Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Colorado River Trip - Part 1 - Los Alamos to Yuma

Karen was to meet me in Las Vegas after I traveled south to Faywood Springs - Hot Springs and then over to a BLM free camping site called Synder Hill, just southwest of Tucson.  I was then going to head to Yuma and follow the Colorado River as best I could up to Las Vegas, after a couple of detours.  My objective was to visit some of the boondocking sites I have read about in order to scope them out our future RV travels.

(I have put links and maps to all the sites I talk about at the bottom of the blog.)

It was February and New Mexico was having really nice warm weather.  I don't like to take the Nissan NV van out in winter weather because it does terrible in snow, but the weather was good and the long term forecast called for more great weather.  (That changed later on during this trip.)

Entrance to Faywood Hot Springs Resort near Deming, NM

Hot Spring pools near the RV camping area.

Faywood Hot Springs Resort is a rustic place a bit north of Deming and South of Silver City, New Mexico.  Faywood is very near the City of Rocks State Park (a wonderful place to camp, hike and visit). Faywood was purchased a few years ago by a new owner and has been slowly making a comeback from it's premature demise.

Faywood is a nice place to escape to during the cold northern New Mexico winter in order to warm up and soak.  There are about 20 tent/RV sites with many that can accommodate large RVs. Faywood has RV hookups. It costs about $38 bucks for a site with hookups (for two people). That price includes soaking. As an overnight guest you can soak all night if you like. There are also private pools for an extra fee.

There are about 15 hot soak pools on the property.  I find it extremely relaxing to be out in a hot pool late at night when no one else is around.  The stars are amazing at Faywood.  There is an high mound in the middle of the property where the hot water source is found.  You can walk up there and follow a path around the source tanks.  There are great views of the area from atop the source mound.

Silver City is maybe 30 miles away.  It's a fun trip to visit Silver City with it's walk-able historic downtown, a nice natural foods store and good restaurants and dessert places.

Our Faywood RV site  #6  (from a previous trip)

My spot at Synder Hill BLM boondocking site

Using my new propane camp fire pit.

Synder Hill BLM area from the top of Synder Hill.

Below is a Google Photosphere.  You can use your cursor to move around in the 360 degree view taken from the top of Synder Hill.

After an evening of soaking, I was off to Synder Hill BLM area.  Synder Hill is popular with boondockers as it feels remote, yet is near Tucson.  I took a hike up the hill to get a nice view of the entire area.  There is a popular desert botanical zoological park nearby that I have yet to visit, but it's on my list!

While I was enjoying my new propane fire pit, a guy walked up.  He had parked his station wagon nearby.  He told me he was in Tucson for the big gem show held every February.  It's a huge event with venues all over town.  He had purchased many thousands of dollars worth of gems and stones and planned to resell them back home in Wisconsin.

He was sleeping in the back of a station wagon and described a ten degree night in Colorado during his trip.  He claims he slept fine in that cold under a huge pile of blankets, but he noted that at one point he "missed" his pee bucket during the night and had a wet bed for a while.  I've been there.

I recently purchased a Camp Chef Portable Fire Ring.  This was my first chance to use it while RVing.  It worked great.  It's easy to light up.  I brought our propane tank from the BBQ at home.  It's pretty easy to setup and easy to light up.  The ring puts out a really nice hot flame that is adjustable.  I am really pleased with it.  It comes with a nice bag to pack it up in after each use.  It contains lava rocks so it's lighter then you would think.  I can toss the whole bag into the back of the van when I am ready to pack up and go.  It's so much less of a hassle than firewood and my clothes don't smell like smoke after an evening enjoying it's flames.

My spot at the Quechan Casino large RV lot.

A cool Greyhound bus RV conversion.

Folks headed back from Algodones, Mexico
Next, I headed to Yuma to check out the Quechan Casino.  The casino has a huge dry boondocking RV dirt lot that is near the casino entrance.  There were about 200 RVs in the lot.  It was pretty full.  I found a spot on the edge of the parking area where it appeared smaller RVs were parking.

I always check out the casino buffets.  I was hoping that Quechan had a good one.  I was disappointed to learn they had removed their buffet not long ago.  They did have a walk up cafe with a lot of choices.  I had them make me a nice chef's salad that I took back to the van and gobbled up.

In the morning, I met an older gentleman who was walking his cute little dog.  He told me he was in one of the 40 foot monster motor homes nearby.  He learned to play a mean game of poker during his RVing years.  He described how he regularly won about $100 a night playing in casinos.  He has RV friends who can clear $5,000 a month playing poker, he claims. He recommended I get into it. Sounds good except for all the smoke.

After a nice walk into the desert near the casino, I set the van up for travel and drove down the road from the casino a short ways to view the Mexican border.  RVers love to go down to Algodones, Mexico to have cheap dental work done.  You can also get cheap booze, prescription glasses and prescription drugs. Most people park in a big pay parking lot next to the border and walk on over.  I read that the casino has a bus that takes you to the border.

Next up, I headed north up the Colorado basin to Lake Havasu with a quick stop to top off my propane and see the naked guy at the Reader's Oasis Book store in Quartzsite, Arizona.

Faywood Hot Springs
The springs have both clothing and clothing-optional areas.

Synder Hill BLM Boondocking site MAP:°09'24.3"N+111°06'56.0"W

Quechan Casino

All these sites are on my RV Bloggers Sites Map.

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