Sunday, December 30, 2012


Lots of interesting rocks in the wash below us.  This is not a piece of wood.

This is part of an old tree trunk

Mitzy with the sun at her back on our walk in the wash

The vegetation is quite lush in spots along the wash where the plants have been able to intercept and retain some of the flood waters.  The Sonoran Desert is often called the green desert because many areas have large amounts of greenery.  Plants such as Greasewood stay green even in very dry conditions.  Trees such as this Mesquite put roots down a long way to reach moisture.

Elephant in the sky!  Well it looked like that to me.  

We did get a few light sprinkles of rain but not from this cloud.

There are many dead trees in the desert often caused by changing water courses.  Either they loose their water supply or the water undermines their roots so they can't retain moisture.

Saturday, December 29, 2012


We thought we had a few more days left before our tanks filled up but yesterday morning the black tank proved otherwise.  Since we had sort of been planning to move closer to Quartzsite when we needed to dump, we went ahead and made the move.  Jim and I rode the ATVs the fifteen or so miles and the ladies brought both toads over.  We left the truck and ATVs in our new chosen spot and all went back in the car to the motor homes for lunch. 
After lunch, we completed preparing for travel then went just a couple miles down to the Bouse Community Park to empty our tanks and fill up with fresh water.  In no time, we were set up in our new spot near the two mile marker on Plomosa Rd.
We all went to Parker this morning for groceries and a few other items.  We both picked up little propane heaters to use heating our motor homes these cool evenings and mornings.  We continue to have very cool nights and heavy frost in the mornings.   They should use far less propane than our furnaces and no electricity.  The furnace is a real glutton for both propane and power consumption.  Now we just need to drill a hole in the floor to bring the propane connection in for the heater to use.  We’re going to try the heater tonight using a small propane cylinder screwed onto the side of the heater.  This is the way the heaters are made to be used but that can get expensive after a while.  Using propane from the main tank which is bought in bulk should prove far cheaper.
Shortly after the New Year, Aileen and I plan to take the car and zip back to Florence for a night or two.  Aileen has to have a medical for her BC driver’s licence done asap.  Daughter Bev mailed the form to us and it arrived this morning in Florence.  Aileen can get the medical done at the walk in clinic at the entrance to our park.  This way we can also pick our (and Jacquie and Jim’s) mail and tie up a few loose ends.  It will use a lot less gas than running the motor home over and back as we were planning to be back in Quartzsite around the middle of January.

Thursday evening, the night before the full moon

Thursday night again.  The easiest way to shoot the full moon is the night before as it rises before dark. 

Up on the roof at our new spot at 2 mile on the Plomosa Rd

Our view south east

Our view to the south

Our home site

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


We shared supper preparations with Jacquie and Jim and a most bountiful feast was set upon the table.   Aileen and I cooked the turkey in the electric roaster using the Honda generator outside.  With the cool temperature, it took longer than anticipated but it was done to perfection.  Jacquie and Jim did lots of different vegetables and Aileen made a tasty dessert. 
I went out on my ATV this afternoon and explored some new and pretty neat country.  I found eight geocaches along the way and ran out of time before I had to haul for home before dark.  I must try to get back and have another look at the rest of the area I bypassed.
When we got home from Jacquie and Jim’s last night where we’d played Mexican Train after supper (Jim won followed closely by Aileen) I had an email from a couple parked about 5 miles up the road.  They were interested in getting more information on the Wilson Sleek and trucker antenna and wondered if they could come by.  J D and Becki came this morning and we had a delightful couple hours chatting about our chosen lifestyle.  They are full timing in a 39 foot Winnebago Adventurer.  

Cooking the turkey.  The cat crate does double duty

Our nearest neighbour this morning

The Vicksburg compass.  Visible from the air, it supposedly assisted airplane navigation in the old days

This actually spells Vicksburg when viewed from the other side.  Again, only visible from the air.  It looks like both enclosures were protected by cables through the posts.

Not sure if this was a stone house or if it had a different purpose.

This retired mine was below the stone structure.

This large arch was above the stone structure.

Looking down from the arch.

Looking south from the arch.

A shot from the Plomosa Road late this afternoon looking southeast.

A telephoto shot of our motor homes this evening as I arrived home.  The buildings in the background are about two miles away.

