Saturday, March 10, 2012

A little sightseeing in the desert

I've moved The Palms around a few times within my site, and I think we're finally situated.  There are two campfires in this site, right next to each other.  I can't imagine why, but the smaller one wasn't intact and had lots of nails in and round the burning pit.  For those who are not boondocking:  what people do - in this area anyway - is go to companies that have left over pallets that are free for the taking, they load up their trucks, bring them back to camp, dismantle them and cut the large boards and waaaaa-la, free firewood.  The problem is that all the nails holding the pallets together end up in the fire pit.  Later, when another camper takes the large rocks forming the campfire ring to use elsewhere, the nails are left.

Two campfires - one for breakfast and one for dinner?

So,  I raked the yard, sifted through the sand/dirt/ashes in the fire pit and got as many nails out as I could, and re-made the fire pit because I know there are more nails in that dirt that I didn't get.  I sure don't want any being kicked around, or blown in the high winds, and end up driving over them.

This will do it for now.

The other day Hazel and Carol and I drove down Old Yuma Road, which goes through this Long Term Visitor Area.  We went out further in the desert where they showed me the original site of the town of Quartzsite.  Hazel said they came to mine the area, set up a town, and then were flooded out, so they moved to the current site where the town of Quartzsite is located.

Below are some of the photos I took in that area.  We parked next to this cave in the rocky hill.

We had Hazel's two Greyhounds, Val and Fleur, and Carol's Dumbledore with us, and they were off leash and ran a little.

 Dumbledore - Running like mad trying to catch the Greyhounds.  
His ears were FLYING!

 Dumbledore back in Basset Hound mode.

It's hard to see in this photo, but we are on top of the rocky hill with the cave on one side, and petroglyphs on another, overlooking a large, sheltered area with a floor of small gravel where the first town of Quartzsite was located.

 Val and Fleur on the rocky hilltop with five grindstone holes.

 This is the deepest, all five were different depths.
If you click on the photo, you can see all five.
One is very shallow, right above the deepest.

 Close-up of the deepest grinding hole.

 Petroglyphs on the side of the rocks.

 Because of the angle of the sun, it was hard to see some of the 
Petroglyphs which are fading after thousands of years.

 Fleur and Val

Val, the larger male, and Fleur, the female.

There's a lot of history around here, and the Dingbats have been coming here for many years, so they have done some exploring.  A commenter asked  me who the Dingbats are.  They are RVers who come to this same spot every year, some come in September and stay until May, others come for various periods of time during the seven-month season.  If you camp in this area, you're a Dingbat, so I guess I'm a Dingbat.  They have a social hour every afternoon and a campfire almost every evening, and various other activities from time to time. Everything is very comfortable, if you want to walk over for a social hour or campfire, you're welcomed by whoever is there.  If you'd rather not, that's okay, too.  No pressure, which is why I like the group.  I don't want to feel like I have to do the social things.   I don't have a car, but they all do, and have been very generous offering rides into town, to the library, up to Parker to the Walmart, etc. 

The origin of the name, "Dingbats," comes from one year in the winter when it was raining, they were all sitting around the campfire with their umbrellas, and someone drove by and said, "What are those dingbats doing out in the rain?"  From then on, they've been the Dingbats.  Most are solo RVers, but some couples are members, too. 

Electrical Issue Update

David and Roger came over a few times this week to continue troubleshooting my electrical system.  My microwave starting clicking again, the GFI in the bathroom was doing it's low humming/clicking, and so they basically took off covers, checked connections, and figured out what electricians and electrical engineers figure out. 

At the end of the day, David tightened some screws that had not been tightened enough when some of my units were installed - this didn't cause any problems, just sloppy work by techs that could have caused issues down the road.

They also said that my water heater was on "electric" rather than "gas," so that when my generator was turned on, both the water heater and microwave were drawing energy to start up, competing for the available power, and pretty much maxing out what was coming in.  That might have been causing the clicking, as the microwave was trying to turn on, but not getting quite enough power.

Each time I turned on the generator I was heating water I didn't need heated.  So Roger changed the switch outside to "gas," and now I'll push the interior button in my "Convenience Center" when I want the water heated.  That will light the pilot light and start heating the water, probably like the rest of you who are boondockers do.  I wondered why I always had hot water and other people had to turn something on.  :)  Changing that setting will reduce the amount of power used when I start the generator.

The other thing they found is that my solar digital regulator was set wrong.  It was set for AGI batteries and I have wet batteries.  It makes a difference in they way the solar regulator works, so now it's set correctly for my batteries.

