Quartzfest at Roadrunner – Winter Journey – January 2018

Friday January 19: Warm, sunny, and windy. Talked to my daughter Becka in Georgia. It is in the teens there and icy, so school has been canceled most of the week. Cold in Florida, also. As I talk to her, I walk about collecting rocks to make a fire ring.

Today is Clifford’s birthday and I give him an IOU for pizza at Dion’s when we make it to Santa Fe.

Rollie is at the bluegrass festival in Blythe. It is quite windy there, also, but he is enjoying the music.

Saturday January 20: Very windy in the night and we are up at 5:00 a.m. because one of the antenna lines has come loose and is slapping against the side of the camper. We fix it and then go back to bed. By time we get up, the little patio tarp that Clifford put up yesterday has blown down.

It is still windy with the slightest bit of rain – 42 drops, as Rollie would say – as I walk to the Event Center to sign us in for Quartzfest.

42 drops of rain as I walk to the Event Center

Later in the day, in spite of the wind, I do a walkabout for more rocks and take a few photos.

Sunset colors

Sunday January 21: Today’s temperature: 36/60, which is cooler than we’ve seen for awhile and so windy that I don’t even go for a morning walkabout. Plenty of inside things to do: Morse code, journal, cell pics text to kids, edit “Kings and Keepers” for Ang. Clifford and I talk about options for a mobile lab so Clifford can do more with his research while we are on the road. He has been working on the Carnicom Legacy Project, but today he is focused on his ham radio.

In the afternoon, we walk down to the Event Center for Quartzfest Opening Ceremony, a rather chilly walk.

Pretty day in spite of the chilly breeze

Dinner inside this evening, as there will be no eating at a campfire on these windy chilly days.

Monday January 22: Mostly sunny today, but a very chilly breeze. I go for a desert walk at sunrise for my quiet time, glad to get back to the warmth of the camper.

Vibrant sunrise colors

Mid-morning, I walk to the Event Center for the photography class, somewhat similar presentation as last year. Then back to the camper. Clifford is back and forth, also, going to radio/antenna focused presentations.

Text from Rollie. He is on his way to Roadrunner and will be here soon. I walk out to the host station to wait for him, as the huge number of RV’s here for Quartzfest has totally changed the landscape and he might not know where to find us. The hosts are not on duty due to the government shut-down. I sit and knit until Rollie arrives, then guide him through the maze of RV’s.

Maze of Quartzfest RV’s where it was just open desert before

While Rollie gets set up, Clifford and I make a run to Quartzsite for supplies and to pick up mail. Back at camp, Rollie and Ninja come over to have dinner with us.

Tuesday January 23: Blue sky and merely breezy today. A desert walk at sunrise starts my day.

Waiting for the sunrise
And the sun makes his appearance – the daily miracle that we take for granted

After breakfast, Clifford, Rollie, and I go to the RV show to look at RV’s. There is a very limited number of trailers of a size and weight that will work for us. This show is definitely catering to the BIG RV crowd. We do like one called “Retro” with its well-designed space and lighter weight.


But this is a just-for-fun looking trip for us. Rollie is looking at motorhomes, definitely in the soon-to-purchase mode. We also walk through the Big Tent, which is designed to entice folks into buying something – anything – from jewelry to RV solar systems.

Back at camp, we have a quick lunch and then Rollie and I go to the pre-hootenany gathering. It is too cool in the shade for me and too hot in the sun for the guitar, but still kind of fun. Clifford is attending some presentation, also.

We have an early dinner before heading to Quartzsite for a bluegrass concert by Hardshell Harmony at Quartzsite Improvement Association venue. It is a good concert, but late by time we get home. Off to bed at midnight, feeling a bit run-down. I think the chilly dry wind is disturbing to my vata, was well as staying up too late.

Roadrunner Days – Winter Journey – December 2017

Tuesday December 26: The sky is mucked up with jet trails today, so no photos, even though I do go for a long walk. Rolly has gone to Lake Havasu for errands; Bill and Sally leave for their home in Dillon, Montana. It was fun having them here this past week. Later, after Rollie returns, he and I play music at the campfire. Then dinner at our place. We look into moving to Mule Mountain, a long-term BLM place in California, after our 14 days is up here, but more cons than pros, so will pick someplace closer to Quartzsite. Read “Eight Girls Taking Pictures” before I go to bed.

