November 30, 2017 Quartzsite, AZ

Quartzite, AZ" Roadrunner" 14 day BLM Campsite
Quartzite, AZ” Roadrunner” 14 day BLM Campsite

A Short Layover in Quartzsite, AZ

After a week atop the mesa known as Poverty Flats in Overton, Nevada, on Wednesday I headed another few hundred miles south to Quartzite, Arizona.

Other than all but being blown off the mesa when a cold front roared through, my time in Overton was rather uneventful and was spent getting reacclimatized to being on the road again. The winds that accompanied that cold front were predicted to possibly get as high as 45 mph, but in actuality easily exceeded that. In my 14 years with this motorhome, I have never experienced anything like those winds. Early on, I was forced to pull in the slide outs as they sounded like they were going to get ripped off. Even with the jacks down, the rig was rocking such that I actually did wonder if it could possibly get blown over. Of course, the fact that I had parked myself at the edge of the mesa and was oriented such that I was mostly broadside to these gusts roaring up the slopes of the mesa, obviously, did not help my situation.

At the height of these gusts I actually did get out of the Rv and moved the Prius that was parked next to the motorhome and would have been in harms way should the Rv have been toppled. It was all I could do to try and keep myself upright once outside and after moving the Prius out of harm’s way, I found it took all my strength to get the motorhome door closed against the wind.  The winds finally subsided around 10 PM and I was able to get some sleep.  A fine grit of desert sand was deposited in all the window slide tracks and there was a visible coating of that same fine grit covering every flat surface inside the RV despite the fact that the windows were obviously closed all through this event. Hope to never experience anything like that again!

While in Overton, it was time for my first “on the road” blood work to be done to monitor how my new maintenance regimen with Revlimid was going. The nearest place I could find that could do the blood testing was the hospital in Mesquite, Nevada, about 45 miles away. They would draw the blood and do the testing, then fax the results to my oncologist back in Bend, Oregon. Turns out, it wasn’t anywhere near as difficult  a process as I feared it could possibly be, though the registration process for the drawing of one vial of blood took over an hour  ( and required over 24 sheets of forms ) for a blood draw that took only 5 minutes of waitroom time and four minutes to perform the blood draw.

On to Quartzsite

Quartzite, AZ" Roadrunner" 14 day BLM Campsite
Quartzite, AZ” Roadrunner” 14 day BLM Campsite

I really have nothing planned for my stay here in Quartzsite, I just happen to enjoy this particular spot to boondock out in the quiet of the desert. I have camped in this exact spot before and maybe I could do a little hummingbird photography as I do have several hummers coming in to the feeders I have set out in the tree by the motorhome door.

The Revlimid I have to take for my myeloma is a controlled substance that can not be dispensed like other prescriptions at your local pharmacy, but has to be FedEx’ed out to me from a specialty pharmacy in Fort Worth, Texas. The logistics involved have had me little scared since they will only ship enough to cover one month at a time. Being constantly on the move means I have to have them ship to a different location every month using a FedEx “hold” location in the area that I happen to be near. For this first time having it shipped to me on the road, I have been able to successfully arrange to have it shipped to a location in Yuma, my next destination just 80 miles down the road, for pickup on Wednesday. I certainly it will be be there when I arrive since the specialty pharmacy intentionally will ship it only on the day my existing supply is exhausted. I certainly can see where this will undoubtably be a problem at some point down the road, say like on a return trip up through Canada on the way to Alaska. This wouldn’t be a problem if I settled down, but I really would like to stay on the road as long as I am physically able to do so. And I do have my mind set on doing the return to Alaska this coming summer.

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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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December 24, 2014 A Tough Moving Day

Quartzsite sunrise
Quartzsite sunrise

Quartzsite down to Imperial Dam LTVA

Vapor trails from the many commercial planes headed east toward Phoenix provide a different look at sunrise this morning. These sunrise shots were taken with the rugged mountains of The KOFA NWR providing stark contrast to the colorful morning sky.

Quartzsite sunrise
Quartzsite sunrise

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

Quartzsite sunrise
Quartzsite sunrise

After taking my morning dose of sunrise shots, I started packing things away and getting the motorhome ready to travel. As much as I hate to leave this spot, I must continue south for some even better opportunities at bird photography as well as to check out new places.

Female Costa hummingbird
Female Costa hummingbird

Being ready to go by 9AM, I couldn’t resist the temptation to spend a last hour or so shooting hummers in the morning light before traveling.

Costa's hummingbird
Costa’s hummingbird
Costa's hummingbird
Costa’s hummingbird

This spot has really whetted my appetite for more and better opportunities to work on my hummingbird photography. I have planned to eventually make my way to Sierra Vista this winter where I have had the pleasure of shooting hummingbirds at Beatty’s Orchards in the past, before I had my 600mm lens.

