We’re Back in Q

                                                                Life is short

November sure has whizzed by.  The Chiweenie Brothers and I made it to Arizona, spent a couple of nights at Craggy Wash in Lake Havasu where some guy tried to roust us from our spot beside a nice shade tree by whining about how this was the third time he’s lost out on this spot and HE needed shade­­­—like we didn’t!—and when I refused to give it up  he hopped in his rig and peeled out spraying us with small rocks and dirt!

When we left a couple of days later I got the tires rotated on MisAdventure, and then we spent some time at the SARA dog park. SARA Park has much to offer besides a wonderful dog park: Hiking and biking trails, an equestrian area, and more.

We move on to Parker where we spend one night off Hwy 62.  Last year’s camping area is inaccessible. Not sure if it was due to flash flooding or just the fact the road has been graded, but nothing looks familiar and I can’t find a spot with shade. One night here and we move on. Q (Quartzsite) here we come! 

I drive straight into town, get ice and fill up the generator (I love being able to use my Instant Pot!!) then head to the dog park.  Big surprise here.  The “Big Dog” side is closed for some unexplained reason and all are using the “Small Dog” side.  It isn’t working too well as the big dogs have pretty much taken over and there are plenty of little dogs that don’t like being in with them.  But, it is what it is. We will either spend more time in other areas of La Paz County or we can change our preferred time to be at this dog park to later in the afternoon. We’ll work it out!

Once the boys are ready to leave the dog park I drive to the library and try to get a blog post done.  I no longer have mobile internet as ATT said I used too many roaming hours and they cut me off everywhere there is no ATT cell tower.  Hmph!  This may be a long winter with fewer posts. Not surprisingly I still have to pay until my contract is up so I won’t be getting anything different at this time. Again … It is what it is.  I’ll work it out!

Meanwhile, out in the desert we settle onto BLM land with a sweet, shady spot at the Hi Jolly 14-day area.  Long walks with the boys in the chilly air of morning, some reading, checking email­­­—fortunately I can get my email and get onto the internet with my phone, but no way can I do a blog post from it— and I am able to make an appointment with my dentist in Los Algadones. But, before that happens we will head to Bouse and stay a night or two.  The boys will get to romp in the HUGE dog park there, I will get veggies from the truck that brings in produce fresh from the fields, and I will also attend a get-together with the Bouse Genies, the local genealogy group. 

This trip to our wintering grounds has brought some frustration, yes, but there has been blessings, too:  Lying in bed one night with the back doors open I watch the space station glide silently through the night sky.  Early mornings, before sunrise, I watch Venus hanging huge and glittering, low in the east as day tries to make her disappear for another 24 hours, Sun demanding her time in the sky. One morning Venus was next to the quarter moon; so beautiful!   

Some mornings Sun brushes past the distant mountains with a silent but huge burst of light, other mornings she makes a magnificent entry wearing a cloak of the softest pinks and lavenders or bright red and gold if she’s feeling brassy.

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Coyotes howl across the desert.  I do consider this a blessing, although it’s not much fun when they come in close trying to trick The Chiweenie Brothers into coming out to play which they did three nights running at one point.  Sends a chill up my spine.

Gorgeous sunsets and sunrises.  They make my heart sing in their beauty.

Thank you for stopping by 2DogsTravel. We appreciate you coming along on our adventures, and appreciate your patience while we get through this little internet glitch. Hugs, Shawna

Biding our Time In Q

We’ve had a cold spell in the desert. For about a week we have had some chilly weather with a cold wind reminding us that, after all, it IS winter. A couple of recent nights it’s been a teeth chattering 36-37 degrees inside the van when morning breaks.  I take the boys for their early a.m. potty break, heat some water for coffee, then jump back under the covers and wait for the sun to warm our vome through the windshield.

I have a heater, but have never used it. I tend to just ride it out rather than artificially heat up the inside of the van, because it’s too hard to cool it back down once the day wears on. That’s been my experience around Quartzsite anyway; it may change when we leave here and head north, but we’ll take it as it comes.

Last year, by mid-March, the temps were climbing into the 80’s. That is barely tolerable when you live in a tiny home made of metal.  When it hit 85 we left and headed north toward home in Cali. We no longer live in Cali, but we will be heading north seeking cooler weather once it turns too warm here in the southern Arizona desert. That may be sooner than we expect if the chatter at the dog park is correct.

With a general idea of what route we will travel, the goal is to end up in southern Utah for a meet-up with a couple of gals I met at the RTR.  The trick is going to be timing:  Staying out of the encroaching heat, but arriving in Utah early enough to still be able to take in Arches, Zion, Bryce Canyon before they, too, become too hot.

While biding our time waiting on the weather to send us scampering to get away from the heat we spend time at the Quartzsite Dog Park, rock hound on our morning and evening walks, and I do a lot of reading. Oh, and gazing at the barren mountain ranges, in this case the Plamosa Mountains, picking out shapes.  Do you see the lioness’ head?

