"Very easy access. Right off Highway 101. Far enough off the highway that you cannot see or hear..."
"Because we have to visit Fort Lewis regularly, this is a great place to stay with our 5th wheel R..."
December 7, 2009
We arrived at Gila Bend in the afternoon, shortly after a rain shower had passed through. We figured that was good because it would keep the dust down. No sooner had we checked into the c/g and gotten all hooked up, than the power to the base went out. We walked over to the billeting office and asked if this was a scheduled outage or some such. The lady there said it almost always happened after a rain, to be patient and they'd have power back before too long. Sure enough, in about an hour, all was well...or so we thought. While the electricity remained on for the rest of the night, Mother Nature threw her second punch about 7pm and through the rest of the night with extremely high winds with gusts well over 60 mph. It was a full-on desert sandstorm and visibility in the c/g dropped to a few feet at its peak. That earlier rain meant nothing because the winds were so fierce they were picking up not just sand and dust but large gravel as well. Fortunately for us, we were parked in the wind shadow of a 45 foot mother ship RV (we're just a little class B), which kept the sand blasting on our vehicle to a bare minimum. Others with unsheltered exposure took the full brunt of the sand blasting, I'm sure. By 3am or so, the winds had abated to a more normal 10 to 15 mph. We were up before dawn and outta there, so we didn't stick around to survey the damage to others. As to the c/g itself, it's just desert dirt with small concrete pads next to the parking places for use as patios. The hookups had 50 and 30 amp plugs. The water is NOT a hookup, but a cabinet in which a filtering mechanism allows you to put clean water into a container and bring it into your RV. Each one has a picnic table. The laundry room has several washers and dryers available, and was kept neat and clean. There's a book swap shelf available, and chairs to use while you wait for your laundry. The sign-in process is pretty relaxed and the woman at the billeting desk didn't know which sites were empty. She just assigned me one she though might be. It was full, so I moved on down the row to an empty one on the leeward side of the aforementioned mother ship. The grounds are regularly patrolled by security police. This is an adequate place to stop over for the night if the weather cooperates, but not a place I'd care to spend any time. ---- UPDATE: The brutal sandstorm I reported in the above review did some serious damage to the Visitors Quarters when it ripped the entire roof off in the middle of the night. The RVers faired somewhat better. None tipped over in the wind, but there was a lot of sandblasting of exterior paint and finishes. We're back eight days later, headed east, and all is calm. Now folks have some new tales to tell about the big wind in the desert. This time we spent a pleasant evening, and were on our way the next morning. As I said before, a good stopover place, but not a particularly great campground for an extended stay. I've also changed my star ratings to reflect further thought on the place.