Saturday, January 30 (continued)
Sunday, January 31
The crew and I are up before dawn. While walking Bridget and Reggie around our campsite for their potty business, I evaluate the weather situation.
Well, it’s perfectly calm. Of course, that could change in a matter of minutes.
The forecast for much of Arizona includes strong winds, possible rain, and, locally, a drop in temperature into the high 20s.
It could be Wednesday or later before the weather settles down again. I don’t want us forced to stay here that long. I need to dump tanks soon anyway. Plus I’m restless to move!
There’s not much to do in order to break camp.
The blue mat, chairs, doggie pallet, doggie beds, and other miscellaneous items are already inside the Perfect Tow Vehicle. I didn’t unhitch or remove the anti-sway bar. I check the bar to make sure it’s adjusted properly and I plug in the power cord to the trailer brakes and tail lights.
I turn on the heat in the PTV to eliminate the overnight chill.
Soon thereafter Bridget and Reggie are snuggled in their travel positions, ready to go. I secure the interior of the BLT and lock the door. After a quick walk-around check, I board the PTV and the crew and I rumble down the rocky, BLM lane to Centennial Road.
We head west, going past the Harquahala Power Generating Project. Hmm . . . That’s what I saw out our window last night, lit up like an amusement park.
Harquahala Plain is used primarily for agriculture.
At Harquahala Road we turn north to reach the interstate highway.
Traffic is light on Interstate 10 and the morning remains calm. I keep the PTV going between 58 and 60 mph as we motor west toward Quartzsite, Blythe, and Los Angeles.
Thirty-six miles later, we exit the interstate at New Hope.
I like to park in the flat, open spaces where the big rigs park. I find such a place off Vicksburg Road. The sun shines brightly on the BLT as I let out the excited Bridget and Reggie for a brief run-around.
Across the road, the ZIP station sign beckons.
It’s breezy as I stand at the pump (See flag!). I consider going into the convenience store for a second cup of coffee.
No, we need to keep moving. I don’t want to drive in strong wind . . . .
As I start up the PTV to return to the interstate, a memory from the classroom comes to mind.
Oh, those math problems everyone hates. . . . If a van leaves Harquahala driving 58 mph and wind leaves Los Angeles at 70 mph, when will the van and the wind meet?
I don’t need road signs to tell me we’re approaching Quartzsite! The sight of RVs scattered around the palo verde and creosote tells me we soon will be passing through the famous — some would say infamous — Big Q.
And then — there it is!
I shudder as we pass hordes of RVs, some parked in the desert, others crammed into RV parks. I glimpse vendor tents and lots of cars.
Plenty of life in Quartzsite! I’m happy for those who enjoy it.
The sight of Dome Rock, west of Quartzsite, brings forth good memories.
Back in 2012 the original crew — Spike and Bridget — and I camped at Dome Rock with new friends who introduced us to the phenomenon of Quartzsite. Everyone should experience Quartzsite at least once!
We continue westward.
To the north of the interstate I see a truck camper and a camper van off in the distance in the vicinity of Tom Wells Road. Shortly thereafter we pass Ehrenberg. We keep going, always mindful of the approaching wind.
It looks like we’re going to make it in time!
At 9:15 a.m. I’m in the check-out lane of Blythe’s Smart & Final grocery store, more commonly known as the Fart & Smile. I load the groceries and bottled water into the BLT.
Yes, we’re returning to Midland!
You’re probably wondering, “Why? Why return to Midland?”
Good question! I don’t have a convincing answer.
All I know is it is where I want to be right now.
I want to be in this brown desert place, where the dust blows and finding water is a challenge. I want to be next to that big ol’ ironwood tree where the hummingbird sings. I want our home not far from the dusty, unpretentious, un-trendy, very plain and ordinary town of Blythe, California!
Well, it is warmer here… The predicted lows are in the 30s, not the 20s.
Upon arrival, I immediately take care of important business.
Next we follow the dirt road to see if anyone is parked in “our site.”
My heart sinks when I detect a speck of white in “Loners’ Acres” where we camped previously. Darn! I really wanted that same spot . . . .
As we come closer I realize that rig isn’t parked as far back as we were!
Great! No one is there! Happily I maneuver the PTV across the desert on the familiar lane, heading toward that big ironwood tree whose shape I’d recognize anywhere.
I position the BLT as we had it before, even though this puts it broadside to the wind.
Quickly I hop out of the PTV and check the bubble levels. As expected, the BLT is level side-to-side and front-to-back. Oh, I’m glad we came here.
I open the passenger-side door for the impatient canines.
“We’re home! Come on out, pups! Come see! Do you remember this place?”
Reggie’s scampering and Bridget’s bright eyes tell me they do remember this place and they’re happy to be here again.
I grab the blue mats out of the back of the PTV, along with several 10-inch stakes and a hammer. As I fling out a mat to unfold it, a mighty wind catches it. I fight to position it right where I want it in front of our doorstep.
I hammer in the stakes, pushing a lock of wind-tossed hair behind my ear. Bridget and Reggie sniff our campsite, oblivious to the wind. I pause to look around and see a wall of dust approaching from the west.
Hoo-boy. . . Here it comes!
I gather up the crew and we go inside.
“We made it just in time!” I exclaim with a laugh as I shut the door against the wind.
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