February 11 to 15: My morning walks are like little retreats for me. A time just to be, not to think deep thoughts, not to work out problems, not to dwell on the meaning of life, just time to be aware of my surroundings: the light of sunrise, birds chirping, flowers becoming more abundant, the variety and texture of desert vegetation, the color and nature of rocks.
It is hard to not pick up pieces of quartz, some very white and often with crystals embedded, to take back to camp. More and more, I leave almost all of them in place, appreciating them, but not needed to keep them. I take lots of photos and a few of these will make it to posts and even fewer to my Higher Vibration Series.
Besides the morning saunter, my day is filled with meals (preparing, eating, cleaning up), blogs, editing for a couple of authors, sending texts with photos to family and friends, and playing bluegrass on viola with Clifford and my brother Rollie.
participates in ham nets daily, but also devotes hours to playing his
dulcimer, learning new songs and making accompaniments.
While much of the
world is in turmoil over political differences and the spreading
coronavirus, we are in a bit of a sanctuary of sorts, with the wind
being our most troublesome issue.
Monday February 10. LaPosa South, Quartzsite, Arizona. Today is my birthday and I am happy to be alive and well. It is cool and windy when I go out for my morning walk, but it feels good to be outside. I am thinking I should have planned a hike for my birthday activity rather than going to town for pizza.
When I get back from
my walk, I mention this to Clifford and within minutes, we have
decided to do both, starting with a hike to the mountain that is
about 2 ½ miles away. We invite my brother Rollie to join us. A
quick smoothie, hiking shoes, water, snacks, hat, hiking sticks, cell
phone and charger – and we are on our way.
It is a great day for a hike with clouds keeping it from being too hot. We stop for photos now and then. Since it is my birthday, I am allowed to stop as often as I want.
Once we arrive at Shale Mountain, my name for the mountain since up close it appears to be made of nothing but shale, we have our snacks and relax until we see rain in the distance and rain clouds building behind us.
We hustle on back, no stopping for photos, (well, not many), but the rain storm catches up to us and we are drenched by time we arrive back at camp.
After a change of
clothes, we all head into Quartzsite and finish off the afternoon
with the best pizza ever at Silly Al’s. As we leave, it is pouring
rain again, which to me is another gift, making an extra special
Saturday February 8, there is no morning walk in the desert, as Clifford and I are driving from our campsite at LaPosa South to Yuma, Arizona, which is new territory for us once we pass the Palm Canyon turnoff. The drive is scenic in a desert sort of way. In Yuma, we take care of our business, have lunch at Subway, and buy supplies for the upcoming weeks. Back at camp, I put together shelving, stackable bins, that will keep stuff on my side of the bed much more organized and tidy. This is important when living in a small space, and I’m pleased with the results.
On Sunday, I go for the morning desert walk, happy to see the desert marigold bushes beginning to bloom.
Back at camp, as I prepare a photo for my Higher Vibration Series, I experiment with double-exposure. It is fun to try something new and the results are interesting.
Today is a paperwork day, not a fun part of the day, but important. Clifford’s ear is bothering him and he naps a lot. In the evening, we are treated to a beautiful sunset.
My brother Rollie comes for dinner and afterwards, we play cribbage. With a 24-point hand, I win the game tonight. Win or lose, I am still the dish-washer.
We are hearing more and more news of the coronavirus, which doesn’t sound like a good thing going around. Being out here in the desert, mostly by ourselves, it is less of a personal concern than it is for many folks. However, it is does seem that this will have a world-wide effect for its economic impact.
Clifford and I are camped at LaPosa South, BLM land south of Quartzsite, Arizona, next to my brother Rollie.
Monday February 3 to Friday February 7:
Monday is very windy, all last night and into the day. Dust at sunrise gives an other-worldly look to the desert when I go out for a morning walk.
Wind continues the next couple of days, although not quite so fierce.
These are days when we mostly stay inside to work on projects, including music with Rollie in his motor home. I edit photos, write blogs, and edit for a couple of authors, including a submission for Ang’s children’s book, Permaculture for Kids, an excellent little book to introduce kids to permaculture.
Clifford is involved with his ham radio and dulcimer, writing his own accompaniments.
