Thursday, December 30, 2010

Excellent BBQ!

If you like REALLY good Bar-B-Q and are in driving distance to Quartzsite AZ, you should definitely make sure to stop in at Chuckwagon Catering and visit Rusty Bennett! 

Heidi and I didn't stand a chance, the sweet aroma that emanates from this place was not something we could pass up! 
We both had the pulled pork which is easily the best I have had anywhere! Rusty smokes the meat in-house and, of course, uses his own recipe for the barbecue sauce. I know there are many other items on his menu that we would love, but from the first visit, I couldn't get my mind off that nummy sammich and had to have the same again :) 

Keep your eye out for this trailer on the East end of the Southern frontage road of highway 10. It's located in the "Rice Ranch" area at space A-38 which all sounds much more complicated than it really is. Trust me, if you have your windows down, finding this place will be easy! 

His hours are 10:30 to 6:00 every day of the week rain or shine!
  The number is (208) 305-7324 if you get lost or maybe want to schedule a catered deal with friends. 

Update: In the comments below, Rusty mentioned that he and Lisa will give a $2 discount on any meal ordered this season at their Quartzsite location if you mention this blog. Very Cool! Thanks Rusty & Lisa! 

I'm outa there!

<cue Mission Impossible music>
It was a dark and stormy night, the wind howled and the thunder crashed as Heidi and I made a break for Taj! Yeah, I know I have used that one before, but it just fits too well and it was pretty windy...

We are out of the hospital and now all that remains is for me to finish out 3 weeks of oral antibiotics to take care of the previously mentioned lung "thingy"

Now comes the news I have mixed feelings about. We have been having such a great time here in the desert meeting and hanging out with friends, spending time doing our crafts, and just really enjoying the area. We have been anticipating the arrival of many fellow Vantramps, Vansteaders, and Vandwellers here for a gathering dubbed the "Rubber Tramp Rendezvous". However, after a lot of consideration mainly based on getting back to a better state of health, we are going to head back to our home state of Washington to recover and regroup.  So sadly, we will miss the rest of the fun in the desert and the many great folks we had been so excited to see.

Regroup we shall! Next year, we will be better prepared and will be able to enjoy our time here even more. No matter how long we spend on the road, we are always learning! There are a number of things we can do better, things we can do without and adjustments to be made. There will be lots of blog posts coming on this stuff to share what we have found!

In other news, I have been trying to get Bocephus to change out of his Santa suit for days but he refused until he got his gift from Katie. The gift was meant to be for all the monkeys, but Bo is quick! 

Maybe he will share though. Thanks Katie :)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A few answers.

The desert is full of fun little critters to watch and enjoy. These Quail have been  fairly common visitors in our camp and are a chatty little bunch. They don't seem to have much fear of any of us and will come in pretty close to get a better look.  The most curious of the bunch waddled within about 3 feet of me who was, at that time, without our camera...

I thought this might be a good time to address a question that many folks seem to have. Apparently quite a few people feel like they would be bored here and have trouble trying to pass the time and keep occupied. Heidi and I have found the opposite to be true, we wish there was more time in the day! Between the normal day to day fun of this lifestyle, doing our various crafts, exploring the area and the various cool little shops, we are never without several things to do. Of course many of our blog and VanTramp friends have been showing up as well, adding some great memories to our lives! To anyone who thinks they would be bored here, I promise you won't be! Give it a try! 

You may have noticed that I have been a little quiet lately, I should shed a little light on that as well.  I am writing this post from the Parker Hospital where I have been staying the last few days, working on getting over another small(hopefully) lung thingy. (That's a technical term). Should be done here soon so I can catch up reading all your great blogs and write a few more interesting ones too! 

The Sunrises are every bit as pretty!

Monday, December 13, 2010

3 wheeled fun in the sun!

This picture would have been so much better with sound! Cheri (known to many as Grammahugababy online), was having a great time blasting around by our camp on Gary's cool little trike. The perma-grin on her face was accompanied by plenty of laughter!  Gary, gary gearloose, or gg for short, (lower case intentional) is one of our great friends from the Port Angeles Washington area.

Gary's new van on the left above is a bit larger than his old VanTramping vehicle of choice, the Scion Box shown below. He was able to cary both his trike, which does fold up, and his home built Kayaks in either vehicle and still have room for himself and his other stuff.

We have been really enjoying the many visitors we have been getting here in Quartzite! I guess there must be something about the area that makes it desirable this time of year. Hmmm, I wonder if it has to do with the weather? Yesterday, the temps were a very comfortable high of 78 and a low of 47 with clear skies and sun. I believe my mother may have been annoyed with me for calling to "share" this info with her :) Apparently, Minnesota isn't as comfortable right now, I thing she mumbled something about 25 below zero windchill... I probably should not repeat the rest!

While gg has moved on already to his next destination, we still get to enjoy spending time with Cheri and little Tony the Tiger, who is easily one of the sweetest Yorkies anywhere! There are more VanTramps and friends on the way. We can't wait to see you! To everyone else, seriously, what are ya waiting for?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Kodak Moment?

