A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.





Monday, November 26, 2007




Quartzsite, where you find Velveeta cheese in the gourmet section of the supermarket.

Nov. 23 - 25
Perhaps I should explain my comments about Quartzsite. Although I only saw a fraction of what will be in another month, it was all I needed to see. Those there already are doing so with the thought in mind they will be there, in that spot for several months. Thus they have their little area all staked out, solar panels facing the sun, satellite dishes searching the heavens, Astroturf spread out, plastic flowers (some brought along their potted plants), a low wire or wood/plastic picket fencing encircling the perimeter to keep Fifi confined, their wind chimes, banners and whirlygigs working in the wind, mailbox erected (there is no mail delivery) along with a fancy name plaque “Bill & Mary Jones” staked nearby and let’s not forget the occasional Gnome or other garden decoration. Now I fault these people not one bit. That’s their thing and God Bless them (oh I forgot about the Stars & Stripes flying proudly somewhere within their domains – plus a few Rebel flags were noted) and if I had to evacuate Minnesota every winter, I might be right in there among them. The big attraction in January & February is the huge flea market, RV show, gem show and what more shows I do not know, and don’t really need to find out.
After two days, I pulled out the map searching for an escape route and headed east once again with Saguaro National Monument in mind. We stayed at Picacho State Park about 20 miles before the monument. If all Arizona State parks are like this, California needs to take note. $12, no forms to fill out, pick your own spot (which has been duly raked clean – I felt bad disturbing the lines in the sand) and free hot showers! The ranger lady said all their parks have showers and went on the regale me about her experience in one of the few California State Parks with showers “and I had no quarters!” It was a cold night which I later discovered we’re at 2000’. We need to get back down to the lowlands near the border. Saguaro has no camping and the nearby county campground left a lot to be desired. It had all the appearances of trailer park.
Back on the road through forested valleys of saguaros for nearly all the 200 miles to Organ Pipe National Monument. Organ Pipe campground showed itself to be like no other campground I have ever seen. It is pie shaped with 208 sites, all complete with cement parking pad, table and freestanding bar-b-que, neatly lined next to each other row by row fanning out on the level plateau. It is best to imagine a drive-in movie theatre without the big screen and snack bar, and then replace the speaker posts with saguaro, palo verde and ocotillo and you have the picture. However, I liked it there. There were only a few campers so there was a nice buffer zone between neighbors. Two days and a few hikes later (my legs are still squawking) we moved on, heading back to where we came from days ago. I wonder if the Velveeta is on sale?

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