LaPosa South to Flagstaff – April 2020

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.

Last morning desert walk

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.

Leaving our campsite at LaPosa South

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.

Arizona desert

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.

Badger Springs Recreation Area
Overnight at Badger Springs Recreation Area

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.

Sheep coming to summer pasture

It is steep downhill to Camp Verde followed by a steep haul back up to Flagstaff, Arizona.

San Francisco Peaks above 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.

Forest Road camp
Evening at our overnight north of Flagstaff

March Marches On and Out – March 2020

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.

Desert walk

The flowers are so beautiful and I especially enjoy photographing and editing globe mallow.

Globe mallow – artistic impressions

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.

Groound-huggers

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.

Desert Opulence – March 2020

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.

Morning walks in the desert

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.

Apache Plume

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.

Desert marigold in bloom

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.

No social distancing here

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.

Sunrise in the desert

Life of a Snowbird – March 2020

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.

A morning campfire with coffee and journal

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.

Desert Marigold
Globe mallow bush
Layers of 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.

Globe mallow composite
Globe mallow and desert marigold composite
Desert marigold composite

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!

Deschutes River – Oregon

Spring Equinox in the Desert – March 2020

March 19 & 20, 2020 – While it snows in Montana where family and friends live, it is a season of blossoms and more blossoms here in the desert at LaPosa South where Clifford and I are camped, south of Quartzsite, Arizona.

Desert sunrise

Walking in the desert at sunrise is such a delight and later I get Clifford to walk with me to the largest of the ocotillo, which is beginning to bloom. I also show him my the red bush that the hummers love, but it has mostly finished its job. However, more little flowers hugging the ground join the parade of flowers in the desert.

Cairns mark the way
A favorite spot

Our usual activities continue: ham radio and dulcimer for Clifford; editing, blog writing, journaling for me. Since my brother Rollie has moved down the road, the viola is getting neglected somewhat, as playing tunes by myself is not as much fun as playing with him.

Our very nice little kitchen

One of my daughters has closed her business and taken her kids out of school, even though school is technically still open. One of my sisters is now working from home. And so it goes…..

Tempestuous Weather at LaPosa South – March 2020

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.

Desert walk at sunrise
Desert marigolds near sunrise

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.

Flowers and More Flowers – March 2020

March 13-17: Desert walks in the morning at LaPosa South (south of Quartzsite, Arizona, where Clifford and I are camped) are such a great way to start the day. Flowers and flowering shrubs blossom more abundantly. The bush with the red trumpet-shaped blossoms is especially striking, as are the huge clusters of desert marigold (which are probably not marigolds at all). A mockingbird chirps, tweets, trills, and calls over a dozen bird songs, sounding like a whole chorus all by himself.

Sunrise at LaPosa South

One day we go to Albertson’s in Blythe, California, for groceries, about 20 miles to the west, the nearest grocery store of a decent size. There is plenty of food except for rice, but no toilet paper or paper towels, which fortunately we don’t need anyway. We find out from the cashier that people are coming all the way from Los Angeles, 200 miles away, to buy stuff as shelves in all the cities between here and there are empty.

Self-isolation, the new buzz-word, is just the way we live

Clifford is quite sick for a couple of days – an infection that he has been dealing with for some time. Because of his being sick, as well as the increasing issues with the spread of the virus, some of our plans are changed. Calls are made to friends and family to see how everyone is doing. Once Clifford is feeling better, we get together with my brother Rollie and his lady friend Tata for music, but other friends we will not be seeing.

Sunsets still happen

Rain in the Desert – March 2020

For a couple of days, March 11 and 12, there is rain in the desert here in LaPosa South (South of Quartzsite, Arizona) where Clifford and I are camped. It is off ‘n on, sometimes heavy, but sometimes with enough of a break that Clifford is able to go outside to play his dulcimer.

Low hanging clouds to the east
Morning walks

My morning walks, rain or no rain, are special times of quiet for me. So many flowers and shrubs are blooming, it is a delight to wander about from one bright spot to another. By afternoon, the wind picks up considerably, causing damage to some folks, and there are flash flood warnings, but we have no problems.

Bright colors even on rainy days
Raindrops on roses, or is it raindrops on globe mallow
Raindrops on lupine

Our activities continue as usual with Clifford on the ham radio or playing dulcimer much of the day, while I edit books and write blogs.

My brother Rollie has decided to move down the road a couple of miles to be nearer to his lady friend. They come to pick up the last of his stuff and we all go for a walk in the desert between rain showers. We will miss having him as a camping buddy, but he has a good reason for making the move.

The red bush that hummers like with Shale Mountain in the background
More desert walks

Covid 19, the coronavirus, is declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. Italy is shut down and schools in the larger US cities are shut down. What next?

Flowers in the Desert – March 2020

March 8-10, 2020: Clifford and I continue to enjoy our camping spot here at LaPosa South (south of Quartzsite, Arizona) and our days are full with our projects and activities.

Camp tree

One day I don’t go for my morning walk because jet trails mar the sky and the wind is a bit much, neither of which work for me as photographer. I spend extra time editing photos instead, sending greetings to family and friends as well as posting on Facebook. Other mornings, the desert walks are especially rewarding as I find more and more flowers blooming.

A rainy morning adds a special ambiance to the walk.

When the sun breaks through the clouds….

One day my brother Rollie, who has been at a bluegrass festival north of Quartzsite, comes back to camp but only to pick up his stuff, as he is moving down the road a couple miles. It has been great having him as a camping buddy here, but he is forming important friendships with others.

Rollie moves down the road, so we have the place to ourselves

Another day we make a trip to town to the laundromat and run a few errands. We hear of more and more businesses, parks, and schools closing around the country, and that has even begun to affect Quartzsite, but the essential errands are still able to be taken care of.

Past life and new life

There is growing awareness and concern due to the virus Covid19, and talk runs the gamut of lethal bio-weapon to mere inconvenience that kids can’t go to school…. and everything in between. For Clifford and me, our natural state here in the desert is one of self-isolation, so we are not impacted as far as our day-to-day activities are concerned. However, there is no doubt that what is going on will have a lasting global ramifications, at least some of which will affect us. In the meantime, we continue doing what we feel called to do, whether that be playing music or walking in the desert, working to improve ham radio contacts, editing books or sending photos to friends & family.

Windy Days in the Desert – March 2020

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.

Apache plume and desert marigold make splash of color at dawn
Playing with PhotoImpactPro
Playing with Snapseed, but I didn’t change the tree color. It just looks like that at sunrise.

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.

Trees and shrubs in a natural windbreak

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.

Flowers are often sheltered at the feet of great old trees