December 7, 2008- So, we made it to Quartzsite! 276 miles from Tucson to here — our maiden voyage in our motorhome. All went well, except a little slower than normal. The Fleetwood does not like to go over 65 miles per hour; in fact 55 miles is more comfortable for it. I followed Carl in the Prius — and at this speed I got the best mileage ever. I averaged 64 mph when Carl was driving at 55 mph — when he started to go 65 mph, I dropped to 60 mph.
It was a great ride without any problems. Our plan was to stop at every rest area. I wanted to see how well all our stuff was fairing — you know, did drawers open, did stuff tumble around in the cupboards, etc. Plus, it gave Carl a chance to stretch his legs. He was fairly nervous. Even though we had already signed the “as is” paperwork, actually driving away from Tucson felt as if we were cutting our umbilical cord. I learned that unlike a sailboat, stuff travels very well in the RV. Only adjustment I made enroute was to wrap the silverware in moleskin so that it wouldn’t jingle so much, which I later found out wasn’t the problem. We have some noisy springs in our easy chair (that rocks). The RV interior looks great, but it drives like a bucket of nuts — so Carl thinks we need new shocks.
Our route was to take 10 out of Tucson, then turnoff on 8 to avoid Phoenix, then at Gila Bend take 85N which puts us back on 10. This route is about 30 miles longer than going directly through Phoenix but a lot saner. The first rest area was on 10 just before the road for 8. It had no facilities — so I got to experience how nice it is to have your own traveling toilet!
We left Voyager Resort at 9:10 — but had to get gas — so we probably got on the road closer to 9:30. Whereas I was worried about backing into our Quartzsite RV site, Carl was more worried about getting gas. Like how do you know you are at the pump and if the pump will reach — nevermind, will we fit and can we drive out without a lot of sharp turns or having to back up. We solved a lot of these mysteries by locating the gas station the previous day. We solved the problem of knowing where to stop for the gas pump by having me park the Prius and act as guide. All went smooth, of course. Our first bill for gas came to $67 for 39 gallons. We are a bit lucky that the gas prices are back down for a while.
At one of our rest stops, we made lunch. I like this idea of a fridge and cupboards. So much easier than trying to make a sandwich on a picnic table — especially when the wind blows!
When we arrived in Quartzsite, we filled the tank to see how many MPG that we actually get — and it works out to be slightly over 10 MPG. I don’t know how much that will change when we tow a car. So the RV used 26 gallons and the Prius used 4.5 gallons. Too bad the Prius can’t tow the motorhome.
I wish I had taken a movie of Carl backing into the RV site. We had an escort, Bill, help us — Bill brought Carl out to look at the site on his golf cart, then they came back and Carl followed Bill back over in the RV (I jumped in for the ride). Bill reviewed with Carl what he needed to do. And I learned why Carl was not nervous about this part of the day — he backed in absolutely perfectly. Not an inch off. Bill was impressed – I’m sure he didn’t believe that was Carl’s first time backing into a site. I should have remembered this about Carl. When we were living on the sailboat, he could pull off the most perfect docking. If I had a movie I could really brag!
So, our neighborhood seems pretty nice. Well, except for one cigarette smoker. Always has to be one. The sites seem a little bigger here — and there are palm trees, fruit trees, cactii, and pretty rocks everywhere. Some very creative uses of property — people know how to make the most of their area. I’ll take photos one day and show you. Lots of Xmas decorations, too. Night is very nice — all lit up but everyone is inside. It does get cool at night. We are using our heaters (we have built in propane heaters, with two thermostats, one in front and one for the back; plus we bought a radiator electric heater).
Carl and I drove around Saturday morning to find the hardware/RV stores and the General Store for groceries. Then in the afternoon I walked to the vegetable stand and walked around some of the booths. Quartzsite is a makeshift town. It has 3 or 4 different “show” areas in which people set up tents and sell stuff. I walked around for hours and did not even come close to covering what’s to be seen. Though I admit that I spent about an hour talking to a pottery maker who also happens to run one of the show sites. I’m an idiot because I didn’t think to ask if he knew of work. Need to get into the habit.
Today was cloudy, so after doing some chores, I worked on MostlyFiction.com. Tonight it rained for about 5 minutes. We got to hear the pitter patter on the roof. Then it stopped. You can see why the desert plants are designed to take advantage of any water they can get — it comes and goes rather fast.
So, we are here for the winter. Traveling was fun and I can’t wait to do it again. But the last few weeks of soul searching and decision making have been stressful. It is wonderful to just sit back and relax for a bit. No decisions about “where are we going?” and “what are we doing?”
By the way, we left Nashua September 12th, which means on Thursday we will have been gone 3 months! And I will have been out of work 4 months. Feels like much longer.