Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

The Bee’s Knees

Most diehards down in Quartzsite aren't waiting for the forced march on April 15th.

Most diehards down in Quartzsite aren’t waiting for the forced march on April 15th.

Originally posted 3/24/2013

Camping like this is a commune with Nature to some degree. Tenters and vandwellers are really communing with Nature. They are immersed in it, and revel in it. By comparison, I have more of a nodding acquaintance with nature. When it’s hot, I’m hot. When it’s cold, I’m a bit cool but okay. Depending on wind direction, I may or may not be able to fire up the hot water heater. If it’s overcast, I monitor my use of electronic gadgets. I can hardly brag about going back to Nature. But it is a simple life, or at least can be as simple as you desire to make it.

John Burroughs wrote, “I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.” Yeah, he makes a valid point, though I’m doubting that Mr. Burroughs ever camped in the Quartzsite LVTA in late Winter/early Spring.

I was walking the half mile trek to some campground dumpsters, lugging about 25 pounds of unused ruled paper pads and other garbage in two plastic shopping sacks, when I heard a loud stereo buzzing sound. Looking up from the rocky gravel trail, I saw a swarm of bees almost upon me, coming the other way and following the road. They were spaced about a foot apart from ground to about ten feet up, going about as far across as the 20-foot wide road. I perceived this as non-optimal, and wondered if they were killer bees disturbed from their nest. Several of them hovered close around me for several seconds and I instinctively turned as if to run back to the trailer – which was a quarter of a mile away.

Then a second instinct kicked in which returned me to my original direction going forward, because A) they were already traveling faster than I could run and I was in the middle of the swarm at that point and, B) my bad heart valve would probably limit me to a gimpy 100-foot sprint in any direction before I keeled over out of breath. No point in trying to outrun them. Fortunately for me, the swarm passed on while I stood there, and the ones investigating me got bored and took up with the rest of the pack. Whew! That was weird. They definitely seemed to be on a mission of some kind. To their credit, the swarm did seem to be adhering to the LVTA’s posted 15MPH speed limit as they proceeded down the dirt road.

I resumed my march to the dumpsters and met a guy there who asked me if I wanted some books, since he had just dropped in a few. Naturally I declined, having already thrown away more than a few pounds-worth myself a couple days earlier. So I asked him if he needed any ruled writing pads or quadrille engineering sketch pads. He bit, and I happily left that bag with him. Win-win!

On the way back, I naturally kept my eyes peeled for a return trip by the bees, but they were apparently heading for town, because I never saw them again. So far. This coming week, I’ll begin initial prep for departure, then final prep the week of April 1. I would be excited about heading out for a national forest to camp, but the ordeal of hefting and lugging those four big solar panels at both ends of the trip and taking probably half a day to make a half-hearted effort to flush out the camper’s waste tanks tends to dampen the excitement a bit. I’ve had it good here, and I’m lazy! Plus, the weather here has unexpectedly moderated to the 70s and low 80s – for however long that lasts. I’ve read that “The difference between an ordeal and an adventure is attitude”, so I’ll also schedule in a little more optimism, too – although an “adventure” involving waste tanks is difficult for me to envision positively.

But yeah, I admit, I’m excited about two month’s worth of the enjoyment of boondocking in four national forest areas, and then a week-long sprint back to the Midwest. Everything else involved with it pales to details.

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