Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Meeting neighbors, chasing coyotes

WELCOME to our new followers:

AsianGypseh, who is a new vandweller and a comic book artist, per his profile.  That's really interesting - I'd think, depending on the subject of your comic books, that you might gather some interesting things to write about living this lifestyle.  I enjoyed reading your blog so far, good luck with your travels, and thanks  for following along with me and Katie!

Jeff & Sheryl Bright, who aren't showing any information, so I can't plug your blog, but we're love your comments and we're happy to have you along on our adventures!  

DON - welcome to you, too - I don't see any info for you either, but if you have a blog, let me know so I can check it out.  Thanks for following Me and Katie, and signing on to follow our blog.

Welcome aboard to you all!  :)

...and by the way, I got an e-mail from Wandrin Lloyd wondering why I was welcoming him as a Follower.  I follow his blog, and I know he at least sometimes reads mine, because he leaves comments from time to time, and I thought he had decided to become a follower.  Well... my apologies to "Wanderin'," who is not Wandrin Lloyd, whose blog is "Wanderin."  I was a little confused, you can see why, but I apologize to both Wanderin and Wanderin', and want to WELCOME Wandern'.  I think I have that right... Whew.

When I woke up Tuesday morning, there was a Class A rig next to me, and a car, and she was getting situated.  She parked just in the right place, so hopefully there won't be another rig trying to park in between us.

You never know what your neighbors are going to be like, and here, where we're camping for so long, it's even more important that you don't get a bad neighbor.  Of course, you can always move, but I like where I am, and I hoped for the best.

A little while later she came over, and we introduced ourselves.  Turns out she is a solo, too.  I invited her in, and we got to know each other a little.  Her name is Hazel, and she travels with two rescue Greyhounds, beautiful, sweet dogs, and two cats, but I didn't see them today.  She is going to be a fantastic neighbor, I think I really lucked out.  She's been here before and knows the town, where everything is, very knowledgeable about Quartzsite.  She offered to take me shopping to buy an outside rug when she went into town to the post office, and I took her up on it, so an hour or so later, off we went.  We ran a few errands, and I almost completed my shopping list that was on my phone app.   Super nice lady!  I'm going to enjoy having her as a neighbor.

After that I just puttered around, put the rug out and nailed it down, put up more solar lamps outside, re-checked yesterday's blog and hit "publish" and out of the corner of my eye, I saw another coyote.  He was moving behind Hazels rig; he had come up out of the wash, and was soon walking behind The Palms.  Of course I grabbed my camera!  (The photos through the screen didn't work - all screen, no coyote!)

I was keeping my eye on him, because when Katie and I came back from our walk, I noticed a little dog on a leash tied up outside a nearby rig, with no owner around that I could see.

Circling around to the neighbors on the other side

Their coloring sure blends in well.

All of a sudden, the coyote circled around, got down low and looked like he was stalking.  He started slowly running toward the rigs where the dog had been, and I grabbed Katie's leash with the whistle on it, and went running.  I blew on the whistle, and the coyote stopped and looked at me, and kept going, so I blew again and ran toward him, and he turned and went out toward the middle of the camping area.  He was in view for a long time.

When the coyote was across the street, Darlene, my other next door neighbor, came out of her rig with her little dog on a leash, so I warned her to be careful, and we watched the coyote until he was behind bushes and rigs and we couldn't see him any more.   She's been coming here for a while, and had lots of coyote stories to tell, and lost dogs, and dogs coming home hurt, bitten, etc.  There was one dog in the row I'm in, down at the end, she said, who was taken by a coyote when the owner was standing right there with her dog on it's leash.  Whoosh, the dog was gone.  Can you imagine?

I told her about seeing the dog tied up outside, and she knew who's dog it was.  The dog wasn't there then, so I don't know what the coyote was going after, maybe the birds.

