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Monday, January 31, 2011

THE Trip, Rock and Mineral Show, Quartzsite, Arizona

Copyright 2011, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

They have several large rock and mineral shows here in Quartzsite, they are serious about their rocks and minerals.  We enjoyed walking around and looking at all the different kinds, and the amounts of rocks and minerals, LOTS and LOTS of rocks and minerals.

They have barrels of rocks,

And, dish pans full of wet rocks (my guess to show off the color of them), these were sitting on a table, with a LOT more dish pans than are shown here:

Then there is this wire cage contraption, filled with large stones, and a dish pan on the top, with the water, showing off the colors.

Tables and tables, and MORE tables, full of rocks and minerals, and this show covers blocks and blocks, tent after tent, do you get the idea it is big?? OK, now, make it 10 times as big as you think, you might be getting close now.  I cannot describe HOW large it really is.

Look at the size of these, 3 to 4 foot tall, and mmmm, PURPLE!!!  on the inside, what's not to love, eh??

Man and I could not figure how all these rocks and minerals would ever be sold. Gotta say, it was sure was something to see.


THE Trip, The Rigs of Quartzsite, Arizona

Copyright 2011, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

We got RIGS!!

We got motorhomes of all sizes and makes. We got travel trailers, all sizes and makes.  We got 5th wheels, all sizes and makes.  We got toy haulers, all sizes and makes.  And, we got:

The other side:

Isn't that just the cutest paint job?? Not sure how warm you could stay in there, but, the outside is artsy and creative.  Was camping just down the road from us on BLM land. 

I spotted this in town:

Seems this ole bus IS an active business, even tho it was parked in a parking lot, saw a young lady leaving the bus with a tray of coffee and goodies, and the most delectable aroma was detected, MMMM.

Yes, this fellow with a very strong wry sense of humor IS boondocking, despite what looks like full hookups. I have heard he can play poker (face) quite well, as other RVers stop and ask how deep he had to drill to get water and where the power comes from!

A bus of a different kind:

Here is a panaramic Man took of part of the Montana circle, this would print to about 25 inches, so, needless to say, you might want to consider clicking on this image for a larger view, then, click your back button to return here to Reflections.  (I ran a test on this photo with Google Chrome AND IE and neither did it justice, SIGHH, sorry.  With  IE however, I could increase the size of the page to 125% and it was somewhat better.)

Looking at the backs of the rigs in a circle:

Yep, if you stick around and drive around enough at Quartzsite, you will see some very interesting rigs, from tents that cost $50.00  to motorhomes that cost many times that.  You can park for 14 days on BLM land for free, tote your water in, tote your waste out, supply your own power as required, by generator or solar panels.  You can park in town for $7.00 a day in a boondocking type set up, and be very close to the action. And, there are commercial campgrounds there as well.  Pick your poison, errr, camping style of choice.

* Might want to drop in over at Al and Nita's Travels, she has some other photos of the circle, from atop their rig.  I don't do ladders or roofs of rigs, and I did not think to ask Man.


Sunday, January 30, 2011

THE Trip, Life Round the Circle, Quartzsite, Arizona

Copyright 2011, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

Life round the circle is informal, but, we did have one meeting, here is our wagon master, Robbie, giving us some "instructions".  Took him 10 minutes, without laughter and harassment, would have taken 5!

Every evening at 5ish, give or take a few minutes, there is a Happy Hour, goodies arrive at the table, ooos and ahhhs are heard as we taste the wonderful cook's donations.  We share lies and stories about our day, where we might travel next, where we have traveled in the past, maybe even what new goodie we discovered in town at the flea markets.

Dusk, finishing our Happy Hour gathering, preparing for campfire:

This MOCer has no trouble figuring out which Montana is his in a circle of 50 Montanas.  Believe me, this is a distinct advantage!  LOL

Yep, another campfire!  One rip roaring, blazing fire every single night!  The fella to the left with that funny white glare over his face, is wearing a clip on light contraption that goes on the brim of his (baseball type) hat.  Man and I found some in town, $3.00 each, purchased same.  I used it a few nights ago to aid in "middle of the night potty trips" for the fur kids. I am in love!  What a wonderful little invention!

