Been enjoying a lot of sky watching lately what with the recent lunar eclipse and glorious sunrises and sets over the Sonoran Desert of southern Arizona. Yet fluffy clouds turned to skies of gray and there is also the chores of life.
After 13 of the allowed 14 days camping on the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) just outside the Kofa NWR (National Wildlife Refuge) I needed to move on. Where did the time go? Besides, it was time to dump and fill tanks and get groceries. I drove north through an almost quiet Quartzsite then continued 35 miles to Parker for a Safeway and Wally fix. I looked at and passed on both the LaPaz County Park and Blue Water Casino dry camp with too many others for my personal taste. Instead I drove a roughly paved six miles east of SR95 on Shea Road to a BLM boondock which was unimpressive and obviously a well used OHV area. So glad I was prepared to leave in the morning as the crowds of noisy rigs pulled in to go tearing around in the desert. Sure hope that’s not why there is less vegetation here.
In the morning I checked the weather and big wind was predicted for Saturday night. So being I still had to dump tanks and fill water ($12-15) plus take a shower ($8) I figured it was time to ‘treat’ myself to a RV Park. I checked online and found The Scenic Road with rates from 2015/16 at $30. Called ahead and they had space. Level and close sites located along Hwy95 as are many other parks if not on Central in downtown Quartzsite. With tax I figure that’s a $13/night site. I refused the first parking option with my kitchen window three feet from the Women’s bathroom door. Got a little better but definitely sandwiched in. Figured that might turn out to be a good thing with overnight wind gusts predicted up to 25 mph. Certainly not my cup of tea but I can sleep almost anywhere for one night. And I had electricity too.
I heard the wind pick up just before going to bed at 11pm. Guess it blew more but I never felt a thing so was good to be tucked in. Sunday morning, after filling a propane tank and topping off the truck’s diesel I headed back out to the desert south of Quartzsite, this time the King Valley Road into the Kofa NWR.
Found a side road from Kings Valley Road and although I could see a few RVs in the distance still felt like I had the place to myself. Camp was surrounded by a goodly amount of saguaros and ocotillos, some palo verdes, lots of creosote bush, a few varieties of cholla, and some other scrubby stuff I don’t know.
While baking pizza for dinner I noticed a chirping noise when propane was used. I Googled this new to me phenomenon and discovered the noise could mean time to replace hoses or regulator which I did about four years ago when I first got the camper. Hmmmmm……
Monday morning a layer of dark clouds hung over the eastern horizon. Only a 20% chance of rain predicted. I was parked on good hard rocky ground but the road I drove in on was soft dust and gravel. Did make me wonder if I could drive it if it got very wet. But I didn’t really plan to go anywhere for a few days anyway other than maybe a walk towards the mountains.
Wind picked up during the day keeping it cooler than it had been. These spring like temperatures are way too early making me wonder what this low desert will be like during summer. Even the desert will change with extended 100°+ and drought.
The day remained gray as rows of clouds hung over the valley. A we bit of soft female rain fell bringing a smile to my face. Rain is a gift to the desert dwellers especially when soft and not an extended downpour. Considering the lack of recent rain I was surprised how green leafed the ocotillo were dressed.
Border Patrol truck drove by and didn’t stop so guess I’m legal.
Sun poking through holes in the clouds sent patches of light dancing across the land. I grabbed the camera, stepped outside, and it was gone. Just a tease. In and out, taking ever more photos of the light on the desert while still processing the morning shots.
I awoke to a fresh desert Tuesday morning. The ground not really wet but with a scent of moisture and more low clouds indicating another day of perhaps life giving rain. Was enough to settle the dust on the road without making a mess.
Yet it did not rain so I went for a walk and heard only the wind and nothing else. Where are the birds.
Enough gray. Third day and I’m done with it. I wanted my sunshine back. And so, seemingly, did my solar system. The control panel gave a fault message saying “the batteries are discharged below the minimum acceptable level”. With another two days of cloud cover coming I would be in trouble. No lights and eventually the fridge won’t ignite. Called Solar Bill in Quartzsite and was told “gray skies don’t make much power” to keep my one battery charged. I could live without lights but don’t want the ice cream to melt. For some reason running the truck doesn’t charge the house battery. Something that needs to be fixed. At least the propane tank quit singing.
So, I could pay $20-30 to camp in Quartzsite to charge the battery, or, drive two hours to home, plug in, and take care of some business plus pick up mail including new slippers and a book. And here I am in Yarnell, at the top of the foggy mountain.