Tuesday January 15: It is raining this morning where Clifford and I are camped at La Posa South, south of Quartzsite, Arizona. This is a big deal in the desert. I go walking, taking photos of the water in the washes and arroyos. Where it has been dry sand, rocks, and gravel on previous days, there are now rivers and streams. It is lovely and peaceful walking by myself in the rain.
Other than the rain, today is a day with many of the usual activities: editing, blog writing, and music with Rollie. There is now a domain and website platform in place for Ang. It will be up to me to populate the website with information and photos. Sounds like an interesting project except for the fact that I don’t know how to do it! Might be a steep learning curve….
drone-flying for Clifford today, but research continues.
After dinner, Rollie and I play cribbage before I tackle the dishes, and then I write in the journal before heading to bed.
next several days at our camping area at LaPosa South, south of
Quartzsite are marked by lows in the 30’s and highs in the 60’s –
not bad for January, but generally too windy to spend much time
and evening walks in the desert happen almost daily for me, as I find
myself very drawn to the stillness. I like the openness without
barrenness, always finding interesting trees or rocks or flowers to
take photos of, but it is the ambiance that I wish most to share.
The morning “quiet time” routine of inspirational reading and
writing that I had established in Monticello is harder to maintain
here, so my quiet time is now walks in the desert.
After repairing his drone, Clifford takes it for a flight… and it gets away from him, becoming a smaller and smaller dot until it disappears.
Well, this is a bit discouraging, but Clifford knows by line-of-sight which direction it has gone. Clifford, Rollie, and I go look for it, with a starting point a couple of miles past LaPosa South. Rollie and I go one direction along the trajectory line, inquiring of campers if they have seen a drone, but no one has. We are hoping it didn’t crash into someone’s RV. Clifford goes the other direction along the trajectory, back toward our campsite. As he’s walking in the desert, using his binoculars to scout around, he comes across a couple of RVs a ways out from LaPosa South and he approaches a man who seems a bit unfriendly. Turns out Clifford is near the area of a nudist colony and the guy thinks Clifford has come to spy on the nudists. After a bit of conversation, the man is finally convinced that Clifford is indeed looking for a fly-away drone. The man’s cousin and husband who are camped nearby might have noticed a drone, and the fellow will inquire of them when they return from town. Clifford describes where we are camped without much hope that anything will come of. Keep in mind there are thousands of RVs camped in the desert south of Quartzsite.
The next day after plotting a distance as well as a trajectory, we plan to go search again, but before we leave, a pickup comes up our driveway (we are quite a ways out from the main part of LaPosa South). Turns out the couple in the pickup are the cousin and husband of the man Clifford talked to yesterday, and the drone had landed in their driveway. They had taken it inside, but the fellow Clifford talked to didn’t know that. He happened to mention talking to Clifford, and sure enough, they have the drone and set out to find us. So the drone is returned, none the worse off for its adventure.
Another not quite so fun adventure is our trip to Lake Havasu City, about 90 miles to the north. We are going there to buy a Mr. Buddy heater, with plans to stop for photos on the way back to Quartzsite and lunch at the casino near Parker.
The Lake Havasu City Walmart is on the north end of town, but before we get there, as Clifford steps on the gas to merge into the correct lane of traffic, the Suburban starts steaming, big time, with the heat gauge rapidly going up. We barely make it to the Walmart parking lot, coasting in and stopping at the outside edge.
Rollie and Clifford assess the problem and it appears that broken motor mounts allowed the engine to jump enough to break a housing that holds hoses to the radiator and heater. We check out the Walmart auto supply, but they don’t have the right part. A nearby Toyoto dealer orders the part for us and we have lunch at Subway while we wait for the part to be delivered. When the part arrives, it is the wrong size and won’t work. We are back to square one, but now it is mid-afternoon. After much searching and some ingenuity, we come up with a series of garden hose parts and clamps to jury-rig (thanks to Rollie) the hoses so as to be able to drive without overheating the engine. This has taken hours, many trips back and forth to Walmart auto and garden centers, and me taking Ninja for long walks. It is after dark and the guys are working by flashlights before it is all back together and we head to camp. No photos and no stopping at the casino for a meal.
