Monday, December 16, 2013


We left the Borrego Palm Canyon Campground this morning, and are en route to Northern California for some Holiday Family time. Currently we are in a parking lot at an off ramp along I-5...
Sunrise Screen Shot through the back door screen of the Chinook

Saturday, December 14, 2013


They sure grow 'em big here in the desert...we came upon this snake up on a plateau at the top of a mountain above where we're boondocking:
Big Snake
Little Chinook (that little white dot, center right)

Friday, December 13, 2013


We're boondocking here at Coyote Mountain again; we'll be here a couple of days. Then, a couple of days at the Palm Canyon Campground of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, to hook up, clean out the RV, and take showers. We're not up to much here, just enjoying the sunshine and the beautiful mountains. Light blogging for the next few days.

Thursday, December 12, 2013


Today began with an awesome double rainbow outside our window, followed by showers. Hot, long ones.
Double rainbow
The Pot O' Gold at the end of the rainbow: shower tokens for Anza-Borrego State Park

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


It would be a shame to be within 50 miles of Julian, CA without stopping in for a pie. And some Apple Nut Bread. And some Pie Crust Cookies. And some Multigrain Julian Sourdough Crostini (2 bags). And since the holidays are around the corner, we also picked up a frozen unbaked Dutch Apple Pie and some Julian Sourdough bread cubes for Christmas stuffing.

On the way back to Ocatillo Wells SVRA, we stopped to hike a bit on the Narrows Earth Trail in Anza-Borrego State Park. The trail was a bit hard to follow (some parts washed away), but it was an interesting climb up through mountain clefts.
View from the highest point we attained on Narrows Earth Trail
Back at home, the sun was beginning to set, and the clouds all around us (360 degrees) were forming into amazing shapes. Here's another "Impressionist Screen Shot" (taken out the back window of the Chinook, through the screen door):

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Well, it was just too cold and windy and uncomfortable at the American Girl Mine site, so we hit the road again. We ended up at the Ocatillo Wells State Vehicular Recreational Area (that's where off-road vehicles go to play), on our way back towards Borrego Springs. On the way here, we passed through Imperial Sand Dunes SRA (State Recreation Area) - another place for ATV's, motorcycles, and dune buggies to enjoy. Driving through the sand dunes is like being on another planet - it's beautiful and eery at the same time:

When we finally pulled into our site for the night, I caught the sunset in the Chinook's window:

Monday, December 9, 2013


Well, we're back in California, and now we have to change all the clocks back an hour! So it's dark at 5:30 now. We pulled into our new boondocking site just before night fell. On the way through Yuma we stopped for all the tedious tasks: laundry, gas, dump tanks, oil change, etc., but I did also buy some yarn, and we got some dates from the little town of Dateland - they're delicious. Just over the border of Arizona, into California, we're at an area called Winterhaven (which I understand encompasses a rather large area, popular for boondocking, both within Arizona and into CA.). We plan to stay a few days here, to explore the American Girl Mine. The wind is relentless, and it's cold - unseasonable cold, we're told by locals. But we're cozy and warm, and enjoying the sound of the wind against the Chinook.

Saturday, December 7, 2013


Wandering around the Oatman mountains here today, we discovered a lesser-visited petroglyph mound, and several areas where lots of the most colorful rocks have collected through geological upheaval and heavy flooding of washes and plains. Every time I go wandering now, I fill my hoodie pockets up with rocks to put at the hearth of our fire ring. Today we had to go home because my pockets were so heavy. And wandering around the internet this morning, Darell found that the site where we are turns out to be one of Arizona's 28 prime hang-gliding points - people launch off the mountain and sail for miles. It's no surprise, really, because it's windy as all get-out here. There are even wind direction ribbons on poles throughout the area (there's one about 30 feet from our RV) - we were wondering what they were for!

