Closing 2020 – December 2020

Mid December finds us settling in for the winter here in the desert at La Posa South, south of Quartzsite, Arizona. Clifford has his ham radio antennas up and is constantly working to improve transmission and reception of signals, an ongoing challenge with the generators and inverters that almost everyone makes use of here. There is no local power grid. We are each on our own with generators and/or solar panels generating the power needed to charge cell phones, run water pumps, and furnaces.

Sunrise at La Posa South
Mornings walks in the desert

Most days I leave as soon as I can to walk in the desert, feeling especially fortunate when I can be be on my way before sunrise so as to catch the first rays of the sun as it rises above “Shale Mountain” to the east. I discover that from this camp I can walk to some of my favorite spots discovered on numerous walks last winter from a campsite that was not available when we arrived this time.

Some mornings it is too chilly or windy to sit, even in the sunshine, to drink my little thermos of tea so I keep walking until I return to camp. Most days I visit my brother Rollie and his fiance Tata, often having coffee or breakfast with them while Clifford is on his ham net before the activities of the day begin, mainly editing my daughter Ang’s last book. When weather permits, I play cello outside or sit out to write in my journal.

Coffee with Rollie and Tata

One day I go on a jeep outing with Rollie and Tata. The sky is a great blue, so the outing provides some good photo opps. There is some rugged country back in the hills when one gets off the main roads, great fun for the jeepsters and 4-wheelers. Unfortunately the road to the outback country goes right by our campsite and the parade of 4-wheelers and jeeps is a constant source of noise and dust. I would like to move to a more remote location, but hard to find something with a tree for shade and Clifford is reluctant to move once the antennas are set up. Oh well.

Jeep outing with Rollie and Tata

Almost every day Clifford and I get together with Rollie and Tata to play bluegrass music. Sometimes our neighbor Jon joins us. I have been playing fiddle tunes on the viola, while Rollie plays fiddle, guitar, or mandolin, Clifford plays dulcimer, and Tata plays bass.

Music with friends

Some days we run into Quartzsite for errands and laundry. No matter how efficient we are, a trip to town takes all day even though all essential services are only 10 miles away.

Winter Solstice was especially interesting with a convergence of planets easily seen in the western sky. I am not set up to take photos of it (cell phones have their limits), but it is still cool to see.

For our anniversary on December 23rd Tata makes a special spaghetti dinner. The next day, Christmas Eve, the sky is so hazy, I am reminded of the three days of darkness that have been foretold in some prophesies.

Christmas Eve

For dinner, Tata fixes turkey and I make the mashed potatoes. Though the sky is dismal, the gathering of family is filled with good cheer.

On Christmas morning, I go for a long walk before Clifford and I join Rollie and Tata to exchange gifts. The sky is mostly blue today, a good omen as I look for what is positive and good in the world this day despite the negativity that seems so pervasive due to covid and the toxic state of the environment.

Celebrating the beauty in the natural world

It is up to each one of us to find the place of peace and harmony within and manifest it into our world the best that we can.

Sunset at the end of the day and good-bye to 2020

Flagstaff to HomeBase – Utah – April 2020

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.

Badlands of northeast Arizona
Utah looking a bit barren

When we reach the San Juan River just outside of Bluff, we plan to spend the night at the Sand Island Campground.

San Juan River at 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.

Abajo Mountains – Monticello lies at the eastern foot of the range

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.


A Day at Craters of the Moon – September 2019

Saturday September 28: When I open the door this morning, I smell snow. I don’t see snow, but I know it is not far away. I hike to the top of a knoll on the trail that goes past the amphitheater to the North Crater Flow Trail where we hiked yesterday. From that knoll, one can get enough cell signal to send a text, or even a photo now and then.

Heading to the knoll

Rain starts at midday, so activities are mostly indoors. For me: journaling, blog writing, and editing Regent’s Way, the next book in a great epic fantasy series by an author whom I know. Clifford gets his ham radio set up. His phone has better cell reception than mine, so his hotspot works intermittently and he is able to take care of some of his projects using the net.

Raining at Craters of the Moon

In the afternoon, the rain lets up and the sun comes out, so we drive the loop again and I take more photos.

Scenic Loop
Scenic Loop
Scenic Loop
Scenic Loop

Back at camp, before starting dinner, I hike up to the top of the knoll again as the light is really looking good to me. As I walk back to the campsite, the daylight ends with a striking sunset.

Hiking to the knoll
Sunset at Craters of the Moon

In the evening, Clifford starts the generator and we have power for lights and for charging our devices, which allows us to carry on with our projects. We are very fortunate, as we see neighbors in tents who turn in early to escape the dark and the chill of the night.