Roughing It In Wellton
Just before leaving Pioche, Nevada, I double-checked the mileage of the planned run to Parker, Arizona and wondered what I’d been thinking. Way too long, so I cranked the first leg back to Searchlight, Nevada for a more manageable trip of 234 miles, which would take 4 hours of drive time. I have to say, that southern leg of Route 93 is beauticious drive, and I was passing one “scenic trail” and state park after another before hitting Las Vegas. Also, some lakes for fishing. The state parks didn’t tempt me much, but the lakes and “high clearance” trails did. I’ll have to come back this way once I shed the mighty Defiant.
Searchlight is a sparse little mini-village, consisting mostly of very small casinos, a couple of gas stations, and a McDonalds fast food joint. I looked at one truck parking lot and it had an unexpected slope to deal with. Option #2 was a simple, wide-open gravel lot that was huge and lumpy in spots, but very workable if you stayed in those right spots. No one else was there through sunset, though a 40′ motorhome with toad pulled in, in the dark. Guess where they chose to park? Yep, alongside and about 8′ away. Circle the wagons, pioneers. I could hear the wife cooing baby-talk to what I presumed was a mutt, but the mutt was thankfully silent the entire time. Just watch for poop bombs during the morning walkaround for departure.
From there, the run to Wellton, Arizona, my final stop, was some 247 miles, with forecast temps in the 90s for a few days. That was 4-1/2 hours of predicted drive time. Apart from a passing dually pickup truck driver blasting past when a motorcyclist was nearly up in the approaching lane, it was uneventful. Rolling pavement area, in a no-passing zone. Being the macho type, he stayed in it rather than back down, so once I determined that he preferred to do a head-on with a biker rather than admit an error and get back, I hit the binders firmly to rush him up front, but an honest 16,000 pounds can only slow so quickly. The biker had to hit his brakes as well, and was nearly stopped near the shoulder as the pickup finally scooted back over and past him at somewhere not much over 70. His truck lacked the power to climb rapidly up past my 60. While the motorcycle driver offered the bird to the offending party, I noticed a full-dress big motorcycle strapped down in his pickup’s bed. Now and then, the Darwin Effect reverses.
I reached Pioneer RV Park in Wellton at about 1:30 local time, the distance east from Yuma being about 18 miles. Interstate 8 gets real interesting briefly in that span, winding up, down and around some hills at a 45 MPH limit, and that’s just after the check station where military men with dogs check for drugs and illegals smuggled in. They know how to read faces, so if you have that Gomer Pyle look as I do, they just wave you past. They did sideline a Greyhound bus in front of me, but that’s probably normal procedure, to check luggage bays.
The decadence of the Pioneer facility was more posh than I expected, disappointment being more the norm when trying to pre-evaluate places online. Got my own mailbox in a mailroom, a $1.50 laundromat, rec hall with stage, amps, long tables, card tables, two – count ’em, two – free pool tables and WiFi, a rather fancy-looking ce-ment pond with showers, and a gathering area near some polished shuffleboards, with very plush upholstered outdoor chairs. My site has water, sewer, power, and more cable channels than you can shake a stick at. Of course, most of those channels are useless pap, but just keep surfing. By the time I got the hookups going, got the panels out of the trailer and up to get them out of the way, straightened an electric quirk out in the Defiant, redistributed the innards so I could sit down and try to re-hydrate, got the windows and vents wide-open, and auto-programmed the TV for whatever was available, I stumbled on a NASCAR race where retiring driver Jeff Gordon had just won Martinsville, and they were two minutes from signing off. Dang.
I took it easy today, and will begin a chain of events tomorrow, when the heat should revert to the more seasonal 70s for awhile. The key event will be checking out the nature of that WiFi signal in the “library”. I gots an operating system update to do for the laptop that measures some 6GB(!), not including some program updates that should be sizable. Any WiFi signal for that kind of update needs to be reasonably fast, but mostly steady. A wobbly signal can leave you without an operable device, and power outlets are needed since the download and installation may take a good long while. There also seems to be a slight chance that I may be able to use my Hawking directional antenna to pull a usable signal all the way from the library to the trailer. Maybe. Casual use only, of course. Pictures later, but hey, it’s just an RV park, albeit an unexpectedly comfortable one.
This is where you’re going to be spending some time? Sounds like a nice place! We stayed at a 55 & over place in Yuma, the pool & spa were open all night. Soaking in that 108 degree spa under the stars before I went to bed was great…
I did have a couple of thoughts as I read…
“Guess where they chose to park? Yep, alongside and about 8′ away.”
