Last week with Dave and Max (and goodbye desert!)

I am so in love with the desert. For our second and last week in Quartzsite, AZ, we stayed far down a dirt road, the last camping allowed before the road turned towards the mountains and a small mining operation. Most mornings, I would be up just as it was light enough to see, and out for a walk to enjoy the new day’s colors on the ranges all around us. I liked the stately saguaro for company, the huge spaces around me, and the play of blue to pink in the sky.

 

A little rough around the edges

Our camping spot came with a free nightly show.

We had a great time hanging out with Dave and Max, and doing what we do best: mostly just talking and laughing all the time, with lots of eating, hiking, and jeeping thrown in for good measure.

We went for a hike in the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge to Palm Canyon, thought to be the only stand of native palms in Arizona.  We were there at just the right time–the short period of mid-day when the palms are in the sunlight.  The rugged mountain refuge is home to about 300 bighorn sheep, but we didn’t see any of the reclusive little guys.

Another option was to continue the hike right up to the base of the trees. We opted to just take pictures from this (much safer!) vantage point.

Our other big outing was a jeep trail that wound through most of the refuge.  We passed a few other jeepers that day, but for the most part, it felt like we were a million miles away from civilization. Our destination was Castle Dome Mine Museum, a boomtown that may have had 3000 people during its short heyday from 1875-1884, with mines that reopened to produce lead for WWII.  Most of the buildings in the museum are recreations, with just a few original structures.  It’s clear that the endeavor is a labor of love for the volunteers who work there, and it had a quirky charm.

With all the rusty yard flair and “jumping” cholla cactus on the grounds, we advise you to stay on the paths!

The fellow in the barbershop didn’t have much to say…

For my mom, who knows the whole Cream of Wheat radio jingle by heart.

We could see Castle Dome from our last camp, 30 miles south of here. We thought the spire was about 3 or 4 miles away.

Besides the big outings, we also got to have dinner with our friends, Bob and Julia, who we worked with at Serrano Campground, attended an RV fire safety presentation, and went to a used bookstore run by a nudist (!)  Mostly, we soaked up the quiet, the space, and the dark night skies, because yesterday, we moved to Phoenix.  We will be here a month, to visit with our friend, Trey, and also get a lot of boring stuff done.  We are at an RV park (squeee!  electric for the first time in 5 weeks!) so we can do things like get mail and packages delivered here, and get some maintenance done on our vehicles.  It’s strange to be back in the city after being out of it since April…it’s so much brighter and noisier than I remembered.  But it has a much higher ratio of ice cream shops, so I guess we’ll call that even.

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