Monday, December 31, 2012

Diary Notes, 2012




Quartzsite, AZ

March 3, 2012 – went rock collecting with Pete Suppes.

March 8, 2012 – Hiked all day long collecting rocks.

March 9, 2012 – Can’t walk.  Bought crutches.  ICE.  Missed working as a sawyer that day at Rock Club.

March 15, 2012 – went Rock collecting again with Pete Suppes.

March 16, 2012 – again I can’t walk and had to cancel working as Sawyer at Rock Club.

March 18, 2012 – busy with paperwork, packing and scanning.

March 22, 2012 – left Quartzsite, after shopping at Hardies for rock boxes and #10 Lense.

March 23 – 2012 – In Parker at Dr. Kings re knee.

March 25, 2012 – 7pm, back up computer.

March 30, 2012 – work on the sketch of Robert for my sister Cathy.


Rifle, CO

April 18, 2012 – Training session for CLM with Wayne O’Neal.  Discussed emergency procedures.  Was told to see Kyle Gambley with National Forest to get a radio.  Learned it’s 2.5 hours from Rifle to Meadow Lake Complex.   First Responders are Garfield County Search and Rescue.  Joe Fazzi with Nat. Forest is responsible for the Roads.


May 10, 2012 – took free shower at the Fairgrounds in Rifle, CO.

May 11, 2012 – I was late for a meeting, because no one called or left a message for me with the time and place.

May 14, 2012 Laundry, bills, bank

May 15, 2012 Training session at Elks Lodge in Glenwood Springs, CO.  Introduced to all the other local personnel with Forest Service.

May 17, 2012 – Suspended Wireless cell service as I can’t get a signal at my campground.

May 18, 2012 was promised a golf cart, didn’t get it until June 21, 2012.  I used my personal van on 5/21/12 to haul trash.  Last time.  Today was my first payday, paid for six hours.

May 21, 2012 – Arrive in Meadow Lake for Camphost job.  Saw 3 does  and two yearling deer in camp and also two bucks.’

May 23, 2012 – It snowed 3”.

May 24, 2012 – Road is very bad and I was only able to work 1 hr. due to weather and roads.

May 28, 2012 – My SPOT tracking device renews automatically and good thing, as I was not given the promised radio and have no way to call for help if I need it.  No radio, no cell service, no internet service.  I wanted remote, but this is just too remote, and I would never had accepted the job had they not promised me a radio.


June 1, 2012 – Payday

June 2, 2012 – Sleet at 2pm.

June 9, 2012 – wrote my blog post

June 12, 2012 – Kayaked lake from north to south, distance 1 mile in 12 min.  Then around the lake a couple times for a total of about five miles but stopped as it got too windy.

June 13, 2012 – Made cornbread in solar oven.

June 14, 2012 – Attended Staff meeting at Marvine Campground, using my personal vehicle to get there.

June 19 and 20 – Days off, stayed away from Camp.

June 21, 2012 – Returned to Camp.

June 22, 2012 – Judith came to camp and brought tape and other supplies.

June 26 – 27 – Days off, stayed in camp.   Kyle came up to visit and had a flat tire.  Three fisherman helped us change the tire.  Was told I would not be getting a radio.


July 2-3 – Days off

no notes for rest of July


August 21, 2012 – Glenwood Springs Elk Club, staff meeting, Recognition Event… they gave us a cup.  Whoopee

August, 22, 2012 – There is a forest fire nearby and I was painting picnic tables when Forest Service Came by to alert me we may have to evacuate.

August 23, 2012 – Forest Service told me to Evacuate.  I secured things the best I could, took ALL my possessions and headed down to my supervisors camp.  Spent the rest of the day preparing my final report and recommendations of what got down and what didn’t get done.

August 24, 2012 was my last day of work.  Said they would Close Meadow Lake and would not let me go back up to do it.  I HATE ending jobs this way.  I like to FINISH things.



October 1, 2012 – My son, Richard Bailey had hip surgery, a total hip replacement due to a deformed ball joint that I never knew he had.

See people on way to Quartzsite:  Larry Hill, Cottonwood, AZ; Vickie W, Paulden, AZ; Steve B and Tori, AZ; Glenn Holle in Show Low; Sherry Selm in Tucson; Andy Beals in KS.

Buried rocks in Quartzsite, one as Dog Grave, 2) tree across the wash from my fav campsite, 3) hi Jolly in bushes.



Thursday, December 27, 2012

Wandrin: Christmas Hike

Wandrin: Christmas Hike

Some people just have too much fun.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

End of the World, as we know it???

I still don’t understand what all that is about, but I venture on… in my own bliss.  I seemed to lack the drive to get to Quartzsite and spend time at the Rock club, and I don’t know what that’s all about either, but have decided not to fight it.  Maybe I need to just take a season off.
Joined up with the pre-RTR gang and hung out with them a couple weeks more or less.  During that time, I rented a storage unit and emptied most of the contents of my trailer in to it… so that I could build shelves inside the trailer.  Found that I have 12 Rubbermaid tubs of genealogy.  Ugh!  This had got to stop.  So between needing to downsize my rock collection and needing even more to downsize my 40 years + of genealogy research… I just can’t seem to find the interest to do anything else.
Here is what the inside of the front of my trailer looked like to start with:

Turns out my trailer was not insulated and I bought it before I knew I was going to go on the road full-time.  So, I’m stuck with that.  Had I more money and time, I would have gutted it and done it right, but alas… I have to work with what I have.  The paneling was the thin luan stuff so I have to put in new walls over it… to hold the shelves and anything else I might want to affix to the walls.  That desk was my best $10 ever spent… the shelves will be built around it.

