Posted by: Juniper Road | December 17, 2012

Catching Up

We rolled out of Lake Mead after staying longer than we expected, totally taken with the great hiking, wildlife (except for those eels!) and surprise bonus access to showers and laundry. For our next destination, we took advantage of our location to see friends and fellow camp hosts we met at Fort Stevens during our happy late summer in Oregon — just a few hours from Lake Mead, they had said those fateful words as they departed at the end of the summer – “visit us if you’re ever in the area.” No doubt being polite, I’m not sure if they thought we’d take them up on it. Well, at least we called first!

Thinking it would be a quick stop to say hello, we were having too much fun to leave and ended up staying three days! Since our hosts basically have an RV pad on their side lot, we had a great home base to visit without being too much in the way. We experienced a little bit of life along the Colorado River in Bullhead City, AZ, enjoyed some great local restaurants, long dog walks, and learned to play poker. Although complete novices, (they had to teach us the rules. More than once) we held our own the first night. Maybe they were just being kind, because we lost big the second night. I guess laughing until you cry isn’t good for concentrating on a winning hand. Or they are secret card sharks. Did I mention how much fun we had?

Hanging with R, host dog Missy, poker face

Before we left, we spent an afternoon visiting Oatman, an old mining town that is somewhat preserved as an example of an “old west” town. We didn’t like the tourist-trap shops, but the local wild donkeys roaming the street were awesome. Kris made friends with all of them (which isn’t hard, since they are used to getting handouts from visitors.) Still, they were pretty darn cute, if a little dusty and possibly overfed. They even sound just like cartoon donkeys when they bray.

Donkey friend, Bigfoot shoes!, giant cactus in town

Knowing that both fish and visitors go bad after three days, we tore ourselves away and continued our journey south. We planned to enjoy a few days on BLM land along the Colorado, but rainy weather found us even in the desert, so there was more reading and lounging than hiking and biking. It’s a really popular area in the summer, when the river must be absolutely buzzing with boats and jet skis. Every inch of river real estate is developed – near town, there are beautiful riverside homes. Further away, it’s all campgrounds and RV parks, some fancy but all packing in as many rigs as possible. This time of year, it’s not very crowded so we didn’t feel cramped even though our tiny, primitive BLM campground was full (not surprising, since it’s the cheapest place to stay for miles.) We even had more wild burros for neighbors, this time more wild and wary when Kris tried to make friends.

When the skies lifted, we headed out before our tires could sink further into the muddy sand. We aimed south, to see what there is to see in Quartzsite, AZ. A major destination for snowbirds in January and February, we knew we’d be there before the busy season when the tiny town swells with RVers by the tens of thousands. But with free camping and lots of RVers even now, we were still excited to be part of the scene, where folks camp in the desert, you have to pay for water, and no one seems to take anything too seriously. We drove into town with rain storms ahead of us and (seriously) an absolutely giant rainbow in front as we turned towards our planned camp spot. A good sign! We passed rows of tents selling everything – knives, beads, socks, RV parts, food, rocks, haircuts and more. This place is going to be fun.



  1. 🙂

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