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Monday, March 17, 2014

Canyons, Palm Trees and a Yacht Club

Last nights full moon over the mountains (imagine there being mountains)

Today we headed south out of Quartzsite toward Yuma to the Palm Canyon Trail in the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge. The canyon trail is a popular tourist location in that it may be the only place in Arizona to find native palm trees. The small clusters of palm trees can be found in growing in the narrow side canyons where direct sunshine is limited but some moisture is available.
Palm Canyon sits back seven miles from the highway on a dirt road. From the parking lot at the end of the road it’s a ½ mile trail into the narrow canyon. 

 The road heading in

Arriving at Palm Canyon

A look back

Heading on in

                     Entering the cool shade of the canyon 

Despite the heat of the day once in the canyon it is total shade and very comfortable. Sheer cliffs on both sides hide the sun most of the day. The trail is easy to follow but is rough most of the way due to large rocks and it has some steep sections. Most of the palms can be spotted looking high up the side walls where narrow side canyons receive sunlight. Very interesting and well worth the visit.

Saguaros are everywhere

 A closer look

Looking back down the canyon

 High in the side canyons

A cluster of Arizona's native Palms

This evening we thought we would have supper in town. According to the local information we had available the “only” place in town is the Yacht Club. Now what is a Yacht Club doing in the middle of the desert with no water to be found. An obvious gimmick of course but the owners are doing quite well with it. They even sell a membership for $30 and according to them they have the largest membership of any Yacht Club in the US.  So in we go and find everyone ready for a St Patricks’ day celebration and the only menu item of the day is corn beef and cabbage. Not being fans of the cuisine of the day we stayed long enough for a beer and found another place for supper.   

Hiking, Old Mines, Lots of Rocks and a SPIDER

Saturday March 15th

We left Lake Pleasant today and headed west about 100 miles to the town of Quartzsite. We are approximately 20 miles or so from the California border. Quartzsite’s claim to fame is that it hosts two large shows annually. The RV show and Gem and Mineral show.  With a normal population of between 2000- 3000 the numbers can swell to over a million during these shows. I cannot imagine trying to drive around here with that many RV’s in this town. Quartzsite is to RV’s as Sturges is to motorcycles. Fortunately the shows have ended for the year and most visitors have moved on to other snow birding locations located throughout the south and southwestern parts of the US.

The vast expanse of desert around the town of Quartzsite is BLM (bureau of land management) land which is to say that it is government land that is available to its citizen to enjoy. Therefore you can drive your RV out to an area that meets your fancy and camp for free or minimal charge for areas that provide access to water and a dump station. We are on the west side of town in a free area at a beautiful spot with no one around us. 

Sunday March 16th

The agenda for today will be exploring the desert around us and the town of Quartzsite as there are still vendors from the RV show with their tents still setup peddling their wares. There are a few things we would like to get for the RV and now maybe the time.

The other side view, we will climb the tall hill tomorrow
From the back, really no neighbors
Flowering Ocotillo
What do you think lives here?
If you don't like spiders look away
I said look away

 Typical campsite with fire pit, this one has a fire place as well

Fancy outdoor fire place, some folks have too much time on their hands

The desert is full of diggings such as this, folks looking for treasures
 We found this mine half way up the hill we are climbing
There was a time when I would have ventured on in
 We continued on up
View from the top, you can just barely make out our RV

We drove a road we hadn’t noticed before on our way into town so we thought we would take it and see where it goes. To our surprise it led to a beautiful neighborhood that was probably the nicest area of Quartzsite. We enjoyed driving around and getting information on the places that were for sale. It was more or less a RV community where folks bought lots to just park their RV’s or rent the space out to people looking to spend a month or so. Many of the lots were developed with homes, garages, casitas etc. The lots alone go for $70,000.

Just about everyone in this neighborhood had this style wall around their lot

We did make a couple of purchases from a couple of dealers in town that are getting ready to pack up and leave until next year. Prices are marked down and there are deals to make. We did get what we were looking for.

Yesterday when we arrived the wind was blowing with gusts up to 35 miles per hour. Today however has been great with little wind, sunny skies and a high of 85. The forecast for tomorrow calls for a high of 90 and low to mid 80’s for the next ten days.

It is what it is.