Friday, February 28, 2020

Lots of moves across southern California and Arizona

After a very nice time spent in the southern end of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, it was time to move back to the east.  We ended up going back to the same spot off Ogilby Road that we had previously departed a week or so earlier.  We just missed Ernie & Deb, after they had moved a bit closer to town, but surprisingly, Wandering Willy was back, having abandoned his spot up near Bouse to recieve some shipments back in Yuma!  

And, just over the hill and across the wash was John & Brenda and their two dogs!  We enjoyed a couple of mornings around the campfire with them, and solved a few world problems.

As it turned out, the Yuma Ham radio fest was going on at the Yuma County Fairgrounds, so I just had to go in and peruse the wares for sale, and pick up a few electronic supplies that are hard to find anywhere else.

Of course, in the parking lot, most of the vehicles belonging to amateur radio enthusiasts sprouted an amazing variety of antennas, from the roofs, bumpers, racks, wherever!

 Around the same time, there was a big open house out at the Yuma Proving Ground, so I hooked up with Ernie & Deb to check out some of the military toys and equipment on display.

Ernie tries to convince Deb that this should be their next RV!


We wanted to see a Predator Drone that was earlier advertised, but it was unfortunately a no-show :-(
We eased our disappointment by having a date shake on the way home!
If you are looking for the best way to haul your boat around - this isn't it!

Tortoise sighting!  I was sitting inside the rig one day chatting with Ernie, when I spotted this big ol' tortoise cruising down the far side of the wash!
 We kept our distance of course, but summoned Wandering Willy, and John and Brenda to come have a look.  We turned away for a minute or two, and he was  - gone!  As I joked about looking under my truck for it, I suddenly saw that he was no more than 3-4' from where I was standing.
 We maintained a watch to make sure he made it across the access road safely, then left him on his own to search for flowers or food.
Having already spent a fair bit of time on Ogilby road, it was time to head out and visit some places that we missed last year - having spent much of the time camped near the vet clinic in Fort Mohave.
Off we headed eastward down I-8, and were glad to take advantage of the Rv dump and fill the far side of Gila Bend.  First dump of the black tank since Nov 25 in Baker, Ca.!  And it wasn't even full!
Then we headed southward down to Ajo and Why area.  Had sort of intended to spend the time at Why, but the Darby Well road was being freshly graded, so we gave that a try and managed to find a decent spot along a wash with no nearby neighbours.
Grader on Darby Well road.

It's a very lush desert area with lots of cactus of all types, including the Organ Pipe cactus.


It's that time of year when we're starting to get itchy feet and ready to make some miles, but the guy that pulled in beside me a few days later certainly made the decision easy.  He immediately fired up his industrial generator in the back of his truck and let it run all afternoon, even though the sun was shining for all the solar power you could ever need.  Even sitting indoors with all the windows and doors shut, I could even hear it over my television.  When I saw him with the hood up on his Ford pickup, I thought this might be an opportunity for a helpful 'chat'!  Not surprisingly, he had a big attitude to go along with his noisy power plant and he proceeded to inform me that I could not possibly hear his generator from there!  Guess I should have offered him new batteries for his truck - or his hearing aid!
You know you're near the border when you find water bottles abandoned in the desert from illegal crossers.
Wildlife watering facility.  Water supplied from a windmill and solar powered pump on a well.
Next morning - on the road again, and glad to be gone.
This time, it was further east through the Tohono O'odham Nation Reservation towards Tucson.  Before Tucson, we turned south and found one of our usual spots available in the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, where we settled in for a bit.  Beautiful scenery and open grasslands.  Lots of Border Patrol activity.  Managed to spot a small herd of Pronghorns near the refuge HQ!
Very crowded camping area!

Glad to see the A-10 Warthogs were still in the area, making a few occasional low passes as a pair of them played follow the leader overhead!

On the move again.  Find out where in the next post!

Monday, February 17, 2020


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!