Melissa's Diary 19
We sit thousands of miles away from friends and family.
Thanksgiving for us was spent in the desert with temperatures in the 70’s and a lot of wind. This holiday for us is usually spent with family and friends with the aromas of turkey in the oven, stuffing, casseroles, desserts and cold temperatures outside. It was a very happy and sad feeling at the same time for us because we were finally pursuing something we had worked so hard for, for years, yet realizing we were so far from “home” on a holiday normally surrounded by loved ones. One of my favorite things to do on Thanksgiving is to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade so the first thing I did was climbed on the roof to get our antenna in the perfect spot. Did I mention I’m terrified of heights? I was determined to get the channel the parade was on and after about 5 or 6 times of going up and down checking channels, I got it! Steve offered to do it but he was in the middle of making a breakfast consisting of eggs, corn beef hash and some homemade bread my nanny had made for us before we left. So delicious!!
When Steve and I woke up we could tell it was going to be a windy morning but we didn’t expect the amount of wind that progressed as the morning went on. At one point it was so strong that it blew the antenna right off the roof! Being as determined as I was to finish the parade, I made my way back up to the roof and with Steve’s help, we tied the antenna down with some rope so it would stay up. Mission accomplished. Not only were we able to finish the parade, we got to watch the dog show that followed it. Being dog lovers and all, that made our morning. The dog show took us into the afternoon and by the time it was finished, we had plenty of relax time on the couch and it was time to put up our Christmas decorations!
It has been a tradition in my family since I was a little girl that Thanksgiving night meant to put up Christmas decorations. It was officially Christmas time! I was a little early but why not, right? Steve was more than willing to help me because he’s a giant kid at heart so we put in his Christmas movie of choice, The Simpson’s Christmas movie, and we unpacked the decorations we had taken with us. We put up garland, lights and our Christmas tree. Steve also took it upon himself to take an extra strand of lights we didn’t use inside to put around the camper outside. It came out so pretty! Once he was done, he came inside and started on what would be our Thanksgiving dinner. We had spicy venison sausage, chicken and a mix of pastas all mixed together with spaghetti sauce. It came out delicious!! It turns out that you don’t need a turkey or ham to enjoy a holiday as long as you are with someone you love. So far we were having a great day together.
The day was coming to an end so we made our phone calls to our families and friends to wish them all a Happy Thanksgiving and to tell them of our day so far from “home”. We received some great news from some friends of ours that a proposal was happening soon, 2 other friends of ours found out they were having a little girl, and I found out that my cousin was pregnant! It was all very exciting news to hear! When we finished our calls, we got online (surprisingly our data was usable), and looked into making some black friday purchases. Steve really wanted to find a motor for his bike and I really wanted some leggings I had found. I ordered the leggings but Steve held off on the motor for now. We ended our day relaxing on the couch together watching TV and admiring our Christmas lights. Although we were so far from family and friends, we were happy. This was the best decision we could have made for ourselves and we were proud of our accomplishment. Next week we move our camper, I get my first grooming client and we go out to eat for the first time in Quartzsite!
Today we were on a mission.
We woke up and started our day like we usually do, developing a routine the last few days of waking up, walking the dogs, having coffee and eating breakfast before we do anything else. I’ve been able to keep up with the dishes because of the running water we have now which has been amazing! There is nothing better than waking up to a clean kitchen! Today we were on a mission to find a water drum. We didn’t invest in one before we left NH in hopes to find a better deal on one once we got to AZ and it was one less thing to bring across the country. While getting ready to head into town, we caught Hugo and Biggs laying next to each other in the sun. I swear they have a secret relationship going on!
We drove into town making our first stop to the tent that we left our air conditioner at to check the status on if Al (the name of the guy running the tent) was able to sell it. Still no takers yet. Steve also noticed when we were there the other day that Al had some water drums for sale and wanted to check the prices on those. The water drums he had were a little spendy for our liking and we had remembered that there were a couple of drums for sale on the billboard in front of LaPosa South. Steve gave the gentleman selling them a call and we were able to buy one for only $40! We had to run to the ATM for the money and we were able to meet up with the guy within the hour in front of the billboard to pick it up. What a score! We went to get water, filled it halfway (since we still had water left) and filled up our freshwater tank.
