Saturday, March 23, 2024

As Another Week Is Passing

 When we think of having around 5 months ahead of us to spend our winter in a warm dry climate it seems like a very long time. After all most people have only a few weeks (2?) for their vacation, while even need more than 2 weeks just for traveling to and from our destination.

And yet, all-of-a-sudden 5 months are over and we are planning our journey home.

Now we have already been spending 10 days in Quartzsite and we are looking into our last week in the desert.

Over the last couple of days friends have shown up coming from Holtville,CA. The heat and the bugs have driven them out and over to Quartzsite. Here we are completely free of the hordes of insects which turned out to be very, very bothersome at the Hot Springs LTVA. Most days we have a nice cooling breeze which makes it even nicer to stay here. While Quartzsite does not sport any big-box shopping malls nor even a Walmart, the local stores have most of what you would need for a couple of weeks camping. There are still a few tent-stores offering RV-parts and camp utensils. And if you are into rock hounding there are still a lot of places where you can purchase rocks for your collection. 

Our days are usually starting with an early-morning desert walk which nets us a couple of new pictures of mother nature's wonders. Besides of an occasional trip to town to get supplies we are mostly enjoying lazy days in camp.

By the end of March we will be heading out seeking a few more adventures until it is time to start the long run home.

This strange looking air vehicle came flying by one afternoon

Grand evening sky view

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Time To Move North

With the heat reaching 30C (86F) and beyond, it was time to move north. The plan was to camp for 1 or 2 days at Oxbow Camping in the Cibola Wildlife Refuge, but we had to change plans. After we left the Hot Springs LTVA we went to the Holtville Dump Station. When trying to open our compartment door the key broke. So we couldn't get to our water hose. Luckily, another user of the dump station helped us out with his water hose, but we needed to get a new key. So we decided to drive to Yuma to "Wally's World" which is the place to go if you need anything for your RV.

I bought 5 keys(!!!) and after filling up with gas we headed off north directly to Quartzsite.

The drive along the Kofa Wildlife Refuge is as scenic as it gets. The Kofa Mountains are just so beautiful, and with its formations really special.

Along Kofa Wildlife Refuge

Along the way we saw lots of flowers and, due to recent rainfalls, the desert appeared lush green.

We turned into "La Posa South LTVA" which is our prefered location when visiting Quartzsite. We found a camp spot along the edge, from where the green desert is only steps away. 

And this morning I took Dixie out for a nice walk. I marveled about the plethora of desert flowers. This kind of landscape speaks to me as it reminds me of so many Western movies I have watched. There is no doubt that the Quartzsite area offers a special atmosphere.

Desert Sunflowers

And for campers it is also very practical as it offers free fresh water for the RV and a dump station, all close by.


Of course, Quartzsite is extremely busy from January and February when RV sellers and fleamarket vendors are present. But now, from the middle of March, many RVers have already left the area and there is no problem finding a nice camp spot.

45ft of Saguaro Cactus

Sunday, March 10, 2024

With The HotRod Guys


What does it sound like? 

Well, it's a pub-style place where food and drinks are served, and it is located in Holtville.

The lure was that they have a friday night steak dinner for 15bucks. We learned about it from fellow campers who had been there previously. 

Now we were going there together with them to check it out ourselves.

We are normally not great restaurant patrons, but this place's steak dinner is standing out. The steaks are huge and as a couple you order one portion only with an extra plate so you cut the steak in two and share the rest, which is a salad, green beans and mashed potatoes.

Now, the interior of this place is special as their walls are clad with corrugated steel, then painted with some wild motives. A band was setting up, but didn't start playing while we were there. Instead some boom box system spread a lot of noise, which I would'n be able to identify as any kind of music genre.

But let's not forget what we came for - the steaks!

What a treat! Soo tender, soo good, soo tasty. And so reasonable. Last time I checked at the supermarket's meat aisle, steaks of comparable size and quality (?) were around - yeah 15 bucks, and you gotta cook it yourself!

I hope they know what kind of value their chef is producing for them. He should get an award!

Sunday, March 3, 2024

We Moved

 When the temps are rising and there have been rain showers and one has a camp spot near dense desert vegetation, one has to deal with bugs! Bugs come as the nasty "No-seems", which can crawl into your ears, nose hair, short anywhere they desire to be and bite you, and there isn't anything you can do about it, or hordes of flies are doing landing exercises on you or, worse, you get the super-size mosquitoes which have the ability to sit on any skin-exposed area sucking your blood. Neither of those flyin' bastards are especially welcome. And when we  discovered that poor Dixie was suffering under the same attacks, we decided to act upon it.

Our camp spot was behind a slight rise which was fine to stop the wind but it also meant that insects were thriving there.  So we needed to move to a camp spot in more open terrain where the wind could blow and with less vegetation around it.