Wednesday December 27: Today is errand day, not a particularly fun day, but we return to camp with clean clothes, propane, water, food, and no trash. Besides reorganizing my clothes area to make room for the clean items, I write an agent letter for Ang and read “Eight Girls Taking Pictures,” appreciating how much harder it was (is) for a woman to make her way in a male-dominated field, since it almost always falls upon a woman to maintain the domestic front, often pushing her personal and career desires to a back burner.

Thursday December 28: Today’s temp: 35/72. It is mostly clear when I get up, so I go for a long walk catching images of the rising sun, appreciating what the first light brings to a scene.

Early morning light on the mountain to the west of the camping area
The rising of the sun
The warmth of morning light on a decaying desert tree
Looking beyond

Rollie goes to a jam session with friends at Lake Havasu, so no music here today and I catch up on other things, editing, sending off the agent letter, and finishing “Eight Girls Taking Pictures.

Saguaros in the Arizona Sonoran Desert
Saguaro and Palo Verde are desert friends, often growing close to one another

Another walkabout before sunset, enjoying the light at this time of day.

Mountains to the west near sunset

Solstice to Christmas at Roadrunner – December 2017

Thursday December 21 – Today’s temperature: 42/56, windy and chilly. Today is the Winter Solstice, which I celebrate by walking around collecting rocks, many beautiful white quartz streaked with colors. Some of these will be added to our campfire ring and a chosen few will go home with me.

Roadrunner at La Paz Valley: Carol and Clifford to the left, Bill and Sally in the middle, Rollie to the right

I do some editing today, clean out a storage space- simplifying and organizing being essential in tiny homes, and look into essential oils good for maintaining healthy skin. Later we all go to Bill and Sally’s 5th wheel for tasty burritos for dinner. Fun to share meals with family.

Friday December 22 – Today’s temperature: 28/58 and clear. Today we make a trip to Quartzsite for gas and propane, stopping at the market and Dollar General to get little gifts for everyone. Bill barbecues  great burgers at his place, then Rollie and I do music there, as the 5th wheel is considerably roomier than either Rollie’s camper or ours. My fingers are still sore, but the blister is going away, and I can play more bluegrass songs with Rollie on either mandolin or fiddle.

Bill has made a “Christmas tree” out of tire irons or something and a lighted rope, and I add a few inexpensive ornaments from Dollar General. It looks a bit odd in the daytime, but is beautiful at night!

The beautiful La Paz Christmas Tree made by Bill

Saturday December 23 – Today’s temperature: 30/61, pretty sunrise color, but overcast all day.


Colors at sunrise – La Paz Valley, Arizona

Today is our anniversary; too chilly for an outing, but it is good just to spend the day together.

Reorganize another storage area so as to find the ornaments and get them hung up along our back window. These are some of my old-time favorites; glad they are still with me. My daughter Merri calls and we have an interesting conversation about how the health of one generation can strengthen or weaken later generations, and not always in the way one might think. Then I go on a walkabout with Bill, Sally, and Rollie with the metal detector, finding a couple old coins, but mostly junk. After that, Rollie and I do music at our place, as it is too windy to play outside. Crowded, but better than not playing at all.

Day’s end at La Paz Valley

I begin reading “Eight Girls Taking Pictures,” staying up later than intended.

Sunday December 24Today’s temperature: 31/67 and mostly sunny. We knew it would be warmer today, so have planned an outing to Crystal Hill. The turnoff to Crystal Hill is just four or five miles south on 95, and the rather rough road crosses BLM land before entering the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge. At the collection area, which is designated by a map at the Crystal Hill boundary, we discover a mostly vacant campground with some really nice sites along a wide wash at the base of Crystal Hill.

Clifford and Rollie cross the wash at Crystal Hill
Smoke trees grow in the wash at Crystal Hill

Clifford and I hike to the top of the hill – good to stretch our hiking muscles at bit.

King of the Mountain: Clifford on Crystal Hill
Surviving on Crystal Hill

Although crystals can be found here, it is beautiful quartz pieces that are found in abundance and we each keep a small collection, a limit of 10 per person, per the collection rules.

