December 6, 2017 Imperial Dam LTVA, Winterhaven, California

Imperial Dam BLM LTVA Campsite
Imperial Dam BLM LTVA Campsite

Quartzsite to Yuma, Arizona and the LTVA at Imperial Dam

King Valley Road, Kofa NWR, Arizona
King Valley Road, Kofa NWR, Arizona

Before leaving Quartzite, Monday morning I took a drive down Route 95 and into the Kofa NWR on King Valley Road, hoping to perhaps spot some desert wildlife while exploring some new country. King Valley Road was a wide fairly decent gravel road, but 22 miles in, I made the disastrous decision to turn north and head up into the hills, hoping to get closer the rugged mountains. The road became narrower as I headed north and soon had turned into a one lane road with no good chance to turn around. Then, suddenly, the road turned from rough, hard gravel to crushed stone, as much as a foot deep and the the no clearance Prius started to bog down. The loose stone was piled up in the center of the road so I was scraping bottom and several times came close to getting stuck… and there was no way I could turn around, not that I would have dared to stop, since that would have definitely gotten me stuck.

  • So I continued to plow through the loose stone for more than a mile until I finally came to a short stretch of hard surface just short of an area where a the road went through a wash ( and would have been impassable for me and my Prius ) and I was able to finally turn around. Then I had to make the white knuckle drive back through the loose stone, praying I didn’t run into someone coming the other way since stopping meant definitely getting stuck in the quicksand like loose stone. No pictures to show for it and I have no doubt I probably have messed up the front end of the Prius.
Imperial Dam BLM LTVA Campsite
Imperial Dam BLM LTVA Campsite

On to the Yuma Area

Having made arrangements to have my Revlimid FedEx’ed to a Walgreens FedEx Hold location in Yuma on Wednesday, I left Quartzite for the short 70 mile drive down to the Imperial Dam BLM LTVA ( long term visitor’s area ).

Imperial Dam BLM LTVA Campsite
Imperial Dam BLM LTVA Campsite

After signing in and paying my $40 for a 14 day camping permit ( you may also opt to pay $180 for a season long permit ), and filling up with fresh water and dumping tanks and trash at the wonderful facility here at the LTVA,  I was fortunate to find one of the best sites in the entire area unoccupied and set up camp. I am on a peninsula of gravel with no nearby neighbors with 270 degree views out over the wetlands below the dam on the nearby Colorado River. Daytime temperatures are in the 70’s with cool nights right now and the wind is blowing pretty consistently at 20 mph and sometimes more.

Imperial Dam BLM LTVA Campsite
Imperial Dam BLM LTVA Campsite

I have an appointment with Shade Pro to have my main awning fabric replaced Friday afternoon at my campsite, then really have no plans for the rest of my stay here before heading east toward Tucson.

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December 10, 2016 Quartzite, Arizona

Desert Sunrise
Desert Sunrise

Home Sweet Home, Back in the Desert!

Home Sweet Home in the Desert
Home Sweet Home in the Desert

My new home for two weeks, in the Roadrunner 14 day stay BLM area, about 4 miles south of the town of Quartzite, Arizona.

Home Sweet Home in the Desert
Home Sweet Home in the Desert

Anyone who has ever been in Quartzite for the RV Show probably wouldn’t associate this place with peace and quiet, but at this time of year, and in this particular location, peace and quiet it is, with almost total isolation, just the way I like it. My closest neighbor is a quarter of a mile away and all I can hear, day or night, is the sound of the wind. Weather is just wonderful, 70 and sunny by day, 40’s at night, just Paradise after the miserable cramped conditions at the Birdwatchers RV Park back at Bosque del Apache.

I left Bosque on December 2nd and headed west across the mountains to get here. Was a little bit nervous about snow at the higher elevations along the way here and did see a lot of snow covered ground, but, fortunately, the roads were clear and dry and I encountered no problems on my two day trip. I overnighted at Walmart in Payson, Arizona Friday night and arrived here in Quartzite where I filled my gas and propane tanks in town then drove the 4 miles south to this location.

Desert Sunrise
Desert Sunrise

Nothing much to photograph here other than the wonderful sunrises and my main goal for my two week stay here is to get all my Bosque del Apache crane and geese shots processed and to get them and a couple other wildlife slide shows completed on BluRay disc.