Such place exist in the very rear of the Holtville Hot Springs LTVA. And today the last and only camper moved out from there. So we rushed to pack everything, hitch on the trailer and move the short distance to a new better spot. 

Soon we were bug-free and happy established again in a place with lots of breezy air, and we even have a cactus out front. This site used to be occupied by friends from Ontario, which, sadly, cannot take the long drive south anymore. 

Dixie clearly was a bit confused as she couldn't access her old spaces anymore, but she will adjust after a day.

A side benefit of this spot is that it much quieter as we can't hear the traffic from the I-8 anymore. Further, there is less vehicle traffic here, and no other neighbours who are being barked at by Dixie.

Friday, March 1, 2024

Into The Golden Past

 Again we had reached the time for another trip to Yuma to replenish our supplies of propane and gas. And why not use this opportunity to undertake another excursion.

This time I had plotted out Ogilby Road, which connects the I-8 with Hwy 78 towards Blythe,CA. Its more technical name is S-34. It turns off of I-8 a few miles west of Yuma. The quality of the road does not make you want to write home about, as its tarmac is very broken and in places downright bad. I wouldn't want to pull our trailer up there, yet many people do it, as the road also is a shortcut to the Glamis Imperial Sand Dunes. We were rather interested in visiting the Golden Past of the area, namely the former gold town of Tumco.  (link to mine info)

I have posted about Tumco once before, but I think every visit to this long abandoned place will leave you with a new different impression.

Here is a write-up by the Imperial Valley Press

The Tumco Historic Townsite is an abandoned gold mining town located off I-8 on Ogilby Road in Winterhaven, California. It sits on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land amid the Cargo Muchacho Mountains. Tumco is one of the earliest gold mining areas in California with a 300 year history consisting of several periods of success and failure.

Before the gold rush, Imperial Valley had Spanish and Sonoran soldiers, settlers, and laborers all mining gold in the mountains of the southeastern portion of Imperial County, known as the Chocolate Mountains. It is here where the story of the Cargo Muchachos [loosely translated as “loaded boys”] originates. According to early accounts, two young boys were playing in the mountains trying to mine for gold like their fathers. Upon returning to their camp they discovered gold all over their clothes! From then on, the mountains were named the Cargo Muchacho Mountains and word traveled fast that these mountains were “loaded” with gold. Afterwards, numerous small mines were operated and mining companies moved into the area, which purchased claims and developed the mines on a large scale.

In Imperial Valley the first local to discover gold in the area was Pete Walters of Ogilby, who first discovered a gold vein at Gold Rock on January 6, 1884. Gold can be deposited in many ways, but gold veins are a miner’s dream! Gold veins are solidified streams of high-grade minerals, ripe for the picking. From here the first gold camp commenced, originally known as Hedges, which reached its peak development between 1893-1899 with about 3,200 residents. Hedges was abandoned in 1905 and later renamed. Tumco stands for The United Mines Company that bought the mines in the area in 1910. Unfortunately, in 1911 it was once again abandoned after costly efforts and diminishing prospects of gold.

Although little can be seen of Tumco today, during the boom time of the 1890’s, it supported a population of at least 500 people and the 40 and 100 stamp mills of the mine produced $1,000 per day in gold. Ultimately, over 200,000 ounces of gold was taken from the mines in the area.

We arrived there at about 10:30 and drove to the small parking lot from where a foot pass leads the visitors into the mining area. The "road" to the parking lot requires extremely low speed. 

With Dixie on the leash we started our hike which led us to some huge old water tanks. These tanks were used as water storage for the mining operation, but today are filled with sand. The combined weight of the sand and rusting steel brought made these tanks burst open.
The hundreds of workers which once slaved for the mining company, lived in small primitive cabins throughout the area. Within those old foundations a few rusty tin cans witness about human activity. Thinking of the hustle bustle of the long-gone days the eerie quiet of this place is almost depressing. Wind gusts are picking up some fine sand just to drop it again a few yards away. Nature has taken over here, yes, the humans took gold and they took cyanid, but the surrounding mountains and the sandy plains beneath have continued to be what they've always been, a part of the huge south-western desert.
As we rounded the tanks we noticed a horned desert lizard scurrying away from us. It's color is the same as the sand. Hadn't it moved, I wouldn't have noticed it.
The one-way distance of our hike wasn't even one mile, but already we noticed that we got thirsty for water. It is extremely important to carry water on every hike into the desert. If one falls and breaks an ankle, it can take a long time until help arrives. Waiting without water may then turn out to be far more serious than breaking the ankle itself.

Back at the van we all indulged in our lunch package, Dixie drinking a lot of water. 

Want to check out my previous posting about TUMCO?