Monday, December 24, 2012

Hooked up and Haulin’

On a hike up to Palm Canyon behind the state park campground we encountered a new species of bird.


While very very similar to the local Roadrunner, this one was evidently a Trailrunner, as there was not a road within a mile.


Most Borrego Springs boondocking spots are not actually in the State Park, or on BLM land, so there is not the usual 14 day limit on camping here.  CIMG8530


Palm Slot Canyon

But, after two weeks in one spot, nice as it is, it was time to move on.  Working on a tight schedule with only another four months to go, we decided to hook up and head out.  Besides we had some relatives showing up in Yuma for the Christmas holidays that we missed in Ottawa on our summer’s trip to the east coast.  The tanks were not really in need of dumping, but the Arco station at the junction of S-22 and 86 is just too nice to pass up.  They have about 5 dump stations in a line, and a couple of fresh water taps – all at no charge.  Fuel prices there are pretty good (for California) as well.CIMG8506CIMG8492CIMG8502

So, after the appropriate dump and fills, we were off down through Brawley, Imperial and El Centro – where they have the sea level marked as lines way up on the sides of big buildings or tanks, because the area is all below sea level.

The first border patrol check was operational on the northbound lanes at the next junction south, but the camera emplacements were watching both lanes carefully.

The larger checkpoint on Interstate 8 was not operational as we continued eastbound – heading for Yuma.  For part of the way the interstate is only a few hundred yards from the Mexican border fence. By the time we got moving and made a few stops along the way, the sun was getting low, so our first stop ever on Ogilby road was in order.  A short run down American Girl Mine road, and we were in a familiar looking 14 day camping zone, with widely spaced rigs dotting the landscape.  The first place we checked out looked good, so we pulled in, only to discover a flat tire on the trailer ;-(.

Not sure how long it had been down, as it still dragged ok and appeared undamaged, but it looked like we had picked up a nail somewhere in the desert.  Some people insist on burning pallets out there, which are full of nails and some or all inevitably meet up with tires.  After a quick change to the spare, and a dish set-up, we were in place to enjoy the evening.  Managed to pick up 20-30 off-air TV channels, but only three of them were in English!CIMG8542

Hailey liked the novelty of a few small trees around, as compared to the treeless area we had just departed. We could easily have spent a week or more there – and will in the future, but after a short flight to take some photos in the morning we headed on into the mountain time zone across the Arizona line.  We did spot one familiar looking rig a half mile away across the road – it was RVSue and crew on their way somewhere east as well.PC237088PC237085PC237081PC237074PC237073

So, it looks like we will spend Christmas in Yuma, (getting tires repaired) and then, who knows – maybe it will be back to Ogilby to give that place a decent assessment, or perhaps we’ll mosey on up towards Quartzsite and Bouse?  Or Tucson?  Gosh, there are a lot of decisions to make in this lifestyle Winking smile.

Keep your stick on the ice.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Chillin’ in the Desert near Borrego Springs


Sunrise near Borrego Springs!


Not too much newsworthy stuff going on here, as we have just settled into the simple routine of life in the desert.  Some days, it’s out for a hike, or a scramble up a mountain, others it is a run into town for some groceries or a coffee.

Other days we just hang out in camp enjoying the 360* scenery, or using up some of the old fuel in the honda generator on the day when it rained all day.  Without my usual Canadian satellite TV this year, the DVD’s on loan from friends in Desert Hot Springs are getting watched more; either on the big screen and the 5 speaker sound surround, or on the little portable player.

During the day, there is the occasional vehicle that goes by on Rockhouse road, which we are camped nearby, but little to no sound reaches us from the main highway.

There is really no one else close here at all, so I have it all to myself.  PC197030

Many campers are jammed into the ‘PegLeg Smith’ area for some reason.  I guess they like company, road noise, and dust?  No one I know camps there.  But I have figured out why no one else camps near me …  Many of them rely on cell phone signals for their internet, and the signal really drops off in this area, so they tend to congregate nearer to the road where they can get online.  I have satellite internet, so it makes no difference to me.  Here’s where some of the gang are camped, as viewed from above my neighbourhood.  All are from BC, except RV Sue.

