Thursday, January 31, 2013

Relaxation


Up early as usual, first I caught the sunrise

Then the moon sitting over our encampment


Looks like our little group is hitting its stride.

After a decent sunrise, we all hit the trail for an 0800 walk
around the area.



This LTVA is quite different from Quartzsite.

While up at Q the land was pretty flat with small washes in-between,
and the flat land was covered with small inch size rocks...
here we are up on a plateau and all around us are deep  impassable ravines.

The ground is covered by much larger rocks than at Q.

Over the years, these rocks have been cleared by previous campers
in order to provide a clear area over which to drive and park heavy trailers.
The rocks have been arranged around the hundreds of "campsites"
forming little "yards" of various sizes.

Rocks have also been arranged around vegetation and some have even
been arranged to form various shapes.


Everywhere you look rocks have been moved, stacked, lined up, and rearranged.

This mornings walk was the scene of todays self portrait.


Meanwhile Christy had given Kate a hummingbird feeder.
She hung it up this morning.

Its quite amazing - but this barren desert is a virtual Hummingbird Paradise.
I don't yet know why, but the little winged critters are everywhere.
Hang a feeder and they will come.

This guy kept visiting me today while I worked by the window.
Spreadsheets, Sunshine, & Hummingbirds.
A winning combination.


Meanwhile - we've noticed these little tethered blimps off in the distance over the
Yuma Proving Grounds.
Our assumption has been they are involved with Immigration and border control.
Tonight I googled them and it seems that they hold low altitude surveillance radar
that is used to watch for low flying drug aircraft.
This blip is probably 5 miles away and a couple thousand feet in altitude.
Its interesting to watch as the sunlight changes, the white blip changes color.


Meanwhile, in camp we too were under a different type of surveillance while
having dinner.


As the sun dipped lower in the sky, the eastern mountains
light up with the fire of the dwindling day.


Soon the light disappears and night envelopes us once again.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Imperial Dam LTVA

After 3 days washing the dust off of us and our equipment
we've moved back to the desert.

An exhausting 30 minute drive brought us to the
Imperial Dam LTVA
(Long-Term Visitors Area)

This area - on BLM Land - immediately adjacent to the Yuma Proving Grounds,
 is approximately 3,500 acres in size
and like the larger areas up in Quartzsite has been set aside for long-term
RV camping at low cost.

Our 2 week pass was $40 but you can also purchase an 8 month pass
for $140.

For that fee there is a dump station, trash dumpsters and potable water
stations...   add to that the endless night sky, super quiet evenings,
Coyotes and Wild Burros and you can call it home away from home.

Starting the day - Kate and the ladies went for one last trip
to the Farmers Market and Kate took this self portrait.



When the ladies got back, we saddled up and 4 Montana's hit the road.


I took the lead since I knew where we where going to camp.
Soon we had staked out our little piece of dusty paradise.
In this photo I'm on the Left, John next.
Rob then Jim on the right.
John & I are positioned to best take advantage of the afternoon sun
for the solar panels.


Below - I'm on the right.


Here's one of the views from camp looking Southwest.


Soon it was once again time for Happy Hour.
We combined it with an alfresco outdoor dinner.

Notice the bowls that has the Pistaciaos, and Meatballs...
They are hand-made pottery by Christy.  Just beautiful!

Tonight we enjoyed Raspberry Chipolte Habenero Meatballs,
Garden Salad, Fried Cauliflower Patties,


Wild rice pilaf, Ham, Cream Cheese & Pickles.
Fresh Baguette with an assortment of gourmet infused olive oils.


Kate wasted no time digging in.


For desert - Fresh Strawberries, Vanilla ice cream topped with Kahlua.
Yum.

Christy strikes a desert pose.


Of course, after dinner comes the inevitable sunset.


Just a while ago I went out to enjoy the stars...
Its dark, quiet, and beautiful out there.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Yuma

Our travels today took us to downtown Yuma
and the Yuma Territorial Prison.



The prison operated from 1876 to 1909 and
had a fearsome reputation in the old west but in actuality
it was a modern progressive prison for its time boasting such amenities
as running water, electricity, and flush toilets.