Desert Sunrise
Desert Sunrise
Desert Sunrise
Desert Sunrise
Desert Sunrise
Desert Sunrise

I have ventured into town a couple times to pick up various odds and ends for the RV at all the “outlet” ( flea market, junk ) stalls set up around Quartzite, but otherwise have been pretty much a home body here and simply have enjoyed the long anticipated solitude of the desert.

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October 12, 2016 North Rim of the Grand Canyon

Sunrise Angel Point
Sunrise Angel Point

Another Spot Checked Off the Bucket List

Left Red Canyon Campground around 8 AM for the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, and after Just three or four hours on the road (with a stop in Kanab for groceries and gas), I arrived at the National Forest’s DeMotte CG and luckily someone was just leaving Site #4, a pull through with solar and satellite access ( no trees ). Absolutely no Verizon here and it’s a 20 mile trip to the North Rim, but the North Rim CG is reserve only and completely full, of course, and too tree covered to work for me, so DeMotte CG it is for my North Rim stay.

Sunrise, North Rim of the Grand Canyon
Sunrise, North Rim of the Grand Canyon

Up before dawn the next day and made it to the North Rim Lodge area just before sunrise.

Sunrise, North Rim of the Grand Canyon
Sunrise, North Rim of the Grand Canyon

Took a few shots from the pathway around the lodge as the sun slowly rose and gradually brought the temperature above freezing.

North Rim Lodge
North Rim Lodge
North Rim of the Grand Canyon
North Rim of the Grand Canyon
North Rim Foliage
North Rim Foliage
Angel Point Pathway
Angel Point Pathway

I then took the short trail out to Angel Point, again doing more than a little huffing and puffing on the short hills due to the elevation of close to 9,000 feet.

Kaibab Squirrel
Kaibab Squirrel

I really had hoped to get some nice shots of the unique Kaibab Squirrel, a subspecies of the Albert Squirrel, found only on the North Rim. Unfortunately, I didn’t see all that many, and the few I did encounter were very camera shy.

Kaibab Squirrel
Kaibab Squirrel

That bushy white tail is something else!

North Rim of the Grand Canyon
North Rim of the Grand Canyon
North Rim of the Grand Canyon
North Rim of the Grand Canyon

Angel’s Window

North Rim of the Grand Canyon
North Rim of the Grand Canyon

On my last day here, I took the road out to the Cape Royal vista point and walked out to the ” Angel’s Window ” overlook.

North Rim of the Grand Canyon
North Rim of the Grand Canyon
North Rim of the Grand Canyon
North Rim of the Grand Canyon

Now don’t get me wrong here, but I have never been all that overwhelmed by the Grand Canyon. I mean, yes, it is a geological wonder, but I have just never been completely awed by the vistas from either the South Rim or from the lodge area of the North Rim.

Angel's Window, North Rim of the Grand Canyon
Angel’s Window, North Rim of the Grand Canyon

From the Angel’s Window area, I have to admit that I was impressed. I spent close to two hours here, until after the sun had actually set, and it was spectacular! Here, I can see why folks are so inspired by the Grand Canyon.

Angel's Window, North Rim of the Grand Canyon
Angel’s Window, North Rim of the Grand Canyon

If the North Rim is on your bucket list, then make sure you take in sunset at the Angel’s Window, the Grand Canyon at it’s best.

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April 10, 2015 Lee’s Ferry Campground, Arizona

Route 89A and the Vermillion Cliffs
Route 89A and the Vermillion Cliffs

The Vermillion Cliffs National Monument

Yesterday I made the trip from the Petrified Forest National Park to Lee’s Ferry, Arizona, to spend some time exploring the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument. An uneventful trip west on Route 180 to Holbrook where I picked up I-40 West to just short of Flagstaff where I got on Route 89 North. All decent roads today with little traffic. About 30 miles south of Page, Arizona, I picked up Route 89A and drove into Lee’s Ferry, the starting point for a lot of the Grand Canyon River Runs. I was fortunate enough to snag one of the better sites in the Lee’s Ferry Campground, a flat pull through with a nice view.