 And here's Scout the Cat, looking out. He really likes it here, and since there aren't too many cactus or other dangers (except for the coyotes at night), we take him out regularly. When he isn't out, he looks out.

Friday, December 6, 2013


One of the reasons people say that it's hard to "full-time" in a Chinook is the fact that the fresh water, black (sewage), and grey (waste from sinks, shower drain) water tanks are so small. It's indeed a challenge. We (two adults and a cat) can go about 3 days before we have to dump the waste water tanks, and take on fresh water for drinking, washing, cooking, etc.. Compared to RVs with bigger tanks (almost all of them), we have to deal with this very frequently. It's not a problem when we are in a campground, where sewer dump stations and drinking water hoses are right on site. When we are boondocking, we have to find the stations ourselves and then pack up the rig and go there. Every 3 days. Here in Arizona, we don't have a hard time finding stations, there are lots of them around. Where we are now, however (parked in a lovely solitary spot at the base of the Oatman Mountains, where we've enjoyed 3 days of hiking, sunset watching, and fire ring building), we are an hour's drive to the nearest dump/water. So that's what we did today. We took a scenic backroad (which actually took 2 hours, but it was interesting!), then dumped the tanks, threw away our garbage bags, bought a few supplies (okay, wine and ginger snaps.), and drove the hour back to our site. It's good to be home! It's going to be cold here tonight, but not as cold as much of the West.  So we are happy and contented (mostly due to the wine and ginger snaps).

Thursday, December 5, 2013


We've built a fire ring using the beautiful "painted" rocks of this area, but it's just too cold to go outside and sit by it!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


We hiked out from our boondocking site, just following the BLM road for a bit, and discovered a small desert cemetery, still active.
At the gate of Darby Wells Cemetery
From just behind the hilltop altar
Same altar, different direction
An interesting grave on the outskirts of the cemetery
 And then I sort of got obsessed with mistletoe growing on Palo Verde trees.
A very pretty parasite
with very red berries
This specimen had lighter foliage and lighter-colored berries
Still pretty, for a parasite, anyway!
A huge overtaking of the host tree

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


With a chance of rain moving in, and basically no internet connection, we've moved on. We'll definitely return to Darby Wells in the future - there are many mountains left to explore. We're now boondocking on BLM land near the Painted Rocks Petroglyph Site - it's warmer here, we've got a lovely site, and we have 4G internet! We arrived late in the afternoon; the shadows stretched for what seemed like miles, and the sun set down on a flat, brightly orange horizon.
Tomorrow I'll upload some photos from a wonderful hike we took back at Darby Wells before we decided to hop in the Chinook and head out!

Monday, December 2, 2013


We're in new digs now - boondocking on Darby Wells Road outside of Ajo, Arizona. Great site with beautiful views. Internet connection is spotty, and slow when connected, so posting will be sparse. Here's last night's sunset:

Saturday, November 30, 2013


The Alamo Canyon Trail begins at the other campground here at Organ Pipe, so we had to drive to the trailhead.  The trail is an easy (though rocky under the feet) 2-mile round trip to an abandoned brick structure, a corral/cattle chute/stone well, and mortar grinding stones. We were pleasantly surprised to see a creek, flowers, butterflies, and interesting insects. It was cloudy here today, so the photos are somewhat understated, but I'll let them tell the story of our hike:
Clouds and cactus as we headed out
Brick building, abandoned in the 1970's
The old corral

Cattle chute and fence
Old wood, rusty hardware, distant mountains

We ate lunch sitting on a big boulder by this stream
The little waterfall near where we ate
A yellow butterfly
Some red flowers blooming along the creek
The one on the right looks like a laughing bird!

I guess I like taking photos of red flowers!
They do have the bugs down here!
Hiking downstream
Some flowers
This yellow flowering shrub attracted an interesting green bee, and a somewhat tattered (chunk out of its wing, missing most of one antenna) butterfly. He posed very nicely, though, and is here immortalized.

The butterfly and the bee, together