COYOTES ONE NIGHT, WIND THE NEXT

February 9, 2018. We’ve been camped on BLM land (boondocking)off Hwy 62 west of Parker for a little over a week now.  We’ve made a few trips into town and dropped a bit of cash at Wally to stock up on food items.

Fries also got a doggie bed that he absolutely loves. Charlie is miffed that he didn’t get a bed … yet.  Charlie will not be left out, don’t’ worry. They didn’t have one his size so as soon as they get one that will fit him he, too, will have a nice new bed.  This has been Chiweenie Brother Approved!  Bark, woof, howl.

Our view       DSC_0001

It’s our 9th day here. It is very warm as late afternoon turns to evening, and the windows are open along with the side doors and the back door to cool the van down before we turn in.

I must have dozed off, because it’s dark when I am pulled out of a fitful sleep by the sound of a coyote close by. Really close. I can tell Fries is getting ready to give ’em hell, but I can’t allow that. I am also fearful that Charlie will launch himself out an open window.

Instinct some how kicks in and my gentle pressure on the backs of the boys’ necks keep them quiet and immobile by my side on the bed.  If I get up to close windows/doors there’s the real chance one of them will jump out of the van. Keeping that firm pressure on them and not speaking a word I pray they will continue to just stay immobile and quiet. Thankfully they do.

It’s unnerving, but fascinating to hear the different calls the coyotes make.  Many yips with several different endings to some of them. I wonder what they are saying to each other, and what comes to mind is “Come out, come out wherever you are! I smell chiweenie on the menu.” In my mind I am laughing hysterically. With fear. No, they cannot get inside the van, but a wild wiener dog could get out of the van. After what seems like an eternity, they give up and move on, and I breathe a sigh of profound relief.

The next morning the boys are rewarded with a sniff-fest around camp.  I give thanks that this had a happy ending, and there were no escaping chiweenies to become a coyote’s next meal.

The next night, windows in the “keep that Charles Barkly inside” position, side door curtains adjusted to keep chiweenies from sticking their heads out, but let air in, and the back doors resting against each other with a tarp over that to allow just a bit of air in we settle down for the night. All this done prior to lying down to read lest I unintentionally fall asleep.

The wind kicks up.  The wind gets stronger.  The wind blows the tarps off and the windshield cover goes flying. Well, at least the coyotes won’t be skulking around tonight.

I proceed to get out and rescue it all ending up with the front of the van packed with all the outside stuff:  tarps, windshield cover, my solar oven full of drying broccoli, half of my space blanket that was on the side of the van providing shade.  I say half because the other half has been torn off and blown to who-knows-where. I’ll look tomorrow.

The wind proceeds to howl all night and finally abates mid-morning.  The boys and I take a walk to gather up the things flung here and there. We are fortunate to find a missing window shade and the torn off half of the space blanket.  Now it’s time to dust and sweep and try to rid our vome of the grit and dust. My eyelashes are gritty and I find a few grains of sand irritating my belly button—sands gets everywhere when a wind storm blows through.

The next night we are dazzled with this gorgeous sunset.

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Thanks for stopping by 2Dogs Travel! Hugs, Shawna

 

 

Joshua Tree N. P.

January 31st, late morning, we say goodbye to the Salton Sea and head toward Joshua Tree National Park.  A stop in Mecca, California for a bit of gas and a bite to eat, then it’s onward on Box Canyon Road.  The scenery is marvelous if you like rock formations (and we do!) and if we could have found a shady spot to camp sans sand we would have spent a night here.  It appeared all spots with a firm foundation were taken so we motored on.

Arriving at the park entrance rather late in the day we camp for the night just outside the south park entrance on BLM land; boondocking.

Joshua Tree NP Sign

Joshua Tree National Park is huge, and half of it is a vast expanse of creosote covered valley with the desert’s bald mountains in the distance. This is desert tortoise territory and it’s heart warming to know they are safe out here to live out their long lives. You can read about the desert tortoise HERE. Oh how I would love to see one!!

Spotted at the Cottonwood trail head near the park entrance is a phainopepla, a small black bird that looks like a tiny black version of a mountain jay, but in fact is part of the waxwing family.Phainopepla

Dogs aren’t allowed on the trails so I wait for Jan to take a short hike back into the palm tree area and was rewarded with a glimpse of this small bird, and enjoy the scenery here at Cottonwood Springs. Box C Rd

Miles and miles into the park we come to the cholla garden and a small patch of ocotillo.

