Saturday, March 13, 2021
Tuesday, March 9, 2021
|Sunsets are often spectacular in Quartzsite. I'm told it's because of the dust in the air. Whatever!|
Quartzsite, Arizona in January is a phenomenon. I suspect it is unique in the whole world. Where else would you find so many RV enthusiasts in one place? For over 30 years, upwards of a million people have annually flocked to this desert town during the month of January. Sunshine and warmer winter weather play a part, but the space to spread out plays an even larger part. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) owns miles of land around the town. Not just acres, miles. There are two types of areas where RVers can park. Dispersed camping areas are free to stay for 14 days, no services, just a place to park. The Long Term Visitors Areas (LTVA) is $40 for 14 days, or an annual permit for $180 lets you stay for seven months . Provided is garbage dumpsters, water stations, and dump stations. Some places have pit toilets, but many do not.
Most often we park in the dispersed camping areas, although we did stay in an LTVA once. It’s a favorite way to gather in groups. Such places as “Mile Marker 99” a favorite meeting spot for Geocachers and Ham Radio aficionados. “Scadden Wash”, one of the first areas we stayed, is off the worst road I’ve seen yet. This is a ‘paved’ road where the old pavement is so broken and cracked that a rig like ours can only go about 3 miles an hour to prevent being shaken to pieces. Driving on the wide dirt edge is preferred. Clearly, it’s not on any road crew’s maintenance list. Our favorite place now is Plomosa Road, where 3 miles of camping on either side is occupied with different special interest groups. Some groups are as small as two or three, some as large as 200 or more. The Bureau has rangers who come from time to time and check to see that people have checked in with the Camp Host to register. It’s how they get their numbers and can allot resources. One year the Ranger came to the Boomers BOF group and spoke. He said the head count that year was 850,000 people. It boggles the mind because it doesn’t seem that crowded and it leaves you wondering how that many people can be so easily spread out around this small town of 3,000.
What attracts people other than all the space to gather with each other? This area is famous for its rocks. Everywhere you look there are rocks. This has drawn rock hounds from all over for years. The town has capitalized on that and has an annual rock show, where collectors can find not only local rocks, but ones imported from around the world. There are more rock shops in town than gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants put together! After the rock show, there is the Big Tent Outdoor Recreation and RV show. I hear that back in the day it was really something special. Still, it’s fun to see what all the vendors bring. Outside of the Big Tent, there are hundreds of vendors with all variety of goods scattered about town. This year seemed to have less people shopping, but more than I expected in the surrounding area. I think many people headed out to the desert for a safe and enjoyable place to maintain distance while still being able to socialize.
We reserve a day to shop, but most of our time is spent with the RV groups that have gathered. We have three Escapee RV Club groups (BOF: Birds of a Feather) that we belong to that meet off Plomosa Rd: Boondockers BOF, Boomers BOF, and Christian Fellowship BOF. Thankfully they are now all within an easy 1/2 mile walk of the Christian Fellowship group where we start out.
|A camp setup that got my attention! There are some great cooks in this group.|
Besides getting to know the other Christians in the group, we enjoy the daily message given by a retired pastor and the time of worship music prior to that. This year I led the worship for the Monday through Friday times as well as the church services on the Sunday before and after. I was thankful for Nancy on her guitar and Kathy singing along. We made a great team and their input was invaluable for choosing songs and praying together beforehand. We were dubbed “The Desert Trio”. I also shared my music after dinner one evening, and although I hesitate to call it a concert, it was well received and appreciated by the group. First I shared songs I had written, which didn’t take long. When I finished, their expectant faces looked for more, so I went on to play favorite worship music and invited them to join me in praise of our Lord, welcoming his presence. What a blessing to know that I am doing what the Lord is asking of me, even if I feel only minimally qualified! He is so good to take what I have to offer and magnify it for his glory.
|The Christian Flag flying in the sunset.|
Friday, February 19, 2021
Who doesn't love pizza? Oh, that smell! Something easy to grab and eat, and of course it’s great to be able to order it and have someone else do the cooking. It's been many years since I've eaten 'regular' pizza. I just can’t get past the inferior ingredients that cause my body problems. I've become so used to eating food that makes me feel better rather than worse, that to eat something I know will do harm is unthinkable. No matter how good it smells or looks, I have become adept at looking deeper into what the ingredients are, how those ingredients help, or harm, the body. It’s an important skill to learn. While every body responds differently to foods, certain principles apply to everyone. None of us can eat sugary snacks, foods void of nutritional value, or pesticide laden foods with impunity forever.
