Arizona: Getting the Jeep ready for the winter

One of the things Bob and I have discussed since got on the road in late April is how to make our life easier while we are dry camping in western Arizona this winter.

Most of our time in the last 7 months has been at RV parks with either full hook ups (sewer, electric, and water) or partial hook ups (water and electric) – except for the 2 weeks at the Balloon Fiesta. That 2 weeks gave us a pretty good idea of things we needed to consider.

One of those things was water. The Long Term Visitor Areas (LTVAs) in the Quartzsite and Yuma areas are equipped with water and dump stations, but in a central location near the entrance. There are no defined sites with any kind of hookups. We can go almost 2 weeks before needing to dump the black tank, but we run out of water in about a week. That would mean driving the RV from our spot to the dump and water stations once a week. To extend the amount of time, we purchased a 60 gallon water bladder.

That water bladder needs a secure place to rest while filling. Our choices were to purchase and install a hitch mounted cargo carrier or a rack and a basket for the top of the Jeep.

We decided to go with the rack and basket, which was installed today. Here’s what the Jeep looked like before the install:

We had the rack and basket installed at Outlaw Jeep and OffRoad in Scottsdale. We’ve had previous work done here (installing the winch, replacing the stock rear bumper) so it was an easy choice. We did get a quote from another place, which was almost $500 higher.

I peeked in on the install:

Here’s what it looks like afterwards:

After getting the rack and basket installed, I headed to our mechanic. We had mentioned an issue with some dashboard lights coming on, and a diagnostic scan showed that we had a wheel bearing issue on the right side. Today was the day to fix that issue – they were located within 1 mile of the Jeep place. No pictures of that, but the issue is fixed and the Jeep drives much better now.

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