"It is in the wild places, where the edge of the earth meets the corners of the sky, the human spirit is fed." Art Wolf

Friday, January 18, 2019

Quartzsite Up to Now

After Staying in Tucson for an extra day we headed up the final leg to arrive Monday afternoon out on the BLM lands just south of Quartzsite.   So, yes, the booth as you turn in is closed because of the government close down.  I didn't stop to talk to the Hosts because others already had.  The Hosts careful repeated that they were told to tell people to drive over to the 14 day free parking.  From the looks of all the BML areas as I drove around yesterday with Peggy, I would say most all individuals have just continued doing what they came to Quartzsite to do. Park out in the desert.   If the government opens and someone drive around I will pay my $40 dollars for 14 days fee.    The thought of the thousands of dollars the the government is currently losing out on is sad....

Before we start on the Quartzsite desert pictures, Lark wanted me to post the fine field she found right in front of our rig when we stayed in Tucson.  The Fairgrounds did have a dog park back over near one of their buildings but who needs dog park when faced with this option.   

The view from the Fairground's parking lot of the mountains.

Not a bad place to chill for two nights.

Then we headed off down the road west watching both the desert and the distance mountains march by.

The first day after arriving was rainy, rainy, rainy.   It provided excellent opportunity to finish up a book and take advantage of personal lap warmers.

Views from our site.

Lark and Audrey got to meet Beth's Ty.   

Lap warmers come in different sizes.

The back of Audrey's head as she studies on this new land and what the 4 wheelers drive by.

The evenings view of the sunset.

And turning around the view of the eastern sky illuminating Beth's rig.

Free breakfast at the La Mesa RV dealer.   Left to right: Tina, Lyn, Peggy, Sheila, Barbie, Beth.   

Our group gathered in the desert around Sheila's 5th wheel which she parks for the whole winter season.  She is gracious to share her desert with us.

After the rain there were a few "washes" that still held water.   Lark was so happy that she found one but thankfully she never rolled in it.   

Walking dogs out into the desert.

Not everyone comes with and RV.   And this afternoon Lyn and I are heading out to visit another area that has brought in many of those that do not have large expensive RV equipment and have dropped out to make this living outside the grid work for them.  

The desert toys come past from time to time.

Audrey works to keep Larks enthusiasm in line.  It generally requires some barking and nashing of teeth.

Sheila's bird feeders.  They are very busy but I didn't have my better camera out that would have captured her visitors.

And this is one of our activities on sunny days.  This time we were hanging out at Lyn's trailer.  Lyn with Benji in her lap, Alice, Beth, Peggy, Sheila, Barbie.

As Peggy and I drove around yesterday we found several of the many, many groups that come out every January to meet up. Some are individual that share the same brand of rig (Road Trek, Safari, etc) and others that gather together because of like interests. We found several of the Escapee groups, the WIN group, the Road Trekers, those that love radio airplanes.... If there is a group of organization out there for individuals that travel or live in RVs, they will have a group meeting out here somewhere in the desert.

Gosh, say someone, "How will I find you?"   Find the large flying shark and look around say the people over by their truck flying large kites.

Notice the multiple road options as you get out in the desert.  

Most driveways don't have any solar lights or bright markers.  It makes coming in after dark slow and careful or it is easy to miss the driveways.

Peggy left the area to head over and park with her group of friend in the "LOW" area.  Other folks are coming in to the area within the next few days and though the large Flea Market is mostly open the RV show and their tent don't open until tomorrow.

We are not bored.  And Lark is learning the fun of visiting with folks sitting around rigs in chair and getting invited into some of the rigs.  Audrey just reminds Lark that she has been hanging out with RVers since she was about 10 weeks old.......and some of them remember the puppy with the shark teeth trying to dig out of her x-pen and make it to China.   She likes to travel I guess.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Miles to Go

With miles to go before we rest.   Well, okay, we did park for two night here in New Mexico, but now that the driver has rested, watched too many people with more money that I have fix up their dream houses (HGTV), caught up on laundry, resupplied the groceries and walked dogs, it is time to move on towards Arizona.