But we usually don’t connect what we eat with how we feel. It makes sense that if you put in inferior fuel, you won’t get the best results. We know this for our cars, but we ignore this for our bodies. Many people will tell me they can eat whatever they want and don’t have any problems. And then go on to complain of allergies, constipation, skin problems, inflammatory diseases not realizing that these are all signs of the very problem they are denying. I know it requires something of a paradigm shift, but the pay-off is well worth the effort.
Back to my pizza. Since I no longer eat grains, I've experimented with various alternative pizza crusts. I've found that I really love this combo, giving it a chewy, dense satisfying flavor. We've found that we seldom eat more than half this pizza at a meal, it's that filling! It makes for great leftovers.
Saturday, January 30, 2021
Image from Pastor Michael on Digging Daily on Wordpress
|Canon Beach, Oregon. Haystack Rock.|
Tuesday, January 5, 2021
|Hill after hill of names. We are parked on the other side of these mountains.|
Even though we have boondocked off Ogilby Rd near Yuma for several years, we have never been to the Valley of Names before. I had heard it mentioned a few years ago and it sounded mildly interesting. In these desert places where vegetation is sparse, leaving rock names or pictures is not uncommon. After all, there are rocks aplenty! It's interesting to see what someone took the time and effort to come up with to decorate the desert.
A few old timers in the group decided we needed to all go see this place to pass on the location of one of those 'don't miss' local sights. I had looked it up before on Google Maps and zoomed mostly to figure out how to get there, but you can actually see the names from the satellite view. (32.874635, -114.683814) That, however, in no way prepared me for actually seeing it in person, on the group with my own two eyes! The sheer size of it astounds! And in the words of one of our group "How in the world do you describe a place like this?" Well, I took that as a personal challenge and went to work taking pictures from all kinds of angles. A picture is worth a thousand words and I knew I needed help! These are a select few from my collection. They really don't do it justice, so I must also try to describe it. As we were approaching the area, we could see a small airplane circling over the area, then we saw it land as we passed it. I think it would be a wonderful way to see this!
|Our group parked at the top of the picture. The square at the bottom is about 3 ft x 5 ft in scale.|
Even though it's just on the other side of the mountain from us, we went the long way to meet up in Winterhaven, CA, with others currently staying in Yuma, AZ. Then we drove north, winding our way past green fields of kale and lettuce, date farms with their huge date palms and irrigation ditches. It was a beautiful drive, but once the pavement ended, it became the familiar arid rock and dirt area, with a dirt road that deteriorated after a few miles into something that made us thankful for our 4-wheel drive truck with a high center. We didn't actually need that 4-wheel drive, but knowing it was available was comforting.
Our first glimpse of the names made from arranged rocks wasn't that impressive, until we looked up and past them to the rolling hills of names that went on and on and on! Name after name. I tried to guess at how many acres were covered with names! The sheer scale and size of this was astonishing! One name spelled out of rocks is not uncommon out here. But hundreds upon hundreds? I was beginning to wonder if the lead car was going to ever stop so I could get out and wander around looking and taking pictures. Finally, easily a half mile past the first name we stopped. The names kept going. I eagerly hopped out and began trying to capture this surprising place with photos. Many with two names and a plus sign. Some with hearts, others with rectangular outlines. A few rock collections painted blue, some black. Some people had brought in bricks to spell out their names, sure to be visible from a satellite. Some had dates. They ranged in sized from 2ft x 3ft to 5 ft x 12 ft. Having filled our eyes with this wonder, we then went on to see Senator Wash/Imperial Dam (where we have stayed before) and then Mittry Lake (that we hadn't seen before). What a fun day trip.
