Goodbye, Darby Wells and Ajo, AZ

I email Starlight Solar in Yuma to set up an appointment.

The company is recommended by a friend of Rick’s.  Since I don’t know anything about solar businesses in Yuma, one recommendation is enough.  In my email to Larry, the solar “technician,” I explain my situation:  I’ve got a 200 watt panel, a Tripp-lite 3000-watt inverter, a SunSaver MPPT charge controller, two AGM Optima batteries, and a Morningstar remote meter, and all this is not giving me the power I should be getting.

Larry emails me back, telling me he’ll do a system check and diagnose the problem, no charge.  Then I can decide what I want done.   We schedule a noon appointment for Thursday.

Walking this desert road is one of the things I love about Darby Wells boondocking.

Now that I’m leaving the Darby Wells area, the weather is perfect.

Not just nice . . . perfect.  How perfect?  I’ll tell you how perfect.  This morning Spike was in a super big hurry to get out the door, obviously with some urgent business to take care of.  So I throw the black suits on Bridget and Spike and we tumble out the door.  I can tell from the sun that we’re up later than usual; it must be about eight o’clock already.

The sunshine, the freshness of the air, the clarity of the desert environment, the blue sky . . . all this pulls me down the lane.

A bird sits at the top of a palo verde singing his heart out.  The crew and I stop for a bit to listen.

It’s a  phainopepla, which is like an eastern cardinal except it’s black, not red, and considerably smaller.  This is the bird Rick told me to look for.

I can tell by Spike’s jaunty gait and Bridget’s scampering that the crew agrees that it’s a beautiful day.  We keep going to the end of the lane and way down the wide, dirt road.

Off in the distance to the right I see the PTV and the Casita, and the door is wide open.

Then I realize what I’m wearing.   I was so entranced by the beautiful day I walked off wearing what I slept in . . . an old knit shirt and pajama bottoms!

Oh, of course, here comes a truck . . . .

This afternoon around three, Rick and Lady stop by on their afternoon walk. 

I tell him my plan to leave tomorrow.  We exchange email addresses and phone numbers., and talk for a while.   Rick asks me to let him know how the solar situation works out.

Cacti guard the road.

I’m not in a hurry to leave this place.  If it weren’t for the solar situation, the crew and I would stay longer.  Oh well, I have a feeling we’ll come back here someday.

I hear the weather is great right now in Yuma!


Bird photo by George Vlahakis,

About rvsueandcrew

Fulltime nomad
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46 Responses to Goodbye, Darby Wells and Ajo, AZ

  1. Love your posts, Sue. You always leave me wanting more, like a good book that you don’t want to end. 🙂

  2. Sandie says:

    I love the weather in Yuma. It was wonderful when we were there last year in January. Good luck with the solar. Hopefully they will figure out what’s wrong and you’ll be good to go. By the way – it’s just fine to go walking in the desert with pajamas on. One of the great things about it.

  3. BeckyIO says:

    I seem to have that problem with the weather turning great just when I’m getting ready to go too. I remember many-a rainy camping trips that turned sunny and warm as everything was being packed up to leave. 😉

    I hope your solar issue gets resolved in a timely fashion!

  4. Nita says:

    You are leaving one of my favorite spots. I’m not a RVER. My husband and I traveled many miles in the Southwest and I loved that spot.

  5. Cathie Laurent says:

    Sure hope you get your solar fixed. You can always come back!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks, Cathie . . . I’ll probably stay around Yuma until it’s time to meet up with Casita people in Quartzite in January.

      You’re right . . . Darby Wells isn’t going anywhere.

  6. Sherry says:

    Definitely looks like a difficult spot to leave. Boondocking in Pajamas. ABSOLUTELY!!
    But how are you doing so well boon docking with solar problems?


    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Sherry . . .

      My fridge, stove and heater run on propane. The only things I would use electric for are lights, television, and laptop. I haven’t been watching any tv and haven’t really wanted to. I’ve been doing without lights .. . using a little battery powered light or a flashlight for reading, but mostly in the evenings I’m on my laptop which, of course, has its own light.

      So the only electric I’ve turned on is for charging my laptop every day.

      • Hi rvsueandcrew,
        I found your blog a few days ago, and admire the way you live. I especially like your version of “Propane”. I have made the same substitution in words before. Glad to see I am not the only one with that sense of humor.

        I am intrigued by the problems you are having with your solar system. I am by no means an expert, and havent stayed at a Holiday Inn for quite some time, but I have read a lot about solar systems and even installed a 400 watt system on our motorhome, which included two 200 watt panels, a Morningstar Tristar MPPT 45 controller, four six volt Sam’s Club golf cart batteries, and a tri-metric monitor.

        I like that you chose the 200 watt high voltage panel, the MPPT controller, and the Moringstar monitor. In all my reading on solar systems, I dont think I have read much about people using Optima batteries. Most people who use AGM batteries use Lifeline, and there is another brand that I cant recall right now.

