Thursday, April 20, 2017

Ehrenberg to Deming

On the 9th of January, we left the Ehrenberg desert and headed east, not sure where we would stop for the night. We considered the BLM at Goodyear, but there was rain in the forecast, and seeing the road as we drove past it on I-10, it did not look like the place to be with a very low Class A motorhome pulling a trailer during a rain storm. So we continued on toward Tonopah, as we saw that there was a truck stop there that allowed overnight parking. It was a good decision.

Looking back toward the truck stop store in Tonopah from our RV.
As we left the truck stop store at Tonopah, we could see our RV way in the back.

The lot was nearly empty when we arrived, and we were able to find a nice place to park along the back fence, so our side door faced the fence... much safer for getting Angel in and out of the RV. There is a decent truck stop with a convenience store with a couple of different fast food restaurants inside. After checking out their inventory in the store, we decided to get a foot long Subway to take back to the RV with us for dinner.

The lot never did fill up, even late at night, and no one was close enough to us to be a problem, so noise wasn't even an issue. We slept well. The next morning, we wanted to get fuel before leaving, so we did that before heading farther east toward Buckeye, and then headed south on Hwy 85 to Gila Bend.

Having only been through Gila Bend once before, on the interstate headed toward Yuma last fall, we weren't sure where we wanted to stop for the night. We pulled into McDonald's to grab some lunch and take a closer look at maps and Google Earth. Although there were some free places, most of them seemed to be close to the railroad tracks, as that's the way the town was laid out. I don't mind the noise of distant trucks, but having a train whistle blow you out of bed in the middle of the night (or worse yet, several times) is not ideal.

The Elk's Lodge at Gila Bend, AZ.

We had read somewhere that the Elk's Lodge at the east end of town allows even non-members to park there, so we went back to check it out.

Elk statue in the courtyard at Elk's Lodge, Gila Bend, AZ.

They have a HUGE empty lot with easy access for any type of vehicle. It's all gravel, with no hookups, but that's the nice thing about having solar power and holding tanks. All we cared about was being reasonably level, and it was all of that.

The huge parking lot at the Elk's Lodge, Gila Bend, AZ, and our RV.

They don't show a trash dumpster, but they do have one behind the building on the west side, so we made use of that while circling the property for Angel's walk. They have a beautiful lodge, with an outside area and canopy for entertaining.

Looking back at the Elk's Lodge in Gila Bend, AZ from our RV.

Next door  is the county sheriff's office and a heliport for emergency transportation. We knew it would be safe. The only thing we heard is an occasional truck in the distance and the helicopter coming and going. One time, it flew right over our parking area and hovered just a hundred feet away. I took Angel out to watch it. This was the first time he had ever really paid attention to any flying machine, but I don't think he was impressed... probably too noisy! And I failed to get a photo!

During our stay there, I noticed that our skid bar (on the bottom right of our receiver hitch) was worn clear through and the rear part had caught something and bent backwards. This is part of the hazard of driving a RV that is way too low to begin with, probably overloaded, and then towing a trailer which adds tongue weight to the hitch!
Damaged skid bar on the receiver hitch of our RV.

But with no time or opportunity for repairs, we are forced to push on, even though we did spend three days here. We were trying to kill some time so as not to use up all our fuel at once, so we paid the $5/day boondocking fee to stay three nights. Although we probably could have gone inside and used their facilities and enjoyed their bar and restaurant, we didn't. Not being members, I don't like to take advantage of such things, if not invited to and/or accompanied by a member.

Our next planned stop was Casa Grande, just a short drive down the road. We knew as a last resort, we could probably stay at the Escapees park there, but their sites are tight, short, and not convenient to a motorhome pulling a trailer. We knew we needed supplies from Walmart, so we went there first. Unforutnately, they don't allow overnight parking, but Sam's Club, just a few blocks away, does.

Beautiful rainbow seen at Walmart Casa Grande, AZ.

Upon exiting Walmart with our supplies, I saw that our solar brackets had broken loose, and the front crossbar had tipped over, allowing the bar to rub on the roof.

Broken gutter mount and tipped cross bar on our trailer, right side.

Two broken gutter mounts and cross bar tipped on our trailer left side.

I couldn't take a chance on going any farther with it that way. The ratchet straps would keep me from losing anything, but the movement of the bar would put a hole in the sheet metal roof and damage the POR-15 rust sealant and Kool Seal topping. I had no choice but to re-secure the bracket enough to get us somewhere that better repairs could be made.

Cross bar tipped back upright and set on the gutter mount, left side

Cross bar re-secured and ratchet straps re-tightened, right side.

I managed to get the crossbar turned upright again, and sat the upper part of the bar onto the mounting cups of the lower part still attached to the rain gutter, and then ratcheted everything down tight again. It held until we got to Deming, where I made other temporary repairs (shown in the next post).

We went on down to Sam's Club in Casa Grande, and found a spot at the back of the lot with a few other RVers around us. Not being Sam's Club members, either, I didn't want to rock the boat by attempting to go inside and ask permission. There's just some things better left unsaid.

Our trailer at Sam's Club, Casa Grande, AZ

Our timing and delays were also to arrive and get through major cities on Sundays, when there is usually less traffic. Sharon and I have both driven through major cities with huge motorhomes towing things behind them, AND during rush hour traffic. But that was when we were still working, and had to get places or get back by certain times. But we're retired now, and can take our time to plan better. We don't like major cities anyway, so why fight their traffic if we don't have to?

Our intentional delay got us through Tucson on Sunday, with no problems other than a little rain as we hit the southern edge of the city, and we continued on to Benson. Not wanting to endure any more of the Benson Escapees resort, after our experience previously, and having done away with our Western Horizon membership which could have been used at St. David Resort (for a fee) just a mile or two south, we decided to pull into a truck stop at the first exit west of Benson and stay the night. It was busy, but the noise was no problem. If it ever got to be, we have ear plugs that we seldom need to use. Ear plugs are a lot cheaper than being forced out of our way to a paid campground!

Random view of rock formations along I-10 east of Tucson.

In our next post, we will be in Deming at the Escapees RV Park, where we again spend several days to create another intentional delay before attempting El Paso. I originally only planned on three posts to get us to Florida, but after reviewing the photos, I realized we had way too many photos to show. So Deming will have a post of its own, then another post for Deming to Livingston. After that, we have to have a post of its own for the stay at our friend's place in Louisiana. After that, there will likely be three more posts before we arrive in Florida, and then posts for each of the places we have stayed since arriving.

I hope you are enjoying our travels, and if you have any questions or comments, please join in. And thank you for for reading our stories.

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