Halftime in Quartzsite

No, I’m not referring to the Superbowl. That’s tomorrow. And, although I think Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback in the history of the game, I’m rooting for the Rams. They have had a good year and I think they can beat the Patriots. We’ll see.

But when I say “halftime” in Quartzsite, I’m referring to the fact that we’re about halfway thru our stay here at our winter base. We pulled in in early October, and we will pull out sometime around mid-to-late April. Depends on temperatures here. Late April can be in the 90s here. But you wouldn’t know it based on the weather we have had here so far since October. Fair amount of rain considering we’re in the freek’n desert. And cool temperatures. Of course, no where near what others north and east have been experiencing. I mean minus 20 degrees or more? Without the wind chill factor? Yikes!! I should not complain. And, really, I’m not. It may be cooler than normal here, but it’s still in the 60s and 70s during the day.

For those not familiar with the area, Quartzsite is about 16 miles from the California border which is to the west. About 85 miles to the south is Yuma, Az. Lots and lots of shopping and things to do in Yuma. Los Algodonas, Mexico is a suburb of Yuma. Many folks go there for great dental work. To the north is Parker, Az. Not as much in Parker but it has a Walmart. Further north is Lake Havasu. GREAT for shopping , eating, and it’s water oriented. Parker is about 35 miles. Havasu is about 75 miles. Phoenix is to the east about 140 miles. Phoenix has EVERYTHING . Including people.

The Big RV Show here is over. It was last week. This event brings in hundreds of thousands of Rvers, most of whom boondock around the area on BLM land. Many are still here, as are the vendors that setup in conjunction with the show and then stay on for another month or more depending on customers that are still here.

As for us, we have had a whole series of adventures. Some planned. Some unplanned. The surgery for Sharon was planned. It took place at the end of December. The complications were unplanned. Basically, after years dealing with a Hiatal hernia at the lower end of her esophagus, it was finally in need of repair. The opening had become too large and, combined with the vacuum created by the abdomen, her stomach was significantly sucked into her esophagus. Not good, but fairly straightforward involving five orthoscopic incisions for instruments and a camera. Unfortunately, there have been lots of digestive issues since, including a 200 mile trip back to the surgery unit ER. Today is a good day, but there have been many bad days. Recovery is 5-6 weeks. We’re about there.

Today is the Parker 425 off-road race. Many different classes of vehicles and drivers from all over the country. This is a BIG event among the off-road racing community.

Thursday, we watched a portion of the Time Trials for today’s race. Yikes! These Trucks are powerful.

As for projects around the Rancho de Deserto, the two-story shed is weather tight at last. Just a few tweaks here and there and the ordering and installation of the metal roof components…and a door…and trim pieces…and…

It won’t be long now before we will be emptying out our storage unit over in California, saving about $250 per month. Yep! Everything is expensive in California.

We also have a new bathroom which was added inside the Casita. When you live most of the time in a motorhome, having a complete bathroom that includes a tub and shower is wonderful. Thank you to our Canadian friends Zack and Rayeanne for going WAY over and above helping. Most of the work was done by Zack who is a VERY skilled builder.

Actually, the bathroom was constructed in anticipation of one of our other “adventures”. Sharon’s 98 year old father was going to be living with us for a time and it became necessary to have a bathroom because he is beyond being able to climb in and out of a motorhome. The Casita was to be a perfect ground level apartment for him. He had fallen recently and after a stay in a post-acute care center, he was brought to our place here with the idea of time-will-tell as to how long he would be staying with us. Unfortunately, after only 10 days or so, his health had deteriorated significantly, and continues to deteriorate, such that he is back in California at a 24/7 board and care facility.

It’s been a couple of months since my last post. This will kind of bring things up to date. We’ve made too many trips to California recently to count, between surgery and dad issues. For the moment at least, we might have a chance to relax. Tomorrow we will venture across the street to our neighbors to watch the Superbowl. Go Rams!!


Wow, how time flies. It’s been nearly two months already since arriving at Rancho de Deserto, our little piece of heaven here in Quartzsite, Arizona from our summer job in Wyoming. Thanksgiving Day having come and gone, we were reminded that we DO have a lot to be thankful for.

