Hippy Hole

New Years 2022 It’s back to the Cibola NWR area and a couple days with a friend, Jayne, and her giant sweet black dog, Rio, down from Canada for the winter.

Jayne has been to Hippy Hole before, but it’s new to me and The Chiweenie Brothers. Located a bit north of the refuge, Hippy Hole is a small BLM camping area with a few covered tables, a fire ring, and vault toilets. It sits on a small lagoon alongside the Colorado River and is so peaceful. An occasional vehicle rumbles by, but it’s not constant and not a bother.

We spend our days walking the dogs, playing card games, relearning how to play Mexican Train … and eating. Jayne fixed a scrumptious dish called Mission Shrimpossible, starring jumbo shrimp in a tomato sauce with zucchini and feta cheese served over rice. I made a salad and brought snacks and fixings for hot toddies when night descends and the wind blows. Yeah, it was pretty cold on New Year’s Eve. Just another reason to have another toddy! Cheers!

Birds are plentiful and a joy to watch from our respective vehicles in the cold mornings. Egrets, a great blue heron, many coots, a pair of grebes that were too quick to photograph, and two pair of American white pelicans. The pelicans flew off at one point, but one pair came back soaring low, extending their ‘landing gear’ and gliding silently onto the water. Of course, I didn’t have my camera ready. A Flock of sandhill cranes flew over in the early morning on New Year’s Day.

The wind blew all night beginning New Year’s Eve and by noon on January 1, 2022 it hadn’t let up. We decided to call it a wrap. Fun while it lasted!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Stay safe, be happy, and make 2022 one to remember.

Thanks for stopping by 2DogsTravel. Hugs, Shawna

Current Read: Her Perfect Family by Teresa Driscoll. Having trouble getting through this book. It’s a good read, just a lot to do around the ol’ homestead.

Our Autumn Get Away

November 24-25, 2021 . Summer has finally given way to our autumn even though autumn this year is 10+ degrees above normal. It would be nice to have a normal season, but we’ll take it over the hot humid summer. Sitting around and sweating for months on end was no fun. I swear this next summer WE ARE OUT OF HERE for a few months. I hope!! Nothing is a sure thing any more.

The Chiweenie Brothers, as is their normal behavior when sensing a change, are racing around chasing each other’s heels, barking in wild abandon because, by golly, WE’RE GOING SOMWHERE!!! With that doggie sense of detecting when something they love is about to happen I grab and hug each of them in turn. Yes, boys, we are going on an adventure. I am as excited as they are!

MissAdventure packed with last minute essentials, I dress the boys in their bright red harnesses and attach the leashes. Grabbing wallet, keys, sunglasses, and my ever-present desert fashion accessory, the essential SUN HAT, we load up.

We drive to Love’s Truck Stop to fuel up. I gulp at the price of gas and quickly determine the amount we’ll need to make it to our destination and back home. Okay, it’s a lot for such a short trip, but we need this. The boys need a change because, well, they’re dogs. They thrive on new places, new smells, new adventure. I need a change because I am sick of sitting for months as the only way to deal with Arizona’s much needed monsoon. Let me go on record saying I hate humidity. It’s draining and restricting and miserable. Too miserable to get even one thing checked off my project list, but I did get a lot of reading done, :). And now my mental state needs a change.

Fueled up we head west across the Colorado River into California stopping in Blythe for a few grocery items and ice. It takes a few minutes to get things arranged in the ice chest, but at last we are on the road again heading west. Just a few miles out of Blythe we exit the freeway and turn left at the top of the off ramp, heading south. We again cross the Colorado and are back in Arizona in and around the Cibola Wildlife Refuge. They grow a lot of cotton out here.

We can’t camp in the refuge, of course, but the drive in reveals a feast for desert eyes. This area is flooded each fall with water from the river and hundreds of ducks, coots, Canada and geese, and even some sandhill cranes on the opposite, dry side settle here to spend the winter feeding before moving on. The poplars and scrub are dressed in brilliant yellow. With the backdrop of a brilliant blue autumn sky it’s breathtaking.

Not sure how long I have been sitting here enjoying the view, but The Boys remind me they are waiting. Dogs are not allowed outside of the vehicle, and they are getting antsy. You guys have been so good. Let’s go find a camp and do some exploring. Camera put away; we head back out onto the main road.

The BLM camping area begins right across the highway from the refuge, but I turn right, and we do a bit of scouting. It appears the camping area goes on for at least several miles with some entrances named, by campers no doubt, who have put up little homemade signs naming the dirt roads. Wino Way catches my eye and I drive back in a ways only to drive back out. It wasn’t impressive and the winos can have it.

