Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Perfect Perch! -- Oct 29, 2015

Yikes!  It's the end of October already!!  The package I was waiting for in Wickenburg finally arrived last Friday, so we were outta there on Saturday morning.  It was only about 2.5 hours down to the Imperial Dam LTVA (Long Term Visitors Area) where we will stay for the winter....til about mid-March 2016.  We were here last year, too.  It's hard not to pass up this great deal for boondockers (meaning living with no water or electrical hookups.)  A lot of you weren't with me last winter, so I will try to fill you all in on this area without repeating a lot for those who were with me.  

I secured the same spot I had last year.  It is one of the few spots where no one can park near me. Most of this 11,000 acre BLM property is fairly flat, desert land.  However, I'm up on a hill which has a tremendous view of the Senator Wash Reservoir, yet it is still within walking distance to the "hub" area which is where several friends park and the desert golf course is located :-)

My first morning here -- Sunday -- gave me this fantastic sunrise over the reservoir....

I took so many sunrise pictures last year from the same spot, 
but it's still mesmerizing!  And each one is so different!

This is on the main hub area of the BLM called "South Mesa" where I am....these campers are along the east rim of the reservoir.  They look like they are parked REALLY, REALLY close together from this angle - or they look like bumper cars!, but actually, they have a pretty good amount of space between them.  Still too close for me for several reasons - one being my great RV dog, Nikko. He really isn't happy when anyone is too close to the RV.  After all,  he's a guard dog!  So I wouldn't want to disturb others with his barking....and there's just no need to stress him out, too.  So, our spot on the hill, with the great view and no neighbors, is just fine for us!  There are many outlaying areas within this BLM property in which to camp, too.  

There aren't a lot of campers here yet....but little by little more will arrive.  I think there were 504 vehicles of one kind or another here last year.  But it's a very large, spread out, area and it never seems actually "crowded".  Everyone maintains a good level of neighborly existence.  Many people park near long time friends and create little "compounds", i.e., a lot of the musicians park in one area, called "Music Row" so they can play and practice together easily.  

For those of you who are new to my blog, I'll highlight some of the many activities that go on around this particular area of the Imperial Dam LTVA.  It's unlike any other BLM in the country that I've ever heard of.  The long time winter dwellers - 15-25-35 seasons for many of them! - have really turned this into a "community".  

From the South Mesa hub area:
Halloween Party
Potlucks, including a huge Thanksgiving potluck
Aerobics M-W-F mornings
Yoga M-W-F mornings
Music Jams - Sunday afternoons
Monthly Newsletter
Nightly CB Updates
Full Moon Dog Burns (bonfire)
4x4 Jaunts out into the desert
Group Hikes - once/week
Ladies Mountain Hikes - 2/month
Traxxas RC Car/Truck Races - 2/month
Flying RC Airplanes
Two Desert Golf Courses
Library/Free Book Exchange
Emergency Response Team
Large, Covered Pavilion
Restrooms & Showers (ambient temp water)
Dump Stations
Kayaking /Canoeing

Two miles down the road:
Mail Station, Thrift Store & Bookstore
Computer Room
Solar Sales
Blood Pressure Checks by a licensed RN every Monday morning
Church Services; Bible Study; Choir Practice
Ukulele Classes
Art Classes

Squaw Lake (very close by):
Beach, Boat Dock, Restrooms & Showers (hot/cold water)
Kayaking / Canoeing

Yuma Proving Grounds (Army base 5-6 miles - any U.S. citizen is welcome with proper I.D.):
Convenience Store
Movie Theater
Church Services

Hidden Shores Resort Community (about 4 miles):
Convenience Store
Grass Golf Course (very inexpensive!)

I will try to show you photos of many of these areas and activities as the weeks roll on.  You get all this for $180 for a 7 month stay (Sept 15-April 15)...that's less than $1/day!  Pretty good deal, huh? Plus you meet other folks with the "RV lifestyle mentality" who are all so friendly and helpful. Everyone is welcome! There is every kind of camper/boondocker here.  You see all kinds of rigs and set ups!  There aren't a lot of people here yet......but I will take this same photo as it starts to fill in with "snowbirds"!

Tour around with me as we take a look at some of the "dwellings" that are here at this point....

Various tents....

Old bus conversions -- that would be fun to do!

Cool enclosures....and he's ready to go sailing!

Several Class A's......lots of rigs/set ups use solar!

Love these little Scottie teardrops!

