Friday, January 29, 2016


Quartzsite is known for its sunsets. Here's some proof that the sunrises are pretty spectacular, too. With Jeff back in the 49th State and BJ at home, I headed out early to try to finish a series of caches related to various Arizona Ghost Towns. I needed the early start because I had other things on the calendar.

Last year, some folks organized a BloggerFest since there were quite a number of travel bloggers in Q for the RV show. This year, I made sure that my calendar remained open so that I could attend. Al, of the Bayfield Bunch is behind the camera.

I took this picture because Sally had her own seat. Turns out, there are three blogs on my sidebar that are represented here. Jerry (red shirt) writes EggRollings. His wife, Wanda, is keeping Sally happy. Behind Jerry is Mark of Box Canyon Blog and his wife. Hiding behind Wanda is Suzanne of Take To The Highway. Also represented is Toni of Palamine, and Ivan (standing RR) of Roadtrip 2016. He works fire lookouts during the summer.

Gayle (standing) and Jim of Life's Little Adventures were hiding in the back row. They, along with Mark & Bobbie, and Suzanne, are hard core Southern Utah hikers and bikers.

There were at least three other bloggers I regularly read that were in town, but didn't attend.

Everyone brought chairs, but once introductions were over, the chairs were forgotten as people mingled, chatting with long time friends and meeting new ones.

I got a chance to chat with Lynne and David of Winter in the Desert, Summer in the Mountains (but didn't get a picture) and a number of others.

Sunday morning I was out before daybreak adding to my First To Find list, and then back to make a cup of coffee and watch the moon set through the ironwood tree.

Although I've been coming to Quartzsite for several years, geocaching took me to a couple interesting spots. This area was used by Army troops training for General Patton in World War II. You can still see the outline of streets framed with rocks in the desert east of town.

And its clear (if you click on the picture to get the larger version, what the pastime in northwest Quartzsite might be. The sign is obvious, but it appears target shooting with a .22 might be the more popular hobby. This is the second sand/rock golf course that I'm aware of in the area.

Next stop, Yuma, for a week or so.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

A Bit of Quartzsite

It's more than a bit embarrassing to realize the trailer hasn't been out of the garage since I came home from the Colorado and northern New Mexico trip in early September. So much for a blog with travel content!

The trailer was covered with sawdust from the various geocaches I've built, so I had to start with a quick wash job before leaving town.

There were quite a few fiberglass trailers in various locations at Dome Rock, but I'll be there in a couple weeks for the Fiberglass Gathering. For now, I'm on the south end of the Quartzsite craziness at BLM's Roadrunner 14 day area. Can't beat the price - free!

As I wandered around town the first day, I took a handful of photos of interesting setups. There was a whole group of classic buses out on the Dome Rock road. I spotted GM and Flxible buses in this group but couldn't find an angle for a good group picture.

This unit seems to be prepared to stay awhile of the size of the water containers they were hauling on the trailer was any indication!

Speaking of preparedness - I was really impressed with this unit. Typical Class A diesel pusher, towing a flatbed trailer with their Class B Roadtrek van. Looks like they were prepared for most any possibility.

"Q" is known for the sunsets and it didn't disappoint.

BJ picked up our son at the airport and brought him out for a couple days. He wanted to look through trailers to see what options are out there. Turns out, neither of us saw anything that got us excited enough to dream about it - At least not that day!

We wandered through one of the swap meets. These vintage oilers caught my eye until I saw the price tag - $150 each!

The same place had a cast Pelton wheel without the housing. I have no idea what a person would do with it but they must think someone will want it.

Jeff did manage to spend some money. He got a spare anode for his hot water heater. I managed to avoid spending any money at all. A pretty successful couple days navigating the Quartzsite experience!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

9th Annual Friends of Helen trip

The sun was still avoiding any thought of rising when I backed the truck out of the garage, ready to position for the 9th Annual Friends of Helen trip. I've missed a couple, but really enjoy them. Each is different, depending on who's crazy enough to roll the dice on January MLK weekend weather. This year, it was just Kathy and I from the Phoenix area, sharing my tandem canoe.

We drove west to Blythe and then south to Walter's Camp, California where I dropped off Kathy, the boat, and all our gear. From there, I drove the nearly 100 miles around to our take-out at Fisher's Landing, Arizona. It's only 35 river miles, but the roads go every different direction except straight. At Fisher's Landing, I left the truck and caught a ride back with one of Helen's vans and some of the other trip participants.

Sunrise on Saturday was beautiful, reflecting on the backwaters of the lower Colorado River. With the clear skies, the nighttime temp dropped into the upper 30's but the weather would warm up once the sun was above the hills.

As usual, we were on the water early. The crowd tends to string out, but since I prefer quiet and calm on the river, an early start improves the chances of both. Again this year, the winds and water were calm, making for some good reflection shots.

We stopped at Draper Ranch. We'd stopped here before, but this time I was looking for a geocache. The building is standing the test of time, with the chairs still sitting out front.

Our camp for the night was the 4-S Beach Camp. 4-S is one of four outlying camps in Picacho State Park, intended for boat-in use. As usual, we shared this camp with a troop of Boy Scouts from Santee, California.