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Lee's Ferry Campground
Lee’s Ferry Campground

This campground has about 40 sites, mostly back ins, mostly all not very level, along with maybe 7 pullthroughs, 2 or 3 of which are fairly level. Some sites have picnic tables, some have wind/sun screens, some have both, some have neither. Campfires are not allowed. $12/night or half that with the old fart’s discount, no hookups, but there are dumpsters and restrooms, and there is a dump station at the rangers station just a short distance from the campground.

Lee's Ferry Campground
Lee’s Ferry Campground
Lee's Ferry Campground
Lee’s Ferry Campground

The sites are all very close so there is no privacy. Fairly good Verizon signal and good satellite reception. There are no overhead lights so this place has brilliant starry nights.

Colorful Mountainside Before Sunrise
Colorful Mountainside Before Sunrise

This morning I headed up the road to the Lee’s Ferry landing to check on some rubber rafts I could see from my campsite. I was pretty impressed with the colors of the cliffside/mountainside caught in the shadows before sunrise, just an amazing rainbow of colors.

The Start of the River Run
The Start of the River Run

At 6:30 AM, the first of the day’s Colorado River runs was loading up and getting ready to shove off on a week or mores journey through the Grand Canyon.

The Start of the River Run
The Start of the River Run
Along the Road to Lee's Ferry
Along the Road to Lee’s Ferry

By 7 AM I was heading back out the entry road to Route 89A and had to stop to shoot the ” balancing rocks ” along the Lee’s Ferry Road. The shot above looks like something I would imagine the Mars Rover would be shooting.

Fallen Rock
Fallen Rock

These rocks fell from the cliff top eons ago, landing on the ground at the base of the slope. Then thousands of years of erosion washed away about 6 feet of the ground around and under the rock leaving the pedestal that currently supports the rock, but that will eventually be eroded away as well, and the rock will fall once again

Vermillion Cliffs Color
Vermillion Cliffs Color
Vermillion Cliffs Color
Vermillion Cliffs Color

The colors and patterns that result from thousands, millions, of years of erosion are something to behold.

Along the Drive Into Lee's Ferry
Along the Drive Into Lee’s Ferry
Vermillion Cliffs Color
Vermillion Cliffs Color
Vermillion Cliffs Color
Vermillion Cliffs Color
Vermillion Cliffs Color
Vermillion Cliffs Color
Vermillion Cliffs Color
Vermillion Cliffs Color
Vermillion Cliffs Color
Vermillion Cliffs Color

These cliffs run parallel to Route 89A for about 15 miles and I found it necessary to stop every half mile or so to shoot images.

Rock House
Rock House
Rock House
Rock House

This old settler’s ” Rock House ” sits directly on the side of the road.

I wanted to drive the Rock House Road that connects Rout 89 to Route 89A over 30 miles of dirt road along the western edge of the Vermillion Cliffs, to see if there were any dispersed camping sites I might be able to access along the road.

Along Rock House Road
Along Rock House Road

Heading north from Route 89A, the first 10 miles of this dirt road are relatively flat and the road is in good shape, easily travelled by any rig. But then the road becomes quite rough, deeply rutted and poorly maintained. For the most part I had little trouble negotiating the ruts and bumps with the Prius, but I don’t think I would want to risk this road with the motorhome, and I would guess that this road would be all but impassable after some wet weather.

In addition, I did not find any real dispersed camping sites along the road and the nice little State Line Campground had but 1 or 2 sites that would handle a larger rig.

Along House Rock Road
Along House Rock Road

There are several great hiking trails heading into the Vermillion National Monument Wilderness Area from this road. Many, such as the trail to the famous ” Wave ” require advance permits that are issued by lottery,  but other trails can be accessed after purchasing a permit at the trailhead’s self pay stations. I didn’t get many shots along this road as all the good images were to the east and I travelled this road early in the morning.

At it’s northern terminus, Rock House Road joins Route 89 and I headed east through Page and then took Route 89A back to the campsite. The first few miles east on Route 89 after coming off Rock House Road give you a great idea of what the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument has to offer in terms of incredible rock formations and these formations appear completely different in color and form from those I have travelled through today.

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