Wednesday, January 31, 2007

In Search of Ghosts. . .

Today we traveled northeast of Congress to a "ghostown" by the name of Stanton. This town was built in the 1800's in response to gold prospectors setting up camp in the area. The town is out in the desert with a 6 mile "primitive" road going to it. You cannot see any of the town until you are right at the entrance to the area. There was a stage stop, a hotel, and an opera house. The remarkable thing about it is that it is still a haven for modern day gold prospectors and enthusiasts. The Lost Dutchman Mining Association is involved in the maintaining of this town and the owners and the residents alike are committed to keeping it alive and preserving the town as it was during its heyday. The buildings are being restored and are used by the campers. There are about 200 campsites, mostly full hookups (surprise) and the hotel doubles as an activity center with rooms for puzzles, pool, poker, storage and a kitchen. The opera house is being restored and it will be the location of the Friday night potluck, which have temporarily been moved outdoors due to the renovations. The stage stop is the current office. There are some other buildings, one of which houses a jail and will eventually become a museum. Other buildings include what appear to be residences and those also will be restored. It is really quite a "jewel" as the old ghost towns go, because it is painstakingly being returned to its original configuration. We were taken on a tour by Jean and Willard, members of our Fulltiming Graduating Class of 2005. Willard is quite the prospector and showed us how he uses the equipment to pan for gold. Jean is an artist who is always learning something new. . . jewelry making or strumming the bass guitar to accompany Willard. It was great of them to show us around and we enjoyed Willard's history of the town and particularly of the colorful man from which the town takes it's name.

Till next time. . .


Saturday, January 27, 2007

A Little R & R

Last evening we went to the chili supper here at North Ranch. We walked down with our neighbors, full-timers also. In fact, there are a lot of full-timers here. The supper was quite good and afterward, they had entertainment. Mike Dunn, an Arizona native (5th generation) recites "Cowboy Poetry." He certainly looks the part and it was quite enjoyable. I guess you would call it prose, very lengthy poetry and he would explain what the verse was about to get your mind set for the poetry. It was unusual and something different for us. Very good. I guess in Wickenburg, near here, there is a bar/saloon where they have a "gathering" of cowboy poets and they perform periodically.

There is a cactus garden here in the park and two very old saguaro. One is circa 1600 and the other circa 1860. "Methusala," the oldest is thought to be one of the oldest saguaro. The picture I have was taken with the sun in the wrong place, so I will have to take another, but I wanted to post it. Birds have drilled out homes in the cactus and they are constantly flying around it and chirping. The garden is quite unique and very well done. . . more than I had expected for the park here. It is truly a labor of love to see all the varieties planted and identified.

Today we went to Ghost Town Road in Congress and drove out in the desert to the 1800's Pioneer Cemetery. It is the only remnant left of the original gold mining town which once stood here. It is not really kept up, but it is basically undisturbed.

Afterwards we drove up the mountains to Yarnell, only 9 miles away, but what a drive! It is a divided road, so you have no opposing traffic, which is good, because it is a mountain road in the worst sense of the word. Not bad in the Sport Trac, but I wouldn't want to be in a big vehicle. They don't advise RV's on it for sure. At the top in the town of Yarnell is a Shrine to St. Joseph. We did finally find it and it was quite interesting. While we were there, we noticed snow. We were at almost a mile in elevation and had not seen any snow going up the mountain, but that is because we were looking on the hillside the sun was hitting. On the way back, we could see quite a bit of snow.

In this town was a local restaurant known as "Buford Buzzard's BBQ." Hey, with a name like that, we just had to try it. They were smoking the meats outside using mesquite and it just melted in your mouth. I tried the sampler plate and brought enough home for lunch tomorrow.

Coming down I couldn't get any good pictures because the sun was in our eyes and we really had to concentrate on the road. We will go back later in the week and go on in to Prescott. I'm sure it will be colder there with the elevation, but we will just make a short visit out of it. The frog picture is a rock painted to look like a frog. It is the advertisement for the Frog Rock Cafe at the base of the mountain.

Till next time. . .


