We left Usery mountain State Recreation Area on a rainy day and drove in and out of rain to Yuma for a night at the Escapee park All the regular sites in the park were taken but they still had some spots in the dry camp (no hook ups) area. We needed the directions to the boondockers rendezvous at Quartzite, Arizona scheduled for January 17, 2005 and the date of the Quartzite RV show. Actually this information was sitting in a newsletter in the mail at home but wouldn't reach us until after the 28th.
We got our information and drove in the last of the rain to Niland, California. Niland was in the California Desert on the Salton Sea. we didn't visit the Sea until later this trip burt went to the Fountain of Youth Spa. A private campground with two swimming pools and about five hot tubs, one of which contained the natural hot springs for which the area is famous. While Palm Springs,Ca still had rain for the next few days we were spared and had nice sunny days. We walked in the desert along the Cochela Canal with views of the Chocolate Mountains above the park and in the desert below the park. The Canal is man made and maintained in order to bring water to the Cochela Valley for agriculture and palm Spring Golf courses. The rain in the Valley had caused several roads to be flooded and closed and many people had to take alternate routes. One of those got lost and stopped us for directions as we walked along the canal road. Hearing our accents he asked our origin. so I told him we where from the Bronx but lived in New Jersey. It seems that he also came from the Bronx to California about 25 years earlier and had also graduated from De Witt Clinton High as I did but he graduated after me. It's a small world after all. We had a pleasant conversation, he continued on his way and we continued with our walk. Back home I have a friend who flies a remote control plane. On at least one occasion that plane got stuck in a tree. Here in the desert they have an area set up for flying remote control planes and there are no trees. Next to the flying field is a nine hole desert golf course and a one mile jogging path. We even met a man who had set up and was jumping hurdles in training for the Senior Olympics at St. George, Utah. The park is really self contained, a man comes twice a week and sells fresh produce and another man comes with a refrigerated truck and sells frozen entrees. The truck had Minnesota plates where the company, Swains is located. They have quite a selection for 2 people including meat, chicken, fish, and vegetarian entrees along with many types of sides and desserts.
After a week of walking in the desert, lying in the sun and soaking in the hot mineral spas we left and went to Anzo Borrega State Park for three nights. When we arrived we were shocked by the condition of Palm Canyon. The Canyon had been a relatively green colorful canyon with a large oasis at the top and small streams flowing on the sides when we last visited. Now it was washed out with a large river flowing through its middle and palm tree stumps strewn all along the banks. Last September a cloud stationed itself above the canyon and dumped millions of gallons of water in the canyon causing a flash flood. We called Richard and Caryn and the next day they drove out to spend a night with us. The four of us went to dinner at the Casa Del Zoro in Borraga Springs and had an excellent four star meal with great chocolate desserts and waiters from countries were service is an honor not a chore. I was later told by a man we spoke to in a Palm Springs grocery parking lot that I shouldn't tell too many people about this great restaurant which is still relatively unknown. After hiking in the canyon the next day Richard and Caryn went home. The next day we climbed the small mountain at the foot of the canyon. It was a steep narrow trial to the top but the view of the valley was worth it.
From Anzo Borrega we went to the Salton Sea State Recreation Area for a few days so that we could drive up to Palm Desert and shop in Costco and Albertsons for our week in Quartsizite.We left the Salton Sea and drove east into Arizona. Quartzite has a normal population of about 2000 but winter snow birds swell the population to well over a million possibly two. Quartzite has nine campgrounds with about 1650 sites in town and the town is surrounded by Bureau of Land Management camping area. The areas around town are 14 day maximum but there are unlimited areas further out. There is no charge for these 14 day areas and I suspect that many people stay longer then 14 days and it is possible to move from one area to another and the areas are less then a mile apart. during the winter there are several shows and swap meets held at Quartzite including an RV show from January 22 through the 29th. As you might imagine the population swells during this week when RV 'ers congregate to attend the show and meet friends. At the shows vendors sell all sorts of accessories,surplus parts, membership campgrounds, RV tours and just plain junk. I even bought about $700 worth of accessories and surplus parts. While we were there the light over the dining room table burnt out so we went to a place selling new surplus parts. Since the price was so reasonable I decided to buy more then one but he only had one on site. I expected to get another on Wednesday when we left but it was raining so we didn't stop. When we passed this way again and I stopped for gas I thought I could get the light then but the vendor was gone and his spot on the desert was empty.
