Monday, February 7, 2011

Can you say Ca-Ching!

I wasn't going to write about our time at Quartzsite, but I thought I might let everyone know what's been going on.  When we arrive, we think we'll be staying a few days for the Gem and Mineral Show and the RV Show, but we end up staying a full two weeks and spending a ton of dough.  At least the camping is free!  We also meet some great new RV friends.

The Gem and Mineral Show is interesting.  Brad gets to see some gold nuggets the size of a lemon, so he is all excited.  There are also lots of other specimens of natural rocks, metals and minerals, jewelry, beads, polished gems, and petrified wood.  The RV Show has everything you need to spruce up an RV:  solar systems, LED lights, cooking utensils, propane heaters, satellite systems, as well as brand new trailers and motorhomes to view.  These shows as well as a few others, run throughout January and early February in Quartzsite every year, causing this town to swell from 3,500 residents to over 100,000 putting a strain on services and residents' nerves.  For the first time in our travels really, we encounter rude service providers.  However, I'd be cranky serving this many people too I guess.

While we are here, we outfit our trailer with a solar system: 2 big solar panels on the roof, two great big new batteries, and an "inverter" which converts battery DC power into electrical outlet AC power inside the trailer.  So no the solar panels charge our batteries all day, and we can use our electrical appliances without having to run our generator.  First and biggest ca-ching!

Next we purchase a small propane heater that stands on the floor.  We use this instead of our furnace which is only about 60% efficient; the heater is 99% efficient.  The furnace fan was running our batteries our old batteries down to zero by morning.  Even though our new batteries are much more powerful, we don't want to destroy them, so the new heater makes more sense.  It has to be connected to the gas line from the refrigerator so we also have to pay for the gas line installation.  Second ca-ching!

I also bite the bullet and get a new Verizon cell phone which will allow me to connect to the internet using its wireless technology from anywhere.  Having the internet whenever I want it and not having to sit in a McDonalds parking lot or find a library is great.  Third ca-ching!

Our last purchase is a StarChoice satellite system with an automatic satellite finder.  We are currently with Bell, so I also have to switch at home and order all new receivers and programming at home.  Fortunately Shaw Direct is have a half price sale on their PVR receivers which are regular $400.  Unfortunately, we won't be able to get our receiver for the trailer until we get home, but that's only a couple of months away.  Fourth ca-ching!

Other than the cell phone, each of the systems we buy takes time to install: a full day each for the satellite and solar systems, and a couple of hours for the heater.  Fortunately, Grady is a very patient kitty - he has to wait in the truck as we can't leave him in the trailer since the installers leave the door open and Grady might run out and get lost.  But we all make it through.  At the end of our two weeks, we've spent over $7,000 on the trailer upgrades!  It's only money right?  Quartzsite turns out to be an expensive stop.

The best part of being here is that we arrange to meet our friends Jerry and Janice from Tennessee.  We first met them in New Mexico.  They introduce us to three new couples:  Carol and Steve from Oklahoma, Julie and Mike from Florida, and Sue and Paul from Michigan.  We had some fun times sitting around the campfire telling stories.  We will remember our new friends instead of all the money we spent.
Back row: Janice, Jerry, Brad, Marilyn, Steve; Front row: Julie, Mike and Carol

1 comment:

  1. It was great to meet you guys. hope you're both feeling better~
    I absolutely love having my "smart phone" so I can get on the internet whenever I want. It's made my life so much easier.