The image above is Marymere Falls in Washington State. A few years back, my Dad and I were hiking back from this beautiful waterfall when the story below unfolded(it is reposted from my old blog). A few recent posts by other blog friends have reminded me of it so I thought I might get some more input here.

You are walking along a path through an amazing and peaceful forest. Thick green moss hangs from the ancient trees while the sun, hidden by a canopy of leaves only peaks through occasionally to light the way. Almost without a sound a young deer emerges on the trail ahead and glances back to acknowledge you. She knows you mean her no harm. A small rustle in the underbrush indicates she is not alone. Silently you stand watching while her fawn, no higher than your knee and still wearing spots, carefully joins her. Together they pause no more than 30 feet in front of you before ambling along slowly, sampling the various plants along the way. They allow you to follow close behind before finally exiting the path a few hundred yards from their entry. As this scene unfolds before you, you are aware of the camera at your side. What would you do?

The scene described is one of a couple I have been blessed with in recent weeks. A memory that will remain with me for a long time, but not captured with a camera. In all such experiences, I can't bring myself to aim a lens due to a feeling inside that in some way the moment is cheapened by the attempt. It is a feeling I have learned recently that I share with more friends than I would have guessed. Your perspective would be greatly appreciated.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Hot Monkey Momma!

Above is a view of our camp area here in Quartzite taken from the driver's seat of Taj. It has been a very comfortable, peaceful area for several days so far. It certainly isn't as green here as our favorite areas in the Olympic Peninsula of Washington, but then, they have snow right now and we are nice and warm, so I can live with it!

That's our tree, lovely isn't it... Well, I like it, as do the cute little desert quail that have been showing up fairly often. Sadly, I haven't been able to grab a pic of them yet, but I will! I had one come up to me within 3 feet the other day and there was no way I was going to get up and grab my camera :) I had no idea how adorable they were!

Our friend Glenn from ToSimplify  showed up the other night on his way back to LA with his new larger home on wheels. As often is the case when buying a second hand rig, beautiful though it may be, there were some bugs to be worked out. We spent a very short time troubleshooting a tail light issue and isolator failure before he was off again to be in time for a gig later that evening back in LA.  Glenn's, new to him, 04 Chinook Concourse is a beautiful rig! Ya done good man! We can't wait to spend our next visit with him back here soon!

Okay, I guess I should explain that blog post title finally huh?! Well, of course I am talking about my sweet wife Heidi, who is definitely "Hot" in my eyes, and recently, has turned Taj into a sock monkey factory! Yep, she has been making van monkeys and plans to sell them. There are more details to come soon on this, and actually there will be a line of somewhat useful "cuddle monkeys" that are perfect for fellow VanTramps. Personally, I am just thrilled she isn't still trying to talk me into sharing Taj with chickens (even if they are wearing diapers)!

Another desert sunset, beautiful, but much better in person (hint, hint)!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Finally met Laura Anne, Trey, Lenny, and a Yeti!

I have been following Laura Anne's blog for quite a while with good reason, she is amazing! Laura and Trey have taken Lenny, the above cute VW bus, from a pretty scary starting point to a really cute finished rig with lots of hard work and creativity. You can read about it here -->

We spent a few very fun days and nights hanging out with these two at our Quartzite campsite out away from town. They are both interesting and very creative and were a real pleasure to be around!

That little critter sitting beside Bocephus is what Laura calls a "Yeti". She makes them in all sizes and variations and sadly, the picture just doesn't show quite how cute they really are!

Trey and Laura, Heidi and I hope your journey West is filled with fun and great new experiences! We can't wait to see you again!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Friends & Monkey business in Quartzite!

The image above doesn't depict our usual activity in the desert, I promise! This is a very specific and sorta strange situation that was a long time overdue and no one really knows why :) But it is now documented on the internet and for all time. Mar fulfilled her responsibility as the Vantramps Remote Kicking System(VTRKS) and gave Bri the buttlift he was scheduled for quite a while back.

Speaking of Mar, It was wonderful to finally meet her as we have been friends online for a few years now. She is quite a fun gal with a great travel sense and a fun blog to read! Check it out here -->

Bri, of course, you know from our recent blog about Truth Or Consequences NM. We always have a great time with him! This was no exception!

Our other friend Remi is pictured here behind Brian above. his Van is the blue one beside Taj in the next image.

If you look closely on the back of Mar's Class C above, you can see something strange hanging from the ladder!

It's a nutty group of Van Monkeys! Top to bottom, Jimal and Tiberius then Mimi (all ours)and Chunky Munkee (Bri's) then Bocephus (ours again) and Cornelia who he has his arms around (Mar's).. The Sock Monkey has become a bit of a Vantramp mascott. Seems many of our friends keep them along as co-pilots these days :)

 We really had a great time with our friends and as always the visits seem so short, but we will see them again soon I am sure!  Mar, Bri, and Remi, drive safe friends and enjoy the adventure!