Saturday, January 31, 2015

To Katherine Landing National Recreation Area

One of the enjoyable moments at Quartzsite is waiting for the sun to set and then being awed by the sunsets.
An appropriate phrase that is used is "waiting for the color to blossom".

The color starts light, then deepens, and just as quickly can disappear.

Roger was always so good about starting the fire before the actual sunset.  Then it would be roaring as people would stand around or sit to watch the display.

You almost want to applaud!

Thanks to Roger for another wonderful stay at Quartzsite.  It goes by so quickly, but we had some wonderful "happy hours", and conversations( often concerning our Lazy Daze homes.).  Roger made sure there was plenty of wood(everyone gladly contributed to the cause) and also had a great collection of Chinese Lanterns to set off into the night sky.  The group numbered up to 24 Lazy Daze coaches this year.

Jan and I have deliberated a bit over our itinerary, as loose as it is, heading north and then east for August.

The question is planning our timing to enjoy some warm weather before heading into Nevada, Eastern California, Eastern Oregon, Idaho, and then possibly a mix of Mid Western states.  So, off we head, north to Parker , Lake Havasu City, Bullhead City, and then south to Organ Pipe National Monument on the Mexican border.
From there, we plan to head east to Tucson, north to some pretty country east of Phoenix, and then west into Death Valley, California.

The picture above and to the right is from Buckskin Mountain State Park in Parker, Arizona.  Once we arrive in Parker, Route 95 follows the Colorado River.  Our site looks across the Colorado to the California side and another private campground.

There are many campgrounds on both sides in this stretch of the river.

The next stop going north is at Lake Havasu City. This is a city that was built on 26 acres of land purchased in 1963.

While it is now well known as a Spring Break destination for college students, it is also a center for Snow Birds and tourists.  One special must see is always--the London Bridge.  The most famous bridge in the world.  And, yes, it was falling down in 1968 in London, and they needed to replace it with a modern bridge for London traffic.
Lake Havasu founder Robert P. McCulloch purchased the bridge for $2,460,000 and proceeded to plan the dismantling, numbering of pieces, and the reconstruction,  The bridge was dedicated in 1971.

Jan and I cannot fathom why the Londoners would have agreed to part with such a famous landmark.

What a guy!!!

Bruce brought Jan to the city of London for a special trip.

Oh, that is, the London circle at the London Bridge in Lake Havasu City in Arizona.

The picture to the left is from their museum.  It shows a well lighted bridge at night.

The bridge is not directly on the Colorado River, but was built on a canal offshoot.

From Lake Havasu, we still follow Route 95 to 40, to 95, to 68 to Katherine Landing.  This is a National Recreation Area, part of the Lake Mead Recreation Area.

This link gives a little history of this area along the Colorado River.  Katherine Landing History

Our stay at Quartzsite was $40 for two weeks of boondocking--giving us access to a dump station and fresh water.  This campground is an organized campground with nicely separated and private sites.  Dry camping--no hookups-- but a dump station in the park and fresh water.  With our senior pass, this campground costs $5 per night and our view above is wonderful.

The view from just outside our campground road.

This road leads to the marina and the boat launch in the National Area. The river here is above the Davis Dam and the body of water in this section is called Lake Mohave.  The Colorado River stretches 67 miles north from here to the Hoover Dam.  Boaters can navigate almost all of that mileage.

Thus, the reason for some of these huge houseboats.

According to the locals, some people will spend weeks aboard their boats.  They have 12.7 kilowatt generators, lounges, water slides, satellite tv, 4 or more king sized beds, and more.

This was a cooler weekend.  Actually, we were rather surprised to have two full rain days within a week or so in Arizona.

Just the same , Saturday and Sunday were in the 60's.  This water is crystal clear with lots of fish.

Would you believe, we only saw one or two boats being used the entire time we were here.

The same locals as before, indicated that on July 4th weekend, the marina and area are so crowded that all the parking lots are filled and a line of waiting people stretches about a mile back to the highway.

Oh , and yes, the temperature would be about 112 to 118 degrees.

This link will take you to a National Park Service map of the Lake Mead area. First, you need to scroll down the left side to access the "park tools" and right under that click on "View Park Map". You will want to use the "+" key to the left of the picture and the hand icon to enlarge the map and to move to different sections of the map.  We are always amazed to see how the Colorado river flow into the Grand Canyon, goes west, then north to Lake Mead, and then south towards Yuma.  NPS Lake Mead map

A short hike over to Telephone Cove from our campsite lets us enjoy the surrounding views.  No traffic on this road now.  Probably extremely busy in the summer.

