The desert completes her show as our short spring gives way to our first summer. First summer . . . We have five seasons here. The usual spring, fall, and winter seasons and the fore summer, our driest months of May and June and Monsoon Summer when the prevailing winds change direction and storms boil up from the gulf of Mexico and give us much needed moisture. We are all keeping our fingers crossed that we get these much needed storms to give us a break from the severe drought most of the west is experiencing.
Our beautiful and protected ironwood trees are the next to show off. Full bloom and closeups
Thanks for stopping by 2DogsTravel. Hugs, Shawna and those two crazy Chiweenie Brothers
December 17, 2020. I spent a couple of days reorganizing and re-doing the inside of MissAdventure. The bed platform needed a bit of tweeking, and I had bought a couple of cabinets from a lady down the street from me and needed to install them. Now that we are not living full time in the van I am going for a more cute and stylish look rather than stuffing everything I own into every nook and cranny I could find. It will be nice to have items with a permanent place and out of sight!
My first dental appointment is Friday, but we leave in the early afternoon Thursday because no trip to Yuma is complete without time spent at the Bark Park and I want to make sure The Chiweenie Brothers have a great time. I get in a lot of walking, and an afternoon’s worth of running, hiking (in every sense of the doggie version of ‘hiking’) and sniffing for the boys leave all three of us worn completely out.
We spend the night in Wally’s parking lot only to wake up and find a flyer on the windshield stating they no longer allow overnights in their lot. Alrighty then. We head out onto I-8 West toward San Diego, and in just 8 short miles we take exit 166 and head south to the border and my dental appointment with Dr. Dennis Cochran, DDS, whose goal is the become the best dentist in Mexico. She’s on her way to being that in my opinion.
She preps my mouth for the ‘installation’ of two zirconia crowns on the implants I had put in a couple of years ago, takes impressions and I’m set free until tomorrow. Our adventure part of the trip begins.
I looked up a couple of places I wanted to see this trip and first up and just a few exits from the one I take to get to Los Algadones is Old Plank Road off Gray’s Well. This is a small preserved section of the wooden plank road built to connect the lower section of Southern California to Arizona. Built in 1915 the east-west route over the Algodones Dunes provided the last link of the commercial route between San Diego and Yuma.
Constructed of huge, thick, wooden planks linked together with metal strips and big bolts, it is a testament to man’s ingenuity of doing what needs to be done to go where he needs to go. I cannot even fathom the work that went into this endeavor nor the muscle used to keep the planks free of blowing sand.
Not wanting to press my luck with trying another night at Wally, the boys and I locate a LTVA (Long Term Visitor Area) off Sidewinder Road and ask the host if there is a section where one could park just for the night. He says no, not in this one, but if I go back to the Chevron Station just this side of the freeway and take the service road for 3 miles there is a 14 day stay free area right after the pavement ends.
This service road may be paved but it’s the roughest damn thing ever. Slowly we drive, slowly we get there rolling forward a few feet, BUMP, and then another few feet and the back wheels BUMP, and so it goes for three long miles, but we finally arrive and shockingly nothing inside MissAdventure has been jarred out of place or fallen over. We are rewarded with a nice spot to park for the night with no neighbors within 1/4 mile.
After a good night’s sleep we are up early and head back to Yuma on the 8 and I head into Walmart to purchase a new battery for my solar setup in the van and get a few groceries. A quick stop at the ATM to pull funds for my crowns and we head back to Mexico for my 10:00 a.m. appointment.
The second half of the crowning appointment didn’t go quite as planned. Due to a power outage my zirconia crowns are not ready and I sit in the reception area for four hours. They must have noticed me getting a bit worried when it got to be 1:00 p.m. and I kept looking at my watch wondering if I would get back into the US before they closed the border at 3:00. Poor doggies still in the van all this time.
The receptionist, Margot, a VERY young lady, asks if I want to go see the new office they are moving into next year. I jump at the chance to get my mind off the border crossing and my boys being stuck in the van all this time. We walk out to the sidewalk between two vendors where her scooter is parked and she tells me to wait, she will go get the car.
