5/23/2014 – Ajo to Yuma

Ajo to Yuma: 159 miles, 2 hrs 45 min.  

Total miles since San Carlos: 554

Yuma?  I never said anything about Yuma!  What the heck am I doing there?  I’ll tell ya but first I have to tell you about the trip, short though it was.

I was supposed to deliver Flipper to the shop next door to the RV park at 9:00 this morning.  I had her there by 8:50.  The guy asked for my contact info and I said, well, I’m just driving through and I don’t have a cell phone so I guess I don’t have any contact info.  He said, “OK, when you see it’s not parked out front anymore, you’ll know we’re working on it.”  OK.  So i grabbed my pack that has all my goodies in it (Kindle, MacBook, iPod, etc.) and walked on down the road.  I walked towards the main part of town but never quite reached it before I decided to turn back.  By the time I got close enough to see the shop, it looked like Flipper was still where I parked her an hour earlier.  So, i stopped in at Olsen’s IGA where they have a sort of mini-restaurant.  It’s a step above Circle K but not actually a full service restaurant.  No matter, they have wifi and milkshakes. I got a raspberry shake and settled in to a little internet time wasting.  By 11:00 I’d done all the time wasting I could do and my shake was long gone so I packed my bag and headed out.

In the parking lot, I looked over at the shop and saw Flipper, but she was in a different position.  Maybe they’re done.  But the next time I looked, she was gone.  That means that she was finally taken into surgery at 11:00-ish, a full 2 hours after they said to bring her in.  Cripes!  I wandered down to the shop and talked to the welder to be sure he knew what all I knew about what had failed.  Then I walked next door to the RV park and found a shady spot to sit and read.  Thirty minutes later, the shade was gone so I went inside the Napa store and just looked around.  I finally saw a bench up near the entrance that, I guess, is where the folks waiting for their cars are supposed to sit.  I sat down, pulled out my Kindle and began reading.  Just a few minutes later I heard, “Steve? She’s ready.” Ahhh.  I paid the bill ( I hate to even think what I could have gotten it done for in Mexico) and headed to IGA to pick up some boondocking supplies.  I was finally on the road at about 12:30.

Although I normally try to steer way clear of Interstates, in SW Arizone they are often the only game in town.  I drove the nice 2-lane up to Gila Bend but then had to get on I-8 to get to Yuma.  Speed limit on I-8 in AZ is 75 mph.  I don’t push Flipper over 60 mph except, occasionally, to pass someone even slower than me.  So, I spent a lot of time getting buffteted by passing semis.  No biggie, that’s the path I’ve chosen.  

The eastern approach to Yuma is crazy.  There are acres and acres and acres of “RV resorts”.  And, at this time of year, they are mostly empty.  Can’t even imagine what the wintertime population is here.  As I neared my exit, I heard a light thump.  Then a pickup that passed on my left pointed down to the area behind the cab.  I was pretty sure I knew what was going on.  I started to look for a safe place to pull off and a guy in a VW also indicated that I had a problem.  I finally pulled over and, sure enough, I knew exactly what the problem was.

There’s a vented cover over the refrigeration equipment.  This cover is tin or aluminum or something light, and kind of bent up.  It’s difficult (make that impossible) to get it to close properly and I’ve often worried about the wind at high speeds getting behind it and bending it or ripping it off entirely.  I had taken initial steps to postpone this inevitability by Gorilla Taping the cover shut.  Inelegant? Yes.  Effective? Pretty much, at least for awhile. Well, when I finally got out to check the damage, the entire cover was hanging on to Flipper by one last piece of Gorilla Tape.  I think I probably stopped just in time before I lost it and it damaged someone else’s car or caused an accident or something.   I pulled it loose and tossed it in the cab.  I only had about 4 miles left to go.  Damn!  I knew this was coming and I have a brand new cover sitting at Cody’s but that’s not where I am right now.

