Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Lunch With a Fun Two, Lunch With a View - A Rockin' Good Time

About a hundred years ago, when I first started researching the idea of traveling fulltime, I joined the fabulous and friendly community of From Howard's daily journals I ventured over to the Community Forum where I commented and contributed, and eventually started a thread for the Class of 2015. Those of us planning to launch our fulltime dreams in 2015 following and encouraging each other - it has been great fun for me.

I continue to connect with many of our "class" and am excited to see that some of them will also be in the Parker/Havasu/Quartzsite area when we are.

Paul reached out from Lake Havasu City last week and we made plans to meet up at our place on Monday.

Within minutes it is clear we are going to enjoy our time with Paul and Kim. What a fun couple! We visit in the warm sunshine, give them a quick tour of our house, and then head to Parker for lunch at the Crossroads Cafe.

Our meal is good, the company even better, and the time goes by way too fast! And naturally not a picture is taken as we all get to know each other. We make plans to get together again while we're all still in the area. Perhaps photos can happen then :-)

Tuesday morning the sun is bright and the desert is calling.

Clear dawn skies portend a sunny day ahead
We find a dirt road (Old Parker Road) that takes us south, into the desert. Several homesteads dot the otherwise flat landscape, and we end up back in the now-ghost-town of Vidal. A couple miles on US 95, and we take Wells Camp Road to get back in the dirt.

Old Parker Road is every bit as nice to drive as the new paved one - and I think it's wider :-)
Wells Camp starts out smooth and flat, running along a large wash. We stop to look for colorful and unique rocks. With the exception of occasional pops from distant target shooting behind us, it is completely quiet. Old growth Ironwood trees line the wash with lots of Creosote and very few cacti.

So many treasures to look for
We're reminded of home 
The sun plays among branches of Ironwood
Short blonde photo-bombs the Cholla (she's not as close as it looks)
Back in the Jeep we are quickly on the Glad-We-Have-a-Jeep-With-a-Good-Skid-Plate Road. Dodging some of the larger rocks adds nicely to the pin-striping on both sides, and the uneven ruts in the deeper washes rearrange our internal organs even at 2 mph. We love it!

Nearing Hwy 62 we come upon signs of human intervention in the arrangement of rocks. Also looks like loads of small gravel were laid down to form a path. No signs or any indication what it once was, but it clearly was a while ago.  We walk around the area, finding more beautiful rocks.

Something was here....
....and here.

Nice views from "whatever it was"
We literally "drop off" the dirt road and on to Hwy 62. A quick stop for gas in Vidal Jct (because spending $2/gallon more than it is in Parker is good planning), and we head north on US 95. 

Lots of truck traffic makes finding another dirt road a challenge, and I have to dive into a road construction parking area to turn around. On the way back I'm able to see the opening in the brush soon enough to make the turn. Most dangerous place in the desert is definitely on the asphalt!

We find ourselves on the Heritage Trail heading to Mopah Peak. Dad and I spent a lot of time on the other side of the Turtle Mountains, but neither Bill nor I have ever been here. 

New desert
The views are beautiful in all directions, but I'm quickly focusing on the Perhaps-We-Should-Invest-In-Beefier-Tires Road in front of us. More slow maneuvering and pin-striping. Still loving it :-)

The breeze has been picking up so we opt for an indoor lunch, with amazing views from the dining room of our Jeep.

Step Ladder Mountains
Turtle Mountains
Eroded volcanic peaks in the Mopah Range
For our post-lunch recreation we spend an hour or so rock hunting this incredibly diverse wilderness. Collection for sales, or in large quantities is prohibited, but "personal collecting" is allowed. 

I'm looking for "chalcedony rose", a favorite of my mom's. I soon find they are abundant here, just lying on top of the otherwise dark lava and other rock. Soon I'm far up the trail (vehicle access stops where we parked the Jeep), enjoying the complete quiet and broad vistas.

Tessa moves between Bill's location across the wash, and mine, making sure she knows where we both are. As I start to turn back, she finds me and leads the way. She always finds the easiest route, and right back to base - nice to have a good trail blazer on our travels :-)

The 4.3 mile drive back seems to go much faster, even though it takes 30 minutes to navigate the gazillion rocks. 

I don't feel like cooking dinner and look for some place new in the area. Surprisingly there is a review for a restaurant a couple miles from our park. We haven't seen anything commercial here and are surprised when there really is a place to eat at the address given! And even more surprised when Taco Tuesday (no menu, just tacos) at Dumas Walker is delicious. The amber beer on tap is good as well, and we thoroughly enjoy our meal at this local spot. More bar than restaurant, they are the place in Big River, and with live music and an outdoor fireplace I bet they are rockin' on the weekends!


  1. There are Chalcedony Streets in San Diego and Pacific Beach, CA, Raleigh, NC, and Kissimmee, FL. In SD it was in a neighborhood of streets named for minerals.

    1. Very cool! I've not seen it included where the more common ones are used - it's so pretty :-)

  2. I love to follow you on roads I could never possibly travel in Ruby. David would love to go rock hunting with you. Two questions: Do you have a picture of your mother's favorite rock? And Do you ever let Bill drive? :-)

    1. I gathered a few for our "rock bowl" so I'll post next time. Poor Bill, he doesn't even suggest it anymore - I think he's really enjoying being the passenger now so it's perfect for both of us :-) When you guys get out west, we'll take you out on the fun roads to find rocks!!

  3. That whole area is great for rock hunting. You really are getting to know the area well. Not too long now and we'll be back in the delightful desert.

  4. What terrific back road adventures!! I would love to get heavy duty tires for off road driving. But they are so loud and rough for everyday driving. So we just do what we can with what we have:) I just love rocks!! I had to go to Google Imagines to see what the chalcedony rose looks like. Very cool rock! Now I need to find one:)

    1. That's one of the reasons we don't have the heavier tires - I really hate that noise! Get your mojo-ray-gun out and some of those rocks will show up on the golf course!

  5. This is the first January we haven't spent in that area in several years. It's nice here but I kinda miss the desert too.

    1. We may be somewhere else next winter, but it sure is perfect here right now :-)

  6. Looking forward to re-exploring the desert net winter... enjoying the palm trees in Florida for this one

    1. I think palm trees in the winter is a good indication we've chosen a good spot :-)

  7. I love the landscape and the interesting ricks you found.

    1. It's a rockhound paradise in that area! And you can see foreeeeeever in all directions!

  8. How fun that you met up with friends from the "Class of 2015!" I enjoy hunting for rocks in our hikes, too -- but quickly realized that I had to put a limit to how many I could haul with us. (Scenes from the Long, Long Trailer come to mind….) Now I look for teeny, tiny rocks (and shells, and feathers….) for my miniature collection. So lovely that you were hunting for your mom's favorite rock!

    1. We too only come home with the smallest specimens we can find - love going through the bowl and remembering where they came from :-) I couldn't believe the number of large rocks, driftwood, shells, etc., that I had to purge before we launched :-))))