Thursday, January 25, 2007

Best casino boondocking deal ever...

We are parked at the Wild Horse Pass Casino, on the Gila River Indian Reservation (map). This spot definitely takes top honors in the unbeatable deal category, based on our experience thus far:

  1. The food in the buffet, which is served in a restaurant which also offers a-la-carte options, was excellent, even if the decor was a bit bland.
  2. The buffet was $12.95, which is a pretty good deal for a casino outside of Nevada, especially since it included tasty prime rib.
  3. Coupons freely available at the entrance provide a 2-for-1 deal on the buffet if you also have a player club card.
  4. Applying for a player club card, at least this month, gets you a coupon for $5 in cash at the cashier cage.
  5. If your birthday falls in the current month, as mine does, you get another $5 cash coupon, and a gift, which was a (really cheap, albeit with a metal band) wristwatch.
So, to recap, we are parked for the night for free, we purchased dinner for two for $13, but we got $15 in cash and a watch just for coming in. We did also buy two glasses of wine, but I don't think the tribe is making a killing on us. And, just to be clear, the casino cashier handed us crisp $5 bills, not chips or gaming tokens.

We spent last night in the yard at Solar Bill's in downtown Quartzsite (map). Bill's installers got all three Shell 110-watt panels mounted on the roof yesterday afternoon, and I had the Blue Sky 3024i controller mounted and wired up, but for some reason charge was not flowing from the panels to the controller by quitting time.

The wires from the roof and the wires into the battery bay that had been pre-installed by Infinity Coach turned out not to be continuous, and I located the appropriate terminations in a junction box in the center bay last night. This morning we got connectors onto them and everything spliced through, and it looked like all was in order. We left the system to charge for a bit while we walked next door to La Mesa RV for lunch: it turns out that La Mesa RV, which moved into a lot formerly occupied by a restaurant, serves a free breakfast and a free lunch to any and all comers every day during the snowbird season.

Even after soaking for a good hour or so, and with the status light indicating normal charging, no current was flowing into the batteries. Borrowing a remote display for the controller confirmed no current being provided, even though we were reading a steady 40 volts from the array. Opening up the unit and performing a factory reset finally did the trick, but it was mid-afternoon by the time we rolled out of Quartzsite. That put us in Phoenix rush hour, and we landed here just after sunset, even though we had hoped to be in Tucson tonight.

We should make W. W. Williams in Tucson before lunch time tomorrow.


  1. You will really enjoy the freedom the solar power gives you. We consider our system the best investment we ever made.

    Good luck with the transmission.

    'Enjoyed your visit,
    Ron & Judie

  2. Sean,
    Glad you're taking care of the west while we do the east, in Florida. Sorry we missed the DOVE rally, sounds like it was fun. We did Q last winter. We've had solar since we started, worked well for us in Mexico last winter. We could use a couple more panels, though, we have 2x100 now. We're thinking of upgrading our rig in another year or so, so will probably wait.
    Safe travels!


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