Quartzsite is smack dab in the middle of the Sonoran Desert of southwestern Arizona. Being a desert environment, the “beauty” is considerably different than what we were used to in Wyoming. The “forests” here are of a different kind. Instead of pines, spruces and Aspens, we have Saguaros, Chollas and Palo verde trees. Instead of ever-flowing rivers and creeks tumbling over rocks and boulders, we generally have boulders and sand and gravel making up dry washes which serve as “highways” for all manner of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). I say “generally” because flash floods are real here. It can be clear skys overhead, while rain falling 20 miles away can turn these dry washes into raging rivers. Such was the case shortly after arriving here in early October. 

An hour before this photo was taken, riders on ATVs were flying down this dry wash. Then a most spectacular storm left over from a Mexican hurricane south of Baja California moved into the area complete with 360 degree thunder and lightning and pouring rain non-stop for 3 1/2 hours, resulting in this river flowing under the Main St. bridge.


Other than flash floods, there are two certainties here in Quartzsite. One is that temperatures here have decreased dramatically. The high in Quartzsite this summer was 119 degrees. Now daytime highs are in the low 70s and, next week, will drop a bit more due to approaching weather. The pleasant climate this time of the year leads us to the second certainty in that folks are pouring into town, as is typical. Snowbirds love to winter here, contributing to this area going from a couple of thousand people to several hundred thousand people all within 90 days or so.

My top priority since arriving has been to keep the progress going on our second shed. Last spring, before heading north, I  was able to finish the floor. Throughout the summer, I worried that being exposed to the extreme heat, the floor might need to be done all over again. Upon our return in early October, although I had to deal with some warped plywood, the base for the shed was in pretty good shape. So, onward and upward.

Six weeks later, I’m nearly ready for roof sheathing. I know some readers are saying “Six weeks? Why so long?”. My response is that this is not a production job. It’s my therapy. Although it is a priority,  I’m in no rush. And also, I have no help…by choice. I’ve had several offers of help but I prefer working alone.

On another front, my truck which I bought for the “ranch”, and which seemed mechanically perfect when I bought it, decided to all but spit out the throw-out bearing which is part of the clutch. Since I had no history on the truck, particularly the clutch condition,  I went ahead and had a new clutch, throw-out bearing and pilot bearing installed. It was a good decision because the clutch disc was pretty worn out. Back in the day, I would tackle a job like this myself. I remember more than a few times being under a car with a 4-speed transmission resting on my chest. Those days are gone. I’m certainly older. Not sure about the wiser part. In any event, all I needed was a good shop with a good mechanic. Although there are several so-called “mechanics” in Quartzsite, most leave a lot to be desired. Nevertheless, after a little research, I found Everett’s Towing and Repair and their chief mechanic Glenn Love. It’s a family-owned business here in Quartzsite. They treat you right, their prices are fair, and they do good work. For those traveling here for the winter, I highly recommend them.

So,  what else has been going on? Sharon has been making trips to California caring for her dad. He turned 98 last month. Amazingly,  he has a sister in Georgia who is 100.

As for me, I’m already thinking of my next project…a carport. Here’s a pic of what I have in mind.

In between projects and tasks, we have also found time to share meals and campfires with friends. Zack and Rayeanne,  our friends from Nova Scotia, are in town having crossed into Montana from Calgary in October. We met them here in Quartzsite 3 years ago and have crossed paths at other times in other places. We enjoy their company. Sharon has introduced Rayeanne to basket weaving. They both belong to the Gem and Mineral Club here and attend classes. They’re having a blast.

Other than that, we’re slowly but surely meeting our neighbors. We also have recently found a beautiful kayaking spot at the south end of Lake Havasu, about 45 minutes away. It is where the Bill Williams river flows into the lake and is bordered by cattails  and lots of fish. Hmmm…:)


Now in our third year on the road as full-timers, we certainly have become aware and experienced in casting plans in “jello” , meaning don’t make firm plans that will almost be guaranteed to need changing, whenever and for whatever reason. Be flexible in your planning.

Having completed four months as camp hosts in Wyoming’s north country (northwest to be specific), we had made a “plan” to meander down to, and through Colorado, maybe toward Colorado Springs and then west to Pikes Peak and Cripple Creek. After that, who knows, ultimately making our way further west to familiar camping in the Silverton, Ouray and Ridgeway areas. After all, we still had at least a month to wander around before making a serious beeline south to Quartzsite for the winter. Getting there too early would mean it might be still a bit warm.

Then we got the call. Sharon’s dad, whose about to turn 98, was in need of some medical attention and the possibility of a biopsy. Due to circumstances, doctor appointments had to be made, and it became important and necessary that she be there. “There” being in Los Angeles.