Verdin
Verdin

This little guy, not much bigger than the hummingbirds, made an appearance this morning just as I was getting ready to leave. This is a Verdin, a common bird here in the desert my bird book tells me, and this is a first for me.

 I ‘m Dreaming of a Smoky Christmas

Actually, I’d prefer it weren’t. The trip down Route 95 to the Yuma Proving Grounds and in to the Imperial Dam LTVA ( Long Term Visitor’s Area ) is only 60 or so miles and I figured I only needed a couple of hours to make it down there by noon. About 20 miles north of the Imperial Dam Road I couldn’t help but notice a large plume of black smoke coming from somewhere in the vicinity of where I figured I was headed. It became larger and darker the farther south I drove.

Around 11 AM I turned west off Route 95 and headed in towards the Yuma Proving Grounds and directly into the source of the smoke. This can’t be good! And, sure enough, about 7 miles in from Route 95, with my final destination just 2 miles away, there it is, a patrolman stopping traffic in front of me, his patrol car parked across the road blocking the way into the Imperial Dam LTVA. He tells me this is a “controlled burn ” and they can’t let anyone pass ( the Yuma paper the next day said it was a wildfire ). I explained that I was pulling a Toad and couldn’t just turn around on the 2 lane road and am unable to back up with the Toad  attached. There was a small dirt parking area just across the bridge behind his patrol car where it looked like I might have a chance to make a U-turn if he would allow me to do so. Since there were other vehicles stacking up behind me, he reluctantly decided he would let me give it a try, and I was able, just barely, to make my U-turn and head back the 7 miles to Route 95.

Now I have to ask, why, if it was a controlled burn, would it not have occurred to officials to place a person, or at least a sign, seven miles back at the intersection, so that people wouldn’t have to drive in and be turned around. This road closure wasn’t just a half hour thing, this was an all day and night thing. Why don’t our government officials ever act in a way that least inconveniences citizens instead of figuring out the most inconvenient method to proceed with most of the time.

To add insult to injury, the ” detour “, for me at least, added 50 miles and two hours to my trip, where I was just 2 miles short of my destination, and included driving into the city of Yuma, and battling the last minute rush traffic of late Christmas shoppers in my motorhome with the Prius in tow.

Imperial Dam LTVA

The LTVA is poorly signed and difficult for a first timer to really figure out. Being Christmas Eve, the ” office ” trailer was closed and the Campground Host, when I finally found his spot, was off duty, and the only self pay station, didn’t even mention the concept of an LTVA and had a fee of $20/night, as opposed to $40 for two weeks, or $180 for six months, that are the published rates for the LTVA. So, frustrated, I decided on taking the criminal approach and proceeded on in and found a spot to set up camp, gand will go back to pay the Campground Host at the first opportunity.

My first impressions of this place are a little disappointing, it compares very unfavorably with the last campsite south of Quartzsite, and the thick acrid smoke enveloping the area certainly doesn’t help. But I plan to hang out here a few weeks and explore the area a little before moving on. More on the LTVA in the next post.

December 20, 2014 Quartzsite, Arizona

Female Anna's hummingbird
Female Anna’s hummingbird

Wonderful New Neighbors

Gave the dogs a long needed bath, then packed up and left Shady Lane RV Park around 10 AM and headed south down Route 95 to the 14 day BLM area at Mile Marker 99, drove in about a 1/2 mile and set up camp next to a wash and a group of saguaros.

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

hummingbirds
Welcome visitors

Set out the hummingbird feeder on one of the windshield wipers as soon as I arrived and was all but immediately greeted by several hummingbirds.

Anna's hummingbird
Anna’s hummingbird
Anna's hummingbird
Anna’s hummingbird
Anna's hummingbird
Anna’s hummingbird

I am amazed that out here in this stark desert environment, without a single shrub flowering or any flowers in bloom, that these guys can be thriving as they seem to be. What do they subsist on when there doesn’t appear to be any nectar to gather, other than that from people camping out here and putting out feeders?

Female Anna's hummingbird
Female Anna’s hummingbird
Anna's hummingbird
Anna’s hummingbird

Well, however they survive, I for one am awfully glad they are here, it has been quite a while since I have been able to do some bird photography, and I really enjoy trying to capture these little guys.

Anna's hummingbird
Anna’s hummingbird

These guys were all shot through the front windshield with my 200 – 400mm lens, while I relaxed in my recliner. Thus they aren’t as sharp as I might like and the colors are dimmed and greened by the windshield, so tomorrow I will try and get serious and set up the feeder out in the wash I am parked next to and try and get some good stuff ( hopefully ).

South Quartzsite Sunset
South Quartzsite Sunset
South Quartzsite Sunset
South Quartzsite Sunset
South Quartzsite Sunset
South Quartzsite Sunset

A fairly dramatic sunset this evening as well, I think I am going to like it here!

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