Thursday, December 24, 2009

Quartzsite, AZ – Camp #1

December 24, 2009 – Jan. 24, 2010

Dec 24, 2009, I arrived in Quartzsite, AZ and found Sandy and his delightful family, who with their three kids, were spending Christmas in the desert.

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  Photo with Socks hung with care.

Being totally unprepared for gift-giving, I had to rush to town for 3 giant chocolate bars and 3 little Quartzsite trinkets. 

December 25, 2009 - spent Christmas Day with Sandy and his family and his daughter-in-law made one really great Christmas meal.  They came all the way from Canada for this.

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Christmas gifts from my brother and sister-in-law had no tree to go under, so I put them under my bike.   After Sandy's family left, we moved farther off Highway 95 to a spot I thought would give us more solitude.  There may be no such thing in Quartzsite.  We sat up camp and awaited other vandwellers. Gary from Washington state was the first to arrive on his way to FL. 

2009_12_27_quartzsite3_ 011 Only he could fit a homemade kayak into a Scion and still be able to sleep and cook in there too. He is amazing. 

2010_01_01_Quart 003 Steve arrived after Gary departed.  Too bad.


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2009_12_28_quart_ 017 Strange things seen... rock art, big burl cut off tree,???

2010_01_01_Quart 002Steve went to town on his motorcycle and I dog-sat with Tori.  Poor lonely Tori waiting for Steve to return... she sat just like that for over an hour. 

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Once in a Blue Moon – A good day to die!

December 31, 2009 - New Year's eve campfire was bittersweet, with my ex-husband's death that morning. I only learned about his death an hour before the campfire.  I knew he was terminal, but after being divorced for over 30 years, I didn't think it would hit me so hard.  Sad was the fact that we are only going to have one grandson, and he never would get to see him or hold him.

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Me having "The Perfect Living Space" (I still think Laurie stacked the deck)  Blue Moon, New Years Eve ham and cabbage... assures prosperity for the new year????

We planned a campfire and I made Ham and Cabbage.  There is this thing called Hogmanay... where flame and fire symbolize the bringing of light of knowledge from one year to the next year.  Lighting the way to next uncharted century.  Putting the past behind you and the darkness of the past and carrying forward the scared flame of hope and enlightenment, and in this day a fresh new year, burning away the old to make way for the new.  How very apropos?

2010_01_08_quart_ 016 Today, I climbed a mountain.

2010_01_08_quart_ 017 Steve and I  went to Crystal Mountain to hunt for Crystals.  I climbed a mountain!!!  This is on the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge and a great boondocking site.  I'd like to return and stay there at length... even though the road is very washboardy.  The Kofa National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1939 and is managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.  664,300 acres of pristine desert environment and is home to the unique desert bighorn sheep and the California fan palm, the only native palm in Arizona.  Other notable wildlife species found in the area include white-winged dove, desert tortoise, and desert kit fox.  A wide variety of plant life is found throughout the refuge.  KOFA comes for "King of Arizona Mine".

We are camping on BLM Lands on lands specified for Dispersed Camping.  Dispersed camping is allowed on Public Lands in Arizona for no more than a period of 14 days within any period of 28 consecutive days.  Camping on public lands away from developed recreation facilities is referred to a "dispersed camping."  Most of the remainder of public lands in Arizona are open to dispersed camping, as long as such use does not conflict with other authorized uses or occurs in areas posted "closed to camping," or in some way adversely affects wildlife species or natural resources.

Places I'd like to visit in the future:  Burro Creak, northwest of Wickenburg, AZ. offers shade, refreshing water, and the chance to find obsidian and other choice rocks.  They had a very bad flood there about the time I was thinking of going, so it will have to wait.  For information on this visit

Some other things to see in Quartzsite:

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Hi Jolly Cemetery and Camel-Drivers Monument. 

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Red Jasper outcrop near Brenda AZ (walking stick and shoe).

UT to NV – In Transit

November 13, 2009 to December 24, 2009

11/13-A Vandweller sent me this message: Did I ever tell you that you were the inspiration that got me involved with vandwellers in the first place? I was looking at YouTube videos of the OR coast, longing to return to the west coast and came across the one where someone was interviewing you in your van and the solution to my upcoming situation clicked. I said to myself that's what I've always wanted to do, just didn't know that I could. You mentioned vandwellers on the video, and I started there and here I am. Among some of the best people I've ever met in person or on line in my whole life. And you continue to inspire me as I read all your posts and your blog. So thanks again.

Charlene gets a big smile for being my inspiration :)

Smiles 4 everyone:)

Wow, that was pretty neat. It was written by GranmaHugaBaby… who finally caught up with me in Quartzsite.  She is delightful and I am humbled.

November 19, 2009 – I got to my brother Jim's in Vegas.
-stayed and did his genealogy, scanned family photos, and did his wife's genealogy also.  Pretty neat to be able to sit in my van in someone’s driveway and be a genealogist.  That has been my dream for years… and it worked very well.

December 24, 2009 - Had breakfast with my half-brother, Dan, before leaving Vegas. I had scanned some family photos for him and burned a CD for him... and wanted to return his photos.

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But a few days earlier we had driven out to Red Rock Canyon and visitors we taking photos of the snowmen someone had made rather than the rocks or the canyon.  I found that hilarious. It was a nice visit and I got to meet his granddaughter. 

2009_12_25_download_Q_AZ_ 097 Then I headed to Quartzsite, AZ where Vandwellers were gathering.  Alone on the road at Christmas time/eve, some would find depressing but I found it delightfully freeing.  I began noticing things that reminded me of Christmas."  Little lambs grazing in the fields, palm trees in the desert.

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I found places between Lake Havasu City and Quartzsite where I'd like to paddle one day.  I don't how why I didn't go back and do it this trip (kicking myself - but I had already paddled AZ so lacked motivation).  In Lake Havasu, I felt the London Bridge was a joke.  I always thought the London Bridge (that was always falling down) was the big red one with the clock tower.  NO... not so.  Boring.

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Who is Swankie?

My photo
Anywhere, USA, Full-Time USA traveler, United States
In 2006, I was shopping for a wheelchair. By 2007, I had new knees, better health and by 2008 a kayak. In Aug 2013, I kayaked my 49th state, Alaska, at the Holgate Glacier and in May 2014, I kayaked Hawaii, my 50th state, to celebrate my 70th Birthday and the finale to the wonderful adventure of Kayaking America? Next up... Solo Hiking the Arizona Trail, 820 miles? Maybe. Still healing from shoulder and trying to decide.