Friday, January 8, 2010

January 8, 2010 Post

What’s New With Us: Tripping through Southern Arizona

Check Out: Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument


Tripping Through Southern Arizona

After bringing in the New Year with friends in Yuma we continued on to Tucson. There we met with videographers John Holod and Jodie Ginter. John and Jodie taped and produced our “RVing Alaska: What To Expect, How To Prepare” DVD and its companion, “Alaska, An Adventure of A Lifetime”. These DVDs are our most popular products. After taking delivery of more DVDs from John and Jodie we headed west... destination Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.

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Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

The visitor center and campground for Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is located about 75 miles south of Gila Bend, Arizona on Highway 85. Highway 85 is a nicely paved, two-lane road that crosses almost level desert terrain. The town of Ajo, Arizona is at milepost 42 on the highway. Here you will find fuel stations, restaurants, and an IGA store. There are also a few RV parks with full hookups that will accommodate large RVs. We spent a night at the Shadow Ridge RV Resort. It is a nice park with gravel pull-thru sites, cement patios and 50-amp-electric, water, sewer and cable hookups. Free Wi-Fi is also available. We would stay there again.

Entrance fee to the monument is $8.00 per vehicle for a seven day period. Our Golden Age Pass (now called the Senior Pass) gave us free admittance. The Interagency Pass and Access Pass also provide free admittance to the monument.

The campground at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument has paved roads and 200-plus paved, pull-thru campsites with paved patios. The campground will accommodate vehicles up to 40 feet in length. There are no hookups but restrooms (without showers), water and a dump station are available. Generators are permitted to operate for a couple hours in the morning and again in the afternoon. The nicely-spaced campsites are separated by stands of cactus and other desert vegetation. We thought it was a super campground. (click on photo for enlarged view)

Here is the best part… camping is only $12 per night; half price ($6.00) if you have the Senior or Access Pass.

Desert vegetation and scenery are the main attraction at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. There are two scenic drives, The most popular is the 21-mile Ajo Mountain Drive.It is a one-way gravel loop. In addition to heavy stands of Organ Pipe, Saguaro and Cholla cactus there is a view of an arch at the Arch Canyon view stop. For those who prefer to spend less time on gravel roads there is the other scenic drive, the 5-mile Puerto Blanco Drive. There are also a number of scenic hiking trails.

Late October to early April would be the optimum time to visit the monument. Temperatures are typically below 95 degrees during this time (lower in December, January and February; higher in October, late March and April ). It is not unusual for summer temps to exceed 100 degrees.

For more information go to

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Sunday, January 3, 2010

January 3, 2010 Post

In This Post:

What’s New With Us: Happy New Year -- Seminars

Article: Losing a Wallet


Happy New Year!

Vicki and I celebrated New Year’s eve and day with RVing friends in Yuma, Arizona. On New Year’s Eve 18 of us shared a traditional dinner of steak and lobster at the house of Joe and Joanne Annuzzio, one of the RVing couples. We swapped exaggerated tales of adventures and medical woes and struggled to stay awake until 10:00 PM (Yuma time) so we could watch the ball drop in Times Square (at midnite, New York Time). At that point we wished each other Happy New Year, and then, exhausted from our late night of revelry, went home to our beds.

Just to show you how easy we were to entertain, take a look at the photo.

Part of the evening amusement was seeing how many brooms we could get to stand on their own. The photo shows the results. The only thing keeping those brooms standing is the skill and patience of the people who put them there. No strings, no tricks, no photoshop. Click on the photo for a closer look (notice the assortment of fine box wines in the background) Try it sometime when you are up to an excitement filled evening.

New Year’s Day we came together for a late breakfast and spent the remainder of the day grazing on pulled pork sandwiches and assorted goodies while talking about the diets we would start on “tomorrow”.

When it was time for the Rose Bowl game to start, the women gathered in the dining room to play a card game called Anaconda while the men congregated around the big screen television in the family room to watch the football game.

There was a great deal of cheering, booing, laughing, moaning, yelling, name calling and throwing of money. The rivalry and bedlam got so loud for so long that we finally had to ask the women to tone it down so we could hear the football game.

Everyone agreed that the only thing that could have made the weekend better would have been the presence of Jerry and Arlyne Ray. Jerry is recovering at home from lung surgery. Jerry and Arlyne are good friends and we really missed them.

Good food, good times, good friends. It was a great start to the new year.

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If you are thinking about buying an RV, becoming a fulltime RVer or RVing to Alaska, check out our e-books on those subjects.



We will be presenting two seminars at the Western Gypsy Gathering Rally. The rally is being held at the Yuma County Fairgrounds March 8 - 12, 2010. The topics: "Alaska, The Ultimate RV Adventure" and "Personal Security Tips for RVers" are our most popular seminars. Check out the Gypsy Journal website for rally details.


What’s In Your Wallet?

