September 5, 2019
Leaving Winslow after our short visit to Standing on the Corner Park, we make a dash for Flagstaff, the air becoming noticeably cooler the closer we get. Taking the exit for Walnut Canyon I look for the same camp we stayed in year before last. There is no one parked there! Yeah! Shade, privacy, and memories—the little juniper tree I backed into then, tearing out the van’s right tail light, is still there, limb hanging down. Dead but still attached to the little tree.
I make camp, feed The Boys, fix dinner, then lie down to read for a little while. I had intended on staying a couple of days, but I am restless. After reading a chapter in my book I get up. I take down the tarp and put away the camp chair. The need, for some reason, to get “home” is pulling at me, so with nothing but a quick morning walk for The Chiweenie Brothers we will be ready to pull out first thing in the morning.
A thunder storm rolls through—nothing like Coyote Creek State Park in NM!!—and we get a bit of rain. It’s much cooler up here at the higher elevation and sleep will be good.
Upon awakening in the morning I haven’t changed my mind, and we drive into Flagstaff where I get supplies at Wally. One more stop, at the Cricket phone store, and we are soon on our way to Williams where we head south, ending up in Prescott.
I drive through town and on the way out locate the White Spar Campground where we spend the night. We were here, too, year before last. I got lost hiking. Haven’t told that story yet. Perhaps before winter is over.
On the morning of the 7th we head out at the crack of dawn. It’s only 120 miles to Quartzsite (Q Town). We wind our way, slowly, down the 15 mile long grade that twists and turns down the narrow mountain road, finally arriving at Yarnell, then on to Congress. Once out onto Hwy 60 we turn right and drive the last leg of our journey. Our adventure is over for this year.
We are back in Q by noon, and the first thing is to get the cooler going. It’s still triple digits here, and our little place is HOT. The floor is hot. The walls are hot. It’s stifling and the sweat runs in rivulets off my brow.
It takes two days, the swamp cooler running around the clock, to get our tiny one room/one bathroom casita cooled off, but we’re “home”. I begin making a list of the many things that I intend to get done this fall and winter. Lots of things to do to make our winter retreat the haven I want it to be.
Here is where I will take my annual hiatus for the holidays. Not sure exactly when in January I will be writing again. It may be February. It may be spring. We may or may not take off in January for a getaway trip while our little town of 3000 is overrun by snowbirds to the tune of 90,000 plus. Or we may stay put and hunker down until the New Year is a little older. Playing it by ear.
Thank you for riding along with us on our New Mexico adventure. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Hugs, Shawna
CURRENT READ: Voyager (3rd book in the Outlander series) by Diane Galbadon. Checked out from the library for the third time — too much to do for reading!! The desert tells a different story every time one ventures into it — Robert Edison Fulton
PS Any suggestions for where to go next summer? Someplace you’ve been that’s awesome? Some place you’ve always wanted to see? Would love your suggestions.
Labor Day is winding down. After our morning walk we head back to the van and I enjoy a second mug of coffee. The boys are napping. A car parks behind the van and I see a gal get out. She comes up to the van saying something on the order of “Youhooo! Hello. Are you there?” I reluctantly put down my current read, Look Alive Twenty-Five by Janet Evanovich, and poke my head through the curtains on the side doors.
Standing way too close to the van is a young woman with a few tattoos and a couple of missing teeth. Other than that she is fairly neat and clean. “Yes?” I reply, unable to keep the suspicion out of my voice.
“Oh, I’m just wondering if you have a plug for an air mattress, she asks. I can’t find mine.” I tell her I do not, and she whirls around and walks to the back of the van and over to her little white car and drives off.
I watch as she drives north toward the upper half of the campground. Odd. She didn’t ask any other campers if they had a plug. I ponder this for a moment and think to myself that perhaps I was just targeted, possibly for a theft, otherwise why would she not ask others if they have a plug? Takes cajones for someone to try something like that in broad daylight, but that’s our world today, no?
It’s time to begin thinking of a plan for the last week or so of our summer adventure. The thought of getting back to Q so early is both daunting and exciting. The temps are still triple digits there, UGH, but I am excited to get settled in and begin the projects I have planned to try and make our winter home beautiful and cozy on a shoe string. And we do have an evaporative cooler. 🙂
Dealing with the temperature is an integral part (or maybe an annoyance) of van life, but you gotta bend with the way the wind blows. It’s been an amazing summer exploring New Mexico State Parks. We’ve been blessed with so many wonderful sights, animals, and interesting people. We’ve stayed engaged and entertained by nature. Can’t beat that!
