Sunday, November 22
“What the heck is THAT?”
Bridget, Reggie, and I are lounging around our campsite at Midland LTVA near Blythe, California, when a gray cloud puffs up from the other side of the Big Maria Mountains.
A plume spreads about 150 degrees in an arc along the horizon. I try to photograph it using the panoramic feature on my camera, but I’m not happy with the results. The next photo shows the portion immediately to the right of the scene in the first photo.
I have no idea where the dark “cloud” is. All I know is it is directly east of us. I whip out my California Benchmark. Hmm. . . the Colorado River Indian Reservation is east of us. Unless it’s coming from within the mountains . . . .
Later we go to town!
“Up you go!” I toss Bridget and Reggie into the Perfect Tow Vehicle.
It’s only ten miles to Blythe from our camp at Midland Long Term Visitors Area.
We follow Lovekin Boulevard south of Hobson Way, go under the interstate, and find the park on the left. Miller Park has three drinking water spigots conveniently positioned along one side of a paved parking lot.
Well, If I did that I would’ve missed the green fields, starlings, lone predator, palm trees, golden bushes . . . . These regular tasks give rhythm to my life. I actually enjoy them!
That task completed I drive us around Blythe to familiarize myself with the town.
Blythe is easy to navigate. even though Interstate 10 plows right through it on the way to Quartzsite. Streets are wide and straight. I don’t come across one-way streets. I hate towns/cities that rely on one-ways to manage traffic. Everything seems logically arranged in Blythe.
I wouldn’t describe Blythe as picturesque.
Blythe may not be a cute, quaint, sophisticated, trendy (insert any adjective describing stuff that’s not important). What it has are stores and services one needs, and a variety of restaurants. This is good to know if you plan on spending seven months out at Midland LTVA and if you like to eat out. Red Cactus Bar and Grill looks interesting . . . .
And there’s a Starbucks for those of you addicted to lattes!
I have an Amazon shipment coming in soon. That pretty, multi-colored rug that I’ve been wanting isn’t in this shipment though. Because I made the shipping address “P.O. Box General Delivery,” my packages are certain to be sent to the post office and I guess the rug is too big for a postal box delivery.
At the time I placed the order online, a message popped up for the rug, something like “not deliverable to this address.” It is the most elusive rug!
The crew and I head back to camp.
As you come into Midland LTVA, a small monument sits on the left. I park the PTV and get out to investigate.
“It will only take a minute. I’ll be right back,” I assure the crew.
Here are excerpts.
“In May 1964, U.S. Strike Command (STRICOM) launched the largest military war game since World War II. Known as Joint Exercise Desert Strike, this two-week training exercise simulated a nuclear air and ground battle between the mythical governments of Nezona and Calonia over water rights within the Colorado River watershed south of Las Vegas. . . .
“This training maneuver took place on more than 13 million acres of public and private lands in the California, Nevada and Arizona deserts at a cost of 54 million dollars, or 540 dollars per man . . . .
“This monument is dedicated to the Cold War Veterans who served here and especially for the thirty-two warriors who gave their lives during this exercise which in itself contributed to the end of the Cold War.”
~ ~ ~
By late afternoon the black “cloud” of unknown substance has dispersed somewhat.
It’s not as dense, having spread itself over a large area of sky low to the horizon.
NOTE: A reader provided this link to a ABC Channel 3 News story which reveals that more than 320 acres burned in a fire which started at the Colorado River Indian Reservation.
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