As things turned out, the appointments were scheduled for October 8th and 9th. We were leaving our campground gig on October 1st. Not a lot of time to get back to our “Rancho de Deserto” property in Quartzsite, Arizona and get settled in before Sharon would head over to L.A. for a week, the first of what we think will be every other week for a while.

As I write this, we are in full “Jello” mode. I’m in “Q”, and Sharon is in L.A. , having driven over yesterday; a distance of about 240 miles. Not too bad, and at least one of the reasons we bought Arizona property only 16 miles outside of California . First doctor appointment is today. But before she left for her dad’s house, we had one other “plan” to accomplish.

Earlier this year, when Sharon made a week-long trip to her dad’s, it dawned on us that we only had one vehicle other than the motorhome. As a consequence, I was confined to Quartzsite. Banking is in Blythe, shopping is in Parker, and serious shopping was further away in Lake Havasu; all of which are too far for me to ride my bicycle to.

No sooner had we found our way down Interstate 15 from northern Utah to Las Vegas on our way to Quartzsite, when our online research suggested that we would be driving east of Phoenix within a day or two after arriving, to check out a truck.

As I mentioned, we are in full “Jello” mode. Sharon is in L.A., but I have a “Rancho de Deserto” truck to be used for local travel. Isn’t she cute?  Well… at least one of us has their priorities straight. And it probably isn’t me. 🙂


A Few Parting Shots

Wow! Where has the summer gone? As I write this, we’re down to our final 9 days of hosting at Falls Campground, a 54 site national forest campground in northwestern Wyoming. Soon enough, we will be heading south. But today, I thought I would post a few  parting photo “shots”.

The first is of our view from the campground where we have been hosting all summer. The Rocky outcrop in the photo is known as the Pinnacles, and is between the Wind River Range and the Absaroka Mountains. I know, being here hosting is a tough job. But somebody has to do it. BTW, Yellowstone is directly behind  this range. What a spectacular area. We’ve been truly blessed to live and work here for the summer.

If one were to leave the campground and drive across the highway, there is a forest road that takes you to Brooks Lake. Earlier this summer, we took this photo of the area around this very scenic lake, an area that also served as one of the winter scenes in the movie “The Mountain Men”. While hosting, we had many hikers, mountain bikers, and dual-purpose motorcyclists stay in our campground who were either heading north or south following the Continental Divide Trail that extends from Mexico to Canada. The trail passes through this area.


Without doubt, one of our favorite places are the Grand Tetons. Being about a 30 minute drive from our campground, we visited the Tetons several times throughout our summer here. Although we had many days when these magnificent peaks were hardly visible due to the numerous fires from Northern California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia, Canada, we got lucky about a week ago when smoke had been erased by rain and, afterward, we had a cloudless sky.


In keeping with our penchant for chasing sunrises and sunsets, we would be remiss if we did not post at least one magnificent sky as a parting “shot”. Hmmm… is it a sunrise or a sunset?


These are just a few of the hundreds of photos that we took over this past summer. We hope you enjoy these and say to yourself  “I need to go there” or, even though you may have been here previously, you want to come back.




It’s Been Awhile

As I write this post, we are wrapping up our summer camp host positions in the Shoshone National Forest just “up the mountain” due east of Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. To say this has been a wonderful experience would be a significant understatement. So much so, that we have hired on again for next summer.

The nature of our workcamping “gig” has allowed for a significant amount of time off, so to speak. Not only has this provided ample opportunities for exploring this wild and scenic corner of Wyoming but, also, it has afforded a certain amount of rethinking about future travels and, in general, how we want to spend the next several years and what, if any, changes we want to make.

One immediate change is that we have decided to start afresh as relates to this blog. Although our Chasing Sunrises and Sunsets name will remain the same ( www.sunrisesandsunsets.us ), we have privately archived all of our previous content in favor of this, our new site. In the very near future, we will reminisce about where we have been in our first two years “on-the-road” as full-timers, while laying out our future plans, god willing and the creek don’t rise.

We hope that you will join us by following along as subscribers. That is, once we provide a Subscriber link on our Home page. Sadly, this new site is unable to “migrate” our previous subscribers over and, unfortunately, we will need to hopefully get our old subscribers back while gaining new subscribers as well.

In the meantime, we hope you find us and, assuming so, also hope you will enjoy the ride.