Travels with Barrie and Val - The Big U Turn, Part 9

Tuesday, March 5th - Monday, March 11th

Well, it came time to leave Benson, Arizona; so we packed up and headed west on the I-10 towards Casa Grande (CG). We initially had to do some steady mild climbing but then the road flattened out and we passed through Tucson and then the road had a slight downward slope. As we were driving along the I-10, we came across hundreds, maybe thousands of planes just sitting out in the desert. There were admin and maintenance buildings but that was it. There were 747ís and all kinds of other commercial airliners just parked there. The place was about a Ĺ mile off the I-10 so we could only see the larger planes, but I believe that there are also military aircraft parked there. I canít remember the name of the place. We reached CG in about 2 Ĺ hours and pulled into the Sundance 1 RV Resort on Thornton Road. We paid for three nights and were guided to our sight by a guy in a golf cart. He then help us set up but I donít think he understood how quickly a 34í Airstream can turn as we ended up about a meter from the concrete pad. After he left, Val and I got the Airstream right next to the pad so that our door opened right onto the pad. We use two FRS radios and they are really helpful when hooking up and backing up into a site such as this one. They are sometimes very helpful in setting up the satellite if I have to put the dish away from the trailer. But this is a really nice site, 40í wide by 50í long and an all gravel site with the large concrete pad. Dirt pads are not so great as when the wind gets blowing, as it does down here in the desert, the dust gets everywhere. At least with gravel, the site isnít blowing dust everywhere. We also had free cable outlet which we hooked up to, as we always try to see the local stations for the weather. If we have to pay for cable, then we donít and use our aerial which usually picks up several of the local stations. After a couple of days, we went into the office and asked for a weekly rate that would take us to the following Tuesday. Cost $125.00 US.

While we were in CG, Bill and Doreen Proctor stopped by for a visit. They were in Pinal County Park, about 21 miles west of CG on the US-84 highway. As I may have mentioned previously, Bill and Doreen have been full time RVerís since 1995. Bill bought a Kountry Star motor home with a slide out. I think itís about 38í long. But they have two solar panels on the roof and two more that they can put on the ground at a 45 degrees angle for maximum absorption of the sun. They usually come down to the Arizona area at the beginning of November and go back to Canada in April. They stay in a municipal campground in Iroquois, just south of Ottawa by the sea way locks. About 50 minutes from Ottawa. It was great to see them again. The last time we saw them was when we left Ottawa last October. We drove down to Iroquois and stayed overnight before moving down to London. That was in one of my earlier reports. We returned the visit and went out to see Bill and Doreen at their site. Not bad. They had a concrete picnic site with a roof and a large picnic table. Lots of room. There were quite a few other people there living the full time life style as well. Bill took me over to another 34í Airstream that was parked about a 100 meters away and I had asked Bill if we could go over and see the guy. Since Bill knew the guy, we went over. Well, this guy has done an awful lot of work on his Airstream. His is an 85, which is a little lighter than my 90; but he has made a lot of modifications inside and out. Extra batteries under the front couch, a generator under one of the dinette seats, a computer table in the bedroom. He had two twin beds in there and now he has a large single, like a ĺ size single for him and his wife!! Boy, I hope they get along ok! Outside, he had replaced the rear cap of the Airstream which had been involved in an accident. He used a front cap and put it on the rear. When he was still working on this cap, he temporarily fixed it on the back and went out to the airport where he was going to rivet the cap onto the rest of the trailer. Well, as he was crossing a bridge, the whole rear cap fell off the trailer!! I canít believe this guy. Anyway, he got everything back together and heís been using this Airstream for two or three years. Interesting guy. We left Bill and Doreen amongst the big Saguaro cactus, some of which were upwards of 20í high. These Saguaro cactus take 75 years before they put out their first branch. They were all over the place, but you only find these Saguaro cactus between Tucson and Yuma. Thereíll be a pic.

