Our Snowbird RV Tour – The Colorado River Valley

Ferguson Lake, Arizona north of Senators Wash
Ferguson Lake, Arizona north of Senators Wash
Day 22
Another sunny day in the desert although cooler in the morning. Senators wash reservoir has been our home for a week, it was time to dump some black water.
Mike and Ralph already dumped their tanks, they hitched up their trailers the night before to escape the rising water, they may as well dump.
The group’s plan was to stay at Senators Wash for 2 weeks, too long for the gray and black water tanks. I know from experience our black water tank is good for about 12 days if we conserve, but dumping now will insure we make it for the 2 weeks.
I could have waited longer but if I did there could be an issue, the trailer black tank holds about 20 gals, the blue boy (wheeled portable sewer tank) holds about 10 gals.
Senators reservoir, the south end of the Colorado River Valley
A relaxing afternoon, a low Senators Wash reservoir in the background
A blue boy is a great addition to one’s RV accessories. If the holding tanks in the RV becomes full the blue boy can be used to remove some of the black or gray water or completely empty the tanks. Although this may require several trips to the RV dump.
To dump your holding tanks you need to attach the sewer hose to your blue boy and attach the other end to the dump pipe outlet and gradually open the dump valve.
You will need to open the vent in the blue boy to allow air to escape. Take care not to allow too much of the tank contents to drain, if the blue boy fills up you will have trouble disposing of the hose contents.
It’s a good idea to experiment with small amounts of tank contents. Using a blue boy or some other portable sewer tank works well, rather than the inconvenience of breaking camp to haul your rig to the RV dump.
I dug out the ‘blue boy’ from the trailer storage and attached the dump hose to the sewer outlet and the blue boy. It holds 10 gals. a little too heavy for me to lift, I could have asked one of the guys to give me a hand but I decided to attach it to the quad and tow it up the hill to the dump as I have done before when camped alone.
Once finished with the blue boy I decided while I was at it I may as well replenish our fresh water. For this I have a 30-gal. water bladder. The bladder is a perfect accessory for camping and RVing, very durable and easy to store, folds up to the size of a large envelope.
Unfortunately, my travel trailer does not have a fresh water holding tank inlet like most RVs, it is equipped with only one inlet, a threaded city water connection and a two-way valve so I can either fill the holding tank or use city water.
My first experience filling my fresh water tank with the bladder was frustrating. The city water connection has a one-way valve to prevent water from being pumped out of the system. The gravity feed from the bladder didn’t exert enough pressure to open the one-way valve.
In the end, I needed to use a pump to fill my fresh water. Since my first attempt, I have come up with a solution. I knew I would need to figure a way to bypass the one-way valve or remove it. On close inspection of the inlet, I noticed a screen bulging out, I removed the screen and behind it was the one-way valve.
I pushed on the valve, a stream of water burst forward soaking my shirt sleeve.
At first, I thought of removing the valve, but this proved to be difficult, so rather than taking the chance of breaking it I paused to give my scheme some more thought.
The bulging screen gave me the idea of reversing it thereby applying pressure to the valve allowing water to flow into the holding tank. I threaded the hose onto the city water connection thereby pushing on the one-way valve.
It worked perfectly, the water flowed from my 30 gal. bladder into my trailer’s fresh water holding tank. It’s not often I find solutions this quickly, it will definitely be a topic around this evening’s campfire.
Once my chores were done it was time to check out the rest of the group. The ladies decided it was a perfect day to try their new kayaks, pleasantly warm and no wind. The guys and I took a late morning ATV ride west into the mountains.
There are many trails from the Imperial Dam long-term visitor’s area, Lynda and I have ridden most of them although it’s been a few years so I’m not totally sure which trail to take for the best ride.
Bringing ATVs along on our snowbird tours is great, there are plenty of places to ride in the desert and a great way to explore.
A view of Senators Wash reservoir
A view of Senators Wash reservoir
There are many abandoned mines, interesting geological features, amazing plants, and animals. If you’re lucky you may see a wild donkey, deer or a rattlesnake as we did later on the trip.
Our ride began with flat well-used trails and then into the mountains over steeper and rougher terrain. I managed to find a circle route taking us high into the hills.
The hills provided many views of the Colorado River valley. Desert riding can be dusty, but due to the recent rain dust was not a problem. Besides, I usually lead so if there was dust it would not be a problem for me.
We returned in time for lunch and after another try at fishing, Ralph decided to try his luck with Lois’s new kayak rather than take his turn fishing in Mike’s boat.
Mike and I ventured out on the reservoir in his zodiac type inflatable boat.  It worked perfectly, very stable, easy to inflate and worked well with my 4 hp motor. Below is a similar boat to Mike’s.


