March 18 – Overcast skies and rain off and on keep the temperature in a holding pattern of 50’s all last night and all day today at LaPosa South (south of Quartzsite, Arizona) where Clifford and I are camped.
In the afternoon, a very strong wind comes up and I am sure glad that the awning is in. Other folks, including Rollie’s lady friend, suffer damage from the rain and especially from the strong wind.
In spite of the tempestuous weather today, I go out walking a couple of times and enjoy taking photos.
In addition to the desert walking, today was also a day to run errands. Back at camp, I did some editing and blog writing, while Clifford worked with his ham radios and dulcimer. … All the news is about Covid 19 as more schools, rest areas, campgrounds, and restaurants close.
March 4-7, 2020 –
Even on these windy mornings, I walk in the desert here at LaPosa
South (south of Quartzsite, Arizona), drawn to the colorful desert
marigolds and Apache plume. In the cool of the mornings, globe
mallows looking like tiny rose buds are quite irresistible. I saunter
about, taking photos here and there, catching the first rays of
sunlight when I can, soaking up the serenity along with the fresh air
and ambiance of the desert.
Our activities are
much as they have been: ham radio and dulcimer for Clifford. We have
a great spot with a natural windbreak nearby where he goes to play
music protected from the wind. After my morning walks, I edit photos
and prepare some for posting on FB or for blogs. Afternoons are spent
editing and blog writing. Music for me is usually with my brother
Rollie, although he is gone now to a bluegrass festival.
Most days I am in contact with at least one of my kids, often by text, but sometimes a phone call. This is the way it is most of the year, so that is not something new, but now the topic of conversation tends to be about the virus and how it is impacting lives. Although Clifford and I live in a bit of secluded normalcy here in the desert, there is definitely an awareness that things are shifting, and in a way that one might not expect.
As we near the end
of February, more and more blossoms appear in the desert here at
LaPosa South, south of Quartzsite, Arizona, where Clifford and I are
camped in this BLM long-term area. I find great pleasure in walking
in the desert in the morning, taking photos, just being present to
the ambiance of the area, the colors, the sounds, the feel of it. I
have found a few spots where I can sit on old dead and downed tree
trunks, soaking up the morning sun with my eyes closed. I have named
the desert Serenity, for that’s what she is to me.
Along with the
desert experience, life goes on with trips to Quartzsite for errands,
Clifford is recovering from a bout of bladder infection, blogs are
written, photos are edited, books are edited, music is played with my
brother Rollie who is camped next to us, meals are prepared and
eaten, domestic chores are taken care of. No two days are exactly
alike, depending on the weather and the needs of the day.
FB posts, Clifford’s
ham nets, and the Canadian Broadcast news that we listen to draw more
and more attention to the corona virus, some of it factual
information, but sensational alarmist headlines take center-stage.
Our life changes very little, but we have concern for those who will
be facing hardships.
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
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.
Monday January 9: Today’s temps: 53/74, about the same temperatures as yesterday, but cloudy this morning with a forecast for rain. I have tea with Rollie while Clifford goes to the hardware store in Quartzsite. The clouds move off, so looks like the rain passed us by and I am able to charge my laptop. In the afternoon, the wind comes up, bringing storm clouds with it. The heavy rain is quite exciting and as the storm passes, there is an outstanding rainbow over the desert.
I play music with Rollie at his place and he comes over to our place for dinner. Kind of crowded, but it is too wet for music or meals outside. However, no complaints from us. Rain in the desert is a real treat, especially when topped off by a rainbow.
Tuesday January 10: Cooler today and damp. The morning desert walk is especially beautiful, as the landscape is moist and clean today after yesterday’s rain.
Clifford is on the phone with Straight Talk for quite awhile and hopefully has the hotspot issue worked out. I work on emails today, being able to get on the net to take care of some of it, but use my cell as much as I can.
Rollie comes over for chicken and rice dinner at our place. He went to Lake Havasu for errands today and it wasn’t much fun for him, but dinner together is a nice way to end the day.
Wednesday January 11: Today’s temps: 44/66 and sunny.
Walking in the dessert, I take photos at sunrise, enjoying the warmth of the sun after it clears the horizon and I linger for a longer time of stillness before the activities of the day.
Today is more of the good sameness as previous days: walking in the desert, editing, music with Rollie, and dinner at the campfire.
Thursday January 12: Similar weather and daily activities with the addition of writing an essay to send to my daughter Merri recounting the births of my kids. She has a project in mind that needs input from all of us as to our recollection of events, seeing how different people have different perspectives on the same event. This will be quite an interesting project as it develops.
As Clifford, Rollie, and I sit around the campfire after dinner, we have an extended conversation about music and the development of instruments, and as we talk I work on the afghan I started yesterday for my granddaughter Jasmine’s baby-on-the-way.
Friday January 5: Today’s temps: 45/76 and mostly sunny. Doesn’t get much better than this.
Today wasn’t a particularly productive day, but I got a few things ready for the post office for the next time we go to town. Clifford has a couple of business calls to take care of, but mostly he focuses on his ham radio. Rollie and I do music in the afternoon and then we all have dinner at the campfire.
I stay up until midnight to finish reading the Tony Hillerman novel that I started a few days ago.