This is actually a huge parking lot for boats and trailers.  The water right in front is Telephone Cove, big enough to be a lake by itself. Beyond towards the hills in the distance is the Colorado River.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Quartzsite 2015

Heading towards Quartzsite for a campout meeting with other Lazy Daze owners.  Organized By Roger on Roger's 1/2 acre in La Posa West.

Along the way, Jan is inspired to try a recipe from her Texas cookbook for Enchilada Casserole.

Absolutely delicious and not too, too hot.

Jan loves cooking in her Lazy Daze kitchen.

Everything she needs is close by and the stove and the oven work quite well.

On our way from Casa Grande, Arizona, Jan and I decide to go on Route 8 to Route 85 in Gila Bend north to Route 10 and then west to Quartzsite.

This route avoids the busy traffic around Phoenix and is also a beautiful ride.

Jan and Eustis get quite excited about the first sightings of good sized Saguaro cactus.

Roger's half acre is located in La Posa West LTVA(long term visitor area)BLM (Bureau of Land Management) in Quartzsite.  It is far enough away from the crowds of rvs and close enough to walk to the huge tent of vendors and all the other vendors in the Tyson Wells area or, for that matter, the center of town. We pay $40 for two weeks of boondocking. The $40 allows us to access the BLM dump station and fresh water for the two weeks as necessary.

Roger gathered about 20 Lazy Daze units this year.  All models from 24 foot to 26 foot, to 31 foot.

Last year, we posted pictures on this blog of the tent and some of the vendors in the area.

This caught our eye this year.  Mastertech RV is an RV remodeler and repair.  They took a 1974 Winnebago owned by the business owner, and remodeled it inside and out for a modern look.  The outside walls were redone to modern finish and including two slideouts.  The workers there indicated that the engine is still the same--it was good--, but Class A air bags were installed.
The inside is beautiful--completely modernized. The remodel took something like 4,000 hours of labor.

The view to the rear of Lady Blue.

Nice mountain scenery and a wonderful setting for some beautiful Arizona sunsets.

The group gathers, very casual, about 4:30 every afternoon for appetizers and conversation.

After sunset, Roger lights the campfire and the group moves around the fire.  Some of the nights cooled off rapidly once the sun went down.

Then Roger has collected some Chinese lanterns which are lighted to provide entertainment.

It takes a little while for the flame to create heat that will help the balloon to rise.

Roger, on the left, and a helper will hold on until they are sure the balloon will rise and not run into any local rvs.

And then, off it goes.

Sometimes, they rise slowly, and other times they take off very quickly.

Everyone at the fire checks to watch the lanterns rise and disappear in the distance.  It's pretty safe in the desert. The fire under the lantern goes out long before the lanterns descend back to the desert.  We also are watching other lanterns from campers at La Posa and other campgrounds.
Each sunset is different, but they are all beautiful to watch

Thursday, January 8, 2015

More Texas COE Parks, Fredericksburg, and Leasburg Dam SP, NM

It has been a while since our last posting. So, bear with us. We have covered a lot of miles since Rayburn COE in East Texas. You might want to skim through or skip sections, or just see the pictures.

Jan and I finished all of our Livingston, Tx business by December 28 and headed west to Rocky Creek Corps of Engineer park at Somerville Lake. Very wet and cold.  We were quite comfortable, but felt a little sorry for families trying to enjoy some holiday vacation time with kids.  Not the best family camping weather.

Rocky Creek is very close to Bryan and College Station, home of Texas A and M.  Lots of sports talk on the local channels.

Very much entertained by a large herd of deer in the park.

Pretty relaxing to watch the weather over Somerville Lake as well as the deer.

Boy, did it rain!!!!!!

A lot of migrating birds .

If you enlarge the picture(by clicking on it), you will note a pelican or two as well as the ducks.

Yes, that black line in the water is a giant flock of birds.

So many killdeer.

It seems these little squawking birds never stop.

And , yes, they are a plover.

Lady Blue is happy to be by the lake, even in the rain.

The next move takes us into more open land of west central Texas.  Another favorite Corps park, this is Potter's Creek at Canyon Lake.  Very close to San Antonio.  And we notice a number of Snow Bird RVers from Minnesota, Iowa, Ohio,and Wisconsin.

Those that wish, can manage to stay at this park all winter.  Potter's Creek is very close to San Antonio, San Marcos, LBJ's Ranch and museum in Johnson City, and Fredericksburg. Potter's Creek also has a large herd of deer.  We notice , however, that many of these are fed by the campers.  The above is one of many bucks we saw in the campground.
Quite a guy!

A short ride take us to Fredericksburg, one of our favorite U.S. towns.

Settled by Germans in the 1800's , this town keeps its heritage up front for the shoppers and tourists.

The round building is a replica of the original 1847 kirche -church and meeting house on the market square.