Other than the drone adventure and Suburban misadventure, which both ended well, we continue our projects. I do more editing, look into starting a website for Ang, and write a couple of blogs. Rollie and I play music almost every day and cribbage after dinner.
Clifford is busy with CI research, ham radio, playing his dulcimer, and flying the drone when it is not too windy. And we all went to the New Christy Minstrel concert in Quartzsite one evening, which was good entertainment.
first days of January at La Posa South give Clifford and me a chance
to settle in, as we plan to be here awhile at this long-term camping
area south of Quartzsite, Arizona.
mornings I walk into the desert to take photos at sunrise,
appreciating the ambiance of the area. The vegetation is varied with
mesquite, palo verde, creosote, and other shrubs and trees along the
washes. Desert marigolds bloom freely. In the open spaces between
the washes one can find saguaros, frequently with their nursemaid
shrubs at their base.
I take a small thermos of coffee and my journal so I can sit in the
sunshine and write after sunrise. The deep stillness of the desert
invites one to sit quietly, not really contemplating life, but just
being present to the stillness.
the day, I send texts with photos to my family and friends, write
blogs, edit photos, and check CI email when the sun on the solar
panels allow for such. At one point, we try out our new generator for
the first time. It is a backup, but good to have for overcast days.
My brother Rollie and I play bluegrass music almost every day with Clifford being our appreciative audience, usually sitting inside Rollie’s motor home, as it has been too chilly and windy to sit out for music. Occasionally a campfire allows us to sit out. We are particularly enjoying viola and mandolin duets; it sure would be fun to have a guitar player join us.
has many projects on tap: CI research, ham radio communications,
music on the dulcimer, and learning to use his drone (which he bought
over a year ago and has never had the chance to try out). The drone
has been especially fun for him, with a good learning curve including
a few crashes and repairs.
days are full and we are enjoying being here. If I had a maid, I
would have him cook and do the dishes, and a good secretary could
take care of all the CI email! …. but for now I am the maid and
secretary, along with everything else that vies for my attention. But
it is all good!
is about 23 degrees this morning at the Love’s truck stop at the
junction of I-40 and highway 95 south of Kingman in western Arizona.
In spite of the chill morning, Clifford and I are happy to be out of
the snow that is hitting northern Arizona. We have a quick breakfast
before heading out on the next leg of the journey.
We stop for supplies in Lake Havasu City, which is situated alongside the Colorado River, then continue southward. The dammed up river is a blue contrast to the harsh, but usually interesting, desert landscape.
Between Parker and Quartzsite, there is quite a lot of BLM land, some of it accessible for boondocking, but the land here doesn’t really appeal to me that much.
South of Quartzsite, we reach our destination at La Posa South long-term camping area by mid-afternoon. We head out to where we were camped last year, as my brother Rollie is already there and has fixed up a nice camping area. We find a spot near him and start getting set up, the bitter cold wind making it not so fun to be outdoors, but we are grateful to see a blue sky.
though I’m not totally in love with the spot we have chosen, I do
like the area. We are not far from the wash, which is quite wide with
lots of trees and shrubs, and beyond that is wild natural desert with
more washes and many kinds of cacti and other desert vegetation. I am
looking forward to desert outings.
make dinner for all of us and after dinner Rollie beats me at a game
of cribbage. Dishes and writing in the journal wrap up the day for
me. We are happy to be here, a great way to start our new year.
Wednesday January 2: I begin my day with the morning routine that I enjoy – making a good cup of French press coffee, reading a poem by Mary Oliver, writing in my journals. I have a Gratitude Journal that is expressly for writing five things that I am grateful for every day and the diary-type journal that keeps me from forgetting what I’ve done with my day-to-day life.
I run out to take photos at sunrise. I’m discovering that the cell
phone doesn’t take great sunrise photos, as it can’t handle the
light of the rising sun, but other than that, I’m enjoying using it
for photos that are going to be used via the internet or cell phone.
is our settling in day; I organize stuff inside and out, while
Clifford gets his ham radios set up. In the afternoon Rollie and I
play bluegrass music, with Rollie on mandolin and guitar, and me
playing fiddle music on the viola, reading cello music.
have dinner together, then Rollie and I play a game of cribbage.
After dishes, I want to work on a blog, but I’m just too tired and
head to bed instead.
