Thursday, March 23, 2017

Super Bloom in Anza Borrego Desert


We’ve spent the last three nights parked off Rockhouse Trail near Borrego Springs, CA. This is probably the 5th time we’ve stayed here and even though the legal area for dispersed camping is much smaller than it used to be, there aren’t all that many rigs here, probably due to the heat over the past week. It was 90 on Monday afternoon when we arrived, hotter than predicted, and although it’s cooled off a bit the past two days, It’s still been warmer than was forecast. Can’t trust those weather people! And the wind has been blowing like crazy.


As the sun was going down and it cooled off a bit on Monday evening we took a drive to the Anza Borrego State Park visitor center and walked around the nature trails and down to the campground. There were quite a few people around but not too bad.

The area around the state park visitor center was full of flowering desert plants.











We drove around some of the sculptures but we’ve taken many photos of them before so we didn’t stop.


The park and some of the Borrego Springs businesses got together and paid for a bunch of porta-potties to be scattered around, as apparently there were so many people with nowhere to go, they were just going wherever they happened to be. Crazy. This downed toilet is along Henderson Canyon Road, a popular area for photographers because of the fields of desert sunflowers.



Since it was still in the 80’s on Tuesday we figured it was wise to hike at higher elevations, and try to avoid the flower-peeping crowds. Also wanted to go somewhere we hadn’t yet been, so we took a drive south to Blair Valley and a few miles down a dirt road to the trail for some morteros or Indian grinding holes.


Jim wasn’t too excited about the morteros, but he did like the scenery and huge boulders along the trail.







About a half mile from the morteros trail is more challenging trail to the former home of writer Marshal South, who along with his family spent almost 17 years living on secluded Ghost Mountain. A steep rocky trail of just under a mile is the only way to reach it.


We couldn’t imagine having to carry supplies up here.



With the views and seclusion it’s easy to understand how this location drew him in, but it could not have been an easy life. After 17 years his wife divorced him and took their three kids to San Diego, never again speaking of their life on the mountain. You can read more here if interested.




There isn’t much left of the house.


But the water cistern looks like it will be here for awhile.



We saw hundreds of century plants but most were dead, except for these two.



On the drive back we made one more stop for another short hike at a place where we saw a bunch of parked cars and people out taking flower photos. By this time there were no cars, and it had become overcast, so we had this lovely trail to ourselves.




There was a good chance of rain Tuesday night but it never materialized.


And yesterday morning it was raining to the west but again it never made it to us, and turned out to be a beautiful, partly sunny day.


Wanting to avoid the crowds we drove about 8 miles east of Rockhouse trail along the Borrego Salton Seaway to the badlands. Not as much in the way of flowers out here so we found solitude.  We parked along the highway near an overgrown old road and began hiking south, hoping to find an easy way down into the wash.



After about a mile we saw this road going down, which Jim said  we could have done in the Subaru, but what fun would that have been.


It was as wide as a highway down in the wash, but we saw no vehicles. I imagine on weekends there are a lot of OHVs driving through it.


Jim poking at fallen sandstone.




We had to be careful where we stepped, as these caterpillars were everywhere.


They are actually called hornworms, and will eventually become Sphinx moths.


It was a good hike, and we did find some blooms.



Just one more photo from near our campsite, looking down on the rock snake. There is so much grass growing around it this year I actually almost stepped on it before I realized it was there.


Our internet connection, although 4G, was almost useless in Anza Borrego, probably due to to saturated towers from so many  people around the area trying to post their flower photos on Facebook and Instagram.

Today we made a short move of 50 miles northwest to Jojoba Hills, the Escapees park where we plan to hang out for a month. Time to visit with friends and get our pickleball fix. And try to figure out what we’re going to do this summer.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Hot Week in Yuma



We survived a week of record heat (mid-90s) in Yuma, bad timing on our part, but decided to just get hookups and go with our original plan. A couple years ago we stayed on a lot in the Foothills area east of town to get some work done on the Lazy Daze, and when we realized that boondocking at Mittry Lake was going to be intolerable, I emailed the owners of the lot just in case they had a vacancy. Turns out they are actually here in Yuma on their lot, but she said a neighbor two doors down had a vacant lot, and gave us their contact info. So we ended up renting a double lot with nobody else on it, which has been very private and quiet. We like this neighborhood for walking and biking, which we’ve done early in the  mornings or just before the sun sets to try and avoid the heat. Just a parking spot on gravel with full hookups, but at least we can see the mountains. The very nice owners live next door in a lovely house.