The afternoon fishing was not a success even though we saw many fish darting out of the shadows as we trolled past, apparently bass like to hide in shadowy areas under docks, trees, and weeds.
My prize catch a 2lb Largemouth bass, Senators Wash Reservoir
My prize catch a 2lb Largemouth bass, Senators Wash Reservoir
I decided when we returned to camp I would try my luck fishing for catfish using the special bait I bought at Walmart, blood-soaked chicken livers, yum yum. Stinky stuff, apparently, catfish hunt by smell opposed to sight like other fish.
We arrived back at camp I figured no time like the present to try fishing for a catfish. I molded the bait to my hook and cast it into the lake, I attached a bell to the tip of the rod hoping it would ring during happy hour.
No action that evening.


Day 23
I bolted up from a deep sleep realizing I had left my fishing line in the water all night. I quickly dressed put the coffee on and wandered out to check my line. The sun crested the eastern hills as I reeled in my line.
The lake had dropped a couple of feet during the night exposing a muddy plain and leaving my fishing rod fifty feet from the water’s edge.
It was stuck on something, I was afraid to pull too hard on my 6 lb. test leader. The line eased as I gently reeled but soon catching on another submerged object.
This time I wasn’t so careful and continued to reel, it felt like my line was stuck in the mud until I saw the water ripple, I knew something was hooked.
I reeled faster with anticipation, what had I caught. Soon it was on the beach a small ugly catfish, too small to keep. I dragged it away from the water and fetched a container and filled it with lake water to keep the fish from dying until everyone had a chance to see it.
Catfish are not found in northern lakes or rivers so this is a rare opportunity for us to see a live specimen. After the group had a look I released the little guy back into his watery home.
A sunny cool morning and another trip to town. Kris had a chance to try out the other girl’s kayaks the previous day, she was sold on the sturdy little craft, so another trip to town and another Walmart to find an identical one for Kris.
Us three guys volunteered for the task, besides Ralph needed some materials to repair the deck on his pickup as well as build a support to transport Lois’s kayak. Our first stop was Home Depot, next was a Walmart on the west side of Yuma.
I remembered this Walmart from a previous stay in Yuma, it was the closest stop for shopping. This Walmart did not have the particular model of kayak we were looking for, the clerk in the sporting goods department suggested trying another Walmart, we discovered there are at least four Walmarts in the Yuma area.
The clerk checked the other Walmarts without success. We headed back towards camp with a planned stop on the way at the Arizona Market for hardware for Ralph’s project.
On the way, we spotted another Walmart, not mentioned by the clerk. On the off chance of finding Kris’s kayak we pulled in, Mike and Ralph hopped out and I parked waiting for them to check it out. Soon I saw Ralph searching the parking lot for my truck.
I pulled up to the front door Ralph informed me Mike had scored, this Walmart had the kayak. I pulled around to the back of the store were Mike waited with the kayak. Mike was happy, Kris should be pleased.
After a stop at the flea market for the hardware, we headed back to camp. On the way, we took a detour along an irrigation canal on the east side of the Colorado river corridor. As we drove along the bank of the canal Mike screamed with excitement “there’s fish in there”.
We stopped to check it out, sure enough, there were several good-sized fish lazily swimming against the current in the shallow clear water. We returned to the truck, Mike and Ralph continued to search the canal water for fish as I drove slowly along.
We returned to camp vowing to return later that day or another day to try our luck. The afternoon slipped away quickly before long it was happy hour and the end to another beautiful day under the desert sun.
Amazing sunset, the end of another perfect day in the Arizona desert
Amazing sunset, the end of another perfect day in the Arizona desert
Day 24
We woke to another sunny day although soon after sunrise the wind began to blow as predicted and continued through the day.
We’ve learned the wind blows frequently during this time of year, mostly it’s not an issue but sometimes gusts can reach 50 mph, 80 kph, blowing away anything not tied down.
The wind this day was not catastrophic just an inconvenience. Too windy for kayaking or fishing but a good day for chores. Mike and I worked on Ralph’s ATV repairing his headlight. The bulb had fallen out of its socket.
What a chore to get it out, the bulb was almost impossible to get to without dismantling the entire front end of the ATV. Mike finally was successful with a ball of tape and a stick.
Ralph and I reinforce the deck on his pickup box and fashioned a support for Lois’s kayak.
Before we knew it happy hour was on us, time flies when you’re having fun.
A desert sunset, suthern Arizona
A desert sunset, southern Arizona
Check back often for my next article on our Snowbird tour.
Thanks for visiting
Gord B.



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