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

North Ranch, Congress, AZ

We spent the last two nights in Laughlin, Nevada. Suffice to say the casino gods were not smiling upon us. We never lose much, and we almost always win back, but not this time. We left without making the rounds to all the casinos. We were parked at the Riverside Casino RV Park and it was sufficient, but you were packed in like sardines. No room for awnings, back to back hookups. Some of the other levels had larger sites and if we ever go back, we will request one of those sites.

Yesterday we traveled up the mountains to a little town called Oatman. It was renamed Oatman after two white girls who were captured by a band of Apache Indians. They were later traded to the Mohave and the youngest died in captivity. The oldest, Olive, survived and was traded to whites 5 years after her ordeal started. It is quite a remarkable story of courage and faith of these two young girls. The town is set up in the mountains and was actually a mining town with a still active gold mine nearby. The buildings, which all house artsy style merchandise, are old and it is easy to imagine it back in its heyday. The hotel where Carol Lombard and Clark Gable spent their honeymoon is here and it is said they returned often and Clark would play cards with the miners.

I forgot to mention the burros. We saw the first ones on the road right outside of Bullhead City on our way up the mountain. That was 13 miles from the town. They were on the side of the road scratching each other. We stopped along with other cars, and they made their way from car to car. It is illegal to feed them on roadside. Once we got to Oatman, there are about a dozen that roam freely through the streets. You can buy carrots to feed the adults, but the babies are supposed to only drink their mother's milk. It is illegal to harrass, harm or distress them, but you can take their pictures. The shopowners have names for all of them and see to it that they all get fed properly.

Leaving Oatman, we traveled toward Kingman on the mountain road, aka Route 66. It is quite the mountain road with plenty of switchbacks and scenery which is quite splendid and breathtaking.

Today we broke camp and drove to Kingman to the Flying J for a fill up of diesel ($2.389) and propane ($1.799). We waited to hookup the toad, as we had a 12-mile 6% grade to climb and Terry was worried about it. He needn't have been, as Phaeton Place performed flawlessly and made it up the grade without any problems. We then drove on highway 93 south out of Kingman through the Joshua Tree area. I remember seeing these trees when our family drove this route from Phoenix to Las Vegas during my high school years. The trees are quite different and this is one of the few places where they grow.

We arrived around 3 p.m. at North Ranch, the Escapees Park in Congress, Arizona. It is a nice park, well appointed and for once we have a decent site large enough for the dogs' ex-pen and our truck. People were outside and ready to talk with their new neighbors. It is a friendly park. We signed up for the chili supper tomorrow night. I don't care for any chili but my own, but this is more about meeting people and making friends. I doubt I will starve.

Neal had a bad gran mal seizure tonight. The poor little guy just does not deserve this on top of his mobility problems. After he regained his composure, I gave him 3 doses of honey to stave off the cluster seizures and before long he went outside to take care of business. With this routine, within 2 hours, he is usually back to normal. He is now fast asleep in his bed, and I hope we are in for a quiet night.

We are going to stay here for about a week or so before heading to Phoenix.

I still haven't gotten the problem worked out with blogger, IE6 and the runtime error, so I downloaded Firefox and am running that. I will add some pictures back tomorrow, so check back then!

Till next time. . .


Quartzsite to Lake Havasu City, Arizona

We drove up through Parker, Arizona, on our way to Lake Havasu City. It is a very scenic drive with a lot of hills/mountains and it follows the Colorado River. We saw several campgrounds but continued on our way to our destination. I took a lot of pictures of the scenery coming up US95.

North of Parker is the Parker Dam, but trucks and motorhomes cannot cross it and we didn’t want to anyway. Once we got to Lake Havasu City, we took the London Bridge across to the island and checked out a couple campgrounds. I should mention that it was raining and it was very windy and cold out on the island. One campground wanted $35 a night for water and electric (we passed) and another had full hookups, but the cost was $48 a night for a postage stamp lot with no place to park the toad. So we continued on and found a new park by the name of Havasu RV Resort. It is very nice, $31 a night and very well appointed amenities.

