Monday, April 10, 2017

Sedona to Ehrenberg, 2016

I know, it has been a long time since I have posted anything about our progress. Blame that on lack of sufficient power for everything, what with boondocking most of the time and not having enough bright sunlight. But before I bring you up to date on where we are, let me catch you up on the next section of our trip.

We decided to stay more than just a couple weeks around Sedona and Cottonwood, but unfortunately the rangers aren't as lenient in the touristy areas. They come around every night and log our license numbers into a record book to make sure we are out in 14 days, as per the rules. Fortunately for this area, the forests around Sedona are part of Coconino National Forest, while the ones fifteen miles away at Cottonwood are part of the Prescott National Forest. And with a 14 day out rule as well as 14 days in, many people just bounce back and forth without ever having to go too far! And thankfully, they didn't inquire about where we had come from (or didn't care).

Our site off FR 525 west of Sedona.

So after our first two weeks on FR 525 west of Sedona, we moved to Thousand Trails Road (no connection to the membership camping organization) south of Cottonwood, and settled for a spot close to the entrance where it wasn't crowded and we had good cell signal. It was close to the road, but we have never been bothered by road noise, anyway.

From our site at Cottonwood looking NE toward Sedona.

The rangers (actually fully-armed federal marshal's) still patrol the area, though, and I was even "recruited" to assist the ranger with a surveillance project on a nearby minivan that looked like someone had abandoned it. As it turned out, the driver they were looking for was already in the Cottonwood City jail, but no one had bothered to let the federal rangers know! Once he found out, no time was wasted in having it towed away!

Anyway, we stayed at Cottonwood for a couple weeks and then moved back to our spot near Sedona for "almost" a couple weeks more. During both of our stays there, we had the delight of having hot air balloons land and take off from the very parking area that we were occupying!

Two balloons coming in for a landing on FR 525 at Sedona.

Due to our "traveling companion" getting itchy feet during the second stay, we all decided to head toward Ehrenberg a few days early, which was only about 3-1/2 hours away, the drive of which was mostly uneventful. The weather was finally cooling off there and getting out of the 90's, and that was what we were waiting for.

When we arrived at the Ehrenberg desert again, we chose a spot closer to the highway than we had been in the winter previous. Our "traveling companion" pulled in about a hundred feet in front of us.

Our first site in the Ehrenberg desert.

 All was good for the first couple weeks, until our "traveling companion" (I dare not call him a friend after this incident) decided (while we were gone to town one day) to pour a pail of his urine all over the area where our motorhome entry door would be when we returned!

As soon as we backed into position and Sharon stepped out, she could smell the stench of this infantile and insane act! I had put up with enough of his constant foul-mouthed tirades (even if no one was around to listen to them, he would go into rants by himself), and his constant sarcasm and "better than thou" attitude and talking down to everyone as though he is somehow far more intelligent than Einstein himself, when he very clearly is less than average intelligence! We already had plans in place for a couple days later, to leave this miserable, psychotically despondent person to his own misery, even though no words were ever exchanged, but he decided to make it impossible for us to stay that long!

So we immediately hooked up the trailer and left this psychopath in the dust! We went far back into the desert, so as to be as far away from him as we could go. As it turns out, many of our friends that we knew from last winter were also back there, so it was a far better place to be anyway! And, our cell signal was just as strong back there as it was by the highway!

Our second site in the Ehrenberg desert. To the left of the photo, by the trees is where
our friends hosted both a Thanksgiving and Christmas potluck meal.

More people drifted in as the weather cooled down, and by Thanksgiving, there was enough to have a nice get-together and potluck, hosted by one of the group that we knew from last winter. And then for Christmas, another member (whom we had not met before) hosted another potluck meal. So even in the open desert, a person is never "alone", unless they choose to be.

Our group of roughly 30 people for the Christmas potluck in the Ehrenberg desert.

We had a nice, scenic area near the top of a large ravine, with no one around us for several weeks.

This was the "wash" to our south and behind our RV in the Ehrenberg desert.

We did manage to get over to Blythe, CA, on the other side of the Colorado River, and empty out our rented storage unit before the end of November, but that made our living conditions very crowded. But we also took a few days and parked across from the convenience store at Ehrenberg to get our little trailer sold. It had been in storage, along with the rest of our excess stuff. It sold within 24 hours to a couple from Yuma, thanks to a free ad on a Facebook group.

The last view of our Harbor Freight trailer before it was sold.

With the motorhome, and the trailer for solar power, we did get by rather nicely, though... until we discovered we had a propane leak. Shortly before we left the desert, we took the motorhome back to the dealer in Quartzsite where we bought it, and they "supposedly" fixed it... by replacing a cracked copper tubing behind the water heater, but they never checked their work for leaks. We discovered after we left the desert that we still had a leak, and lost an entire tank of propane again! But more about that in the next post!

Even with the third solar panel that we had purchased last winter, we were still having trouble with it keeping up, and were forced to run the RV engine several times to keep the charge up. Normally, we could have used the generator, but we discovered last year that the line from the generator to the receptacle that the RV plugs into has been burned in two somewhere under the bathroom floor, and I'm not about to tear up the floor to get to it, nor can I pull it out to even examine it. I just know it's there from tracing and testing!

I managed to tap into the first junction box from the generator, under the couch, and hook up a temporary cord to which I could attach a plug strip. That at least lets us have temporary 120-volt power in one place when we really need it, but it can't charge the batteries through the converter panel. I have since purchased a new cable, with which to bypass the burned out line, but haven't installed it yet.

The other thing I have determined is that whoever wired the 7-pin trailer connector on this coach never ran a charging circuit to it! Without that I have no way to charge the trailer batteries from the RV, nor back-charge the RV batteries from the solar on the trailer by simply plugging it in. I have had to do another "work-around" using heavy duty extension cords, to tap into the plug on the trailer, and run an exterior line to the front of the motorhome (on the ground) and then clip onto the coach batteries with battery clips! It works... sort of... if you don't count the voltage loss and the PIA that it is to have to manually hook it up and disconnect it all the time!

But between the holidays, we decided we had enough of the cold, windy and rainy desert, and on January 4th we left for Florida... a place we have not been in 24 years! The last time we were there was November of 1993, for a Southeast Publications yearly convention. We moved to Mesa, AZ the following year, and just never got back that direction again, even after moving back to Arkansas in 2005. Going to Florida just wasn't on our priorities list, even when we were much closer!

But we'll get into the next part of our travels, from Ehrenberg to Reeves, LA, in the next post, and then from there to Florida in the last post of this series, and we'll have a few more travel stories and explain more about our thinking in going back to Florida.

So until next time, let me know your thoughts, as always.

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