There are lots of possibilities, but I think across from the refuge will be our best bet. Making our way back north we turn right across from the refuge and follow the fairly decent dirt road up and around. There are only two other vehicles here, both vans. We settle on a knoll that has a nice, elevated view of the area, and at least a quarter mile away from the nearest vehicle. It’s rocky and a bit barren, but the view towards the refuge is lovely.

I get the van backed in, our windshield cover put on, the solar panel set up facing south, and then take The Chiweenie Brothers for a nice walk. Every few steps I see a pretty rock. My jean’s pockets get full rather quickly. Note to self: Bring a couple plastic bags next time.

Oh, look, donkey tracks!

A well-used, narrow trail going mostly north/south disappears into the distance. Oh look, a pretty pebble. And so it goes. By now my shirt bottom is a makeshift receptacle for rocks, and we make our way back to camp, me doing a drop, stop, and rearrange of my cargo every few yards. *sigh*. But these rocks! They’re so pretty!!

We repeat the above on Thanksgiving Day. Our much-needed respite eventually comes to an end. I break camp but take the time for a couple more shots of our view then I take the boys on a very short walk, put the camera away, and we are off.

View of the Wildlife Refuge from our camp

Refreshed and ready to get on with the projects that were put off this past summer, they have now become autumn and winter projects i, and it’s time to get crackin’.

Thanks for stopping by 2Dogs!

Summer and Current Reads:

Three Forensic Genealogy novels by Nathan Dylan Goodwin. Hiding the Past, The Lost Ancestor, and American Ground. All are based in the UK and are not bad reads, but if you’re not into genealogy they may drag a bit for you. I believe there are several more of his books yet to be read.

I Thought You Said This Would Work, Ann Garvin. Cute, appealing story of three friends and the insights, trials, and tribulations they deal with when one of them is hospitalized. A road trip, a new friend added to the mix, romance, and animal rescue round it out. **** Four stars . Just because.

Flight Risk, Joy Castro. I started out loving this book. The Latina heroine from the hills of West Virginia married to a well-to-do man must make peace with her upbringing and come to terms with the fact that, yes, she does belong. But like so many new novels today there just had to be a LTBGQ appearance. It just didn’t seem to belong in this poor-girl-marries-well story. And then the author throws in a short, vicious, crying-her-eyes-out scene when our heroine is reminded of the 45th president and his “crimes against women” in a very transparent and ill-researched personal rant. I won’t be reading any more of Castro’s books. *** three stars for the first 2/3rds of the novel.

Two of Dean Koontz’ Odd Thomas novels, Odd Interlude and Odd Apocalypse. How can you not love any of these books? Koontz’ sweet, unassuming, psychic fry cook hero, Odd, is so lovable, and Odd is the perfect vehicle for the Dean Koontz imagination.

These Toxic Things, Rachel Howzell Hall. Wow! I think I’ve just discovered a new favorite mystery writer; could not put this book down and the ending blew me away. My only disappointment is the title. It sounds too much like a tacky romance novel. Sorry Ms Hall, but that’s what it made me think of. Carry on with the stellar writing no matter what title you give your next book. *****

The Four Winds, Kristin Hannah. FIVE STARs *****. 1921, Depression Era America. Choices must be made, survival may depend on that choice: One woman’s struggle with abandonment, change, choices, hardship, and raising her two children during the Dust Bowl years. I finished this book in two sittings. It is beautifully written with believable characters and situations. A heart wrenching read, but good portrayal of the choices people had to make to survive this catastrophic, man-made disaster. A wonderful historical fiction novel.

Another good five star read, Beneath Devil’s Bridge, Loreth Anne White. Excellent who-done-it. Years after the unbelievably violent, rage filled murder of a 14-year-old girl, old wounds are opened and brings to light new questions and new revelations when the man who confessed to the 25-year-old crime now claims he is innocent. *****

And that was my summer and how I dealt with the heat and humidity. I’d like to encourage you to read more, and The Chiweenie Brothers would like to remind you to remember to take your favorite furry buddy for some nice longs walks. Preferably before AND after a reading session. Bark! Woof! Woof! Bark!!!