Over it's 33 year existence over 3,069 prisoners including 29 women 
called its walls home and 111 died within its walls, 
mostly from Tuberculosis.

Here is prisoner 1005 getting checked in.



The above mirror was the actual mirror used and allowed one photo to capture
both a front and profile shot with one picture...
(remember - photo technology was rare & expensive at the time)

I escorted the prisoner thru the main gate...



Then thru the cellblock gate..


Down the rows of cells..


And into her home for the duration of her sentence.



Since she was going to be locked up and out of circulation for a while...
I found me a new honey


So me & my new honey headed off for the green fields of freedom
laying just beyond the walls of the prison.


After the Prison we headed to the Yuma Farmers Market.
Along the shore of the Colorado River at the Yuma Quartermasters Depot,
we were able to score some great produce.

A bag of oranges for $2.00
Freshly picked Pink Grapefruit - 2 for a dollar.
Fresh Romaine Lettuce - $.50 a head.
A bucket of San Marzano Tomatoes for $3.00 

There was also some higher priced but excellent selections such as 
Cinnamon Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
and Vanilla infused Balsamic.

An excellent selection of fresh herbs rounded out the offerings
to which we availed ourselves.

Later - back at the RV Park, the usual happy hour was followed
 by another fantastic group meal...

Roasted Chicken on the Grill, Baked beans, Salad & Rice was
followed by Coffee and fresh baked tollhouse chocolate chip cookies.

Did I mention that Ron has an expresso machine in his rig?

It's a tough life out here on the road but we're surviving.






Sunday, January 27, 2013

Goodbye Quartzsite

It's Saturday Jan 26th and time to move on.

Our circle is down to about 12 rigs and a bunch of us are leaving today.
We are headed to Yuma where we have reservations in an RV Park
for a couple of days.
Rain has moved in (yes it rains sometimes in the desert).  It started
yesterday around 1600 and unfortunately rained out our last happy hour
and evening campfire, so everyone retreated to their campers and
watched out their back windows where the fire should have been.

Yesterday afternoon we took a short run up to Parker to visit with our
new friends Ron & Maxine at Buckskin Mtn State Park.
It's a beautiful park right on the Colorado River set in a 
picturesque canyon like setting with lots of green grass and trees.

After weeks in the desert it was a bit of a brain shock to be
amongst all the greenery.

This morning, after a full night of rain we woke up to a vastly different environment than to
the one which we had become accostomesd.


We had an inch of rain overnight.
The amazing thing was that as soon as some moisture hit the sand - some life
appeared in the rocky soil.


At 1000 4 Rigs left the dwindling MOC circle and headed 90 miles south
to Yuma, Arizona.

It was a foggy, rainy drive and just before Yuma we entered the produce farming
region that Yuma is noted for..
Soon we arrive at the Del Pueblo RV Park.
Here are 3 of us lined up for check in.
From right to left is Pat and Robs Rig,
Johns Rig,
And ours on the right.


Soon we were in our sites.
We spent the rest of Saturday afternoon getting caught up on tasks...
Washing clothes, Rigs, etc.
There was a ton on mud on the 5'vers and getting the rigs cleaned up
occupied the afternoon for them men.
Meanwhile the ladies headed off for the laundromat in
the RV park and washed the desert off of the clothes and bedding.

Soon after our tasks were done it was time to relax.
Here are all 4 of us on our spaces:
From right to left:
Our rig, John K, Pam and Rob, and Jim & Cristy on the left.
   

Soon as the day wound down, it was cocktail hour.
Here is the gang.
From left:
Rob, Pam, John, Cristy, Jim Kate, and yours truly.


After Hors d'oeuvres we enjoyed some pasta and Marinera prepared by Kate
and had some good laughs under the bright full moon.

Now night has settled in and we've retreated to our own rigs for the night.

Another great day has come to an end.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Another Sunrise

This morning, as always I was sitting in front of the large back window,
on the computer getting started on my days work.

I always open the shade so that I can see the eastern horizon and occasionally
keep scanning for any hints that the sunrise will be good.  If so,
I dash outside, camera in hand and try and find a good spot
to position myself.

This morning was no different but as I alternated between work and checking,
it started to seem that today would not be anything special.