Saturday January 6: Slightly warmer than yesterday, but cloudy.
I go for a morning walk in the early morning, leaving the camper when there is just enough light to see to walk safely. It is a wonderful mysterious time of day.
Clifford and I decide to go to Parker for errands and supplies, as Quartzsite is somewhat lacking in what we need. We are back at camp in time for a quick dinner and then we all head off to the QIA venue, which Clifford jokingly calls the Geriatric Improvement Association since most of the audience are seniors. Tonight is the McDougal Peter, Paul, & Mary concert. This group plays Peter, Paul, & Mary songs in the Peter, Paul, & Mary style. They are very good and the concert was most enjoyable. Later, back at camp, we discover that Clifford’s new binoculars are missing and suspect they were on the hood of the car when we left.
Sunday January 7: Slightly cooler today and jet trails mar the sky.
First thing this morning, I walk out to the main road looking for the missing binoculars, but they must have fallen off further down the road and are no where to be found. Rollie and I make a morning campfire and sit outside to enjoy our hot beverages. Clifford has a ham net in the morning, so does not join us.
In the afternoon Clifford goes to the gun show in Quartzsite. I thought I’d get a lot done while he is gone, but the hotspot is not working and it is too cloudy to charge my laptop. Ah well, play music with Rollie instead. We have nachos for dinner at the campfire after Clifford gets home.
Clean up and then read until bedtime, starting a different Tony Hillerman novel.
Monday January 8: Temps: 54/72 and cloudy.
I go for a walk in the desert before sunrise and catch some of the delicate pretty color of this morning’s offering.
After breakfast, Clifford and I go for a hike across the desert to the mountain that we see in the background to the east.
This mountain, actually a hill, is made of shale and covered with beautiful pieces of quartz. Being away from the path of most folks, the rocks are not picked over and I could have taken a truckload, but have to settle for a few that will fit in my fanny pack.
I love the desert here… the stark rugged mountains, along with the vegetation and the beautiful rocks.
About a 5-mile hike… good for the legs and the soul.
Back at camp I do some editing and send a query letter to Ang for her approval. Then Rollie and I play music at the campfire ring. We have dinner there and sit around the fire chatting until quite late.
Monday January 1 – Temps: 37/70, kind of scummy looking. Breezy in the afternoon.
I sit in the wash to read – the warmth of the weak sunshine feels good. As soon as my laptop is charged, I do some edits for Ang and suggest another agent for her book, “Dragons of Va’Ha’Den.”
We have a chili dinner at our place (too windy this evening to have a campfire). Later I finish the book I have been reading, “A Wild Thing,” and it has such a depressing ending that I feel annoyed for having spent so much time reading this past week. A rather uneventful first day of the New Year.
Tuesday January 2 – Temps: 46/73
I walk to the east beyond the wash.
Before me is uninhabited desert all the way across the basin. The desert lends itself to serenity. No wonder wise and holy men and women throughout history have spend time in the desert. It is not a punishment; the essence of a desert of this nature makes it possible to achieve a deeper meditative state just by being here.
We decide to go exploring, taking the main La Posa road deeper into the desert, beyond the boundary of the BLM camping area and into the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge.
We thought we might be able to make a loop to Crystal Hill, but the road is blocked. We hang out for a bit, admiring the scenery – too bad I didn’t bring a picnic lunch for us – and gather a few of the extraordinary rocks that are abundant here.
Back at camp, I do some editing before starting dinner. Dinner is at the campfire tonight, which make the meal a fun adventure. Later, before bedtime, I begin reading a Tony Hillerman novel, only to discover that I’ve already read it. Ah well…. It was still a very good day.
Wednesday January 3 – Temps: 40/69 and cloudy all day.
I walk in the desert for photos at sunrise, then make a pot of yerba matte tea and start a campfire.
Rollie joins me, coffee in hand, and we chat as we sip our hot drinks. I do enjoy a morning campfire!
In the afternoon, we make the 30-mile trip to Blythe, California, to a small music store, as Rollie needs strings for his mandolin. Very nice lady owner there. Long-story-short, Rollie and I end up playing some bluegrass music on store-instruments: Rollie on a guitar and me on a cello. What a hoot!
Back at camp, we have a late dinner of left-over chili and then I start a different Tony Hillerman novel, reading until well after midnight.
Thursday January 4 – Temps: 43/73 and mostly sunny.
I walk in the desert and take photos, glad to have some sunshine and blue sky overhead instead of jet trails and murk. I sure do love our spot and the unencumbered desert here.
In mail that was forwarded to us at Quartzsite, I have a letter from Social Security indicating a problem with my allotment. The nearest SS office is in Blythe, and due to a deadline to take care of this, we make another trip to Blythe. I read as I wait for my turn to be seen and when I finally see the woman, she is not the least helpful. I have to dig for every bit of information to know how to proceed.
Back at camp, we have a quick soup dinner, as we are going to a music presentation at the Quartzsite Improvement Association (QIA) venue. This proves to be a community event with some very accomplished performers and some just so-so, but everyone’s contribution is appreciated by the mostly senior citizen audience. Maybe Rollie and I could play there sometime; it is something for us to consider.