We make a couple of trips to Quartzsite, one day for mail and another day to pick up our Amazon order, supplements that we sent for, as there is no place to buy locally.
I walk in the desert in the mornings and sometimes near sunset, in spite of the wind.
February 1 & 2: I am very much enjoying quiet morning walks in the desert here at LaPosa South, south of Quartzsite, Arizona, where Clifford and I are now camped.
I find so much beauty in the trees, especially old and gnarly trees, the few flowers that are blooming, and the fantastic variety of rocks, especially the white quartz sprinkled liberally over the desert floor. Daily there are opportunities for photos for blogs and photos that I share on FB – the Higher Vibration Series and the photos groups that I belong to.
One day we have a
potluck picnic with my brother Rollie who is camped right next to us
and the friends on the other side. Rollie has been here since
November, in the very same spot that we had two years ago when we
came here together for the first time. He has improved the fire ring
and pathways that we started then.
Cell service is
weak, so projects that need the internet (such as posting my blogs)
can be slow slow slow, but many other activities are carried on with
the natural flow of the day.
Although there are
thousands of RV’s out here in the BLM land, we are not crowded
where we are, along a wash, three miles into the desert off highway
95. It is a peaceful place, good for the soul.
January 27 to 31: Monday starts with a move from Roadrunner BLM where Clifford and I have been camped the last two weeks to the long-term LaPosa South, both south of Quartzsite, Arizona. It is just a few miles, but moving is moving and everything has to be packed properly. We arrive at LaPosa South and set up next to my brother Rollie. The ground is a bit uneven, but levelers and stabilizers get Cougar level and solid. Then we load up laundry and head to Parker, 35 miles to the north for laundromat and stocking up on supplies for the next month.
Tuesday is mostly a settling in day, although there is time for music with Rollie and neighbor Roy, a bluegrass friend from Missoula, Montana. What a pleasure to do music with a really good bass player. In the evening, Rollie, Clifford, and I go to a concert in Quartzsite. McDougal West is a Peter, Paul, and Mary Tribute group. They are really good, performing many Peter/Paul/Mary songs, and it is a delight to listen to them.
The next day, our
friend HB arrives for a visit. We sit out at our campfire ring to
talk until the wind drives us back to Cougar. Talk continues through
the afternoon, as HB and Clifford discuss Carnicom Institute and the
changes that have been made and continue to be made. It is a good
visit and we look forward to seeing him again in the spring.
One day we go to Quartzsite for errands, including the post office and buying propane. We also go the funky bookstore on the edge of town.
Quartzsite is unique in that most of the people here are RVers living in the desert. The grocery stores are small and inadequate for the number of RVers spending the months here, the line for General Delivery at the post office is only open for an hour a day, which means there is always a long line, the dollar stores are untidy and can’t keep up with the demand. But beyond that, most of the establishments are tents – flea market style, lined up neatly. It’s like no place else in the United States, as far as any place I’ve been. It is like being in a foreign country, but not necessarily a place of poverty. People camping in the desert live in anything from small tents to vans, to modest travel trailers, to mega Class A motor homes worth several hundred thousand dollars. Your neighbors can be any of these, and mostly folks just want to enjoy the solitude of the desert and not be bothered. Some people come for a few days, but others come and stay for the seven-month long-term period, setting up portable sheds and lining dirt tracks with rocks and solar lights.
I start most every day with a walk in the desert, loving the serenity and ambiance I feel here.
Clifford works with his ham radios every morning. We clear a spot for table and chairs in the trees along the wash next to us. This will be a quiet spot sheltered from the wind by the trees. Most days we play music with Rollie, sometimes joined by Roy. Clifford and I both continue with our projects, dealing with the weak cell service/hotspot/internet.
The last days at Roadrunner, January 22 to 26, include participation in Quartzfest, the ham radio gathering held just south of Quartzsite, Arizona, which is attended by several hundred ham radio operators. A variety of classes are offered every day, mostly around radios and antennas, which Clifford is interested in. He and I also attend a couple of classes geared to first aid and survival.
We spend an afternoon at the Big Tent & RV Show, a big deal here in Quartzsite, browsing the plethora of vendors selling their wares or services. While open-house viewing of RV’s is a big draw for most folks, we are not interested in that so much, being perfectly content with our Cougar.
