Larry Farquhar

Our adventures, from Larrry's viewpoint.

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

We've had a very relaxing week. After leaving Quartzsite, AZ, we moved a few hours West to Joshua Tree National Park. Instead of camping in the park, we stayed on BLM land just outside of the South entrance to the park. There's a free 14-day stay limit there. But we soon realized almost all of the "interesting" things to see in Joshua Tree NP is near the West or North entrances. This is over an hours drive from where we were at. So we relaxed and toured the local area.


One day, we spent the day at the Desert Hot Springs Spa. For $3 a person (on Tuesdays), you can spend the entire day lounging around and soaking in the 7 natural hot mineral pools they have. We elected to get a "day room" for $40. This was a hotel room for ourselves, but only for the day. This allowed us to take long hot showers, have some privacy, and stull enjoy the mineral pools all day. VERY relaxing. The excitement for the day was an motor home in the parking lot caught on fire. You should have seen everyone jump up with their car keys. However, the motor home was on the edge of the parking lot away from all of the cars. We never found out what caused the fire.

During the week, Connie spent a day helping friend Silvana celebrate her 50th birthday. Customary for these friends, they enjoyed the day casino hopping in nearby Indio. Larry stayed home, enjoying a quiet day reading. We also scouted out the National Park, checked out some campgrounds (not for large rigs) and took a short walk in the "Cholla Cactus Garden".


After a week in this location, we moved to the North end of Joshua Tree National Park and boondocked (dry-camped) on BLM land outside the town of Joshua Tree. Not a very pretty location. but it's close to the best of National Park. Yesterday, we took an 18-mile "geological driving tour" with the park and took a few other scenic back roads. Today, we hiked about a 4 mile round trip to the "Wall Street Mill" then to the "Barker Dam". It was fun and interesting to see how miners and ranchers attempted to make a living here.

 Joshua Tree National Park is an interesting park, in it's own way. There's plenty of hiking trails and a few 4WD trails. Surprisingly, over half of the park (the southern half) doesn't have Joshua Trees. You'll find a small patch of Octillo cactus, and large patch of Cholla cactus. But the Joshua Trees are all in the Northern and Western half of the park. A Joshua Tree looks like a tree with cactus tips.

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 b2ap3_thumbnail_wall_stree_mill_1.jpg  b2ap3_thumbnail_wall_street_mill_2.jpg

Tomorrow, friends Silvana and Allan are coming over to visit and have lunch. They're spending the winter at Big Bear Lake and need to come down and thaw out. It looks like we'll be moving in a couple days to Borego Springs (Anza Borego). 

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Fun in the Sun!

Fun in the Sun!

After enjoying a New Year's Eve party in Yuma, and finishing up with dental work, we departed the Yuma Army Proving Grounds on January 11th. Our next stop was only 90 miles away. One of those much talked about RV events/destinations is Quartzsite, AZ. This small desert town near the Arizona/California border on I-10 comes to life each winter. Normally, there's only a population of about 500 residents. However, this number grows to over 10,000 by late January. This is because of the large influx of RV's spending time here in the winter. This town hosts numerous "shows" during the winter. In addition to music festivals and car shows, the two main events are the Mineral/Gem show and a RV show. The peak of the season is usually the last two weeks of January.

Quartzsite in the winter has been described as "Woodstock for the geriatric crowd". RV'ers flock to the area and either stay affordably in one of the many RV parks or boondock on BLM land. The BLM has numerous "short-term visitor areas" available for a 14-day stay at no charge. Or you can utilize a "long-term visitor area" (LTVA) for $180 for up to a 7-month stay ($40 for 14 days). In Quartzsite, staying in a long-term area gives you a place to camp and access to a dump station and potable water. Staying in a short-term area only gives you a place to camp in the desert.

In Quartzsite, you'll see every type of RV available. In our area alone, we have a VW bus all the way to a Prevost motor home. Many RV'ers have made boondocking in the desert a science. Some go to extremes to conserve water and waste. Many have numerous solar panels and some use wind generators. Many people drive all-terrain vehicles everywhere, but they're not required. There's plenty of gravel and dirt roads going in every direction.

When we visit Quartzsite, we stay with friends who are members of the "Boomers" group, which is part of the Escapee RV Club. This group has nothing to do with age (Baby Boomers), rather it's more about having a young and adventurous attitude. This informal social group gathers for two weeks and has TONS of free activities. This year, there have been nightly slide shows shown on the side of a RV, potlucks, a chili cook-off, Karaoke with dancing in the desert night, game nights, craft talks, free pancake breakfasts, 4WD runs, hikes, Zumba and Yoga classes, wine tasting, and much more. There's been discussion groups on Smart phones, RV batteries, solar panels, geocaching, RV'ing in Scotland, RV'ing in Europe, solar ovens, photography, and many other topics. This doesn't even include all of the events going on in town.