So, besides telling lies and stories around the campfire, what else to the techy MOCers do??  Well, check Facebook, but, of course.  Eh, Mina??

Some of our members, Bob & Pam, were interviewed by the BBC for a future documentary special based on the book "American Nomads" by Richard Grant.  They also interviewed several other of the MOC couples, how much fun was this??

Life round the circle, laid back, full of friends, food and a good campfire, what more could you need or want??  Not much, because besides all this we have lies, stories, and great sunsets!


THE Trip, Quartzsite, BLM and Boondocking.

Copyright 2011, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

Well, we are here, we are doing it!  We are boondocking on BLM land a few miles north of Quartzsite with 130 or so of our bestest friends.

So, just what is it to boondock??  Well, you drive out into the desert, find a place to park, and live with no electricity, and no other services like running water, for the next couple of weeks.

Power is supplied by generator or solar panels.  We use this:

This little beaut keeps our battery in Tana charged, as well as the computer, phone and camera batteries charged.  It will run the microwave, if we are careful in the way we use it.  It will not run an air conditioner.  It will run some lights, the furnace and keeps us partially on the grid.  Downside, after a few hours, the noise can become a tad bit annoying.  Annoyance set aside, this is a good piece of equipment to have out here.  Our own personal grid generator, purr away, power away!  WAHHOOO

I may have mentioned that we carry 60 gallons of water in our fresh water tank.  We can get MORE water in town at the cost of 2 cents per gallon.  A number of the MOCer's have 40 gallon water haulers, a bladder type of affair.  Fill up in town, bring back to camp, transfer the water to the trailers with a 12 volt pump.  We can make 60 gallons last a good week, actually we made 40 gallons last a week, that was 7 showers, and dishes and toilet flushing for a week.

When our holding tanks, or what you might call our sewage tanks are full, we call the truck.  He comes out and pumps the holding tanks out - - bye bye sewage.  (That is more than enough detail for this family oriented blog, don't you think!  LOL)

Heat, hot water and the refrigerator run on propane.  We are using about one 30 gallon tank per week out here on the desert.  At night we turn the heat down to about 64.  That is a bit on the coolish side for ole softy Carol (and her Demon, one side affect of the diabetes for me is that I am always cold).  I'm fine as long as I can stay IN the bed, under the comforters, it is that potty break outside in the middle of the night with the fur kids that is rather uncomfy.   The weather here has been rather mild, so the uncomfy factor has been moderate and doable.  LOL

Ok, that pretty much covers the necessities of life in the BLM, so, lets show you a few other facits of life out here:

Campfires are important, you can tell that by the size of the firewood pile.  Rather impressive, isn't it???

And, there is the HUGE firepit that the firebugs will use to try to burn up all that wood.  Got a few boxes and some paper plates in there for kindling.

Hard to tell how large the fire is, but, I can promise you the fellows build a nice fire every night here in Q.

Ultra light aircraft float by, especially at sunrise and sunset.  Speaking of sunset, how about this moon rising, peaking out from behind that mountain?  My Sony let me down, did not capture the true color, the moon was a beautiful golden color.

Turn around and look to the west and here is the sunset the very same night:

Gotta tell you tho, there have been some prettier sunsets since I took this photo.  I'll be sharing more Quartzsite photos with you over the next few posts, you won't believe some of the stuff I got photos of!


Saturday, January 29, 2011

THE Trip, How to Make a 420 Foot Circle of Montanas

Copyright 2011, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

The western faction of the Montana Owners Club (an informal online forum dedicated to owners or wanna be owners of Montanas, Mountaineers, and Big Sky 5th wheel RVs) have been having the "Circling of the Montanas" in Quartzsite Arizona for 6 years.  It started out with a handful, give or take, of units and has grown each and every year.  This year there were so many interested that we could not all fit into the circle.  As far as I know, we are the only group out here in Q BLM land that do our circle like this.  I have seen several other circles, wagon train style, front to back, front to back.  Our circle is more like the spokes on a wheel.

Here is the simplified version of how they manage this unique gathering/parking.

