Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Quartzsite to Wikieup, and Blogger screws up again!

 So, I had this post (or a very similar one @#%^&*) done a few days ago, all ready to go live. I aimed it at the internet, but it must have missed and is now no doubt sailing past Mercury or Pluto!  And Blogger happily nuked the draft version, requiring a start from scratch again.  Not a happy blogger here!  I hope it works better this time, or you won't be reading this.)

We were camped south of Quartzsite for about two weeks.  Part of the time, we were on the edge of the big storm that dumped feet of snow in northern Arizona, and lots of rain elsewhere.  Other than some overcast days and a few periods of rain, the flash flood warnings didn't pan out.

During the nicer days, we explored a few of the back roads in the area.  On Google Earth, there appeared to be a couple of isolated buildings way out in the desert.  We went to check it out and found that it was actually a wildlife watering facility.

We've found a few of these in the past, in this general area.  They have a large rain collection system, and a covered reservoir area leading to a small water trough. From the air photos, these look like buildings!  We didn't find any obvious wildlife tracks in the area since the rains.

In Quartzsite, we discovered a recycling bin! Yay.  Unlike most, that only want aluminum cans, this one collected newspaper, cardboard, and even plastic milk jugs! It was full to overflowing, but at least I got to donate some of my stash.  If you're looking for it, it's on E Quail St, in front of the Public Works compound, just behind the library.
I noticed a rather weird worn spot on one of my trailer tires when setting up.  Weird, because it was only on one part of the circumference - the rest of the tread all looking fine.  Luckily, I had spotted it while still parking, because when I stopped, the worn area was completely hidden.  So, the next day I jacked up the rig and took it off and had the tire shop in town swap it for my spare, which just happens to match the wear on the rest of the tires.  Tire guy said it had 'separated', and was going to throw it out, but I had him put it back on the spare rim, where it will suffice as a spare till the next tire replacement.  I've had tire shops in the past refuse to inflate a 'damaged' tire, either for liability reasons, or more likely an attempt to sell a new tire.

After a few days of less than wonderful sunshine, it was time to pull out the little Honda 2000, and give it it's monthly exercise.  Don't want that gas to get too stale!
Visitors come by almost every night ...

My spot south of Quartzsite uses a different AT&T tower than the townsfolk and the thousands of LTVA campers during the big show, so when the service there slows to a crawl, mine is still plenty fast.  Loving my $20/month unlimited data plan!

Hailey is always really good about sticking around camp, but even so, I try to watch her carefully.  Inevitably, once in a while she disappears, despite the orange bell she wears when outside.  Mild panic accompanies the search of the area, till as usual, she is found close by, utilizing her camoflage colours to blend in as she soaks up the sun!

After about 2 weeks at Quartzsite it was time to move on.  After some serious debate, we decided to head northeast up Hwy 93 to the Wikieup, Az area.  A short section of I-10, followed by hwy 60 found us in Wickenburg where Safeway and Maverik helped us top off the gas, groceries and cat food.  Then, it was northbound, to 'our' spot just overlooking the cute little Burro Creek campground.  It's very nice little BLM campground, right on the riverbank, complete with water and RV dump, but it suffers a bit on the cell service because of it's location in the deep valley.
 The road to my spot is, how shall we say, challenging.  It's on an unmaintained section of old highway, that erodes more with every rainfall!  But it's scenic, and suits me fine. 
Campground lower left, me upper right!

On a hike back into the hills I came across a group of wild burros, and some Bighorn sheep.

One of the reasons to visit Burro Creek and the Wikieup area is its proximity to Kaiser Hot springs.  I have visited these springs deep in a wash several times before.  There was a very rough 4x4 road that would get you fairly close, but to me it seemed easier and more pleasant to park under the big bridges on the highway and hike down the wash.

Along the wash is the entrance to an old mine.

Further in I began to see tracks.  BIG TRACKS!

Then I heard beeping, as in heavy equipment beeping, and sure enough, there was a big loader gouging it's way down the wash, pushing boulders aside and filling in the holes to make a crude road.

I made it to the hot pool, luckily undamaged, but there were large signs just before it forbidding entry, claiming it was private land and that 'exploration' was underway.  I suspect you could still go there after hours or on a weekend for a soak!  Maybe the exploration will end and a few good floods will return the wash to being vehicle free?
I gave BLM a call to check on its status, and, after explaining to them where Kaiser Hot spring was (!), they said that they would check up on it, but if it was on private land there was little they could do.

Another day I went for a drive on Seventeen Mile road, checking it out for possible camp spots, and to see where it went.

 There were only a few good looking camp spots along the road, but most were more suitable for a truck camper or other small rig, and a wash soon after leaving the highway was full of soft deep sand which might challenge some vehicles.
The road is fairly rugged, and steep in places, and I suspect very few cyclists attempt it, but I'm pretty sure the ones that do won't be cuaght off guard (pardon the pun) by a cattle guard sneaking up on them? 


After about 13 miles (!) Seventeen Mile road joins Signal road as it curls back towards the highway, through more developed and private lands.  
Then we came to one of the signs I usually ignore, saying 'Do Not Enter When Flooded'!  But the road was clearly flooded, to an undetermined depth, by quite fast current.  I could not see any fresh tracks across it, and saw some large ominous round boulders under water at the edge.

 I waited a while to see if anyone else crossed, but no one came.  So it was time to turn around and try an alternate route.

 Unfortunately, the alternate crossing looked even worse, and it was a long way to dry ground on the far bank.

So, there was nothing to do but turn around a re-trace our route the way we had come.  Not a problem as the road was in pretty good condition, and quite scenic.

 These twin bridges along highway 93 (eventually to become Interstate 11) overlook Burro Creek campground.

 Before leaving the area, I thought it would be interesting to send the UAV on a short flight under the bridges.

After this, we headed off to Saddle Mountain, but that will be the next post.


  1. Well, your blog posted. We were wondering where you were, having fun as usual. Nice to be able to take your rig down some of those trails to find hot springs. We'll meet up with you after New years I'm sure. Take care!

  2. Nice exploring you have done. You find some very scenic spots. Good choice to avoid that crossing.
    Stay safe!

  3. I always liked bombing around in Wickenburg's Safeway. We drove through the Burrow Creek campground once and have crossed that bridge a few times for sure. From your aerial shot I could easily see where you are and remember you being there before. Although we've never boondocked at Saddle Mountain we've looked around that area planning to do so but never did. I always enjoy seeing the desert scenery I am missing so much. If I had my druthers I would be there but I don't got my druthers. Kick around a little desert dust for me will ya......

  4. Always enjoy catching up with your adventures Ivan. Fire season was overall pretty slow in the U.S. this year (except Alaska and of course the California norms), but I did get down to southern Arizona and New Mexico bootheel (both on Coronado NF). Enjoy your journey amigo...

    1. Good to hear from you Phil! Fire season is over in Canada of course, but some of my friends and ex co-workers from Fed Parks and Alberta, and other places in Canada have sent overhead teams to Australia to help out. Maybe you should put your name in, and I could come along to help!

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