Knowing that we had a full freshwater tank now, I took the opportunity to do a couple of loads of laundry with our wonderwash. One full load of laundry with it uses up to 3 and a half gallons of water depending on how much you’re washing. After laundry was done, we decided to stay home the rest of the day and catch up with some friends back home. We were already missing everyone so Steve and I were trying to convince them to fly out and see us in January for the big tent event. We wanted to share this experience with everyone we knew because it was just so breathtaking. Our friends said they would look into plane tickets so we were crossing our fingers. Once off the phone with them, I made spaghetti and sausage for dinner, did some coloring (because I’m a huge kid) while Steve worked on the laptop. He was struggling with the data, STILL, so we just relaxed the rest of the evening until we went to bed. Tomorrow we will see just how far away from Quartzsite this data issue goes.
T-Mobile is killing us!
Steve and I woke up at 7am today with the intention of getting stuff done and finding a resolution to our data issue. After walking the dogs and getting coffee in our systems, I did another 2 loads of laundry. I’ve come to realize that if you don’t keep up with laundry everyday with the wonderwash, your laundry will pile up quickly! Once that was done, I started the dishes from last night that I was too lazy to do the night before. Steve took the opportunity with the nice weather to fly the drone and get some ariel shots of the desert around us! One thing you have to understand is when Steve flies the drone, Hugo loses his mind. He morphs into I HAVE TO GET IT mode ping ponging around the camper following the noise of it outside making yipping and barking noises while doing so. It’s pretty comical.
Once Steve was done flying the drone and I was done with housework, Steve tried doing some work on the laptop and got fed up because the speeds were slower than molasses. We made the decision to go out and drive and see just how far outside of Quartzsite this data issue went. We packed Missy into the truck with us and off we went. We ended up driving 30 miles East and then back towards Blythe California just to see if our data would work anywhere in between. Our mission was to possibly find some boondocking spots anywhere where the data would work knowing we were going to be in Arizona for a few months. We weren’t getting anywhere with T-Mobile and we had to have data to get work done.
We ended up in Blythe California and sure enough our data speeds were great! Steve had done speed tests on his phone since we left and had no luck until we hit Blythe. Since we had been driving for a while, we grabbed some McDonald’s for dinner since it was getting late. We were far enough away from Quartzsite to consider boondocking where we were and having already purchased our BLM pass with access to dump and water, it just didn’t make sense to throw that money away. Steve and I decided to head home frustrated. We were losing the data battle once again.
We got home and poor Missy was exhausted. She went right to bed once we got back. It’s hard work being a passenger! It was almost dusk when we got back but Steve decided to put up our TV antenna. He had mounted the antenna on top of a tripod he had and put it on the roof to get it as high as he could in hopes to get more channels. We were only able to get 1 channel after messing around with it for about and hour. It was time for a new antenna. That one channel was a good channel though with the news and some game shows so it wasn’t a total loss. It gave us plenty to watch for the rest of the evening until we finally went to bed. Tomorrow we find the deal of a lifetime!
We couldn’t wait to try out our new toys!
Steve and I woke up at our normal time of about 7-8am and started our day. After walking the dogs and getting coffee in our mugs, I realized Steve was able to get on Craigslist and he was looking up bikes for the both of us. We had talked about getting peddle bikes so Steve could put an engine on his and I could put a basket on mine so we could take the dogs out for a run with them. Ki would ride in the basket I’d put on my bike. Steve found a pair of his and hers Schwinn bikes for only $175 for the pair! For just my bike in stores, would run around that price alone. We called the guy up and told him we’d be by that day to pick them up. The drive to where he lived was about 2 hours away in a town called Goodyear AZ.
I was a little nervous driving all that way not knowing this person because of the horror stories you hear about Craigslist purchases so we decided to take Hugo and Missy with us. We hit the ATM for the cash, grabbed a quick breakfast and hit the road. The drive was pretty so it didn’t seem like that long of a drive. We arrived at his house which was in a really close neighborhood and rang the door bell. He came to the door with one other guy (probably thinking the same thing we did which is why we brought the dogs), and went and got the bikes. They were in excellent condition! We made our purchase and headed back home. We were so excited!
After what seemed like the longest ride home ever, we made it and unloaded the bikes. We couldn’t wait to try them out with the dogs. Steve harnessed up all 3 dogs and he took Hugo and I took Missy first. Hugo had a blast but Missy kept trying to run away from my bike because the leash wasn’t long enough. I gave her a break and grabbed Ki to see how he’d do. He loved it! We spent a good hour or 2 running the dogs around on these bikes to wear them out. It was much-needed exercise for all 3 of them. After the dogs were worn out, we came back inside to eat some cereal for a late lunch. Steve attempted to get some work done on the laptop and I relaxed for a while.
