Saturday, October 24, 2015

2015-31 Lake Havasu to Quartzsite Arizona New Solar Panels get Installed

Quartzsite Arizona


Lake Havasu Arizona
Quartzsite Arizona

Campground:  Campbell Cove.  Full hookup, 50 amp.  PPA rate $21.00  5 day limit.  Nice park during off season.  Sites are close together and would be very tight during the winter months.  Small swimming pool and hot tub.  Park is in-town making easy drives to shops and restaurants.

Campground:  La Paz Rv park.  About 5 miles south of Quartzsite.  PPA rate:  $10.50, full hookup 50 amp service.  Desert setting, no tv.  3G Verizon service.  Small laundry room available.

local public beach in Lake Havasu AZ

the London Bridge that was moved to the Arizona desert community

Even the canal is man-made connected to Lake Havasu

I’ve traveled to both places in this report in the past, usually in the fall.  It’s really hot in Lake Havasu for most of this week, 100+ degrees so I didn’t do too much outdoor stuff.  This town is a great place if you need service on a vehicle, camper or boat as there are many shops almost on every corner.  Or if you’re interested in buying a car, truck, camper, or boat the same applies.  Sales centers, both small and large seem to be on every corner.

This is a vacation destination and many homes are smaller and suited for vacation living.  Of course I’ve also seen some pretty large Mc Mansions as well.  The town continues to grow each time I come back into the area as I see more concrete homes have gone up.  Of course the attraction out here in the desert is the lake.  Boaters from California, Arizona and surrounding areas, some as far away as Washington State come down here to enjoy the brilliant sun and water.

I enjoy the good restaurants, the free boat ride (with coupon) across the lake to the California side to the Indian Casino.  The shopping is nice as well, as there are many good stores to purchase all those goodies.  Tuesday Morning, 99Cent stores, Big Lots, Ross Dress for Less, Harbor Freight, Home Depot and Lowes all are ready to take your money.

Miniture lighthouse replicas line Lake Havasu

looking over into California

A wash that's used as a road to lake access

next to the London Bridge, beautiful Condo's and shops

My goal on this leg of my journey though is to see about getting solar panels installed on the camper down in Quartzsite Arizona.  Which of course is the winter snowbird destination for many dry campers from all over the country.  There are a number of destinations I’d like to enjoy and the only way to be able to enjoy them is via dry camping.  The decision is always between solar or a generator for the purpose of dry camping.  I prefer solar as the noise lever is non existent.


sunset brings cooler evenings for sitting outside till bedtime

I drove through Quartzsite, continuing south on hwy 95 about 6 miles out of town, turned right towards the bare mountain range, past weather worn mobile homes, sun scorched Rv’s, parched cactus, ocotillo and ironwood trees.  Flat bare desert landscapes.  Quartzsite will officially welcome the snowbirds when shops open November 1st.  Since I’m here a week or so early, only the year-round stores and restaurants are open.  The restaurant/Laundromat,  Family Dollar, a local grocery store and gas stations/fast food stops.  Row after row of Rv parks that cater to folks who want full hookups line the streets, empty, waiting for their winter residences to arrive.

my desert campsite at La Paz Valley

ramshackle buildings, this is the library and office

community center and kitchen

inside the community center

the community kitchen used for pot lucks etc. love the cabinets

Here at La Paz Rv park, three early winter residents have arrived a few days ago.  I and one other Passport America member came in today to take advantage of the $10.50 daily rate.  Rocks and quartzite boarder each RV lot helping to define each space.  A few weathered plywood structures comprise the office, Library with paperback books lining the walls and a laundry rooms .  Windows are covered with insulation sheets from the harsh sunlight.  Enough light streams through cracks and openings in the windows providing a ghost town effect to the inside of the buildings.  Doors remain wide open when in use, no air-conditioning used here.  In the center of the property stands a two story concrete building.  The first floor is used as a community center, second floor isn’t being used at present.

