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






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


The Bark Park, Yuma AZ

November 10, 2017. It’s true! There is a dog park in Yuma, and oh what a park it is!  HUGE!  Bigger than a football field, it actually belongs to Walmart. It was their drainage area where excess water is routed during an epic rain storm.  The city wanted a dog park and went to Walmart with this proposition:  Let us build a dog park on this piece of property and you won’t have to pay taxes on it.  Win-win, wouldn’t you say?  

It slopes so doggies and doggie moms and dads get really good exercise. There is a concrete sidewalk on three sides with benches if you need to sit.  Shade trees. There’s even some agility props for those wanting to utilize those things. They, I assume the city, even provide poop bags, as many do, so there’s no excuse for not cleaning up after your dogs!


Meet Max, the pit bull/boxer cross. Charlie found a new best friend.  Fries was a bit wary.


We spent the night at a nearby Walmart (undercover because there’s no over-nighting at this Wally) and we repeated the trip to the Bark Park next morning before heading out to Q (Quartzsite, AZ) where we will spend the winter in various BLM boondocking sites.

And because we will be staying in one camp for up to two weeks at a time, I will be taking a break from the blog for the month of December.  We will be taking short day trips or possibly even staying longer in the surrounding area, and I will, of course, do posts about those, but they won’t be published until January.  I know you are all busy, busy, busy this time of year so I won’t bother you until next year! 

I’ll be busy with adding tags to previous posts to make things easier to find if you want to go back and get information on a particular spot, and adding a page on the various dog parks we come across along with some who, what, when, and where for those who may not have utilized dog parks before, and some etiquette and what to expect.




Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

October 8, 2017. We leave Darby Well and backtrack south on Hwy 85 to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. It’s about 50 miles out of our way, but there was just no time to take it in when we passed by from Hwy 86 the other day.  This is the nice thing about living the way we do. We don’t have to be in a rush although it has still not sunk in that I don’t have to rush. This isn’t a vacation, it’s a way of life now.

DSC_0018 I don’t plan on staying here overnight, but have been told the campground is beautiful.

We make our back onto Hwy 85, pass the road going into Darby Well. There’s some interesting rock formations along the way.


 Charlie finds something interesting to look at when I stop to check the map and have a snack. That boy is ALWAYS looking for something to chase! DSC_0031

Thank you for joining us on our travels! Hugs, Shawna

Marana Dog Park, Saguaro National Park

November 6, 2017. With mail in hand we grab a block of ice and head out taking 87 south and catching I-10 east to find the dog park in Marana, AZ. I love my GPS!  This girl would be lost, literally, without it. I’m a right and left kinda girl; this go north, south, east or west kind of stuff confuses the heck outta me.  With the GPS I have to deal with none of that, although I only use it for city/main road driving. I do not rely on it for any of this  boondock stuff where you could end up, well, in the boondocks but not in the spot you were expecting.  

I easily find the park and the boys have some fun.  A lot of fun!!!


Once the boys have worn themselves completely out we head out towards the west side of Saguaro National Park.  

We find a boondock* site in The Ironwood Forest to spend the night and then we are off on Hwy 86 toward Ajo. I was not looking forward to this drive as it looked on the map to be pretty desolate, but we were surprised.  

Thanks for joining us!  Hugs, Shawna

*For those who may be unfamiliar with the term “boondock”  (also called, in more genteel terms, dispersed camping) it’s a camp made on BLM public lands or other places that have zero amenities. No water, no toilets, no tables, no nothing. Maybe a rock fire ring, but that would be a luxury site.  🙂  

Oak Flat C. G.

October 31, 2017. From Gila Box we head northwest on Hwy 70 to Globe. A planned stop and camp near Pinal Pass is nixed as I can’t find the BLM office and the sign pointing toward the area took me into a residential area. It’s me, not them, but I decided I was too stressed driving through the traffic in Globe (which is a cute little town, by the way) to spend any more time looking.  It’s getting a bit late in the afternoon anyway and the decision is made to travel on. 

By sheer luck I was looking in the right spot at the right time and spy a campground sign between the little towns of Miami and Superior on Hwy 60. We pull in seeing these brush teepees on the left. This sweet little campground was not on my map, so I am thrilled to have found it.  Honestly a lot of these little places aren’t on the map I have!! 

It’s a free campground with minimal amenities. We find a suitable site and settle in for the night. Around 2:00 a.m. the boys go nuts and a peek out the door reveals the silhouette of a very large wild pig.  I shine the flashlight at him its eyes glow green, and he wanders off. 

Being very curious about the area I look up some information. There is an on-going controversy between mining interests who want to privatize Oak Flat and the surrounding area so the copper can be mined, Native Americans who claim it is a sacred site and want it closed to the public, other Native Americans who claim it is not a sacred site, and outdoor enthusiasts who want to keep the area accessible for their activities. 

We stay two nights here and leave midmorning, November 3rd, heading toward Florence, AZ.  The drive takes us along the Gila-Pinal Scenic Route and it doesn’t disappoint. Devil’s Canyon is gorgeous and the bridge over Queen Creek is high … I did not get a photo of the bridge; no place to stop.


Thanks for coming along on our big adventure. “See you” in a few days! Hugs, Shawna

Water: No                   Garbage: No
Bathrooms: Vault      Electricity: No
Tables:  Yes                Shower: No
Fire Pit:  Yes               BBQ: No, but there’s a grate over the fire pit
# of Sites: 16               Fee: Free
Other:  Elevation is 3900 Ft, open all year, pets need to be kept on leash or restrained. There is an area suitable for group camping. Trailers over 30 feet not recommended.




Deming, NM, Rock Hound S.P.

October 23, 2017. After a night in Walmart’s parking lot in Las Cruces, we head out. Hopping on I-10 we head west. I have no particular spot in mind for tonight’s stop, but once I see the sign for Rock Hound State Park, I know this is where we’ll stay. We take the Deming, NM exit and follow the signs.
Rock Hound is situated in the Little Florida Mountain range. It’s not the biggest park, but it’s one of the cleanest we have been in. The bathroom/showers are immaculate. The spiders are still big and this one comes ambling through our site as I begin unpacking the items needed to make our one-night stay comfortable: Solar panel set up and the one-burner propane burner for cooking dinner and making morning coffee. My camp chair with fold down side table. We’re set!
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I encourage him to leave without violence and so long as he stays away and doesn’t talk any of his friends into coming around we will stay at peace with each other.
This large, rugged mountain at the back of the park prevents the internet signal from reaching us and there are towers just on the other side of the mountain. I can see the tops of them, but no ATT signal gets through.

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The hillside is covered with paddle cactus. It must be a gorgeous site in the spring when they bloom!
The only drawback here is the one vault toilet shared between the non-electric and the day use area, and it’s located in the day use area. If you are in one of the six non-electric sites as we are you have to go down and around a gully to get to it. Not good if you have an emergency! LOL. The bigger bathroom with flush toilets and the showers are located in the electric sites. The water spigot is there also.
There is a short hiking trail with a manageable incline that takes you to a view point that overlooks the valley below and the Big Florida Mountains in the distance.

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And as the park name implies, there are various gemstones that can be found here if you are so inclined to search.
On Tuesday morning after a fabulous shower in the cleanest park bathroom/shower area I have ever been in we head out. Guess which direction? Ha!
Thanks for stopping by 2Dogs! Hugs, Shawna