I would guess it’s about 30-35 miles into the park before we begin to see the Joshua trees .  They are so unique and absolutely beautiful.  Now it’s “miles and miles ” of  these beautiful trees and we begin to get into the “big rocks”, too.

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We make a quick potty stop at what will be our last stop in the park. As we are pulling out of our parking space and I am in the process of changing from reverse to drive when Charlie begins to bark his head off.  I glance in the mirror to see a guy pulling out of his parking spot. He’s going to ram us, and I honk the horn!  He abruptly stops thank goodness, and we get the heck out of his way.  Thank you Charles Barkly for saving us from being T-boned in the parking lot!  That little boy does NOT like anyone near our home, and today he proves he is serious about his job!

Charlie on PatrolAs all things do, we come to the end —the  north entrance and our exit— of the park. Its been a long, day, but so worth it. The Chiweenie Brothers might not think that, but I certainly do.   Tired and hungry, it’s time to find a spot to park for the night.

Thanks for stopping by 2Dogs. Hugs, Shawna

 

 

 

Corvina Beach

January 29, 2018, our noses pointing in a westerly direction, we slowly make our way along Hwy 111 to our next destination on the Salton Sea, Corvina Beach.  The water sparkles like diamonds where the morning sun hits it, and there is no where to pull over.

We come to a little oasis along the shore that I thought might be a good place to spend an hour or two amongst the palm trees, but once on the dirt road leading down to the water I spot a no trespassing sign. Private property. Keep out.

DSC_0003I turn around and continue on.

The Salton Sea, largest lake in California, used to be a busy vacation spot. Time has changed all that. The “sea” is slowly decreasing in size,, increasing in pollution, and huge fish kills happen every year.  This body of water is 50% saltier than our oceans! If you care to read of how the Salton Sea came to be, the problems, and the hopes for it you can read this assessment about it Here. While some saltwater species of fish do live in this toxic soup they have huge die-offs each year.

The beach is composed not of sand but of inches deep crushed barnacle shells and dried, petrified fish bones and scales.  It would be brutal to walk on barefoot, but surprisingly it doesn’t bother The Chiweenie Brothers’ paws.

I set up camp and wait for Jan to arrive. I cover the windshield and all the windows on the sunny side of the van  which will help keep us a bit cooler. There is also a wonderful cool breeze coming off the water.  Seagulls are checking out the shore for any bits of food that they might find.

We take walks, but mostly just enjoy the view and the birds. I reflect on the predicament this body of water is in, but have hope that something can and will be done to save it. At this time of the year there is no smell, but in high summer the stench of dying fish can knock you off your feet I am told.

I enjoy our first night’s sunset. DSC_0007

Our second evening stuns with this sunset.  DSC_0052

The next morning, having been awake since 4:00 trying to get a shot of the super blue moon eclipse and failing, I get enough light to catch the setting moon reflecting on the water.  And then Mr. Gull strutting his stuff looking for an easy meal.   The air is cool and refreshing and it’s going to be a stellar day!

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Thanks for stopping by.  Hugs, Shawna

CUURRENT READ: Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan

CAMP AMENITIES
Water:  Yes                Garbage: Yes
Bathrooms: Vault     Electricity: No
Tables: Yes                Shower: Yes, cold water
Fire Pit:  Yes              BBQ: No
# of Sites:  About 12 Fee: $10 per night, $8 with senior discount
Other:  Nice view of the water.  Near railroad tracks, but honestly the sound is somehow dampened and there are no whistles as the trains pass by.  I didn’t find the trains a bother.

 

 

Niland Boat Ramp

Our next stop, January 28, 2018 after leaving Slab City is the Salton Sea.  I head north again on Hwy 111 and intend on a night’s stay at the Imperial Wildlife Refuge to do some bird watching.  Murphy’s Law on “plans” kicks in and wouldn’t you know it, this is the LAST day of duck hunting in the refuge.  The only place to stay is the parking lot divided into parking spaces by old fire hose nailed into the ground and I say to heck with it and we move on.

