More Cacti Forest – February 2019

Thursday February 14: I am up too late for sunrise color, but make coffee and get ready to go walking. Since I am walking in a place that I am not familiar with, I take a radio for communication and the knife my son Tye made for me. First I walk north, keeping an eye on the tallest saguaros. The thick growth of cacti is very disorienting and within minutes I could have been totally lost. It is certainly much different than walking in La Posa South where I walked in the desert every day, never losing my sense of direction. I continue walking, keeping a close watch on the tall saguaros, until I arrive at a large wash with lots of animal tracks in the sand.

Walking north

I have no desire to attempt to cross the wash, so make my way back to camp and then, crossing the road, I walk south, a gradual downhill with fewer saguaros to use as landmarks and more cholla… and javelina tracks…. so I don’t go all the way to the thicket ahead.

Walking south
Cholla in the forest

Back on the road and walking west, I go beyond the point where Clifford and I had walked together when first looking for a spot to camp. The cattle tank and the highway are to the east, so I skip that for now.

Walking west

Back at camp, we open our mutual Valentine Day card and then I make smoothies for breakfast. I stay busy with email, writing blogs, editing, and playing viola while Clifford works on his projects.

Afternoon in the Forest with clouds moving in

In the evening it starts to rain and we have a chance to try out our collapsible water-collection buckets, filling them all with rain water.

Friday February 15: The morning is overcast with mist and drizzle; temperatures are in the 50’s all day.

Morning mist in the desert

In connection with his research, Clifford is making contact with a lab in Phoenix today. The drive with all the traffic and the rain is stressful and I have to remind myself to breathe easy. Once we arrive at the lab on the far side of Phoenix, Clifford talks to a lab technician there and comes away with an idea for the next step of this aspect of the research.

Heading back to our campsite, we decide to stop at Cracker Barrel in Casa Grande, south of Phoenix, and after lunch we take my defunct cell phone to a Verizon store. It is verified that it did not get wet, but just died, and a replacement will be sent to me. That is good news!

Back at camp, we sit out in our little “patio” area and relax before I make nachos for dinner. The day was a bit stressful, so having this quiet forest is especially appreciated.

Relaxing on the “patio”
Quiet evening in Cacti Forest

Cacti Forest – February 2019

Tuesday February 12: Today is moving day and we are up early to finish packing, but first I go for one last walk in the desert, saying goodbye to LaPosa South, south of Quartzsite, Arizona, where we have been camped for over a month.

Last morning desert walk

Back at camp, I finish packing inside and make thermoses of tea while Clifford takes down the ham antenna and packs his radios. We are on our way by 11:00 a.m. Our route takes us toward Phoenix until we turn south on Arizona highway 85. When we reach the Buckeye BLM Recreation Area, we decide to not stop for the night. We have stayed here a couple of times, but it is early enough in the day that we decide to push on. After stopping for gas in Gila Bend, we continue on I-8/I-10 to our destination, Cacti Forest, near Tucson.

Nearing our destination with Picacho Peak a landmark of the area

It is a good thing research was done ahead of time, as this place isn’t exactly obvious from the highway. We find the right country road but miss the turnoff into the dispersed BLM camping area. The map isn’t clear, but we find the right spot, park by the water tank, and then walk the road that heads out into a dense forested area. The reviews indicate that this this place does not accommodate big rigs. We are more of a medium rig, but investigating is a good idea.

We walk the road into the forest

This is quite the forest with cacti of all sorts growing lushly rather than sparcely as cacti tend to do.

We find a spot that will allow for Cougar’s size. The ground is a bit soft, but we get in place, taking care not to damage vegetation. We almost have a problem when releasing Cougar from the Suburban due to the wheel chocks not holding firm, maybe because of the soft ground. Yikes! A tense moment, but we make out okay.

Cougar set up in Cacti Forest

Once we are set up, we make a little patio area and sit out to relax with a glass of wine, happy to have found this little niche. Dinner is soup, rice, and leftovers, and since it was a long day, we soon head to bed.

Wednesday February 13: Today is a day of settling in and some exploring. After breakfast, we walk out to the cattle tank and across the paved county road to other camping sites, many of which are occupied. According to our map, this is not BLM, but obviously it is dispersed camping. As we walk, we observe the variety of cacti and the sometimes whimsical growth of the saguaros.

In the afternoon, I do quite a lot of editing from authors as well as photo editing for myself, post photos on FB, and send texts with photos to my kids and siblings.

I watch the light and take photos of the forest. This is really quite an intriguing place and I especially like seeing Picacho Peak in the background with the interesting variety of cacti in the middle and foreground.