Back at camp, we have tasty egg and cheese sandwiches for lunch, sitting outside. Today, with good solar and a bit of luck with the hotspot, I am able to get on the internet and do some agent research for Ang for “By Wing, By, Wild, By Wisdom,” the first book of the Dragons of Va’ha’den series. Looking for agents is new to me and there is a lot to learn, but we hope to find an agent to pick up her series.

Later, we have a delicious chicken dinner, again thanks to Bill’s great cooking (and my contributions of quinoa and rice) around a campfire. Then we open the gifts placed around the little Christmas tree. Bill and Sally are very generous and our little gifts add to the enjoyment of all. As soon as it gets too chilly to sit outside, we all go to the 5th wheel where Rollie and I play music, a nice long session until my fingers get too sore.

I finish out the day with sending Christmas greetings to all of my kids, grateful for the cell phone which allows me to text or message all of them. What a great day!

Monday December 25: Today’s temperature: 36/64. Colorful sunrise this Christmas morning, but my cell died after one pic; luckily I got a few shots with the camera before the sunrise faded.

Christmas sunrise

Tea and journal while it is still quiet, meditating on the meaning of the Christmas celebration. Then the day proceeds with the usual activities, but somehow everything seems special.

Bill fixes a great ham dinner for all of us and we eat around the campfire. After dinner Rollie and I do music together until my fingers are too sore. Back at our place, I read “Eight Girls…” while Clifford works with his radios; he is getting back into Morse code and other modes of communication.

So happy to have spent these days with family, sharing meals, outings, and special celebrations. Times of sharing are never to be taken for granted!

Roadrunner at La Paz Valley – December 15-19, 2017

Friday December 15 – Today’s temperature: 47/78. Quite a switch from much of the rest of the country.

Our campsite at first light

Clifford and I walk out to the host station to sign in, since we arrived here too late yesterday to do so. While we are there chatting with the host, my brother Rollie and his little dog Ninja arrive. He has been in Arizona since October and now that we are here, Rollie is going to join us for some time camping together.

After Rollie gets set up just a ways down from us, he takes out his instruments. I get out my guitar and we jump into some bluegrass music. Doesn’t take long for my fingers to object, as it has been quite some time since I’ve played the guitar. One might think playing cello would keep my fingertips tough enough for guitar, but not so.

Music with Rollie and Ninja

I round out the day with editing for Ang – her next series “Dragons of Va’ha’den” – before making chili dinner for Rollie, Clifford, and myself. It is fun talking to Rollie about some of his adventures thus far in his winter travels.

Saturday December 16 – Photos at sunrise, then tea and breakfast with Rollie.

Photos at sunrise

Today is reorganization day, which always happens right after a move. Then a campfire and more music.

 Clifford has been getting his ham radios set up, including a 35 foot vertical antenna attached to the end of the camper. I make a spaghetti dinner for us all tonight, then read until midnight.

Sunday December 17 – It is cooler and windy today, so activities are mostly inside, including music, which is quite a feat, as both Rollie’s camper and ours are on the small side when it comes to anything extra, like instruments and extra seating. I edit for a couple of hours in the afternoon; would like to do more, but with all the demands on our solar system, we can only charge my laptop for that long each day. Rollie donates some ribs for dinner and I fix a red sauce and honey topping for them. Tasty!

Evening walkabout and photos of the setting sun

Read before bed, but not so late as last night.

Monday December 18 – It is clear and breezy today. I have tea with Rollie while Clifford is still sleeping.

View to the west from our campsite

Our cousin Bill and his wife Sally arrive to join us for a few days of camping, coming down from Dillon, Montana, in their 5th wheel. They get set up in between Rollie and Clifford and me. Nice big fire ring at their spot, so that becomes our center of operation. Bill is a great cook and makes fancy burgers for us for dinner. Rollie and I do some music, in spite of my sore fingers – hard to resist playing music with someone.

Evening walkabout and photos at sunset

Tuesday December 19 – Today’s temperature: 33/70. I join Rollie at a small campfire at his place this morning for tea, writing in my journal while he plays mandolin. Edit Dragons as long as the laptop has power and then finish reading the book I started a couple of days ago. We have a campfire at Bill and Sally’s spot in the afternoon and more music.

Rollie, Ninja, and Sally at the fire ring, getting set for more music

Clifford is focused on his ham radio, but always joins us for music.

So much fun to have family on the journey. We have plans for an outing tomorrow and we are all looking forward to seeing Palm Canyon.