Not too far down the road and just past the border patrol check station we come to the dirt road leading to the old Niland Boat Ramp.  Abandoned and no actual boat ramp visible any longer I grab a bite to eat and then walk the boys over to a quaint abandoned building on the shore and grab a couple of photos.

Not wanting to stay the night in this particular spot I head back out the dirt road to a side road I noticed when driving in.  The road looks solid and we take it coming to a nice level area and I park Freedom and put the window panels up to help keep the heat at bay.  We take a walk then have our dinner.

Charlie's got Bitty on lizard patrol  Charlie showing Bitty how to hunt the elusive lizard.

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Just before dark I hear a diesel truck. It sounds like it is coming up “our” road.  And closer. Closer still and I can now see the nose of a dark blue truck coming to a halt at right angle to my van.  I stick my head out and it’s a guy telling me he hoped I wasn’t offended earlier.  I look at him blankly and tell him no, I am not offended. Long story short, when we were at the end of the road down by the abandoned buildings he was parked next to a larger building “getting some sun”. He was sitting in a chair and had no shirt on, but that’s not unusual. Certainly didn’t offend me.

Have I met the preacher he asks and I tell him no, I have not. “Good,” he says. “He was offended that I didn’t have my shirt on. Guess he’d be pretty upset finding me without my pants, too.”  On my goodness. Another nudist (remember Bookstore Paul?).  What is it with these guys?

He tells me I can have his parking spot by the water as he is going to be gone for a couple of days. I thank him for the offer, but tell him we will be leaving in the morning.  He dithers on about how where I am is his usual spot, and that there are coyotes, but I should be safe. He assures me he is not “hitting on me” and his name is Bill.

Not missing a beat he says, “Well I guess I better put my pants on before I go into town,” and proceeds to open the truck door.  I pull my head back in the van and scramble as far back as I can and wait for him to leave.  I finally hear him drive away with  another assurance that he is not hitting on me and means no harm.  Bye Bill.  I had thought of staying another night, but this clinches it.  We are gone in the morning!

Chiweenie on Lookout Duty  Even the Chiweenie Brothers can’t wait to get out of here!  Hurry up, mom!!

WHAT IS IT WITH THIS DESERT ENVIRONMENT?? Aren’t they afraid things will get sunburned?  Can they do this kind of thing just anywhere out here?

Thanks for stopping by 2DogsTravel!  Hugs, Shawna

Free camping. Nothing posted regarding length of stay allowed. NO AMENITIES.  Not sure about very large motor homes, but there were several medium sized travel trailers here.  AND CLOTHING IS OPTIONAL!

 

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Salvation Mountain

On the 27th of January I decide to head west beginning a little side trip to break up what has become the mundane in Q.  RTR over, the shows that draw the big crowds to this tiny town every January are winding down, and my feet are getting itchy.  We gas up, stock up, and head out on I-10 to Blythe where we take Hwy 78 passing by the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area near Glamis.  They are beautiful.

ATVs are zipping over the dunes. Some have little flags on sturdy rods attached to them  which are bending backwards with the force of the air flowing.

We turn north onto Hwy 111 and pass through Brawley and Calipatria. Love this tree art spotted along the way.

Living Stump Carving in BrawleyWe arrive Niland where we will camp for a night and take in Slab City and Salvation Mountain.

DSC_0015 Salvation Mountain, which you will see in the link below, has kind of a Where’s Waldo? feel to it. I think it’s the riotous color and much to take in and the eyes don’t know where to settle first.

This tribute to Jesus is quite the surprise in this southern part of the Mojave Desert.  You may read about it’s history HERE.

Waiting to meet a friend, Jan, who the boys and I are loosely traveling with on this trip we drive through the area and grab some photos.

These are the year-round residents (squatters?). The Slabs where the snowbirds park for as long as they like are on Low Street. The whole area (city) has different roads, dirt, and most are named.

I opt to park south of Salvation Mtn for the night; it’s not too restful as traffic comes and goes until the wee hours of the morning. I let Jan know we are heading out and  will meet her somewhere along the Salton Sea when she is ready to leave Slab City.

Thanks for stopping by 2Dogs! Hugs, Shawna

A life Others don't understand

Slab City Camping Amenities:  NONE. COST- free.  If you forego the slabs and decide to park elsewhere walk the road or area first as many get stuck out here and even well traveled paths have deep swales to navigate.