Sunday, May 24, 2009

Drifting North

Drifting North

The wind blew hard from the west, driving us down out of the mountains and onto the desert where sand raced us down the highway.

There were folks out on the dunes riding around even in the cold wind. These sand warriors have special camping trailers with mini garages in the back to store their All Terrain Vehicles. They have ramps that fold down, and the back area is a sort of bunkhouse-garage. They park out on the sand with no hookups, and drive around. I never did that, and I must say I don’t see the point, except for the possible thrill of dangerous speed which has never tempted me.

First stop in Yuma a snowbird Mecca, and we are at a huge snowbird parking lot that passes for a campground. Most of the residents are gone, and they are herding up the picnic tables into tight stacks and trimming the palm trees down to a Dr. Seuss tuft on the top. I have no idea what proper palm tree care is, but it seems to be a pretty radical pruning. Maybe they stand the summer heat better ?

Being on the road feels good, although getting ready after sitting for 6 months is a lot of work. There are a myriad of little things that need to be put away and secured, and buttoned up, and my increasingly leaky brain needs a lot of time to remember them all.

The tire on the Airstream that developed a leak last year in Las Vegas was supposedly fixed by a tire place in San Diego, but still leaks slowly. I distrusted the false jollity and hard sell noisiness of the place just on principle. They have read some cheap how to book or attended a cheesy seminar about keeping business rolling, and I felt like they would bully me into new tires in a second. They also told Don they had put the requested 80 lbs in his truck tires, and when he checked they were at 65, so they flat lied about that. The sort of undertone of the place was that these old farts won’t know the difference so why bother ? It is difficult to find reliable repairs and service when we never stay still, and I sometimes think they see our SD plates and perform accordingly.

I spent the next day in bed fighting a cold, and then we headed north again.

Through Quartzsite, which is now a ghost town, a few trailers around, waiting out the snow storms up north, but a lot of the vendors are gone and so are their buildings/tents. They didn’t look like tents while we were there, wandering and poking around, but they must have been, since vast stretches of stalls and businesses are nothing but gravel. I’m glad I got to see it once, but like so many tourist destinations it’s more about shopping than anything else. I will admit that the people watching was pretty good, and the Kofa Mountains are still magnificent and strange.

We are now in Salome, AZ, in a very small park of elderly RV’s and even more elderly people. It’s clean, and the sites would be way too tight if there was anyone left here. A lot of industrious paint work on everything, including the trunks of the few trees. Cheap enough for the social security crowd, no pool, no activities, just miles of desert and the mountains.

The town was named for Salome Pratt, wife of a founder, who danced as the hot sand burned her feet. Also the hideout of Dick Wick Hall, a vintage humorist, who wrote a poem about a frog in the desert, so there are frogs everywhere.

Don took out his golf clubs for their annual exercise, and found some old friends at the spiffy golf resort up the road. They have a lot on the course where they park their big motor home and little red Jeep. Nice, but too tidy, too expensive, and what would I do all day ?

The toy to have here is a Quad, a 4 wheel all terrain vehicle. Everyone who winters here has them, and there are trails everywhere. Since AZ registers them as street vehicles, you can even go on the road, although going off into the great sandy nothing of the desert would be the best park, with the mountains all around.

We went out geocaching yesterday, in Don’s truck, and went down a dirt road and got stuck in the sand. His transmission, not 4 wheel drive, and engine make a powerful pulling machine, but have no low range torque, especially in reverse. We spent a hot hour digging and trying to get out of the hole, while I said a few Hail Marys, and lo, a nice young man in a red Jeep came and towed us out. Once out of the sand we got out in a hurry.

My Darling Daughter ran the Boston Marathon for the charity she works for, Community Servings. I am imagined her back in the huge mob, plugging away. I can’t imagine running for 4 hours, which at her amateur pace is how long it will take her. As a first timer, she just has to finish to be a star, and she is a star to me for even trying.


Blogger Timmy said...

Jess is awesome!

12:58 PM  

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