The first RV park I pulled into doesn’t take overnighters between May 1 and September 1.  Crap.  Well, I passed another place that had a sign that said “Overnighters Welcome” so I headed back.  They did, indeed, welcome overnighters but I was lucky I got there when I did.  Overnighters are not their main source of income so I guess they see nothing weird about being closed on weekends and holidays.  And, although I got checked in just fine, the young lady who is managing the place with her husband said they were taking off early for the long weekend because their boss said it was OK.  So, I could have easily missed getting checked in altogether.  But I did get checked in and it’s an OK place.  Pretty ugly as these places tend to be, but they have nice looking showers and bathrooms, a pool, and a clubhouse, which is the only place you can get their wifi.  And I’m pretty much as far away from it as I can be and still be in the same park so my internet forays will be few and far between.

OK, let’s get back to that reefer cover.  This failure must be pretty common because I see a lot of older motorhomes with the cover missing.  And it’s usually the only cover that’s missing.  Maybe Dometic, the refrigerator manufacturer who also supplies these covers, ought to take a look at the design.  I know that when I put the new one in, I’m going to add some extra safeguards since I think their latching system pretty much sucks.

Here’s the original crappy door:

IMG 2494


It’s hinged at the top and the hinges are attached with pop rivets.  And why does my shadow look like I’m wearing a snorkel?

Here’s what your basic white trash motorhome looks like:

IMG 2495

Tape wasn’t going to fix it.  I thought that maybe if I could put some bars across the front, that maybe that would keep the door in place until I reach Oregon.  But what to use for bars?  I thought I had a couple of flat aluminum bars in Flipper but I couldn’t find them.  Probably used them on the solar panel install.  Then, while nosing around inside, I noticed these:

IMG 2493

Those are the angle “irons” that hold the table when it’s lowered to the guest bed position.  Since I don’t need the guest bed option this trip, I just pulled them off temporarily.  And here they are in place:

IMG 2496

I think that ought to hold it.

Alright, so why Yuma?  Well, I was looking at the atlas the other day, thinking about the route I wanted to take.  Suddenly I remembered Slab City.  We’ve wanted to check that place out ever since we first heard that it was still an entity.  We first learned about it, as many others did, in John Krakauer’s “Into The Wild”.  I checked the website and found that it’s on the east side of the Salton Sea.  A ways out of the way if I were to take my original path, but, if I went to Yuma, it put me in a great position to hit Slab City tomorrow.  According to Dora, it’s only 96 miles from here.  A perfect Saturday drive.  I want to check it out to see if it’s worth coming back to with Lulu.  It’s kind of out of the way coming from the north and heading to the Grand Canyon, so, if it’s just a big ugly trash heap, we’ll skip it.  But if it’s cool….

BTW:  I didn’t realize until I was well along the way today that this is Memorial Day weekend.  I wondered why all those motorhomes and campers and toy haulers were headed south through Ajo this morning.  DUH!  They’re headed to Puerto Peñasco for a Mexican weekend partay!  This realization changed my plans a little.  I originally intended to dry camp at a free BLM campground just west of Yuma tonight.  But, back when I was working I swore that, once I was retired, I would NOT use popular campgrounds on weekends, if possible, but certainly not on 3-day weekends.  It used to piss me off so bad to arrive at a State Park on a Friday evening of a long weekend and find all the spaces full.  Usually well over half of these were filed with retirees.  They’d show up on Thursday and secure their spot through the weekend, long before I and the other Joe Lunchboxes could get there.  They could have been there all week while I was at work.  They should vacate on the weekends fer criminy sake.  So, I vowed never to be “that guy”.  I have no idea whether or not the BLM campground is that popular.  But, it’s close to Yuma and close to water and it’s free, so my guess is that it is pretty popular. Hence, I’m in an RV park again.  I have no such qualms about Slab City as I doubt it ever fills up, especially in the summer.


About sryoder

Steve & Lulu... retired. Had enough of the cold wet dreary fall/winter/spring in the Pacific Northwest. Bought a boat, fixed it up, sold our home and sailed to Mexico in November, 2010. Been here ever since except for occasional forays to the States (summer only, thank you) to visit the kids, parents and siblings. If you're looking for a sailing blog, this is the wrong place. This is a traveling, hunkering in, eating blog. Sailing is just how we get from place to place when we can't walk.
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One Response to 5/23/2014 – Ajo to Yuma

  1. sailmama says:

    Love reading your posts as you are a patient, interesting and most importantly, humorous writer.

    Any day now, you may yet inspire me to try again! k

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