Saturday, January 30, 2016
Attending the 2nd annual Bloggerfest in Quartzsite reminded me that I have now been blogging for the 11th year. Seems like only 20! Deadlines, deadlines. Missed again!
Always seem to be behind and playing catch-up! O well, I don’t think anyone is marking my assignments?
A few things down south are different this year. First is the price of fuel. I paid a dollar more per gallon back in October up in Idaho, than I’m paying now down in Arizona. Gotta like that for sure. To bad the Canadian dollar sucks so badly right now, which sort of limits the advantage. At least price of fuel back home is way down as well.
Another development down here at the pumps – five zeros has served me well in the past for a zip code at the pump, but this year I’ve struck out. But a trick that has never worked for ‘me’ in the past is the numerals from our postal code with 2 zeros added on. For some reason it has worked for me this year. And finally, a few of the southern merchants are starting to get the chip readers in their terminals!
OK, so what have we been up to? Well, when in Quartzsite, one must check out some of the goods – and lots of junk offered for sale.
Antique door knobs, anyone?
How about a nice CB radio!
The finest cutlery was on offer. Likely at a good price too!
I went all out and paid $3. for a new HDMI cord, and they threw in a free flashlight! But I actually came out ahead this year by selling stuff TO one of the vendors! While out at Borrego Springs boondocking area I picked up a ‘shade canopy cover’ that had escaped from someone or been abandoned and was trying to fly away across the Clark dry lake bed. When I found a vendor with a tattered cover, I actually sold him the one I had. Profit! I hope the town doesn’t come after me for a business licence, or the IRS!
Once again, Ernie and Debbie joined me in camp for a few more days before they had to head home to the snowbanks.
I took the opportunity to try a few more night time-exposure photographs. These are both 30 second exposures, with only the light of the nearly full moon.
In the one below, I moved to two different locations during the exposure, thus my two ghostly images in front of the fire!
I took them up to Palm Canyon one day …
Meanwhile back in camp, their dog Moki kept all the coyotes out of the area.
Or perhaps it was the desert tiger that they were scared of!
Other wildlife sightings in Quartzsite included a herd of mountain goats and a pack of grizzly bears.
Next post: We cross the Yuma proving ground and visit Cibola National Wildlife Refuge!
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
We got some really good rainfalls when we were down in Why, so I imagine that the desert will be greening up a lot in short order. There were fewer campers around than when I have been there in past years, but that makes for less dust, noise and traffic.
I had a couple of short term issues with my satellite internet system, so in the meantime I discovered that the library in Ajo had great, free high speed service – even accessible from the street when they are closed (Sunday).
A litle bird told me that I might just find the elusive Wandering Willy way over in California, so we headed that direction. Unfortunately, I was already on the road when I learned that Jean & Skip were camped just a bit to the south of me down at Why . So we missed them this time. Like me, they tend to blog sporadically, so it is hard to keep up to date on each others locations!
Once again we got ‘reverse racially profiled’ at the Border Patrol checkpoint, and were just waved through. Even with Hailey wearing her sombrero!
We stopped at the Shell at the east end of Gila Bend for fuel and a dump/fill. And I noted that they also had free wi-fi thoughout their parking lot! Residents of the RV park directly behind sure do like their satellite TV!
Hailey does her best to assist with route planning and destination finding – usually in a subtle manner …
Sometime last year I attached some brackets under the windows of the rig where a removable shelf could be attached – a perfect spot for a cat to sit and keep an eye on things outside. Problem is, there is NO WAY she would actually sit on it! I tried baiting it with blankets, and treats – which would be ignored for long periods. Eventually, she would drag them off one by one and eat them. But she refused to check out the great views!
Finally I stumbled upon the secret. NEWSPAPERS! A weekend edition of the Arizona Republic was all it took to lure her to the spot! Now she is up there all the time. Soon I’ll try it without newspaper! Sorry no pics yet.
Meanwhile, we discovered Wandering Willy in his usual spot off Ogilby Road with friends Frank and Alison, and their cat Diva. Both cats feined indiference to each other, but I think they both would become friends, given time. Sorry, no pics (I see a trend here). Soon, my Saskatchewan friends Ernie and Debbie showed up with their dog Moki to add to the mix. (no pics) I took them for their first ever visit to Algodones, and got my teeth cleaned while there. We also did a tour up to the Imperial Dam area and had a date shake on the way back through the intensely farmed agricultural areas along the Colorado river – or what’s left of it at this point.
