New year, new vision! Our goal for this year is to visit as many National Parks as our schedule allows. We are only attending 6 RV shows this year, so we should have a lot of extra time to spend exploring this beautiful country while still running the business from the road. So our plan is to head west and hit the Grand Canyon, all of the Utah parks, up to Montana to see Glacier and Yellowstone, then over to Washington for Olympic. From there we will head down the Oregon coast to see Crater, Redwoods, and Lassen. We will cross to the east around July for a rally in Indiana. We will catch the Rocky Mountain NP on our way through Colorado. After 2 rallies, we will head to Maine for Acadia NP. We may hit the Smokey Mountains in our way back to Tuscaloosa in November. Ending the year on the beautiful Gulf Coast, as always! That would take our total state count to somewhere around the low 40s in only 2 years.
We left Mobile on January 4th and headed to Indio, California for the FMCA rally. It took us almost 5 days to get there because Texas is one big-ass state! We drove all day and stayed in Walmart parking lots every night on our way there, and started the year off right with yet another accident with the RV. Gotta love Walmart!
Once we crossed through San Antonio, the landscape changed drastically, and we were in the desert, our new home for the next couple of months. The desert environment is significantly different from Mobile, and it took us a little bit to adjust. The dry air caused havoc on Lincoln’s skin, and we ended up getting a humidifier for the RV which greatly helped. You know you are in the desert when you find 8-10 different humidifier options displayed on multiple aisles in Walmart. You would be hard pressed to find one humidifier in Mobile, Alabama, and they wouldn’t be on the aisle.
January 9th – 14th ~ FMCA Indio Rally (CA)
Most of the rallies we attend have full hookups, but this one did not. We had to go 6 days with only the water we had and the limitations of our tanks. We have a 90 gallon fresh water tank, 66 gallon grey water, and 50 gallon black tank. We have made it 5 days before without hookups, but we have to conserve which means being conscious of time in the shower and rarely, if ever, running the dishwasher and washing machine. (I can usually get one load of each if I choose a short cycle.) Because of this, we were not too concerned about 6 days for this show. That’s what dry shampoo and paper plates are for, right?
We were doing great conserving until one night I decided to rinse Lincoln off in the shower. He was filthy! The next morning, Eric woke up to no water. Apparently, I left the water on and only had the shower head turned off and it dripped the tanks dry the last day of the rally. Yes, you heard me. We officially had ZERO gallons of water in the tank and one more day before we could leave. Thank goodness we have a Berkey gravity-fed water filter! We filled gallon jugs from the nearby water hose and filtered it for all cooking/drinking/pet water. We used another gallon jug for the restroom and were able to make it easily until the next morning when we were scheduled to leave.
January 18th – 28th ~ Quartzsite RV Show (AZ)
There are no words for Quartzsite. It’s a huge gathering in the desert during the month of January, and by huge, I mean 500k + people. There are RVs everywhere in the desert and street legal ATVs crowd the roads. We were there for the annual RV show which brings in 100k+ or more people over 9 days. We have heard all the horror stories of getting sick (the “Quartzsite crud” as everyone referred to it) and the dust that ends up everywhere in your RV, but we had to see it for ourselves.
So let’s think of a good way to sum up our experience. Although we loved the people, ate good food, and met new friends, we won’t be returning next year. The tent was freezing in the morning (think mid 30s), everything got covered in dust, and the show was LONG (9 days). We can now check Quartzsite off our list and answer those who always ask, “Have you done Quartzsite?” with a resounding, “Yes!”
We ended the month headed to Congress, Arizona for Escapees Boot Camp. We are looking forward to a break from RV shows next month!