It must be some that old human DNA where the nomads stayed close in the night to better fight off the Direwolves & what not.
“just after the check station where military men with dogs check for drugs and illegals smuggled in.”
Welcome to the Constutition Free Zone!
I think in these more modern times, we’re sophisticated enough to override our DNA that still fears silly and impossible things like long-extinct beasts. We’re enlightened enough in these times to prepare for zombies. 😉
I was going to say that they probably use the dogs to establish probable cause, but then I remembered coming from a last visit with my grandmother in the 70s, and returning with her keepsake to me from New York via Canada. The border agent apparently didn’t like the look of young married couples returning home in new convertible big-block Corvettes, and they sidelined the car and disemboweled it. Her keepsake was pretty well trashed. The Constitution is something that has always seemed to suffer “necessary exceptions”, and as I previously alluded to, there are now calls by candidates to start lopping off citizen rights whole, as a substitute for enforcing longstanding laws. Sounds easier. Jefferson would flip.
You’d think that the old DNA would be overruled but how else do you explain a huge empty area and they park right next to you?
DNA, a knowledge of human behavior, and the ancient realization that we do not reside at the top of the food chain regardless of how many spears or electronic devices we own.
Well – it looks nice – even a tree – sort of. Is this the last parking place for the Defiant? A little posh-ness can’t hurt for part of the year. I just hope any neighbors will mind their own business and be quiet.
Except for something unexpected like Medicare cuts or mishap, this will be her resting place for the foreseeable future. Oh, these folks are a social bunch. You should see the activities calendar. It’s been unusually quiet so far. The place hasn’t filled up yet, but it’s been commendably quiet so far. There’s a retriever right next door, but all he does is sleep, even when I come around to set something. Not a peep out of him. Can’t say the same for the lady side of the couple next door, but it’s only occasional. Did I mention it’s social? You can get your name, slot, pet names, and where you’re from in a directory, with a name tag to wear. Different world. When I checked in, the elderly woman working the desk showed me the recreation hall and all the stuff around, and ended with a smile “…And we’ll find you a woman.” I couldn’t help but say, “Thank you very much, but I have enough problems!” She laughed.
Oh, hahhaha, find you a woman! I guess it’s a forgivable comment, since she is no doubt a sweet person who means well, but…last time that was said to me (as in, “find you a man”), by a very nice guy, who is half of a very nice couple, it caught me a bit flat-footed and all I could come up with by way of reply was a slightly curt, “Thanks. I think.” This got a laugh out of the women, who then hurriedly gave her man an affectionate squeeze when he looked at her askance.
I was wondering if any of you have ever tried preemptive strategies to keep folks from parking too near? Like…I don’t know, placing chairs and whatnot in a huge circle around your rig and running crime scene tape around the perimeter? Or maybe something subtler…? This has happened to me more than once, and while I should prepare myself emotionally for the inevitable, I find myself offended every time. And incredulous. Any ideas? Like maybe playing very loud music and dancing around naked when you see them coming. Or putting up some “reserved” signs on either side…?
“Hawking directional antenna…” Is this a wifi booster thingy? Sounds cool.
Run out waving your arms and hollering “Back! Back! Not so close!”
Heehee, I like it, so honest! Have you tried it?
Perhaps a banner draped on each side, reading, “Lepers have rights, too!”
My Hawking unit is handy in RV parks offering WiFi, which usually only works if you’re close enough to the source, which few campers ever are. Also handy on the road for nearby sources like motels or fast food joints, though if an access password exists to get in, you’d have to know it. Its only liabilities are that it requires 110VAC for power, so a very small inverter is required, plus it’s one more thing to pack away in its original carton. It uses amplified signals and a directional antenna to connect to weak WiFi sources and so requires aiming. It is an indoor unit made to rest on a surface or stick to a window with its suction cups. It can be placed outside on a different power source (in dry weather), like the nearby Furd, and wherever it is, it creates a local network by both ethernet cable and WiFi that your devices can use to get to the Internet. You can create your own hotspot with protective password, or set it to simply mirror and extend or rebroadcast whatever distant WiFi it’s picking up. Initial setup requires an ethernet cable to the unit, but once done, your computer can recognize it wirelessly after that and get it rolling with any local WiFi source you encounter. It can’t make something out of nothing, but can make a faint signal usable. Built for residential use, using it on the road can pose challenges with finding the best window to use for best aiming and access, and getting power to it once there. Being highly directional for the source, aiming within the mounting limitations is sometimes a challenge. There is no signal meter on it, so you connect to it wirelessly with your laptop or phone and use the setup procedure through your browser to make it scan for all local WiFi signals and their strengths. Move the antenna a bit and rescan. When you get one as strong as you can get it, you officially connect to it and establish your own local hotspot. All this can take a few minutes to do, so it isn’t for brief stops. I probably won’t bother with it here, because the park’s library signal where I am is off the radar completely, and even when you’re in the library itself, it’s a slow go.