Margot makes it back in jig time in a beautiful what-looks-like- brand-new white four door Chevy. Is this Dr. Dennis’ car? Yes, she says. I hop in and we buzz along back toward the crossing and she makes a right turn and up the hill we go getting a few looks from some pedestrians as she whizzes by leaving a hair’s breadth of space between them and the side of the vehicle. I let out a breath I didn’t know I was holding when she pulls in and parks in front of Dr. Dennis’ new place.
It’s big. It’s beautiful. The interior has some Spanish style roundtop windowless cutouts in walls between some of the rooms, and there is room left for her to expand her business. In my opinion no one deserves it more than this young hard working dentist that wants to become the best dentist in Mexico. From one chair to two, and with this move two chairs and a dental surgeon she will rent to. She’s smart as well as deserving.
Part of the interior walls are painted this gorgeous shade of green, one of my favorite colors. The perfect shade. That, of course, has no bearing on my love of her new building. 🙂 We wave goodbye to the young man swiping what looks like spackle onto a section of the entry and get into the car.
Young Margot starts the car and begins to back up. I glance behind us just as a woman begins to step behind the car. I yell stop and Margot slams on the brake. The pedestrian glares and Margot laughs and says she glad she didn’t hit her. Oh yeah, me too!! I’m grateful she didn’t hit any cars either, I think to myself.
Margot says when she was hired Dr. Dennis (and this is pronounced like our female Denise) asked her if she could drive. Margot told her yes, and that she had a license. Welllll. Margot confides in me that she just said that so she would get hired, that she doesn’t have a license. You told her the truth, though, right Margot? She laughs and says yes, after she was hired. Oh dear Lord. 🙂
When we get back to the office I am whisked into a chair and the crowns are screwed onto the posts and cemented around the bottom or whatever it is they do. I won’t be able to eat for an hour. Lordy, it’s been a good eight hours since I have eaten, but I still have enough padding to get me by I am sure despite what my stomach is telling me.
There is a line today to get back across the border, as there always is when you stay in Mexico past noon, and that gobbles up a good half hour. People are desperate in this Covid pandemic and the usual vendors who ply the line headed back across to the USA seem especially desperate. Selling everything from masks to yard ornaments to ironwood statues these merchants have a different look in their eyes this year.
One young woman with two little girls sits on the low rock wall playing an accordion. She looks tired and sad. As I get closer I see a quiet desperation in her lovely eyes and I give her a dollar. The look she gives me and the quiet ‘gracias’ in thanks breaks my heart. It’s a dollar; her gratitude and her eyes tell me it might as well have been a hundred as far as she was concerned.
Spending more time waiting for my dental work to be finished than I planned on, I forego the other places I wanted to explore and will save them for next time, but I do stop to get these photos of the All American Canal.
The All-American Canal is an 80-mile long aqueduct, located in southeastern California. It conveys water from the Colorado River into the Imperial Valley and to nine cities. It is the Imperial Valley’s only water source, and replaced the Alamo Canal, which was located mostly in Mexico. The Imperial Dam, about 30 miles northeast of Yuma, Arizona on the Colorado River, diverts water into the All-American Canal, which runs to just west of Calexico, California before its last branch heads mostly north into the Imperial Valley. Five smaller canals branching off the All American Canal move water into the Imperial Valley. These canal systems irrigate up to 630,000 acres of crop land and have made possible a greatly increased crop yield in this area, originally one of the driest on earth. It is the largest irrigation canal in the world, carrying a maximum of 26,155 cubic feet per second. Agricultural runoff from the All American Canal drains into the Salton Sea.
The wait in line to cross the border, stopping for the photos of the canal and the short trip back to Yuma with some traffic eats up most of the Do-Not-Eat-For-An-Hour order I decide to stop at In and Out for a burger. The line is long and it takes about 40 minutes so I am good to go… I mean eat. A burger never tasted so good!! The Chiweenie Brothers enjoy an unsalted hamburger patty and we are on our way home.