Monday, December 24, 2012


Butchart Gardens near Victoria, BC taken a few years ago

To our family, friends and visitors to this site, we hope you enjoy this special day however you celebrate it. 
John and Aileen, Mitzy and Sophie

At the front of our park in Florence, AZ

Sunday, December 23, 2012


First night in the desert

First morning

Last night

We uprooted our rigs Tuesday morning and made the trek over to Western Arizona.  We braved the Phoenix traffic and took Highway 60 then I-10 to get through the monster that is Phoenix.  One good thing about the freeway was there was no stopping the whole way through for us although in one spot the opposing traffic was at a standstill due to an accident and traffic was backed up quite a ways.  There weren’t any places to pull the motor homes off until the first rest area well west of Buckeye so it was a very welcome stop! 
We are parked out in the desert in a free camping area two or three miles up Plomosa Road from the little town of Bouse.  We’re probably 25 miles from Quartzsite.  We all went into Quartzsite Wednesday morning as Jim wanted to get another solar panel for his motor home.  Solar panels have really come down in price in the last couple years.  I bought three mounting kits and lift arms for our three panels as down here in the winter raising the panels greatly increases the solar gain.  Jacquie and Jim’s son (my cousin) Jeff’s in laws, the Caouette’s, came out from near Quartzsite to play Sets Wednesday night.  Jacquie and Aileen took turns leading all night with me a sometimes close third but Jim went out in the last hand and caught all three of us with very full hands resulting in him winning by a wide margin.  Dian was in the hole. 
Jim installed his panel Wednesday afternoon and we started on my kits Thursday afternoon when it warmed up a bit.  First off, I noticed our two main panels were only 64 watt.  I had been thinking they were much higher.   After thinking about it for a while, I called Solar Bill to see what he would offer for trade in value.  It wasn’t much but since the new panels were way less than we paid for the old ones, we decided to trade the two 64’s in on two 120’s.  We are certainly getting a lot higher charge rate but something is still wrong in the system because we can’t seem to hold the charge.  By evening the batteries are already quite low and we haven’t had anything on to use the power.  We’ll have to get the batteries tested when we get over to Quartzsite after New Year’s.  It seems we’ll be buying a new water pump as ours is burping when no water is being used which is annoying.   
Jim and I took the ATVs for a run Friday afternoon.  There are a lot of really neat trails in this area.   We picked up one geocache.  I went out by myself yesterday afternoon and found three caches.  One was a corral I didn’t know was there.  The second was up a canyon which had a bighorn sheep on guard.  It let me walk around and take pictures unconcerned, but when I went to head off up the canyon toward the cache, she panicked.   She bolted across in front of me and went zipping up the canyon, up the rock wall and over the top to disappear.  I guess I was cutting off her planned escape route?
The third cache was called Crab Claw and you’ll see why by the pictures.  It was a little out of my comfort zone climbing up and around cliffs like that but there turned out to be a pretty safe route that had all solid good traction rock rather than sections of loose rock on top of solid which is a recipe for disaster.  It was really neat when I finally got into the actual claw.
Today is sunny.  We had some clouds the past couple days with clear mornings to give us frost before turning cloudy.  It was a heavier frost this morning and only 6.9C inside the motor home.  Brrrr!  We could see our breaths inside.  Aileen said she could even see Mitzy’s.  We ran the generator for a little while til the solar was strong enough so we could use the furnace which is a real pig on power consumption. 
I mentioned in the last post about buying the Wilson Trucker Antenna.  I tried using the Wilson Sleek with the little antenna that came with it and we could barely get a useable 3G signal just part of the time.  After mounting the trucker antenna on the roof ladder, we have excellent 4G.  Very impressive and well worth the money, in my opinion.  It was about $55 including the adapter and mount.

The guard sheep

Up we go

First view of Crab Claw

Closer to the claw

Inside the claw, the cache was just through the opening

Where there was a nice ledge to walk out on and get a great view

Monday, December 17, 2012


The new toilet and the floor extending into the bathroom.  Can't get this picture now as I have the door frames and door are on.

