Sans End RV Park in Winterhaven, CA

Sans End RV Park in Winterhaven, CA is right across the border from Yuma, AZ. It’s kind of odd to think that a city can be a suburb of a city on another side of the border, but that’s kind of what Winterhaven is. Not so much in the sense that many suburbs are only bedroom communities to the actual city, but in the sense that WInterhaven has almost no services and you’d have to drive across to AZ to get whatever you need.

Our little patch of dirt for the night

I think the bigger benefit of where this park is located is that it’s about a 10 minute or less drive to the border crossing into Los Algodones, Mexico. There is an RV Park that is closer to the border, like almost in the parking lot of the US Border Patrol, but it was expensive and basically a bunch of trailers on a dirt site. Some people chose to camp out in the desert off the road too, which is cheap or free but not very comfortable unless you like being in a big sandbox.

Sans End RV Park itself is decent, not fancy but what you get for the price of $29/night is okay. We stayed one night, just to cross into Algodones for some budget shopping. They have showers, a swimming pool and quite a few spaces.

If you are traveling with pets (we are of course) then you get to (have to) stay in the pet side of the park. This side has no grass between the spaces, so it’s just dirt. It’s not so bad, but somehow the part where you look over the fence to see the spots with grass makes you feel like you’re a lower class person just because you travel with pets. I wouldn’t stay here for all that long because of that.

Another alternative off the same exit, but south of the interstate (we were north of it) is Rivers Edge RV Resort. It’s a much much larger place and was pretty much packed to the gills. We didn’t see it until we were already settled in at Sans End, but I wouldn’t have wanted to stay there anyway. All the spaces were right on top of each other, and there was just too much hustle and bustle going on, but apparently it’s a popular alternative for many, many people. I think they had something like 600+ spaces but I don’t remember for sure.

The Roads around the park are loose gravel, and the buildings are what appears to be 60’s vintage roadside-special. We didn’t use any of the other park facilities since we’re self contained so I can’t comment on those.

When we were picking the place to stay, some of the reviews mentioned a train that goes by across the street, and the busy street that the park is on being an issue for those people. First, the ‘busy street’ is the main street off I-8 into Winterhaven from the west side. Sure, there was some traffic occasionally and it is by far the busiest street in Winterhaven (I think they have like 6 streets total) but nowhere even close to what ‘busy street’ means to anyone who’s from a more populated area. It’s more like a quiet country road.

As for the train, yep it does go by at night. I heard them blowing the horn a few times, somewhere around 8pm. After that I was sound asleep and didn’t hear it again so maybe they went by and maybe they didn’t. The Airstream is very soundproof compared to most other RV’s I’ve been in and even in truck stops or other loud places we barely hear anything from outside unless a window is open.

One of our neighbors – we had about 4 of them on the pet side of the park, all at least 5 spaces away – was an older gentleman who’s wife had recently died. His daughters had set him up at the park for the winter, and I guess he’d been coming for years. He knew all the ropes about getting to Algodones as most people call it, skipping the “Los” part and wasn’t shy in striking up a conversation about anything on his mind. It struck me like he was the type that needed to keep moving and busy with something, but didn’t really have much to keep him busy and nothing to tinker with. We talked with him 4 or 5 separate times over the course of our less than 24 hour stay, and at the end he gave me a zip lock bag full of what I thought originally was fried chicken. Ugh! Well, on closer look it wasn’t fried chicken at all, it was a bag full of heavenly tasting peanut butter cookies. These were awesome, and I don’t even like peanut butter cookies! Mr. Iforgetyourname, thank you!

Here’s a few more quick photos we grabbed of the park:

Quick snap of the office out the truck window. The building is not actually crooked.

Driving through the park

Easily Convert International Fuel Prices

Say you’re curious about comparing what fuel costs in another country. For example, I wanted to see how much it cost for diesel in Montreal, Canada. So I found a web site that appeared to be the French-Canadian red-headed-stepchild version of GasBuddy which I use on my phone all the time to find cheap fills where I’m at. It’s super handy BTW so check it out if you want to find the cheapest fuel.

Well, the problem was that the prices listed on said French-Canadian site didn’t make any sense to me. It was even in French too. But after some Google Translate love, I figured out that the prices were in Canadian cents.

Thanks to Google, I converted CAD to USD and then remembered that their price is per liter so I’d have to do yet more converting. Ugh. This was getting tedious for satisfying an idle curiosity.

Then I remembered Wolfram Alpha. If you haven’t seen this before, it’s seriously worth checking out and especially watching the introduction video.

Being the high school math graduate that I am, I quickly remembered how to make an algebra equation to convert the Canadian fuel price to USD and at the same time divide gallons by liters and multiply the result. I can remember how to do this, but simple addition or multiplication gets me almost every time. Go figure.

Anyway, the formula looked something like this: (1.129 CAD to USD) * (gallons / liter) which came back at $4.25 USD per gallon.