Then you have your more "creative" campers....
This is a home made out of a simple hauler.

This seems to follow the "tiny house" movement.
Three bicycles could equal three people living in this tiny house but I've
only seen one guy....perhaps one guy has three bikes!
He went on to enclose the rest of the right side area with that insulated blanket.
This is a VERY small space! favorite of the few campers that are here so far.
I'm not sure anything will surpass this 18' diameter tepee and it's conestoga wagon counterpart.
This fellow is more or less of the "shaman" mentality and lifestyle.  Interesting.  

So, you see, not much is off limits here.  If you can live in it, it can be here.  Makes life "on the road" a definite "experience"!  

Here's the top of the large pavilion, sticking up out of the "Gravel Pit", as it's known.  This is where the organized get togethers/potlucks are held, including yoga and aerobics. There's a road that leads down there, with a parking area, but it's somewhat "centralized" so many people can just walk to it.     

A lot of people have been curious about the golf course I play on every it is! OBVIOUSLY, it's a golf course - can't you tell???  LOL!  It's 21 holes...we only play for "birdie", which means you only get two tries on each hole to get the ball into the cup.  Not that easy on all these rocks. Generally, you only use a pitching wedge around the entire course.  The distances are probably like a regular par-3 course.  Don't really need any other clubs.  You can't "putt" on these "greens"...just have to chip it into the cup! I got two birdies my first time out this season!  YAY!  Although, two out of twenty one doesn't really sound that great!  LOL!  But I was happy about it! 

I want a repeat of the Hole In One I got last year!  

See....there really are flags and cups!

Here's the view of my spot from the opposite side of the reservoir.  
If they are here before others, those couple clear spots below where I am will be taken by
my Canadian friends who were here last year.  

This is the view of my place from the "hub" area.  
That's a very deep and steep area below me on this side which goes down to the reservoir level.

Don, a 35-year veteran of this BLM site was out flying is Red Baron kite yesterday!
It's often quite breezy here.

So, that wraps up my overview of this area of the BLM.  Hope you enjoyed the tour!
Stay tuned for all the goings on around here....AND BEYOND!

A GIANT THANK YOU to all who have ordered via my
Your orders go a long way in helping me keep this blog going!

So long for now from my perfect perch!
When the sun is setting in the opposite direction, it often hits this one range of mountains.
I don't know how that happens, but it's frequent....and very cool! 

A little Halloween Zen-Art...just for fun!
Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Out And About -- Oct 20, 2015

Nikko and I are enjoying our stay at the Wickenburg, AZ BLM area.  It's quiet and the weather has finally gotten nice..... meaning cooler!  It's rainy today, but that's's a refreshing change from sun, sun, sun!  This post will include a lot of photos....put your feet up and enjoy an out and about around Wickenburg!  

We usually get up early to catch the beautiful sunrises....they don't last long!

......then we have a little breakfast under the awning.... then we take a nice walk while everything is waking up.

Still curious about what was ahead, we walked up the road on which we had gotten stuck in the sand when we first arrived here at Box Wash...a "wash" takes us from the RV out to the road.  These deep sand wash areas are everywhere!  It must be some sight to see when they fill with water!

This silky, wispy plant is at the start of our walk up the wash....
I have no idea what it is, but it seems out of place in the desert!

You've seen the distant view of Vulture Peak from the RV in previous posts....

The road, aptly named Vulture Peak Road, takes us toward the peak.

Along the way, there are groves of saguaros and other desert plants scattered around...

These little yellow flowers give way to autumn when their blooms become parchment paper....
they would make a pretty fall arrangement...

There was still a ways to go when we reached this point, but we decided to turn around here....

...but  not before we climbed up on a little hill to see the sweeping view of the far away mountains....

We headed back and noticed some plantings that are almost like sculptures.  
There's always something to see.....IF you look!

The "sculpture" phrase is a fun segue into the Saturday Out And About! My good friend, Theresa, drove up from the valley, arriving a bit after noon.  We hadn't seen each other since I moved from Scottsdale....about 5-1/2 years ago.  We hung out around the RV for awhile...catching up and sipping wine...and then headed into town.

Wickenburg is a small, historic mountain-ish town with little shops, homey restaurants and "saloons", and small shops.  Unless there is a special event going on, it's not too busy.  This was the middle of Saturday afternoon!

Our first stop...

Outside the museum are little vignettes of plants and sculptures....very nice!

