A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Monday, December 31, 2018

The Government Shut-down

How it is dealt with out here in the desert on BLM land.

Happy New Year everyone from Beans and I.

Friday, December 28, 2018

A Special Christmas Moment

Christmas Eve Day

I was standing outside reading the bulletin board ads at one of only two small grocery stores in Quartzsite.  The bulletin board is on the other side of the FRESH MEAT sign.  Out of the corner of my eye I saw a woman walk up to the lady sitting in her roll-around chair and slip her a few dollars.  The lady in red said "I'm not begging."  The woman told her "You keep it. Merry Christmas" and she walked away.  I talked with the lady in red.  She told me she had been having trouble with people stealing from her (I didn't inquire as to details on that) and couldn't believe someone just gave her a few dollars.  I told her how that act of kindness on the part of the mystery woman and my being witness to it just made my day.  The lady in red moved real slow, had difficulty in doing most everything and was attempting to make arrangements for a ride to her doctor.  I wished her well and couldn't get the lady in red out from my mind for several hours afterwards.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Neighborhood Christmas Lights

Some of the Christmas light decorations in our camp neighborhood.

These lights were moving about on the wall of the camper.
A nice effect. 

Monday, December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas

Our "tree" of lights.
Merry Christmas everyone
From Beans and I.

It looks better in the dark than this photo shows.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Our Christmas Bush

You make the best with what you have.
The two solar lights keeps it lit up all night,
not that anyone is near enough to us to see it.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Good Questions

A commentor on the previous post had several good questions.

Do you see any wildlife, like rabbits or foxes?

  Yes, there are jack rabbits for the most part as far as rabbits go.  Desert foxes are here but rarely seen.  Coyote are more likely to be seen and especially heard at night.  They prowl camps for pet food  (or any other tasty tidbits) left out.  Not a good idea to let your pet out in the evening or it may end up being coyote food.  Mice and kangaroo rats live here but have retreated to their burrows since it got cooler.  The colder daytime temperatures have forced the reptiles (rattlesnakes) into hibernation.  
Not many trees around so perhaps not many birds? 

  Mesquite and palo verde trees are the only trees in the area.  There are a lot of dove who come by each evening to roost in the large mesquite near camp at night.  Where there are dove there are hawks.  Also quail are around plus the common sparrows, crows and ravens.

How often does it rain during the winter months? 

  Rain occurs a few times each month throughout the winter.  It never amounts to much, enough to be concerned about flash flooding.  Enough though to give the Little House on the Highway a good rinse.

And how cold does it get at night? 

  It gets down into the 40's (6-7C) at night for the most part.  Occasionally lower but never freezing. A look at the forecast shows 72F (22C) six days before Christmas!  That's why people come here in the winter.

Any gas stations nearby? 

  There are two large trucks stops (Loves and Pilot) at the west end of town off Interstate 10 which bisects the town.  In town there are three more gas stations.

Lastly there was the observation from another comment that there were too many RVs.  I agree.  But there is a lot of distance between them which isn't that noticeable in the photos.  The neighbors are nice, friendly and entertaining to watch.  But this could all change in the next month as more people arrive.  We talk about it often as to how long we can stay here before having to move out to a more remote location. As it stands now the most annoying thing is the noise from the nearby Interstate three quarters of a mile north.  The noise isn't so bad if the wind is out from the south.  At any rate, staying here in the long term visitor area was to be a test for me this year, to see if I could deal with it.  So far it's been fine.  

Our neighbor came by yesterday and treated us to bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches (photo above). So you can see there are benefits of what appears "too many Rvs".

Monday, December 10, 2018

Home is Where You Park It

This is where we are in the Long Term Visitor Area, one of four in the area.  The Little House on the Highway is in the center of the photo.  We are looking west here with the California border about 25 miles beyond those mountains in the distance.  In the past I have always bounced around among the few free 14-day stay places in the area.  Here I can stay all the way through to mid-April and don't have to move but I had to pay a fee for that privilege. I do get free water and free trash dump.  This year I thought I would give this a try and see how it worked out.  See if I could stay in one spot for months without going bonkers. So far, two months into the experiment, all has been fine.  I am camping with a friend I made from last year who is from New York. This has helped with the "bonkers" threat. She has that white van to the left which she pulls a little trailer. She volunteered to work two days a week checking people in and thus didn't have to pay to stay.  I don't want to work!

Looking south.  
To the far left is the kiosk building where Jodie works.  Walking distance from our camp. If they get ten payees a day, that is a busy day.  Most people just stop by to inquire about staying here or where the free places are.  It will get busy with more people showing up after Christmas. 
Yuma, Arizona is 84 miles south and beyond that, Mexico.

