Greetings, everyone, from our new location in the Pilot Knob Long Term Visitor Area (LTVA), which is on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land. It’s located about five minutes west of Yuma, Arizona, just over the California state line near Winterhaven.
The weather took quite a turn before we left our beautiful spot in the Cactus Forest near Tucson. On Tuesday it was extremely windy, and then on Wednesday we had light rain on-and-off all morning and into the early afternoon. The skies started to clear by mid-afternoon, but the temperature continued to drop. By Thursday it was about 20-25° cooler than it had been just two days before. We had reached our 14-day limit in that spot, so it was time to move on anyway, so we headed toward Yuma where the temperatures were in the 70’s–perfect!
We left the Cactus Forest about 9:30, and our first stop was about 26 miles later at the Flying J in Eloy, Arizona. It took us a little over an hour, but we dumped the tanks, filled up the fresh water, topped off the gas tank ($3.559/gallon), and filled up on propane, which, fortunately, they had in stock that day.
Finally back on the road, we headed west on I-8, driving for about 120 miles before stopping at the Chevron station in Dateland, Arizona. If you don’t know about this place, let me fill you in, because there aren’t any signs advertising this on the highway (there used to be, but I didn’t see them this time). Dateland is just a wide spot in the road, but there’s a Chevron station there that that also has a huge gift shop selling, among other things, everything having to do with dates which are grown locally. Our favorite is the date shake, a sweet, creamy concoction that you have to eat with a spoon instead of using a straw. They also have Pizza Hut personal pan pizzas ready to grab-and-go, so we each had a pizza and a shake. Needless to say, we didn’t eat dinner that night.
We stopped at a Love’s Travel Stop as we got into Yuma so we could top off the gas tank ($3.639/gallon) before getting into California with their ridiculous gas prices, and then we rolled into the Pilot Knob LTVA about 3:30 that afternoon. We checked in with the camp hosts and paid our $40 fee for two weeks, which entitles us to stay at any of the other LTVAs during that two-week period.
Now, there’s a lot of free BLM camping in the area, so why pay the fee to stay in the LTVA? Really, the only amenity offered at Pilot Knob is the use of the trash dumpsters (you would be surprised at how hard it can be to find an appropriate place to dump your trash on the road). However, we’re thinking we will probably move on to one of the other LTVAs while we’re on this trip, and most of them offer a dump station and fresh water which is included in the fee. Plus, there’s just a little more feeling of security staying in the LTVA which is patrolled, as opposed to the free BLM boondocking area.
So what did we do on our first full day here? We got up early and went to the Quechan Casino Resort for their breakfast buffet! This is a Friday morning tradition that we’ve followed ever since our first stay in this area. Sign up for the Player’s Card and you get an awesome all-you-can-eat breakfast bar, including omelet station, for $8.95! It’s a fantastic deal, and all the snowbirds staying in the area can testify to its popularity. You can also park your RV overnight at the casino for $10, and their lot was pretty full when we were there for breakfast.
Today we’re hanging out in the North End Coffeehouse, using some complimentary wi-fi to back up and update our devices while working on this blog post. Thanks, Yelp, for pointing us to this really cool spot in downtown Yuma!
Another thing I like about the LTVA is that there are plenty of places to walk and hike for exercise. It’s mostly level ground with gravel/dirt roads, but the nearby mountain also has some hiking paths that require some climbing, so I might hit those a time or two. There are also a lot of geocaches in the area that I haven’t already located, so I’ll try to snag a few of those while we’re here.
We’ll do laundry and hit the grocery store while we’re here, and of course we’ll go down to Mexico to Los Algodones one day. But at this point we don’t have any idea how long we’ll stay in the area. It mostly depends on the weather. If it starts to get too hot, we’ll definitely move on.
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