SnowBird Diaries
Travel update
Thu, 17 Mar 2005 15:43:04 -0800
Dear John and Delia,

We are on the road again temporarily. Unfortunately, we crashed our step on a boulder coming out of a canyon and now must wait for the parts to arrive for repair.

In the interim it seemed wise to get some things done we had been planning for a long time. For the cost of one month's supply we can buy in Mexico a whole year of medicine for Marisol who is very short of money. A good place to cross is the Quechan Indian Res on the Calif side of the Colorado River, just west of Yuma. So we decided to do that. Stayed one night in the marshes at the south end of the Salton Sea but the heat and mosquitoes made it too uncomfortable to enjoy the extensive bird life.

The drug purchase crossing went smoothly but we got so bummed out with the hot weather on the trip to Yuma, fled back into Anza Borrego Desert Park and into the mountains for four days of lovely windy cool parking among the rocks in Culp Valley. Great climbing up the hills, wonderful change in vegetation - juniper, sugarbush, blooming yuccas, catclaw acacia, silver cholla and other cactus and vivid annuals everywhere, some quite different than we had been seeing such as a bright orange Castelleja (indian paintbrush type bushy affair, very striking).

Then an even cooler air mass seemed to move into the whole area (it was 50 degrees by the bed in the a.m. on Mon., and the camper is very well insulated so you know it must have been cold outside during the night).

Since the part to repair our motorhome step will not be in until Fri. we decided to take advantage of the brief reprieve from the rapidly warming weather to go to Quartzite to get a solar panel installed. We wanted to have one put on when we bought the motorhome but the Lazy Daze people told us it wouldn't be necessary. Hah! They must sell mostly to folks who stay hooked up in RV parks. With us staying out in the boonies and not driving a lot every day to charge up the battery it is so dim at night I think I am losing my eyesight. Once it turns too dark to walk around outside, reading is our big night time pleasure.

Have you ever been to Quartzite? It is the pits. The lowest possible denominator of U.S. commercial desert culture! It is known for two things, RV services and a big yearly mineral show - usually held in Jan. Evidence of that will be gone now. Mostly there are blocks and blocks of tents and canvas stalls that come and go, garish banners, RVs and cars, and people walking around looking at stuff. Everything looks like it is transient - like you might come back in a couple of hours and everything could be folded up and moved off somewhere else - a mirage. Inside the tent and stalls are rows and rows of benches with trays of hardware and RV miscellany, mostly cheap quality - hooks, clips, nets, ropes, strainers, plugs, tool sets, etc etc. It is quite fascinating in a way - like a carnival, or bazaar, or the low-end displays at the State Fair.

To do the town justice, however, I should add there is a small section of little wood frame houses and the desert and mountains surrounding the valley are wonderful. Range after range, in many colors, visible all around. Looking SE there are the mountains of the KOFA wildlife refuge where we have stayed other years. The desert here has saquaros, my favorite cactus - the first we have seen in any numbers since there are none as far west as Anza Borrego.

Anyway, Quartzite is known for RV solar installation technology - so we'll see what we can figure out. We got a recommendation from an elderly Canadian couple we ran into a number of times who had three big panels on their rig and seemed satisfied with the system they had installed. We will see what we can afford and will probably do a piece at a time, year by year, if we are lucky to find something appropriate.

Our original plans were to be visiting a former dance pupil of my mom's who lives in Bisbee by this date. That is almost a mile high so stays cool for longer than the rest of S. AZ altho it is really close to the Mexican border, but that is all getting delayed. Too bad we crashed into that boulder and broke our step!

Love, H