A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Day 96

Today I did just a short hike out from my backyard.  I wanted to explore what was at the base of those cliffs midway up the mountainside in the distance.

There were these little alcoves that would provide shelter, not true caves.  
And there was debris all around from illegal migrants over-nighting in these hollows.

 I was glad I climbed up there for I found the answer to my question regarding those black jugs they use to haul their water in.  Being it was sheltered from the wind, rain and sun, this bottle still had the label on it.  Now I know the bottle comes filled with water and not just sold as empty jugs.  
That is a tin of tuna and a Motorola battery pack to some sort of device.

 This plant is the Cat Claw Bush.  You can see the little curved thorns that look just like a cat's claw.  It is also known as the "wait-a-bit" bush.  When hiking with others and your clothing snags on the plant you will be saying "wait-a-bit" while you try to unhook yourself.  I got caught in this one which prompted the idea to take a photo and tell you about it.  The thorns look big and mean but they are only about a quarter inch long.  Macro photo makes them appear big.

And here is another misshapen saguaro. 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Day 95

Today's hike was to a rock formation I could see in the distance from camp.
On the way I came across the prickly pear cactus.  The unusual thing about this particular one is that it is the only one I have seen in all my miles walking and riding through this desert.  
How did just this one plant get started here?

Getting close. 
You can see the one spire to the right looks like it is balancing. 
 This is what attracted me to the formation.

 Once I got close enough I was surprised to see it was not of volcanic origin.  I thought these spires were the remains of an ancient volcano for the entire area where I was finding all the castoffs from the illegal migrants is of volcanic rock.  Instead it is conglomerate rock probably from an ancient mud flow perhaps caused by the nearby volcano remains two miles to the east where my camp is. 

The "balancing rock" was less impressive up close. 
No I didn't do any climbing.  Those days are far behind me now.

This lichen was very colorful.  More so than the photo shows.

One of the photos from the migrant trail hike a couple days ago.  I've never seen vocanic material like this light grey material with a very smooth surface to it.  All those holes are from gas bubbles that were within the lava.  Makes it look like Swiss cheese.

I keep forgetting to mention every morning the Border Patrol passes by my camp heading out into the desert somewhere.  Yesterday one of them was in a big hurry.  Just while I was putting together this post one came by towing another on a flatbed trailer.  Maybe he broke down out there.  
They don't call AAA.  They take care of their own. 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Day 94

My camp neighbor Christa at the previous two week campsite told me how I could make a pizza using flour tortillas AND everything I needed I could get at the Dollar Tree store. (I already had the flour tortillas) Now I've been in Dollar General and Family Dollar stores before but evidently not a Dollar Tree.  I stopped in one on my way to Phoenix, got all I needed plus some yummy deserts including cream puffs, chocolate eclairs and chocolate cream pies, everything like the name of the store is a dollar each.  One of the nice things is that the portions are small which is ideal for a single person on the road.  Thank you Christa for the tip on Dollar Tree stores.

So the other night I made my first pizza from scratch.  
Toppings were onions, olives, sausage and pepperoni.
Ready to go into the oven.

Tasted great just like a good pizza should, complete with heartburn afterwards.  Only thing is the tortillas don't get hard like normal pizza crust.  The generator died on me twice messing up the convection oven cooking time which may have had something to do with that.

Today ended with me finally getting back into a short sleeve shirt and no shoes or socks.
Warm weather is back!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Day 93

The rough road to a new life.
All of the following is just a small part of the castoffs I discovered on a 2.5 mile loop hike from camp. The terrain is no easy stroll.  I went up the mountain behind me, walked along the ridge line then went through a pass down the other side all through rough sharp edged lava rock.  I say this not to enhance my hike but to say how difficult the land is for the illegal immigrants coming in through nearby Mexico 43 miles to the south. They have over a hundred miles of this to cross before reaching any sizable city.

My first find on top of one of the lower peaks, a lone shoe.  
How and why on top of mountain peak?

Down in a wash what was once a nice cable-knit sweater.

There were over a dozen of these black plastic one gallon jugs, some with rope still tied onto the handle.  I've never seen the black ones before which made me think someone has a good business going just over the border in Mexico selling these containers. 

A sock.

A pair of pants.

A packet of tuna packed in water.  I found several of these which led me to believe the guy selling those black jugs must be selling everything you need for your journey to America.  
Jose's One Stop Illegal Immigration Shopping Mart.

A duffle bag like new when discarded.

And the duffle bag owner's poop.  I left this alone.