Sunday December 30: Snow and forecast for snow storms delay our departure from Monticello, Utah, but we finally make our get-away on December 30th. We finish packing, say good-bye to our place, and by mid-morning we are on our way. It is 13 degrees and the landscape is snowy, but the highways are clear.
Due to the forecast for a big snow storm in region of Flagstaff, Arizona, we push on through Flagstaff and make it all the way to Seligman, Arizona, along I-40.
It was a super long day’s drive for us – 350 miles, but we needed to get far enough west to be out of the storm.
truck stop in Seligman provides a place for us to set up for the
night. It is chilly enough that we use the furnace for the first time
to warm Cougar up a bit, but we are dismayed that we can’t get the
fridge to light. Maybe too cold? I wanted to play viola and write in
the journal, but I am too tired. Since the bed is cold, I nap on the
couch until Clifford, the night owl, is ready to go to bed.
Monday December 31: I wake up about 7:00, don warm clothing, and walk across the dark parking lot to the restroom at the truck stop. When I get back to Cougar, I am too awake to go back to bed, so start making tea for the thermoses. By time Clifford gets up a short while later, it has started to snow here. That was not part of our plan! So Clifford skips his shower and we pull out as soon as we can.
the next 50 miles we are driving in a snow storm, which wouldn’t
have been so bad except for towing a trailer. Certainly not ideal
conditions, but Clifford is steady, and I don’t make any moves that
might distract him. We are nearly out of the storm before I feel
okay about taking a few photos of this rather scenic drive.
we near Kingman, the snow lets up and we stop at a Petro truck stop
for gas; the gas in Seligman was highway robbery, which we decided
not to give in to, but it did mean running a bit closer than
comfortable to the empty mark. In Kingman, lunch at Cracker Barrel
is a treat and then we stop at Walmart for supplies. What a zoo! We
could hardly find a spot big enough to park our rig so
we could go in to shop.
south out of Kingman, still on I-40, at the junction to highway 95,
we pull into a Love’s truck stop for the night. It is cold out, but
with the furnace and burners on, we are quite comfortable. We have a
restful night here, glad to be out of the snow and eager to reach our
Sunday October 28: Clifford and I are camped at the Dead Horse Point Utah State Park, thanks to our Colorado friends who are in the site next to us. First thing this morning I call my daughter Katie to wish her Happy Birthday and then head out to Rim Overlook on the west rim trail. I hike by myself, enjoying the solitude and beauty of my surroundings this morning.
Back at camp, I continue editing Emperors and Exiles, eat left-over pizza for lunch– not my usual, but sure tasty. In the later afternoon, we – Clifford, our friends, and I – hike to the same Rim Overlook where I was this morning. It does feel different hiking with others, with companionship replacing solitude.
Later, Clifford and I join our friends for dinner at their camp. Afterward, Dave and Clifford go out to use the night vision goggles, which is a lot of fun for them. We ladies are ready to turn in; I write in my planner and then head to bed, feeling a bit weary from the day’s activities, and knowing that tomorrow is another travel day. Only 3 1/2 months on the road this time, but it seems like a long time ago that we left for Montana and here we are, nearly back to our home-base in Monticello, Utah.
Saturday October 27: Today Clifford and I hike with our Colorado friends who are camped next to us at Dead Horse Point Utah State Park. We start from the Visitor Center and walk the canyon east rim trail out to the point that gives the park its name. The story is that wild mustangs were corralled here at the point, the best picked out to be kept as riding stock, and the rest turned loose, except for the time that they were left corralled and died of thirst. Not a pretty story, but the name remains.
is a scenic hike with deep canyons on all sides and the Colorado
River far below. Back at camp, we all rest up a bit and then head to
Moab to have dinner together at Eddie McStiff’s. This is a fun
outing for us and after we return to the park, we have tea and visit
Thursday October 25: I take photos as soon as I get up, watching the play of sunlight on the desert scene. This is our last morning here on Mineral Point Road outside Canyonlands National Park. After breakfast, we begin packing up for our move to nearby Dead Horse Point State Park, where we are meeting Colorado Friends.
