Sunday, February 28, 2010

Annual Chile Cookoff and Salsa Festival, Quartzsite, AZ

Yesterday was the annual chile cookoff at Tyson Wells in Quartzsite and of course we had to go! You buy a cup for $4.00 and then you get to go around to all the booths and sample their chile...yummy! Some of the booths had salsa too. I think there were about 10 booths and the first one we went to got our vote...I think it was booth #8. Flat Hayden came along for the ride and he made friends with two characters from one of the booths...I think he had a good time! We wanted to stay and watch Paul Winer entertain us on the piano (he's the bookstore owner...) but he wasn't there...and the weather wasn't cooperating, so we headed home after we sampled all the chile and put in our vote. We don't know who won, but we sure had fun! Now we'll have to make a point of bringing FH over to the bookstore for a picture with Paul before we leave for Yuma.
Today was laundry, cleaning and tax day....3 returns down, 1 to go...yeah!!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Hike in the Bear Mtns in Brenda AZ

Well, it's been awhile...we've just been hangin' in Quartzsite for the past several days. Today we decided to venture out to Brenda, AZ..about 15 miles east of Quartzsite. One of the RVers at our RV park had told us about a place just west of Brenda that was in the mountains. At the top of the mountain if you look down to the right, you'll see a crater containing a tinbox and a cowboy hat. The tinbox supposedly contains the cremated remains of someone who requested that his remains be brought to this location. Well, I think he was pulling our leg(s), because we hiked up the trail to the top of the mountain, which wasn't quite at the top of the mountain, and we looked all around and found nothing. I'm not even sure we were in the right area! We even stopped in Brenda and asked some of the locals, but they'd never heard the story...hmmmmm! But the search was well worth the hike...the desert scenery was spectacular! We even got a couple of pictures with FH...he had a ball! After our hike, we drove through a couple of the RV parks in Brenda and decided that if we ever come back (maybe in a couple of years), we'll stay here and spend our time hiking through the desert and mountains. We might even buy a Jeep Rubicon to take on the trails! One of the people in our RV park told me how to look for fact last night I found 3 great crystals in our park! We could spend our winter looking for valuable gems and gold!

We liked this looks like two Saguaro cactii hugging each other while the one on the right wants to duke it out!

These last pictures were just some examples of the sunsets here in Quartzsite.

Tomorrow is the annual Chile Cookoff...FH is gonna love tasting all those chile recipes!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Flat Hayden adventure begins...

We finally got Flat Hayden...all the way from Topeka, KS! If you've never heard the story of Flat Stanley, it goes something like this: Stanley gets flattened by a bulletin board. He wants to visit a friend in California but his parents can't afford the plane ticket, so they fold him up and send him through the mail! Now, every year the fourth graders at Christ the King School in Topeka send out a drawing of each of them to a relative or friend in a different state and the recipients of the drawing are supposed to take him/her around to various sites to learn about the state. Our drawing came from Joelle's son, Hayden, so we call him Flat Hayden. Anyway, we will bring Flat Hayden with us during our adventures in Arizona and take pictures of him with us, at our various stops. We have to get the pictures with a little paragraph about each place back to the school by March we better get busy!

Today we took Flat Hayden, aka FH, to the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, which covers 665,400 acres total and is located between Quartzsite AZ to the north and Yuma AZ to the south. It contains one of Arizona's largest populations of desert bighorn sheep, but other wildlife is limited, including: ground squirrels, pocket mice, kangaroo rats, the desert tortoise (one of the longest living creatures in the US), and several species of snakes (including the rattlesnake) and lizards. We only saw several gecko and what we think are ground squirrels, and thankfully no snakes! Also found here is the rare Kofa Mountain barberry, which is a species of plant found only in southwestern Arizona. Many mines dot the desert, including the most famous King of Arizona mine. There are also remnants of WWII military training conducted by General George Patton, so visitors have to be careful not to step on unexploded munitions that were left behind in certain areas of the refuge. Our final destination was the Horse Tanks, one of many tanks that are natural pools of water and streams where the horses were taken for water and where the bighorn sheep drink. The road into the Refuge is gravel...but once we turned off onto the 'road' (and I use the term loosely!) to the Horse Tanks, it was 2 tire tracks full of rocks and potholes and washes and dips and very get the picture! After about 2 miles we parked and then hiked maybe 1/4 of a mile up to the tanks...there were 3 or 4 pools of water up there and it was just beautiful! Everywhere we looked were mountains and desert and saguaro cactus...and pools of water. FH had a ball!

Once we were back on the main road, we crossed the street to a roadside food stand and souvenir shop called the Stone Cabin. The real Stone Cabin, apparently an old miners cabin, was located directly behind the food stand at the caved-in entrance to a mine. The owner of the food stand was very friendly and even agreed to a picture with FH!

There are a few things we'd like to see in Yuma, so we're thinking we'll bring the RV down there for a few nights so we can spend a few days sightseeing...with FH of course!

Tomorrow I think we'll sit out in the sun and doesn't get better than that!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hangin' in Quartzsite...

This past week we've just been relaxing and taking walks with Emma. The weather is beautiful...sunny and in the mid to upper 70s...a perfect time to take advantage of the lawn chairs and get some sun.

One day we took a walk down the main street in Quartzsite and took pics of an old gas station and post office, and a picture of Emma, when she decided that she was hot and tired and wanted to take a break under an antique car that was for sale along the side of the road.

