The Great Tree

Alongside the north side of the courthouse in Quartzsite is a small sign and a short rock-lined path that takes you to The Great Tree, also known as The Witness Tree. DSC_0025

The boys and I walked this very short path today to gaze upon the large ironwood tree that has stood it’s ground for over one thousand years.

During Arizona’s centennial (February 14, 1912 to February 14, 2012) it was dubbed the Witness Tree, having lived and thrived in this desert environment and “witnessing” this state’s centennial.


If you’re into heavenly happenings, mark tomorrow night, January 31st, on your calendar. Just before dawn you will be thrilled to see not only a super moon, but a super blue moon (second full moon in one month) along with a total eclipse!

Thanks for stopping by! Hugs, Shawna

RTR 2018

The Rubber Tramp Rendezvous, held each January on BLM land at Scaddan Wash,  is history for this year. Met some new friends, couldn’t find some I have been looking forward to meeting, and Charlie got us kicked out of one of the seminars.

He just couldn’t keep his barker quiet when other dogs were saying hello.  Charlie did, however, learn some better behavior in an all around sense so it was a very good experience for him and a relief for me.  He IS learning!!

The RTR is growing by leaps and bounds every year. From around 50 or 60 people just a few years ago to about 1200 last year, this year it was anticipated that the attendance would be so big that Bob Wells, the host and expert on van dwelling as he has been doing this for years, was required by BLM to bring in porta-potties for this year’s gathering. The unofficial count was over 3000 attendees, and I believe it.

Compared to last year when I arrived a couple of days early to try and find a bit of shade there were FOUR vehicles. This year my  early arrival found what looked like a vehicle beside every bush!

Except for a very few scoundrels, and there are those in every crowd, it was a well-behaved, respectful group.  Bob had the areas layed out into sections for Main Camp and Meeting Area, a section for the music crowd, a section for the disabled, a section for the larger vehicles.  Two seminars, sometimes three, were held each day of the two week event. At the end a women’s gathering was held.

Having been under constant stimulation from so many people and dogs, vehicles coming and going constantly, and the general noise of so many gathered in one place the boys needed some peace and quiet and I needed relief from the dust so we did not stay for the women’s event.

I met many wonderful people, but clicked with a couple of really nice gals, Peggy and Mary, and we have tentatively made plans to meet up again perhaps in Utah when it’s time to move north to escape the heat here in Arizona. Peg had to leave a bit early and get back to her job, but Mary and I gathered around the campfire every night and took a few walks. YES, she gets all that stuff in her Prius!!!

One of those walks was to search for the labyrinth that was somewhere near the camps.  We headed out to where we thought they were located and 45 minutes later while giving it up discovered the thing was right across the wash from Freedom!!


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Freedom is just to left of us across the wash!

See Freedom lurking in the upper right corner?



Thanks, as always, for stopping by 2DogsTravel!




Dog parks are a wonderful creation! The Chiweenie Brothers LOVE their time at the various parks we run across in our travels.



If you are not familiar with treating your fur babies to some off-leash fun time and socializing with other canines, here are a few tips and “rules”.
Dog parks require that you pick up after your dog. Many even supply the bags so there’s no excuse for not picking up the poop! Most dogs will run around for just a few minutes before they do their duty so watch them closely for the first few minutes and you will have that task out of the way!  Poop can transmit diseases, it draws flies, and stinks. Who in the heck wants their dog (or yourself!!) stepping in it or your pal ROLLING in it? PICK IT UP. It’s YOUR responsibility. I am sounding harsh here, but not picking up number two is the NUMBER ONE complaint of visitors to the dog parks and those out boondocking.

Your dog should be leashed entering and exiting the park. Keep in mind a lot of dogs are reactive when leashed, but will settle down once inside the park and off leash. They’re going to sniff the other dogs and the other dogs are going to sniff them. Let them; that’s what dogs do. If the ‘sniff-ee’ doesn’t like it they let the ‘sniffer’ know. This, too, is normal and doesn’t necessarily mean there’s going to be a fight.