They have been so helpful - they checked all the electrical systems, volts, amps, what was coming in and from which source, and where it went.  They checked all the connections, wires, loads – my brain was in overload, but I tried to take in everything I could.   They checked the batteries, generator, the two transfer switches, inverter, converter, solar digital regulator, inverter remote switch, A.C. plugs, anything that they could find that would help them  diagnose the problem. They took covers off everything, looked at every manual and receipt, and processed all the information; as David said, they were looking a the "big picture."

Can you imagine what that would have cost for labor in a shop?

So... after all that, the microwave was quiet when I turned the generator on the other night, but the GFI started humming.  I checked my plugged in A.C. Volt meter, and it was reading off the chart - over 134 volts.  This is the Volt Meter I got at the hardware store.

When plugged into the wall AC outlet, the reading should be in the green area.

This voltage spiking is intermittent, so it’s hard to diagnose because no one is here when it happens.  I turned off the generator right away, and sent an e-mail to David.  He said the only thing that would cause a spike like that is a bad voltage regulator in the generator, and Roger added that a loose connection could also cause spiking.  When they were here today, David got a reading of 139 volts on my A.C. plug - way too high.  Roger read the Onan Generator on-line manual and it said it shouldn't go over 126 volts. (He also re-set the altitude dial on the generator, which was set a 10,000 feet - we are under 1,000 feet here.)

So, with the tweaks they made, I’m hoping the final issue is the voltage regulator, which I had replaced here in town in December at Bob’s Generator.   David said to bring it back and have Bob look at it and fix it, or replace it.  It's under warranty, so it shouldn't cost me.  I have an appointment Monday morning, we'll see what happens.

From me and Katie - see you next time!  :)


  1. That looks like an interesting trip today. What a lot of history in the area. I've sometimes wondered if the petroglyphs of yesterday are similar to some of our graffiti art of today. Can you imagine some ancient mama telling her kids to get out there and clean those rocks up - NOW!! Glad they have endured all these years but it sure makes you wonder sometimes...

  2. It's a good thing there are a couple guys out there who see your electrical issues as a challenge to be solved. Having a couple guys in a shop spend all that time going over everything would cost a fortune. Hope a new or repaired voltage regulator will fix the remaining issues.

  3. You certainly have a lot going on. The trip to the mine would be interesting. Maybe next year we can search that out.

  4. Do you mind a correction to one of your hound pictures? Should be in the "basset hound mode", instead of bloodhound mode :)

    It's good to see a basset on the road. I am sure my two could be good RVer's but one of my main hangups right now is I really believe my bloodhound would be too much to travel with on a daily basis. She is a great dog but does get "bloodhound obnoxious" at times....part of the breed.

    Great pics.

  5. Wow! What a great place you visited with Carol and Hazel and furry friends. Thanks for sharing!

    I read all that you have gone through and all that you do, and can't help but wonder if I will ever be able to learn and do all that once I have my own RV. It's great that you have such wonderful people helping, but YOU are an inspiration my dear. Kudos!

  6. Great post! Sounds like a wonderful trip and I'm glad to hear that you are getting your power straightened out bit by bit. Sure hope the regulator is the last problem.

  7. Sure do hope you can get your electrical problems figured out. Thank goodness you've got the guys helping you out. They sound wonderful.

    I really do need to explore that area more, hopefully next year.

  8. First time I saw the petroglyphs,I was amazed. Lots of history there!

  9. What wonderful people and friends you have! I'm sure you will be relieved when everything is fixed and working properly. You have some of the most awesome pictures on your blog. Thank you for sharing them with us. I hope you are healing and feeling better everyday.

  10. I admire your patience with your electrical problems. When this is over you will likely be able to diagnose problems for other folks!

  11. We're here outside the "new" Quartzsite, and now I want to explore your area with the grindstone holes and petroglyphs. Are you camped out there where you describe, or are you in the LTVA?

    The Good Luck Duck

  12. What are/were the grindstone holes used for ??
    Poor bassett...heart willing but legs too short to catch up w/ greyhounds.
    Like everyone else hope the electrical problems all get worked out

  13. WOW Barbara... that help you are getting with the RV is priceless!

  14. Wow! Aren't petroglyphs incredible. The history behind them is almost unphathomable!

  15. there is nothing more frustrating than not being able to find the source of the problem..hopefully all is resolved soon for you..glad to see your feeling good and out touring:)

  16. OK, So I got a headache trying to follow all that electrical stuff ! LOL

    I'd be like you though - trying to absorb it all and understand it.

    Sure do hope you can get to the root of the problem while the guys are there to trouble shoot for you.

  17. Get a magnet, tie a string to it and drag it around your campsite to collect the nails...
    If you do not know where to get one locally, just use your favorite search engine such as Google as they are not very expensive... Or perhaps a metal detector to start a new hobby. You never know what you may find!
    Good Luck!
    Ken in Tampa


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