Parker Dam, Nellie E’s and Palm Canyon

We are finishing up our stay in Quartzsite.  Planning to head due west to between the Salton Sea and Joshua Tree National Park.  We may stay there as long as a month or as short as a couple of nights, just depends.

While here we took a couple of road trips to see the sights in the area.  Up north we visited the Parker Dam which dammed the Colorado River to create Lake Havasu.  Havasu city was not much to talk about, but we only drove thru.  Below are pictures of the Dam, lake side and river side.

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On the way back we stopped by the Nellie E Saloon – Desert Bar.  It is quite well known in the area, part of the rally group was going as a field trip and we thought that we could run into them there.  Little did we know how large it is and how many people would be there although it was not crowded by their typical standards.  It is located about 7 miles down a dirt road that became one lane on occasion.  The foods smelled wonderful, but we had already had a picnic lunch, surprisingly beers were only $3 each!!!  The last picture is the traffic coming as we were leaving.

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South of Quartzsite is the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge.  It has over 665,000 acres of Sonoran desert habitat and what looks like thousands of miles of dirt roads and 4 wheel trails.  There were also sporadic campers scattered about on free land, but we will probably not take the Wanderlodge that far off road.   We hiked around Palm Canyon which is the only place in AZ that has native palms.  The only thing resembling a palm to us was some small bushes high on the rocks that looked kind of like yuccas.  Pictures of the palms did not come out so well.

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Peace and love.

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Blythe, CA Intaglios or Geoglyphs

In a previous post you may recall that we were underwhelmed by the Fisherman Intaglio north of Quartzsite.  But that did not keep us from traveling further to Blythe, CA to check out their Intaglios, and the trip was well worth this time.  These were much larger and more defined.  Some are so large I couldn’t get the entire image in a single picture.

This first a human figure is 102 feet from head to toe and it’s arms span 65 feet.  It is speculated that this may represent the Creator??

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This next one is said to represent a mountain lion which is 54 feet from head to tail, the body is 7.5 feet wide and it’s legs are 26.2 feet long.  Some non native americans say it represents a horse which would date it after the Spanish visited the area and introduced horses??  Who knows, but the spiral at the base is interpreted as a snake but did not come out well in pictures.

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Tail and hind legs.

 

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The final human figure is the largest at 105.6 feet from head to toe and 91.8 arm span.  There are others in the area, but these three are the ones easily accessible to the public.  According to Wikipedia these images date from around 900 BC to 1300 AD but no one really knows who or when they were created.  It was really fascinating and amazing that they were discovered at all since they are so large you may not recognize as a picture while just walking around the desert.

 

 

The Birds of a Feather bluebird rally has wound down and most have left the area.  We are staying for a couple of days to explore Quartzsite without all the crowds the RV Show brings.  Amazingly enough I discovered another Intaglio right here on the site of our rally.  I call it the buffet line… p1060700

Peace and love!!!

 

 

 

On and off road run???

So on the itinerary for the rally they listed on and off road runs.  Being me and not so bright sometimes, I thought that they were talking about running, you know like on your feet.  I looked closer and one of the runs was 56 miles???  Boy I thought we were camping with some running fanatics..  but no, they were talking about 4 x 4 off road runs in their Jeeps.  We were hesitant to go with the experienced runners, but when they announced an easy run that even a car could go thru we were in.

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Not doing the “ooohhh shit” run they had done the day before.  Thank goodness.  All was well and we had a really good time.  Went to an abandoned gold mine that had been duly decorated since it was no longer a working mine…

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Also further up the mountain, we drove over a narrow ledge with a steep drop-off the pictures do not do justice, but be sure I was about to shit my pants.  Randy kept his cool and got us to the Bed and Breakfast they were heading to only to find out we had to turn around and go back or do the “ooohhh shit” run from the day before…  So we turned around and did it again.

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Straight down but you can’t really tell.

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Anyway guess we are not such daredevils, but that’s ok too.  “Bed and Breakfast” below, looks like some Boogie sites we have seen before, just no trees unless you count the saguaros.  And it took life threatening trails to reach this point, out in the desert mountains many miles away from everything???  Who would do this except some fellow brothers from GTB……

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Lots of fun so far.  We have been on the road for 1 month yesterday!!!  Peace and love.