Big Cat in mountain

CURRENT READ:  Beneath a Scarlett Sky. This is a good read, but for some reason it is taking me much longer than normal to finish it.  Perhaps because it’s another WWII story, and you know how heart wrenching those can be.

I spent the other day going through things in the storage area behind the bed sorting, tossing, and getting together a box of stuff to take to the Salvation Army. It’s an on-going process this continuing effort to get the vome cleared out of all the extras I brought along when we started our new life’s adventure of full-time traveling.

Ever being one not to waste anything or have to replace things I had extras of and brought with us to use up,  we’ve lived kind of crowded. Regular sorting, tossing, donating is needed to keep things organized as we rid the vome of stuff.  This last batch of unneeded items that went to the Salvation Army has gotten us to a I-can-see-the-finish-line place and the quest for having just what we need and not much more than that.  The goal of eventually having a place for everything and everything in it’s place is closer! Yippee!!!

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Our spot in Scaddan Wash.

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The full moon on March 1, 2018

Until next time, Hugs Shawna

 

 

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.

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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!

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See Freedom lurking in the upper right corner?

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Thanks, as always, for stopping by 2DogsTravel!

 

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. 

Indian Bread Rocks

October 27th, 2017. Deciding to move on we leave Lordsburg, NM and cross into Arizona.  A search on freecampsites.net showed a BLM  recreation site near Bowie and that’s where I point Freedom’s nose; westward on I-10.  

Exiting the freeway  at Bowie we pass through the north side of town and travel through pistachio orchards heading toward the Ft. Bowie Historical Site.

Following the directions given on Freecampsites.net we take a right onto Happy Camp Road.  It’s dirt and a bit rough, washboard style. I drive slow. A small motor home passes us heading in the opposite direction and they wave and smile so I know if they can make it so can we, and we travel on. Seems like a long ways out but in reality it’s only a couple of miles.

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There is no one at the picnic area and no signs saying no camping so, liking the idea of a table and shade (only shade around!!) I set up camp: Swing away hitch tray moved to the side, solar panel taken out of the back of the van and plugged in, reflectix window covers set up as it looks like the afternoon sun will shine directly onto us despite the large shade tree.

No sooner am I set up and ready to do a walkabout with the boys than a couple from North Carolina pulling a small camp trailer come up asking if we are staying for the day or …. They want my campsite! When I tell them we are staying the man looks a teeny bit put out, but the woman is chatty and we introduce ourselves, discovering they, like me and the boys, are full-timing.  Full-timing meaning we live and travel full-time.

We chat a bit more, learning they are heading to Q for the winter also. They decide to set up camp a little farther north.

                                             The area has some terrific topography.

As interesting as the area is, being hot and tired and sick of stewing in my own sweat for days on end I consider moving on tomorrow, but the night cools down into the 40s and I sleep like a log. I can deal with the day’s heat if it cools down at night, so we will stay until we are forced to leave when our water runs out. 

Saturday, October 28, 2017. The morning is crisp and cool and after the boys are fed and do their potty thing, they want back inside to snuggle under the covers.  Too cold for The Chiweenie Brothers! These boys like heat! Charlie sticks his head out every once in a while to check the temperature,DSC_0053   but Fries is just a lump under the covers. He DOES NOT like to be cold–ever!  When I pull back the covers this is the look I get! DSC_0056

Today I will research where to go next,. I am thinking north instead of west since higher altitude sounds better than still-hot summer on the route I originally planned. I don’t want to arrive in Quartzsite (Q for short) before the lovely winter temps settle in.

I am having a hard time adjusting to the “I-don’t-have-to-be-anywhere-at-a-certain-time” routine now that I am officially retired, but I’ll get there!  Learning to slow down has been hard.

The soft light of early morning gives a warm glow to the rocks surrounding the area.

As I sit writing this, Burger, sleeping in the front and The Chiweenie Brothers snug under the covers, these little guys visit camp.

October 30, 2017. A planned hike into the Ft Bowie Historical Site is nixed as it’s farther than I thought and I don’t think Burger could make the three mile round trip. Off we go to the next camp, and on the way out the boys spy these guys along the road.  Biggest dogs they’ve ever seen!  LOL!

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Thanks for stopping by 2Dogs! Hugs, Shawna

CAMP AMENITIES
Water: No                                      Garbage: Yes, there’s a can in the picnic area
Bathrooms: Yes,  vault toilet      Electricity: No
Tables: In picnic area only         Shower:  No
Fire Pit:  Rock rings                     BBQ: In picnic area
# of Sites:  At least 6 close to picnic area, others farther away       Fee:  None
Other:  Small trailers easily fit, larger ones may be hard to turn around. Watch for big holes and dips in some of the camping spots. The road in is very dusty.