Saturday we went sightseeing and spent a lot of time around the London Bridge, checking out the shops and enjoying the view of the bridge from both sides of the canal. The London Bridge was purchased from England, disassembled and brought here and reconstructed like a big jigsaw puzzle over dry land. Once it was rebuilt, the channel was dug out underneath it and the former peninsula became the island. The bridge is very impressive and pock marks from German shells which hit it during WWII are still visible. Afterwards, we drove through the state park and drove around the island. The area is very beautiful and when you are out on the island you can look back and see the city. It really looks a lot larger than it is, but then it is located between the lake and the mountains. We drove into the hills a little and looked through the subdivisions. We stopped and went through an open house just to see what the place was like. It had an RV port with it and it was really quite nice. It was a beautiful day for a drive, in the 60’s and really sunny. Today, however, is sunny, windy and in the 50’s, so we went out for dinner and bought a few groceries and then came back home. Tomorrow we leave here and head up toward Bullhead City and Laughlin.

Till next time. . .


Problems with Blogger


I am experiencing a run-time error with blogger and cannot view it on my computer. Since the problem started after my last post, I went back and deleted the post in an effort to stop the problem. That has not seemed to work. I did save the post and will put it back up later.

I am able to go in on and sign in and post new topics and edit old ones. I just cannot view them. Anyone else running blogger having problems? Just wondering.


Till next time. . .


Sunday, January 21, 2007

Quartzsite to Lake Havasu City, Arizona

Quartzsite was fun, albeit a little chilly. The sunsets were pretty and the stars. . . there's no describing the stars. When you are out in the desert with no light, it is pitch black. And then you look up into that clear black sky, and the stars are all lit up. It is spectacular. More stars than you ever knew were up there. Here in Lake Havasu, we can see a lot of stars, but with the lights from the city, so many are not visible.

We did go back and find the Bouse Fisherman Intaglio. It is an image carved out of the desert floor hundreds of years ago by the "ancient ones." This particular image is of a man with a spear. There are fish below him along with what look like waves/water. Up above is a bird and an image of the sun. It is difficult to see it in my pictures. Because of the time of day we were there, the sun degraded the image if I took it right side up. I took it from the top and you cannot see it all. Also, it would have been better viewed from above, but since I can't fly. . . haha.
By the time we left "Q," there were a lot more coaches in our area, but still room for a lot more. But it interesting to be there early and have hardly anyone around, then watch as hundreds, then thousands of coaches and fivers come in. We left the day before the big RV show started. We don't like big crowds and the RV show is one congested event. We were really disappointed in the show last year, so it didn't really bother us to skip it this year. Some of our friends from the Class of 05 were coming in, but we will catch most of them at the Gypsy Journal Rally next month and we were kind of scattered over the area. In case you think they will run out of room. . . think again. This is BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land. Basically land the government owns and you can dry camp (no hookups) for up to 7 months in some areas. That costs about $140, but we were in a 14-day free area, so we didn't pay anything. You have to be prepared for dry camping. . . and we are. Two generators and big tanks. No one knows how many rigs are out here at any one time, but at the height of the event, I think it has been guessed at 240,000. And there is still plenty of room. There are BLM areas throughout the western part of Arizona and California as well. We left Quartzsite on Monday and it was raining. YES! Raining in the desert. It rained on us all the way north to Lake Havasu City and continued to rain the remainder of the day.

Till next time. . .


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

We're no longer Yuman!

We left our campsite at Fortuna de Oro in Yuma on Monday and drove up the highway to Quartzsite. We traveled north of the city to Plomosa Road and are parked with other RV.netters on the south side of the road right off the pavement. Such a change from last year when we were south of town in a real dustbowl. It is nice out here, a little further from town, but not much dust and the company is good.

Today we went over the mountain on Plomosa Road to the town of Bouse, Arizona, to pick up our mail. On the way back I snapped some shots of the valley as we came through the mountain pass. We tried to find the "Fisherman Intaglio" but there is no longer any sign there. We came home and did a little more research and will try again tomorrow.

After lunch we went into the "Q" and visited some of the flea markets. It looks to me like they have some expensive fleas! Didn't find much of anything we were interested in or anything we felt like making room for in the motorhome.

Here is Phaeton Place parked at the Q. And a beautiful picture of the sunset tonight.

