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Rocking and rolling in Arizona

January 22nd, 2010

Whew! The weather has been pretty nutty around here lately. We spent a couple of days in Quartzsite putting up fliers for freecampsites.net and got rained on every evening. One mid-day shower caught us while out on the scooter. Fun!

Quartzsite is just not our scene. Two days would have been more than enough even if the weather had been great.  It was pretty crazy to pull into the BLM area the first night and see rigs lined up awning to awning just like a commercial campground. We had to go about a quarter mile deep into the area before we found a spot where we could get a mere hundred feet from a couple of neighbors. The next morning, we found out why the area was so ‘sparsely’ populated as the kids in the converted school bus had breakfast and blasted the MTV version of the Grateful Dead over the world’s crappiest PA system. Ah, well… at least it wasn’t polka.

This morning, we got up ‘early’ to try and make it back to Slab City by dark. Apparently, I was still on California time and not really adhering to Jenn’s schedule. Still, we got out at a reasonable time and then sat in mid-morning traffic at Quartzsite while the rain started splattering. The wind had not stopped in at least 24 hours.

The crosswinds battered us all the way to Blythe, CA, where we stopped to do some shopping and laundry. We got an amazing deal on London broil at Albertson’s and had the butcher chop up a bit and grind a bit until we ended up with twenty-something pound of beef to squeeze into the freezer. By the time we made it the laundromat, the storm was starting to get feisty. Jenn volunteered to do laundry if I would make us some burgers.

You don’t have to ask me to cook a burger twice! Jenn says I made the burger Eddie Murphy’s mom used to make. They were somewhere between 1/2 and 3/4 of a pounds w/ sauteed mushrooms and onions stuffed inside along with barbecue sauce and mozzarella cheese on homemade bread. We finished eating just in time to get seasick!

No chunks were spewed, but I was sitting in the camper in my long johns waiting on clean pants when a nasty front hit Blythe.  We had 70 mph winds and a torrential rainfall that dumped 4 or 5 inches in something like 10 minutes. The camper was rolling back and forth like we were on the road and the rain drops were so big it sounded like hail on the roof. Jenn’s cat jumped up in the bed with me and whined the whole time.

As soon as it slacked off, Jenn brought a load of laundry with my pants in it and said ‘By the way, there’s a tornado 5 miles from here. Might want to put your pants on and come inside.’ Ten minutes later, the front had passed and we were ready to hit the road. Somehow we’d made it well into mid-afternoon and were still only twenty-ish miles from Quartzsite! The crosswinds were nasty for another twenty miles or so and we passed two over turned semis that were in the same area the tornado passed through.

The weather finally settled down a bit, but the wind is still fairly stiff and there are a few more fronts rolling in. We decided to call it a day at the dry camping area behind the General Patton museum in Chiriaco Summit. Jenn, who is an amateur meteorologist amongst her other talents, says the weather should be fairly tame here compared to what we’ve seen so far. Let’s hope she’s right!

Campsites mentioned in this post:
Chiriaco Summit
Slab City

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14 Responses to “Rocking and rolling in Arizona”

  1. Jeff says:

    I have been reading this blog for about 6 months now, it is one of my favorites. But Im gonna need some pictures in these awesome posts pretty soon, haha. I would really have loved to see pictures of Quartzsite and your surroundings.

    Thanks for the great reading, I love it.

  2. Rene says:

    Holy crap guys, I’m glad you’re OK.

    Thanks for confirming what I suspected about QZ. No thank you.

    We’re headed to the Slabs this Sunday as long as the weather stays good, which it’s supposed to. Are you going to be there again?

    • jenn says:

      Well, since we got together last night, I guess you already know we are here :). It was a great time. We should get together again soon. If we can all pull ourselves away from our work. Bring Wyatt.

  3. johnny says:

    Already here actually. Little mud in our spot, but it sounds like there was some excitement we were glad to miss out on. Talent show is tomorrow at noon. Couldn’t bear it if we missed that.

    • Patti says:

      Will Jenny be playing her banjo in the talent show? Glad the tornado missed you guys. I remember Quarztsite………..not our cup of tea either. The burgers sounded great, think you could teach Eddie some of your culilnary skills this summer?

      Glad you are having a great time in your travels. Sun shinning here today and it is almost 60 degrees. Spring can’t be far away. I bought early planting seeds for the garden yesterday.

      • jenn says:

        Oh heck no, mama. I don’t think that anyone would appreciate me getting up on stage and playing scales and only scales ;).

        Here’s hoping the fruit trees don’t get bit by the frost again this year!

        I am not sure exactly when we are going to head that way, probably later in the summer than we had previously thought.

        Hope your job is still going well. Love you guys!

  4. We absolutely love Slab City, and can’t wait to get back there. Can’t say that we’ve felt all that called to QZ, but I’m sure we’ll check it out at some point.

    Glad you guys stayed safe through the wicked weather… wow, so unusual for that area.

    All our best!

    • johnny says:

      Seems like you either love the slabs or you run away screaming. We just like the ability to sit a long time and piddle at whatever we feel like messing with and be as social or anti-social as we like. If the summers weren’t so evil, I’m not sure when we’d hit the road again.

  5. Kelly says:

    I have put Free Campsites on my desktop…Thank you ..I appreciate the ease of use…. We have solar and very very seldom use RV parking lots !!

    Had our solar installed by Solar Mike at the Slabs.. A BIG HI to Jim & Rene..

    met them last year in Az. where we “ranch sit” for a few months each winter.

    Thanks for the tip on having a London Broil ground up?? had never thought of that…..

    All the best,

    • johnny says:

      Glad you like freecampsites! Jenn has worked really hard on it and I try to look busy whenever she does. We hope you find a nice site or two with it (and maybe list a couple). We’ve got quite a few scoped out to add, but right now upgrades and new features are taking precedence. Hopefully it will make a little money some day.

      This is the first time we’ve tried ground london broil, and I’ve gotta say, it’s really really good! I’m wishing we had had even more of it ground. We can’t take credit for thinking of it though – while we were staring at it and trying to decide what to do with a giant hunk of meat, two different guys came up, grabbed 60 or 70 lbs between them and had the butcher grind it.

  6. Carolee says:

    Hey Jenn- thanks for visiting my blog!

    I can’t wait to hit the road- it will probably be a year or so b-4 I can go full-time, but I plan to go a long time none-the-less!

    Just waiting now to hear back from someone about looking at a Class C- it’s pretty old, but if it’s nice, it’s a start!

  7. dale says:

    hi guys. well i just found the free camping site and it lead me to your blog. i just wanted to say thank you for your contribution to the site. i am so excited to have found it. i am very new to the vehicle only life style, i live every other month on a tow boat, and finding such a comprehensive list of free sites really made my day. i saw that jenn is a banjo player, i am too. i hope to bump into you guys one day soon. maybe we can pick a little together. alright, thanks a bunch. -dale

  8. jenn says:

    I hope the site comes in handy. If you find any sites that we haven’t listed, you can add them via the “submit a site” button on the main menu.

    You are living on a tow boat? How interesting. For the past couple of years, we have tossed around the idea of living in a boat ourselves.

    If we are ever in the same area, I’d love to meet up. When it comes to playing together, don’t get your hopes up, I’m still not much of a picker.


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