On my way back in the distance I spotted what looked to be quite a bit of abandoned goods.  It was over some really rough terrain to get there, not in anyway the most easiest of route these people could have chosen.  Why did they go the most difficult way?  With the shoes, food packets, cans and other gear left behind it made me think that perhaps this is where the Border Patrol caught up to them.  So I wondered when the Border Patrol catches a group of illegals and hauls them away, do they clean up their belongings and trash or just leave it?

Or maybe they had to leave in a hurry and make a run for it for one of them dropped his nail clippers.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Day 92

What a glorious day!  Clear skies filled with brilliant sunshine and that darn wind.  It's not that cold that I couldn't be outside but the wind makes it just that bit too uncomfortable for me.  I eventually grew so restless I just had to get out even if only for a short walk.

This is one of the more peculiar looking saguaros I have ever seen.

I have never seen a cholla as densely packed and large as this one.
It was 5 feet tall.

Can you imagine falling into this?  A very painful experience indeed.

 All the plants around here are showing new growth from these recent rains. 
This ocotillo is a good example.

A sign near camp.
Yep, this area should provide me with some good exploring.

Tomorrow the winds are supposed to die away and next week be in the 70's.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Day 91

The last two days were spent going to, staying the night and getting out of Phoenix, Arizona.  I needed a few food supplies and wasted the rest of my time looking for and not finding a few other items.  There was nothing worth putting onto the blog during my time there.  
All I can say is that it would be a horrible place to live.  
Phoenix has the distinction of being the Kidnapping Capitol of the U.S. so its got that going for it.

I am now south of Ajo, Arizona searching for warmer weather.  The sun is shining brightly here but the air is cold.  That is supposed to change this weekend.  This area looks like it might have some good hiking in store for me.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Day 88

Seen parked at the rock and gem show in town here.

Think it would be easy to find where you parked in a crowded parking lot.
Imagine what the inside must look like.

Tomorrow I must move on for my time has run out here.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Day 86

Yesterday everyone was inside whatever they have taking shelter for the cold, wind and rain.  
I used that time to finish the latest ink drawing.  If I had any idea how difficult this piece would be before starting it, I probably would never have started on it.
Still, having finished the piece there is that sense of accomplishment.  I'll take that.

This one that I did before the above was much more enjoyable to do.

Today though is a glorious day full of sunshine.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Day 85

This is someone's ingenious water heater system. 
Why use your propane when you can get the sun to do the heating for you? 
Don't laugh, that black plastic tubing can get real hot sitting in the sun.  

Although it will not work on a day like today.  There's no sun, its cold, the wind is blowing and there is supposed to be rain later today.  I've learned the winter season here in the desert is unusually cooler this year due to El Nino or La Nina, one of those.  Still it is better than back at home right now.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Day 84

Today is a cold blustery day with showers off and on which means a good day to do an inside project.

This is a drawer which I have always assumed was for spices.  It is made like this because of the sink on the left side a full sized drawer will hit it.  The thing is though that normal spice bottles would hit the drawer latch thus you couldn't shut the drawer.  So for the 10 years I have had this RV I have kept the spices in the overhead cabinet.  After a day of driving bottles are laying down all over the place up there.  Last night it came to me - move the latch!

Here you can see the latch in its new spot over on the left side and the drawer now slides all the way in with my spice bottles in it.  It is a good day and I am a happy camper.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Day 82

Today I discovered another abandoned stone cabin during my bike ride up into a canyon.

Inside looking towards the front.
It had a galvanized tin roof at one time for the remains of the metal 
were all about whipped off by the winds over time.

Their backyard view.
Much nice to appreciate in person than by this photo

Nearby was this mining claim that may still be worked to this day.

This one had a shaft straight down.
I tossed a rock in and it took too long to hit bottom for my comfort levels.
I stepped away.

 A nice short commute from home to work your claim.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Day 81

There are 4 or 5 five of these little transit vans at this gathering.
It hardly needs to be said that there is very little living space inside
these vans but people manage.

This guy really made use of every bit of space available.
The two plastic containers is his water filtering drip system he devised.

 This lady was the complete opposite of the previous guy.

She may be just beginning her life as a nomad and hasn't quite got things figured out yet.

There was another little van like these all painted pink.  
The young lady was very petite but even she admitted she wish she had just a little bit more space.
I'd have to agree.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Day 79

A nearly perfect cube boulder I came across on yesterday's hike.
Yeah, I am easily impressed by the most insignificant of things.

I also came across this U.S Geological Survey marker out in the middle of the desert.  I see these things frequently but this one I think is one of the oldest dated 1915.  Just think, the Great War was raging on in Europe when this was pounded into the ground.

Sunset two nights ago.  

Moonrise last night which is must more impressive to see live.