I planned and sketched out what I wanted, began measuring, cut all the pieces outside of the trailer, and then painted all the pieces.  I don’t like raw plywood, and need to keep dust down and keep the wood cleaner.  Below are the walls in place and painted. 

The unpainted square above the desk is where the nose of the kayak has to fit… so shelves have to be built around that area.

I don’t know why they look lopsided… they aren’t really.  Now I need to find some storage drawers that will fit the spaces.

It’s a work in progress.  Beginning to find places for everything so that I have put everything in it’s place.  My hopes are to NOT load the genealogy and rocks back into the trailer.  Cross your fingers for me, or pray or whatever you do.

Got the chance to go kayak the Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge.  It was wonderful to get out on the water again.

Gary’s kayak on the left and mine on the right.. we had a snack.

This is a Clark’s Grebe I think.  I had never seen one before. There wasn’t as much wildlife there as I expected.

It was, however, a really beautiful day for a 5 mile paddle.
And for the past two days it has been raining. I have gotten a lot of genealogy data loaded up to Ancestry, tossed a lot of paper away, and have started a stack of things to be scanned. Today the sun came back out so I was just enjoying the Arizona sunshine while shelling a batch of Alabama pecans given to me by a fellow vandweller.  Now, what to make with them. 

Now, would someone please tell me why I am getting depressed???

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Giving Thanks and Thanksgiving - 2012

The journey to Quartzsite AZ

Forgive the delay in getting this posted, but I’m just having too much fun (yes there is such a thing).

I had a lovely time at Steve Ballee’s property in AZ before heading on to Quartzsite for the rest of the winter.  We met up again in an area south of Rye, AZ and spent a couple more day doing what I like the most… collecting rocks.  The below is pretty much what it looks like all around the area.  Turns out… it is the past home site of prehistoric Indians.  It’s flat and the rocks had been cleared away.




Found some nice flakes of jasper, agate, flint, etc., which I think could be used to make jewelry.  Also found some Indian artifacts.


Left: painted rim piece of pottery.  Right: Flake from arrowhead production, and a poorly made point (arrowhead), and a 2006 Penny.IMGA0748IMGA0741

I enjoyed seeing cactus again.  Steve says these red fruit are edible.

I walked the area extensively studying for signs of past human habitation and was wondering to myself… why some of the places of barren of rocks and others have rocks all about.  I concluded that they must have picked up all the rocks to make for a more livable house environment… but wondered where they put them all.  Then Steve caught up with me and when I turned to talk to him, I saw the rock pile.


I thought/said… “Well, there they are!”  I wondered where they put them.  Then studying the pile and wondering at the fact that an Indian had touched each of those rocks… I realized the pile might have had a secondary function in that society… perhaps some religious significance. 


The pile, had a serpentine shape to it… here you can see it curves off to the right.  It curved back and forth like that with about four curves.  And, by the way, those open flat areas of dirt were littered with hundreds of small broken bits of pottery.  Most did not have painted designs on them.

Leaving Steve, I head on toward Quartzsite with the goal of stopped at a couple of the rock collecting sites listed in the Arizona Gem Trails book.  The first was n.e. of Wickenburg and I was looking for Wickenburg Nodules/Geodes.  Well, this was kind of a bust in a couple ways 1) none of it can be used for jewelry, 2) I could not find a way to pull off the road where I was suppose to and 3) I got stuck in the sand when I did pull off.  It was almost sunset, so I just went to bed right there.


This is where I was suppose to pull off.  Right!!!!


They have plowed up big berms so people can’t drive in there, without 4x4 drive.  So, don’t go there.  The peak is where the nodules were suppose to be.  I walked almost to the top the next morning, found nothing to brag about.


After my hike up that mountain/hill? I return to tackle this problem… can I get myself out of this or do I have to call Emergency Road service again (just called them two days ago for a lock-out)?


Three attempts at digging the sand away from the wheels and ol’ SwankieWheels pulled itself and my overloaded (with rocks) trailer out and back on the pavement.  Hooray!!!  (i.e. thankful again)


I drove on thru the desert, enjoying seeing the giant cacti again… it was almost as if there were waving at me, or dancing with each other.  I love these things.  Onward in search of Apache Tears.


Got a very good night’s sleep and awoke to this fantastic sunrise.  Had collected some the night before, but spent more time find more tears… and checking other locations along the Aquila Road s.w. of Wickenburg (thankful).  Now, if only I had a tumbler (not thankful)!


This is what they can look like polished… .


Also, when I stepped out of the van, I found this… someone’s tail… they is actually a bone in it and it was still bloody???  Someone said it was probably a desert pack rat????  (not thankful)

Finally, I arrived in Quartzsite, after stopping to resupply, have tires and torque pressure checked on all lug nuts, etc.  Found Bob Wells and a motely assortment of other vandwellers… and enjoyed a nice evening of sitting around getting acquainted.  Dinner is planned for the next day.


Steve was our host/cook and prepared most of the meal while others provided veggies, fruits, nuts and deserts.


Who could imagine such a spread in the middle of the desert totally off grid???


It was a complete traditional Thanksgiving feast, complete with hot apple pie (heated in my solar oven) alamode. (thankful)  Oh it was so so good, that is until I overdid it and went back for seconds.  (not thankful)   Read more about it at


Thanksgiving day ended with the traditional vandwellers evening stroll… and a good time was had by all.


Since then, I have been working on installing shelves in my cargo trailer (after photos to follow), I MUST get rid of the rocks and genealogy, I MUST, I MUST!  On a more pleasant note, I had a chance to go kayak the Bill Williams Wildlife Area north of Parker with friend Gary from the Rock and Mineral Club.

It’s a great life.

See Charlene’s Kayaking Index of States.

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.