Saturday, December 19, 2020
I recently joined a Christian Writers group and it has been full of Zoom meetings, daily writing prompts, new friendships and encouragement. So much fun! Hopefully you'll be able to see an improvement in my writing!
Yesterday we did a new thing for the group, complete with technical issues! They worked to get a Zoom meeting live on Facebook so seven writers could share their Life Stories in seven minutes each. It was an amazing experience, and I enjoyed being one of the seven. I had to be ruthless in my editing to keep it within the guidelines, but I came in under the seven minute limit! Since I don't know if the replay will be available to share, I decided to share my story here.
“Live to be 100?! I don’t think so!” I scoffed. “Why would I want to prolong the agony that long?”. I was reading a book on how your emotions and thought life affects your health. In it, was a series of questions to probe your thinking and bring issues to the surface. Having spent too much of my life already dealing with a chronic, undiagnosable and invisible illness, I didn’t look forward to having a long life.
And, yet, the question lingered, poking at me. I chewed on that for awhile. “OK”, I admitted, “I don’t really want to live, I’m just going through the motions.” Since childhood I knew that dying meant going to be with Jesus, so who wouldn’t want that? Paul says in Phil 1:21 “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” I got the ‘die is gain’ part. But that first part? A familiar rallying cry for Christians, but what did it really mean? I had no clue.
Shortly after that, I was jolted with fear. How was it even possible to bleed from lady parts I no longer had? In a panic, I cried out to God, pleading in desperation for answers. Into my mind popped the reference “Ezekiel 16”. I’d heard a message before about this beautiful reference to God’s tender care for Israel. I got out my Bible and started to read. Then I got to verse 6 “... I said to you in your blood, “Live!” Yes, I said to you in your blood, “Live!”. I sobbed with relief. He had heard me! He knows my situation! And he is speaking to me! LIVE! Twice!
OK. Got it. Kind of. Well, not really. What does that actually mean, to ‘live’?
Clearly just going through the motions like I’d been doing wasn’t going to cut it. I had to dig deeper. The first step was to realize that if God My Healer just told me to live, then I wasn’t going to die from this weird bleeding. So, I sent fear packing and the bleeding stopped and never returned. Well, off to a good start!
Then a year or so later came the diagnosis of cancer. That lump near my knee turned out to be a sarcoma, a rare form of cancer. But I had this mandate to live! It was firmly lodged in my head. So, I determined that I would live every moment to the full. I never once thought I would die from it. (Suffer maybe, but not die.) How could I? I was too busy learning to live! Embracing LIFE!
Cancer is wonderfully focusing. All the extraneous things we tend to add to our lives fall away and life becomes about the essentials. I was well on my way to understanding what living is really all about.
A pivotal time came when I felt this tug to step across the line, to be ‘all in’, holding nothing back from the Lord. Up to this point, I had let fear and doubt keep me from being totally sold out to Jesus; playing it safe, not getting too crazy. But finally, his love was so compelling I just didn’t want to hold out any more. “OK! I’m all in, Lord. I’m all yours no matter what. No more trying to play it safe. It’s your way or not at all.”
Wow! Why in the world had I been holding back? THIS is what it really means to LIVE! Jesus at the center, really and truly at the center. Now I understand all the superlatives people use. Now I know what it is to struggle to put into words the sheer wonder of walking closely with him, hearing him speak to me in all the myriad ways that he does. Seeing things through his perspective. Now scripture comes alive like never before. No longer just words on a page, but Life and Truth! How I love to read it. How I love to spend time talking with him. The more I become like Jesus, the more I become my best self, the one God designed me to be, with purpose and joy and wonder.
Thank you Lord! Thank you for this mandate to LIVE, thank you for the Life you have brought to me. For the healing you have done. You have said that when we seek you, we will find you. What a find!