After a couple days, they took off for Palm Springs, with an interesting visit at Slab City and Salton Sea along the way.
I had planned to stay a bt longer, but my plans got changed by a new neighbour who had arrived with one of those obnoxious, loud, industrial generators and set up not far enough away. After more than a few beverages, I managed to get to sleep in spite of it’s constant roar, but when I awoke at around 0400, it was roaring away full trottle. What does anyone need that kind of power for at 4AM? If you’ve got a required medical device or need your A/C on, then go to an RV park or park a mile away for crying out loud! It was still going at 0830 when I was hooked up and pulling out. Some people have no clue. Or are deaf. Or both!
The good news is … when we arrived at our latest favourite spot off MST&T road south of Quartzsite, it was occupied by about 12 rigs! How is that good news? Well, because we then found an even better spot nearby. Further from the dusty access road, and closer to the highway, and no (noisy) neighbours within a mile!
Only been in to the traffic-jam zoo that is Quartzsite during the big show so far. But I don’t really mind the traffic and the crowds in town – as long as I have a quiet place to retreat to at days end. And this is one of those spots. Expecting Ernie and Debbie and Moki to show up any day, and maybe even Wandering Willy, but there is space for all here.
Sunday, January 10, 2016
Where has the time gone, and what have I been up to all this time? Well, it appears that we were still camped at Saddle mountain blm area near Tonopah, Az.
We spent Christmas in almost the same spot as last year. There was a lot of wind at times and some dust storms to make being outside not that pleasant. Then on the nice days, there were enough bees or wasps buzzing around the door to make that less than enjoyable as well.
But, it was time to move on anyway. The weather looked slightly better to the south, so it was decided to head for Tucson and beyond. It was Sunday when we pulled out, but the thought of downtown traffic through Phoenix was enough to turn us south for the route through Gila Bend and I-8. The great Shell station on the corner provided the dump, fill, and propane, so we were set to travel. We blasted on through Tucson, and were surprised to see all the overhead signs warning of blizzards in New Mexico!
There must have been a carpenter’s convention in the area too?
At the same time, friends of mine who were down in Big Bend NP, Texas were sitting under 6” of fresh snow!
I was able to make contact with a friend down in Sierra Vista, so we street-camped and spent a couple days visiting and catching up on news. While there, I visited a tire shop to get a couple of my trailer wheels swapped around to even out the tire wear on them. As happened to me a long time ago in the same situation in California, when it was time to pay the bill, there wasn’t one! Fortunately, having my fridge parked on their lot, I was able to contribute a bunch of cold canned beverages for the staff at the end of the day!
After a couple of cool days in Sierra Vista, my snowbound friends from Texas were able to make good their escape, so we arranged a meeting at Bowie on the I-8. From there it was only a short drive to a cute, tiny little rec area called Indian Bread Rocks.
We headed off to hike into Fort Bowie historic site one day, but found a rather large Class A stuck in the ditch along the road on the way there. After piling rocks and planks under his wheels, my tow strap was put to good use, and the big GM had him back on pavement in no time! Too busy towing for photos! And it seems that the only photo I took along the hike to the fort ruins was a shot of the cemetery.
Back around camp, we hiked up into the hills and found numerous holes in the rock that had been used for grinding nuts and grain by earlier civilizations. We also found many of the rocks were precariously balanced and in need of some additional support!
It was Sunday again when we parted, and I headed up to Hot Well Dunes, hoping that most of the ATV’s would be leaving for home. I met a lot of toy haulers on the road, but there were still a few there till late in the day. Finally, they were all gone, and I think I may have been the only one in the campground that night. In the morning it was cold and overcast, so my camping costs for this season were kept to $3. as we pulled out and drove in some rain on the way over to Tucson.
I met up with the same friends again for a night at Snyder Hill, just west of Tucson.
They headed for the Desert Museum, and I took off west in the morning for Why, and ended up on Bates Well Road just south of Ajo.
The usual air show was on with the military, the border patrol, and the local hunters.
There were some good soaking rainfalls as well as some decent thunder and lightning, and I’m sure the desert will appreciate the moisture and will no doubt soon transform into a green jungle.
And of course there were some great sunsets!
After this, I think the next destination will be Yuma for a while, before heading up to Quartzsite for the big show later in the month.