Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

Archive for the tag “Quartzsite”

A Rail De La Sand

Strapped in and ready to make noise, Delmont is signaling either "Go for it!" or "Call me!"  I'm not up on such things.

Strapped in and ready to make noise, Delmont is signaling either “Go for it!” or “Call me!” I’m not up on such things.

I was recently given a very special opportunity in the form of what’s called a sand rail, and I took it! Delmont Day, a long-time Strolling Amok reader (“Papa”), invited me to tour the BLM land around Quartzsite with him. Long a fan of all things Volkswagen, Delmont had picked up his sand rail last Fall in order to be able to enjoy the extensive off-road opportunities in the Quartzsite, Arizona area.

The start of the run was the deep sand track I tackled on my e-bike, but the rail's big tires made it float over easily.

The start of the run was the deep sand track I tackled on my e-bike, but the rail’s big tires made it float over easily.

And what a sand rail it is! Sand rails are similar to what most folks would call dune buggies, but they have the familiar shortened VW Bug floorpan/chassis replaced with a Read more…

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Unique Fixer-Uppers

Located right along the main drag in Quartzsite, one suspects this is of some historic value. Left unmarked, it is merely part of a large lot for sale.

Located right along the main drag in Quartzsite, one suspects this is of some historic value. Left unmarked, it is merely part of a large lot for sale.

Along the same street is what's left of The Camel Stop Auto Repair, and old service station. And it's for sale!

Along the same street is what’s left of The Camel Stop Auto Repair, and old service station. And it’s for sale!

But look a little closer and you can see all the signs that the building is leaning heavily to the left, and that the facade was the only part worth saving. Was.

But look a little closer and you can see all the signs that the building is leaning heavily to the left, and that the facade was the only part worth saving. Was.

The building next to it is presumably part of the same listing, and is in better shape.

The building next to it is presumably part of the same listing, and is in better shape. Maybe.

And just for a change of pace, this is neither real estate nor for sale. It's just one of my barber's motorcycles. A lifelong motorcycle rider, she hales from Rockford, Illinois and moved to this area early. So, she doesn't mind the summer heat, and puts on a light jacket when it's 70 degrees.

And just for a change of pace, this is neither real estate nor for sale. It’s just one of my barber’s motorcycles. A lifelong motorcycle rider, she hales from Rockford, Illinois and moved to this area early. So, she doesn’t mind the summer heat, and puts on a light jacket when it’s 70 degrees. This ’57 Harley was her father’s.

Evelo Exploration

After an initial dip into a narrow wash, the start of the path looks fine, if a bit soft. The bike tire trail ahead is mine, from an earlier look-see.

After an initial dip into a small wash, the start of the path looks fine, if a bit soft. The bike tire track ahead is mine, from an earlier look-see.

Saturday, I decided at mid-afternoon to explore an ATV trail I’d seen earlier. It begins about a mile south of the LaPosa West entrance, along the main trail, Old Yuma Road. It simply heads down into the main wash at a marked point just north of a set of dumpsters the BLM always has in place. ATV trails are usually too violent for anything but ATVs and Jeeps, but since this crossed a wash, I figured, how bad could it be? I still had some walk points though, both from steep dips and patches of sand, dust or gravel several inches deep.

This whole area is a wash, actually, and this is the overflow part of it. The sand and dust frequently gets thick enough to cause steering loss and a "dig in".

This whole area is a wash, actually, and this is the overflow part of it. The sand and dust frequently gets thick enough to cause steering loss and a “dig in”.

Not to complain, though. The mini-adventure of it was the whole point. How far could I get along this thing? What would the nature of the problems be? As it turned out, the most common issue was that Read more…

Standing Pat

An unnecessarily elaborate way to camp, but a wonderfully convenient and enjoyable way to live.

An unnecessarily elaborate way to camp, but a wonderfully convenient and enjoyable way to live.