This happened right after 4:30, it was still completely light out, so these coyotes are not at all afraid of us (except maybe they will avoid those of us blowing whistles).  I'm not going to let Katie out of my sight, and I got out the SPRAY SHIELD, Animal Deterrent Spray that I had gotten when we were rushed by those dogs a few months ago. I had put it away, but I'm going to keep it handy now, that's for sure.  I put the whistle on her leash handle to protect me if I felt scared about a human that was threatening, but it's nice to know it might also work with animals if you blow it loud enough.

I hope if any of my other neighbors saw me outside blowing a whistle, they didn't think I was trying to gather them all up for the Pledge of Allegiance, or something.

So I met another neighbor, Darlene.  She was really nice, too; everyone here has lots of stories about the people, places and happenings in Quartzsite.  I love hearing all about it.  This is the only time I'll be a complete newbie here at Q, so I'm soaking up the atmosphere. 

When Hazel and I were at the store, I got bird seed for the window feeder I bought last year. I've never used it on the road, but loved it on my slider in the condo.  This is such a good place for birds that I took it out and got some seed.  I also got a hummingbird feeder that has a suction cup for the window, and now we have bird feeders on the couch window and the dinette window.

Almost right away we had a Verdin land on the hummer feeder.

What the...?

Where's the food?

This can't be that hard to figure out...

 Oh, I get it.

I asked Judy which book she would suggest for me to help identify the birds I'm seeing.  She recommended  "The Siblely Guide to Birds."  My neighbor, Hazel, has the book and loaned it to me to try it out and see if I want to purchase it.  She also has the app on her smartphone with the same info the book has, so I could get the book or the app.  She told me this bird is a Verdin, and I looked it up, and sure enough, it is. 

 Sunrise on the Q this morning.

 Doves on a wire.

I thought once we got here, things would become kind of boring, but so far, not so much... It seemed like a pretty full day, and even Katie was tired early.  We seem to be living by the sun coming up and going down, and we are both in bed earlier than usual.

From Me and Katie, have a great Wednesday, everyone!  :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

We've had guests!

Yesterday I heard the roar of a motorcycle, and I knew it was Denise and Benny from SASSY'S ON 'DA ROAD!  She said she'd come by and see us, and here she was:

Is this cute or what???   Denise and Benny
(That's Benny in the crate.)

Benny relaxing with Mom.  What a cutie he is!

We had such a nice conversation.  It's funny how much we RVers have in common.  We talked for hours like old friends, then Denise had to get back to her rig in time for her sunset photos. I'm sure we'll visit again, Denise, I may even bring The Palms over to visit you!  :)

I really enjoyed meeting you, and Benny, too, who was such a good boy! 

Katie was (again) not quite the best hostess.  As long as Bennie stayed away from her rig, her food and her Mom, Katie was okay. We're working on it...

This was poor Katie this morning.  She might act all brave and protective of me, but she sure is afraid of things she doesn't understand.  She's afraid to go around the heater:

She finally did get into the kitchen, then after checking everything out from a distance, she finally carefully walked past it to get back into the living room.  She's so funny!  :)  (If I ever write a book about Katie, that will be the name of it, "She's So Funny!)

 We have so many little birds in the bushes behind us, this little cutie flew in and then right back out. They fly fast and don't stay long.  
At least not in MY bushes.

But the Quail, on the other hand, are completely different.  They scurry fast across any open spaces, and then they pick at the ground for whatever it is they are looking for to eat, and then they scurry really fast to the next safe spot.  We had a lot of them around our campsite today.

 Looking around, looking around, looking around...

 Got it!

Do you know what Schwan's is?  They have them all over, I guess, they are trucks that have been delivering food to households for 50 years now, according to their website.  You order the food and they deliver every two weeks.  It's all prepared, I'm not sure if it's frozen or what it's like when delivered.  They have meat, fish, veggies, fruit, starches, ice cream, desserts, everything.  I worked with a woman who had them deliver for her family and they loved it.  Seemed kind of expensive, but looking at their site, it's really not.  

