Monday, February 17, 2020

Anza-Borrego

After a couple of weeks camped along Ogilby road in the far south-east corner of California, we decided to move a bit further into the state, but not without a tank full of cheaper Arizona fuel!
Both east-bound and westbound rest areas on the I-8 east of El Centro have RV dump areas, but both appear to be permanently (?) closed.  At least they have large signs before you even turn off the interstate to this effect.
We turned north off the Interstate at Ocotillo, onto State Route S-2, also known as the Imperial Highway. Just north of the village of Ocotillo is a forest of windmills.

 When I first pulled up, a few of the fans were just barely moving.  By the time I got in the air, they had stopped moving entirely.  Not an award winning day for wind power today!  But an excellent day to fly around safely for a look.





 Further along the road was a small Border Patrol check station right on the boundary of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park - the largest state park in California.  

 
 
The original 'plan' had us going quite a ways further north, to camp in the Blair Valley, near the site of the Marshall South homestead.  But, by checking every side road we came to, we found a spot that ranked high on the scale, and there was no reason to go further.






 Some nice big old trees provided a wind break, pivacy, shade, and a place to hang the hammock!

 

After a few days exploring the immediate vicinity of our camp, we did make a day trip into Borrego Springs to do some laundry and find some water. There is a new laundry facility in town, in the 'mall', as well as a huge new stand-alone library, since the last time we visited.  Unfortunately, the free water tap up at the Park HQ and visitor center is now dry, and they even want you to pay a day-use fee to park in the parking lot to get information!  After laundry and propane, we drove by Christmas circle, and took a couple of photos for Bayfield Al, and walked in the green grass!


Next , it was out to Henderson Canyon road to pick up a huge $3. bag of sweet grapefruit from the self-service stand there.  From there, it was out to do a drive by of the Peg Leg area, which was packed with campers as expected.

 
We drove a short distance up Rockhouse Road, and as expected, there were no RV's within sight, but the signage was confusing at best.  More RV's were in the desert across the highway.
On the way back south to our camp spot, we could see what looked likea substatial forest fire pumping up smoke from the far side of the S-1 Highway, the Sunrise Highway.  Despite several Google searches, I was not able to find what had burned.


Other day trips in the area included explorations of an old Dolomite Mine.
 

 








Some friends for Hailey to play with ...

 



While this close to San Diego and the coast, we made a couple of day trips into the city, in large part to visit Fry's Electronics.  It's speculation on my part whether they are in the throes of shutting down, or whether it is a supply problem brought on by sanctions and trade embargoes with China, but at any rate, two stores I went to had a disturbingly large number of completely or almost bare shelves.  There is still lots of merchandise to be had, but these are the other side of the coin.  It will certainly be a great loss if they end up closing down for whatever reason.


 Desert flowers.



San Diego waterfront flower.



 We discovered that there is a very large, salty body of water just west of San Diego, so we can't go any further in that direction.  Guess we'll just have to head back a bit east and see where we end up!



Monday, February 10, 2020

Birds and the Bees

While camped near Quartzsite, there seemed to be quite a bit of competition around the hummingbird feeder.  Both the birds and the bees seemed intent on getting their fill.  See the video below.
 
But then I realized that the bees were mostly just thirsty, so a small dish of water on the ground attracted them all away from the feeder - much to the relief of the hummers!


We stayed a bit longer in the Quartzsite area than planned - waiting for some orders to arrive from Amazon and Ebay.  Once they were in hand, it was time to move on.
 So we loaded up and moved on down to the Yuma area.  Apparently the State Trust land area east of Foothills is no longer allowing camping, so it was back to the old regular of Ogilby Road.
We tracked down the elusive and nefarious Wandering Willy of previous blog fame, and after a few days, Ernie and Deb followed us down from Quartzsite to provide a wind break with their rig!



A view of our camp spot near Ogilby Road.

There is lots of historic, and modern mining in this whole area, and claim stakes are everywhere.  Some have basic information etched into the metal plates, other more modern ones have written information in a little container attached to the post.


On a tour out on the Indian Pass road further north up Ogilby road, I discovered some sort of a trap or corral.  It appeared to have been constructed completely from natural wood and branches from the area, but chicken wire had been attached to it, making the 'fence' around 6' tall before it all collapsed.  It enclosed an area about 20 yards across, and had openings where gates may have been?

 
There was a pile of branches that may have been used to strengthen the fence?  Off to the side was this weird semi-circle berm with a hollow in the center, with rocks all around the outer edge.  The berm was 2-3' high and would have taken a lot of work to build.  Something had been burned in the middle, but not sure if that was the intended purpose?  I don't think the berm was intended to collect runoff, but perhaps?  Any ideas of what the corral/trap or berm would have been used for?


 The remains of the historic Tumco townsite and mine were nearby, so a bit of exploration and a few photos were in order, including some very recent mining activity in the area.

 On another day, Ernie and Deb took me over to the mine sites at the end of American Girl Mine road.  There are some weird designs on the tailings piles, presumably to reduce erosion(?).
 We found a trail leading right down to the bottom of one of the open pits, but resisted the urge to swim in the water there!

 As usual, happy hours were held around the fire.  Sometimes it was necessary to watch a hockey game on my laptop at the same time!





As usual, there was a variety of military and border patrol helicopters, a few jets and Osprey flying over, sometimes very low and in the dark.  We also watched the International Space Station fly over using the ISS app, and kept track of the usual commercial air traffic with the FlightRadar24 app.


Next, off to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park ...