Wednesday, January 9, 2013

In the Desert

Today is my mom's birthday. Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today is also our last day in Quartzsite. Rob and I are not desert people, but overall we have enjoyed our time here. We could have easily spent a lot of money here, but we restrained ourselves. We enjoyed visiting many different vendors, especially the food vendors. There's an abundant assortment of nuts, seeds, candies, jams and fruit butters, honey, beans, marinades and barbecue sauces. You name it, someone made it and its for sale. There are several clothing vendors, too. I bought a jean jacket and a t-shirt, both decked out with a little bit of bling that was applied by the store's owner. And she does a beautiful job. There are also about a million motorhomes, 5th-wheels and trailers for sale. The most interesting to me, however, are the swap meets. I love looking at anything old. Pots and pans, cast iron (that was over-priced, darn it!), farm equipment, dishes, glass bottles, guns, gears, tools meant for giant equipment, books, trinkets, geodes, silverware, horseshoes, shot glasses, jewelry, wheel rims, meat grinders, pressure cookers, marbles, saddles and the list goes on.

Meeting people who actually share interests with us has been the most surprising. We now have friends in Hazen, Nevada, Brad and Patty and, outside Bend, Oregon, Phil and Linda, who we'll be able to visit when passing through their areas. We also have Dante to visit in Houston, although he does spend most of his time on the road. We could cross paths almost anywhere in the country just by happenstance. And wouldn't that be neat? Brad and Patty came here to Quartzsite so Brad could get together with Phil, who he met online. What brought them together was their hobby: Radio controlled aircraft. Rob used to fly RC gliders, so he also shared their interest, which let to lots of conversations. Patty, Linda and I get along quite well, too, and I found conversation easy with both of them. I really look forward to calling them in the future saying 'Hey, remember us? We'll be in your area. We'd love to see you.'

We ventured into the desert yesterday. We drove down a dusty, gravel road that at times became downright rocky. Our GPS showed the road so we could tell where we were, but no one else was out on it. Its remoteness made Rob a little nervous, but it eventually tied into a paved road on which we saw several cars traveling. We decided to take it toward a town called Bouse (rhymes with mouse), and along the way we found a small stand of saguaro cacti that I wanted to photograph. When we finally got to Bouse and made our right turn to head back to Quartzsite, there on the corner was a food vendor. We stopped and tried his bacon wrapped dates and bacon wrapped, cream cheese filled jalapenos. Yum. He let us taste his smoked, pulled pork, too. Oh my! It turns out that JT's BBQ has been in business exactly three weeks. He says he's sold out every evening. No wonder! He's only in Bouse during the winter. Otherwise, you'll find him in Redmond, Oregon. If you are ever traveling through Arizona during the winter and have the option to take highway 72 through Bouse, do it and plan to stop and eat some of JT's food. You won't be sorry. And he's a really nice guy, too.

When one thinks of desert, one usually thinks sand. There isn't too much sand in this area of Arizona. It looks like degraded volcanic rock—red and black. There is a ton of quartz as well, hence the town name, and its just laying around everywhere. Also found is a lot of copper-rich, green rock. As we walked around, we came across areas where the ground look hard and rocky, but actually gave way and felt spongy under our feet. It would have been interesting to have a geologist with us to explain it all. 

Tomorrow we head to Lake Havasu. Our first stop will be at Cat-Tail Cove State Park. Its right on the lake. The likelihood of us having internet access is pretty slim, so I'll update as soon as the opportunity presents itself. In the meantime, take a look at the photos I've selected.

A sunset seen from our camp spot.

A dramatic view of a Saguaro.

Junkyard cat. His name is Lover Boy. And he is.

Bottles for every need.

A socket set meant for earth movers.

If you're out of shot glasses, you'll find all you need here.

That's not a knife. Now, this is a…

Anyone thirsty?

All their luck is running out.

Tea kettles and an old pressure cooker.

Such a grind!

A very old and stately Saguaro.

It was tall.

All things must pass.

You'd think this cactus's spines would be flexible. Nope.

These are so beautiful back-lit.

Evening light.

Rob acting like a Saguaro.

JT's BBQ. Yummy food! Bouse, AZ

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