Till next time. . .


Saturday, January 13, 2007

Glamis Dunes

Well, today we went in search of the Glamis Dunes. These dunes are on I-8 past Yuma into California. You can see them for miles as you approach, but nothing prepares you for the site itself. This is where some scenes from Star Wars and other movies requiring "sand" were filmed. They are just truly spectacular. We continued on I-8 to another exit west. They really don't continue far to the west, but you can turn back north, then cross them on the road to Glamis. There is an overlook there where you get a really good view of the dunes. There were a lot of 4-wheelers and dune buggies out there. It looked like so much fun. The sand is really clean and I just wanted to run down from the top! Hah. We turned back to I-8 on a "road" which we were told would save us 25 miles over the other route. What the guy DIDN'T tell us is that the 22 mile shortcut had a maximum speed of 15 mph. . . yeh, you do the math. And 15 was the fastest you could take the road. It was a washboard with washes every 600 feet or so. It took us 1 1/2 hours to go 22 miles. Ugh. But we did get good views of the dune to our west and all the various campgrounds/sites where people parked and used as base points. It was really neat.

Till next time. . .


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

We're Yuman now!

We are back at Fortuna de Oro in the Yuma foothills. We arrived Monday and last night we hooked up with some friends from the Graduating Class of 2005 and went to dinner. We had a really good time with everyone. Today we decided to go to Los Algadones, Mexico, because it is supposed to get colder tomorrow and be that way for a week. Ugh. We have certainly had our problems finding warm weather this year. But a cold day here is still warmer than a cold day back east, so I guess I won't complain.

I bought a couple things in Mexico that were new and unusual and not heavy (big criteria for us). I will post some pictures tomorrow. Haven't been taking any pictures because today it was overcast and almost looked like sandstorms, but there wasn't any wind.

Till next time. . .


Sunday, January 07, 2007

Saguaro National Monument West

There are two Saguaro National Monuments. . . one east of Tucson and one west. We had toured the east monument in the summer of 2003 when we were here, so yesterday we toured through the western section. They are not connected. The western one is in the Tucson Mountain Park and as with the eastern portion, basically just an area of mountain desert set aside for protection. There is a road (?), quite rough going, which takes you through the park with parking areas for hikers or picnicers. We drove all around one loop and stopped at one point and hiked to Signal Hill where we observed some petroglyphs which were put there hundreds of years ago. It's amazing to me they are still there.

On the way back to the car, a jack rabbit was hopping around and we got to see him, but I was too late with the camera. His ears looked 2 feet tall, although they were probably shorter. I read that the ears not only assist the rabbit with hearing well, but also help to cool the animal.
Till next time. . .

Friday, January 05, 2007

Who turned off the heat?

This first picture is Texas Canyon. We came through there yesterday and I am always fascinated by the rock formations.

Today started out as a beautiful day, but the clouds were a little ominous to the north. We grabbed a light jacket and took off for the Titan Missile Museum. During the Cold War in the 60's, 54 Titan II missiles stood in silos across the country. In 1987, the last of the Titan II sites were deactivated. Most of the silos were imploded and filled in and little trace of them remains today. There is one site which was excavated by its present owner and is used as a residence. Another is currently for sale on E-Bay according to our guide. The one we visited, however, was preserved as a museum. The "lid" is fixed half-way across the opening so that Russian satellites could determine that it was and remains unable to launch. It is quite a story, told by guides who actually worked there during the Cold War era. Everything at the site is real and not mock-ups of the equipment, etc., that stood ever ready for "the word" that never (thankfully) came. It was truly amazing to learn about how much money and time it took to build the system which protected our country from attack. Only four people manned the structure at any time, taking 24 hour shifts. If you are in the area, I highly recommend you take time to view this unusual and one-of-a-kind museum. It costs $8.50 and is well worth it. The tour lasts one hour, but you can browse the grounds as long as you like.
Once we left the site, the weather turned much colder, it was misting, an there was snow on mountains surrounding the area. We stopped at the Double Diamond Casino where I managed to win back everything Terry lost. Don't ask me how. We were a couple dollars ahead when we left. On the way up I-19, we saw this rainbow. Came back home and fired up the heater and stayed in with the boyz!