Anyway, this morning I hear a soft horn honking and look out the window, and there's a Schwan's truck driving by, right in the middle of the desert!  I was telling Denise about it, and she said if something can be delivered here at Quartzsite, especially this time of the year, it's available.  It actually might not be a bad idea, as long as I don't have to sign a contract - I might check the site out again and see what the deal is.  

Schwan's truck in the middle of the desert.

Here are some gorgeous photos from last night's sunset. Unbelievable. I don't know if I'll ever get used to this stuff.  LOL. There are a couple of places behind the mountain that flame with colors, or they are really soft pastels.  One place is on the left side of the mountain with the big Q and the other is on the other side, and their colors are sometimes very different.

"Goodnight, moon."

From Me and Katie, have a wonderful Tuesday, everyone!  :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

My yard...

This is a photo of my yard last night with the solar lights going.  I got a good shot with the flash, because it was almost dark.  The flash must be picking up what was left of the red sunset?  It looks kind of pink.  My little Walmart solar lights are all lit up.

As I was crossing over to the couch to close the window, I saw a pretty big coyote walking right along side my rig!  He was about five feet away, slow and confident.  I grabbed my camera, but by that time it was too dark, and I couldn't get the settings right, and they all came out too dark.  Wow, that was exiting, and I'm sure glad we were already back from Katie's last potty break.  I've got to play with the camera at night more, so I can get the settings quicker.

Some of you commented on Katie waking up so late - YES, Katie is a wonderful sleeper, and sometimes sleeps until 9 or 10 am. I get up, fix my coffee, get on the computer, and then an hour or so later she pokes her head out of the covers and I get her down to go outside.

Good morning... are you awake little Katie?

I put one of my little quilts over us last night, and we were as warm as could be.  Those little quilts really make a difference. The side showing here is the back of the quilt.  I actually made it to be a wall hanging, then it became a table cloth, then a lap quilt, and now it's also a comforter when needed.  It's the first quilt I made, and has been pretty handy.

We both got a little mixed up with all the time changes we've had, between Pacific and Mountain time, and Daylight Savings and then Standard time, so sometimes I'm not sure what time our bodies think it really is.  Today I was up at 8 and she was up at 9.  I'd rather each of us sleeps an hour later, though, because it would be warmer then.

Update on the heater:  This morning it was 48 in here when I got up, I turned on the heater, opened the windows and vents again, and its taking about a hour to bring the temperature up 10 degrees each hour.  I have the heater set on low and I just closed the kitchen window.  Tomorrow I'll try a different approach, move the dial to medium for awhile, or keep the windows closed and keep the vents open.  I guess it's a balancing act, once you get the right balance, things will heat up faster and then I'll know how to set it.  We'll get there.  Also, when the sun is shining in the couch window all morning, that helps, too.  Not so much this morning, though.

Update on the Solar:  Yesterday was clear and sunny all day, and even though it's November and the sun is low in the sky, we had a really successful day.  I don't know if this makes a difference, but I have my computer and Sirius radio charger plugged into my little inverter, which is plugged into the 12 volt plug in the coach.  So they are using the coach batteries, but through the 12 volt plug instead of being plugged into the wall.  That way I don't have to keep the solar inverter button turned on all day.  (If that is a bad way to do this, please let me know.)  I monitored the regulator readout on the wall, and it had good readings all day. The batteries were at 100% until the sun got low. Then the volts slowly went down and the amps coming in also slowly went down.

I hope I'm saying all this correctly.  Those of you who understand this stuff will know what I'm saying, and I guess the rest of you, like me, wouldn't know if I've got my lingo down right or not and probably don't care. :)

I fired up the generator when I used my coffeemaker, toaster oven or microwave, which were very limited times, then I turned it off.  The regulator indicator for Volts isn't supposed to go below 12.1 or 12.2, and a couple of times it was getting there, so I turned the generator on for while to bring it back up and charge the batteries, and then turned it off.  We were almost completely living off solar all day.  I'll bet in the summer I won't have to charge the batteries at all.

