Saturday, February 16, 2019

Cibola National Wildlife Refuge

   The refuge was established in 1964 to provide habitat for migratory and local birds. Over hundred species of birds have been recorded on the refuge in addition to many small mammals and reptiles. The refuge covers 18,500 acres and includes a 3 mile driving loop, a road that dead ends at an overlook, a small visitor center, and two short walking trails.

   The visitor center is accessible. The short trail at the visitor center is very rocky and not accessible. The binocular scope at the overlook is too high to be from a seated position. The nature trail along the loop road is gravel and hard packed dirt. It’s accessible but assistance may be necessary. The cutouts in the boards forming a blind at the overlook are a little too high but it’s possible to peek through the boards to see the pond. We did not drive to the end of the dead end road.

   The roads and parking lots are large enough for any RV.

  A large area of BLM land is located almost directly across from the refuge. The first 1000’ is state trust land which requires a permit so go in a little way to hit BLM property. The terrain has formed little plateaus with gullies between them so each makes a semi-private little campsite large enough for any RV.  Refuge  33.36355, -114.66912


Monday, February 11, 2019

More Colorado River Boondocking

   One of the best things about the RTR gatherings us that we get to meet and become friends with people who have had vastly different life experiences, who have lived all over the country and world, and who bring new and different ideas into discussions. When the RTR is over everyone wanders off to find camping spots which is how we ended up down on the Colorado River again, enjoying the good company of new and old RTR friends who discovered this great campsite.

   The public land along the river is managed by three agencies – the Bureau of Land Management, Arizona State Trust, and the Bureau of Reclamation.  Our camping spot happens to be part of the Bureau of Reclamation which, as I understand it, has basically the same rules as the BLM.

   We really enjoyed this spot because it’s a short distance off the main road so we had no traffic passing by and it’s on the backwater channel of the river with lots of bird sightings.  It’s also large enough for group camping.  There are so many good camping spots along the river that it’s not very hard to find a suitable spot for any group or activity.  Boondocking  33.53095, -114.55602


Friday, February 8, 2019

Bluewater Casino

    A lot has changed at this casino since our visit in 2013. At that time the parking lot was small and there was a $5.00 daily charge after the first night but now free RV parking has been added along the edges of the paved lot. There’s plenty of room for everybody. There are also large sandy lots along the entrance road. This is tribal land and there’s a $15.00 charge per night. Signs are posted with a phone number to call for a permit.   We did not visit the casino but according to my last post  - “The casino is roomy, fairly smoke free and has easy to move chairs and easy to reach money and card slots”.  Casino  34.16594, -114.26943


Monday, February 4, 2019

Eldorado Canyon and Techatticup Mine

    For 70 years men dug gold, silver, copper and lead from the Techatticup Mine. This mine and others in Eldorado Canyon yielded millions of dollars in precious metals. The mine closed in 1945 and sat abandoned until Tony and Bobbie Werly bought it and the surrounding 51 acres in 1994. A few dilapidated buildings and some old equipment sat on the site. Over the years the Werly have restored and rebuilt buildings. Self described pickers and hoarders, they’ve added a large collection of old vehicles, mining equipment, antiques and pieces of scrap which are all artistically arranged. The site is not authentic but it’s a must see for anyone interested in photographing old buildings and old cars.

    All visitors are requested to sign in at the general store. Touring the site is free but there may be a charge for photography.  For $15.00 visitors can take a guided walking tour which includes a short trip into the mine. Although the general store has a few items for sale, it’s mostly filled with antiques, artifacts, and photographs. There’s very little written historic information but I think the walking tour includes it.
   The general store is accessible. Some of the site is surfaced with hard packed fine sand and is fairly accessible. Other areas have large, loose gravel which is difficult to push through. Few of the buildings are opened to visitors and most are not accessible. The walking tour does not have any steps and may be accessible with help. We did not go on it.
    The mine is about 13 miles southeast of US 95 on Route 165 which cuts through Eldorado Canyon.  Driving along Route 165 you’ll come to the small desert town of Nelson, continue for another 1 1/2 miles to the mine site. The parking lot on the right is large enough for any RV. Route 165 dead ends with a turn around loop and overlook at the Colorado River. We did not go that far.

   The mine site is surrounded by BLM land. It starts about 5 miles in on Route 165 and continues to the mine. There are several good boondocking spots before the town of Nelson but the best spot is just west the mine. It’s large with a slight slope and great views of the mountains and the mine buildings. A small wash may make the road a bit rough but any RV should be able to make it. Mine  35.7094, -114.80394


Sunday, February 3, 2019

Van Morrison at Caesars Palace Colosseum

  Van Morrison is one of my favorite 70s singer/song writers so when our daughter saw that he was performing in Las Vegas she bought Tony and me concert tickets as a Christmas present. (Thanks Eden!)  Van Morrison’s style today is much more bluesy than in his early days and he plays around with the melodies, words, and composition – still Van Morrison but with a throatier voice and a more complex presentation. The band is excellent and Morrison, at 73, can still belt out songs, play guitar, harmonica and saxophone.

