We arrive at La Posa South, south of Quartzsite, Arizona, in time to celebrate a late Thanksgiving dinner with my brother Rollie and his fiance, Tata. A few days later they park their Class A next to us, which allows for daily morning coffee together and the sharing of news and activities.
The first days here are centered around reorganizing cupboards and drawers, as being here for the winter means we have a lot of stuff to keep tidy and organized, and Clifford is focused on getting antennas up for his ham radio. Other than that, I go for daily walks, exploring the desert around us, especially enjoying taking photos at sunrise and sunset.
The wind is an issue, but we spend as much time outside as possible and set up a nice space by the largest of the mesquite trees at our camping spot, planning for sun, shade, privacy, and protection from the wind. One must be flexible!
Even though I had been posting a daily “Higher Vibration” photo every single day for well over a year, the last month has caused too much disruption in my life, so I’m not keeping track of the days any longer, but I do post a photo on social media almost every day. There is almost always something on the daily meanderings that is worthy of being considered a “Higher Vibration.”
The awareness of my surroundings gives me more appreciation for the desert, as well as appreciation for life itself. I can only hope that I am drawing good vibes, not only to myself, but to the whole world.
By mid-November, my daughter Katie, who has been here for the past week, returns to her family and business in Idaho. I have so enjoyed and appreciated having her company and all that she has done to support me in recovery from a stroke earlier this month.
My life feels different, even though in most ways it is not obvious, even to people who see me often. I can walk, talk, write, use my cell phone, cook meals, do laundry, and so on. Playing the viola, a newer skill in my life, has suffered. Fortunately, cello (over 50 years of synapses in place) is still fine. The new hiking sticks I ordered arrive and I can go for longer walks by myself with greater assurance. Town is not an interesting place to walk and the wind is annoying, but walking is an essential part of recovery, so I do it. It should be more interesting to walk when we are camped in the Arizona desert.
Our route has been modified from southeast Arizona being the destination to Quartzsite in southwest Arizona, the reason being that I have to wear a heart monitor that sends signals via cell service. Across the Navajo Reservation and in the regions of southeast Arizona where we had planned to go, there is no cell service. Better to be where we know our way around. Maybe southeast Arizona in the spring.
There is a dusting of snow the day before our planned departure shortly before Thanksgiving, but by the following morning, the weather looks favorable for travel. We finish packing and are on our way by late morning. Abajo Mountain looks pretty with its dusting of snow.
Due to Covid, travelers are not welcome to stop on the reservation, so our first day is a long haul from Monticello to a forest road just north of Flagstaff, Arizona.
It is a relief to arrive at the forest road and get set up for the night.
It is 21 degrees the next morning, Thanksgiving morning.
Clifford makes us breakfast and then we head for tonight’s destination, Badger Springs parking area just off I-17 between Flagstaff and Phoenix, trashy, but convenient. Shortly after we arrive, several emergency vehicles, including three fire engines, come in and head on up the road to the springs. And then a helicopter flies in. Something happened up there in the canyon, but we never did learn what. Thanksgiving dinner is about as simple as can be, but we appreciate it none-the-less.
The following day, we make it to our winter destination, La Posa South, south of Quartzsite, Arizona. As we are driving in toward the camping area, my brother Rollie and his fiance Tata just happen to see us go by, so we have a rendezvous while we look for a campsite. The site we had the last years has been claimed by someone else, so we find another one further along the wash with a tree (a very important consideration in picking a site) and even though it is a bit close to the road, we are grateful for the tree, actually a couple of them, and get set up – home for the winter.
The first week of November is especially busy as Clifford wraps up the CI project he is working on, including an online presentation of Carnicom Institute Disclosure Project. I am busy packing Cougar and getting house and yard ready for us to be gone for the winter. When time allows, I continue editing for a couple of authors, post a daily Higher Vibration photo and publish blogs on my website. We plan to leave either Friday or Saturday the first weekend of November, heading for southern Arizona for the winter, but the forecast for 40-60 mph hour winds may delay our departure. We still hope to beat the first snow storms.