If I didn't want to use my generator, I would use the gas stove/oven to make coffee, toast, or cook meals, and maybe only turn it on a little to get the batteries charged when needed.

At 9:00 pm when I went to bed, I had a reading of 12.5 v on the regulator, 81% battery charge and of course zero amps coming in.

This morning at 8:00 am, the regulator was at 12.6 v, the batteries were at 93%, and there were, 1.5 amps coming in.

Right now, at 10:00 am, I have 13 volts, 100% charged, and 5 amps are coming in.  We have cloud cover this morning, it's thin, but will probably make a difference as the day goes on if it stays cloudy.

To those of you who know and understand solar systems, does all this sound okay?  Is it working properly, and am I okay to be using the 12V plug instead of the house plugs to have my computer on all day?  Or should I be plugging into the electrical outlets and turn the inverter on?

This is all very interesting to me and it's starting to make sense.

Here's a little diagram I lifted from my daughter-in-law, Trish's, Face Book wall.  This about says it all, doesn't it?

From Me and Katie, have a wonderful Monday, everyone!  :)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Loving the life!

WELCOME to my new Follower, Wanderin'!  I've been following Lloyd since I first started reading blogs, and I've learned a lot from your posts, and always love your photos!  I'm happy you're officially following me and Katie.  Welcome aboard, Lloyd!  :)

We're doing well here in our little camp.  I was up early, and it was cold this morning!  It was 50 degrees in The Palms when I awoke, and I turned on the new heater to warm things up.  The sun was just starting to come up, and having the sun coming in the window helped warm things up, too.  I'm still not sure about the catalytic heater and how much I need to open windows when it's running, which seems to defeat the purpose of having a heater on.  I opened two windows again this morning, and two ceiling vents, and the rig warmed up very slowly.  I don't want the Carbon Monoxide alarm going off, so I may be letting too much cold air in, I'll have to open just one vent and one window tomorrow and see what happens.

Katie was awake and wanting to go outside at 8:00 this morning, which is really early for her.  I didn't let her out for her last potty break last night; she was already asleep up in the bunk and I didn't want to wake her up, so that's probably why she was up early today.

I put rocks around our site today.  I like the way it looks.  I brought everything in a little to make sure I wouldn't be infringing on a future camper's site.  I like it better this way.

Here's the heater all lit up this morning:

Some Quail in the site next door:

Katie and I took a long walk this morning to see the area, and we climbed down into the wash and up into the parking lot where the show is set up in January.   This is the wash with a gravel roadbed:

Here is the parking lot where the show will be.  We are literally yards from it, as long as they don't fence off the area on the edges.

We scared some quail walking by their bush, and they all went scurrying.  They are the prettiest  birds:

Tonight's sunset photos:

From Me and Katie, have a great Sunday evening, everyone!  : )

Saturday, November 26, 2011

New Catalytic Heater, new campsite, and a Visitor!

WELCOME to our new Followers, Rick and Kathy Rousseau!  There's no info listed, so I can't plug your blog, but if you get one, let me know!  Welcome aboard, Katie and I are happy to have you along on our adventures.  :)

Katie and I had visitors today - Susan and Angel from Sacramento!  They were visiting family in Arizona, and were driving right by us here in Quartzsite on their way home, so we decided she needed to swing over and see us.  We had a delightful visit.  Susan is hoping to retire and start full-timing in her fiver in January -  she already has applications out for workamping in a couple of nice resorts for summer and over next winter.  She definitely has it together.

Susan and Angel

Her little dog, Angel, is SUCH an angel. I have to admit Katie wasn't a very good hostess.  There were a few growls and some teeth bared, but mostly she just stayed on her pillow and left Angel alone.  They were okay outside, but in The Palms, Katie wasn't so happy.  Here's another picture of Angel - she is so photogenic.