There was even an auction, raising money for the Escapees RV Club CARE (an adult day care center). Connie and I, along with Bill and Gisela Pollock, Mark and Judy St. Croix, and Frank and Diane Gruille bid together for a Murder Mystery Night. Friends Chuck and Jan Moore with Duane Payton and Betty Anderson hosted a wonderful evening of Wine, cheese, chocolates, and a murder mystery. It was a great evening and we all had fun. Who would ever guess this is happening in the middle of nowhere? Connie even correctly identified the murderer!

If you ever have the chance to visit Quartzsite in late January, I highly recommend you try it. You're welcome to stay and participate with our group. Guests are most welcome and are made to feel as part of the group.

The weather was great this year, averaging sunny days in the low 70's. We did have some slight winds at times and a day of rain. Unfortunately, our stay at Quartzsite wasn't all fun in the sun. To help maximize the electricity generated by the sun with our solar panels, it's a normal practice to tilt the panels towards the sun in the winter. I can almost double the amperage being charged with the panels tilted. However, while climbing the ladder, the ladder fell out from underneath me causing me to fall to the rocky desert floor. It wasn't a pretty sight. Connie rushed me to the hospital for CT scans, which came back fine, even though I was having severe rib and back pain. A few days later, we rushed again to the medical office. This time, the X-Rays revealed a broken rib. Bottom line, it was very painful at times. It's been over two weeks now and I can finally lay down. The pain is intermittent, but greatly reduced.

We left Quartzsite yesterday and moved another couple hundred miles west to Joshua Tree, CA. We found a wonderful boondocking location near the Cottonwood Visitors Center. We'll explore Joshua Tree National Monument and go soak in some nearby natural hot mineral baths. We plan to be here for a week or so. Then it's on to nearby Borrego Springs (Anza Borrego).

Since we're heading to Alaska this summer, people ask us when we are going. I tell them we're already on our way - just very slowly. We should be in Canada sometime in about 4 months.

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Goodbye 2014

Goodbye 2014

Connie spends hours on Facebook and keeps her posting's there current. I was hoping she would also start using our own "Blog", but it looks like a lost cause. So it's up to me to "try" and keep this blog current.

For the past few months, we've been having fun. Let's see if I can remember all that we've been doing:

October: After leaving our summer jobs, we headed to Casa Grande for Connie's Grandma Cappie's memorial. Originally, this trip was scheduled to be for Cappie's 100th birthday, but she passed away a month shy. Connie's entire family was there. The last time they were all together was 25 years ago.

We originally planned to dry-camp at the Casa Grande Elks Lodge at $10 a night. I made a "donation" of $60 for a 6-night stay. However, the weather was still in the high 90 degrees and we learned of an RV Park nearby that was only $17 a night (with full hook-ups). After one night in the heat and hearing the trains all night, we moved to the RV Park and enjoyed air conditioning, the pools, and some activities. It was worth loosing the $50 at the Elks Club.

The memorial service was simple, with Connie's Grandmother and Grandfather's ashes being spread around a Saquaro cactus in Picacho Peak State Park. A few b2ap3_thumbnail_Granddaughters_2014.jpgdays after the service, we moved the motor home north to a regional park we always enjoy, Usery Regional Park in Mesa. Larry had a couple of doctor appointments so it was convenient being in that area.

November: The first part of November we moved back down to Casa Grande and put the RV into storage for a week and flew to Seattle, WA. Cynthia, our youngest daughter joined us to visit our eldest daughter, Leslie, and her family. It's not often we get to visit with Leslie, Andy, and grand-daughters Kaylee and Khloe. We enjoyed a weeks visit with them and helped celebrate Khloe's 6th birthday. We'll see them again in May on our way to Alaska.

We returned to Casa Grande and got the motor home out of storage and spent another week just relaxing. Then it was off to the Elks lodge in Vista, CA (near Escondido). Connie's parents and brother were spending Thanksgiving week at the "Lawrence Welk Resort". Connie and I went golfing for the first time with them. Well, at least we were hitting a ball around the grounds. We had a fun week and enjoyed a traditional Thanksgiving family dinner.

December: At the very end of November, we left Vista, CA and headed to Yuma AZ. We always enjoy boondocking at Mittry Lake and spent one night there. We drove over to the nearby Army Yuma Proving Grounds to see if they had an available space in the Travel Camp. We've tried to get in there numerous times before, but they were always full with "winter snowbirds". This year, we got lucky and got into the RV Park. Probably because it was still a little early in the season. A pretty good deal for a FHU site at $375 a month. We paid for 6 weeks.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Meals_on_Wheels.jpgWe primarily came to the Yuma area to have dental work done in Mexico. It's about 1/3 the cost of a US dentist. You can read our article on "Dental Care in Mexico" here. Connie also wanted new vision glasses, which are over 50% less in Mexico. A side benefit of being in Yuma are RV friends. Many of our friends stay in the Yuma area for the winter. We've been busy visiting them for holiday parades, going to the movies, eating out, shopping, etc. While here, Connie and I also volunteered and delivered "meals on wheels" for the Crossroads Mission for a few days.

