Most mornings I walk in the desert at sunrise, as I love the quiet ambiance and the glow of first light.
More flowers are blooming, which is quite delightful.
It is during these early days of February that the Carnicom Brothers Reunion is held in Parker, Arizona, about 30 miles north of Quartzsite. We first all meet in Quartzsite at Silly Al’s pizza, as brothers Jim and Frank arrive from California, and brother Gene with his wife Clare arrive from Texas. Clifford and I are close at hand, being camped at LaPosa South, just a few miles south of Quartzsite. We are seated at a big hexagonal table and have the best pizza ever, as well as really good service.
The next day, we all gather at the motel in Parker where Gene and Clare are staying, and set up in a small lobby area to watch the Superbowl, with big screen, snacks and all. I am not too interested in the Superbowl, but I am really liking the power and free wifi – downloading photos from the “cloud” and preparing blogs. It is fun to see all the brothers, and I especially enjoy having time to visit with Clare during the couple of days of the gathering.
Another big deal is that my daughter, Becka, has purchased a ticket for me to fly to Atlanta later this month to visit her there for the first time. That is very exciting and plans are made for a fun visit.
Besides the desert walks and the gathering of the brothers, the other usual activities continue: ham radio, dulcimer, and CI projects for Clifford; editing, blog writing, meals and domestic chores for me. Rollie and I do music most days, outside when we can, and he joins Clifford and me for dinner and a game of cribbage every evening.
Although I think calling one day January and the next day February is artificial, merely a construct for the convenience of convention, like calling one mile Utah and the next mile Arizona when really the flow is continuous …. this blog is called Last Days of January. Usually blogs are based on the number of photos I want to share, not a certain set of days, but today I will honor “January,” and this blog will wrap up January 2019.
morning, I walk in the desert at sunrise and the day I got up too
late, Clifford and I went over to Rollie’s place for a morning
Every day I write in my journal, sometimes taking it with me on the morning walks, sometimes writing when I get back, sometimes finding a spare moment during the day. My favorite is taking it with me on the morning walks and finding a place to sit and write in the desert. And I visit “rose” on my way back to camp.
Almost every day I work on projects that involve the laptop: editing books, blog writing/posting, editing photos, agent research, and this week I completed and emailed nearly a dozen agent queries for Ang’s novel Princes and Priests. It’s all good and fine as long as the sun shines and the cell signal is strong enough for the hotspot to work.
Some days I walk in the desert at mid-day, most especially to visit the “rose ” that is not a rose, as I am able to see the tiny blossoms open at mid-day. I think it is actually some desert variety of globe mallow. And I find other little flowers along the way.
Almost every day Rollie and I play music with Clifford as our audience, although this week our sessions were short because Rollie has injured his shoulder. Every day Clifford works with his ham radios, plays his dulcimer, and works on CI projects.
The two things that are different this week: we go to the RV Show, which is a BIG deal in Quartzsite, drawing thousands of people, but it is winding down now and isn’t too crowded. We have time to walk the aisles of the Big Tent. Rollie gets a couple of things for himself, I buy a pair of silver-looking earrings, Clifford purchases a flag pole to use as part of his antenna set up. There are hundreds of vendors with a lot of interesting and useful stuff here and it is fun to look.
The other not-so-fun thing this week is that, after telling Clifford and Rollie how much I love taking photos with my cell phone, I am having problems accessing the photos and editing them. Big bummer. Online research does not come up with answers, but then the phone starts working again. So I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it was just a fluke and continue taking photos.
Every evening I make dinner for the three of us, Rollie and I play cribbage, and then I do dishes.
Almost every evening I go to bed later than I really think I should, but there is so much I want to do, I squeeze in whatever I can.
Sunday January 20: As most days here at La Posa South, my day starts with a walk in the desert, and my thoughts today are of Mary Oliver and her connection to nature so elegantly expressed in her poetry.
Today I work on a website for my daughter Ang and get some basics in place, but it is slow going, as the net is not great here. The usual evening routine of dinner, cribbage, and dishes finishes the day.
Monday January 21: It is really windy this morning, but I go for a desert walk anyway, visiting Grandmother Saguaro and the rose-bud looking blossom in the arroyo.
Clifford and I go for an outing to Quartzfest at nearby Roadrunner BLM camping area, as today is the first day of classes and events for the week-long ham radio festival. Other years we have camped onsite, but this year we are staying at La Posa South, as it is easier to not pack up and move. Then we go to Quartzsite, visiting a funky bookstore, Family Dollar, and the market.
Tonight Clifford has a call with his brothers after dinner, while Rollie and I play a game of cribbage.
Tuesday January 22: Desert walk at sunrise, still windy, but better looking sky than yesterday.
Today Rollie works on the Suburban, replacing garden hose parts with the real deal parts purchased from a Chevy dealer. We have an early dinner then head to town for MacDougal West concert – the Peter, Paul, and Mary Trio clone. They are quite good and we enjoy the concert. Bed late.
Wednesday January 23: I go for a longer walk in the desert this morning – my quiet time.
In the afternoon we go to the Outdoor Survival class at Quartzfest. Back at camp, I post a tribute to Mary Oliver with one of her poems and one of my photos.
Thursday January 24: Today is the Quartzfest Trail Ride, which Rollie and I are participating in. Nearly 60 vehicles are in the lineup this year.
We follow the leader, Frank, down Pipeline Road to Tyson Wash and down the wash to Tyson Well. Using our 2-meter radios, Frank points out the petroglyphs and gives us a history of Tyson Well, an important stop for desert travelers. We are here long enough to climb to the hilltop above the well.
Cone’ cabin and studio and Coombs cabin are other historical sites where we stop as the journey takes us on back roads through the desert.