This is a nice neighborhood just a couple blocks from the mountains.



And a golf course. Actually there are two golf courses within walking distance.


The main reason we came here was for Jim to get a dental implant done in Algodones. He had to have a tooth pulled last August in Idaho, and had been debating on just leaving it be, but finally decided to go ahead with the implant. So on Wednesday morning we walked across the border to Rubio Dental Group. Although we used other dentists in Algodones in the past, we’ve heard really good things about Rubio, and with an implant he didn’t want to take any chances. Dr. Carlos Rubio himself placed the implant, and Jim said it was the most professional dental office he’s been to. He’s had no pain and is happy to have the first part of the procedure finished. Now he has to wait at least 4 months to get the abutment and crown, so that will be done in the fall when it cools off a bit, since we don’t plan to come back to Yuma in July.

We’ve managed to keep busy despite the heat, visiting the downtown farmer’s market, where I bought an enormous head of cauliflower and a bunch of broccoli for $1 each. Also got huge pink grapefruit, 4 for $1. Fresh, inexpensive produce is one thing we really like about Yuma.

I also got a $7 shampoo and haircut at the Yuma School of Beauty. I’ve been there twice before and they always do a great job. Just plan to be there for awhile, as the students are slow and the instructor comes by frequently to check the progress and do some cutting herself.

We’ve been having some issues with our See Level black tank gauge and have tried various cleaning methods over the years but nothing seems to help, so we decided to get our tanks professionally cleaned. They insert a high pressure hose up the tank and flush it out, which did get a lot of gunk out, and brought our empty level down to 8% on the See Level and from full to 1/3 on the original Lazy Daze gauge. We were hoping to see zero when the tank was empty, but he worked on it some more and that was the best we got. It’s been a few days now and the readings appear to be normal, where as before we had numbers all over the place. We pretty much know how many days we can go before we need to dump, but we like our stuff to be working properly. Now we just need to be sure to get the tanks as clean as we can when we dump. Interestingly they recommended not using any chemicals except a mixture of Calgon bath beads and Pine Sol. Here is the recipe if anyone is interested. And yes, this is definitely a shitty job.


We also went to the movies one day. The Regency Theater downtown on Main St. has been remodeled with very comfortable leather recliners, so it was a good place to get out of the heat. $5.50 for seniors is a pretty good deal, too. Oh, and we both liked the movie, Get Out, sort of a comedy horror story.

On Thursday evenings from 6-8 there is a weekly jazz concert at the Yuma Palms shopping center, and although outdoors, by that time the sun was behind the buildings and it felt quite pleasant.


 Since Jim was supposed to take it easy for a few days after his implant surgery, he had a good excuse to get out of the strenuous hike up up Telegraph Pass, just a few miles from where we’re parked. This is a zoom shot I took from our lot. I was looking forward to getting up there again.


The first day I hiked it I got to the trailhead at 7:45, but the second time I awoke earlier and started about a half hour sooner, making for an even cooler trek. The paved steep portion of the trail was in the shade for most of the way up, which was nice. I had forgotten how steep it is, but my legs have continued to remind me. It’s a great workout, a little over 5 miles round trip, and a very popular trail.



From the parking area it’s about a mile and a half of ups and downs to the paved trail. Then it’s another mile to the first set of towers and a bench. Start of the pavement.


I continued on another 0.3 miles to the last group of towers, and the highest point, 1,200’ of climbing.


Views from the top.





Looks like the worst of the heat is over, so today we’re off to Anza Borrego to check out the flowers. We may have just missed the peak, so we’re hoping the crowds we’ve heard about are slacking off.