Friday, March 4, 2011

Flashback Friday - Our First Winter in the Desert, 2004-05

Blooming white primrose spread over the deserts in Arizona and California where we spent a good deal of time in the winter months of 2004-05.Primrose in the California desert. Oranges, yellows and blues of all types of wild desert flowers paved the way along the road from Yuma to Quartzsite. The rains had showered just the right amount for a wild population explosion.  We had a colorful winter welcome to the southwest. Nice of Mother Nature to arrange for the beautiful array.

Besides the desert bouquets, we had several lifestyle discoveries. First, we learned a great deal about boon docking, using our solar panels to the utmost and our storage tanks efficiently.  It was fun practicing around Ogilby and Sidewinder Roads west of Yuma – wide, open space of quiet, sage and brush, surrounded by distant sand dunes and chocolate mountains -  land where RVers migrate each winter to settle intermittently on a piece of the desert.  When we got hitch itch in one spot we would move 20 to 50 miles or so to more Bureau of Land Management areas near Imperial Dam, Quartzsite or Blythe, California.  Learning where to get water and dump tanks wasn’t difficult at all. That’s another revelation we had out in the desert.  RVers are friendly and helpful folk. Most everyone we came across was ready to share; recommendations on parking, dumping, water, trash, restaurants, roads or whatever experiences they had. We found these fellow nomads offering to show us around, do some hiking or geocaching, take a trail to an abandoned mine in the hills or lend a hand with a repair.

After this introduction to desert living, we decided there was one aspect we wanted to take to another level. Our 5th Wheel Parking Spot and our new Jeep. We were drawn to those trails we’d experienced on a limited basis in our Ford F550 truck.  Yes, we didn’t get too far off road in that monster.  It was super for traveling the highways with the 5th wheel or venturing a limited distance on the desert roads. But that’s all. And we were bitten by the off-roading bug.

The solution: Ole Yeller, our Jeep Wrangler, became a part of our entourage at that point. Of course, it was completely stock. And we also had a lot to learn about our new hobby.  But, some very patient and hospitable RVing friends took us out “4wheeling” anyway.  We snaked through slot canyons, paused for some fantastic mountainous views and enjoyed the camaraderie. That was all it took. We were off to the customizing shop in Phoenix.  And the story goes on from there in many directions and over many obstacles.

The winter of  2004-05 completed one year of the RV lifestyle for us. The season was eye-opening in many ways.

Thanks for stopping in at Hurley Travels. Talk to you later.

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