With fifteen or so of Helen's group, and only a dozen or so Boy Scouts and fathers, the camp wasn't as full as it has sometimes been. We had quite an assortment of boats including a Hoby tri hull with a sail, and Helen's dory.

For the eighth year, trash can turkey was featured on the menu along with stuffing, roasted veggies, and a couple cobblers.

Reflections of sunset painted the western face of the cliff while we waited for dinner to cook.

I couldn't get a good picture, but here's proof of the turkey being carved.

Another sunrise on glassy water. What more could a person ask?

Once again, Kathy and I were on the water first, enjoying the morning calm. When we got to the main Picacho SP area, we were able to get our tents set up and then take a hike up to an overlook just in time to spot Helen's dory drifting down the river in the growing breeze. (It's the white spot in the center of the curve.)

By late afternoon, the breeze died off, leaving us with glass again.

Another notable feature of the Friends of Helen trip is the massive amount of firewood that people bring. Sunday evening we made a valent attempt to use it all. They were still trying when I went to bed.

We weren't first on the water for the third day of paddling. I didn't get many pictures that day because we didn't like the looks of the sky behind us and decided not to wait around to see if it would rain. Back at Fisher's Landing we loaded the boat and had a hamburger before heading back to Phoenix to hang up the canoe, visit yet another doctor, and pick up the trailer.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Water in the Desert

I'd planned to hike to a cache near the microwave towers on New Years Day but that got trumped by the chance to hike to a brand new cache behind Tortilla Flat for the First to Find. It was another week before the rain let up enough that I could approach this cache without wearing rain gear.

The cache description mentioned passing a memorial to a lineman that I wanted to see. The college campus that I managed has a lineman program which helped me develop a real respect for the challenges of their job. This individual was a young journeyman lineman who was electrocuted while repairing the power line to the microwave station. His family visits this memorial often and keeps it clean and fresh.

The next day, in spite of the cold (to us) weather, BJ and I went back out to the Hawes Trail area for a hike. That week of rain had me anxious to get outside.

There was snow on the portion of Four Peaks that we could see

and water running in the wash normally dry wash.

It didn't look like much at the top, but was doing a good job as it dropped down through the cut.

Talking with other hikers that are out in the area on a regular basis, most had never seen it flow before. A couple fellows said it wasn't flowing the day before so we were especially fortunate to witness it. Typical desert dwellers - complain about a week of rain, and then celebrate water flowing in the desert...

On a different subject, our old dog has been learning new tricks. Turk has been in booty training, hoping to keep thorns out of his paws with some upcoming desert wandering in Quartzsite. He really didn't like them at first. Still doesn't, but he's doing better

Sunday, January 17, 2016


Kathy sent me a note on New Year's Eve that showed she's learning. "A few lessons learned...

**  No matter how much or how little epoxy you mix, it will never be the correct amount needed.

**  The difference between pancake batter and peanut butter when making thickened epoxy is exactly 1/2 teaspoon.

**  Sanding. Is. Never. Done!"

I'd say she has a very good handle on things!

We put the first coat of varnish on the repaired deck and hatch covers. We're real pleased with how it has turned out. While you look at the these pictures, a whole bunch of us are on the 9th Annual Friends of Helen trip.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Apache Trail/s

The alarm was set for 3:45 a.m. on New Year's morning to take Jeff and Spencer to the airport. About the same time e-mails started flowing in announcing new caches that had just been approved. Most were urban caches along busy roads, but one caught my eye. It was about 5 miles beyond Canyon Lake and almost a mile from road I was willing to drive.

After  the sun came up the morning was cool but clear. The cache was in a location that I wouldn't have visited otherwise, sandwiched with a view of Four Peaks in one direction, and

three Saguaro on a cliff off in another direction. The hike had its share of ups and downs which made for enough exercise to stay warm. The cache was well hidden and a good challenge to find, but find it I did. Another First To Find on the list. It was well worth the time and effort.

I had so much fun with that early morning hike that BJ and I went back the next day to chase other caches on the Apache Trail between Tortilla Flat and the viewpoint at the top of Fisherman's Hill. Another day of beautiful clear skies and interesting views.

We stopped by 'the' corral to do a little hiking. It doesn't look like the corral gets used much any more. The chicken wire is reinforced with cactus.

We were surprised to run across several rolls of "portable corral" in a wash. Not sure if they blew there or were dumped there. The other rolls aren't going anywhere soon with desert plants growing up through the rolls of fencing.

There was some barbed wire used in the corral, but it looked like it was all pieces too short to be used elsewhere. Lots of twists holding pieces of wire together.

We did stop at the viewpoint at the top of Fisherman's Hill, but didn't continue further east this time because we were getting hungry.

(If you look close at the enlarged version, there's a black car about the middle of the picture, headed down the easy part of the hill.)

On the way home we stopped at the Lakeside Restaurant at the Marina for a late lunch. Apparently, we weren't the only ones eating a late lunch. The place was nearly full and the staff were running hard to keep up, but the food was every bit as good as usual.

While the weather has been cooler than normal, we've been enjoying time together and independently on the trails.