Monday, October 24, 2011

Quartzsite, AZ–winter home 2011-12.


The last SwankieWheel Bead… given out on this leg of the journey.  Must order more.


Parked beside the Rio Grande River in Truth or Consequences… ready to head to AZ, knowing there was a lot more to see in NM.


One of the more interesting sites leaving NM heading to AZ is around the Hatch, NM area… lots of chile pepper business.  As summer cools down, the Village of Hatch heats up. Labor Day weekend heralds the annual Hatch Chile Festival, a two-day celebration of our world-famous crop. The festival attracts over 30,000 visitors from all over the United States, including such notables as the Food Network and the BBC. Festival goers can sample famed chile recipes, watch the crowning of the chile festival queen, or toss a horseshoe in celebration of our most famous crop. The event also features chile ristra contests, artisan and food booths, and a carnival. Visit our events page.

10/19-Almost to AZ. Hippy hooray. Quartzsite, AZ here I come.



Beginning to see the mountains off to the west… feels like “going home.’”  I’m also fascinated by “highway art”… o.k. call me nuts.  But the southwest really does have some interesting highway art.  These later mountains are even looking familiar.


On the way from AZ border I saw pecan trees and cotton fields… two products, being a midwest kid, I never knew grew in AZ.  Interesting.



And now the big cactus are starting to appear.  Love them.

Tonight, I arrived in Quartzsite AZ! 


Wow... two years I've been gone from here... and since then have kayaked 37 states, AZ being my 3rd state. Now to scout around town for a place to park tonight. Photos and blog update to follow in a few days.

  • Hi Jolly Camp area
    • Crescent moon, howling coyotes, and shooting stars... doesn't get any better than that, until tomorrow.


Cheryl in Ohio (birdwatcher) asked what it was like out here… the BLM lands.  Wide open spaces.  These photos are all taken from my camping spot in Hi Jolly area.  Desert Asphalt is just a lot of flat open rock area… tarnished by the desert varnish.  Kinda moon-scapish.  Hard to explain.  But it looks just like these photos. 


My campsite.  Some days it’s too hot to stay in the van and do anything, so I pitched my tent.  Ended up putting the recliner inside the tent to escape the flies.  Perfect place to rest read and cool off, especially under the shade of this tree… a rare find.


Another odd vehicle spotted in the area.


Camped along the edge of a wash.  No water anywhere.  Just grand open spaces and so far, few campers.  There are literally hundreds of rvs and campers here by January.


Desert asphalt.


Volcanic rocks.


Old stumps…


And look, a snake… can you see it?



I walked all around him taking photos, and as long as I was looking straight at him, he didn’t move, but the second I glanced away… poof, he was gone.  Don’t know what kind he was.

Looks like:  Glossy Snake

A medium-sized (up to 1,055 mm or 42" in total length) snake with numerous dark-edged, tan, golden brown, or olive-gray blotches on a tan, light cream, pinkish, or gray background. Specimens from far western Arizona often have faded or washed-out looking pattern. The belly is plain pale gray. The pupils are round. This snake's smooth and shiny scales distinguishing it from the similar looking Gophersnake which has keeled dorsal scales. The similar looking Nightsnake has vertically elliptical pupils.

Borrowed from Arizona Leisure Vacation Guide.



Coyotes come through camp every night, or early morning… and while walking I found places that looked like gathering spots… usually soft duff from plants… dust to roll in, pieces of a dish they had carried off and chewed on.  Later I found this hole in the bank… someone’s home?



Camp is sweet.  I’m resting, reading and just clearing my head.  Boy, have I done a lot of stuff and I didn’t even know until this week that I was really tired.  I managed to get my high school web site updated… after loosing all my work when my hard drive died a couple months ago.  Beyond that, I’m resting and reading – American Nomads by Richard Grant.  My tent is delightful… no bugs inside… lots of fresh air and I can look through the top and watch the branches and birds.  Sweet.


One interesting yard in town is decorated with glass bottles.  There is no explaining some people’s taste???