Another nice thing about Wolfram Alpha is that you can forget symbols and stuff and just type it in, in case you forget or don’t know how to put certain symbols in with your computer for more complex equations. Here’s the same formula typed out in plain words: convert 1.129 canadian dollar to us dollar then multiply by number of liters in a gallon

Fantastic! While that’s not even scratching the surface of all the impressive things it can do, I can use it to convert things like MPG to 100km/L, fuel prices and other multiple step things that I would normally need to set up a spreadsheet for or do the math one step at a time myself.

Photos from Indio and La Quinta California

Here’s some pictures from Indio, near Palm Springs, California. This is so far my favorite place that we’ve stayed.

Indian Wells RV Resort in Indio, CA

Indian Wells RV Resort has been one of our favorite spots so far. The location in Indio is very close to everything you would need. By close I mean California-I-drive-everywhere close, not the urban I-walk-everywhere close. We walked to a lot of places, but the blocks are like 1/4 mile long or even more, so it feels like you go no-where very slowly. However, Starbucks and a couple other places are right down the street so they’re about a normal walking block or two away.

There’s a bunch of photos below too, mostly nuts and bolts types of photos of the resort itself. We’ll be posting another set showing the stuff around Indio outside the resort.

The staff at Indian Wells RV Resort were very friendly and accommodating. We signed up for Passport America on the day we got there and they honored the discount immediately for the week. That was a really good deal for us. They also had a LOT of events and stuff going on all the time. Chicken Wings contest, hamburgers once a week, bingo all the time, etc. We didn’t go to any events, but those who wanted to could be occupied a lot.

I think my favorite part about is that they pick up the garbage from your lot every day if you have  your bag ‘at the curb’ by 11am and they will sort your recycling out for you too, but that you have to drop off by the gate to the storage / overflow area yourself.

The park itself is about 50/50 split between RV’s and single wide mobiles that are more or less permanently fixed to the spot. These are commingled throughout the grounds. That sounds worse than it is, as most are in very good condition even if they are older. So there’s quite a few residents that are either full time or part time here, and we talked to a lot of people who come here year after year and it’s easy to see why.

Airstream LED Lights

I’ve been reading a bit on about LED lights that would work in the Airstream and decided I would order a set from since they were active on the forums, had comprehensive info about the product and their price was competitive. Turns out that Dan, (presumably owner, I get the feel it’s a small family business) provided great customer service too. A real-life reputable business?! Can it be?

Anyway, so I started installing the lights and it’s pretty simple:

  1. Pop off the cover – this is the hardest part and my fingernails were killing me after – and if you’re smart use a plastic putty knife like I didn’t.
  2. Take the old G4 Halogen bulb out. I used my shirt sleeve so I wouldn’t cover it with the oil from my fingers since my bulbs are still working and I’m going to relocate them to areas where I have burnt out ones.
  3. Put in the LED wafer chip. The contacts are really fragile (I broke one!) so be careful when putting them in.
  4. Test the lights to make sure they all work before you put the covers back on. If everything works, snap the covers on and you’re done.

I changed out all the lights for the main “ceiling” switch and then the galley plus bathroom. I figured this would be the 3 that we use the most, and those can now be run at about 90% of the power previously required. Except for the bath, cause that’s where I broke the one and need to get one more to make it full LED.

Here’s some pictures that show the things in action.

Only LED Ceiling Lights On. Every bit as bright as before.
Halogen G4 Bulb
12 LED Warm White Bulb
Panel in Shower Fixture
Shower Light. Cool white would be a better option here I think.
Guess which is the LED?
How they're shipped

California’s Pacific Coast Highway

We decided to head out this morning. At first we were going to stay at the Malibu Beach RV Park and stopped by to see what it was about. The fees were crazy, $3 per dog per night, plus $20 early check in fee since we were there about an hour and a half before 1pm. Nah thanks. We then called Dockweiler (just south of Santa Monica) which wasn’t much cheaper and it turns out that entire LA County does not allow dogs on the beach. For $60/night we thought we’d rather move on to some place more friendly.

On impulse we decided to just go on through the LA Metro on I-10 and get out of expensive SoCal Metro. We found this cool little spot near Indio where the weekly rate is $330 but with our new Passport America membership that cost $34 yearly, we get 50% off on all participating parks. That’s not a bad deal.

It was about 80 degrees when we rolled in around 3pm. We settled in and got the trailer all situated, then did some laundry and spent a bit of time in the pool and hot tub. I could really get used to the 70 degree nights here.

Faria Beach Campground in Ventura, California

Outside Starbucks in Bakersfield, ready to head out

After our grueling 126 mile drive from Bakersfield (which by the way isn’t worth stopping at) we settled in at the Faria Beach Campground just outside of Ventura. It’s a small campground, something like 42 sites but it does not feel that big. Good thing it’s empty because it if was full it would feel really crowded.

First spot in from the beach

We decided to not do the full hook up since that costs quite a bit more, something like $15/night, and we don’t really need it for a couple nights especially if the weather is warmer. Ironically, it is raining and this place feels more like the Oregon coast than it does California. Tomorrow is supposed to be better and I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

The location of our camp site is fantastic though, one could not ask for a better spot and view.

Candlelight dinner
View from the door