Monday, February 24, 2020

Hi Jolly's Tomb

  In the 1850s the US Army imported 70 camels to see how the animals would fare carrying supplies across the arid west. By all accounts, the project was a success but due to the start of the Civil War and objections by both the soldiers and the pack horses and mules the Camel Corp was disbanded in 1861.

   Eight men from Greece were employed as camel drivers. The lead driver Hadji Ali, who was nicknamed Hi Jolly by the soldiers, settled in Quartzsite Arizona after the Corp disbanded. He worked as a miner, mule packer, and scout for the army. In 1935 a stone pyramid was built at Hadji Ali’s gravesite in the local cemetery.
   The monument can be viewed from your vehicle. The ground is surfaced with loose gravel so rolling is difficult.

   The parking area is large enough for any RV. Tomb  33.66437, -114.23629

Friday, February 21, 2020

Celia’s Rainbow Garden

  Celia was born in 1986, arriving months early and weighing a little over a pound, but she beat the odds and survived. She was a healthy, normal child until a viral infection attacked her heart and she passed away at eight years old. A year later her parents, who owned the Oasis Bookstore in Quartzsite, started planting a botanic garden in her memory in the town park. The garden has grown over the years as townspeople and winter visitors built rock-lined paths and created tributes to loved ones. Some are simple stone plaques and others have elaborate designs. Antique equipment and a village of tiny houses are also located in the park.
   The  paths while mostly level are narrow and very rough with loose gravel. It possible to see the garden with an energetic helper.
   The parking lot is large enough for any RV. Garden  33.68023, -114.21065

Monday, February 10, 2020

Palm Canyon-Kofa Wildlife Refuge

   Palm Canyon road runs east off of US 95 for seven miles before dead-ending in a trailhead parking lot. A half-mile hike leads to an overlook with a view of over one hundred native California palm trees growing in a narrow, rock-strewn ravine. This is the last place in Arizona where they grow in their natural habitat.

   The trail is not accessible. We walked/rolled 1 1/2 miles along the road to the trailhead with our boondocking friends who continued their hike to the palm overlook. The road is bumpy and uphill but doable with a strong helper.
   The first 3.5 miles of palm Canyon Road travels through BLM land before it hits the wildlife refuge. Dispersed camping is allowed in both areas. Of all the camping areas around Quartzsite I think this is the prettiest one. The mountain backdrop turns orange and red as the sun sets and the desert resembles a cactus garden with a variety of vegetation. Most of the good spots are located close to the road which is okay since there isn’t a lot of traffic. Any size RV will fit. The road itself is graded gravel and rough in spots but navigable by any vehicle.  Palm Canyon  33.3571, -114.12676

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Plomosa Road 14 Day Boondocking

   A paved access road with flat terrain on either side makes this a good place to stay if you want to be close to Quartzsite, Arizona. We joined friends who were camped in the wash. It has more foliage and fewer campers than the areas closer to the road.

  This was the perfect place to burn the RTR van since the fairgrounds didn’t allow fires. The turnout was limited to people camping with the HOWA caravan because we didn’t have a BLM permit to hold an event. Thanks for allowing us to use your campfire! Also thanks to Al for the help in assembling the van. Thanks to everyone who signed and decorated the van. Thanks to Sassy for scouting the area, arranging everything with the caravan, and leading the singing. Thanks to the caravan participants for joining us at the campfire and thanks for the great photo (which I borrowed) that Anne posted on facebook. Sorry about not spreading the news about the location. I wish everyone could have been there. Maybe next year!   Plomosa Road 33.75244, -114.19603

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Ten Years of RTR Gatherings!