Thanks for stopping by 2DogsTravel. We are hoping for more travel in the coming year. Praying all your hopes come to pass also. Hugs, Shawna
Books read since last post: Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore. Very good read about a rape and the effects on the victim, the town and its citizens. *****
This Magnificent Dappled Sea by David Biro. The Holocaust, an Italian family, a Jewish family, a baby, a disease. Another good read. ****
The Ultimate Road Trip Guide by Christina Bogantz and Melissa Rios. Their trip to visit 47 state parks in two months. Some good info here. ****
Monsoon? In Arizona? Yes. By definition monsoon is a season, not a single storm. It is a large-scale weather pattern that involves a seasonal wind shift over a particular region and is usually accompanied by an increase in atmospheric moisture and precipitation. Our monsoon season here in Arizona started June 15th and runs through September 30th.
Arizona’s monsoon forms when the sun heats the Pacific Ocean and land at different rates. The land warms at a faster rate than the ocean creating a low-pressure zone. As the hot air rises, it forces winds to shift and fill the vacuum that is formed. All of these, in turn, enhance rainfall and thunderstorms.
Arizona’s monsoon is the northern extent of the North American Monsoon, which begins in early June in central and southern Mexico. The dry westerly winds that persist through fall, winter and spring shift to moist southerly winds, bringing thunderstorm activity into Arizona. Humidity levels increase which can lead to thunderstorms, heavy rain, lightning, hail, high winds, flash flooding, dust storms, extreme heat and sometimes tornadoes.
What is the rainiest month in the desert? July. On average rain falls for 4.2 days and typically aggregates up to 1.1″ of precipitation. Doesn’t sound like much does it? It isn’t, however, these rain storms fall fast and furious over ground that resists soaking up the water and instead it runs off into the lower lying areas—the washes and rivers—and this runoff causes the flash floods that are so common here in the Grand Canyon State. They are exceedingly dangerous and can hit without warning.
In 2017 a visiting family of ten was swept away and perished from a storm that dropped rain higher up in the mountains and a flash flood seemly appeared out of nowhere in the river bed where they were enjoying their getaway.
It is wise to be aware of gathering storm clouds and where you are at all times. Put a weather alert app on your phone and heed any warnings you receive. Do not drive into rivers running even a little higher than normal. You have no idea what is under that water. The road could be gone and you would never know it until it’s too late.
Not My Photo
If it’s posted to turn around do so. There were four people, three of them children, lost last year during one of September’s storms when they ignored signs to turn around and tried to cross a flooded river. Arizona’s advice: Turn Around Don’t Drown.
Last September’s furious storm and flash flood watch that we experienced here after our summer spent exploring New Mexico was a nice introduction to what we can expect as we spend a full summer here in 2020.
A nice thunderstorm would be welcome right about now. It’s been HOT. Our first triple digits arrived in late April. We’d have a week of that then a week of high 80s or 90s then more triple digits. Now that June is here the high temps are here to stay. Twenty out of the last 24 days have all been triple digits with several 110 and above. Yeah, a good thunderstorm to cool things off for a few days would be nice. We take what we get, but one can wish, right?
I hope you all are well and happy. Check in with a howdy and let me know how you’re doing. I worry about ya! Hugs, Shawna
CURRENT READ: The Price of Paradise by Susana Lopez Rubio Set in Havana, Cuba in the 50s. ****
We wish you all a happy and healty 2020. Worried about dog food and treat recalls? Please read the article below and consider signing up for alerts. We don’t want our furry readers getting sick … Or worse! Hugs, Fries and Carlie
Dear Fellow Dog Lover,
I’m pleased to report there have been no dog food recalls issued since September 26, 2019.
Euthanasia Drug Discovered in Adulterated Animal Fat
The FDA recently discovered an animal euthanasia drug (pentobarbital) in test samples collected at a major supplier of animal fat to the pet food industry.
We’re unable to locate any information about which pet food brands may have purchased the affected ingredient.
For this reason, we recommend all dog and cat owners remain alert to the potential for future recalls related to this news.
Click here to read the official FDA Warning Letter sent to the producer.
Dog Food Recall Update
Some pet foods previously recalled may still be on store shelves… or in your own home. So, if you’ve missed any of the 11 recalls we’ve sent since July… be sure to visit our Dog Food Recalls page for full details.
10 Best Dog Food Lists
Over the last 90 days, The Dog Food Advisor has updated the following best dog food pages:
Cruising along the all-but-deserted two-lane Highway 160 after our stop at Four Corners we catch Hwy 64 heading back east. The windows are down and we enjoy the fresh air. We are back in New Mexico. Shiprock juts up on the horizon.