LIVE! There is such a wealth of meaning in this word and I have spent the last decade mining its depths. What treasure I have found! What Life I’ve found.
Tuesday, November 17, 2020
Valley of Fire State Park had never been on our radar. Only because of staying nearby were we even made aware of it. We are so thankful that we got to see it!. It is the most breathtaking landscape with all kinds of colors of rock and soil right next to each other, sometimes in layers, sometimes in folds, sometimes jutting out. Every turn of the road brought more amazing sights and I was very busy with my camera trying to capture it all.
Below is the best of what I took. We did two hikes which was enough for me, but there are more for next time. The $10 entrance fee per vehicle was easily worth it.
|Driving into the Valley of Fire State Park. Even the drive in is fascinating.|
|On the left, the red and white striped rock, the next to it a greenish and brown color, and behind that a deep burgundy color! The arid climate makes all of this so dramatic since there is sparse vegetation.|
|Returning along the Firewave trail, just past the large red outcropping looking into the next valley. |
Thursday, November 12, 2020
Because I have plenty of material for blog posts and have great internet connection here, I'm sneaking in an extra post. It's mostly for the grandkids, but you're welcome to enjoy it, too!
|Just a short walk from where we parked. Such an interesting place!|
A new spot this year for our Boondockers group was Poverty Flats (or Snowbird Mesa) near Overton, NV (some 60 miles East of Las Vegas). Not sure why it has two names, but it's a great place to boondock or dry camp. The views are gorgeous and there are plenty of places to walk and take pictures all around our rig. The nearby town of Overton boasts a nicely stocked grocery store (Lin's) with a pharmacy. Also, there are two hardware stores, and a community park where we could get water for free. We loaded up our empty water bottles and our water filter and took advantage of that. I also visited their friendly Post Office where I understand they will receive General Delivery. Even though I didn't need that this time, it's good to know for the future.
One little gem there is The Lost City Museum which was built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corp. Into this delightful place they retrieved many artifacts and reconstructed some of the excavation sites that were later covered by Lake Mead (formed when Hoover Dam was built). The museum building had interesting Craftsman touches inside and was not only well built, but it's been very well maintained. I was intrigued by the many models of dwellings of the Pueblo/Anasazi people. The basketry was impressive. And outside they recreated the round dwellings that are indicated by the rock outlines. It was interesting to get a glimpse into their daily life, their living spaces and their skills.
I didn't capture the time line for the many pictures I took, so some of it is by memory. (!) There was a wide range of dates from some time after 1100AD up until the early 1930s with more information than I could absorb. I am no expert on basketry or the Anasazi people, just the bits and pieces I've picked up in various museums around the Southwest, so my captions are somewhat general. I enjoy museums, but don't really attempt to remember all of it!
|A rather sophisticated 3 level dwelling of rock. So cool!|
|The view from the top looking into it.|
|Round rooms or houses was a common theme among the Anasazi, or Ancient Ones. I could live here!|
|Still life showing how they ground the corn or maize that they grew. So glad I don't have to do this!|
|This shows a recreation of part of the walls, some containers and corn found. The exposed rock shows how it was built underneath the covering made of local clay.|
|Beautiful artwork done on this pottery that's over 100 years old.|
|These water jugs were first woven, then covered in pitch to make them waterproof. These are really, really old and my favorites of all of the baskets. How did the get the pitch to cover it so well?|
|Intricate basketry, most dating back 100 - 150 years ago if not later. I'm amazing at how small the weave is! 5 to 7 loops per inch!|
|Early black and white ware. Found in the excavations and very old.|
|Recreation of a storage room. It would make sense to store stuff where you have to get in by ladders to keep out vermin, snakes and other threats to the food suppy.|
|An interesting mostly underground dwelling. I imagine this kept them cooler in the heat and warmer in the cold. The temperature can get extreme, very hot in the day and cold at night.|
|A large collection of arrowheads of varying sizes and of different kinds of materials.|
|Full size replicas outside of their round dwelling places. All the entrances were blocked with grills to keep us nosy people out. Not doubt to preserve it better.|
|Rustic ladder that I don't think I'd want to try even if I could! Where's the bottom step?|
|The typical outline left by ruins. The buildings above are what they looked like when used, but in many places all that is left is the outline like this.|
Tuesday, November 10, 2020
As the air started to get nippy and the rain began in earnest, we got our lot ready for winter, loaded ourselves up, said our goodbyes to family & friends & headed south. It's amazing that we've been able to do this for six years in a row, with this being our seventh. Where did the time go?!