        The one thing that did catch my attention with your system is the 3000 watt inverter. My understanding is that an inverter that size is way more that you could ever need. Currently we only use a 600 watt pure sine wave inverter to run 3 computers, lights, and a tv. I couldnt find the specs on your inverter, but I would guess that it takes 5 or 6 amps just to have it on. In an either hour day, that would about half the amp hours you have available with your system.

        Anyway, I hope you get the problems with your solar system solved, and can get back to boondocking and having the electricity you need.


        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Hello, Paul,

          I agree the 3000-watt inverter is super overkill. The only reason I have it is because it came mounted already in the PTV. I have tried keeping the inverter turned off overnight and during the daylight hours I’m not using power. I’m still not getting the results I should be getting.

          Thank you for your concern. I’m glad you are reading my blog. Did you read the entry about the Crisis on Coyote Road a few months ago? Now whenever China Road comes on the radio, I sing Coyote Road. . . . . It’s just another way I make the world all about me.

  7. Stan says:

    Geez, I guess it just isn’t meant to be!
    Hi Sue…..This is Stan. I wrote you back when you were in Benson and invited you to stop at our place in Tucson, on your way to Ajo. Now that you’re in Ajo, I thought I’d fire up my Honda scooter and take a ride out to Ajo to meet you and the crew. It was a bit chilly this past weekend so I planned the ride for tomorrow. Oops! Plan B isn’t working out too well either.
    I guess I’ll just remain an loyal, yet anonymous, reader and hope that our paths cross somehere up around the bend.
    Take care and travel safe……..Stan

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Stan!

      I’m sorry it hasn’t worked out. I like your spirit … “I guess I’ll just remain a loyal, yet anonymous, reader and hope that our paths cross . . . ”

      You travel safe, too . . .

  8. Chuck says:

    Sorry to hear of your solar problem! Hope it’s really a simple fix. snow and ice finally melted enuff for us to go to Groovy…meatloaf was the special, yep, it was GREAT! Hope to see you in Quartzsite, we’ll be close to Dome Rock about the 11th or so! The best in the New Year!!!!!!

  9. Shar Pei Mom says:

    Good luck with the solar check up….sorry you are having to leave Ajo…but onto new adventures! Safe travels to you and the crew!!!

  10. JoJo says:

    Hope they find and fix the problem.
    Today was a beautiful day. I loved it too.
    Safe travels to Yuma.

  11. Sassy Rider says:

    Sue, Too many wonderful places to see and people to meet to stay in one place is my motto. Are you going to be boondocking while in Yuma ? Yes, The weather has been amazing – although still chilly at night and in the morning. I’m heading to Q tomorrow but can recommend an awesome place to boondock while in the Yuma area.

    • rvsueandcrew says:


      I tried to find your email address when you mentioned this place before, but I couldn’t find it. I’ll try again . . .I don’t post my email address because I can hardly keep up with the inbox as it is … so much stuff gets added every day!

  12. Jo Wishnie says:

    I don’t think you can go wrong with Starlite Solar in Yuma. We bought our AGM batteries there last year and they gave us excellent service and were very professional in every respect. We have friends who have bought solar panels and stuff from them who feel the same. Good luck.

    After you get your solar stuff looked at, do you plan to stay in the Yuma area? We will be arriving there on Saturday, staying in the Foothills for a couple months. Would sure like to meet you. I love your blog.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Jo!

      I appreciate you telling me about your experience and that of your friends re Starlight Solar. I do plan to stay around Yuma to avoid the cold. I don’t know where the Foothills are, but I’m sure we’ll connect somehow. At this point I don’t know where I’ll be exactly!

      I’m glad you enjoy my blog.

  13. longdog2 says:

    Glad to hear that you are going to get your solar checked out. It’s very frustrating when things don’t work the way you planned but you are so good at taking everything in stride. Glad that you are getting good weather. That’s a lot better way to leave a place and remember it. Can’t wait for your next–you have a great blog.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      One thing I’m very much aware of: It’s easy to have a great blog when you have a great life with nothing to complain about! I like your point of view about the good weather arriving as I’m leaving It’s like “leave ’em smiling” makes a good memory.

  14. Minnesota gal says:

    Best of Luck Sue !

    You said the tech is going to check the whole system so guess he will see that #14 wire was used and that the inverter is a 3000 watt (it would take more solar panels and batteries to justify that power hog inverter) also, my final concern was the batteries being only 75ah. ……..The tiny #14 wire made me want to cry…….

    Please don’t be angry but we fast learn that we (as solo female RVers) have to research and read our manuals. A long time ago I let myself be “spoon fed” by others and paid dearly in costly mistakes. (very dearly)

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Yes, the inverter is huge for my needs. As for the rest, we shall see, we shall see.

      I’ve read the manuals backwards and forwards. Unfortunately I don’t have the background knowledge for comprehension, let along diagnosis. At least I’m smart enough to know what I don’t know after giving it my best shot!

