Let me just say, it was good we didn’t have a long day of travel this day. We had planned to leave Bullhead City, AZ the next day but seeing that it is about 5 hour drive to Pio Pico RV Campground, Jamul, CA, and seeing how it is first come first serve to get a site, I decided to get a Harvest Host (read on to learn about it) to break up the trip and get to Pio Pico early on our reservation day. Kevin had noticed that the trailer braking system wasn’t working right. The box would take quite a while to get adjusted each time and he had to keep adjusting it. Since the box came with our first truck and was already very old, Kevin ordered a new one. (It arrived at an Amazon Locker at Circle K and we picked it up last week.) He installed it in the truck the other day but of course it wasn’t hooked yet to HOWE (our name for our 2022 Alliance Avenue – Home On WhEels). This morning he got the truck and 5th wheel hooked up, we got in and pulled out. He stopped at a large pull off at this campground. The controller wasn’t working. At all. After an hour, which he read the instructions, looked online, took off the controller, checked wires, checked fuses, checked the something at the back of the truck (he had me press the brake and that told him something)…then he realized it was actually the braking system on our 5th wheel Alliance that had broke. Underneath it, by the wheels, he could see a wire had broken. 😦 He was able to fix it but the wire and connector aren’t water proof and will need to be redone. So thankful he finally found the problem. So thankful he knew how to fix it. So thankful he had the tools to fix it. As we pulled out he said, “There is a lesson on assuming.” What did he assume, I asked. “That a 1 year old trailer wouldn’t break before an old brake controller box.” Yeah. We pulled out at 10:00 am.
The day was sunny and perfect weather. We stopped for a little break at Hwy 95 and State road 62 (CA). We had seen it before. Well, it was the pits! A gas station but so very dirty; we won’t stop there again. It has a big parking lot around it and truckers stop there but it was small, very little food, grosses bathrooms, yeah. Thankfully we have our own bathroom with us. HAHA Headed on south on Hwy 95, a new road to us. There is very little out here but a few “resort” RV/trailer parks along Colorado River. We learned from Autio (the app we have mentioned before) that Blythe, CA tried to make it big by growing pot. But failed. HA This area is all river bottoms with great soil and we see acres and acres of alfalfa and other green things we can’t identify. I texted my friend since she grew up here. This is a large farming area with desert mountains surrounding it, way off in the distance. From Blythe, we took CA State Road 78. We liked these two-lane roads.
The landscaped changed a bit to more bushes around. Off in the distance, I saw a line of light brown mountain range. I didn’t give it another thought. Until, we got close and discovered it is Imperial Sand Dunes. From the BLM website I learned: this is the largest mass of sand dunes in CA. It is sands from ancient Lake Cahuilla. “The dune system extends for more than 40 miles in a band averaging 5 miles wide. Dunes often reach heights of 300 feet above the desert floor.” We saw a lot of four-wheelers, two large groups of RVs, and 3 police ATVs around a group. Some places had beautiful dark purple flowers right on top of the sand.
Soon I looked over and saw the diesel tank pointer looking pretty far left. Yikes. Kevin asked how much farther to Brawley and I said 38 miles. He said we would make it but I was nervous. In fact, I was so nervous, I looked at my iPhone to see if I had signal in case we had to call AAA. (We did have good cell service. Whew!) About 100 feet before we pulled into the first gas station we found, a Pilot, Kevin said the low fuel light came on. Whew.
We drove on to our first Harvest Host – Desert Olive Farms. Harvest Hosts is an RV camping membership with over 4,286 farms, museums, wineries, breweries, attractions, and more where you can stay with no camping fees. You can upgrade to have over 445 golf courses. Harvest Hosts membership allows self-contained travelers to stay for one night at each place. Most places don’t have water, electricity or sewer connections. You show appreciation for the stay by making a purchase if they have something available.
Desert Olive Farms: Grace was weeding outside her house, welcomed us, and told Kevin where to park. There was already a truck and 5th wheel here and later a truck and trailer (mom/dad/2 young boys who were well behaved) would come. The place is beautiful! A small grove of olive trees next to us. On the other side of the driveway are pomegranate trees. There were a few fruit for birds left on the trees. Green grass everywhere and farms all around. We see sugar cane, alfalfa, cauliflower and a bunch of other vegetables. As soon as we parked, the guy from the 5th wheel came over. Soon as jacks were set (no hook ups at all) Kevin was seated on his chair over visiting with him. His wife has dementia and they started about a year ago traveling around the country seeing things before it gets too late.
We hadn’t eaten all day, except for snacks. I had mentioned before we got here (we got here at 2:00 pm) that I would like for us to drive around and find a nice sit down place to eat. After visiting with the neighbors, Kevin came in and asked if we should go get something to eat. The farm was to give us a tour around 5:00-5:30 pm. I wanted to eat before it started since we didn’t know how long the tour would be. We drove into Brawley and we saw Rally’s Burgers. Kevin said he wanted that and we pulled in. There was a nice place outside and the temps were 76 so I thought we would eat there. But he went through the drive through. So much for a sit down place. HA Kevin said we would eat it and drive around. That is fine; we do that often. The burgers were really good and we will see if it is chain. Drove main street and back. Then I asked what we should do now and he said we will go back home so we don’t miss the tour, in case the guy is early. Okay. I said we still had 2 hours and then and there we found the problem…Kevin hadn’t reset his watch to be off AZ time. (We had turned off automatic time zone because when you are literally across the river, the time can bounce time zones.) He thought we had less than an hour. Ahhhh We had a good laugh!
Here are a few things we learned for Clyde: *they have been growing olive trees for 12 years, *they have 6000 acres in alfalfa, sugarcane, cauliflower and a bunch of other stuff, *they have 200 acres in olive trees, *olives are shaken out of the trees for harvest in Sept and Oct, *they press the olives within 4-6 hours, *they are -151 feet below sea level (Kevin didn’t believe me when I read it on Garmin), *a person there years ago wrote on a pumpkin that he had water or needed water or something and that was the first water right so, this area has first water rights on Colorado River, *alfalfa that is baled and under white tarps will sit there for 6 months to go from 20% to 14% moisture and then shipped to China, *bales not under tarps go to san Diego, LA, or San Francisco, *they get 1 inch of rain a year but all the water they want from Colorado River which makes it the best growing place, *and a lot more! We tasted a bunch of olive oils and sometimes with balsamic. We bought Desert Olive Oil Roasted Garlic, Sun Dried Tomato Dipping Oil, and a jar of green olives. Our first Harvest Host was absolutely wonderful and we thank Desert Olive Farms for the great space, information, and delicious olive oils.
Thanks Clyde and Grace!