    2020 is a big milestone for the RTR which was started by Bob Wells as a gathering of about 25 people who met in the desert to form friendships and share ideas. Over the years Bob’s website and YouTube channel have influenced and helped many more people. Homes on Wheel Alliance, which was founded in 2018 and now sponsors the RTRS, is providing another way to support nomads who are struggling and need a little help.
    This year has brought a lot of changes to the RTR. The BLM officials made finding a site to hold the RTR difficult. The areas offered were too remote, too dusty, or too expensive. After months of exhaustive searching by Suanne Carlson, co-founder of HOWA, a decision was made to hold the RTR seminars at the La Paz County fairgrounds, south of Parker, Arizona. This is not an ideal situation because attendees can not camp at the fairgrounds and must drive in every day from their camping spot on BLM land. Car pooling is encouraged. Most of the seminar attendees are new to van dwelling which is the usual scenario. The seminars never attracted as many people as the general RTR gathering. Most of the people who came to the RTR gatherings over the years to enjoy the comradery of fellow nomads have formed groups on their own this year.
   As a trustee and representative for HOWA, I been spending my days manning the HOWA booth and answering questions. It’s always fun to hear the stories of new van dwellers – how they made the decision to hit the road and where they plan to go when the weather warms up. Lots of excitement and smiling faces.

    We really miss camping in the midst of the larger gatherings but as volunteers, we get to stay at the fairgrounds and we don’t have a daily drive. Next year will probably bring more changes but even as the RTRs evolve they still carry on Bob Well’s mission to help people live the best life that they can!  RTR 34.01964, -114.23318

              The free pile has graduated to tables.
    Signing the van
                              Always good to see old friends.
Trying out the electric bikes. Thanks to Lectric eBikes!
Seems like there's always a film crew following Bob.
Volunteer parking

Friday, January 10, 2020

Still Camping in the Desert

   There are many spots to camp for free in southern Arizona and California which makes it easy to spend the winter where it’s sunny and warm. Most of our camping in this area is on BLM land and there are a few simple rules -  “Dispersed camping is allowed on public land for a period not to exceed 14 days within a 28 consecutive day period….After the 14th day of occupation, the camper must move outside of a 25 mile radius of the previous location.”  Since rules vary by location and state – A permit is needed for campfires in California and some areas require signing in with a host – checking  the rules for each area is a good idea.

    We’ve been moving to a new spot every few days. Mostly they’ve been places where we’ve stayed in previous years however we recently camped at a new area – American Girl Mine BLM land in California. Gold has been mined here since the early 1800s and it’s believe to be the first mining district in California. The last large mining operation closed in the 1990s but a good number of ore haulers traveled back and forth along the road while we were camped so there is still some type of activity at the mines.
   The dispersed camping area is very large level and mostly level. There’s enough room to satisfy people who want their own private spot and to accommodate large groups of friends camping together. The city of Yuma is less than 20 miles away and has a wide variety of stores and services. All of this plus easy access to the Mexican border town of Los Algodones makes American Girl Mine a popular place.

   The ground is hard packed so rolling around is fairly easy. American Girl Mine  32.8356, -114.81039

Friday, December 20, 2019

Camping Down by the River

   We’re hanging out in Ehrenberg, Arizona on little piece of public land by a back channel of the Colorado River. We’ll probably be here until late December, enjoying the company of friends and completing little projects on the RV, so I won’t be posting very often. Happy Holidays to everyone!

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Desert Signpost & Shoe Fence

   It seems that people find driving across the desert boring and do strange things to amuse themselves. ;-)
   The desert signpost, abandoned gas station and graffiti wall, and the shoe fence are on a 15 mile stretch of California 62 to the west of the non-existent town of Rice.

   All of the sites have parking areas large enough for RVs. All can be viewed without leaving your vehicle. Signpost  34.08839, -115.10448  Shoe Fence  34.08313, -114.8477

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Tortoise Rock Casino

    The lot designated for overnight stays is in the northeast corner. It has a slope so leveling may be needed. Check-in at the security desk is required.

   The chairs are a bit hard to move. The money and card slots are easy to reach. Casino  34.11999, -116.05046

Monday, December 9, 2019

Noah Purifoy Desert Art Museum of Assemblage Art

   Noah Purifoy, who was 87 when he died, spent the last 15 years of his life creating more than 100 works of arts which are spread over 10 acres of desert land. Purifoy earned a BFA from Chouinard Art Institute and his art has been featured in galleries around the world.
   The art is created with found materials and many of the sculptures are changing are they react to the elements.
   The ground is mostly hard packed sand but some areas on the outskirts are soft and hard to push through.

    Many of the streets are unpaved and narrow. Follow the directions on the website you’ll be fine however turning around if you’re towing may be a bit difficult. Parking is located across the road from the site. Art   34.19529, -116.28845