Jean and Skip pulled in a couple days ago, and John & Nicole yesterday.  Martin and Gaye were already here, sporting a new trailer.



Last year, we hiked down into a canyon called ‘The Slot’ a few miles to the south east of BS.  This year we found the Palm Slot along the road out to Salton City.


Take it easy, all you ‘distracted driving’ fanatics, we were parked on a lookout, looking down at the Borrego valley.PC166995



Here’s a video of my ‘home entertainment’ system at work!

While I have yet to see a rattlesnake or scorpion during my time in the desert ( I think they all take the ‘winter’ off), there are still some hazards out there for the unwary.  This is what can happen when you walk just a bit too close to a local cactus.


I had another video for this edition, but it was taking too long to load, so it got scrapped.

Merry Christmas out there.



Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Plumb out of excuses

To update the blog, that is Winking smile
Woke up – to the sounds of silence, again.  Eventually got keen enough to make some coffee, feed Hailey, then fire up the internet to find out what had happened overnight in news, e-mail, weather, blogs, forwarded videos, etc. Eventually, some breakfast, topped off by one of those incredible Borrego Springs grapefruit.  I never eat them anywhere else but here, but they taste so good, and for $3.00 a huge bag at the rural corner of DiGiorgio and Henderson Canyon road, do it yourself, honour system grapefruit stand, need I say more.  The tanks that are supposed to be empty are; and the ones that are supposed to be full – are.  The day before yesterday was a town day where the laundry was done, the hair was cut, a few groceries picked up, and of course grapefruit on the way home. Yesterday was a hiking day on Coyote Mountain (below),
so today is a good one to get caught up on well, the blog!  Can’t find anything else to do to put it off yet again.
 (A rather rushed and poorly edited video, I must say!)
Before departing our last camp we noticed that Deep Creek hot springs was well within driving distance so checked it out one day.  Hailey stayed behind to guard the camp, which was just as well, because the drive in was a bit gruelling at times, and there was no shade in the parking area.  You can do it the easy way and pay to park at the Bowen ranch, or make a longer drive and a shorter walk.  The long road is mostly decent high clearance 4x4 road, but the last half mile is certainly a challenge for a stock truck.  But we made it! PC036904PC036905PC036906
It is a nice, though steep in places, downhill hike to the springs on the river bank.  There are about 5 or 6 different pools to choose from, so you can choose your preferred temperature and privacy.
Most of my photos were not suitable for the blog as California seems to be in the midst of a swimming attire shortage. While some of the pools are the typical shallow variety, one pool I was in was at least 7-8’ deep in the middle.  All in a very nice scenic area.
From our camp in the high desert, things went right downhill – into Desert Hot Springs and Palm springs.  There we camped on the street in a gated community for a couple of nights visiting friends from back in BC.  On Saturday, it was the garage sale circuit, looking for bargains.  Some of the houses were pretty nice as well, as you can see by the pool.
Other friends at the Sands resort could not be located, as I often give no warning of my imminent arrival.  Therefore, we headed southward still and set up camp in the Borrego Springs area – one of our favourite spots.  It wasn’t long before I spotted the big wheels of Wheeling It, and the somewhat smaller wheels of RV Sue in the distance.  Before long, I expect that Jean and Skip will roll into the neighbourhood after spending time in the Yuma area. And John and Nicole are due soon as well!  It will be just like old home week in Borrego Springs!
Only ones missing are the Bayfield Bunch and Wandering Willy!
Rumour has it that both will be doing a bit of travelling in the new year.CIMG8424CIMG8428CIMG8469
Hailey is always right at home – wherever we happen to be.  We found a stray balloon out in the desert and brought it home for her.