They drive a stake in the middle of the circle, attach a very very long rope.  When a unit arrives, they take the rope, stretch it from the middle of the circle to the outside of the circle.  They line up the rope with where the middle of your unit should be.  That is the middle as in side to side.  It has been pre-determined where all the units should be, measured and measured again.  From a few scratches in the desert surface the parking crew know where the middle (side to side) and the back of your unit should be, and they direct you so that is exactly where you end up.  There are no do-overs required, they get you lined up perfect the very first time.

Above, friends Nita and Al lining up, they are about mid circle at this point, see the yellow rope, straddle, drive forward, easy peasy.

Yep, got it centered, inch er in.

Perfect, back end of the rig is lined up on the inside of the circle.  Every rig perfectly lined up first time!

CLAP CLAP CLAP to the parking crew!  Well done!

And, here is what a full circle of Montanas looks like.  Believe there are 47 units, 1 is a Raptor toy hauler, 4 are motor homes and the rest of us are Montanas, Montaineers and Big Skys.  When this photo was taken there was room for 1 or 2 more units.  There are 2 entrance/exits left open, one at top right, and one at the middle left.  Find that middle left entrance, count 10 counterclockwise and there is Tana and Big Butt.  We are almost in the center of the photo at the bottom. (I made this photo larger than I normally do, so try clicking on it for larger view. The same photo is also at the very bottom of this blog, nice 'n large!)

Below center rig:  Tana, Big Butt and a girl chat at the "Q".  To the left are friends Nita and Al with his solar paneled roof, to the right are friends Mina and Bob with their flag pole!  Yes, I was one of the gals chatting away.

And, that dear friends is how you make a 420 foot circle of Montanas (and 1 Raptor and 4 Motorhomes).

*In future posts I will have some other photos of the Circling of the Montanas at Quartzsite, come on back and visit soon.


Friday, January 28, 2011

THE Trip, Tombstone Arizona to Brenda Arizona and Onward to Quartzsite Arizona

Copyright 2011, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

We are sad to leave Tombstone behind, with it's hokey history and beautiful mountains, but we take great memories.

We headed north out of Tombstone on SR 80 to Benson.  At Benson we rejoined I 10 west, passing through Tucson,  and Casa Grande, where we jumped on I 8.

I 8 to Gila Bend, where we turn north, this time on SR 85.  SR 85 north for about 35 miles, give or take, where we again jump on I 10 west.  This little Gila Bend detour, is called the Bypass by many, and does indeed bypass Phoenix.  Later in our trip we hope to return to these areas we just skirted around and stop and visit and see things and learn more.

We drive west once again on I 10 about 63 miles to Exit 31, take US 60 north east for about 4 miles to Brenda Arizona.  Our total drive today was about 314 miles.

We stayed in Brenda for one night, did some last minute laundry, rested, filled Tana's fresh water tanks with water and finished our "mind set" for our first long term boondocking experience in the Arizona desert.

We spent the night at Black Rock RV Park in the longest campsite we have ever had, 100 feet long!  Nope, we did not have to unhook there!  Amazing, and level too!  WOW!

The next day about noon we pulled out of our campsite at Black Rock RV Park, heading 30 miles or so down the road to the BLM land.  We took US 6 back to I 10, west to Quartzsite where we took 95 north out of town about 6 miles to Plomosa Road or what is also known as Bouse-Quartzsite Road.

A right turn on Bouse-Quartzsite Road, and not quite 3 miles later, we arrived at the Circling of the Montanas and began a new experience.

From that moment on until we decide we are pulling out, we shall live with limited water, and power from a generator.  During the night Tana's batteries shall provide limited light and power to run the furnace and refrigerator.  This is where you learn to shower with just a few gallons of water and wash dishes with a quart or two.  There is no WalMart closer than 40 miles.  No Target, Sears, JC Penney, no Office Max. There is, however, a bookstore in town, I understand the proprietor is a nudist.  There are flea markets galore, a mineral show or two while we are here and there is a trailer show.

In the next few days, I will share some photos with you, this is one unusual and fascinating place, I can tell you that!


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Reflection's Awards Go To, The 2010 Annual iGene Awards,

Copyright 2011, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

Jasia, of Creative Gene, is once again hosting The Annual iGene Awards at the 102 Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy;  Thank you to Jasia for hosting.  The challenge reads:

Announce your best blog posts from  2010 in the following 5 categories: Best Picture (that would be a photograph), Best Screen Play (story you would make into a movie including the cast), Best Documentary (investigative research), Best Biography, Best Comedy.