They have a border patrol station on the interstate? How does that work, exactly? I’ve read about this “Constitution-free” zone and how law enforcement has wide latitude for ANY just cause, not just immigration. Seemed like it extended pretty far north. 100 miles comes to mind but that sounds a little too far.
6GB? That’s a big update! I’ve read about the Hawking antennas. Interested in how much boost you can get from it. Which model do you have?
Also anxiously reading about your recent camper conversion journey. A similar path I’ve pondered, but still undecided.
The station heading east out of Yuma is a forced multi-lane exit, like a tollway does. Two lanes, with a paved lot past and off to the right. You pick a lane and idle in to try to look harmless to the man in camo. If the dog nearby doesn’t get interested and the guy reads you right, he waves you by without any need to actually stop. Otherwise, he’d direct you to pull off to the side. Given the traffic level in that time and area, it caused no significant delay at all, which surprised me. There’s another on 95 maybe half an hour north of Yuma, except it’s based on one lane like 95 is. As I recall, that one might use a low speed bump. I cannot imagine being out in the heat as they are dressed, but not my call. Call me a sheeple, but I personally don’t perceive such stations in this area as stepping on my rights, given the hazards of boondocking in the drug running zone further east along I-8 and along the border. It’s pretty much the lawless Old West out there, and between bandits, drug runners, and illegals passing through, you need to avoid being a hapless suburbanite on tour.
Yep, an operating system upgrade these days is DVD-sized, except Apple no longer offers DVDs, which is tough on data-restricted users like me.
I have the Hawking Hi-Gain Wireless 300N Smart Repeater Pro, also referred to as the HAW2R1. I’ve used it in a limited number of situations so far. It doesn’t work magic, but will make an unusable signal usable as long as you’re not pulling videos. A weak but usable signal will boost to video capability.
Thanks for keeping tabs on the upcoming rig. I’ll try to show what the deal is with the truck camper as fully as I can.
Looks like it could be a good home base. But, you might have to release your curmudgeonly side in self defense. In my winter park there was a woman who would come knocking on my door even when all my curtains were still closed. She was from Minnesota, too, so when she saw my license plates she thought we should be friends–at whatever time of day suited her.
Oh my. A definite violation of RV etiquette as well as a nuisance. Quite a contrast to the wary calling out at a distance even when the rig is wide open, even by armed rangers. Most people can sense when a person is not the “new friends” gabby social type hoping someone will drop by for a chat, but not all, huh? Still, it can be nice that most people aren’t as task-focused as I am, and if they’re just sitting around bored, are very open to being interrupted by questions about local resources for stuff, etc.
On the wanting to be friendly side just face your chair towards the road and set out one or two empty chairs. Generally, someone will soon offer to sit with you.
Well, maybe I can offer them the Mighty Furd’s lowered tailgate – I’ve had space to carry only one chair. Then again, I’ll be getting rid of that tailgate fairly soon, so if I get lonely, I’ll steal someone else’s – and that will bring them over for a nice visit! 😉
Next time coming South on 95 you can take the Dome valley road from 95 to Wellton and miss the BP check point and the pass. Dome Valley is just North of the mountain you crossed. There is a lot less elevation change to deal with and probably a couple miles shorter.
Welcome back to SW AZ. Looks like you timed it about right for the milder temperatures.
Thanks, John. I’m not able to notice anything called Dome Valley Road in Google Maps, but I will try to keep an eye out for it on my next trip. I don’t really care much about the checkpoints, but do have an interest in usable alternate routes in general. Not having to pull the Defiant any more will make for easier cruising over those mountain passes, but a good road is a good road, and a trailer-less Furd also opens up secondary roads that are cumbersome with the Defiant in tow. And thanks for the welcome. It was a bit crispy arriving, but it looks pretty nice from here on in!
It sounds to be like things are off to a good start…I am excited for you and this ‘new’ way of going ‘amok’….getting off to a pleasant start is always a good indication that you are going in the right direction