Last I posted I had left New Orleans and my private tour guide Claudia and headed over to check out another Louisiana State Park. This one near another of my WomanRV friends, Martha and Abbyville.    

Abbyville, Louisiana, is more a reflection of the real Louisiana.  Mostly small houses and businesses struggling to keep the doors open.

The best part of town is that it has two main squares that have been preserved.  The Courthouse Square is above.

The main street business district.

Connecting to the Church Square.   Driving past the church I noticed that double parking for church activities on Saturday morning is permitted here in Louisiana.  Martha and I couldn't decide if the even might be a wedding or a funeral.

After the driving tour of Abbyville Martha and I headed off towards Lafayette and lunch with a couple of other women who RV.   And yes there might have been a stop or two to take in a thrift store.   Lunch: me, Martha, Carolyn and Michelle, a friend of Carolyn and Martha's. 

The following day I headed out towards Houston by way of Route 82, which took me along to coast line of Louisiana and the back roads.  I got a clear sense to what the tidal surges of Katrina and then Rita did on housing.  Most of the buildings that I saw looked like they had been constructed since the storms and rose up high on their pillars above the next tidal surge to come.   I also got to take a ferry across one of the rivers for the charge of a dollar.  Cars were a dollar. Motor homes towing a car were a dollar.  Not bad pricing.

The drive also impressed upon me what the oil industry and refineries mean to the Louisiana shorelines.

Upon arriving at my campground just east of Houston I got hold of Chris (Otherwise know as Red) and Al who had offered to drive up and get together for a meal and a chance to catch up.  I hadn't seen Chris since meeting up with her in Wyoming on my way to Oregon several years ago.

Apparently if it is your birthday you get to sit on the saddle and hear everyone yell "Yee Haw" with you.

From Houston I drove on over to Potter Creek COE campground just north of San Antonio. Potter's Creek is known by many as a great camping place and I now know why.  The lake is beautiful and peaceful.   I thanked my friend Nikki for recommending taking sites up under the trees though.  I can only imagine hot hot some of those full sites are in the summertime.  The dogs enjoyed the wide open spaces and longer walks.

Sunset falls over the campsite.

The area is know for its friendly critters.

Nikki and little Maddie and sweet Olive met up several times a day for walks with Lark and Audrey and I.

We took a day trip over to Guene, Texas, and a walk around town complete with a peek inside the old dance hall.   The dance hall part is behind the front bar section.   Looks a little slow at the bar in the middle of the afternoon.

Tomorrow we give up our cable (luxury) and with clean laundry packed away, head farther west on I-10. I will look for the weather reports from Ohio and watch the winter storm that is predicted to drop inches of snow in the Midwest.   But really, who needs snow storms on weekends?   Definitely a waste of great snow for students and teachers alike. Once a teacher, always a teacher.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Westward Ho the RV

Leaving out from Alabama the dogs and I made an uneventful trip to the Louisiana State Park just south of New Orleans and fairly close to fellow WomenRVer Claudia's home in Metaire. It was uneventful mostly but did provide me an opportunity to remain once again humble as I was required to unhook the Honda at a Pilot station as the the turning radius for getting lined up to the pumps was just a "bit" too tight for the car to clear the large cement block provided to protect the pumps. As I pulled over to the side of the lot to re-hook the car I observed a much larger Class A (also towing a car) attempt to line up close enough to one of the pumps and give up and pull out of the lot altogether.   I raise a toast to the truck stops that offer RV (gas) lanes.   I will state that of the handful of places that I have had to unhook and turnaround or reattach the car, a gas station is probably one of the safest and least stressful places.  (Those old narrow roads leading to blocked entrances to state parks are the worst, unless you enjoy the challenge of backing up a rig on narrow road until you find the wide spot to turn around and reattach the car.)

And before I forget to add somewhere.  These Louisiana State Parks rock.   Walking around two different parks now I can say I haven't found a site that wouldn't be doable.  They are either graveled or with cement pads and all fairly level to the eye with plenty of space for clearance on all sides.... length and width and height.

