Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Fiery Farewell to Arizona

After our month of Baja beaches, in late March, Hans, Ursula, and I pointed our Winnies back to Yuma to take care of some dental and business activities before heading our separate ways.  Since Yuma has become so familiar, it seemed the easiest place to get all our tasks accomplished quickly.

We weren't back to our familiar old RV park more than a day or two before tragedy struck one of our neighbors.  We were sitting in the clubhouse one afternoon when suddenly a women ran in saying a nearby travel trailer had just burst into flames...

We quickly ran out to join the growing crowd.  Some were futily trying to use garden hoses to douse the flames (to no avail).  The Yuma Fire Department arrived within 10 minutes of being called, yet by that point, there was nothing much left to save except the other nearby RVs.

An hour later, this was all that remained of the vintage travel trailer...

Apparently, the woman who owned the trailer had lit a small piece of paper on fire in her RV sink (not a brilliant idea in hindsight, as the winds blowing through the open windows quickly spread the embers into raging inferno in no less that a couple minutes).  

Thankfully, the woman, her kids, and dog made it out of the trailer without injury, but all of their possessions were lost, including the woman's purse, wallet, and all of her ID cards.  

It was an incredibly sober reminder to all who witnessed this to heed the recommendations that we often read from RV fire experts:
  • keep working fire extinguishers nearby (and know how to use them within 1 minute or less)
  • keep a "bug out bag" that you can quickly grab near your RV exit (with an extra ATM card, some cash, perhaps a USB thumbdrive of critical contact info or documents, an extra set of keys, etc) 
  • keep your cell phone on you (or within arm's reach) at all times
  • keep computer backups outside of the RV (in your tow car or other location and/or online).

The rest of our week in Yuma seemed to fly by.  One night just after sunset, we headed down to the city park along the banks of the Colorado river beneath the I-8 bridge.  

I'd been wanting to photograph the lights on the old railroad bridge for weeks, and this rare, windless evening gave a terrific reflection in the water below!

One of our final evenings at McCoy's brought this amazing sky as vivid as I'd ever seen (these colors are not enhanced!)

On Easter Sunday morning, I awoke to one final surprise on my patio lounge chair.  The Easter Bunny (aka Ursula) had left me this sweet treat, just before she and Hans hopped on out of town.  How lucky I am for friends like these!

I had a few more days of dental implant work to get done in Algodones, and decided to move over to the BLM lot behind the VFW Hall on Highway 95 for a change of scenery.  I completely forgot to snap a photo of my rig, but did happen to get one quick phone pic during my nightly walks around the camp.

By the time my dental work was done, the forecast for Yuma was pushing into the mid-90's.  Time to head north and east to start the long, slow journey back towards Chicago!

My first destination was only 140 miles northeast of Yuma, but it was a real beauty-- Saddle Mountain BLM near Tonopah, AZ just west of Phoenix.  My friends Cherie & Chris from Technomadia had recently spent some time there and raved about it here.

Their directions helped me easily navigate to the unmarked dirt roads leading up to the mountain.  When I arrived, there were only 2 other RVs, both far off in the distance.  Even during the weekend, it was still a quiet place of solitude just 40 miles west of the Phoenix metro area.

I had a terrific couple of days here soaking up the last of my Arizona sunshine for the year.  

I didn't hike all the way to the top of the mountain, but did get high enough that the Winnie was just a tiny white dot in the distance!

A final sunset was quite the "fiery" show.  It started out bathing the mountain in hues of deep red...

Then set just beyond the western mountains in a blaze of bright orange and yellow...

And finished up by illuminating the evening clouds in purple, pink, and orange.

Thank you, Arizona, for another warm reprieve from winter!


  1. Especially liked your twilight railroad bridge & end of day sunset photos. Good stuff. Although we have not boon-docked at Saddle Mountain yet we did drive over from Congress last March to check out the area. I recognized where you were parked. Yes indeed, a nice location for sure.

    1. Thanks Al, I'm a sucker for those "blue hour" shots. Love photographing just after sunset when all daylight seems completely done to the naked eye, but still does some amazing things on a camera sensor!

  2. Rv fire are pretty scary we saw one in Quartzsite last winter poof gone in no time.
    Plan check out saddle mountain thus coming winter.

    1. This was the first RV fire I'd seen in-person. Sure sobered me up in a hurry.

  3. Saddle Mountain looks like a great area. I have a friend that lives in Phoenix that has offered for me and the hounds to stay the winter. Until I can solve Stella's separation anxiety that could be a problem. Great photos. Hard to believe just a small piece of paper on fire in a sink could do that much damage ... when I saw the photos I thought of a leak of some kind. Have a safe trip back to Chicago. It's the place to be this summer if you are a Cubs fan. :)

    1. Hope you & the hounds make it to Phoenix next winter...or heck, just drive on down to Mexico and look for us crazy Winnies!

      Yes, I'm currently in Chicago and plan to be around here for the next month or so. Loving my Cubbies this year!!!

  4. Our 40-foot Country Coach burned in our driveway next to the house in Oregon - the Norcold refrigerator. We were parked in Seal Beach campground when another coach burned two coaches over and across the narrow road from our coach. Woke to a pink shade and looked out to see the flames. Probably fridge in that one too. Way too close both times.

    Thank you for the beautiful pictures.

    1. Oh my gosh, how terrible! Yes, these tragedies certainly remind us just how fragile (and complex) these rolling homes really are. Good to be prepared as much as possible for whatever calamity will strike. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  5. Hey Lynne, Glad to read you made it back to Chicago for the View makeover. Are you going to get to see the Cubs while back there. I've always wanted to make it to Wrigley Field, still on the list. I was able to get to AT&T Park to see my Giants and then they lost... oh well. I'm in Cannon Beach Or working for Oregon Islands NWR at Haystack Rock with the local awareness program thru the city. Have a great summer talk at you soon.

    1. I've been drooling at your summer "job" pics! Wish I could still make it out there but I'm hanging around the Chicago area a bit longer this summer to help out family & do a few more projects. Hopefully I get to see a Cubs game while here too!


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