"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Dates, Hikes, Palms and Wind

Yuma, AZ
Imperial Dam BLM LTVA

Since our LTVA pass was still good, we decided to stay in the Imperial Dam area.  Certainly not the prettiest area, but it didn't cost us anything and we still had access to dump station and water.  Very barren and susceptible to high winds (more on this later).

Our home for the week.
It was less than an hour and a half drive straight down I-95.  We wanted to check out the Yuma area for possible winter destinations.  Quartzite, other than being able to spend time with friends, was not an area I particularly care to return to.  My choice would be off King Rd in the Kofa range.

For this week though, we turned east off I-95 onto Imperial Dam Rd.  You quickly come across the US Army's Proving Grounds.  At the intersection there are some interesting cannons.  A little bit further and they have a nice rest area with lots of old tanks and guns and cannons you can look at.

Once in the LTV area, we first emptied our tanks and filled our water.  Then it was time to find a spot to call home for the week.  We finally chose a spot up on the higher ground as we got a much better signal there for Steve.  Great Verizon and ATT.  We would've preferred to stay in the Kripple Creek area but there is absolutely NO cell service.  Much prettier, very small area.  It was snug, but we were able to maneuver our 40 rig back there and turn around.  We ended up in the Boot Hill area off Senator Wash. 
Interesting camper, but then you are in BLM area where anything goes!

Our reason for being down in Yuma, besides checking out the area, was to attend our first Geocaching Mega Event.  (if you don't know what geochaching is, it's sort of like treasure hunting with a gps device or cellphone app.  Here's a link to the site to learn more  Geocaching.com) More on this later in the post.  Our friends Doug and Dotty would be staying with us and we had several things planned.  First up was a Date Festival in town.  We walked around and sampled different types of dates that were grown in the area.  It was your typical small town festival.  Food, vendors, music, etc.  A highlight was to try the famous date shakes we've heard about.  I didn't care for them.  Too sweet for me but Steve loved it.

                          Medjool dates                                                                Festival Crowd
Another place we visited was the Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park.  Lots of history here.  You've heard of the 3:10 to Yuma?  Here is some info on the park from the website:

On July 1, 1876, the first seven inmates entered the Territorial Prison at Yuma and were locked into the new cells they had built themselves. Thus began the legend of the Yuma Territorial Prison. A total of 3,069 prisoners, including 29 women, lived within the walls during the prison's 33 years of operation.
The original guard tower.

These bats hanging out in the Dark Cell was the highlight for me.
                                                             The deluxe accommodations I think.

Outside cells.

Outside holding pen exposed to the weather.


When I saw this picture inside the museum I almost fell over.  My Italian Grandmother had the same picture in her home.  As small kids we all thought it was creepy as the eyes would follow you around and sometimes they would appear open, other times closed. It was interesting to read about it though.
Another day we spent some time at a free outdoor shooting range.  It was right off I-95 and free.


Our big event for our time in Yuma was attending our first ever Annual Geocache Mega Event.  I thought it might be a little corny, but it was actually a lot of fun.

Steve and Dotty pointing out each of our Geocaching Names.

There was a huge crowd.  It was a very popular event with some people from
all over the world attending.  Quite impressive for Yuma.

Some of the Trackables were large and heavy like this shield.
There were lots of events planned and neat trackables to buy or trade.  Good food and fun people too!
Others like mine, posted above, are just a couple of inches in size.  I left mine at the show where
they had a drop off booth.  This way, instead of hiding it in a random cache somewhere, I would have
a better chance of it getting closer to Italy where I want it to end up (back in the tiny town where
my family came from).  I was able to drop it in a "Europe" basket where someone at the show
might be visiting Europe soon and they could pick it up and drop it off over there.  Sort of like
an Express Lane.

It was also Doug's birthday, so we had cake of course to celebrate.

Everyone just chillin', including Hurley laying on Dotty.

Some of the days were nice with almost no wind.

Wild burros walk through the camp area.
We will probably winter some of next year in this area again. But we will try staying in the much prettier and less crowded Kofa area instead of Quartzite. The Kofa National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1939 and is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The refuge has 665,400 acres of beautiful desert that is home to the desert bighorn sheep and the California palm, the only native palm in Arizona.  The name 'Kofa' comes from 'King of Arizona', which is the name of a profitable gold mine in the area which operated between 1896 and 1910.

Big on my list was doing the Palm Canyon Hike.  It's a short little hike back into a canyon.
Easy enough if that's all you want to do as you can see the palms in the far distance.  I had read on other blogs that you can hike up into the canyon and hike into the palms if you're up for a challenge.  It involves some scrambling and rockclimbing in a tight slot canyon.
Heading up towards the canyon.
There are the palms in the very middle.  That's as close as you get unless you want to climb up the canyon. Hard to see, right?

Here's a zoom in.

Here's Steve going up a portion.  Some areas are as tight as 2 feet.
You had to push yourself up some of the most narrow steep parts.

And we all made it!  The palms are beautiful to see up close. 


We tried to climb up to the very top, but these boulders stopped the climb at this point.

I like the effect of the light on this picture.

Goofin' off at the top and having a lunch break.  Actually were copying a picture that Jim and Barb of Jim and Barbs Adventure  posted when they hiked it a few days before us.  He teased that we wouldn't be able to make it.

We made it!

Another site I wanted to see which was on the same road as the one that takes you to the canyon, is called the Circle of Life.  It's somewhat visible from the road but very difficult to see.  It took us a bit of time to find.  I had read about it on Pam's blog, Oh The Places They Go.

We did some geocaching.  This was our 300th find.  We also did some smaller hikes like the one below that had a flag placed at the very top with a great view.

