Our Fall RV Trip – Senator’s Reservoir, Colorado River

Our Group
Our group left to right, your’s truly, ‘R’, ‘L’, Lynda, ‘H’ and ‘A’ is taking the picture.


This is the thirteenth article about our fall RV trip, If you are interested to read about our journey, click here to jump back to the beginning.

The predicament with our camping neighbors on Squaw Lake is finally over and it is time to get back to our fall RV adventure.

A Recap

Our group,  three couples traveling in two 5th wheels and a travel trailer, started our journey late October in the north west. We were fortunate missing the bad weather while camped, we only encountering it on driving days.

Our route took us along the Washington and Oregon coasts and the northern part of the California coast, with stops at the Oregon Dunes, Napa valley wine country and San Francisco, to mention a few.


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Day 19

The drive from Cahuilla lake was pleasant although longer than it should have been,………. as usual. I stopped telling the group what time we should arrive at our destination, it always took longer. Traveling with a group seems to take much longer than traveling alone? I will pass it on when I figure out why.

11-09-15 Imperial Sand Dunes (5)
Imperial Dunes on the route to Squaw Lake

Upon arriving at the Colorado River north of Yuma a decision was quickly made to camp at Squaw Lake, although a couple of the group were not ecstatic about the choice. So when I suggested a move to Senator’s reservoir it was greeted with approval. We had camped at Squaw Lake for four days even though it seemed like much longer because of all the events and calamities.

Day 23

The move was quick, Senator’s Reservoir was only a mile up the road, we had become an experienced lot, everyone knew their task. Hooked up our rigs and moved the mile up the road, setting up was quick with our trailer parked on the western exposure as a windbreak, we had learned from or time at Cahuilla Lake and Squaw Lake, the wind can arrive unexpectedly and can last a day or two.

Senators Wash REservoir
Our camp at Senators Wash Reservoir

There was a slight delay as leveling our trailer was more of a challenge than we expected. It was parallel to a steep slope to the lake, a two foot slope from the upper side tires to the lower tires.

The boys and I miscalculated on our first try,……… as I raised the trailer tongue, detaching the trailer from the truck, the lower side tires rolled backwards off the blocks causing the front jack to jolt off the block and slide dangerously toward the lake, stopping short,…. thank goodness.

While this calamity was happening the women, not thinking ,jumped into assist, as the trailer car-reamed off its blocks heading for the lake. Lynda grabbed the door handle with intentions of stopping the trailer, while ‘A’ and ‘L’ threw themselves against the bumper trying to hold it. Of course a couple of hundred pounds of female is not going to stop a five ton mass from going anywhere.

Senators Wash Reservoir Camp
Senators wash reservoir camp with our trailer as a wind break

We all had a good laugh after all was settled, maybe a little embarrassment for the women.

Us men were not to be denied and several days later we had our trailer sitting exactly where we wanted it, albeit precariously. Just kidding it didn’t take that long .

Senator’s Reservoirs, another adventure, although only a mile down the road from the river, it seemed a much greater distance. The reservoir, a large lake, a mile or so wide and more than a mile long.

The reservoir was built to supply water flow to the hydro electric turbines next to the Colorado River. The water level rises quickly by 10′ or more in a couple of days, as it is pumped into the reservoir, only to gradually shrink back and replay the process.

Truthfully, the rising water is a bit unsettling especially when a rain storm approaches. Coupled with the warning signs reading, “when the siren sounds move quickly to higher ground”!….Yikes

Our new venue was going to be fun, ‘H’ had promised to inflate his Zodiac for a boating & fishing adventure. ‘R’ had supplied a 2 stroke 2.5 hp kicker that we hoped would suffice. I had my doubts especially if the wind was to pickup as it quite often does.

‘A’ confirmed ‘H’ was definitely unloading her kayak for some lake cruises.


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During our week at Senator’s Reservoir plenty of fun was had, doing all the activities we had come equipped for.

‘H’ and ‘R’ inflated ‘H’s Zodiac just in time for us to head out for an afternoon fishing adventure. Surprisingly the little motor that could, did, it ran well most of the time although ‘H’ did need to row back from the farthest extremity once.

‘R’ cannot row, he has steel pins in his wrist so it will not bend, lucky it’s his left wrist, he’s right handed,……… a bionic screw up I’m thinking. ‘H’ didn’t mind, he thrives on exercise, he is in great condition for someone of his advanced years.

The second attempt at fishing was much more successful, ‘R’ and I scored we both caught stripers although ‘R’s was slightly bigger, ……I mean his fish. ‘H’ did manage to catch a bass on a lonesome trip of his own.

 Senators Wash BLM
‘R’ with his striper, nice silver color,  delicious white meat
A Bass from Senators Reservoir
‘H’ with his big ass bass.  Notice my trick photography to make the fish appear bigger.