This Christmas Pyramid was handcrafted in Germany and dedicated here in 2009.

A giant example of a small wooden one that Jan had back at our stick house.  A gift. Do you remember, Sean?

Always enjoyed lighting the candles and watching the vane on top and the figures go 'round.

A lot of attention to detail for such a large piece.

The boyhood town of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet during World War II.

The National Museum of the Pacific War draws large crowds.  If you follow this link, you will see some of what is covered in the museum

The Pacific War Museum

The town has a wide range of stores in the main street area.

 Yes, the store is called " Shoulda Been A Cowboy"

One of many "tasting rooms" to sample many of the local Texas wines.  Some of this development is fairly recent and you see a lot of vineyards on the roads into Fredericksburg.  Some are standard wines like cabernet and others are fruit wines like peach, etc.

One of the unique stores offers some unusual gifts or personal choices, such as...........

Where else can you find such a pocketbook?

Other stores have many selections of cowboy boots, hats, and other clothing.  Lots of restaurants, including barbeque and German.

Had to have a real German Reuben sandwich.

Many of the buildings are of a unique design and made from stone.

There are also a number of small buildings that were Sunday houses.  These were houses that were built by ranchers in town so they could come in  on weekends for business meetings and church.  During the week, of course, they lived at their ranch which could be a number of miles away.

 Paying close attention?  Right.  This picture is not from January, but from April. This time from April of 2010 on a trip with friends through the Hill Country with plenty of Texas Bluebonnets.
The reason for these two pictures are to let you know how wonderful the Fredericksburg area and Hill Country are in the spring.  This is Jan in April 2010 at the Wildseed Farms just east of Fredericksburg on Route 290.
The following link to their webpage has a lot of information about their seed company and the 1,000 acres they maintain in Texas, and pictures of their flowers and procedures. They are open year round.

Wild Seed Farms

And again we move on.  After Fredericksburg, Texas gets much drier. We move into a land of more cactus and fewer to no oak trees.

At Junction , Texas, we stop at South LLano River State Park.

Nice , long sites in the woods.  Part of the park is a refuge for the Rio Grande turkey.  They live in a small band of 400 miles from Tampico, Mexico to northern Kansas. During the winter months, this park might roost up to 800 birds at night.

They also had , besides the mule deer, some larger deer called Axis Deer.

This picture is from the web.  We saw a herd of them twice, but they are very shy and fast--no chance for a picture.  They are larger animals and quite impressive with the spots.

We were told that they are kept on ranches for hunting--no hunting restrictions--and they are a good tasting meat--not gamey.

A view from Lady Blue.  While many of you were experiencing some cold, we also shared a little of that Polar air.

This particular morning ,with that nice frost outside, was all of 15 degrees.

Lady Blue stayed toasty, but we had to be sure the doors and pantry stay open to keep the lines from freezing.

A nice thing about Llano is that it is so close to Cooper's BBQ in Junction.

Outside, the cookers are lined up with stacks of wood and a big furnace to keep the old coals.

Inside, a long line on a very busy Sunday at about 3:30 in the afternoon.

The gentleman behind the counter is the carver who gives you your choice of ribs, brisket,their own sausage, half chicken , or a mix.

At the end is their own peach cobbler.

What we can not duplicate for you is the delicious aroma as you walk in.  Needless to say we tried our best to support them in their efforts.

Still heading west on that Route 10 interstate.

That is the one in west Texas where the speed limit is a hearty 80 miles per hour.

Balmorhea State Park is about where Route 20 and Route 10 join and where here, or earlier out of Fort Stockton , you might head south to Big Bend National Park.

A nice park that has grown around hot springs that feed in from the surrounding mountains.

The pool that Jan is at is fed by the springs at the rate of 15 million gallons per day. The temperature is 72 to 76 degrees year round. This large pool is over 20 feet deep in places, has a rock and sand bottom, and a very steady flow in and out through canals that lead on to irrigation for farming.

From Balmorhea, it is a bit of a ride to El Paso, the borderland, and on into New Mexico.

A little ways up route 25 brings us to Leasburg Dam State Park.

This is a very comfortable park just out of  Las Cruces, along the Rio Grande, and not far from Hatch, the chile pepper capital of the world.

Some of you have seen our pictures from our last visit, but you might want to check out this link to the Hatch Chile Festival.  Hatch Chile Festival

Right at our site, a Gambel's Quail.

They move quickly in a group.

It is not easy to grab a picture of the Roadrunner.

Very wary and quickly jumps into the brush or takes off like lightning.

The state park office is of New Mexico heritage style.

We even like the door.

Jan and I will end this one with a picture of a fishhook cactus.  You do not want to test those hooks!!!