Having purged tanks at the LTVA dump station Thursday, and stocked up with fresh food on a run to Parker Friday, I’m now ready to get back in the groove and see how long I can leave the Mighty Furd unused in camp. That should be awhile, perhaps longer than it should sit unstarted. I’ll be wiring in a little 10-watt solar panel to keep its battery topped up and desulfated, if only I can track down the special and now spare solar controller reserved for that task. See, I tucked it away someplace safe while it was at the Ford dealer, and now the challenge is to figure out once more where that safe place was. Ever do that? I have to conduct such searches every now and then. It’s here somewhere!

Although the Defiant is decently leveled out nearly a football field away from my nearest neighbor here at the LTVA in Quartzsite, it was necessary to use one of two long boards that I keep specifically for that job. Getting the trailer level is necessary since the fridge/freezer depends on it for efficiency, and the various cabinet doors as well as the bathroom door will want to swing this way or that if it isn’t close to perfect. Using boards under the tires can become a nuisance to set up as well as store however, and one cracked in half Read more…

Departing Quartzsite

One of two engine-powered hang gliders lazily makes for home at sunset.

One of two engine-powered hang gliders lazily makes for home at sunset.

I hadn’t planned on leaving Quartzsite for Yuma, AZ until mid-December, but upcoming cool weather is urging me to get rolling no later than Wednesday of this week (three days from now). After that point, overnight lows are predicted to be in the low 30s all the way down to 28.

The ’94 Gulf Stream Innsbruck is a “temperate weather only” trailer, which means that insulation is functionally cosmetic, and that some of the plumbing is exposed directly to outside temps. The Tankmin freshwater tank in the Ford can fend for itself simply by sheer mass, but the trailer fill hose and related fittings are prone to freezing and plugging up. Inaccessible, freeze-damaged plumbing does not appeal to me, so while most other RVers in travel trailers can easily brave whatever comes, I find it prudent to run for cover when temps approach freezing. I can stay quite comfortable, but it’s a damage risk I choose not to take.

Why so touchy about temps merely approaching freezing? My mercury and electronic Read more…

Another View

After sunset.

After sunset.

The photo above is simply one taken after a cloudless sunset. Even with some digital massaging, the many layers of mountains forming the background aren’t really discernible. You gotta be there to see it (or I need to learn how to use that camera better)!

The existential essence of a bike tire. Since this is a British-brand bike, maybe I should say bike tyre.

The existential essence of a bike tire. Since this is a British-brand bike, maybe I should say bike tyre.

The photo above is my bike’s front tire. I figured that it has earned some recognition since the long series of leaking inner tubes is over now, thanks to a pair of super-thick Slime tubes that are working great. They’re heavy, but when all you care about is getting there, they do the job. These are the Raleigh’s original 1993-ish tires, which are showing no signs of disintegrating in the sun. The tread design is superb on both gravel and pavement, since the linked center rib eliminates the unnerving vibration common to many aggressively-lugged bike tires. The bike’s Shimano derailleurs and shifters aren’t too happy with all the grit and dust out here, but are hanging in there when used regularly.

Tyson’s Wash Petroglyphs

Tyson's Wash is like the Mississippi in a heavy rain, only not as slow. These rocks were buried in sand two years ago, and became exposed because of turbulence.

Tyson’s Wash is like the Mississippi in a heavy rain, only not as slow. These rocks were buried in sand two years ago, and became exposed because of turbulence.

Tyson’s Wash is a pretty interesting place, being the main water thoroughfare through Quartzsite, AZ. It is mainly a flowing depression of deep sand, and much of it is hundreds of feet wide. Most of the time, it’s parched. But when rains come in sufficient quantity, it is full, and moving fast. I went to see it yesterday while searching out an appropriate campsite with one C. Swankie, an RVer with considerable energy and fortitude. Since she has a degree in archeology, she served as my tour guide while on foot. Her blog is here, and be ready to be amazed by her Bucket List. She’s one of those people – just reading her bucket list makes me feel tired!

The path to get to the petroglyphs was obvious and easy, to a point. Once in the vicinity, a few abrupt washouts made chassis clearance a concern, but 4WD was never needed. Once at the wash, a quick drop-off ended Read more…

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