Last week, we took a drive out to Castle Dome in the desert and visited the museum there. Lots of interesting artifacts of the old silver mining area and town. We had a nice, quiet Christmas and enjoyed a potluck dinner at the RV Park. We plan to be here until mid-January. Connie has been having dental work done about once a week and she still has (at least) a couple visits left. She also got new glasses in Mexico for $225, which cost here over $500 at a SAM's club 6 years ago.

All in all, it's been a wonderful 2014. After over 10 years living and traveling in our motor home, we're not ready to give it up anytime soon. We love the freedom to go and do as we please. Alaska next year will be fantastic. We don't make plans too far in the future, so we have no idea what else we're doing next year.

BTW - gas is now $2.21 a gallon and diesel is $2.79 a gallon in Yuma. We hope it stays low for next year and as long as possible.

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Summer Job Ends

Summer Job Ends

Our summer job working in the Inyo National Forest, CA has come to an end. We left Mammoth Lakes a couple days ago and made our way to Casa Grande, AZ. We'll be here for about a week, then move to Apache Junction, AZ for the next month.

After workamping every summer for the past 10 years, we're taking next summer off working full time to travel to Alaska. We've been working with California Land Management (CLM) for the past 8 years and will continue to work with them next year. However, we'll only be providing computer support while traveling. CLM was kind enough to let us take year 2015 off to travel. We'll have summer jobs waiting for us again in 2016. We just don't know exactly where.

Our past 10 years of workampng has included:

  • 2005 (summer) - Lake George Escape RV Park, Lake George, NY
  • 2005 (winter) - Hickory Farms Kiosk, Mary Esther, FL
  • 2006 - Borglum Museum, Keystone, SD. (Hotel work near Mt. Rushmore, SD)
  • 2007 - CLM at Sierra National Forest, CA
  • 2008 - CLM at Sierra National Forest, CA
  • 2009 - CLM at Tahoe National Forest, CA
  • 2010 - CLM at Tahoe National Forest, CA
  • 2011 - CLM at Tahoe National Forest, CA
  • 2012 - CLM at Inyo National Forest, CA
  • 2013 - CLM at Inyo National Forest, CA
  • 2014 - CLM at Inyo National Forest, CA

Not working in a fixed location for over 18 months is going to be different. But I'm sure we'll quickly get used to it. Besides, we'll be busy providing computer support to CLM for their website, email, eNewsletters, and camp host program. While traveling this winter and next summer, we'll be making it a point to visit many U.S. Military Campgrounds to update and improve our U.S. Military Campgrounds and RV Parks website and Directory software.

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Guest — Joyce
Bob and I can't wait to travel with you two to Alaska!
Tuesday, 21 October 2014 11:51
Guest — Joanie Stevens
Sure are happy for you guys. You've planned well.
Tuesday, 21 October 2014 12:32
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Rodent Attacke Update - Updated

Rodent Attacke Update - Updated

This is an update to the previous update Connie wrote. Would you believe that wasn't the end of being attacked by squirrels?

We ended up "eliminating" 3 squirrels and a chipmunk INSIDE of the motor home. They had chewed through the heater ducting again AND through more furnace wiring! I had just repaired the damage and was putting it all back together again, when I heard a %$#@! squirrel in the heater duct again one foot from my head! That was it!

We packed up and ran away from those pesky rodents. We moved to Oh Ridge campground, which was about a 15 mile move. Besides getting away from the squirrels, it gave us new scenery and away from the office. It's actually real nice and quiet here. We only had a few weeks left here before we leave, so the short move was welcomed. And we GOT AWAY from the squirrels! We've been at Oh Ridge Campground for about a week now, and no sign of a squirrel. There's have plenty of chipmunks here, but no squirrels (not many trees). So far, the chipmunks haven't bothered us (that we know of).

We think we found how the squirrels were getting into the motor home basement and heater ducting. Above the rear tires, we can see the heater duct going to the bedroom. The rodents can climb up there and probably chewed through the insulation into the heater duct. This gave them access to the furnace and the basement. The problem is, "I" can't access this small crawl space to repair the heater duct in that location. Either I'll block off that ducting, or we now have an additional duct heating the basement. At least it's directly above the water tank.

Another 10 days here, then we're moving to Arizona.

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Guest — Bob
Was Larry watching the back-up camera to make sure the rodents weren't following?
Monday, 06 October 2014 17:36
Guest — LFAdmin
Bob - you better not have "cursed" our escape from these monsters! So far, so good.
Tuesday, 07 October 2014 06:10
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