In the reception building, where you get your tickets (adults $9 or over 60 and AAA members, $7) there are some very interesting displays of old Native American pottery, wonderful old quilts and a dozen half scale saddles made by master saddlemaker, Carson Thomas. Unfortunately, no photos are allowed ----- they were beautiful!  

Renowned throughout the West and known internationally, Thomas' custom-made saddles are in demand by working cowboys and astute horsemen (including former President Ronald Reagan). At the same time, the saddle maker has become famed for his masterful half-scale saddles and gear. Collectors seek out Thomas' work, with one of his contemporary-style miniature saddles recently selling for nearly $35,000...they each easily take 200 hours to create.  Here's a one-minute Carson Thomas video talking about his favorite place -- Wickenburg! 

We made our way into the actual art museum where a new exhibit had just opened Friday night.  The Sculpture of Michael Naranjo.  In 1968, Michael Naranjo was blinded in both eyes by a grenade accident during the Vietnam war, which also left him with no use of his right hand.  Naranjo thought he would never follow in his mother's footsteps as one who works with clay...something he loved as a child and through high school.  But, something pulled at him when he was in a Japanese hospital while his life-altering injuries were being treated.  He asked for a lump of clay and formed a small figure.

The rest, as they say, is history.  Naranjo went on to become a world renowned sculptor. For more than 40 years, Naranjo has, by touch and intuition alone, created works of splendid artistry.  All of his sculptures are cast in bronze.  In addition to their intrinsic beauty, Naranjo's works are "touchable". Every piece on exhibit beckons the viewer to experience "touch"....just as Naranjo experiences. Again, no photos were allowed, but I did pull these small photos off the internet.  But nothing takes the place of seeing these beautiful works of art in person.  The exhibit runs through February 28, 2016.  If you are in the area, this museum is well worth the stop!

There were also wonderful western art paintings and other western art in the museum.  I want to go back through Wickenburg in the spring to see the 11th annual Cowgirl Up! exhibit featuring the West's best women artists.  There's a big hoopla weekend for the event March 18-20, 2016.  Should be fun!

Where non-flash photos were allowed was downstairs in the circa 1915 replication of city life in Wickenburg.  So many items were things I used to collect when I had houses!  You might want to enlarge your screen if you want to see the details....but you've probably seen exhibits like this before. Nevertheless, they were well done!

After the museum tour, Theresa and I took a drive out to the 730 acre Hassayampa River Preserve...just a couple of miles out of town.  Unfortunately, it was too late in the day to go on the walking trails, but our quick visit spurred a vow by both of us to come back!  It is a birder's paradise with over 230 species of birds which either live within or migrate to the area.  Perched atop the massive trees are some of Arizona's rarest raptors like the zone-tailed hawk, black hawk and Harris hawk.  There is other wildlife around the preserve, too.  Here are a few photos of the entrance garden area where various plants are marked.  Looking forward to going on the trails next spring!

The gigantic palms were something to take note of!  Most of us are used to seeing the trimmed, manicured palms....these are au natural!  

One area of the little garden was planted specifically for butterflies....and there were several monarchs flitting around!

Leaving the Preserve, we saw a small gravesite....The Martin Family gravesite.  The Martins were well-to-do, prominent citizens of nearby Stanton, AZ.  The family was tragically murdered in 1886, presumably by a band of desperadoes hired by Charles P. Stanton, a sinister character who was greedy and disgruntled by failed business deals.  The Facebook group I belong to - Cemetery Explorers - loved the story, albeit a sad one.

From the Preserve, we drove around town a little and then settled in at Anita's Cocina Mexican restaurant.  It was good...especially considering it's only about the fifth time I've been out to eat in the past almost year and a half!   

Thanks for hanging out with us around Wickenburg.  As nice as it is, I'm pretty much ready to leave here and settle in at the winter spot, but I'm waiting for a package to arrive via general delivery at the post office. Hopefully it will be here soon, then we will be on our way to Senator Wash Reservoir.  

As always, THANK YOU for shopping via my link to Amazon! 
Shop Amazon! 

This looks like a fantastic hardback book about Michael Naranjo's art!
Inner Vision: The Sculpture of Micheal Naranjo (2012)
(By the way, Naranjo has never seen his wife of over 30 years or his two daughters.)

Happy Birthday to me and Nikko tomorrow!
Since I don't know his exact birth date, I thought we could share the same one.
Extra treats for him!

Until next time....