Before dusk, Steve and I decided to go for a ride by ourselves to the front entrance of LaPosa. We learned very quickly just how out of shape we both were. We tried racing each other a few times in between strolling down the rocky road while taking walking breaks in between. Perhaps going to the front entrance (about 2 miles away from the camper), wasn’t such a good idea for the first ride. After mostly walking the bikes back, we made it home completely exhausted. Steve and I had a good time non the less. Being all sweaty and tired, it was time for a shower and relax time with some TV while Steve tried to do more work on the laptop. We all slept good after that. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving!!
Prices are different for everything the same around here!
This morning I woke up around 7am but poor Steve had been up since about 3:30am with a splitting headache. He took some ibuprofen and tried streaming The Grand Tour on the laptop and it worked! He thought maybe our data issue had been resolved but as the morning went on, it just went right back to where it was the day before. As I climbed out of bed and we got some coffee in our systems, we both had some breakfast and started our day. We needed some groceries today so we started getting ready to head back into town. Steve and I had toyed with the idea of driving to Parker AZ about 40 minutes north to the nearest Walmart but decided against it. The fuel it would have cost us to drive there and back for the few things we needed just didn’t seem logical so we decided to stay local. We wanted to explore some more anyway!
Quartzsite is like a giant flea market. We had arrived early compared to what it was going to look like 2 months from now but there were tents and vendors everywhere already! People already had scooters and 4 wheelers for sale too! A lot of the tents had the same items but the prices were different in every tent. It was making it hard to find what we needed for the lowest price. Regardless, we were having fun looking around at everything Quartzsite had to offer. We brought Missy with us to walk around so she wouldn’t have to stay in the truck and she decided to leave a present in the middle of the main tent isle. Thank goodness for poop bags!
In our adventures we bought a pin lock, toilet paper, a few dog magnets and a water bowl mat. Now the real mission was to find a grocery store with reasonable prices. We found ourselves at a Dollar General (which we would later find out, their prices were the best for the essentials we usually buy). There we purchased milk, butter, cheese, ziplock bags, cream, soda and a bath mat. The prices we paid were a little more than what we paid for back in NH but it would do for now until we could do more looking around town.
The last errand we needed to run was to a tent that sells things for you. We were trying to sell our 10,000 BTU air conditioner because we had a 6,000 BTU that would work better for us and we didn’t need 2. Steve went in and talked with the guy running the tent and told us he could sell it for us and that he’d keep in touch. It was a relief to unload the weight that AC had out of the camper and make some extra cash in the end. Homeward bound we went to take care of the groceries and Steve wanted to call T-Mobile again to see if there were any updates. Our data issue was still very much a thing. While he was on the phone, I made tuna melts for dinner, called my mom, dad and grandparents to tell them about our trip and we relaxed the rest of the evening. Another successful day of adventure and we were exhausted. Tomorrow we find a solution for water without moving the camper!
We NEED to do laundry today!
Having a wonder wash and spin dryer is an amazing thing to have to keep up with laundry and save money but after 2 weeks of traveling and not wanting to carry around large amounts of water all the time, we didn’t keep up with it. Today was laundry day so after gathering all of it together including bedding, we found 1 of 2 laundromats they had in town. Since arriving yesterday, we noticed our data acting strange. We had full LTE but our speeds were next to nothing so it made it impossible to upload and download anything let alone put a video together. We were pretty much limited to phone calls and texting so it was becoming a major issue. Luckily, the laundromat had free wifi so we took full advantage to let our viewers know what the hold up would be video wise until we could figure it out. While getting everything updated and everyone notified of our situation, we washed and dried 2 loads of laundry. I felt much better after that.
Before setting off to find the laundromat, we utilized the dump station by dumping our blue boy and threw away a bunch of trash we had accumulated while traveling because there weren’t any dumpsters to throw it away in and from the cleaning I had done yesterday. We also took the time to fill up on propane so we knew we would be set for a while. We were getting everything accomplished today and it felt awesome. Once everything was done we headed back home to put the laundry away and Steve wanted to call T-Mobile to get some answers on why our data wasn’t working. He had done a lot of research on this before we left NH to make sure we would have perfect service and data and now that’s not the case. The phone call didn’t result in much except for “we will send out a work order and keep you informed”. Needless to say, Steve and I were not impressed.
After much deliberation, we decided to run into town one more time to pick up some adult beverages and Steve needed to run back to where the free wifi was just to make the truck payment on his phone because the site wouldn’t load on his phone at home. The struggle continues. Once both things were accomplished we headed back home and I started making a fire pit with the million rocks we had around us. I wanted to have our first fire at our spot and relax after the day we had just had. It was so relaxing and it felt so good to kick back and enjoy ourselves. We only sat outside for about an hour and a half and it was getting late at this point so inside we went to shower and put in a movie. Steve picked Gremlins because believe it or not, I’d never seen that movie start to finish. He whipped up a delicious dinner of chicken with beans and rice and we relaxed for the rest of the night until we went to bed. What a busy day! Tomorrow, we see what we can find for grocery stores and explore some more!