Watching the light
Lovely evening colors

After dinner and cleanup, I write in my journal while Clifford works with his ham radio. It has been a quiet, peaceful, and productive day for us.

Birthday in the Desert – February 2019

Saturday February 9: Kind of an overcast and chilly day here at La Posa South, south of Quartzsite, Arizona, where we are camped. Pretty sunrise color, but my phone won’t turn on and I don’t have time to dig out a camera before the color fades. With laptop and hotspot, I do some research on the phone situation, but nothing seems to fit. Bummer.

Dawn in the desert from our RV steps

No long desert walk this morning, partly because of the cell not working, but also I want to be here when Clifford gets up. He has been in a lot of pain, very worrisome to me, but he has done research on gall stones, as he thinks that is what’s going on. He is feeling some better when he gets up, but not what he should be.

Short walk in the desert

We cancel running into Quartzsite to get the right Mr. Buddy heater hose, but at least he is able to start the generator in the afternoon so I can charge my laptop and get some work done. He sleeps most of the afternoon, getting up when dinner is ready, but not feeling like eating much. My brother, Rollie, joins us and after dinner, he and I play cribbage before the evening cleanup and journal writing.

It was a weird off-day with Clifford being in pain and no cell phone.

Sunday February 10: Quite chilly in the night and windy all day. Clifford was restless and up in the night with the gall stone pain, so our sleep was disrupted. However, in the morning he tells me he thinks he passed the stones in the night and although he is weak, he is feeling better. That is certainly good news.

Sunrise in the desert

Plans for celebrating my birthday – an outing to Palm Canyon and pizza at Silly Al’s Pizza – are put on hold, as he is not up to either, but at least he is feeling better, which is the best birthday present.

I work on email, write a blog, and do some editing. Rollie and I do music in the afternoon, and I fix a good chicken dinner, followed by a game of cribbage. I start packing for my trip to visit my daughter, Becka, in Atlanta. For photos, the camera is bulky compared to the cell phone, but it will have to do. Very awkward to not have a cell phone when traveling, however.

In looking at the weather, we will have to move a day earlier than planned to avoid high winds. Rollie is leaving tomorrow and heading to Texas to visit our cousins, so guess it works out for all of us.

Monday February 11: Today is our last day here at La Posa South.

A new sunrise in the desert
Light on the ancient dying trees

We say good-bye to Rollie once he is packed up and ready to head out.

Rollie getting ready to pack up

We run errands in Quartzsite and then pack up as much as we can outside and in. We have enjoyed our time here in the desert, but now it’s time to move on to new venues.

Goodbye to the desert lovelies

A Word About Quartzsite – February 2019

Tuesday Feb 5: Real clouds and chilly wind this morning. I make coffee by candlelight and lanterns this morning, then head out for a walk in the desert. I find a place to sit and write in the journal, but the wind is too chilly to stay out long.

Morning in the desert
Ocotillo in bloom
A nice place to sit

Back at camp, after making smoothies for Clifford and myself, I get the journal caught up, take care of emails, send query submissions for Princes & Priests, send photos/texts to siblings and kids, hearing back that Montana is being hammered with blizzards. We have an early dinner, then go to Quartzsite for the Hardshell Harmony bluegrass concert, which was fun. Then back to camp and soon to bed.

Wednesday Feb 6: Chilly morning, only 38 degrees. I go for a walk in the desert, but don’t take time to journal there as we are headed to Parker today.

Sunrise in the desert
The sunflowers have made their appearance

The spaghetti special at the Blue Water casino at Parker, Arizona, about 30 miles north, is a big draw for Clifford. At Walmart we get groceries and I find the perfect backpack for my trip to Atlanta. I will be flying there later this month to visit Becka.

Thursday Feb 7: It is 30 degrees outdoors when I get up and not much warmer inside. When I light the stove and turn on the furnace, the propane goes out and I don’t get it switched to the other tank in time. With fussing around trying to get heat going, I miss the morning walk at sunrise, but go for a walk a little later. I end up in the wrong wash and disturb the camper up the wash from us by alarming his dog when I get too close. Oh well, no damage done.

A new color in the desert

It is after I get back that Clifford has a severe gall stone attack, which is quite alarming. Ultrasound helps and after he rests, he and my brother Rollie work on installing a Mr. Buddy heater for auxiliary heat. Once everything is in place, we discover that the hose that was purchased is the wrong type. We try Mr. Buddy out with a small propane bottle, finding it to be warm and quiet. We have a light dinner, but Clifford doesn’t eat much, as he is not feeling very well. We both go to bed early.