We found the Escapee, Boondockers relatively easy and joined the other RV 'ers parked haphazardly across the desert. We came with a full water tank, empty gray and black tanks and one and a quarter tanks of propane. When the quarter tank was empty it was easy to get propane in town as there were several sources. Had we needed fresh water or to dump our waste tanks there was a place in town where for $5 one could dump and fill up. Boondockers meet for coffee in the AM, a social hour at around 4PM and around the fire after dinner. Occasionally they have pot lucks, chile bakes (everybody makes chile and dumps it into one pot) and eggs in a bag. While at Quartzite we hung out with boondockers, went to the RV show, visited some of the flea markets and hiked in the desert. The first day we walked out on a road and somehow took a wrong fork because on our return we found ourselves several roads over. When we drove into the mountains we discovered an ancient pictograph and walked on several trails that where only good for hikers and ATV's. One of the trails, the Quinn Pass was named for a prospector born in NJ who spent his whole life out in the desert looking for gold.
We left Quartzite on Wednesday in the rain and drove back to the Salton Sea Recreation area. After two days at the Sea we drove to a campground in Malibu, took a short walk near the campground, ate an early dinner and went to LAX to pick up Susan. Susan wasn't coming to visit us. Her employer was sending her to the LA office to straighten out some problems, our visit was a plus. After dropping Susan's luggage at Richard's we all went to a club where one of Rich's friend's band was performing. We went out to several restaurants over the weekend and on Monday Richard took Susan to her hotel for the week. On Thursday we picked Susan up, went to China Town for dinner and then Richard took her back to LAX for her trip home. While in Malibu we drove to and walked on the same bike path we had walked on our last visit. In addition we walked from the campground to Corel Canyon and Solstice Canyon. The walk in Solstice canyon took us by several routes to the Robert's home built in the 50's and burnt down in the 80's. We also went with Richard and Caryn to Canyon and the Huntington Gardens as well as Chinese tea lunch in Monterey Park.
We left Malibu and California before the rains came. We were headed to Florida for dry weather and warmth.
We drove 400 miles and spent the night on the desert outside of Quartzite.
The next day we drove 400 miles and spent the night in a campground in NM.
The next night after deriving about 400 miles we stopped at a campground east of Ft. Stockton, TX from where we visited the old fort restored by the town. Among the buildings standing was the jail. It's amazing how poorly we treated miscreant soldiers with flogging and shackles.
The next day we drove 400 miles and camped in Bourne, TX just west of San Antonio. While there we went to the Post Office and supermarket and discovered a Culvers. Culvers which is a fast food chain that began in Wisconsin is our favorite soft serve.
The next day we drove 400 miles to. We walked in a very nice park which included a gardens, a golf course, water treatment ponds and an incredible memorial to the 9/11 victims. We walked around the ponds and saw several water birds including roseate spoonbills.
The next day we drove 400 miles to New Orleans. We walked the Riverwalk and went to the Redfish Grill the food was very good but we were a little disappointed. The dish that we were looking forward to was no longer on the menu and the double chocolate bread pudding was not as good as we remembered.
The next day we drove 400 miles to Crisply, Fl and camped at Falling Waters State Park. The highest waterfall in the state has a 75 foot drop and the area has several sinkholes.
The next day we drove 400 miles and camped at Payenes Prairie State Recreation Area for two nights. We went to the sink to walk and see the alligators but the entire area was flooded and not approachable so we walked about 3 miles out on a 16 mile bike path that went from Gainesville to H.
When coming to Florida in the middle of the winter without reservations you take what you can get. We camped in Sebastian and visited the historically famous Pelican Island the first wildlife refuge set up by Teddy Roosevelt in 19. We also went to the beach and sat even though the sun was behind the clouds and we hung out in the trailer for one very rainy day.
From Sebastian we went to Juno Beach where we walked on the bike path by the beach and sat for several windy sunny days on the beach and finally got our sun tans. We had dinner at Debby's cousins in West Palm. Then we went down to a campground in Ft Lauderdale and had dinner with several friends before breaking camp and heading back to New Jersey.
We arrived in Fair Lawn several days before Michael, Jennie and the kids as well as Richard and Caryn came for a visit. We had a great week touring Ellis Island, going to a Broadway Show and visiting with each other, and going out to dinner on several evenings with the whole, family. Shortly after that we celebrated passover, put the house on the market and went to Wisconsin to bring Michael some of our furniture. We also got to baby sit with our grandchildren as Michael and Jennie went off to an ecological fair. Upon our return Debby joined Susan in a trip to Belgium and Paris and I went to Atlantic City. When the girls got back Susan made a graduation party for Kyle which we attended before heading for Livingston, TX to establish our new address.