Friday is much too windy for us to leave, and Saturday, Long Story Short, I have a stroke. It is not scary or painful really, but potentially extremely serious. Fortunately, Clifford is there when it happens, notices something is quite wrong and gets me to the hospital in Monticello within a short time. After a couple of CAT scans, I am given a medication to break down clots. The docs want to airlift me to a bigger hospital in Provo, but with the wind and snow, it is not possible, nor is ground transport available due to ice over the pass between between Monticello and Provo.
It is all a bit odd. I don’t know what month it is, can’t walk heel to toe, I am chilled and have a headache, but otherwise I feel okay. In the morning a flight is arranged in a small fixed-wing plane, and I am soon in the big hospital. During the flight, I want to look out the window, but I am strapped onto a stretcher and can’t move much. At the hospital, more tests, IV’s, many helpful caring people all doing their job as if I am important enough to matter to them. Clifford has gotten hold of my daughters, so the family knows what is going on.
I am happy that my room has a large window and what I really want to do is get up and look out the window and take photos of the snow on the mountains around Provo. However, I am not allowed to even stand up, let alone walk to the window, without a nurse with me. By the next day, I am allowed to sit in the chair nearer the window, eat meals, and walk the halls with assistance. There a steady stream of caregivers coming to my room, from neurologists to housekeepers, and everyone is kind and helpful.
The days blend together, but on Wednesday, my daughter Katie, who has flown from northern Idaho to Provo, rents a car and comes to the hospital to take care of my discharge and drive me back to Monticello.
For the next week, she takes care of meals and dishes, while Clifford continues with his activities. It is absolutely delightful to have her here. We walk around town, as I am supposed to walk every day.
One day we go on an outing to Newspaper Rock and to the Visitor’s Center at the southern entrance to Canyonlands NP. We even go for a hike at the Pothole Trail. I need to hold onto her arm for the ups and downs of the uneven terrain, but all in all, I do okay, and it is a beautiful fun outing.
The days go by quickly and I am sorry to see her leave, but she has a business and a family waiting for her back in Idaho. I receive some assistance from Home Health Care, but for he most part, I resume my usual activities and chores. Clifford and I plan our leave-taking of Monticello, albeit with a different route to accommodate the changed circumstances. Things are different, but I am ever-so-grateful to be alive, as well as grateful that I can walk and talk and do all the things that I do.
April 6, 2020 – At our overnight camping spot in the Coconino Forest north of Flagstaff, our last morning in Arizona, it is 38 degrees and windy. The winds will be coming from behind, so we pack up and are on our way by 10:00 a.m. We leave the forests behind and enter the badlands of northeast Arizona, taking the junction off US Highway 89 to US Highway 160, and then north on US Highway 191 into Utah. The badlands, while barren of vegetation, are impressive. It is Navajo Reservation all the way to Bluff, Utah.
When we reach the San Juan River just outside of Bluff, we plan to spend the night at the Sand Island Campground.
The website did not indicate closure, nor was there a sign at the entrance to the campground. It is only after getting set up that, at the pay station, we see a sign indicating that the campground is closed due to Covid19. Odd, since are a few other RV’s camped along the river. I am very disappointed, as I have been looking forward to camping by the river, having gone all winter with no rivers, streams, or lakes. However, it seems that we don’t have a choice, so we leave the campground and continue the journey to our homebase in Monticello, arriving in the later afternoon.
And now we are back at homebase after having left four months ago, returning a month earlier than planned due to the travel and camping restrictions imposed by the covid19 issue. At this point, travel plans for the summer are on hold until we see how things develop.
April 1 to April 5: These first days of April are a time of change for us. We had planned to leave LaPosa South on the 15th, but due to increased travel restrictions because of covid19, we change our minds and begin packing so as to leave tomorrow.