Hi, Angel face

This morning I decided to walk around the area and see if there was a better place for us to camp, since I couldn't get TV, I might as well have a good spot.  I can see my TV programs on HULU on the laptop, so I'll keep up that way.  We walked around and found a really nice place at the edge of this LTVA, closest to the area where the large RV show happens the last week in January.

I was told this area will get really crowded as we get closer to show time, but the rule is you can't park within 15 feet of another RV, and the way this site is situated, I have a road in front, and bushes on either side, and the wash behind me, so I'm pretty sure I won't get anyone too close, and if so, well, that's the way it goes.  I'm pointed right to the West, which is perfect for my solar panels, and I have a nice view out the kitchen window of the bushes behind us.  I really like this spot, and I think I'll do without the TV to be here, at least for now.

This campsite already had a nice rock campfire circle, I cleaned it up a bit, and put a line of rocks behind The Palms, and tomorrow I'm going to gather rocks to lay out our campsite area.  I've always thought that looked so homey, but I've never done it before.  I put out a chair, table, my American flag, and some solar lights.  This is the first time I've really set up a campsite area since last June at Santee Lakes, when I knew I was staying for a month.  On the right side of this photo is a depression in the sand that an RV wouldn't want to park on, on the left are the bushes, behind is the wash with bushes, and where I'm standing in front of The Palms is the road.  So this campsite is kind of delineated by the natural barriers.

A couple of people have invited me to join their circle of RVer friends, one in the South Camping area and one in the Tyson Wash Camping area, but I think I'd rather stay here and visit them sometimes.  I love being invited, though, thank you!  I may change my mind later!!!  :)  But if I stay here, I can walk to the RV show.  I couldn't get any closer.  In January I may eat those words because of crowds and noise and lights, and decide to move.  We'll see...

One of the benefits of pointing west is that we get the morning sun in the window over the couch.  Katie loves it. 

When we had the solar panels installed, Ron and Arron also installed a new catalytic heater for me.  I hate to be cold, and I know the Arizona nights are cool even when the day is warm, and I wanted to be able to use minimal propane, which is accomplished by a catalytic heater.

Some are installed on walls or cupboard doors, etc., if you have room, but I didn't want to do that because it would take up valuable space.  I have enough space, but nothing to spare. Ron said he likes to install these heaters on a tethering hose. There's a small quick connect setting that was placed right under the refrigerator, and the heater is attached to a three foot hose.  I just click the hose end into the quick connect and we're good.  I can point the heater toward the front of The Palms to get the whole living area, or toward the kitchen to warm the kitchen and bathroom quicker.

Wave 3 Catalytic Heater

It's easy to start, and warms immediately.  It's the kind of heater you can stand in front of like a fireplace, and I'll bet Katie will be laying in front of it on cool evenings and mornings.  It's completely quiet, I kept looking back to see if it was still on.  I'm going to have to get used to that.

I've used it a few times now, and it's a pretty nifty setup.  I can keep it connected, it's small enough to not be in the way at all, or I can disconnect it and store it in a cupboard.  During hot weather when I'm not using it at all, I'll put it in a storage area or in the cupboard.  I have to get a cover for it, Ron said the cleaner is stays, the longer it will last.

I'm really happy that I had the heater installed, and that completes the list of things I wanted to do to upgrade The Palms and allow us to boondock for as long as possible.  It's nice to have the Wish List done.

From Me and My Dog, have a great Saturday evening, everyone!  :)

Friday, November 25, 2011


We took off this morning from the casino and headed toward Quartzsite.  We crossed over a pretty one lane bridge that was kind of neat:

Commenters have mentioned how brave I am, being a solo female traveler, etc., and it may seem that way, but believe me I'm not.  Most times I'm probably more nervous than the rest of you, but I decided a long time ago that if I let that stop me, I'd literally do nothing.  So, I don't think about it, act as if I know what I'm doing, and  just keep going, and I'm really glad I can do that.  Most times I'm okay, it's just new things that I'm doing that make me a little nervous.  I do all the research I can, and then I hope for the best.  Like going to Quartzsite.