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Haboob — Another Weather Phenomenon

People are often puzzled by this term. Mention a haboob to a non-Arizonian, and they give you a look like “say what?!? Our weatherman has a saying: “Pain before the rain”.  It pretty much sums up the excessive heat              and hot drying winds that sets us up for the start of monsoon season, Then there are the hopes and prayers Monsoon actually happens as it’s our major source of rainfall. On average we only get a whopping 6.4 inches for the entire year.

What exactly is a haboob?

An old interview with some new members of our football team gives some interesting insight. I imagine there is some form or another of this asked of each new player that joins the team, and those who don’t live in Arizona.

 The newest Arizona Cardinals weigh in:

Playing football, or any sport for that matter, in Arizona comes with some uncommon factors that don’t typically come into play elsewhere in the country.

There’s an abundance of scorpions — just ask Tre Boston — rattlesnakes and the occasional haboob.

Arizona Cardinals center Evan Boehm took it upon himself to make sure the newest members of the team were properly informed as to what exactly a haboob is. For most of the players asked, a haboob is pretty much the closest thing to the world ending, and from the looks of it, there may be a need for a refresher course in the near future for a few of the players.

“It’s when it seems like the apocalypse is coming, but really it’s only rain and sand,” wide receiver Brice Butler said.

Rookie center Mason Cole reiterated the wideout’s words. “It looks like the world’s ending, but when you are in it, it’s kind of foggy, real windy, but besides that it looks like the world’s ending,” Cole said.

For offensive lineman Korey Cunningham, the term can’t be real. “You’re lying,” Cunningham said when asked what a haboob is. “Were they the things in the cafeteria?” After experiencing the weather events firsthand, the lineman still wasn’t sure what a haboob was until he started talking about the loud phone alerts he gets when a storm’s on the way. “I thought a hurricane was about to hit, but then I was like ‘we ain’t by no water,” Cunningham said. “So then I asked someone at the table and they said it was a haboob and I looked outside and I thought the world was about to end. With all the dust in the air and it starting to get dark outside it was kind of scaring me a little bit. But it’s just a dust storm that’s all it is.”

Out of all the players, offensive lineman Justin Pugh was the most knowledgeable and even used some cinematic inspiration to give his definition of the storms. “They’re like 70-mile long, five-mile high dust storms that come before the monsoons,” Pugh said. “I feel like I’m in that movie The Mummy when the face is coming out of [the dust storm].”

But whatever you do, don’t ask rookie wide receiver C.J. Duncan what a “Haboo” is. “I don’t know what that is,” Duncan said when asked. “Is it some kind of clothing?”

So, what is the actual definition of a haboob?

Seeing your first Arizona haboob can be a lifetime event. A haboob is a huge dust storm created from the airflow of a thunderstorm or intense shower. The winds driving the haboob can reach 50 miles per hour and blow dust up to 10,000 feet into the air.

The term “haboob” is from the Arabic language and means blown. A strong Arizona haboob can last for a few hours and travel over 100 miles. The winds moving a haboob can cause sever damage and power outages. Arizona haboobs occur during the summer monsoon season. Along with Arizona, haboobs occur in New Mexico and western Texas. Visibility is likely to be zero as the wall of dust overtakes vehicles. The haboob is the Southwest’s answer to the northern whiteout.

The greater Phoenix metro area is well known for haboobs. On July 5, 2011, one of the largest Arizona haboobs ever observed occurred. This Phoenix haboob rose over 5,000 feet high. A wall of dust covered the entire Phoenix area from Apache Junction to Goodyear.

What creates an Arizona haboob?

Summer monsoons bring strong winds and concentrated down pours. As the monsoon thunderstorms collapse, they can create high outflow winds. The outflow winds cause gust fronts to form. The gust front picks up massive amounts of dust and sand which move up into the atmosphere.

See the source image

Phoenix has 1 to 3 Arizona haboobs every year. Haboobs are also prevalent in Casa Grande, AZ, about 40 miles south of Phoenix. See the Fox News video of the Phoenix Haboob. Be Patient, it takes a few seconds to load.

Thanks for stopping by 2DogsTravel. The Chiweenie Brothers and I are looking forward to, hopefully, doing a bit of traveling in the near future, but you know, with the way things are in Arizona and being the pariahs due to Covid …. no one wants us in their state!  Perhaps a jaunt within Arizona once the crowds clear out of the higher elevations.  We’ll see. It’s feeling pretty good sitting under the cooler that runs 24/7 even though it’s become a bit boring.  Lots of reading time.

CURRENT READ:  Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (hard to put down!)

Just finished: The City by Dean Koontz.  A decent read by this master of the horror/thriller/suspense novel, but not one of his best in my opinion.