Yesterday, I drove around Quartzsite looking for a place in close to camp.  HA!   One dry camping place wants $5 a night… and you are enclosed in a small chain link fence… like you were in jail.  The fancy R.V. places, this one right next to the Laundromat is $300.00 per month.  The long term BLM places are either $180 for the season (you can use any of the BLM places for that fee) or $80 a month. But where I am is free and limited to a 14 days stay, but no host is on duty and no one is policing the place.  So my plan for now is to stay put here until they run me out or someone annoying moves in too close.  There is already one RVer with the loudest generator I ever heard about a city block away from me and I have to close the van up and turn on a CD to drown him out until he shuts down about 9pm.  I may end up just staying mobile rather than being tired down to have a camp “set up.”  There is no such thing in town as a small nook or cranny you could just squeeze into.  I had hoped to be close in town to save on gas, but all property is fenced off with at least chain link fences, walls or ? whatever… so that doesn’t happen.  Just shows you how many people are trying to do exactly what I am trying to do.

Rocks: I thought that things geared up with the Gem and Mineral Club about Oct. 1 and was feeling a little frantic on the road knowing I would be arriving late due to root canal and finances, but when I finally got here… there was no one in sight, nothing posted about meetings, nothing!  Finally, yesterday, I found a person at the Quartzsite Roadrunners Gem and Mineral Club in town and learned they were having a meeting at 2pm that day.   First meeting was last Thursday. Went and even won a couple door prizes.  Only two new members (me and one other woman) in a whole room full of men and women my age and older. Guess I’m not the only crazy person on earth who loves rocks.  Learned all about the club, the field trips and the 4x4 trips.  Want to go on all of them, but my van won’t go some of those places so I’ll have to arrange a ride with others.  CB radio is required for each vehicle.  I have no CB.

Another area where I have camped is the Plomosa Road 14-Day Camping area.

Activities begin on Monday, November 1st.  Geez, I was early instead of late.  That’s different.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Truth or Consequences, NM (Oct. 2011)

This morning I slept in at the Boat Ramp area in Caballo Lake State Park, NM.  When I got up, I fixed a bowl of Cheerios and walked around looking at rocks while I ate it.  Now, if you know me, you know it doesn’t get any better than that.. if I can look at rocks and eat a meal at the same time.


Sue had invited me in to see her artwork at the Hot Springs where she is working and to have a free soak.  Never experienced that before and really needed to get this lake water off my body, so I drove in. What a delightful place and Sue’s art work is wonderful.


La Paloma Hot Springs



Sue, sitting at the vanity she did a mosaic top on for La Paloma.

I had told Sue and John that I wanted to kayak Elephant Butte Reservoir but that when I got there I had this really strange and frightening feeling and could not settle on a spot to camp… I just kept feeling like I was in danger and needed to get out of there.  It was almost sunset, the road in was awful and very steep and I didn’t know of a better way out but studied maps until I sort of had it figured out and then just made a run for it to get to town before it got really dark.

I attributed the strange feelings I was having to being tired after a long drive until Sue told me she had spoken to John and that he thought he knew what was wrong… why I felt that way.  Said there had been a serial killer in the area and they were looking for bodies out there at Elephant Butte.   That would be serial killer, David Parker Ray.    Dodododododo!!!   Wooo Woo!  Well, you know how in the vandwellers circles we are always saying if you are in a location that just doesn’t feel right, get out.  Here’s a link to the events there.. you decide:


I’m resting beside the Rio Grande River in Truth or Consequences, waiting for payday, two days from now, when I will have the oil changed in ol’ SwankieWheels, and then head to Deming NM to meet one more Vandweller… can’t meet anymore until I get more SwankieWheels beads to trade… I’ll be giving the last one out in Deming.


A SwankieWheel Bead

Note: If you got an different bead from me, handed out prior to me finding these little jewels, I’ll swap you anytime you have a replacement for the plastic placeholder bead on my traveller’s necklace.

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.