If your dog is aggressive please do not take it to a dog park. Dogs can and do get into small skirmishes when getting acquainted and establishing their pecking order. This is normal. Don’t rush in too fast, but do keep an eye on them to make sure it doesn’t escalate, but if you know your dog is aggressive do not take him to the park! If it hurts another dog you will be accountable for the vet bill.
Normally parks do not allow puppies under six months of age, unvaccinated animals, females in heat, and unneutered males. Even if this isn’t posted, please don’t take these animals to the park. These are common sense regulations that may not have occurred to you, but it is in everyone’s best interest to abide by these rules

Many—but not all— dog parks have a double entrance/exit gate system to prevent escapees when coming and going. Open the outer gate and close it behind you before unleashing your dog. Open the second gate and let them enter the park. Reverse this order when leaving. Dogs are going to rush over, many barking in happy anticipation, to greet the new arrival. If you are the one already in the park it’s nice if you walk over and help the new arrival get into the park. Some dogs and many owners are a bit fearful when faced with the welcoming committee so it’s nice to lend a helping hand.
No special toys or dog treats should be taken to the park. There’s potential for problems so leave special toys home and only take treats if you can keep them on your person and don’t mind having other dogs wanting you to share or jumping all over you. Tennis balls or similar are usually a good toy, but if you do take a ball or any other toy and it causes a problem please remove it. Don’t be surprised if other dogs who love to chase ball want in on the fun.
Keep in mind the dog park is not a good place for training to take place unless it is socialization. You put your dog at a disadvantage when you try to train in the park where there are so many distractions. The park is a public place and if it’s empty when you get there it won’t be for long. No one is going to give up their dog’s play time for you to train, and you shouldn’t expect them to.
Don’t complain about barking at the park. They’re dogs. They bark. Your dog may not be a barker, but some are. Let dogs be dogs in this place.
Dog parks are great places to meet people and make new friends. Enjoy the company of the other dog owners at the park, but be sure and keep an eye on your fur baby and be aware of what’s happening.
Your dogs are going to love you for giving them the freedom to run and interact with other dogs!

I will be making a list of the dog parks we encounter during our travels and updating as needed. You can find this in the sidebar where I list the meteor shower schedule for the year, books I especially liked, and our bucket list.
THANKS FOR VISITING 2DOGS!!! Guess where we’re going? Yep, the dog park in Q. Bark, woof, wag!

Palm Canyon

Approximately 20 miles south of Q on Hwy 95 in the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge lies a canyon within the barren volcanic Kofa Mountain Range. Tucked away in this canyon are a grove of California fan palms the why and how of how they got there unknown, but speculation abounds and has over the years since they were discovered.

The boys and I head out in the late afternoon to drive to the refuge with the intent of staying the night and taking the short half-mile hike up to the palms the next day. The sun only shines in the canyon slot for a very brief time, and probably less this time of the year with the sun farther south. Photography requires light, so this is important.

It’s about 7 miles of pretty decent dirt road to reach the parking lot situated just below the trail head. The mountain looms upward dwarfing the lot and the vehicles parked there.  We are one of three who decide to go ahead a stay in the parking lot and wait for morning.

View from trail with van in prking lot ...

A bitter wind is whipping itself into a frenzy and it’s darn cold when the inevitable walk is needed for the boys to hike a leg. We don’t dilly dally around; it’s down to business and we scurry back inside.

The inside of the van is unheated, but comfy and warm enough as we snuggle under the covers listening to the wind poke and prod at the mountain and the van, sounding angry over something, voicing its mournful objections. It makes me sad, and my mind wanders to Burger. I miss my  Boo. I try to imagine him running in a field of green, happy and well … fortunately sleep comes fairly quickly.

Morning dawns bright and clear, and although still on the cold side, the wind has moved on. Coffee, another chapter in my book, a walk around the parking lot for the dogs, and  then a bit of breakfast while we await the sun to get a bit higher and the air a little warmer before we head out.  I check over my camera, make sure I have bags in my pocket for dog droppings, and we’re ready to go.

It’s a short hike, but it’s not a level hike. I wouldn’t say it’s difficult, but the trail does climb a bit, and there are a few places where it’s a bit tricky to navigate, especially with two dogs on leash who have their own idea of which way is the best way to go.

The palms are across a ravine from the trail, tucked away between the small canyon’s wall, protected from the elements.  The conditions surely must be perfectly right for them to continue to thrive and grow here.