We always seem to have some crazy adventure when the four of us camp together.  We've had freak snowstorms, got the rig stuck in the mud, had some wild hikes and now we can add a wind storm.  This area is normally windy, but one night while we were watching  Martian with Matt Damon, a wind storm came through with sustained winds over 50mph.  It was the windiest we've been in with the 5th wheel.  It was so bad the slides were actually jerking up and down.  We decided to put all our slides in and continue with the movie.  This is where it gets funny.  If you haven't seen a 5th wheel with the slides in, it is VERY compact. So the tv is normally about 10 feet from the sofa.  With the slides in it is about 2 ft.  It meant that all four of us had to sit on the very small sofa which normally holds 3 at most.  It was a snug fit for sure.  But we just laughed it off and enjoyed the real-seeming effects of the movie during the wind scenes.

All was good until we realized the wind was continuing to get even worse.  There was no way to keep the slides open.  This meant the sofa that normally turns into a queen bed was not to be.  Dotty and I slept upstairs in our comfy bed, Doug slept on the tiny sofa and Steve slept on the small area in front of the door on what he could blow up in the air mattress.  It was not much and it was like he was sleeping in a taco bed.  We all survived but with little actual sleep!

Next up, Ajo!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Crazy Quartzite Part 2

Quartzite, AZ
La Posa LTV Area

During our weeks in Quartzite there was plenty of social time.  So many friends we enjoyed crossing paths with again.  We did some geocaching.  This time it was with Trace and Ellen.  We took a nice bike ride and Trace and Ellen found their first geocache. 
Moi, Trace & Ellen.

In the middle of the cactus was the geocache in a film container.

We were very excited to see Curt and Glenda of Camp Lowry.  Especially since they drove over 2 hours each way to come visit us and get a preview of what Quartzite was all about.  We hadn't seen them for several months.  We walked around the show tents and then had dinner.  Glenda brought these delicious Key Lime Cupcakes!  We are looking forward to spending the month of March with them near Apache Junction.  We have a lot of hiking to catch up on.

 Another unusual thing around here (and there are MANY) are the Intaglios.  They are sort of like giant crop circles, but done in the desert with rock.  Just travel up Hwy 95N off of 10 at Blythe and drive about 15 miles.  You'll see signs.

Well we drove past the sign and as we were turning around this strangely decorated tree was on the side of the road out in the remote desert.  Interesting.  This one was decorated in bras and panties.  No sign or information about it.  Wonder what this was all about?  We planned on hiding a geocache here and calling it "Tit for Tat", but we ran out of time!

Here is another sign for them. 

There are 3 fenced in areas protecting the Intaglios.

Above is a picture from above of what it looks like.  Below is my picture.  They are huge!

And another above/below shot.

Below is the last one.  Really hard to appreciate in photos.

Hurley having fun too!
We 4 wheeled it a bit and came across some another decorated tree out in a wash.
We were also very excited to finally meet Bill and Jodee of On the Road Abode and their adorable Tessa.  Jodee started up the Class of 2015 and are now fulltimers as well.  I've followed her blog before they set out.  She is a great writer, check out their site.
After a mix up on exactly where in the vastness of Quartzite we were, they found us and we had a great visit.  They brought some yummy donuts too!
Since Steve was busy working, I took a nice ride with Pam and her doggie on their quad.  We tried to find more geocaches, but failed.  Oh well, it was a great time riding around.  I was really impressed how smooth their quad drives.

Most of the time his head was on my shoulder.  I don't think he liked having to ride in the back!
I also spent a lot of time hiking around on my own with Hurley.  Again, out of nowhere you come across some strange things.

Like these rock paths that go on for long distances and lead to nowhere special.  Some people have lots of time on their hands.

Again with the tree decorating?

This one had very nice brass incense type things hanging from its branches.
Of course, there was never a shortage of food, fun and friends!  Tonight's dinner was supplied by Red and Pam with fish caught by Red and a few by Greg.  So a giant fish fry it was.  And everybody else brought a side dish.  What a great meal!  Enough leftover to make fish tacos for the next nights meal.

Red frying the Crappie.
Trace and Steve frying the onion rings and fritters.

 "The Circle"
Cori, Greg and Hobie.

Whew, time to call it a night.  Even Hobie is tired!

Time is winding down.  There is a giant Q on top of one of the nearby hills.  Trace, Pam and I decided to hike it and maybe search for a few caches along the way. I didn't get a good pic from the bottom before we headed up.  A nice, short, steep hike.

From near the top looking back over the LaPosa area where many RVers are camped all willy nilly in the desert.

When we got to the top there were great views all around as well as an American flag and a nice young man named Tom who was playing the guitar.  He was just traveling around the country.  I asked if he knew any Tom Petty and he played American Girl for me.  My favorite! 

This is the painted Q on the side of the hill looking down over the top.

We made it to the top!  Me, Trace and Pam.

Another day there was a Blogger Fest being held in another area.  Many of us write blogs about our travels and this was an impromptu get together of some of us.  A few I was looking forward to finally meeting after reading their blogs for years.  Others I did not know.
I have met Jim & Sandie of Where are the Dixons Today? before but did not get to meet their doggies, Skittlez an Scooter.  Before we headed out fulltime theirs was one of the blogs I read and the front page of their blog has a picture on it that always made me smile of the dogs.  You'll have to go to it to see it yourself.  ADORABLE!
More bloggers saying hi and sharing a potluck.
There is so much to do in the Quartzite area.  We drove out to see the wildlife sanctuary but did not manage to see much wildlife other than lots of ducks and birds.

I couldn't even get a good picture of them either!  Sorry.
But on the way we did see yet another interesting "rig".

Many fun times having dinner in town including karaoke and dancing!

Pam, Ellen, Mario, Me, Steve, Red, Greg and Cori.
One last sunset and we leave Quartzite behind and all of our wonderful friends.
Until next year!