On this same walk, we stopped at the Tyson Wells Stage Station Museum, which was pretty interesting. Built in 1866 by Charlie Tyson, it served as a way-station on the California/Arizona line, and even had a small hotel for stayovers. The restoration began in 1980 and strived to maintain as much of the original structure as possible. A little village of cement and stone houses was built by Walter Barrett and was donated to the museum.

We were sitting outside one evening, soaking in the sun, when we saw a parasailer overhead...pretty cool!

We're waiting for Flat Hayden to arrive in the mail so we can take him on our travels to Yuma and possibly back to Parker and the London Bridge.

That's all for now, folks!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Double Rainbow over Quartzsite...

Today was a very low-key day...I decided to start our tax returns...ughh! Almost finished mine, and started Ed's...stay tuned,'re next!

Around 5:00 or so the sky got very dark and it started pouring! Ed had just put chicken on the grill...fortunately the awning was out so he stayed relatively dry. Anyway, as the skies cleared, the most beautiful double rainbow stretched across the sky! Since our camara does not take panoramic photos, this picture is my attempt at merging 2 photos get the idea!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Best in the Desert Parker 425 Race, Parker, AZ

Yesterday was the Best in the Desert Parker 425 Race, consisting of several different classes of off-road vehicles, ie. dune buggies, trucks, jeeps, etc. The start was in downtown Parker at 7:15...needless to say we decided to skip the start and head up into the desert to the spot we had picked out to watch them race by as they completed their 3 loops, totalling 425 miles. One of the locals had told us that the first cars should probably pass our spot around 11:00 or so...but as we were sitting in our RV having our coffee at around 10:00, we heard the engines race by up the hill from our RV. Uh oh...they got there a little earlier than we expected! So, as usual, we rushed to get dressed and get our butts up into the desert before too many cars passed! It wasn't very fact we could count the number of people on both hands. Fortunately, there was a spectator area on the other side of downtown Parker, so our area was very nice and very un-crowded.

Fortunately again, there was a group of people at the spot we had staked out...I say fortunately, because about an hour after we got there, it started to rain and this group had an awning that we could stand under! The race was actually pretty exciting...we were standing right at the top of a hill so we could see them come over the crest, and then take a hairpin curve about 10 feet in front of us!

We had to be careful because rocks were flying every time a car passed and kicked up the dirt (or, at times, mud!). We walked around to a few different spots for a different view as the cars passed by and after about 3 or 4 hours we walked down to the finish line. I think the first car finished at about 3:00 or so and we got a good pic of him.

We didn't hang around much was starting to rain again and we had seen pretty much everything and the RV was looking very inviting as the first raindrops fell!

Today we're just hangin' out and watching the Superbowl...well, Ed's watching the Superbowl... I'll be reading and relaxing...ahhhh! We were supposed to head back to Quartzsite tomorrow, but we decided to stay an extra day here and stock up at Walmart and Safeway...two stores that are non-existent in Quartzsite. And maybe take one more hike up in the hills with Emma...good exercise!

More later!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Parker, AZ

We arrived in Parker, AZ on Wednesday...I drove! It was a nice, easy, and short drive so it was a good time to get in a little practice. We're staying at the Bluewaters RV Park located right next to the Bluewaters Casino, where alot of the 'Best in the Desert' Parker 425 off-road race is being held. And it's also right on the Colorado River...beautiful! Our site, which we got solely by luck, is probably the best spot in the park... very roomy and right in the middle of all the activity! After we set up, we walked over to the casino and of course I had to donate $20 to their slot machines...ughh! We ate at the chinese buffet in the casino, which was pretty good; nothing like the buffets at Foxwoods or Mohegan, but still pretty good. Yesterday were the practice runs and the time trials for the race and then all of the vehicles parked in downtown Parker and the fans were able to walk around and admire them and talk to the drivers. This morning (Friday) we were awakened by a line of off-road vehicles lining up right outside our RV, waiting to go to the inspection area...that was how the racers spent their entire day...contingency and technical inspection.

Nothing much for us fans to do, so we decided it would be a good time to drive up to Lake Havasu. We brought Emma with us...she's always game for a drive in the car!

When we got to Lake Havasu, we drove over the London Bridge... yes, the same London Bridge that spanned the Thames River in England. It was purchased in 1962 by Robert McCulloch, who founded Lake Havasu City and was Chairman of McCulloch Oil Corp. It cost him 2.46M to purchase it and another 7 million to disassemble and reassemble the bridge here in Lake Havasu. We parked at the bridge and walked along the Colorado River's edge with Emma...she loved getting her paws wet and chasing the ducks!

On the drive back to Parker, we took a little detour to see the Parker Dam, which took us over to the California side of the Colorado River. We followed the California route all the way back to Parker, which gave us the opportunity to see all of the sights on the Arizona side of the river that we wouldn't normally see from that side.

Once we got back to the RV, we journeyed into the desert to find a good viewing position for the race tomorrow...success! We decided we'll skip the opening ceremonies and head right for our prime spots in the desert with our chairs and our cooler, so we'll be ready when all of the race vehicles race pass us! The race is 425 miles total, consisting of 3 loops around a set if we stay put all day, we'll see all of the race vehicles pass us 3 times! And we'll be sitting fairly close to the finish line, so when they've all completed their 3 loops, we'll be right there cheering them on at the finish line!

I think that's enough activity and excitement for one day...can't wait till tomorrow!