When at first I decided I would avoid RV parks and discover sites as I‘d go along, I ended up at Slab City near Niland in California, thinking I’d spend the winter there. But I’ll keep Slab City for a later post.
I eventually ended up at the Imperial Dam Long-Term Visitor Area, or LTVA, some 24 miles north of Yuma, on the California side of the Colorado River. It is one of 7 sites that include Hot Springs in California, Quartzsite in Arizona, and Imperial Dam among others. Not exactly free but almost! For 7 months starting September 15 until April 15, one can camp at any of the seven sites for $180. either for the season, or alternating between any of them; the pass is valid in all. In my book, the best deal is at the Imperial Dam LTVA. Water, a lake for swimming or boating (yep, there’s a boat ramp) outside showers, toilets, dumping facilities, garbage disposal, and some 24 miles south, Yuma or the Foothills where shopping and RV shops abound. I delighted in Yuma where for $15.- for a 6 month period, I had a library card and could borrow books at will. At home, even away from home.
But what is quite remarkable about Imperial Dam is the vastness of the site where, if you need solitude, you can have it yet at the same time, you can participate in a number of activities. By the end of my first stay, I had realized that many who went there were not aware of all that they could enjoy or partake of. That’s when I decided to write up a Calendar of Activities to make others aware of what facilities there were to enjoy. To name a few: a library on site, music at the Gravel Pit every Sunday, potluck dinners, Dog Burns (roasting hot dogs, not canines) at the full moon, excursions either by AWD or motorbikes, handicrafts, just too many to mention here. Plus, at the nearby Yuma Proving Ground military base a bowling alley, free movies every night, a diner and a dining room. There are even Emergency Procedures in place with help from the military base and a group of volunteers to lend a hand.
A generous soul picked up where I had left off and made my original Calendar of Activities even better by publishing a monthly newsletter with photos. A good way to get to know one’s neighbours. The beauty of it all is that if one wants to be reclusive, nobody will ever question it or turn up bothersome. The Christian Service Center provides mail services and offers storage facilities for those who want to leave their RV or trailer in a secure area right there until the next season! I miss it and the friends I made there very much.