After years of planning, we made it!
QUARTZSITE!! We woke up excited to see what our surroundings looked like. It was so dark the night before, we had no idea what awaited us. There were campers scattered everywhere and the ground was rocky (unlike what you’d imagine when you think of the desert). It was beautiful and we just couldn’t believe we had finally made it. It was very surreal! Steve and I stood outside impatiently waiting for 9am which is when the office opened so we could buy our pass and find the perfect spot to park the RV. When the office finally opened we went inside and found out that we could of gone inside and found a spot and just came back the next day to buy the pass. Good to know for next year I suppose. You have to pay for the pass in cash (which we didn’t have on us) which was $180, good from mid September to mid April.
They allowed us to go pick out our spot and give them the money later on during the day once we got settled. Off we went to find our spot! We knew we wanted to be parked next to a cactus so about 2 miles in we found where we would park the RV. Steve went right into action getting everything level and the truck disconnected. I started making the camper look like home as we put the slide out and we got the dogs settled before we went into town to grab the money for the pass. We were starving so after hitting the ATM, we picked up some lunch and headed back to LaPosa South to get our official pass. Getting back to the camper was so rewarding because we could finally put the stickers on the truck and camper to be official Quartzsite pass holders.
After 2 weeks of traveling, you’d be surprised just how dirty a camper can get when you are constantly on the move so I started cleaning everything! It was so nice to be settling in. Steve was in awe all afternoon. He kept going in and out of the camper talking about what we were surrounded by. Mountains, cactus, scattered campers and 4 wheelers everywhere. I finished cleaning and putting everything into place and at this point the sun started to go down so we took the opportunity to take pictures! We just had to get a picture of each of us hugging the cactus we parked next to. Our first sunset in Quartzsite was out of this world. This was a sunset you only see in magazines. Never had we seen one so beautiful. When it got dark, we were told of how big the sky looks and it was so true. The stars were so bright it seemed like you could just reach out and touch them and the Milky Way was HUGE!
After an overwhelming day of excitement, we did receive some very sad news as we were settling in for the night. Steve’s gram had passed away. It was very unexpected considering the doctors had given her 3 weeks to 3 months to live the day before she passed. We were ready to turn around and fly home but Steve’s aunt and cousin told us to stay. It was a night of sadness but Steve and I were just glad she wasn’t suffering anymore. We went to bed early to be ready for the next day which would be getting much needed things done that we didn’t do on the road.
We spent 17 hours on the road today!
So, because of the long day we had yesterday and the fact that we only got a little bit of sleep, we ended up sleeping past our alarms and finally got up in a panic just before 3am. We hauled butt and hit the road after getting breakfast and energy drinks at a nearby truck stop. The wind advisory stretched almost to the Arizona border so we had to fly like the wind to beat it in less than 2 hours. We drove through Albuquerque and it was such a beautiful city at night. There were lots of pretty lights that lit up the bridges we went under and with it being surrounded by mountains, we could only imagine what the city looked during the day. We drove and drove up and down hills and mountains watching the clock until we finally hit the Arizona border. By this time the wind had caught up with us and it was CRAZY!
There was a truck stop right on the border line and we grabbed fuel and pizza for lunch. The wind was so strong at this point (even being out of the advisory zone), we saw tumble weeds for the first time in fast motion. I was really nervous to keep going but Steve assured me we would be ok so off we went. Steve decided to take a scenic route which led us through so many mountains but it happened to be a happy accident because it was GORGEOUS! Also on this route we saw cactus for the first time and there were hundreds of them everywhere you looked. We knew we were getting close to our destination!
After more driving, we decided to drive through Phoenix (much to Steve’s dismay) because I have this thing about cities. I love driving through and seeing big cities which we had done in almost every state we’ve been through so far. Being so close to Quartzsite with only about 2 hours or so left on this trip, I immediately regretted going this way as it was all traffic! We wanted to reach Quartzsite before sundown and it was looking like we might not make it. The only good thing about seeing this city were the palm trees and flowers everywhere. Once finally getting out of the traffic, we stepped on it and in about an hour and a half later, we made it to Quartzsite at dusk! We found LaPosa South and spent the night at the entrance because it was now dark and the office had closed at 4pm. Tomorrow we will wake up to what will be our surroundings for the next couple of months!