Here in the desert we have green RV carpets
and lots and lots of sand and stone!
No red carpets out here in the wild wild west BLM desert lands somewhere north of Quartzsite Arizona, only RV mats, sand and rocks.  No formal clothing, jeans and sweat shirts are the norm here.  Our candle light meals are enjoyed around the campfire, and our cuisine is more likely to be pot luck dinners instead of some catered affair.  But, thanks to the technology of air cards and satellites and Google, Reflections is still pleased to be able to participate in all the pomp and circumstance of the Annual iGene Awards!

So, the nominees and winners in each catagory are:

Best Picture, one nominee, one winner, from the post, The Wedding Photos, this photo of the bride and groom,

Best Biography, the nominees are:

A three part series, Maud Lashbrook, the China Painter, Her Story & Vanity SetMaud Lashbrook, the China Painter, 1932 Interview, and THE Trip, A Visit to the World Organization of China Painters.

Also a three part series for the 100th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy, Archie, What Tangled Webs You Wove, Time and Time Again, The Beginning, Archie, What Tangled Webs You Wove, Time and Time Again, The Middle, and Archie, What Tangled Webs You Wove, Time and Time Again, The Finale.

A biography, of a different kind, a two part series, Sapper Percy Fenton, CoAAG 3nd Edition, and Sapper Percy Fenton, CoAAG 3nd Edition.

And, the winner of the Best Biography is, the 3 part series on Archie!

Best Screen Play, the nomination and the winner is another multi part post (only 2 parts this time), already a winner according to Randy Seaver, of Genea-Musings.  Thanks again Randy. Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Wild and Crazy - House Hunt, and Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Wild and Crazy - House Hunt - The REST of the Story.

Now here is where the readers get to have their say, what actors should play the part of Nancy, Moi, and that dude in the truck who was staring at my camera???  Leave all suggestions in the comments of this post!  No captcha here on Reflections, so feel free to post away!)

Best Documentary, the nomination and winner is

The Governor and The Gravedigger, written for Graveyard Rabbits Carnival for September 2010.

Best Comedy, the nominations are:

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - A Prolific Dad, Well, Maybe - - -, the story is so absurd it just has to be funny and Dead Eye & Knockin' Knees, funny or scary, ok, lets go with funny.

And, the winner is the Prolific Dad post.


Congratulations to the winners and the participants in each category.

Now, if you will excuse me, Man and I have some more flea markets to visit here in Quartzsite.  I am in search of out of the ordinary subjects to photograph, and believe me, there is NO shortage of those here.  "Q", as we call it, is a magnet for the unusual.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

THE Trip, Coronado National Forest

Copyright 2011, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

After our visit to Boothill Grave Yard, Man and I, Al and Nita went for a ride, into the Coronado National Forest.  What we thought was a short 10 mile trip turned out to be, well, a bit further. Al and Nita drove, so, Man and I don't have an odometer reading, but, it was a bit more of a trip than we bargained for.  It was so much fun!

It was all of the 10 miles to get to the park area, and then, it was another 7 to 10 miles to the top. Well, not the top, but where we turned and made the descent back towards Tombstone, sorta.  Sorta, because we came out on the other side of the mountains and then had to drive a LOT more miles to return to Tombstone.  (Can you guess by now, that we did not have the best map??  No kiddin!  LOL)  We were driving on Middlemarch Road.   I believe I have re-created the route on Microsoft Streets and Trips, here it is:

One of the views from on our way up - -

Yes, here was snow up there.  Here is a view from close to the top.  Not bad, eh??

On the way down we spied this sign, don't cha love it??

After chatting with a very nice representative of the US Border Patrol we got on the correct roads back to Tombstone.  We were in an area known for it's Ghost Towns.  Along one of the roads we saw several abandoned and falling down strucures, somehow eerie, but beautiful.

Thanks to Al and Nita for driving, and all the laughs and fun on the way to the park, into the park, to the top (sorta), on the way down and all the way home.

*If I have the route correct, our 10 mile one way trip was about 57 miles round trip.  Ooops!