My niece Kelly and her husband Rusty would love coming out here to experience the “Peace Trail”.  Designed for ATV’s, Quad’s, and Jeeps, this 700 mile long dirt trail in the Sonoran Desert connects three counties.  It’s a loop trail from Bull Head City to Yuma with points of interest all along the way.  The trail uses existing roads and trails and was established only a year ago.  New signage is expected to be put in place shortly.

Life in the desert is quiet.  Walks in the desert often lead to unexpected finds.  Like the pet cemetery that my neighbors discovered the other night, while walk their dog at dusk.  They saw small lights flickering in the distance near some saguaro cactus.  Thinking it might be a camper out in the desert, they slowly walked closer to see if that was the case.  Instead, they found a pet cemetery where loving pets were put to rest.  Little monuments to furry friends who had passed on.  Many of the sites having those solar LED lights as sentries in the night.

an evening walk in the desert

to the Paradise Pet Cemetery

the cactus are narrow with the loss of their stored water
during this extended drought.  

Well I mentioned how quiet it was in the desert, that is until a few coyotes enter the campground in the dead of night and begin to howl and yip searching for a quick meal.  Maybe looking for a stray cat or dog out for a late night wiz.  I was told later they were making noises like they were injured and needing help, hoping to draw in their prey.

Discount Solar

On Thursday I brought my camper in for the installation of the solar panels.  It would take all day for the installation and I’m certainly glad I didn’t attempt to do the work myself as it’s actually quite complicated with all the electrical connections between the shore power, battery pack, inverters and charges.   The job appears to have been done with lots of skill and know-how and I look forward to doing a bit of “dry camping” in the near future to test everything out.

three are being installed and I can expand to four if needed

it's an all day job

Breaker box being inspected and changed
solar panels installed and so much more

My neighbors, Danny, Jeanne and I went into California today to visit Blythe, the Native Indian Intaglios and have a good Mexican meal at a local restaurant.  Blythe is a farming community with many having a  Mexican heritage.  The town is large enough to have a big K-Mart, a couple nice grocery stores and a few other basic shops and restaurants.  On the drive back into Quartzsite we even drove into the desert and visited the remains of Joseph Cone’s stone house and art studio that he built.  Stunning site, easy to get to if you discount the jarring wash we had to drive down into and abruptly climbed out of and that was done in my two wheel drive truck, without the aid of four wheel drive.  Whew, probably would never have tried it on my own.

Danny getting the perfect shot

the loose tin roof creaking loudly with each gust of wind

built in the 1800's

art studio on left and house on right

I had a scare this morning as I was repacking stuff back into the storage bays on the camper.  When I went back into the camper, all the electric power was off and the refrigerator was working on propane.  Did something blow out on the new solar power system?  After a bit of scrambling to understand the complicated LED solar charger display panels, I went back outside checking the shore power and breakers.  Come to find out, I had accidentally turned off all the new power breakers they had installed on the ceiling of one of the storage bays.  Obviously not a good location for the breaker panel as it is very easy to accidentally hit the switches and turn something off.  After turning them back on which is difficult to tell if they are off or on since the switches are up upside down on the ceiling of the storage bay, everything is back to normal and working fine.  I also noted that they had removed two of the breaker switches and could have used two unused breaker locations inside my original breaker panel without having to install the “new” breaker box.  Not sure why they went to such trouble adding a new breaker box when there was obviously plenty of room in my original breaker box.  But it works at this point and I’m sure there must be a reason for the seperation of breakers.

I’ll move over to dry camping just a half a mile away to test the systems out tomorrow before heading on down the road and will update you one more time to let you know how this new solar system adventure turns out.

Miscellaneous shots from the area



on top of a shop in town

an historic gas station and out buildings

Till then, it’s bright and sunny, dry, high 80’s and 90’s in the desert as I watch all the “snow-birds and desert rats” descend on Quartzsite for the winter.  The dozens of large flea markets, swap shops and temporary Rv related stores will officially begin to open on November 1st.  A unique lifestyle that I'm able to have a glimpse of along the way as I continue my journey towards Tucson Az and my winter destination.

more photos on PICASA

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