Saturday, December 29
Our campsite off American Girl Mine Road isn’t quite right.
After a few days I realize I’m not getting that “at home” feeling a good campsite usually gives me. This dissatisfaction with our little, nondescript piece of desert real estate leads me to pack us up and search for another site.
I drive us closer to the mountains and find a spot I like next to a large palo verde tree.
I check the air card. Four bars. Good. It’s nice here. And there are some RVs not far away so when I drive into Yuma, the BLT will be within view of several people so no one will mess around with it.
It’s late afternoon, so I busy myself with getting us set up before dark. Once all is arranged, including the antenna pointed perfectly, we go inside for the night.
That’s when it starts.
I’ve got nothing against a good vocalist singing along with guitar. But I can’t stand a mediocre “vocalist” singing a song out his nose along with an equally painful guitar.
I rush to shut everything up tight, even the Fantastic Fan, in an effort to keep out the noise. It doesn’t work. After a few minutes of agony, I come up with a solution. I turn on the television, ramp up the volume until loud, very fast Spanish richochets from wall to wall of the BLT. This, amazingly, is an improvement and gives me some relief.
Later, after the Eric Clapton wannabe is murdered by guitar-string (well, not really, but one can hope) and the TV is off, three quads (ATVs, OHVs, whatever) roar up and like giant, droning insects they circle the campsite (going between the palo verde and the BLT!), looking everything over. I give them a dirty look through the window, and they rumble off, dust flying. Hoo-boy. This is not good.
It’s the start of New Year’ weekend, so it can only get worse.
As the above thought is rolling around my mind, an industrious camper gets out his sledge and anvil, or at least something to that effect, and commences to pound metal against metal. What in the world? “Gee, Honey, I think I’ll go out by the RV and make myself an iron wheel. Call me when supper’s ready.”
Can I pick ’em or what?
Sunday, December 30
At daybreak I’m outside packing us up.
Since American Girl Mine Road seems to have drawn a number of OHV enthusiasts, as evidenced by the FLAT BED TRUCKLOADS of these Out of Hell Vehicles, I tow the BLT back to Ogilby Road and take Sidewinder Road to the area adjacent to American Girl Mine Road.
I see another early bird puttering around his Class A.
Well, maybe this guy can help me. I turn off the key to the PTV and walk over with a smile. “Good morning!” I call out. He responds with a “Hello, what can I do for you?”
I explain that I can’t quite figure out how the camping works around here. “I see BLM signs and it’s my understanding you’re supposed to camp within 150 feet of the marked road. But, here people camp all over the place. What gives?”
He points to a large area immediately to the west.
“That land over there is private. You can’t camp there.” Anticipating my question, he continues, “Those two RVs camped there are friends of the owner. Some other people were camping over there and he run them off.”
“What about right here? Is this BLM?” I ask.
“No, this is private, too. It’s mineral rights land. You can camp here. ”
I tell him I like to be off by myself.
I use the crew as a reason. (They do come in handy!) “I don’t want my dogs bothering anyone. How far in can I go?” I point to the middle of the desert area leading up to the mountains.
“See that fire ring? You can drive over there, go across the little wash, and you’ll come to a flat road. You can camp anywhere you want along that road. The surface is good over there.”
“By the way, my name is Sue.” I extend my hand.
He adds, “I’ve been coming here for three years, so I know where you can camp. You’ll be okay over there.”
“Thanks a lot, Fred. If you see me parking somewhere I shouldn’t, honk your horn, jump up and down, hoot and holler, wave your arms . . . so I know, okay?”
Now I’m energized to find our new campsite.
After checking a few possibilities, I land on a good, level place next to a tree so scraggly I can’t tell if it’s mesquite or ironwood, but it’s a tree nonetheless. And there are bushes and two narrow washes to wind alongside the back part of the yard. I walk around and realize, yes, this site has a good feel to it. And there’s Fred over there to keep an eye on things when I’m gone.
I play house all day.
I stake down the patio mat.
Bridget, Spike and I search the washes for some white quartz rocks which I use to line the border of the mat. I set up the camp chair and table.
I make some sugar water “nectar” and hang a hummingbird feeder on our scraggly tree. I fill up the seed feeder and hang it up also. Soon both are receiving customers.
Bridget, Spike and I share a lunch outside in the crisp air. I read. The crew sleeps.
It’s almost dark now.
No guitar-playing, no singing, no motorized vehicles roaring by, no metal clanging. A little generator noise, but that’s okay. I can tolerate that.
Besides, I’ve got that “at home” feeling!