The spot reserved for us at the state park is small, and although not quite as challenging as our set-up on Mineral Point Road, it is tricky because of a culvert that does not allow for an adequate turning radius to back into the small site. But eventually we are set up and have 110 electricity for the first time since leaving Monticello in July. That certainly is a convenience! And we did save some time and trouble not having to set up the solar panel.
the odd thing about being here is that, while the electricity and the
nearby flush toilets are quite the treat, we have gone from being
surround by acres and acres of sage brush with seldom another camper
or person in sight to being in a fishbowl surrounded by campers and
people in every direction. I guess that is fine; it just sort of
feels weird to me.
friends arrive and set up in the site next to us, which makes it easy
to visit. We haven’t seen them for awhile and enjoy their company,
so end up going to bed quite late.
Friday October 26: Frost on the grass this morning. Looks like fall is upon us.
This morning, I walk to the new campground, which is not far way, to check it out for future reference. It is flat and much more suited to RV’s, but not nearly as pretty.
Back at camp, Clifford is up, but still in his pj’s. I sit outside in the sunshine to write in the journal with my little thermos of French press coffee.
A half-mile trail takes me from the campground to the Visitor Center where I look at the displays and follow the nearby Nature Trail. There is no cell service at the campground, but I can send texts to kids and siblings from the Visitor Center.
Back at camp, after lunch, I do more editing of Emperors and Exiles, my daughter Ang’s epic fantasy. Clifford works on his projects, also. When our friends return from their Moab outing, we all walk down to the Visitor Center again before dinner and more visiting.
Later, by time I finish my bedtime routine, it is nearly midnight – way past my bedtime.
Tuesday October 23: I walk in the fog again this morning at our camping spot on Mineral Point Road outside Canyonlands National Park. So strange to see the fog in the desert when there is not even a river nearby.
After breakfast, I play viola and write in my journal in turns so as to get more out of each, send texts with pics to my kids, finish the blog I started yesterday, and do some editing on the next book of the Novels of Shannon series, Emperors and Exiles. Clifford is working on the next animation video for the CI website, introducing some aspects of the research in a way that is easy for folks to understand.
Wednesday October 24: Today features many of the same activities as yesterday, but no day is exactly the same. More fog, but not the same fog; more editing and journal writing, but different words; check texts and FB, sending and receiving messages different than yesterday’s messages; and play viola for awhile, but different vibrations than yesterday. Like the wind, never the same wind from one moment to the next, so it is with the stream of activities that are not necessarily noteworthy, but have value anyway.
Today is our last day here. Tomorrow we will be moving to nearby Dead Horse State Park to meet up with friends from Colorado. We have liked being here, but life on the road means moving where the weather and the situation takes one.
Sunday October 21: Clifford and I are boondocking with Cougar on Mineral Point Road outside Canyonlands National Park. Even though our original intention was to find a spot in Horsethief Campground, we are liking the view and the quiet of being further out on the road away from the busyness of the campground.
Today is spent at camp taking care of things that we need or want to do. I take photos, post photos for friends and family, and finish editing the revised Princes and Priests for my daughter, Ang. This is a big deal, as we are preparing her novel to be presented to a literary agent.
is nice enough that I am able to play viola outside in the afternoon,
alternating it with writing in the journal so as to play longer.
works on the animation video for CI for a good part of the day, but
we also walk up the road to explore a campsite, now vacant, that we
had seen from the road. It does, indeed, look like a good spot for a
Monday October 22: It is a pleasant temperature outdoors in the sunshine this morning, so after breakfast, I play viola and write in the journal on the sunny side of Cougar.
Clifford is working on the animation video for the CI website, but in the afternoon he takes a break and we go for a drive to nearby Canyonlands National Park. Even though it was nice outdoors earlier, by time we leave for the park, it is windy and jet trails mar the sky. But we go anyway, visiting the Visitor Center and then walking to the viewing point across the road from the Visitor Center. The view of the canyons with the La Sal Mountains in the background is quite spectacular.
at camp, we get the Suburban in place to tow Cougar out, as
thunderheads are forming and the weather forecast shows the
possibility of rain. The set up here was awkward and challenging, and
getting out will have its own set of problems, particularly if it
rains. Getting Suburban situated while the ground is still dry is a
smart move under the circumstances. And indeed, there is rain in the