You can read more about these palm trees HERE.

I decide to spend an additional night within the refuge enjoying the cholla (pronounced choy-ya) cactus, the saguaros and other desert plants that look fresh and clean without the coating of dust that covers most of the Sonoran Desert.  I spend the afternoon picking out things in the mountain range where the palm trees hide.  A mole, a seal, a monster, a snake’s head. Can you see them? Click the photo to enlarge.

Thanks for stopping by 2Dogs. Hugs, Shawna

CAMPING:  You can camp within the refuge, free, for up to 14 days.  This is a boondocking area and there are NO amenities whatsoever. Come prepared for that if you plan on staying more than a night or two. There is  a narrow strip along the main dirt road where you can pull off to park. with signs telling you where the boundaries are. 


Hi Jolly

From Yuma we traveled 95 north to Quartzsite, “Q” to the locals and most snowbirds, and spent a few nights in the BLM boondocking area called Hi Jolly. I did errands from there: picked up mail, bought supplies, took the boys to the dog park.  Little stinkers can sure figure out where we are headed and they begin play inside the van in prep for the park.  You know, get those muscle warmed up!

Dogs Playing in Van

Once we got all the necessary things taken care of and put in a few days of doing nothing but catching up on rest–not the Chiweenie Brothers, they are always ready to rumble, but I needed it–we went out exploring a bit, taking in some of the sights and places we didn’t get to last year.  Between those excursions and the things I needed to get done for Christmas and the December birthdays for family back in Cali, the month flew by.  And here it is 2018!  Let’s make it a happy one!

The best place to start with sharing our exploration in Q is with where it all started, and with the man who’s nickname lives on in this little town in the Sonoran Desert.  

According to the Quartzsite Visitor’s Guide, the Hi Jolly Pioneer Cemetery is the most visited location in Q. It centers around the man, Hi Jolly, and some camels. Here’s what transpired to give Q some of its unique personality.  It all started with a camel driver.

It began in 1855 when Jefferson Davis, secretary of war and later president of the Confederacy, was sold on the  idea of importing camels to use building the wagon road through the Southwest.  They needed men who spoke camel, and the famed camel driver, Philip Tedro, a Greek born in Syria was contacted. Tedro had made a pilgrimage to Mecca, converted to Islam and his first name became Hadji Ali.

Tedro and another camel driver, Yiorgos Caralambo–he became known as Greek George–were hired to teach the soldiers how to deal with the camels. The soldiers couldn’t pronounce Hadji Ali and he became known as Hi Jolly.

Camels can carry two to three times as much as a mule and can go without water much longer than mules and horses, and they were a great success.

Then the Civil War started, and Jefferson Davis changed jobs; without his support the project was abandoned. Some camels were sold, others had escaped out into the desert.

Hi Jolly bought a couple of them and for two years ran a freight route between the Colorado River and the mining towns in eastern Arizona.

Hi Jolly became a citizen of the United States in 1880, married Gertrudis Serna of Tucson, and when he retired moved to Quartzsite and prospected around the region until he died in 1902. 

The escaped camels thrived for a while, but eventually they died out. However, as late as the 1930s and ’40s  unsubstantiated reports were made of seeing camels in the wild.  One sighting in particular, the story goes, was of the Red Camel, spotted with a headless human skeleton on its back …  

You can visit the cemetery with it’s monument tribute to the camel driver, Hi Jolly, at the Hi Jolly Pioneer Cemetery on the west side of town.  

Hi Jolly overview of Cemetery

Thanks for stopping by 2Dogs!  Have a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!  Hugs, Shawna






Celia’s Rainbow Garden

Quartzsite, for being such a tiny town, has a lot to offer people who come to visit.  I was floored to see parks within the park at the Quartzsite Town Park: a skateboard park, a park for remote controlled airplanes, picnic areas, bathroom facilities, the nice dog park we visit so often which is divided into two sections, one for big dogs and one for little dogs. And Celia’s Rainbow Garden.  Here’s the story of this lovely tribute to a child.

Celia’s Rainbow Garden is a 20 acre section within the Quartzsite Town Park donated to the town for the on-going volunteer project to landscape and maintain it in tribute to Paul and Joanne Winer’s 8 year-old daughter, Celia, who died in 1994.