Quartzsite, AZ -We made it.

 

 

Well 1,842 miles from Carolina Beach in the bus and we are at Q.  The rally is a lot of fun with potluck meals and a campfire every night.  Have met some interesting folks and seen more Bluebirds than ever before.  Have not counted, but there is a large circle of birds and we are on the second row even though we arrived on the first official day.  They begin gathering as early as Thanksgiving?? (I hear).

Quartzsite its self is a rather small town that explodes for the months of January and February some for the gem and rock show and others for the Sports, Vacation and RV show.  Many others are just snowbirds finding cheap land to spend the winter.  Internet estimates range from 200,000 to over 750,000 the larger number being the number of visitors during the winter.  Year around population is ~ 3,600.  There are RV campers as far as the eye can see.  Zoom in.

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We are on BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land on a LTVA (long term visitors area) parcel.  You can stay here for $40 for two weeks.  We have a dump station and fresh water available less than 1/2 mile away.  Having a generator is a must unless you have solar panels which many do.

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There are also areas that are free to stay for 14 days, after that you have to move at least 25 miles away and find another free area.  So far the LTVA is ok with us.  The Birds of a Feather group have been having rallies here for 11 years.  The bluebird below was constructed last year and is visible on Google Earth.

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Quartzsite proper is extremely busy right now, takes forever to just go across town so we will probably stay right here.  Randy wants to go shopping at the show, but we will see.  Today we ventured up to the Bouse Fisherman which is an Intaglio also known as a geoglyph or earth figure.  They say that they are very large and only seen well from the air.  It was much smaller than I would have thought and hard to believe it has lasted over 200 years.  Not to make light of it, but looks like a couple of rocks were moved around to make a picture??  Since we were near by I am glad we visited, but not exactly what I was expecting.

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The Fisherman from the side.

 

 

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See the fish??

 

 

Since we are here for the rally here are a couple of Bluebird pictures, some sunrise and just general fun from the rally.  We may stay next week also since it is paid for and see if the crowds disperse or stays the same?  It is amazing how many RVs are in the area, no real roads looks like chaos but there is a plan and it seems to work pretty well.

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Peace and love from Q.

Tucson and Saguaro National Park

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Beautiful desert sunset last night.  We spent the day grocery shopping and washing sheets etc. in anticipation of boondocking in Quartzite with the Birds of a Feather bluebird rally.  Will get there tomorrow.  After chores were complete we explored Saguaro National Park which was awesome.  The Saguaro cactus were much taller than we had imagined and the other cacti were as diverse as the terrain across Texas.  Some looked like coral, some penguins, some just scary and others like bird nests…  Hope you enjoy as much as we did.

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Peace and Love to all.

On the road again – West Texas and Beyond

 

img_0524Finishing up our San Antonio visit, Saturday we went up to Fredericksburg and around to Luckenbach. Cowboy country, although as we rose in elevation the clouds moved in so we really couldn’t see a lot.

We road tripped up to Austin TX and saw the Capitol on Sunday. Quite large compared to NC Capitol.

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Finally got the bus out of the shop late Monday afternoon so we spent one last night with Gail and Leonard. You know they had to twist our arms since they are – 5 star chefs – 5 star accommodations – 5 star tour guides – 5 star entertainment and most of all just 5 star people. We pulled out of the Triple L Ranch on Tuesday and went to Fort Stockton about 5 ½ hours away.

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The trip across west TX was quite interesting. The terrain really changed and changed again. . They say west Texas is boring but we found it amazing. It seemed that the terrain changed as often as the weather does in SE North Carolina.

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Flat with small bushes…

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Roads that seem to go on for ever…

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Flat top mountains reminiscent of old cowboy movies…

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Rolling hills..

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Wind mills…

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Smooth mountains…

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Slightly rolling land with no bushes…

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Flatter land with no bushes…

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Smooth mountains in the background..

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Rocky mountains…and it went on for miles about 600 miles to be exact…

New Mexico brought snow topped mountains.