Looking north.  
Just beyond the line of RVs in the distance is the boundary of the LTVA camp area.  There is a dry river bed on the other side of the trees then the town of Quartzsite.  It is just a mile walk for me to town to buy milk or other groceries. This is a benefit for my staying at the LTVA as I don't have to break camp and drive into town anymore for supplies.  Food prices are a bit higher at the two little markets (the price you pay for living in paradise) plus there are two Dollar Stores.  There are all the fast food places to be had located in town among other touristy stores.  Quartzsite is basically a big rest stop as it is the only town of size (pop. 3677) between the California border at the Colorado River and the metropolis town of Phoenix, Arizona a distance of 124 miles. 

To the east behind where I was standing for these pictures is Highway 95 to Yuma and then one of the other LTVA areas.  Beyond that, nothing except a hundred miles of desert wasteland to Phoenix.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Indian Petroglyphs

I got a tip on some glyphs and went to search for them down off Yuma Road on BLM trail 139.  
I was surprised I found them.

They were on the rocks lining a dry wash.  By the image in the center it leads me to believe water flowed through here more regularly long ago than it does today.

What would the cross or dividing the rock into quarters mean?

I looked at this for a long time and still cannot imagine what it was supposed to represent.

 I may go back with my better camera and try to climb up closer.  

I said "may".  Don't count on me climbing up.
I might have second thoughts once I start climbing.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

The Eight Dollar Burger

This was the cholesterol cheeseburger (no extra charge for the cheese) with fresh grilled onions on it.  The fries seemed fresh cut also.  The juices were dripping constantly from it.  
What a wonderful tasty mess it was. I chose a lemonade to go with it.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Signs on the Dirt Road

A few of the signs along one of my daily walking routes. 
These were put up by the winter campers when they arrived at their yearly spots.

 All the snakes are hibernating now.  
I haven't seen one in several weeks.

I think the guy down this side road got tired of people driving down past his camp only to have to turn back around a leave the way they came in when they couldn't go any further.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

A Whole Week?!!!

A week has passed since I last posted on the blog.  It is just nothing blog-worthy has shown up in the past few days.  We both are doing fine and enjoying this fine 70 degree weather here, but that is about to change soon.  Beans as you can see likes to sunbathe in the window.  In fact she doesn't show much interest in going outside as usual.  Just enjoying life in the sun.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Rusty Stagecoach

 This is at a iron works art shop along the main street in town.

This was the most impressive piece of work and fortunately was right along the street.

I am guessing all that texture to the flat sheets of metal was done with a ball-peen hammer
and would have taken a very long time to do.

If that piece is too large for your front yard you could buy this scaled down version for only $2200.
Now we wonder what the price is on the full-sized piece.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018


Found at a vacant campsite out in the desert while hiking.
I wondered about the story behind it.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Mine Exploring Disaster

One day I went on a hike to explore an abandoned mining operation.

There wasn't all that much interesting to see. 
I was hoping to find a date somewhere but didn't.

After this photo I climbed up on the ledge to the left. Beneath that square wood structure was a shallow hole into the solid rock wall. I stepped in to investigate and discovered a herd of bees. I backed out of there real quick. As I paused to get a picture of the hole so as to tell the story of the bees, one was very aggressive and stung my left hand. I never got the picture. 
Yeah, it hurt.

The pain went away after 15 minutes or so and for the rest of the day it was only sore to the touch. No swelling, discoloration, not even a bump.  All that changed 36 hours later. My hand was now swollen. The itch was maddening. If I rubbed or gently scratched, instant fire!  I tried everything to relieve the itch.  I'd much rather have that initial pain back.  It was just a matter of waiting out the next three days for the ordeal to be over. This experience really gave me some insight as to how people die from multiple bee stings.  I am grateful I only got one.  I remember having been stung by bees in the past,even a yellow jacket one time; this one beats all.  

It wasn't those Africanized Honey Bees (Killer Bees) as the stinger wasn't left behind in my hand and the entire swarm didn't come after me as Killer Bees do.  Honey bees are the only ones with a barbed stinger that is left behind when stung. The bee dies afterwards.  
Nope, this guy stung me and moved on. 

Friday, November 16, 2018

Dutch Oven Oven

This past week has cooled down to the 70's.  The mornings are chilly and I finally had to dig out and hook up my propane heater.  The cooler weather makes me think of baking in the Dutch Oven. Cornbread, biscuits, brownies... Since I plan to be at this spot for a few months I put in the effort to build a rock "oven" to shelter the cast iron pot from the wind, if any, thus allowing the charcoal heat to do its job more efficiently.  Sitting inside is that is the porcelain covered tray from an old stove I found in the desert last year.  It really makes a difference having the charcoal sit in it rather on the bare ground and losing heat to the earth.