I begin photographing waaaay before we even get close, but it’s just so fascinating. Me, who finds faces and animals in rocks everywhere, just can’t “see” the ship in this rock pushing up out of the ground around it. Someone did, though, and I continue to stop and snap photos.
As we get closer the haze lessens. I kind of get the sense of the sails on a ship. Read about this interesting rock, it’s formation history and Indian legends HERE
Thunderheads form quickly in the Southwest.
Finally getting enough of this huge outcropping of rock, we head into the town of Shiprock. Located along the San Juan River there is some farming going on here, and once out of town and heading on to Farmington, I again stop to photograph rock. I love the way the verdant green of the cottonwood trees contrasts with the buffy brown of these sandstone cliffs.
It’s warming right up and we spend some time along the highway in the shade of the cottonwoods. I take The Boys for a walk in the abundant shade even though it’s along the highway. There’s a wide band of dirt and plenty of room to park.
Our next destination is over 100 miles away, and I do not want to begin that journey so late in the day, so we continue on to Farmington about a 40 mile drive.
It’s sweltering here, and road work on the main drag is in full swing. I am ready to call it a day. We find Walmart and a spot with some decent shade and wait for evening. Hopefully when the sun gets lower in the sky it will give a bit more relief from the heat.
I am not anticipating a cool night and good sleep, but am grateful for the shade we do have. With the doors open and the fan going it’s tolerable. It’s time like these, in a public place, that my lace curtains on the side doors do what I meant for them to do —- keep us out of the public eye, but I can see out and some air can get in.
July 24th. We leave the beautiful Sugarite Canyon. This park is up near the Colorado border and there are no roads heading from here back west; we must drive back along Hwy 64. I don’t want to travel east even though there is another state park about 80 miles from here—and one I would like to see—but the elevation drops, and I don’t want to get down into the heat. Perhaps another trip. My park pass is good through May of 2020, so ….
It’s a lovely soft morning of summer, blue sky and cool morning air. Enjoying the drive and keeping an eye out for things to stop and enjoy I notice a horse and a very shaggy old donkey next to a ramshackle barn. Of course I have to stop!
The Boys don’t quite know what to think of this woolly little creature standing perfectly still and content while I snap his photo. Llamas are the next attraction, a bit far away for a good shot, but I try anyway.
We end up back at Maverick Campground in Cimarron Canyon State Park and are blessed with the shady spot!! The camp host here welcomes us and says she had kind of promised the spot to someone, but there were other sites they could go to and we could stay as long as we. liked. Not sure what that was about because this spot isn’t a reserved site so they can’t hold it. I soon find out.
It’s not long before the neighbor on the right wanders over. Friendly small guy with a bit of an accent who practically tells me his life story before he gets around to why he is really here talking to me. His wife plays the dulcimer, and they come to this campground every year at this time from Texas to attend a dulcimer festival in Red River NM. It’s well attended he tells me, and this is the closest they can get as sites closer are always full.
Their group has made this “their” campground. All this said in a very friendly conversational way. I smile and think to myself, I get it buddy, but I’m here for the night. Rest assured I will be leaving in the morning.
Thanks for stopping by! Hugs, Shawna
NOTE: I have reclaimed some of the lost photos PTL! The Cloud warned if I delete any photos, which I did after uploading to a thumb drive, they are permanently deleted from the hard drive. Wellll, I found some of the photos. I had indeed moved them to a folder to be deleted. All the photos that I had transferred and then deleted were in the trash. Still missing some, but am going through each and every folder in the trash before I empty it. Hopefully Azetec Ruins and Mesa Verde National Park will show up as well.
Here are a few photos of Cimarron Canyon State Park
It’s a beautiful cloudless morning when we pull out of Maverick Campground in Cimarron State Park. Heading east on Hwy 64 the plan is to stop at Dawson Cemetery, near the little town of Cimarron, New Mexico. It’s an old mining town. It’s dirt road, but it’s decent dirt road, and we drive the 7 or so miles in taking it nice and easy, just enjoying the drive. Charlie has his head out the passenger window and Fries is doing his thing with front feet on the dash and back legs planted on the passenger platform—the dog seat if you will.