The finished floor

With a big sigh of relief from all parties, I’m pleased to say the flooring project is over.  A bit thank you goes out to Jim for his help with the caulking, toilet and tap install and the slide facia trim.  I managed to bumble through the flooring install once Jim got me started.  Jim also came and helped put the furniture back in.  The bolts for the two front seats tuned into a three person job.  Jim and I were both needed to get a couple of the nuts on the bolts while Aileen had to hold them down from up above as they just kept pushing up out of our reach.  We are very pleased with the final result and it will be much easier to keep clean.  I did manage to do a good cut to my right thumb fairly late in the project and it is healing up nicely now.
We had two days of fairly serious rain.  Neighbour Daryl reports we received 1.6 inches of rain which is about one quarter the yearly total, I think.  Since yesterday was a dry day, I decided to go and finish geocaching the Florence Kelvin Highway.  I did most of it with the car and found the last 59 caches.  I enjoyed it more doing it by bicycle but there were just too many hills and it was only about 8-11C (46-52F) even though the sun was shining.  It was a long drive getting out to where I’d left off as there were several muddy spots left over from the storm.
We had Jacquie and Jim and Ken and Marie over two nights to play cards and we had good visiting and fun.   Jim and I loaded the ATVs onto his truck this afternoon.  Just after we’d finished, Jacquie came along and pointed out a nice slash in the sidewall of one of the rear tires on the truck so then we had to wrestle the spare off and change them.  We are leaving tomorrow morning taking our motor homes over to the Quartzsite area for a couple weeks or so.  We’re hoping to have internet for the whole time.  I bought a Wilson Sleek a while ago and while it did improve the signal strength, the tiny antenna needs help.  I ordered a Wilson Trucker Antenna which came a few days ago so we will give that a try.  I have heard good comments about that particular antenna dramatically increasing the signal so here’s hoping its true.

The area where I was geocaching yesterday.  If you look closely, you can see the buildings for the A Diamond Ranch.  They are fairly remote and it would be very quiet living there.  The Gila River runs through the notch between the hills

I'm always fascinated by the different colours in the mine slag piles

This is the bottom end of the huge Ray Mine

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


After several days making good progress on the flooring replacement, progress has slowed.  I picked up some type of bug that slowed me down for a couple days.  Then the piece of cement flooring I planned to use under the driver’s feet area turned out to be unsuitable according to the fact sheet I brought home from Lowes when I bought it.  I didn’t notice the comment about not using it with vinyl flooring until I studied the sheet more closely.  One of the managers at Lowes even called the factory for me Monday morning to double check.  So, we had to drive all the way back to Casa Grande to exchange it for a piece of plywood.  The flooring is all done except for three sheets under the steering wheel.  There will be a lot of fiddly fitting required with the steering column and various bolt heads and wires to work around.  Once the plywood is in place, I expect the vinyl will go down pretty easily.  Then it will be to get all the edges sealed, install the new toilet, replace the bathroom door and trim, reinstall the bed, the couch, the tub chairs and the front seats.  Oh yes, we do have to pull the slide in to make sure the flooring will not be damaged!
We took Jacquie and Jim with us to Mesa this morning when we went to pick up the new toilet at Camping World.  They had it delivered down from the Flagstaff store only to find they’d sent the wrong one.  After some tense moments and several what abouts, we managed to be able to go to a wholesaler and grab the correct toilet for the motor home.  We also stopped at a Home Depot for Jim to pick up more supplies for his project.
Jim and I played hookey yesterday and went on the ATV ride.  Way up at the very highest point on our ride, I was able to pick up a geocache.  Because of the remoteness, nearly all the cache finders have been in Jeeps.  One other one was ATVing and two were dirt bikers.  Only sixteen finders in five years and several were in groups where three claimed the find each time so there really hasn’t been much activity on this one.  The next cache from there is at the top of the Thumb which requires climbing gear so there is no way I will ever venture after it!

Somewhere on top of that monster is a geocache! 

Our ATV club Christmas potluck was held Monday and Aileen cooked two gluten free turkeys for the meal then made lots of gravy.  We got to bring the leftovers home as they forgot to announce that people could help themselves.  Our favourite leader Ed, from Saskatchewan, has been president, organizer, treasurer and his wife set up and cook etc. for 15 years or more.  With declining health, he has finally decided to relinquish the whole thing so we now have a new president and four trip leaders who will share the duties.  Other people have stepped forward to do the work setting up for the meeting/potlucks every month.  I hope to continue sharing lead duties on the Tuesday rides but don’t plan on going on the new Monday rides.  When I’m here, I hope to go on most Thursday rides and perhaps will lead a smaller group if we have too many riders show up.  I’m now the only leader riding a regular ATV.  The other three all have side by sides and it is a bit of a concern that they may go to more areas not as suitable for regular ATVs especially for inexperienced riders.  Time will tell, I guess.  We just had one of our regular ATV riders tip his new machine over and in addition to the cost has missed several weeks of riding.   

Here's a couple scenic shots taken on our ride yesterday.  These beautiful rocky ridges are along the Martinez Canyon Road.  I find them fascinating.