The garden is a nature trail that includes several special areas along the trails including a miniature pioneer village, a mining display, a rock and gem pavilion, veteran’s area and more. It is so beautiful!

You can click to enlarge the photos.

Paul Winer is also a business owner and local character in Q. He owns and operates a book store in town. One can often find him behind the counter, naked … he is also a concert pianist.  No one has said whether he plays naked.  You may shocked, but you got to hand it to the man, he has all the confidence in the world! And he loved his daughter with all his heart.

Thanks for stopping by 2Dogs!! Hugs, Shawna

CAMPING Info:  Large BLM areas for LTVA (long term visitor area) boondocking.  Short LTVA of 14 days max is free. If you intend on spending the winter in and around Q and don’t want to move every two weeks you can go long term LTVA and pay $180 for six months.  The long term areas have garbage bins and water, and most have pit toilets but no electricity or tables. They are also patrolled and enforce a maximum speed limit within the area I am told.  That is a big plus because in some of the areas the ATVs and many vehicles have no problem bombing down the dirt roads and spewing dust everywhere.

Keep in mind BLM requires you to pick up after your pet or bury their waste at least six inches deep , and they must be on leash at all times. Also be aware that coyotes are abundant and keep a close eye on your pets at all times. DO NOT leave them outside staked out alone. Many have lost a beloved pet because they left them tied outside by themselves. 

Ringing in the New Year . . .

Boondock style, my style; as in quiet, off-the-roads, and cuddled up with the pups.

 HAPPY 2018!

December was busy at times, getting things bought/made to send back to family for Christmas, but it was also a time of rest and restoration. Lots of long walks with The Chiweenie Brothers, naps, reading. More walks, more naps, more reading.  

We did take a few small excursions around Q, and those will be posted in the days to come along with a listing of the dog parks we have visited–a reader request– and some guidelines on what to expect at these parks.

One of the highlights of December was the super moon. The following photos are not very good, but I do not have a lens long enough (YET!)to get the dark spots that make up the man-in-the-moon, however, I was intrigued by the clouds that rolled in later, and thought I would go ahead and post them.

Dec super moon with trees

Also in December came a couple of changes in the van. Not to the van itself, but in ridding us of things that needed upgrading, sorting/tossing/donating items, and trying to use up the multiples of a few things like paper towels that I was too frugal to give or toss when back in Calif. It’s a disease, I know! The Chiweenie Brothers weren’t too impressed as all they care about are breakfast, dinner, walks, and the dog park, but I sure feel better. 

One upgrade was replacing the burner that attached directly to a bottle of propane. It did the job, but as December grew colder–yes, it gets cold in the desert–cooking outside became uncomfortable and cooking inside was downright dangerous as the unit sat way too high and the flame underneath the cooking pot was way too close to the ceiling.  It was replaced with a GasOne 1 burner unit with a piezo start (no matches needed!). It attaches to the propane tank via a hose with a regulator and the unit itself is only about three inches thick so it sits flat on the desk/table and is very stable. 

The other change was replacing the folding potty chair with a small porta potty that fits perfectly under the bed in the space between the two storage units that make up the platform of the bed.  Convenient, secure, and easy to empty.

The boys will be getting new harnesses this year once we get somewhere where there is a Walmart. Thought of buying via Amazon, but I would like to be able to try them on and have them fit the first time around.  Being at Wally makes it easier to buy, try, and return if they aren’t a good fit.  

I am still working on going through and tagging past posts so things are easier to find. I was a lot lazier last month than I thought I would be.  🙂

Other December happenings:  buying a travel trailer has been put on hold. I can pretty much park anywhere with the van and after the purchase of the new cooking burner and porta potty I am almost as comfortable in Freedom as I would be in a travel trailer. At this point in time, I am perfectly happy with the living arrangements in the van, and I really don’t want to be dragging a trailer around. For now.

We’ve explored around Q during December, and those little excursions will be coming up in posts this month.  I am also considering taking a little circular side trip that will take us to the Salton Sea and Joshua Tree National Park.  That’s still in the considering/planning stage, not written in stone.  

Happy New Year!  Hugs, Shawna