My brother Rollie and his lady friend Tata plan to come for dinner and music, but Rollie collapses. Tata calls 911 and we all spend the evening at the emergency room of the nearest hospital. Tests are done and Rollie will be fine. Clifford and I go back to camp around midnight; Rollie and Tata return to camp even later. Rough night for all, but glad everything is okay.
We delay our departure to make sure Rollie is okay and to have another opportunity for dinner and music. Saturday is now our departure date. Even with preparation ahead of time, it takes us awhile to get ready to leave. We say good-bye to Rollie and Tata, and she gives me two beautiful rocks: obsidian and a quartz crystal imbued with the intention for safe travel.
The Arizona desert is beautiful with so many flowers blooming, but hard to get decent photos from the vehicle at highway speeds. The ocotillo in full bloom, a purple ground cover, and California poppies are especially colorful. We leave I-10 at the junction of US Highway 60 to Wickenburg, then travel east on Arizona Highway 74 to I-17, bypassing Phoenix.
North of Phoenix at the Agua Fri National Monument, we pull off, intending to camp where we camped with Rollie two years ago. However, Saturday afternoon is not a good time to fine a place to camp. This place is not designed to encourage camping, so the few possible places are already taken. Going in further was not a good idea because the road becomes more rugged and steep in places. We turn around, drive back out to I-17, then backtrack south to a parking area we had seen a few miles back, which turns out to be the Badger Springs Recreation Area. There is a large and level parking lot and we get set up away from others who are already there.
The next morning, my son Matt calls, as there was an explosion and fire at the CBD plant where his son, my grandson, works. It was very very scary for everyone, but other than singed clothes, none of the workers were injured. Thank goodness!
As we are getting ready to leave, four semi’s pull in and unload their cargo – several hundred sheep that will soon spread out over the land for their summer pasture. It was fun to see them since I raised sheep for several years – not hundreds, but enough to have a fondness for them.
It is steep downhill to Camp Verde followed by a steep haul back up to Flagstaff, Arizona.
North of Flagstaff, on US Highway 89, we turn off on a forest road and find a spot to camp for the night. We are set up in time to have lunch and a restful afternoon. I walk about, missing the flowers of the desert we have left behind, but pleased to see trees and snow on the mountain peaks. We are grateful for a peaceful place to spend the night.
Sunday, March 29 – More flowers…. More restrictions, including mandated “Stay Home” under whatever names various states call it.
Monday – Clifford wakes me up at 3:00 a.m. because there is a mouse in the house and he didn’t know where to find the traps. The mouse is subsequently trapped, and in the morning I thoroughly clean and disinfect the floor before getting on with my morning walk and other projects.
The flowers are so beautiful and I especially enjoy photographing and editing globe mallow.
Although the desert marigolds are past their prime, they are still attractive and grab my attention.
Other blossoms, from the tiny ground-huggers to the tall ocotillo, add to the desert palette.
In the later afternoon, Rollie and Tata come over for dinner and music at a campfire.
Tuesday – Rollie comes to look at our leaking water pump, and later when he and Tata go into Quartzsite, he picks up one for us. In the afternoon, they come over, bearing food for dinner and our new water pump, which Rollie installs. We visit as we eat dinner, but no music tonight, being too late to get out the instruments.
And thus March marches out and we will see where April takes us.
Saturday, March 28 – This morning the sky is a beautiful blue, so an outing is planned to Crystal Hill, which is not far from where Clifford and I are camped at LaPosa South, south of Quartzsite, Arizona. We meet up with my brother Rollie and his lady friend, Tata, so we can hike and have a picnic together.
By the time we are ready to go, spraying has messed up the sky, but we go anyway, taking the road out to Crystal Hill slow and easy, stopping a couple of times for photos.
When we arrive at Crystal Hill, we pick a nice spot to set up a picnic table, but decide to explore before eating. While Rollie, Tata, and I hike along the hillside looking for crystals, Clifford hikes to the top of Crystal Hill, where he sees a couple chuckwallas, foot long lizards. That was exciting for him.