Nothing left of the town that I can see except for a couple of old buildings.
We soon arrive at the cemetery and walk up to the bill-board type memorial board and read about the many Italian coal miners (and those of other nationalities) who died in two separate explosions at Dawson, New Mexico’s biggest mine in the 1920s.
I’d stay here tonight if there was some shade but there is just the dirt parking area, no trees. We head back out toward highway 64. I spot this big guy, bigger around than my forearm crawling across the road. Its head is triangular and looks like a rattler, but there are no rattles on the tail. Unfortunately I was obsessed with getting the head up close as I safely could, and didn’t get the whole snake in the shot. In any case, we’ll just let him crawl across the road and continue on with his snakey business. You’ll have to use your imagination, these photos, too, lost forever.
Pulling my gaze away from the distant mountains and marveling at how green everything is we stop to watch these guys cross the road in what seems like an unending line. There must be 200 animals in this herd. I have never seen so many elk in one spot before! What a gift to witness this!
We gain Raton, NM and I find the library with the intentions of getting some posts scheduled. I work at it a bit, but soon, even with the windshield shade in place it becomes too hot. The boys are panting and circling trying to get comfortable. “I know babies, I’m hot too. Let me get this machine shut down then I’ll take you to McDonalds for a treat, ‘K?”
Tummies full we jump on I-25N and catch Hwy 72 to our next campsite. See you there!
As we head back onto Hwy 64 after our visit to the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial the day is still bright and sunny with just enough of a breeze to keep things nice. We pass by Eagle’s Nest State Park. It’s really crowded with those who like to fish, and I would just as soon not be stuffed in between two RVs; they are lined up like sardines in a can. But the lake is pretty.
Cimarron is located in a canyon between what is called the Palisade Sill. Interesting rock formations and wildflowers abound along the narrow two lane road that winds this way and that through the canyon.
Our first shot at a campsite is nixed due this section being reservation only sites, but a state park worker points me to Maverick or Black Jack just up the road. We get back out onto the highway and peek at Black Jack. It’s a tent area and we drive on to Maverick. Very small and mostly full, but we do find a site.
There are two fishing ponds in this camping area with a nice trail around them both. Campsites have tables, fire rings, drinking water is nearby along with toilet facilities . NO showers or dump station. Sites are pretty close together and in places can actually make a person feel uncomfortable, but if you have good neighbors it works.
Thunderstorms gather in the late afternoon on most days, and we get a few really good drenchings. It’s nice to have the tarp, cut to size, to fasten over the open side doors to keep it comfortable inside MissAdventure. Nights are wonderfully cool.
DUE TO A MAJOR GOOF-UP ON MY PART THERE WILL BE NO PHOTOS FOR SEVERAL POSTS COMING UP. DURING A SESSION OF ORGANIZING PHOTOS INTO ALBUMS I INADVERTANTLY DELETED A LOT OF MY PICTURES. I AM BEYOND SICK ABOUT THIS!
July 10th. Having packed up last night we are ready to roll this morning. Oh wait. The Chiweenie Brothers, those 2Dogs who Travel, are DEMANDING their breakfast this morning. They are usually pretty patient as long as they get to hike a leg first thing, but this morning they act like they are starving. Surely I didn’t forget to feed them their dinner last night … Hmmm. I forget coffee and get their breakfast served. You guys eat. I’ll wait for McDs coffee.
We leave Villanueva behind us, catch Hwy 3 near the church, turn right and then it’s I-25 N to Las Vegas. Las Vegas, New Mexico, about 30 miles away. It’s a gorgeous drive. The higher elevations in this state are still lush and green. Juniper and a few small pines dot the landscape.
Travel days mean McDonalds coffee and sometimes a McMuffin if the next town on the map has a McDs. Las Vegas is a nice size historical town so McDonald’s coffee it is. With three cream please.
I’ve done a bit of research and Las Vegas is not only a historical town, a lot of the old homes are not only still standing but are being lived in. I love old architecture, and I relish driving through old town, sipping my coffee and photographing the old homes and other buildings.