The days (and evenings) have been clear of clouds lately.  
One of the last good sunsets.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Someone's Trash, My Treasure

I saw this in the dumpster near camp.  A CB radio.  No, I didn't "dive" into the dumpster.  I'm not sure could climb back out.  I fished the radio out with my three-foot long grabber tongs.  Those tongs are good for relocating Sidewinder Rattlesnakes too.  I cleaned it up, hooked it up and it works.  I don't really want a CB radio as I wouldn't want to listen to all that racket.  But it might come in handy as a barter item or just be a nice guy and give it to someone.

Monday, November 12, 2018


One day we went to Crystal Hill to search for...ready?...Crystals!

The turnoff to the site is seven miles down the highway from camp.  You then turn east onto a dirt road and drive in another six and half miles.  That part takes 45 minutes to drive.  It's slow going.
I had been there before a couple years back.  I hiked over to the base of the hill and walked the wash.  In no time at all I found the fourth stone in the top row.  "Wow! This is going to be easy!"  
I never saw another stone the entire day.

On this trip I found the other three in the top row and was pleased.  I then hiked over to an area where someone had been digging (you cannot dig or use any tools in looking for crystals on this public land, a Wildlife Reserve) which I remembered from the previous visit.  Sparkling in the sun was what looked like broken glass.  I sat down and discovered the true nature of these crystals (all of the rest below that top row).  I hadn't been looking for such small rocks before.  All those long slender pieces are clear.  The second row are somewhat milky clear.  I guess they need a few more million years to ripen.  The upper right rock was interesting in that the quartz piece is still embedded in the matrix.

I don't know what to do with them now that I have them.  

Friday, November 9, 2018

New Cactus

I've seen these cactus elsewhere but never here so I was surprised to find this specimen.
How did just this one cactus come to be here?
This is a very old cactus too.

Another first was finding fruit on the cactus. 
 I have never seen fruit on this species before.

Closer to home I discovered a horseshoe pit someone built.
Those pads to toss from are cement so they put some work into making this

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Not Fun

The string broke in these shades months ago.  I saved the job of repairing it until I was at our winter home in the desert of Arizona. 
 I've done it once before on a larger shade so I was familiar with the process.

The strings go from the top over to the side, down through the pleats of the shade, crosses over to the other side then down through the pleats of the lower shade, then back over to the first side and out the end caps.  Two sets of strings, two sets of tedious threading through tiny holes on my knees on hard ground.  An hour later and with sore knees, back and elbows...

 ...I got the shade repaired and back together.

Then it was a matter of getting the shade installed back into the RV, screwing it into the wood, overhead, lying on my back, working in cramped quarters.

I earned a beer on this job!

Monday, November 5, 2018

Errand Day

It was the first of the month and I thought about dumping and filling everything
 just to see how long I could go before needing something done.
Easier to keep track from the first.

First was to dump the waste tanks. I am very conservative on water usage so the grey water (washing and cleaning) wasn't even one quarter full since I last dumped at the Grand Canyon. I installed a composting toilet a couple years ago so there isn't any black water (sewage) to deal with anymore.
I could probably go several months before having to dump these tanks.
38 and 31 gallon capacity.

Next was to fill the water tank with fresh water.
This will last me well over a month.
I still had a quarter of a tank left over from the Grand Canyon.
34 gallon capacity.

Dump my trash.
Just a Walmart plastic bag every two or three days.
Even longer if I burn the paper products.

Then did a load of laundry.
$1.75 to wash, 50 cents to dry.

Next I filled my one gallon plastic jugs with clean filtered water.
I use this water for cooking, making coffee and tea.
I have eight containers which lasts close to two months.
I only needed to fill 6 jugs.
I buy Crystal Geyser Spring water in one gallon jugs at the store for my straight drinking water.
I've found it tastes the best. Under a dollar at Walmart.

I forgot to get a picture of the guy filling the propane tank.
Even though it is a 14 gallon tank they are only filled to 80% capacity so that comes to 11.2 gallons.
This time I only needed 8.1 gallons. Cost varies but here it was $2.20 a gallon. 
Usage varies as the propane is used for cooking and running the refrigerator. 
 In warmer climates the refrigerator will run more. Colder weather, less. 
The propane isn't used for heating. 
I have a separate 5 gallon tank to run a portable heater in the winter. 

This will be the one item that I will probably have to refill first.
I average a little over a month on a propane fill-up.