  15. Hi Sue,
    First, I must say I enjoyed your version of ‘Propane’.
    I’m curious how effective it has been to augment the solar recharging of your batteries with running the PTV with the 7-pin cable attached. As I ponder how to keep my batteries charged, while boondocking and not using a generator, it has been suggested I use long jumper cables connected between my truck and the trailer batteries so the heavier gauge cables can provide a stronger charge. I am looking forward to learning how you resolve you power issue.
    I check you blog daily and especially enjoy following the exploits of the crew. Your pictures of them relaxing at home are priceless.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Barrie,

      My theory is the charge controller needs to be set for my AGM batteries. I’ve read how to do that, but I don’t want to attempt it, for several reasons . . . from lack of confidence to lack of tools to lack of eyesight!

      About the crew . . . Just last night I came out of the bathroom and saw Bridget and Spike snuggled in the crunched-up pile of quilt. The glow of the propane heater softly lit their faces . . . What a precious picture they made!


    Sue, so sorry you have to leave Ajo area just when the weather has turned nice! It has been strange weather for Arizona for the past couple of weeks. This week it is supposed to warm up nicely. It will be nice in Yuma also however, so enjoy your adventure. Hope all works out with the solar as that will make the boondocking a lot better for you. I prefer those hook-ups myself….

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hey, Joan,

      I’ve enjoyed my stay here even without full power. As you probably have noticed, it doesn’t take much to keep me happy each day. If I can’t watch tv, big deal. If I have to read by a clip-on light, I don’t care as long as the book is good!

      I read somewhere that Yuma will be in the 70s this week.

  17. Geri says:

    Hey Sue, don’t look now, but we are all crammed into your Casita just waiting for you to take off! WE, all of your loyal readers, are going with you! So drive carefully… there are so many of us jammed in back here, one big bump in the road and we might all pop out! hahaha! It has been almost as much fun meeting your devoted followers and hearing/reading what they have to offer as it has been meeting you! We will see you in Quartzite. OK to call when we get there ???
    Give the crew extra treats from us! Geri

    • Reine says:

      “So drive carefully… there are so many of us jammed in back here, one big bump in the road and we might all pop out! hahaha! ” Geri, so true and your description of all of us loyal readers crammed inside Sue’s Casita made me laugh. Be careful Sue…we don’t want to miss the next installment.

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        Hi Reine. …

        We’re in Yuma now. I’ve got to make my comments quick. Time to plug in the laptop to my inverter to charge it up so I can make today’s post later today!

        We’re parked in Starlight Solar’s parking lot. It’s 4 o’clock and the crew and I are going to take a snooze!

    • rvsueandcrew says:


      Of course,call me! You are too funny. I’ll remember about all my readers being towed in the Casita as I go down the highway. and especially when we go over speed bumps. I’ll think of ya’ll when the Casita wheels go over the bump really slowly. so you don’t fly out!

  18. Pauline says:

    I am sorry you are having solar problems but I am excited about moving. That means we, your readers get to go to a new place!!! New pictures, new stories….the crew gets to investigate new surroundings. Jerold and I trace you on the map and now on the weather app on Google. Will have to change that from Ajo to Yuma. Travel safely, Dear Sister, you and the crew are in my prayers daily. Love you much.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      That’s so sweet! You follow me on the map and check my weather…. what a great learning tool for little Jake! He can pick up some geography following Great Aunt Sue!

  19. Hi Ho Hi Ho it’s off to Yuma you go
    With a Bridget dog here and a Spiky dog there
    Hi Ho Hi Ho:))
    Despite the flood of RV’ers pouring into the Southwest right now there is lots of room and no crowding out on Ogilbe Road on the East side. Stay away from the west side because that is where the Imperial Sand Dunes are and the young kids go with their Dune buggies, dirt bikes and ATV’s. You can pick your spot for how close you want to be to people or for how far away you want to be. Ogilbe Road has great RV spots for about 5 miles along the East side of the road. There are lots of trees for shade along the dry washes so you should be able to find yourself a nice cozy spot there if you decide to go. American Girl Mine Road and the one next to it have loads of spots too but one thing to consider is that they are very close to that main railroad line out of Yuma and there are a lot of trains and whistle noises the closer you are to that rail line. Ogilbe Road also leads to a nice quiet and scenic drive to either Slab City or Borrego Springs California if you are inclined to head up that way. Only about half a days drive. For sure you would like Borrego Springs:))

  20. When referring to the east and west sides I was meaning the east and west sides of Ogilbe Road and not the east or west side of Yuma. Ogilbe Road is on the west side of Yuma……

  21. Mike Leonard says:

    Sue, we were on the road all day yesterday and almost all day today. We left Battle Ground, Washington around 10 AM on Tuesday. We stayed overnight at my brother-in-law’s house last night and left there at 6:30 AM. We pulled into an RV Park here in Lodi, California around 3:30 PM. Not sure where we’ll end up tomorrow, but we are headed in that direction. The Bichon Brothers are great travelers but they were clearly happy when we stopped today.


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