December 30, 2011
We made the final drive to Yuma this morning with stops at Fry’s and WalMart for supplies. Yuma is a madhouse this time of year. The full time population of Yuma is about 75,000 but another estimated 70,000 call it home in the winter.
Yuma is Arizona’s warmest winter city and the sunniest year round place in the US, with an annual average of 4,133 hours of sunshine. This week’s weather is forecast to be in the mid 70’s during the day and the mid-40’s at night. This time last week a daytime high of freezing was about typical. It’s nice being warm once again. Last year in Yuma, Carol had heat stroke and we spent the day in the ER. This time, she’s drinking more water, dressing more appropriately for the weather, wearing a hat and keeping out of the sun during the hottest hours of the day. One ambulance ride to the ER is enough!!
We drove out to the Escapees New Years gathering on Mittry Lake. This is one of the “ten day” BLM areas. No charge, no facilities, but you’re supposed to move on after ten days. Right now there are about a dozen rigs here with more expected tomorrow; the official start of the rally. It’s hard to find a more welcoming group of people. As soon as we parked and got settled down, people came over and introduced themselves. Carol hopped on her scooter and joined some ladies who were sewing, making ear rings, knitting, etc. It’s just so nice for her to have company other then me, and for me to be able to talk to the guys as well. There was a couple here that we had met at an Escapee rally in Michigan a few years ago. About 4:00 there was the customary social hour. By sundown it starts to cool off and everyone heads “home” for supper. Everyone here, except for us, are “full timers”. One couple, Ron and Sharon, had been on the road for the 19 years since he retired from the Navy. They have a 1959 Continental Trailways bus they bought and converted into a motorhome. There are eight 125 watt solar panels and a battery bank with a 1,150 ampere hour capacity. Ron said they have a household size refrigerator, microwave, etc. that all run from the battery bank. Other RV’s here tend to have from four to six solar panels. Of course they are large fifth wheels or motorhomes with room for such things.
December 31, 2011
New Years Eve.
A beautiful day. Woke up to 44* this morning but by 10am it was over 60* and by noon time 74*. We spent the day enjoying the company of all the very nice people. The more time we spend with other Escapees, the more intriguing the life style becomes. Under the right circumstances, we could see traveling almost all the time with the occasional trip to Fort Pierce just to be sure the house was still standing. Some day perhaps. Summers in Colorado , Wyoming and Montana, winters in Arizona. ??
Tonight we discovered something new to us; a revolving party called a “Z Circle”. There are four host stations. Everyone is assigned to one station and brings either an appetizer or dessert to that station and leaves it there. We made brownies. Every hour you then move to the next station and sample whatever is there and socialize with a new group of people. Around and around you go until you have visited all four stations. It’s a great way to get to know everyone on a more personal basis.
Around 11pm the community fire was started. Carol had already called it a night. I managed to stay awake until a little after midnight.
January 1, 2012
New Years Day, 2012.
What a weather perfect day. Low last night in the mid-50’s, by late afternoon it was 80*. At 2pm there was a New Years Day pot luck supper and endless socializing. It was the most unusual, and enjoyable, New Years weekend we can recall. In the morning most folks are setting out for here and there until the big event at Q at which time, we’ll all meet up once again. We’re staying around until Tuesday then going into Yuma for propane and shopping, then to the Imperial Dam/Senator Wash areas before moving onto Q later in the week.
Our campsite overlooking Mittry Lake
Getting ready for the pot luck supper.
Talking to these full timers is really interesting. Some, judging from their RV's, are quite well off financially. Some need to work while they are traveling. One couple is heading to Texas from here. They have a three month job lined up at one of the oil exploration sites. They park by the entry gate and check everyone in and out. The job is 24/7 so someone in the RV must be available around the clock. The job pays $150/day. They are provided with a large generator, a supply of drinking water and a tank pumping service. The three months work will bring in about $13,500 less the very occasional, day off. Some have worked at Amazon, some at Wal Mart, some doing odd jobs here and there. Doing what they need to do in order to continue their chosen lifestyle.