Becoming engrossed in the calculation of managers production bonuses,
I lost track of time till Kate (once again to the rescue) called out from the bedroom...
"Holy cow - look at that sunrise"
she then resumed her snoring.

I ran out just in time to grab a few shots of this mornings fast changing,
and fleeting sunrise.

This one is from right behind my trailer looking across the remnants
of the circle.


Once I got out into the scrub I grabbed this unobstructed shot


This was just a couple of minutes after the previous photo.


You can see how quickly the shot changed this morning.

Once again proof... "you snooze you lose"

Lastly - walking back to camp I got down in a wash to shoot this final shot.

I've discussed the topography around here a bit and mentioned the washes,
but don't think I've ever included a photo of one.

This is a small one but you still can see how in between our wide expanses of sand
and stone are these little islands of life tenaciously clinging on in
the harsh conditions.


Another day has arrived.



The Circle Dwindles

Our group in the middle of the desert continues to shrink in size.

Yesterday we lost a bunch and some more this morning.

Here are a few leaving the circle.


If we had 70 rigs at the height - we've now got about 15 or so...


The tumbleweeds blow thru the lonely encampment which is now but a
shell of its former glory.

Us die-hards however should not to be written off too easily.
There is still some party left in us.
Tonight we still had our happy hour, and there were a dozen of us there,
 but with the wind blowing a bit we decided against a campfire and have now
retreated to our rigs for the night.



 Today Kate was back in town shopping and went to one of the
"Great" Quartzsite institutions, the bookstore - owned and operated
by the naked guy...   I kid you not.


I have some other photos but I dont want to lose my PG Rating.

I had to go get some water to fill up my potable water tank.

My rig holds about 60 gallons of fresh water.
I also have 3 waste tanks of about 45 gallons each...
A Black tank  (from the toilet)
and two "Grey Tanks"  one each from the kitchen and the shower/bathroom sink.

Our waste tanks we can manage over two weeks before needing to dump
but today we were getting close to empty on the water (after 11 days)

So less than 5 gallons per day usage on our fresh water... 
Think of it.
Washing, Drinking, Showers, Cooking etc...  Everything.
On less than 6 gallons per day.

I went to the "RV Pit Stop" in town to get water.
At the pit stop, you can fill tanks, dump tanks, get propane.


I got 40 gallons of filtered water to add to my almost empty tank.


I fill the water into a potable water bladder in the bed of my truck & when
I get back to camp, I transfer it via a 12v pump (on the ground) thru my double
filtration filters and water softener into the camper.


After I was done I turned on the water heater and had a nice warm Navy Shower.
It's the little things...
Life is good.






Thursday, January 24, 2013

Posting Comments on the blog

I understand that some folks have been having trouble posting
comments on our blog.

Until last night I was unable to duplicate the problem so that I could
troubleshoot it - but I think I now have it solved.

I've changed how comments get entered.

You will still click on the comments link as usual, but now a small
pop-up window will open.

If others have already commented, you will scroll down thru the others
to the bottom where there is the blank form where you can post.

The rest is the same.

Now that I've got it fixed (hopefully)
we hope to hear from everybody once more.

Thanks for following our travels.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Colors of Sunrise - Quartzsite Jan 23, 2012

Today we finally had the sunrise here in the Q that I've
been waiting for all week and I almost missed it.

Each morning I get up when it is as black as the inside of a cow but
for some reason I woke up today - glanced out the window
and saw the colors had already begun to form and if I didn't get
my butt in gear I was going to miss it.

All the photos are in order from the earliest taken to the last.

This double exposure came out kind of cool.


The morning sunrise builds from the light pastel shades



Slowly the reds and oranges creep in...


The colors deepening....


Reaching the mornings crescendo..


Slowly...  imperceptibly at first...
The change from reds to oranges...


Softening...


As the sun creeps ever closer to the horizon...


The oranges take over and a new day is born.


I just had to rush back and share these.
I just grabbed a bunch and posted them and haven't even had the time
to pick out the best.
The sun isn't even up yet and they are on the blog so lets
just say they are hot out of the oven.

Hope you enjoy as much as I did.