We get together with my brother Rollie to play bluegrass music a couple of times and one evening we go to bluegrass concert in Quartzsite.
Another day we go to one of the tents that sells burgers, “eating out” Quartzsite-style.
usual activities of photography, editing, writing, and reading
continue for me, while Clifford works with his radio for hours and
plays dulcimer when he is not on the radio. It is a busy time for
Thursday January 16-Tuesday January 21: Clifford and I arrived at Roadrunner BLM 14-day dispersed camping area south of Quartzsite, Arizona, yesterday afternoon for Quartzfest, the week-long ham radio festival. We are set up in the same spot where we were two years ago at Christmas.
We have a nice spot in the shade of a good-size mesquite tree, which also provides privacy from campers on the other side of the wash. Hooray for trees. My brother Rollie comes several times to play music with us. We also go on an outing to play music with him and his friends over at La Posa South.
Thursday we run over to La Posa South, the long-term area just up the road where Rollie is camped. He is right where we were camped with him two years ago after we left Roadrunner, and we will be joining him in a couple of weeks. Kind of fun to see the fire ring that he and I built then, as well as the rock-lined paths that lead across a small wash to the fire ring.
next several days Clifford and I work on our various projects with
special attention given to setting up antennas for Quartzfest, which
starts on Sunday, which is also Clifford’s birthday. Sunday
evening, Rollie comes to have spaghetti dinner with us, bringing
honey and herbs from our cousin and a beautiful calendar that my
sister Nancy made using my photos. A very nice special evening for
all of us.
don’t take many photos these few days here, other than a longer
walk on Tuesday, appreciating the saguaros that live here, as well as
the denser vegetation along the washes. I am looking forward to
moving to La Posa South, which offers greater photo opportunities.
Wednesday January 15: First thing this morning, I go out to take photos of the mountains and the cacti surrounding our campsite here at Cactus Forest, northwest of Tucson, Arizona. Clifford and I really like Cactus Forest, but we need to head on to Quartzsite, Arizona, for Quartzfest, the ham radio week-long gathering.
We travel northwest on I-10 to the junction with I-8, then west through the Sonoran Desert National Monument. We reminisce about our camping trip here four years ago, the first trip with our 30-year-old Terry travel trailer. That was an adventure, which I won’t go into here.
At Gila Bend we stop for gas, which is fun because of the pet dinosaurs and fun stuff to buy, and then continue north on highway 85 until we rejoin I-10 west of Phoenix. We had thought we might stop for the night at Buckeye Recreation Area along highway 85, but travel conditions have been favorable today and we are making good time, so travel all the way to Quartzsite.
At Quartzsite, we turn south on highway 95 and make our way to Roadrunner, the BLM camping area south of Quartzsite where Quartzfest is held. Driving into this dispersed desert camping area, we are pleased to find that the campsite we had at Christmas two years ago is available. We were here then with my cousin and his wife, and my brother Rollie. We are very happy to be here in this spot now as we set up and prepare for Quartzfest.
Monday January 13: One reason Clifford and I decided to camp at Cactus Forest, northwest of Tucson, is that, besides liking this unique dispersed camping area,
….it is near enough to Tucson to have our “big city” day. The most fun stops are Bookman’s and Trader Joe’s, but other necessary errands and shopping fill the day.
Driving out of Tucson at rush hour is NOT fun, but dinner at the Cracker Barrel in Marana on our way back to camp is enjoyable. Returning to camp long after dark, we unload groceries and soon head to bed.
Tuesday January 14: I am up in time for photos at sunrise, always a good start to my day.
It is great to have a day just to hang out here, especially having the time as well as pleasant enough temperatures for Clifford to play dulcimer outside while I play cello. I’ve also had fun playing around with the Snapseed app on my phone.
Daughter Becka calls and explains the recent “cow game” photo she sent, which was the result of an older couple hitting a black cow as they were driving down the mountain and nearly hitting Becka and her friend, who were driving the other way. Becka and her friend called 911 and helped the older couple until police arrived. Thankfully, everyone was okay.
Later, I walk down the road for photos at sunset, enjoying the ambiance of this desert forest.
After dinner, I do a blog and then write in the journal before heading to bed, a good way to close the day.