Dear Joe and Vicki: While traveling out of state, my wallet and credit cards ended up in the hands of a thief. Fortunately, I was not held responsible for the unauthorized credit card charges. Canceling and replacing the contents of my wallet, however, turned out to be a real headache. Tell your readers to make a list of the phone numbers they should call to replace their credit cards. We carry a copy of our list in our RV.

Joe: Take a look at the contents of your wallet. Cash, credit cards, driver’s license, identification, membership cards, discount cards, library card, telephone calling card, emergency notification, health insurance card, important phone numbers ... these are the tools you use to accomplish everyday tasks.

Do you know what to do if you lose that wallet and its important contents? Who would you notify, and how? How would you get along until these cards and documents were replaced?

It is a good idea to periodically inventory, weed out and update the contents of your wallet. There is no point in carrying all those expired cards, old receipts and out-of-date discount coupons.

Once the contents of your wallet are up to date, place all of them on a copying machine and make two copies of each side. The back of your credit cards provide an 800 number to call if the cards are lost or stolen. The phone numbers may not be legible on the photocopy, so make a notation of them on the copies with a pen. While you are at it, make a note on the photocopy of the phone numbers you should call to replace each of the other documents as well.

Put one of the copies in a secure place at home and the other in a safe place in your RV. Now, if you do lose your wallet, you can quickly cancel its contents and arrange replacements by referring to the photocopy. You will also have a duplicate of any important papers or lists you carry in your wallet.

Vicki: Has it occurred to you that when you cancel the credit cards in your wallet you are also canceling those same credit cards in your spouse’s wallet? Chances are your credit card company will quickly send new credit cards to your home address. That’s fine if you are at home. But, what if you are miles from home on an RVing vacation trip? Will you be able to continue, even temporarily, without your credit cards and telephone calling card?

You will if you and your spouse do not carry the same credit cards. Most couples have both a MasterCard and a Visa card. Have one spouse carry the MasterCard but not the Visa card, and the other spouse carry the Visa card but not the MasterCard. If you have to cancel the credit cards in one wallet, you can continue to use the still-valid cards in the other wallet. This same system could also apply to telephone calling cards. If this is not convenient, or you do not have a travel companion, perhaps you can stash a backup credit card (that neither spouse carries) in your RV.

Joe: Do you have an “Emergency Notification Card” in your wallet? It probably provides the name, home address and home phone number of your spouse. But, what if both of you are injured together? Is there an alternative person to notify? What if you are on an RV trip and one of you is injured while away from the RV while the other is waiting in the campground? How does the non-injured party get notified?

Create your own “Emergency Notification Card”. One that provides:
Spouse’s name,
Spouse’s home, work and cell-phone numbers.
Names and phone numbers of one or two adult children or relatives.
Name and phone number of your primary physician.
A brief description of any serious medical conditions you may have.
A list of the medications you are taking.
A list of any medications to which you are allergic.
Location of your Living Will.

This Emergency Notification Card will provide emergency-response and medical personnel with the information they need to give you emergency aid without doing further harm. They will also be able to notify your loved ones of your situation.

Vicki: The stress of a crisis may prevent you from remembering the license plate number(s) of your vehicles and the phone numbers of close friends, family members and even your work phone number. You might want to list them on a separate card for your own reference. You could also note your telephone calling card’s numbers (but not the PIN number) on this card rather than carrying the calling card in your wallet.

Some RVers like to carry an additional card or paper with the name and location of the campground where they are staying, the description and license number of their RV, and information about pets that may be inside the RV.

Carrying this additional information makes sense if you are staying in the same campground for a period of time. Keeping it updated on a daily basis while traveling, however, could get real tedious. In this case, it might be easier to just pick up a campground brochure or campsite map and place it on the center console of your transportation vehicle when you temporarily leave the campground. Hopefully, the police investigating any accident will put your out-of-state license plate together with the campground map and come to the conclusion that you are camping there.
You should carry your medical insurance card in your wallet. Be sure to ask your insurer if you are covered and what procedures you should follow if you need medical care while traveling.

A Living Will tells medical personnel and others your wishes regarding the use of life-prolonging procedures. Be sure to inform the individuals listed on your Emergency Notification Card of the existence and location of your Living Will. You could also note its location on your Emergency Notification Card.

Joe: Think about putting a spare set of your RV keys in your transportation vehicle. And it’s not a bad idea to carry a spare ignition key for your transportation vehicle in your RV.

A pre-paid phone card can be useful in an emergency if you do not have a telephone calling card.

You might need cash in an emergency. Your ATM or credit card should take care of most financial needs. It might be handy, however, to also stash a couple of quarters and one or two twenty-dollar bills in your wallet.

Inventory your wallet. Be sure your emergency notification information is up to date. Make a photocopy of important cards and papers. Know what is in your wallet ... just in case.

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