I didn't know how in the world I'd find a place to stay in Quartzsite, it's so big and there are so many areas.  People who have been here know how simple it is, but for those of you who haven't been here, it couldn't be easier.

All along the 95 there are signs like this one below.

Each area has signage, and there were tons of areas I passed before I got here.  Most were BLM lands where you can camp free for 14 days.  Then you have to leave, and move at least 25 miles away, and after 14 days, you can go back, or move to another spot.  That's so the desert can "heal" and won't show the wear and tear of campers.  That sounded kind of interesting, and I may try out some of the BLM camping areas, but I wanted to check out the Long Term Visitor Area (LTVA) to see if I wanted to get a season permit that costs $180.  It's good from September 15 through April 15, and you can stay in one spot the entire time, or move from LTVA to LTVA, leave for a while and come back, etc.  So, I passed up the other places and kept going. 

It was very nice desert scenery all along the road, even some Saguaro Cactus, which I didn't expect to see up here.

Once you get here, right before the town of Quartzsite, there are four sections in the La Posa LTVA, two on each side of 95, and all right before the town.  You can stop at any of them (they each have a little brown building right off the road, very visible) and the volunteers will answer any of your questions.  If you buy the permit, it's good at any of the LTVAs in Arizona and California, which are all near the border of the two states.  The volunteers were really helpful.  Of the four areas in La Posa, only one has a dump station and water spigots for fresh water.  That's the first one on the right.  So all the LTVA people go there to dump and get water.  You need your permit to get past the volunteer building to the dump station.  I stopped at the one on the left side of 95 and bought my pass, then went across the street to dump my grey and black tanks and fill up with fresh water.

I asked the volunteers which would be the best area for me, since I wanted to visit the January Quartzsite RV event and I don't have a car. They suggested the second area on the left, which borders the town right where the tents are set up.  They said it will be a nice walk, but not too much.  One of my neighbors here said it's a short walk to the show from here.  I can see the place they sent up the tents from The Palms. So if I stay in this area, I'll be nice and close and I'll be able to easily walk over.

This is the brown building I went to for my LTVA permit

 And... our very nice Volunteers, Lois and Ellen

Here is the RV site I chose - actually you just drive around until you find a spot you like, and park.   I don't get TV here, but I'm not sure if I'll get it anywhere.  I do see some antennas up, though, so tomorrow Katie and I are taking a walk toward the antennas to see if they're picking up the signal.  If so, we're moving!

Facing west toward the setting sun, per solar instructions.

View out the couch window
View out the dinette window

I expect that as the year comes to an end, and into January, this area will fill up.  I should probably find a spot that ensures an open area on at least one side.  Maybe tomorrow I'll do that.  Then if I DO stay here the whole time, I'll be set.  You can leave your place for five days, but then you have to come back or you may lose your spot.  I might check out some other places, but leave a chair and table here.  Then if I find a better place, I can come back and get them.  If I want to leave for a few days just for a change of scenery, I can go to the BLM areas and stay for free for the five days, then come back.

Here are the sunset shots I took tonight:

 After the sun set in the west

 Can you see the glow on the mountains in the east behind the RVs?

That's what I learned today about boondocking at Quartzsite.  It couldn't have been easier - the drive was straight through on the 95 from Yuma, the areas were well marked, the volunteers were helpful, and it was super easy to find a spot.  Probably any spot in any of these areas would be a good one.

Anonymous said in a comment, "You must have way more money than most of us. You have really spent the bucks!"   Well, I don't know, Anonymous, how much money do the rest of you have?  I probably have more than some of you, and less than a lot of you, and a lot less than I did have.  How much money do you have?

From Me and Katie here in Quartzsite, have a nice Friday evening, everyone!  :)