    Enter the casino from Las Vegas Blvd and follow the signs a short distance to the theater entrance. A usher will help push up the ramp if necessary before escorting attendees to their seats. Each tier of the theater has a section of accessible seating with movable chairs so attendees can stay in their own chair or move to the theater chairs. All tiers, except maybe the second one, have companion seating.  We had great seats in the last row of the first tier but all of seats look like they have good views plus two huge screens allow for closeup views.

   We parked in the lot behind Ballys.  On previous visits to Vegas this was our overnight spot when we wanted to see the Strip but a couple of years ago it was gated off to become a fee parking lot. The fee for 4-24 hours is $12.00.  Payment is by credit card. The lot gets busy so finding space for a large vehicle can be difficult. It may be possible to stay overnight in an RV but we did not try it. The sidewalks and curb cuts are in good condition. Colosseum Parking

Friday, February 1, 2019

Havasu Heights Boondocking

    Driving north of Havasu City we passed two popular boondocking areas. We decided to continue to this one because we thought it was far enough away from the city to keep the number of campers down. The dozen or so RVs scattered in a large clearing was still more than we expected but we drove a short distance and found a spur away from the crowd with nice mountain views. It was fairly quiet with some traffic noise that died down at night. Boondock  34.6627, -114.30779     Map

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Road Runner Boondocking–BLM

Quartzsite, Arizona
    Another 14 day boondocking area on the BLM land surrounding Quartzsite. We found this site to be the flatter and easier to access than other areas where we’ve stayed previously.  La Paz Valley Road, the turn off from US 95, is paved. There are a good number of short access spurs off of La Paz Valley Road so there’s plenty of room for many RVS without crowding. During our stay we noticed quite a bit of generator noise as most of the RVs did not have solar panels.

   The ground is hard packed and hasn’t been churned up so rolling is fairly easy. Road Runner  33.5818, -114.23476

Saturday, January 26, 2019

RTR Access for People with Mobility Concerns

     Quartzsite, Arizona where the RTR is held is located in the northern part of the Sonoran Desert. Most of the flat ground is covered with angular rocks that knit together to form an even surface known as “desert pavement”. The pavement is fairly easy to roll along until it’s disturbed then it becomes very rough and everyone with any type of mobility issue has problems getting around.

  Years ago when the RTR gatherings were smaller the fire pit and seminar area was the recognized handicapped camping area but other people were welcome to camp there too. Since the RTR has grown so much two large areas were marked this year as handicapped and they got a lot of use. It was good to see so many people pushing the limits of their abilities especially since I’d been the only person using a wheelchair at many of the earlier RTRs.

  I waited too long and lost the opportunity to talk with most of them but here are a few of the ways people found to get around more easily.  I use a FreeWheel which is a large wheel that attaches to the footplate of my wheelchair. It lifts the small front wheels off of the ground and also provides some extra stability. Putting it on and taking it off takes just seconds. I highly recommend it.
  Tom, who has multiple sclerosis and has attended three RTRs, has a RMBev Multi-Point electric scooter. The large wheels glide over most of the rocks.
   Bob, who lost a leg in an accident, and was a first time RTRer has a Renegade All-Terrain Wheelchair that has push-bars and gears.  The Almost Happy Camper posted a nice interview Here.
   I’ve forgotten the name of the woman who had a Firefly electric handcycle that attached to the her manual wheelchair but it worked very well for her.

 Cody, pictured here with Bob’s dog Cody, used a standard hospital style wheelchair and just powered his way along using his arms and good leg.
     Our friends Jerry and Nelda have trouble walking far and sometimes use their Segways.  The larger the wheels, the easier the Segways climb over the rocks.

  I also saw people using scooters and electric wheel chairs. The ones with small wheels tended to get jammed up on the rocks so off road models are a better fit.

  I encourage everyone to attend the rendezvous but be aware that the desert and the town of Quartzsite are not very accessible and there’s only so much that can be done to provide access at the RTRs.  RTR   33.64909, -114.14563

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

RTR 2019 Burning Van

      A few years ago at the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous Tony and I ran into Beth as she was about to break down a large cardboard box to put it in the trash or burn it. After rescuing the box we hacked out a primitive van shape, got everyone to sign it, and with help from Nelda changed the words to “Little Boxes” to make an end of the RTR theme song.
     The burning of the van has become a yearly tradition. Each year the van gets a little better and we change more songs.

    Bob Wells, the founder of the RTR, made a video of this year’s Burning Van and included a short interview with us about the start of the tradition.  Burning Van