vengeance. It came in two waves a day apart from one another. The second blast was by far the worst. We had a small tear in our large slide-out awning, but the wind grabbed the awning and tore at it until it was nearly destroyed. J.C. had to tear the last couple of inches so we could release it from banging in the wind. As a matter of fact, the weather was too bad to take care of it during the storm, so we pulled the slide in for the night. A tornado watch was set for 6 hours. It sure felt like tornado winds; some winds were clocked at over 60 mph. It was quite an experience. We are located on a slightly elevated plateau which is a little higher elevation than the town of Quartzsite (about 200 feet). This helped us from being flooded out. We did develop a little creek along side our coach, but it did not stay very long. By Saturday, the weather was beautiful again.
We participated in a Chili cook off. There were 20 entries and 6 judges. I did not win, but there were some folks that did like my variation...even asked for the recipe. It was a really fun event. Those that did not bring chili, brought salads, bread and desert. Yum.
Sunday, was a pot luck followed by the CARE Auction. CARE is part of the Escapee's to take care of members who are recovering from an illness, surgery, etc. It is funded by member donation. The Boomer group is always thinking of ways to raise money for this great organization. The Boomer's donate "stuff", put it on display and action off the "stuff" to ourselves. This year's goal was $2,000.00. When all the tallying was done, we raised nearly $2,400.00. Several mornings, a pancake breakfast was served and the donations for that was included. Very cool what this group does to help others. It has been a great 12 days, but it is time to move on to the next adventure. The last count of number of rigs was over 120. That's a pretty good turnout with the bad weather.
We left this morning, Monday, for another appointment at Starlight Solar. It was discovered one of the panels had been positioned just enough in the wrong spot so it shaded another panel for a time in the morning. Shadows can greatly reduce the amount of energy produced. We were also trying to decide if we wanted to spend the money on a Sine wave converter. This thing is expensive but much better for the electronics. Larry made us a very good deal that we could not refuse. To make a long story short, while removing our old modified square wave inverter they found some melted wiring. I have included a picture. Bottom line is, we probably would have needed to replace the inverter at some point in the future. It was much better to do it now than maybe somewhere in the middle of Alaska this next summer. I'd like to take a moment to mention the excellent quality of work that Larry does. He is tenacious about making sure the work is done right. Shortcut is not in his vocabulary. He and his wife Debbie really take pride in their work. Larry has a couple working for them that are the most honest, conscientious, hardworking folks I've run across in a while. We highly recommend Starlight Solar.
We will be in Yuma until Saturday waiting for the awning parts and repair. We are boondocking in Larry's parking lot tonight because the SKP Kofa Ko-op was full. We will find another place to stay tomorrow. Then, we head to Gila Bend to meet up with the group we are traveling to Mexico with. Most of them are boomers. I think there will be about 15 rigs. Should be really fun!