Saturday, February 8
I have to decide whether the crew and I will stay camped alongside the lane near where the Perfect Tow Vehicle got stuck, join the group of RVs, or hitch up and leave Coyote Wash.
There seems to be some confusion about ownership of the land we’re camped on.
Well, all the guys who watched the PTV pulled out of the sand aren’t confused. Only one person is. They warn me about an individual who confronts everyone who enters Coyote Wash. This man hassles anyone who does not camp in the group, forbidding them to camp where I’m camped. He cites wrong information about the ownership of the land.
Everyone else says that I can camp here.
Chuck (retired computer guy/wind-surfer) and Joe (retired crane operator/fisherman) tell me how they know the correct owner.
“We contacted the City of Wellton. We were told that the land across the road that used to be a dispersed camping area is now owned by the City of Wellton. The City put up the “no camping” sign. Now everyone camps over on this side of the road.”
Chuck points to a small, dirt lane .
It runs parallel to the lane the crew and I are camped on.
“That dirt road over there marks the edge of the private property. It’s private on the other side where that ranch house is.”
“Well, then, who does own the land I’m camped on?” I ask.
“The City told us this is water district land,” Joe replies. “We checked on the maps, and we called the water office to be sure. You can camp here. Don’t listen to that guy.”
Later the crew and I drive into Wellton.
I want to pick up some groceries at the Del Sol Market. It’s a tiny store, the only game in town when it comes to groceries. Two lines of shoppers at the registers, eight carts in each line, hardly moving . . . Gee, what is this? The line out of Los Algodones?
Sunday, February 9
This is a beautiful part of the desert, very green. Bridget, Spike and I are outside enjoying the morning when Joe comes along.
“Come on over here,” he beckons. “I want to show you the owl.”
I walk with him down the lane.
We go further from any of the RVs. The crew tags along.
“Oh, my!” Joe exclaims, pointing toward the top of a large palo verde. “The two of them are together! I’ve never seen that before.”
Sure enough. An owl sits on a branch. Two ear-tufts stick up from a nest close by.
“She has eggs in that nest,” Joe surmises.
We both aim our cameras, but the owls are in deep shade and the photos don’t come out well. (Joe did get a good shot later in the day when the light was better.)
The crew and I take off for the laundromat.
On our way out of Coyote Wash we enter the area of clustered RVs. A man on a bicycle appears, coming from the opposite direction.
He rides his bike in front of the PTV. I assume he’s one of the guys I met yesterday and I figure he’s playing with me. I swerve to the right, smiling. I’m surprised as the man bikes over in front of me again and stops. He’s not smiling. He’s blocking my way . . . . Oh no, this must be that guy I was warned about. . .
With not so much as a hello, he lays it all out for me.
He stands next to my window and his speech goes something like this . . . . “You can’t camp down there. You’re gonna’ hafta’ move. That’s private land. You know, we used to be able to camp across the road. We can’t do that any more. It’s because a few people messed it up for everyone else, and . . . blah, blah, blah . . . .”
I could tell him about the ownership change and what the City of Wellton and the water district say, but this guy isn’t going to listen to me. He’s been told by the guys, and he didn’t listen to them . . .
I nod my head as the man continues with a litany of my sins.
“The locals don’t like people to camp down there either. You’re gonna’ scare off the owls. You’re supposed to have a permit. First thing ya’ know, the police will be out here. Then it’ll be spoiled for everybody and we won’t be allowed to camp here any more.”
He pauses briefly for air.
“Why don’t ‘they’ put up a no-camping sign where I’m camped?”
My question raises his ire.
He starts to sputter and leans into my face with eyes bulging.
“Do you have a no-camping sign in YOUR front yard?”
Hoo-boy. This guy is a piece of work. I nod my head and tell him okay. He turns to leave, straddling his bike. As an afterthought, he mumbles over his shoulder, “If you need any help, let me know.”
Ha! Where were you yesterday, little man! I drive away.
Later, Chuck drops by and I tell him what transpired.
“Chuck, I think I’m gonna’ leave in the morning. I don’t feel comfortable with there being any question about my right to camp here. And I can’t camp up there with the group. I have to be by myself. If I stay here, it’s only a matter of time before that guy gets on my case again.”
Chuck tries to talk me into staying.
“. . . and you aren’t bothering the owls. Those owls have been here for years.”
“Well, it’s been wonderful. It’s so pretty.” I look around us and continue wistfully, “The trees, the lane, all the little washes to walk, the sunset at the mountains, the twinkling, gold lights of Wellton on the horizon at night.”
I look at Chuck.
“You guys have been great . . . but it’s time to go.”
RVSUE SHOPPERS ARE THE BEST!
THANKS FOR SHOPPING AMAZON FROM MY BLOG!