Till next time. . .

Tucson, Arizona

We drove to Tucson yesterday and arrived at the Missionview RV Resort on the Tohono O'odham Indian Reservation. It is a really pretty park and quite large. Flat terrain so easy to walk or ride bikes. They have a really nice building here with an in-ground pool and sauna. Hope to try them out while we are here. We are leaving here Monday.

Interesting drive over here from Deming. Being a frequent driver of our rig, I always observe who is driving rigs we see. Yesterday we passed a half dozen or so rigs heaing west on I-10. Every one of them had drivers of the female persuasion. Most had only women visible in the rigs, and some appeared to be solo. Thought I might get on the RVingforWomen site and see if there were caravanning out to the west. A group of three seemed to be hanging together. YOU GO GIRLS!

We passed one area along I-10 where there was a lot of water. Looked about like a lake, but think it was more just standing water, although it was quite large. There were no bodies of water on the Delorme.

Today we are going to the Titan Missile Museum today south of Tucson.

Till next time. . .


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Deming, New Mexico

We left Alpine, Texas, this morning and drove through rain for several hours. . . actually it was just kind of misting and not really raining hard. Between Alpine and Marfa, Texas, is the area famous for the "Marfa Lights." These are unexplained lights which appear most evenings after dark. They have been seen since the 1800's and Native Americans even reported them. Many attempts have been made to ascertain where they come from and exactly where they are, but to date, there is no explanation. I wanted to go out there last night and Terry wouldn't go. There is a viewing area right along the highway. Also, along US90 we saw one of those AeroStats, I think they call them. They are large blimp like balloons they put in the air to watch the borders. They are really quite large and we have seen them in the air, but this is the first one on the ground we were able to see this closely.

We also saw snow in the mountains at elevations of around 5000 feet. There was snow yesterday in El Paso we had heard, but there wasn't anything on the ground. We even stopped at a rest area just east of the city, but it was warmer than we thought it would be. Terry did all the driving until we got east of El Paso, then we switched so I could tackle the "white knuckle" driving as Terry likes to call it. It really wasn't bad coming through El Paso. There were road construction signs up, but we didn't see any and all the lanes were clear.

We are all snuggled in at Deming, NM, at the Escapees park reading for a night of freezing temps. We are prepared, but are anxious to get to Yuma and warmer weather.

Till next time. . .


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Goodbye, Mission, Texas

Friday night we went with Mom and Dad and Brandon to The New Pepe's on the River. It is an open air restaurant. There was a band playing and they were quite good. We had supper and listened for awhile, then walked down to Pepe's Backyard, which is a new restaurant built on the site of the old Pepe's, a short distance down the river from where we ate.

Saturday we took Brandon out for lunch and then to the airport. He flew back to Orlando and his flights were all pretty much on time, so he was happy. It was hard to say goodbye to him, but we know he was anxious to get back to Florida. Right now I think he is enjoying better weather than us.

Sunday I spent cleaning and loading up the motorhome for the continuation of our journey west. It took most of the day and I was pretty sore and stiff by the end of the afternoon. We spent the evening at Mom and Dad's having snacks and playing cards. We retired early as we planned to get rolling early Monday. Planned to do 300 miles which is about 100 more than we usually do.

Yesterday we left at 9 a.m. and headed west on 83. It was hard to say goodbye to Mom and Dad, too, but we wanted to get further west. We had a nice drive up through the Valley and made it to Lake Armistad and our campground around 3:30 p.m. We stayed in all evening except for taking the dogs out. It got colder than we liked and we were ready to roll this morning.

We continued our drive up US90 and stopped for the night in Alpine. Texas, at the Lost Alaskan RV Park. It is a nice park, but as with most, is overpriced for just overnight. It is supposed to get down to 30° tonight, so we didn't get our water hose out. They have extremely nice shower houses, so will use that tonight. The plan is to leave in the morning and drive to Dreamcatcher Escapees Park in Deming, New Mexico, where we may stay two nights, unless it is cold. Then we will continue on toward Yuma.

Till next time. . .