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From Fort Stockton we headed to Las Cruces NW. approx 4 hour drive, but we made it longer by leaving as soon as we arrived and going to White Sands National Memorial. It was well worth the drive. We saw snow on the mountains as we passed, and a rain storm followed us most of the way. It is amazing how far you can see weather coming. While at White Sands, the storm passed us by with only a few sprinkles. But then there was a sun set to the west and the storm with a small rainbow to the east. Spectacular site, the pictures do not do it justice. Long day, but a great experience none the less.

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On to Arizona tomorrow.  Peace and love.

San Antonio

 

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Port Arthur to San Antonio – Drove straight thru Houston on I10 at noon. Over passes galore but according to other travelers the straight route is better than the by-passes. Traffic was heavy but not as bad as you may expect. Houston was huge, thought we had passed the sky line, but then came another and another. Trip was nice until about 100 miles outside of San Antonio when we started to lose air pressure in the back of the coach.

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Made it to San Antonio barely late Monday afternoon. We ended up dropping our home at Alamo City Truck Shop in San Antonio because it wouldn’t make it any further. We didn’t believe that it is a serious problem but one that has to be fixed. Here we are on Saturday and they finally have the part on order and it will be in Monday. Hopefully they will install and we will be back on the road by Tuesday.

The shop was only 30 minutes from Aunt Gail and Uncle Leonard’s and we were planning to park on their property anyway, so we have parked in their guest room instead. They have been the most gracious host and we have truly enjoyed reconnecting and visiting with family.

Nellie was also having some issues so we took her to a vet. She has a urinary tract infection and crystals in her bladder so she is on antibiotics and been prescribed special food to dissolve the crystals. We will be taking her for a follow up in a month (where ever we may be) and hopefully the crystals will be cleared up.   Leonard and Nellie have quickly become BFFs not sure what she will do when we get on the road again.

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All that being said, San Antonio is a lovely city. We visited the Alamo, walked around the river walk and went to Central Market on Wednesday. The Alamo was very interesting, lots of history I had either forgotten or never knew. On the river walk, we stopped by the Hilton, Gail has a picture of Randy, Larry, Wendy and Ara there from 1973. We recreated the picture of Randy with straw in his mouth and tongue stuck out.   The river walk was beautiful although the river was smaller than I would have thought with the landscaping and concrete banks it reminded me of Disney World. I understand that the river has been dammed and reduced to keep the downtown area from flooding in the heavy rains which is why it is so small and controlled in that area.

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Central Market is the most diverse high end grocery store I have ever been in. The produce section alone was larger than some stores. The Budda’s hands are in the citrus section. Not sure what they taste like or are used for, but they are certainly interesting looking. Fresh fruit tortes were only a small part of the desert section but very decorative and I am sure delicious. They even have cooking classes upstairs where you enjoy a multiple course dinner and participate or observe the techniques preparing the dishes. Gail and Leonard said they took several of these classes and that they really enjoyed them.

Thursday we connected with Kathy and Michael Smith (Billie’s oldest daughter and son-in-law) and had a nice visit and Tex-Mex lunch.   They live on the other side of S. A. so we stopped by the shop and checked on the bus and gathered some more clothes since we had not realized it would take this long. The Alamo Café where we had lunch was one of Daddy’s favorites in town and we enjoyed Kathy and Michaels stories of his visits.

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Friday we toured Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard, she is a good friend of Gail and Leonard’s and come to find out a client of Kathy and Michael’s. Even in a large city it is a small world. The orchard was larger than we expected, but being winter it was no as lush as other times of the year. A nice destination, they have a small restaurant open for lunches, gift shop, greenhouse area and of course the orchard.

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Chef Gail has kept us well fed and historian Leonard has kept us well entertained with his stories. Although we would love to be back on the road, this is just a small hiccup in the adventures ahead. The weather has been wonderful for January, overcast most of the time but highs around 80 and lows in the mid 60, shorts in January we are not complaining.

Even with our first home evacuation and Nellie’s illness we have a thousand things to be grateful for.   A great and gracious family being top of the list this week!!! Hopefully we will be back on the road soon. Peace and Love.