Monday, February 13, 2017

Hot Weather and cute chicks!

Ogilby road turned out to be a busy spot, even though it appeared that there were fewer campers than usual in the area.

As expected, Wandering Willy and friends Frank & Alison were camped in their usual spot, and I picked a spot  a few hundred yards away after hearing them tell of a loud obnoxious generator in their area.  It was also a spot that I camped in last year.  As usual, there were occasional overflights by military helicopters, ‘Osprey’, and a few jets.  There were also a few powered paragliders that would fly on calm evenings.

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Ernie & Deb located us after their earlier departure from the Quartzsite area, and a few happy hours were enjoyed with the crowd over at Wandering Willy’s.  The Bayfield Bunch departed soon after my arrival, as did John & Nicole, who only ended up getting as far as the east end of Yuma on their first try.  I escorted Ernie and Deb over to Algondones, Mexico for their first time there and we all got our teeth cleaned, and enjoyed some cerveza, food and live music there before the inevitable hour long line up to get back to the US.  They also took me to a Yuma waterfront park for my first time, where we enjoyed the sunshine and abundant bird life.  Of course we had to stop for a date shake another day on a tour through the Laguna dam area, coming back through Mittry Lake.  I took them to visit a few of my favourite stores here including the Tractor Supply store, and the C-A-L store where I found a lot of cute chicks!

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We hiked a bit around the nearby ghost town of Tumco and explored some of the many abandoned pits and mine shafts, and of course ‘did’ the Arizona Market.  Another ‘first’ was an ice cream truck patrolling through the camping neighbourhood at Ogilby road.  Of course, we chased it down and enjoyed some frozen treats.

After a few days, more friends arrived.  This time it was Anders & Dianne, down from the great white north for a short time to thaw out and catch some rays.  This resulted in happy hour apparently starting closer to noon!

Soon it was time for a change of scenery and it was decided that we should all head for Borrego Springs.  Neither I nor the big GM noticed the strong headwinds on the I-8, until a fuel stop near Brawley when the winds almost knocked me over.  A Walmart stop was in the works, as was a stop at the big Arco at the corner of 78 and S22 where we dumped, filled, got propane and fuel.  Winds were howling out of the desert to the west, but everyone was quite at home with it – being very similar to a blizzard without the snow and cold temperatures!

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It calmed down quite a bit by evening, so I took them all up to Font’s Point to enjoy the view at sunset.

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Next, a hike through the ‘Slot’ was in order.  We spotted the elusive Bayfield Bunch on our way over there, but the jeep was gone, so they must have been out exploring.  We also spotted Doug and Yuma camped at Rockhouse road, and said hello to Yuma on our way past.

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Evenings as usual found us around the campfire, enjoying the full moon, the occasional coyote howl, and the total lack of train sounds!

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No visit to Borrego Springs is complete without a hike up Palm Canyon.

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Lots of bats were out in the evenings, even though there were very few bugs around, and of course the coyotes serenaded us at all hours, but kept their distance.

All those on tighter schedules eventually pulled out, and left Hailey and I alone way out on Rockhouse Road, so it was time to get the camera out for some night timelapse photos.  These photos were all taken with moonlight only.

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There was a ghost or two showing up in one of these photos!G0387809G0377808

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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Mittry Lake, Quartzsite, Ogilby Road …

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After a night spent near the Painted Rock Petroglyph site after departing the Phoenix area, we carried on west on I-8 and soon found ourselves on the outskirts of Yuma.  After turning north and winding through all sorts of vegetable fields and farming areas we ended up at Mittry Lake.  Through good luck or timing we found a nice waterfront camp spot with plenty of privacy, and our own fishing peninsula.  The only downside was being fairly close to the road, so the big GM collected a nice coating of dust from passing traffic.  Being at the south end of the lake meant we only had a kilometre of gravel after leaving the pavement.

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When camping in the desert it is a nice change to be by water and the plentiful waterfowl it attracts.  While coots were in the majority, there were a few other diving ducks, some cormorants, grebes, egrets, and the occasional great blue heron.  The hummingbird feeder soon attracted a following, but the seed feeder was ignored.

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Hailey was kept amused by the hummers, and whatever else lurked in the thick brush and reeds.IMG_4048IMG_4047

During the stay here we made quite a number of trips into Yuma, for laundry, wifi, groceries, water, visiting relatives etc.

There was no AT&T coverage where we were, and even our satellite system seemed to be working at less than full capacity.  I had long suspected the router as being the culprit, but finally found a cheap replacement, and all the issues ended.  I surveyed a lot of the free wi-fi locations in Yuma including three libraries, Lowes, Best Buy, Starbucks, Fry’s, Taco Bell, McDonalds, the visitor center, and was mostly disappointed with the speed available.  Best Buy was pretty good, but not really convenient to haul your laptop in and set up.  Payson laundromat ended up being about the best wifi, and you can wash your clothes while you are there too!

Back at the lake, I inflated the kayak and spent some time in the various channels and bays.

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Hiking up to the peak just behind the campsite provided good views of the lake and area.

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After a while, the posted 10 days/year limit was upon us, and the big RV show in Quartzsite was getting started, so one morning we decided to go and were all packed and rolling within 2 hours. No long-term plans in this outfit!

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By lunch time we had hooked up with Ernie & Deb at the same spot we had shared a year earlier. One day we hiked up Crystal Hill for a look around.

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Of course, we also toured the big tent and the many vendors all over town.  Some vendor wares were more appealing than others …

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Some might call it junk …  but you just never know when you might need some legs from a mannequin or a rusted broken appliance  Winking smile.

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I had planned to stick around for the ham radio swap, and Bloggerfest 2017, but the cold winds got to me one morning, and before we knew it we were on the road west into California, then south down to Ogilby road where we knew Wandering Willy and others were hiding out.  Looks like we just missed the newly mobile Bayfield Bunch as they exited the area for Borrego Springs again.

Warm weather has finally arrived!