After a busy few months of not really being able to get out in the Jeep, we finally got to take her out to collect more dust on January 13.
Not wanting to go it alone (never a good idea), and not knowing where to go anyway, I put out a call to our four-wheeling Escapees ‘Birds of a Feather’ (BOF) group to see if anyone wanted to go. After several emails back and forth, Gary Hester said that he would meet us that morning. Gary had driven down from Lake Havasu in his 2006 Jeep Rubicon. Surprisingly, he had Dick Harris with him. Dick and his wife Carolyn had camped with us last summer at Mammoth Lakes after I put out another messages out to the Escapees group.
Gary came equipped with a trail book and lots of enthusiasm. Neither of us knew the trails in the area, so we chose Dripping Springs, a moderate trail that seemed to have lots of interesting things to see. We headed out of Quartzsite at about 10 AM with me in the lead (never a good idea since I have trouble finding the Jeep in large parking lots — I’ve learned to look for the CB antenna). My odometer is also off some, but I thought that with the short distances between the turns listed in the book that we couldn’t go too far wrong. Or so I thought.
Just because the name of the parade seems a little high and jolly doesn’t mean that that was what it was. We had actually found out earlier in the week that a guy named Hi Jolly made himself famous in Quartzsite for the herd of camels that he used to shepherd through here. Yes, that’s right — camels. Turns out the government had this brilliant idea to use them during the civil war since they were better than mules as pack animals. They even like creosote bushes and can carry 600 pounds. But I digress.
We headed out for wild blue yonder on December 30, 2009 with every intention of going to Texas to ‘become’ Texans by registering our cars and getting driver’s licenses. We promptly blew a tire on the trailer in the first 50 miles, which was changed by my husband Terry and son Kurt with plenty of grumbling and obscenities along the way. They are getting really good at it though.
Even so, we made it to Banning, CA as planned and spent the night at the KOA there. We couldn’t run the heater in the trailer that night because we had the quads in the cargo bay. Kurt’s quad leaks gas pretty bad, so it was kind of like sleeping inside of a giant gas tank. I was afraid to run anything fueled by flames. Which is why I couldn’t cook, so we went to a restaurant for dinner. I decided to show Terry the really cool weather app on my iPhone, and how I had been watching the weather in Texas, Paso Robles, and Quartzsite Arizona all at the same time. He was intrigued and decided to put on his granny glasses so that he could study it some. After looking at the weather in Texas he exclaimed that he liked the weather in Quartzsite better. So right then and there we decided to stop in Quartzsite the next morning, unload our giant gas tank and park there for awhile.
We enjoyed our first real day of full-timing on January 1 by visiting one side of one street in several of the tent cities in Quartzsite. They have vendors who sell everything from $1 kitchen gadgets to $5,000 rocks for your yard. Had a great time doing that and only scratched the surface of the ‘shopping’ available.