A great little boat similar to ‘H’s amazingly sturdy and stable in the water even with 3 adults

While the three of us were enjoying  putting around the lake in ‘H’s zodiac our attention was drawn to an ominous looking black mass in the southwest sky. It definitely looked like rain, we were ready to head back to shore if a drop hit one of us.

A rain storm in the desert can be very intense although usually short lived and localized. The wind usually picks up and can approach gale force.

I have seen a beautiful sunny day turn into Armageddon in a few minutes causing all sorts of chaos, anything that can fly will; including chairs, tables and awnings, can fold up like a cheap tent.

 Senators Wash BLM
‘H’ rowing back with one passenger.

‘H’, ‘R’ and I were sure we felt a drop, that was all the encouragement we needed to quickly bring in our fishing lines and head to shore, none too soon the black cloud  gathered some angry friends and soon the sky turned the darkest shade of grey, almost black.

The wind picked up but of no consequence to us as we have become all to familiar with the angry winds of the desert,… we were prepared.

Dark sky over Imperial Dam LTVA
Excitement in the sky.

The sky opened up spewing torrents of rain onto our rigs, we had the sense to go inside.  The blackness and the rain postponed happy hour only temporarily, as quickly has the storm thundered in it was gone as quick.

It took a little more effort to get the happy hour fire started, the wood was damp and a residual breeze pestered the small flame, but ‘H’s fire starter would not be stifled, soon the flames were  spitting sparks.


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Fishing licenses can be obtained at Walmart in Yuma, we paid $55. each, for an out of state license, expensive, but it did cover all the Colorado River, it’s lakes, tributaries, including Arizona. This worked out well considering our next planned stop was Alamo Lake Az. a 3 hr drive.

 Senators Wash BLM
Sunrise at Senators wash.
ATV Excursions

I unloaded the ATVs, ‘R’ and I took several excursions around the lake on our first we  happened upon a good quantity of fresh cut wood, trimmings from lake side trees. Desert wood is very scarce, as rare as hens teeth, so if you happen upon some specimens, grab it quick or someone else will.

ATV riding
‘H’ & ‘R’ heading out for a ride

We didn’t hesitate, loaded what we could on the quads, and vowed to return with one of our pickups to gather the remainder.

A trip around the lake revealed an excellent camping area on the western shore. A perfect treed area providing shelter from the wind with a private gradual sloping sandyish beach. We committed this area to memory for future consideration.

Senators Wash Reservoir
The opposite shore, a great private spot.
 Senators Wash BLM 017 (4)
Lynda & Buddy, although the passenger abandoned ship before the voyage.

The entire group except for ‘H’ and I enjoyed a turn using ‘A’s kayak. A perfect day with little wind and the temperature in the mid 70’s. It was ‘L’ and ‘R’s first time in a kayak and Lynda’s first time in a single kayak, her and I had used a two seater in Kauai a few years back.

Sewing (in the desert)
11-15-15 Senators Wash BLM 038 (4)
‘A’ working on a dictator’s cloth book

Lynda is an avid quilter, and sewing person or sewer (not sure how to describe her) and has been for a century or more. ‘L’ and ‘A’ not so much.

It all started at the flea market, Lynda as usual was checking out the fabric store when the other two happened by. Lynda spotted a cloth book she was considering making for our newest pint size dictator, three year old Lola.

‘L’ and ‘A’ were interested, Lynda offered to help them with the project if they also wanted to make a book for their own dictators. Lynda is always equipped and ready to quilt at the drop of a fabric hat.

So the project kept the three busy for a several hours of several days. In the end a proud gift for the little ones. My solar panels worked overtime keeping the batteries topped up as Lynda’s sewing machine pumped out the thread.

She was also able to use her small iron, but not the regular size without running the generator.

11-15-15 Senators Wash BLM 038 (3)
‘A’ washing her tiny unmentionables

I couldn’t believe my eyes, the guys and I were out foraging in the wilderness for firewood. When we returned the women were busy scrubbing clothes by hand on a scrubbing board.

It was like a scene from an old western movie, women doing laundry on a washboard, all that was missing was the ankle length dress and the six shooter on her hip. Our city girls are certainly taking to the simple life.

Even though I commend our wives on their initiative, these products will do the job, and much easier.

I know Lynda had a washboard in our RV camping gear I vaguely remember her using on one occasion, but this was something. They each took turns scrubbing several items, then hanging them on a flimsy wire clothes rack ‘L’ had brought along.


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I hope you have enjoyed this article about Senators Wash. We headed to Alamo Lake Nov. 19. stay tuned for my next post.

Thanks for Visiting

Gord B.:)



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