Thursday, March 14, 2024

Quartzsite, Phoenix, A Jet Rally and Tombstone

After our week at KOFA following New Years, we headed to Quartzsite for the annual Escapees Boomerville gathering. I have written about this event in the past so won’t say too much about it this time. Suffice to say it was another good year. The weather was much better than last year with only a few days of rain and much warmer temperatures. We did make a couple of trips to Bouse which is a small town about 15 miles east. The attraction here is a restaurant that on Fridays serves all you can eat fish and chips. And they are gooood fish and chips!  We made 2 trips with Boomerville friends during our time here.

A few days before the start of Boomerville. Early arrivals.

One of several stunning sunsets.

Chris serving up her 'famous' Cinnamon Buns for CARE. Always a favorite.

Fish and Chips at Bouse with the Boomers

After Boomerville we stayed in Quartzsite for an extra couple of weeks as we had a visit from Chris’s folks (Marshall and Marilyn or M&M) who had come down at the beginning of February for a couple of weeks. They spent the first part of their stay visiting friends in Yuma before coming up to Quartzsite.

While with us, we took them up to Lake Havasu City as neither one had been there before and wanted to see the London Bridge.

On the 13th, we packed up and headed for Phoenix staying at the Desertscape RV Park for a couple of days. This is an older but nice park just East of Interstate 17. Easy to get to although the sites were a bit on the small side. Also came with the usual city issues such as lots of traffic noise and sirens.

That evening, we met up with our friend Paul, who lives here, and his daughter, Kelly for a nice dinner at an Olive Garden. The next day we took M&M to the Phoenix airport and said our good byes.

The day after that we packed up at Desertscape and moved a short distance up I17 and across to Glendale. We moved over here to the Arizona Model Pilots Society club field for their annual Winter Jet Jam.  This event caters to pilots who fly either Electric Ducted Fan (EDF) jets or true turbine powered aircraft. In my case, I fly both. The event is a Friday, Saturday, Sunday event so we elected to arrive on the Thursday so we had lots of time to get set up and for me to get my aircraft assembled, charged and tested.

Just a few of the many impressive aircraft present.

They had a number of prizes throughout the weekend and a raffle, which, as usual, I had zero luck on. The final prize drawn on Saturday however was the nicest one and guess who won it? No, not me but Chris! Lucky gal.  She has already graciously said that she will let me put it together and fly it for her. 

After packing up Sunday, we headed back to Quartzsite to a different spot just South of town. This area is where we will be attending our 4th Grand Design Quartzsite Rally in the Desert.

Sunrise at the rally. Note the front slide that is not out!

Evening entertainment by The Border Hookups. Also Grand Design full timers.

Recall our last blog where we described a problem we had with one of our front slides in the trailer. We had had it repaired in Quesnel on our way back to Kamloops in September. Well, it seemed to be working OK for most of our trip south but by the time we got to Yuma we were noticing it was starting to show some signs of having more issues. It got a bit worse our first trip to Quartzsite and then when packing up at Desertscape, it really was not happy. We had to rock it back and forth a bit to get it back in. When we packed up after the Jet Jam, it was a real bear to get it in. We practically had to force it.

When we got back to Quartzsite, we decided to not even try and put the slide out and see if we could get a mobile tech to have a look at it.  We did find one, but after checking it out he determined it was beyond his capability and felt the entire slide would have to be removed! Not something to attempt out in the desert. He did recommend a shop in Mesa who could do the work, so we made an appointment for after the rally.

As a result we were stuck with a slide we couldn’t use and a much reduced amount of space in our front room.

A week or so later, lots of rally goers started arriving and a day or so before the rally, the Grand Design mobile techs arrived as well. The primary function of these techs at rallies is to take care of manufacturer recalls, TSB’s and emergency repairs. I wasn’t sure if our slide issue could be classed as an emergency repair but we mentioned it anyway and were told that they would take a look if they had some time.  Chris usually plies them with goodies while we are here and they have done stuff for us in the past so I felt we had a pretty good chance.

Other things going on at the rally included seminars, a pot luck, games, we came 3rd in the Cornhole tourney again, more food, a camp crawl (kinda like a pub crawl but between campers who set up tables with drinks and snacks) and lots of socializing.

On Sunday a couple of the techs showed up at our trailer and proceeded to investigate our slide issue. After fighting with it for a bit, they did manage to get it out but had to go to another call but promised to be back in a couple of hours to finish it off. True to their word they were back just after lunch and spent the next 2 hours working on it. They finally had to remove the entire front mechanism and completely rebuild it which they were able to do without removing the slide itself. The only parts they were able to reuse were the 2 tracks. Everything else was replaced. At the end of all this, we had a working slide again. This time these guys seem to have fixed it properly. They even gave me an extra motor to have as a spare. All of this is done at no charge! One of the benefits of belonging to the Grand Design family and attending a rally.

Jack and Lee. 2 of the GDRV SRT techs at the rally. These are the guys who fixed our slide.

Oh and one other thing, A coupe of months ago, the organizers put out a call for submissions for a design for the official rally t-shirts.  Chris had sketched out a design and submitted it, and wouldn’t you know it? Her design was selected as the winner. What a talented gal!

Monday, after cancelling our appointment in Mesa, we packed up and headed to Benson. Our destination here was an Escapees Co-Op park. We arrived in the early afternoon but were not able to get a full hook up site that day but were able to stay in their dry camping area. We did get a full hook up site the next day though. We basically just chilled for the next day or 2 but did make a trip into Tucson for some shopping.

On Saturday, March 9 we drove to Tombstone which is about 30 minutes SouthEast of Benson. In hindsight, Saturday was probably not the best day to go as it was quite busy. After finding a place to park, we wandered around for a bit. It is nice that they have tried to maintain the Old West look and feel of the town but we both felt that things were way to commercialized. Of course the “Gunfight at the OK Corral” was a feature but it and virtually every attraction in the town came at a price. If we had paid for all the attractions, shows, gunfight re-enactments, museums, etc. it would have easily cost us over $100. Also, so many of the shops were just glorified souvenir shops with little if any attempt to make them period authentic. We did find a place that served a decent BBQ for a reasonable price but honestly, Tombstone wasn’t what we thought it would be. We were much more impressed with the old mining town of Oatman in Arizona. They have really preserved the old west charm without over commercializing it. 

March 12 we left Benson and headed to our next stop which is White Sands in New Mexico. This marks the furthest East we have travelled so far in our travels. The main attraction here, is of course, the White Sands National Park. We arrived and after a very tight access to a public use camping area, we are set up for a few days just outside Holloman Air Force Base.

Set up at Holloman Lake. Note the white caps on the lake and the blowing dust in the background.
It was windy!

More info on White Sands NP, Alamogordo and maybe even the White Sands Missile Range in the next post.


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