Afterward, we enjoy a tasty picnic; wherever Tata is, food is good!
On the way back to camp, Clifford and I stop so I can take photos of the ocotillo, which are so bright with their blossoms fully open. Streaks in the sky kind of mess with the photos, but still the ocotillo and desert marigolds are worth capturing for a blog.
March 25-27: It is usually calm in the morning when I go on my desert walk, as is my custom here at LaPosa South (south of Quartzsite, Arizona) where Clifford and I have been camped since January.
One of these mornings I go further out into the desert than usual and am rewarded with sightings of Apache plume, little pink puffs on a small shrub.
The globe mallow and desert marigold are still in full bloom, while tiny ground-hugging blossoms begin to make their appearance. I must walk carefully not to step on flowers.
Ocotillo buds begin to open, revealing blossoms that wave gently, like tiny red flags.
It is windy by afternoon and most activities are inside the RV – editing, writing, playing music, and so on. One day we go to my brother Rollie’s place to have dinner with him and his lady friend, Tata. Another day we go to town for errands, and when we return, it is apparent than a twister twisted through our campsite, creating a little disarray, but no damage. We are fortunate that the awning was not out.
Living as we do, camped by ourselves several miles from the highway and at least a couple city blocks from the nearest RV, being isolated is not a “thing” for us, it is just a way of life. I walk freely in the desert every day and never see anyone. However, going to Quartzsite for errands is weird, as social distancing is obviously in place at some establishments, but not others. However, everywhere we go, there is a sense of distrust, which feels odd and very uncomfortable.
We had planned to head north at the end of March and camp in northern Arizona for a month before returning to Utah, but with the current state of affairs, as well as the still mild temperatures here in the desert, we will stay as long as we can.
March 22-24: I can’t say how it is for other folks camped here at LaPosa South (south of Quartzsite , Arizona), but for Clifford and me, we are really enjoying our winter desert home.
I love spending time walking in the desert soaking up the stillness and beauty. The desert here is anything but barren. It is lush and rich with color.
I spend a lot of time taking photos, culling photos, editing photos, and writing blogs of our travels using photos. Of special enjoyment is using the Snapseed app on my cell phone to bring out the best of certain photos, which I then use for the Higher Vibration Series that I post on FB. I am on day 161-163 of this series. The purpose of this editing is to have a greater sense of the feeling of what has been photographed, not just a record of what I’ve seen. I’ve started doing composites using Snapseed, which is a creative use of photography that I’ve not utilized before.
Besides photography and the domestic chores, I edit books and play viola or cello. Clifford works with his ham radio and plays the dulcimer much of the day. We get together with my brother Rollie for music as often as we can. An occasional trip to Quartzsite for errands rounds out our week.
While editing and culling I ran across an image from five years ago: Deschutes River looking toward the Newberry Monument in Central Oregon. That was a great trip!
March 21st– I check the sky as soon as I get up and it looks like a good day for an outing. Clifford and I are camped at LaPosa South, south of Quartzsite, Arizona, and we want to go to Palm Canyon before we leave the deserts of southern Arizona. I make a picnic and tea for the thermoses, and then we meet up with my brother Rollie and his lady friend, Tata, at their camp down the road. They are eager and ready to go when we arrive at their camp.
We head south on highway 95 to the Palm Canyon turn-off, and then we drive another seven miles into the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge to the Kofa Mountains, stopping for photos along the way. Desert marigold bushes, globe mallow bushes, and ocotillo in bloom bring much color to the desert.
At the parking lot and trail head, we leave our vehicles and hike the trail up a deep canyon to the viewing point where the palms can be see high up in a side ravine, the last place in the state where California fan palm trees grow in their natural habitat. The half-mile hike is a little rugged, but not difficult, and very scenic with views looking back toward the Chocolate Mountains.
After the hike, we set up a small table by our vehicles and have a picnic, sharing the food that we all brought. We return to camp, refreshed at having had a change of pace and a hike on this beautiful day.