Friday Feb 8: It is even chillier this morning, 29 degrees outside. I don’t go for a sunrise walk, as I want to see how Clifford is doing when he gets up. Not better, not worse, so I go for a longer walk, taking photos of sunflowers and the desert rose (that is not a rose), and stopping at the topknot saguaro sitting spot for journal and coffee. My son Matt calls, so I chat with him as I walk back to camp.

“Rose” that is not a rose

Today we go to Quartzsite for a different hose for Mr. Buddy. Then on the way back to camp, we stop at the Tyson Wells market to buy t-shirts — 3/$10, finding that they are of good quality and well worth the money. Back at camp, we discover that we still wrong hose for Mr. Buddy, so we will have to go back again, but not today.

A word about Quartzsite: The town of Quartzsite, Arizona, at the crossroads of I-10 and US highway 95 has a resident population of less than 2,000 people, with infrastructure accordingly. However, during the winter months, especially January and February with the Gem Show and the RV Show, there are a million visitors, most of whom are camped in RVs in the BLM land surrounding Quartzsite. Take a grocery market for a town of 2,000 and expect it to handle the million visitors – you get an idea of how well that works. Same with the post office. There aren’t that many eateries in Quartzsite, considering the influx of visitors, but Silly Al’s Pizza, if you don’t mind the wait, is the best pizza ever with great service. Most of the town, as it is seen driving through or from above on I-10, is one giant flea market, with row upon row of white canopies housing every sort of merchandise imaginable. During the RV Show, the BIG TENT is set up, with hundreds of vendors selling their wares, while in the outdoor parking area hundreds of RVs are for sale. This year we did visit the BIG TENT during the last days of the RV Show (mentioned in a previous blog), and this week we went to one section of the flea market conglomeration known as Tyson Wells, mentioned above. Later we found out that there are booths that sell marked down canned and dry goods at a great price. One just has to get to know the place.

To me, Quartzsite and the surrounding BLM land seem like going to another country, not a 3rd world country with poverty and disease, but a way of life different than any other place I’ve been. Even though many of the motorhomes seen in the desert are valued at several hundred thousand dollars, the life-style is more down-to-earth. People sit out in lawn chairs watching the sunset, sand under their feet and a light breeze cooling the warmth of the afternoon, same as the folks in the simple 20’ camper trailer next to them. It seems to be understood that we are each and all merely sojourners in this land.

Carnicom Brothers – February 2019

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.

The short saguaro family

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.

Carnicom brothers gather: Clifford, Frank, Jim, Gene and his wife Clare

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.

Frank, Jim, Clifford

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.

I catch the sunset when I can.

Sunset in the desert

Last Days of January at La Posa South – January 2019

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.

Waiting for sunrise

Almost every 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 campfire.

Walking in the desert at sunrise
The sun peeks through
Morning in the desert

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.

Journal writing in the desert
Good morning “Rose”

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.

Sunset in the desert

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.

Quartzfest Week – January 2019

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.

Sunrise in the desert

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.

The “rose” that is not a rose
Grandmother Saguaro

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.

A funky bookstore

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.

Trail Ride

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.

Tyson 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.

Rollie uses binoculars to look over the desert
Back country

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.

New kombucha

Saturday January 26: For the desert walk this morning, I go to my sitting spot by Top-knot Saguaro, with coffee and journal.

A place to sit and write in the 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.

Subtle evening colors

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.

Desert Walks at La Posa South – January 2019

Sunrise in the desert

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.

Sunrise in the desert

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.

Palo Verde golden in the first rays of the sun

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.

Ocotillo in bloom on a blue-sky day is a treat to see

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.

Portraits of Grandmother Saguaro

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.

Desert marigold

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.

At 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.

Daniel’s camper door

Rollie 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.

Desert runs with Ninja

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.

On 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.

Sunset at La Posa South

Rain in the Desert – January 2019

Cougar and Rollie’s rig in the rain

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….

Clifford at work

No drone-flying for Clifford today, but research continues.

Evening in the desert

After dinner, Rollie and I play cribbage before I tackle the dishes, and then I write in the journal before heading to bed.

La Posa South – Minor Adventures – January 2019

The 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 sitting outside.

Morning 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.

Morning light on the trees and shrubs along the arroyo

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.

Clifford takes drone for a flight

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.

Drone returns home

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.

Driving to Lake Havasu City

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.

Working by flashlight

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.

Cribbage after dinner and tonight I have a winning hand!

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.

Evening in the Sonoran desert south of Quartzsite, Arizona