June 29th. We are again heading north on I-25, destination Percha Dam State Park
. Shade, I need shade and a few days to just lounge around in it. I feel horrible. These past few weeks dealing with ever increasing heat has given me a bit of heat exhaustion I think. I sweat like crazy, can’t drink enough water, and just feel like I am burning up from the inside out.
Prayers are answered with Percha Dam. We find a shady spot down by the Rio Grande River with a view of the small dam. Lots of activity with locals coming and going picnicking, fishing, ect., but although I have to move the van around a couple of times a day to stay in the shade it feels wonderful.
A little glitch with my solar system and an email to my solar guy (thanks Chuck!!) gets things sorted out and we are back in business churning out power from the sun and the inverter quits overheating because the button on the charge controller got pushed to a different type of battery — or whatever it was causing it to shut down. The fan goes for hours and pulls the cool from a wet sports towel I have wrapped around my neck and shoulders.
INTERESTING PEOPLE: I meet a guy and his wife who are trying out their new-to-them Rialto. He grouses that several things do not work in it, but they’re managing and will get stuff fixed in time. We chat and the usual topics come up: Where you from? Are you full timing? What did you do in working career? He discloses they are from Hawaii and plan on settling in Silver City. WHAT? WHY? Who leaves Hawaii for Silver City?
They were organic farmers on Kuai and according to him the small island has been “discovered” and has over the past few years become a crazy madhouse. Not what they wanted for their golden years so they sold the farm and ended up in New Mexico.
Percha Dam State Park is fairly large. The upper area has the electric sites along with the flush bathrooms and showers. The lower area is along the river and where the primitive sites are located. There are a few shade covers, but most are just a parking spot with a table, bbq, and fire ring. Water spigots are located near the dumpsters and vault toilets. Most spots have decent spacing between sites.
This cute guy drove the Wild Wiener Dogs crazy! Notice the two little ones in the hole in the trunk on the bottom left. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by 2DogsTravel. Hugs, Shawna
Toward the end of the month I make a run to Bouse to pick up a package from the post office. It’s a one way trip of about 25 miles and it’s really a pretty drive. The boys get some dog park time in. I get internet at the library and get a few things accomplished.
On the way back I immortalize the continued greening of the desert and the beautiful displays of wildflowers along the highway, and the cholla cactus about ready to bloom.
I am determined to stay around long enough to see the cacti bloom. It should be earlier this year with all the water we have gotten. Winter seems to have heaved one last sigh and summer, will probably jump right in, but who knows. We went from freezing our hineys to 80 degrees last Friday, March 1st. Then we went right back to rainy weather and cooler temps. And so it goes. At least the current, cooler conditions will make it easier to stick around waiting for those cacti start putting on a show. Unless of course it warms again.
Thanks for stopping by 2Dogs! Hugs, Shawna and The Chiweenie Brothers.
CURRENT READ: Mary, Queen of Scots by John Guy. An interesting book on Mary Stewart’s reign, but a long read. Fortunately, 40% of it is footnotes and documentation of the facts.
In mid-January we head to Bouse where I attend another Bouse Genies’ class, this one on using the Legacy program. Interesting and informative. The boys get their time in the dog park before and after class.
The third week in January we head toward Yuma. This adorable church nestled in an agricultural area caught my eye.
On to Fortuna Pond we find “our” spot unoccupied and we settle in. On day three I pull a filling and part of a front bottom tooth out while flossing and make an appointment with my dentist in Los Algadones. We spend the night at Walmart, and the boys get to visit the Bark Park just up the street the next morning. Another night at Wally and we head back to Fortuna Pond, this gem of an oasis nestled near Yuma’s luscious fields of crops, where we spend about a week.
Star gazing is wonderful out here where no city lights can obscure the night sky’s brilliant display, and if it’s a moonless night and the crop dusters aren’t flying the sky is even more captivating, diamond strewn and sparkling against the inky blackness.
One night I see three orange globes—or perhaps one winking on and off as it fell—bigger than an exercise ball fall from a low altitude out of the sky. Two nights later a white basketball-sized meteor fell from east to west lighting up the area for about five seconds before disappearing, its long tail fading behind it. Oh for shots of those two displays!
And the coyotes put on an unbelievable concert. I’ve never heard what sounded like an army of them, and the vocalizations were fierce, perhaps taking down an animal. A few nights later they could be heard again, not so many, and one howling away. Fries answered him with a howl or two of his own. Next day I research coyote “talk” and my heart skipped a beat when I read that the howl is given when the coyote wants others to know his location. Cute as it was, Fries will not be answering anymore howls!
Thanks for stopping by 2Dogs! Hugs, Shawna CURRENT READ: Halsey Street by Naima Coster