Arizona, We Have Arrived – January 2019

Tuesday January 1 – New Year’s Day!

Western Arizona Landscape

It 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.

Western Arizona Landscape
Colorado River makes its appearance

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.

Colorado River adds a splash of color to the landscape
Continuing south, a painterly version of the mountains ahead

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.

Brother Rollie in the Class A; Carol and Clifford in the Cougar

Even 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.

Sonoran type desert surrounds us

I 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.

Then 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.

Today 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.

Rollie on the mandolin with Ninja for support

We 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.

Arizona Earth and Sky – Winter Journey – January 2018

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.

Music 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.

Pretty sunrise color

After breakfast, Clifford and I go for a hike across the desert to the mountain that we see in the background to the east.

Heading across the basin to Shale Mountain (as I call it)

The mountain in the distance is where we are headed

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.

Quartz, some with embedded crystals… photos do not do them justice for their beauty

I love the desert here… the stark rugged mountains, along with the vegetation and the beautiful rocks.

View from our picnic spot on the side of Shale Mountain

Looking like a couple of wild desert rats

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.

Winter Journey – Synder Hill to Buckeye – January 2017

Monday January 16th is moving day again. I am up in time to catch the first light on the Dragoon Mountain slope on the west side of the little canyon, Cochise Stronghold, were we have been camped for a week. The color is especially rich and vivid, but only for a moment. This is one of my favorite places and I am sorry that we have to move on.

Especially rich vivid color on the Dragoon Mountain

Good-bye to Cochise Stronghold Campground

We take a different route out to I-10 and see a sign that says “Fissures May Exist” – not too encouraging when heading off into the wilds. But we make it safely through, not seeing any fissures. Once on I-10, the drive is especially hard because of the wind and so much traffic. It is quite a relief to reach Synder Hill, the BLM dispersed camping area west of Tucson. We drive around, looking for a spot to call home, finding a place with a couple of creosote bushes and a nice view of the hill. Even though we are only going to be here a couple of days, Clifford gets all of his ham radio antennas set up, while I make things homey inside.

Camping at Synder Hill BLM

In the afternoon, I hike up the north end of Synder Hill to take photos at sunset. Even though it is not my most favorite camping place, it will be fine for the time we are here.

Sunset colors on clouds to the north of Synder Hill

Tuesday January 17th is sunny in the morning with increasing big fluffy cumulus clouds drifting into the scene.

Cumulus clouds drift into the scene

After showers and breakfast, we get ready to go to Tucson. Our friend, Dan, arrives, as he is going in with us. They drop me off at the laundromat while they go on to Camping World to buy a sway-bar, a device that Dan recommends to help us be more stable and safer on the highways when towing Terry. When they come back to pick me up, we go to a Mexican seafood restaurant and have a really yummy lunch.

Back at camp, we make plans for Dan to come again to help us pack a wheel bearing, as a bent axle puts stress on one wheel more that the others. Then Clifford and I sit in the sunshine, enjoying the light and the warmth of the afternoon.

Palo verde on Snyder Hill

Blue sky behind a palo verde tree

When Becka calls, I head up Synder Hill again, this time to a different spot and even more dramatic photos of the setting sun.

Sun nears the horizon

The sun has set

Silhouettes at last light of day

Wednesday January 18th is a Tucson shopping day, taking advantage of Costco and Trader Joe, my favorite places to go grocery shopping. Back at camp, I put groceries away while Clifford naps and then hang outside to chat when Becka calls. Later I start packing, as we will be leaving in the morning.

Thursday January 19th – Today is Clifford’s birthday, so I sing Happy Birthday to him when he wakes up and give him a T-shirt that says “Home is Where You Park It” with a design of a little RV.

Happy Birthday, Clifford!

We finish preparations for travel and are ready when Dan comes to help pack the wheel bearing, which means that he did it while Clifford watched. He also helps us adjust the sway bar just right. What a neat special friend!

Terry is ready to roll

Dan packs the wheel bearings while Clifford holds the can of grease

Then we are on our way, with a stop in Gila Bend for gas, and Clifford helps some guys get their car loaded onto a trailer.

Interesting rock formation before I-8 south of Phoenix

Then we head north to the Buckeye BLM dispersed camping area, driving out into the desert and finding an isolated spot to park for the night, with the nearest neighbors at least a half-mile away.

Sonoran desert west of Phoenix

Home for the night at Buckeye BLM

I wouldn’t mind staying here for awhile, but we have a destination to reach tomorrow.