It was great just lazing around the park in CG. This was a really nice park with paved roads, a very large central club house area with a nice pool and spa with lots of tables and umbrellas for relaxing by the pool. This is a park built for snowbirds. There are a large number of the sites that have small park models on them with very wide car port roofs. The park models are on gravel but the car port area is totally on a nice smooth and level concrete pad. The Sundance resort sells these park models starting from $28,900 to $35.900 US for the top model. That price is on the site, with skirting, concrete pad, car port roof and a type of heat exchange system for heating and cooling. I found them very nice but when we compared the park models to what were available in the Benson RV park, we thought they were expensive. A very large double wide park model of about 1200 square feet in Benson could be purchased for $41,000 US. Totally installed as in the Sundance park. The Benson model had three bedrooms and two full bathrooms. I suspect the reason for the higher cost in Sundance is the fact that they are located in Casa Grande. But thatís just Sundance, there were many other parks that we could have checked out.

We managed to get into the library and send off our respective reports, but we only had 45 minutes on the PC so I had to really rush to get mine out. I didnít have time read much of my email so Iíll be looking for another library when we get to Yuma.

Tuesday, March 12th - Thursday, March 14th

On Tuesday, the 12th, we left CG and headed west on the I-8 towards Yuma, about 179 miles. I had heard that the gas was more expensive as we went west so I had gassed up the day before at $1.09 a gallon. There was a extremely slow upward climb for quite a while until we came to some mountains that we just had to go over and the grade increased to about 8 or 9%. But the Windstar took it easily and once on the other side, the ride was all down hill more or less into Yuma. We pulled into the Suni Sands RV Park in Yuma and paid for three nights, $73.00 US including tax. Not cheap when you canít go for the weekly rate. This park is not bad, concrete pads and small gravel. The CG park had large gravel which is much better. But weíll just stay for the three nights as we want to get on to San Diego which is going to be quite expensive. One other thing, the park is located right across the road from the international airport and next to that is the United States Marine Corp Air Station. There were planes taking off all the time and this went on until very late into the evening. I guess the military donít have to worry about noise regulations because those fighters were taking off at full blast. Another thing, the gas here is $133.00 US average price! Yikes! And there was a sign on the highway telling us to gas up before we hit that expensive gas in California! This is almost as expensive as Big Bend was. It was $1.38 there. Oh well. Itís probably still cheaper than in Canada, but not that much.

Wednesday, March 13th. I had decided to get my next service done on the Windstar before going into California even though I was a few hundred k ahead of the scheduled 70,000 kís. But Iíd rather do it earlier than later. Fortunately, there was a Ford dealer within easy walking distance of the RV park. I had checked with the dealer yesterday when we arrived, and no appointment was necessary. I took the van in around 0845 and walked back to the park then went back at 1045 to pick it up. But of course it wasnít ready until 1215. I stayed in touch with Val back at the park via our two FRS radios. Real handy.

We were out walking the dogs later in the day and I noticed this fighter coming in or taking off, but it was going really slow. Val wondered if it was a vertical takeoff aircraft. Of course, it was a Harrier and the guy slowed right down to a hover, then took it down to a landing on the runway. Pretty neat. We then went into the old town of Yuma to have a look. But although the city is trying really hard to fix up the old town, there were so many empty stores that it makes one wonder if they will be successful. We then found an English pub and had some excellent English bitter ales. Val noticed that the booths had free internet terminals, so we logged on and checked our Hotmail accounts. I had a couple of emails about the number of emails I had sent out with all those pics. My son also told me that it filled up his 5 meg email allocation on his Rogers account. So it would appear that a lot of people didnít get emails 7 to 13. So I will try and re-send those pics, but not all at the same time. As well, I donít have the actual emails so I will have to guess what pics went on what emails. It will probably take a few days to get them all out, and by that time, this report will be ready to go out as well. Iíll try to send the pics emails out over a couple of days so that you have a chance to delete them out of your mailbox.

On Thursday, the 14th, I found the library in downtown Yuma. They had thirty computer terminals available for public use. Thatís the most Iíve found in any of the many libraries that we have used in the States. I logged on to my Hotmail account and managed to send out all the pics. As I mentioned in the emails, I didnít send everything out, but you have most of them. I just didnít want to have to be doing this in another location. This report is now finished, so this will have to go out so I was glad to get the pics finally sent out. I hope everyone got to see all the pics.

Tomorrow we head to San Diego and our trip is slowly coming to an end as we now think that there is a good chance that we might well be out of the US by the 29th of March and up into Parksville around the 2nd week of April. Itís been a long trip and we will both be very happy to be back in Canada. Iím dying for my first Tim Hortonís coffee!! And donuts of course!!

So weíll see you in San Diego for the next report after this.


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