Following Tyson Wash, the caravan heads to the Hi Jolly Monument on the edge of Quartzsite. Plaques detail the history of the camel experiment.
Back at camp, I am experiencing problems with the net, making it hard to send my entries to the Quartzfest photo contest and I am limited to photos taken today and the “rose,” which had been previously downloaded to the laptop. Very frustrating. In the evening we drive back over to Quartzfest to attend the Hootenanny for awhile. It was a very full day and midnight by time I head to bed.
Friday January 25: Words and not even photos come close to the experience of being in the desert at sunrise. The ambiance is more than the fresh air and the smell and sounds of birds. I find a perfect seat in the wash to sit and write in the journal, and visit Grandmother Saguaro, “rose,” and desert marigold before heading back to camp.
Smoothie, new kombucha tea, texts with photos, and preparing a blog from early September fill the morning until time to head to Quartzfest for the Antenna Walkabout. Looking at the bulletin board, I see four of my photos have made it to the finals.
Saturday January 26: For the desert walk this morning, I go to my sitting spot by Top-knot Saguaro, with coffee and journal.
Winter field day starts for Clifford, but is interrupted when we go to the Quartzfest closing. Lots of prizes are given out, and the photo contest is one of the highlights. I am delighted to take 1st in General, 1st in Pets, and 1st in Nature, as well as the Grand Prize. Needless to say, I am quite pleased to have done so well.
Back at camp, Clifford continues with Winter Field Day, making radio contacts through the evening, while Rollie and I play cribbage after dinner. And as always, whether I win or lose, I am the one who does the dishes. And so ends Quartzfest week – 2019.
I begin each day with walking in the desert here at La Posa South, the long-term BLM camping area south of Quartzsite, Arizona. Clifford and I, and my brother Rollie, are camped a couple miles in from US highway 95, and there are not nearly so many RV’s out here as compared to the area closer to the highway.
We are camped along a wide wash, and it is an easy matter to cross the wash and walk out into the uninhabited desert or just follow the wash. Most days I head toward the closest mountain, which I call Shale Mountain, since when Clifford and I hiked there, we found that it was just that – a mountain made of shale. The stillness of the desert appeals to me and I find it easy to be there, sometimes finding a place to sit on the trunk of a fallen dead tree.
Some days I make a thermos of coffee to take with me, as well as my journal, and always my cell phone for taking photos. The sky has been mucked up with jet trails almost every day, which is a very grievous environmental issue, but one I won’t go into detail here, other than to say it makes taking photos much more of a challenge.
I am not afraid of getting lost, as I have landmarks on the surrounding mountain ranges, as well as the immediate landmarks of certain saguaros, such as the one I call Grandmother, as it is one of the larger and more stately saguaros in this area.
It is always a delight to me to find wildflowers blooming, most often a clump of desert marigold, but one particular bush has small red buds that look like rose buds, though the plant is definitely not a rose.
As I wander in the desert, I feel connected to the earth and the poems of Mary Oliver, and I am saddened to learn that this great soul has passed on.
the laundromat, we meet a fellow musician, Daniel, who comes out and
camps next to us for a day so we can all play music together. It is
always fun to add another musician to the bluegrass get-togethers
that Rollie and I have almost every day.
is going to the bluegrass festival at Blythe, California, this
weekend, as is Daniel. I watch Ninja, who is quite a good companion
on desert walks, which are more like desert runs. He is patient when
I stop to take photos, and then on we run.
One day Rollie makes a door into the storage compartment under the bench in our RV, allowing access to the portion that was previously out of reach. It is great to have a place for canned good; storage area in RV’s is always a precious commodity. In the evenings after dinner, we play cribbage, which is fun for us.
Clifford’s birthday, he and I go to Parker, partly business and
partly for fun, having lunch at the Blue Water Casino. It might not
have been the most exciting birthday ever, but we are happy to be
well and to spend the day together.
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.
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.
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
Wednesday October 17: It is cloudy and rainy today and we spend the day at our campsite on Mineral Point Road near Canyonland National Park.
I take photos, send texts with photos to family and friends, play viola, and edit Princes and Priests. Clifford is working on preparing his CI lab notebooks for digital copying. While none of this sounds super exciting, it actually is what we want to do.
Thursday October 18: This morning I walk about taking photos of the fog. It is not often in these desert regions that I get to see such.
Taking photos, making business calls, writing in the journal, editing, playing viola, and blog writing fill my day, a good day for indoor activities with the high only 45 degrees. I start reading “Anatomy of the Spirit” by the medical intuitive, Caroline Myss. Clifford is working on video animations for the CI website, an interesting way to introduce certain papers.
Friday October 19: Frost on the ground this morning! Today is a Moab town day and off we go after making tea and coffee. We have breakfast at Denny’s, then run errands. We also spend time at the library with free power and wifi, which allows for downloading of bigger files, necessary for some of the work that Clifford is doing.
Back at camp, we find new neighbors in the spot right next to us; we are glad they found a place to camp. We have learned that it is fall break and thousands of people flock to the scenic camping areas of the country, like the national parks of southern Utah. We are happy to have found a niche to call home for a couple of weeks.
Saturday October 20: Another coolish morning, but after tea and coffee we go for a drive further out the road to look at other possible camping spots. There is a good one not far from us, should it be available at some future time. We are fine with staying where we are for the time being, however.
After a late breakfast, I edit photos, edit Princes and Priests, then sit outside to write the next blog (Sedona in March). Later I put the text and the edited photos together and publish the blog. We are lucky to have that much cell service when camped out in the boonies like this.
continues with his projects, mostly the animation, but also plays his
dulcimer, and works with his ham radio.
dinner, reading and playing viola finish out the day for me.