One of the fascinating things about traveling from the NW to the SW is the variety of landscapes we see. This time I decided to chronicle the changes. When I wasn't driving, I captured several shots from the passenger seat. Although there were a few places where I would have liked to snag a shot while driving, I didn't. I think my collection shows sufficient variety even without them. We typically trade off driving, but Jerry still does the bulk of it.
I didn't get all of my pictures edited like I often do, cropping for the best view. So, here they are, windshield wipers, glass reflections, screens and all. In the raw! Enjoy the view. It's what it looks like while we're on the road.
|Beautiful sunset in Southern Oregon on our way to our first night's stop in Canyonville, OR. In this crazy year of Covid, we didn't do our usual stop for visiting relatives in Oregon. Instead we pushed on while the weather was cooperating.|
|This is Mt Ashland just south of Ashland, OR. In past years there has been snow on the ground as we drove past. This is the beginning of the big climb over the Siskiyou Mountains. A few miles beyond this is the Siskiyou Mountain Summit at 4310 ft. A rig our size takes this pretty slow! The weather is a big factor in getting over this pass and getting an early enough start helps.|
|Our first peek at Mt Shasta. No snow to be seen this time! The sign is for Hwy 97 heading for Klamath Falls. We are about 50 miles or so south of the Oregon/California border. We inserted an extra stop in Yreka for the night since the winds were supposed to be very high farther south. Weather dictates when and how far we drive in a day. How windy will it be? What's the nighttime temperature? |
|The rolling hills of Northern California is so typical of the area. Lots of grass and deciduous trees|
|We saw evidence in several places along our way of the devastating fires in Southern Oregon and Northern California. This was the largest burn we saw from the road. Some of the places we saw were a mix of burned and not burned, like the fire did some kind of crazy dance touching down there, jumping up and missing here, spinning to over there.|
|Because this is out my side window with the screen, it's not very clear, but there are miles and miles of forest, down into a valley or two, up over a ridge. We got pretty high up as we crossed from Northern California up over the Cascade mountain range to Reno.|
|Unexpected rock outcroppings pop up everywhere!|
|Here we go into the arid regions. This is just the northern tip of Walker Lake. It is a huge lake and the view as we drove by was beautiful. However, since I was driving, I didn't get to take any pictures. My copilot managed to capture this one. There are places to stay nearby, but we pushed on to make more miles, for a total of 405 miles in one day. We were trying to get to our destination before the big storm hit the whole region. With nighttime temps predicted to drop really low, we determined to push on.|
|Miles of road like this crosses Nevada. We like to listen to good teaching as we travel which makes the miles fly by. We made a stop for the night in Tonopah, NV at Miller's Rest Area. In the past we've seen several RVs parked for the night and have even run into friends. This year, we had the place to ourselves! The nighttime temps were still tolerable the night we stayed, but expected to drop into the teens the next night. On our way!|
|Joshua Trees dotting the landscape. I've not seen them before marching along at the top of the hills this way like sentinels! This picture had to be cropped in order to see the trees, so it's a bit of a blur.|
|Ah! Finally! After 1268 miles and 5 days of travel, we arrived ahead of the wind and clouds. It sure is a beautiful spot. We were thankful to hunker down and rest up while the wind rocked us for a couple of days. Once the storm passed, it was gorgeous and hot! Finally, Jerry is a happy camper!|
(Photo by Kathy Sweet who joined us after a couple of days.)