I seem to be preoccupied with tires these days, and I would just as soon ignore them as we roll from one place to another. A little tire history … Not quite a year ago, I counted up my nickles and dimes, cashed in my cans, and here in Yuma, bought 4 brand new tires for the trailer. I hoped that would be the last for a long time. Only a month later, in Wickenburg, something attacked one of my brand new tires, injuring it fatally. So that brought it to five new tires in a month. It wasn’t really a tire problem per se, but on the way home last spring, just north of the border, a wheel bearing went south (pun intended), and I was able to toss one of those new tires in the back of the truck without needing any wrenches. One new axle, and a few weeks later we were back in business. Now, I managed to nurse the tires on the big GMC all the way to Newfoundland and back over the summer, but I knew I couldn’t handle more than three consecutive snow flakes with the tread they had left. Once again mortgaging the farm, for only $1500., the truck sported a brand new set of Michelins. All was well for a time, till Borrego Springs when (non-blogger) John & Nicole pointed out all the rusted nails around my camp from those who insist on burning pallets. Sure enough, on arrival at Ogilby road, the newest trailer tire had a flat – that you recently recall was repaired in Yuma for $10. Back on Ogilby road, secure in the witness protection program, I noticed a nice little dime-sized bubble on the sidewall of that same tire! I was pretty sure that was not a good thing, but just to be safe, I was taking it in to Ed Whitehead’s tire in Yuma for a second opinion. While happily cruising down I-8 into Yuma, a loud ‘pop’ was heard, and sure enough, my newest trailer tire was a goner.
So, now I have an even newer tire to tempt the rocks the next time we go off-roading. On the bright side, I’m pretty good at changing trailer tires, and at least it had the decency to do it in the slow lane on the interstate, with a wide shoulder. It was not night, raining, or –30C, for which I am thankful. I was surprised that no Border Patrol came along to investigate, as I was in a prime location to pick up something or someone out of the roadside bushes.
Just around the corner from our camp off Ogilby road is the ghost gold mining town of Tumco. It was also previously named Hedges before it was named after the mining company.No buildings are left, but there are some foundations, wells, tanks, and massive tailings piles to attest to the shortlived, but productive gold mine that once operated there. It was cranking out $1000/day of gold at it’s peak. Miners were paid from $2.50-$3.50 per day to work there, but had to pay $1/day to stay on company land, even though the company did not supply any housing! No doubt, shopping at the company store kept them well in the company’s debt.
Even though this town and mine are long gone, just behind there is evidence of renewed modern mining operations. And the whole area around here is covered with claim stakes from the past or present.
Recent, brief rains in the desert have spurred the normally leafless stems of the ocotillo cactus to burst forth in leaf.
Some of them have begun to bloom.
While deep in the jungle of cactus, I came across a sight rarely seen before. It appears to be the home of the elusive ‘Spencer’ subspecies of wild desert cat. The only one known to be in captivity is with the Bayfield Bunch.
Closer to home, these exotic mices continue to keep Ms Hailey entertained. They tend to lose their tails pretty quickly, but are still the source of hours of feline entertainment, usually when I am trying to sleep!
On the shopping front, I am pleased to announce that propane is selling for $1.79/gal in Yuma now, costing me only $13.75 to fill up an empty 30# tank. I’m sure I have paid well over $20 back home for a smaller 20# tank.
Till next time.