Now back to the New Orlean's Claudia tour.  We started at the parking lot on the levy with a quick walk over the levy to look at the river.  See the river?  It is right there.

Then we started walking.

And then I started noticing the carriages and the mules.  "Let's go find the station!" I say. And off we went.  The hip and sciatica last longer this way and having taking carriage rides through historic cities in the past, besides the neat history the guides share, there is just an opportunity to listen to the neat sound of clop, clop, clop, that resonates with the visual history of the architecture going by.   

Included in the tour was a stop at one of the older cemeteries.   Each "site/tomb/crip?" is owned by a family. Some hold multiple bodies over time. Some hold hundreds.  The family own the lot unless someone buys them out.  Nicholas Cage did just that. Then the original family has to move out its family's remains.  Nicholas' choice was to build a pyramid.   It appears strange against the stones of history here. I did take a picture but if you want to see it you will need to Google it.  Claudia added that when Nicholas lost all his money, the powers that be repossessed all his New Orleans houses, etc but cemetery plots are not allowed to be touched.......

There were many stories about Marie Laveau.  She gathered great power around her during her life.  The family of famous folks buried around her were not pleased to find their loved ones placed next to her.   I am thinking that those that passed didn't waste much time worrying about that.

Some of the crips have families that paid up front for perpetual care. Some did not.

This guy was famous about town and loved the blues which had its birth, so the legends say, in the area right behind that brick wall.   Again, according to the story, the family built the wall to keep his spirit from returning to the less savory world that the blues might pull him back to.

Not all families are still around to worry about their ancestors. And another fun fact, the tombs can get to temperatures up to 400 degrees.  As the bodies are reduced over time, is how they can add more to the family tombs.  The rule is that you can't open any of the family plots until a year and a day after a body has been interred.  But don't worry they have rental tombs you can use until your beloved is ready for the family crip. 

Architectural details are easier to notice when you don't have to watch where your feet are traveling.

"I was a good mule, wasn't I"

She liked nose rubs but the carrot her driver gave her seemed to please her more. Mules are bright creatures.

Back to the State Park, the dogs and I walked down past the cabins. They all sit out on the water with screened in porches and wonderful views of the canal.

The second day Claudia and I made our way to "Mardi Gras World". Not the museum but the company responsible for designing, building and often storing a large portion of the floats that appear in the parades.   The tour helped explain the process and how the Krews plan out their parades.  And for one who has never been to New Orleans and certainly never during Mardi Gras I now know about the multiple Krews and just how many parades there are during those two weeks. And how many parades occur each day. 

The large warehouse is right  on the river. 

Many of the "heads" are repurposed from year to year.  This lady is a work in process with much Styrofoam carving left to do. 

Need some extra body parts?

This slide reveals the two compartments all the floats have. Porta potties!  The tour guide reminded us that often the participants on the floats can be out on a float for 6-8 hours at a time before they return to the warehouse.

A field of flowers waiting for their assignments

Claudia, queen of the_______ .  "   Tour guides. That is what I meant to write in there.

The Stern Company also has about 20% of their work come from outside corporations and for parades for other areas of the country.

Now back to our drive around town.   Yes, the houses in the Garden District are beautiful but not so distinctive from other southern towns like Charlotte, NC, Beaufort, SC, etc.  The smaller houses were a little more plentiful and reflective of over all New Orleans.

This tree might be New Orleans version of Alaska's, "Let's take bets and see when the spring ice break up will come."   It has been there a long time but just for safety sake lets not park right next to it. Or across the street either now that I think of it.

You are looking at corn stalks. Not your usual design motif.

For my tree addiction/collection, just because I can.

Claudia drove us along one of the parade routes and showed me the results of bead throwing on the local trees.

Lark wanted her friends to think she had been out partying when I was away from the rig, but Audrey refused to back up her story line. 

Bye New Orleans. We are farther along our road to the west.   More pictures to follow.