Thursday, February 14, 2019

BACK FROM VACATION

We  had a great time hiding away in the desert near Bouse about 20 miles northeast of Quartzsite, AZ.  We did lots of walking from our parking spot as we could go in any direction.  Aileen walked in the morning while I usually lazed in bed.  If it looked like sunrise might be worthwhile, I would get up and out with my camera.   Our nearest neighbour was about 1/4 mile away and although we were fairly close to the road, there was virtually no traffic at night.  We took several ATV rides by ourselves and seldom met others.  We really enjoyed being able to poke about and stop and explore or just sit and watch things.  The wildflowers were slowly beginning to come out and we got to see several new to us.  There wasn't a lot of wildlife but we did get to hear the coyotes at night several times and seeing the two Chuckwallas on our last ride was icing on the cake.  We sat in the RZR and watched them from about twelve feet away.
I got out geocaching with my Uncle Jim twice and Aileen and I did several times on our own. 
We did make several trips to both Quartzsite and Parker and once over to Blythe, CA for a change of scenery.  I got lots of reading in too which it seems I'm too busy to do while we are in Florence.  It is quite a change to have so much free time when there is no internet!
After our nearly four weeks of peace and quiet, we spent Monday night at the truck stop in Gila Bend.  It was a zoo there with trucks parked everywhere and as the RV park was full, there were lots of RVs scattered around the truck stop too.  I told Aileen that all the noise and confusion was good as that would make Caliente seem fairly quiet.
My back has been bothering me so I visited the local chiropractor yesterday.  I didn't go riding today as rain was forecast and as I write this, it has begun.   Up to an inch forecast for today and tonight then showers for the next few days.  The temperatures are still staying fairly cool which is keeping the flowers from coming on.  We had several frosty mornings on our holiday but we didn't get the rain that Caliente got.
I think we're already down to less than five weeks before it is time to head north for the border.  I expect those few weeks will be very busy for us. If the weather warms up I will be out searching for wildflowers.  We went to a neighbourhood gathering yesterday.  Pete and Joni put on a shrimp fry for friends and wow, was the shrimp good.  It was nice to touch base with friends and meet some new people.  I imagine there will be more such get togethers the next while as people gear up to depart.
We are getting together with three other couples this afternoon at Mt Athos, the Greek restaurant in Florence, for a Valentines meal.  We may be taking a short road trip in the car in a week or so too.

Desert Dandelion

Desert Chicory

Desert Stars

Aileen on one of our evening walks

Desert Sand Verbena and Dune Primrose



Dune Primrose also called Birdcage Primrose

Desert Sand Verbena

DunePrimrose

Dried mud

Preening

Black-Chinned Hummingbird, I think

Same hummer but not his best side

Male Housefinch

Northern Mockingbird in Ocotillo blooms

Painted Lady butterfly

Sunrise in front of the motor home

Loggerhead Shrike

Yes, I know this is Arizona but it was darn cold while we were out geocaching one day.  Aileen is trying to keep out of the wind while having her lunch.


Lizard photos next



Chuckwalla



Chuckwallas grow to about fourteen inches in length.  The tail stores fat.  All that sagging skin has a purpose.  They can crawl in to a small crevice in the rocks and inflate themselves making it difficult for predators to pull them out. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

VACATION UPDATE


Since it was a cloudy morning, we drove up to Parker to check our emails and log some caches.

We’ve been enjoying some serious down time since leaving Caliente on January 16.  We had the motor home serviced in Coolidge that morning and when it was finished carried on to Gila Bend where we spent the night.  The next day we arrived at our chosen boondocking spot near Bouse.  We are at Mile 14 on Plomosa Rd and have no close neighbours.  There is usually very little traffic on the road from 10pm - 6am.  The only exception was last Saturday when we were awakened at 4 am to a herd of transport trucks going past.  Apparently the highway north of Quartzsite to Parker was closed due to an accident and all the traffic was re-routed on Plomosa Rd past us.  We are about 20 miles from Quartzsite and a little further from Parker.  We have the car with us if we need to go to either place.
We drove in to visit with Jacquie and Jim in Quartzsite the day we arrived and have been in a couple other times.  Shortly after our arrival, we both came down with colds which slowed us down for several days.  We went one day and walked around the big tent at the annual RV show and went to Quartzsite on Saturday to the annual bloggers get together.  Less people at bloggerfest this year, I think about 20 and all but 4 were Canadian.  I met Jim J Sunday and we spent three or four hours geocaching.  Aileen and I have taken the RZR on several rides and so far the trails have been very quiet.  That has been a nice surprise since there are many tens of thousands of people in the area this month.  In fact, the section of Plomosa Rd closest to Quartzsite, 0-3 mile, has been the busiest we’ve ever seen.  It was nearly wall to wall RVs everywhere you looked.  There seemed to be a lot of special interest groups camping together.
So far we aren’t feeling under privileged with not having onboard internet.  Aileen does have her             I-phone that she can check her email on.  I have taken my computer to McDonald’s in Quartzsite twice and once to a truck stop in Parker that had superfast internet.  I’m finding that I have more time for other things since I’m not spending the time online.  I am preparing this post in advance so that sometime in the next few days, when we get up to Parker again, I can upload it.  We’ve been doing lots of walking in the desert around us and have found some beautiful flowers that are coming along after the extra rain that the area has had this winter.  The best ones have been the little Desert Stars.  They are rather tiny and difficult to see as they grow very close to the ground and they mostly grow in gravelly soil so blend in well to their surroundings.  Most of them are smaller than a quarter and some are about the size of a dime.  There hasn’t been much in the way of bird life but the past couple days we’ve been seeing more.  A couple of rabbits and a coyote are about the only larger animals we’ve seen.  I expected we’d see some sheep but none so far.
We will probably stay in this spot until we have to go and dump our tanks then we may move over the hill closer to Quartzsite for our last few days.  Our plan is to remain in this area until around February 12th,   when we’ll head back to Caliente at Florence.  We’ll only have about five weeks then until it will be time to begin our trek north again.


We have been out in the sunset most evenings

Aileen at Gila Bend

Saguaro sentinels at Gila Bend

Taken from beside the motor home at our Plomosa Rd camp


Lots of gnarly old Mesquite trees willing to pose in the sunset

Some pretty neat shapes are picked up when using flash

Full moon


The night before the full moon while out walking.  I didn't notice until later the large airplane crossing the moon.  Click on the image to enlarge if you don't see the plane.

Desert Star, the flowers can be either white or light purple

Nice paint job on a truck at the Quaratzsite RV show belongs to one of the vendors 

Ocotillo bloom

Aileen in the dunes north of Quartzsite



A leafed out Ocotillo

Desert Stars


Desert Sunflower

Yellow-cups Evening-Primrose

Scorpionweed

Gnatcatcher

Male Side-blotched Lizard.  Not the blue specks on his back and tail.

Some of the area out behind where we are parked

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

GOING ON VACATION

We're heading over toward Quartzsite, AZ this morning.  Might be gone close to a month.  Not planning on having dependable internet so this blog may be quiet for the duration.  I saw online that Quartzsite and all western Arizona got quite a bit of rain yesterday so some flash flooding occurred.

Went out behind the park hoping for a nice sunrise but it just got darker



Still some fall colour in January

Northern Cardinal


Seen while out in the RZR

Aileen spotted this rock squirrel along Price Rd

Bighorn Ewe


Javelinas


Biggest grasshopper I've ever seen, 2.5-3 inches long


Box Canyon


And I will leave you with this one.  Taken looking east along Price Rd, east of Florence, AZ