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by Lloyd Treichel
Dateline: January 31, 2006 -- Tucson, Arizona
[To view photos full sized, click on the thumbnail photo]Quartzsite... is a small town (population 3500) in Western Arizona surrounded by desert. Throughout the winter months, the RVers arrive taking up residence on the BLM land that surrounds Quartzsite. In the middle of January, the RVers arrive in much larger numbers and assemble in groups who have similar interests such as rock collecting, RV brand ownership, SKP chapters, naturists, singles groups, etc. In the process, they literally fill much of the empty space within a couple of miles of "downtown" Quartzsite. The number of RVs number in the tens of thousands. From a hike to the top of nearby Q Mountain, there is a panorama of RVs parked in every direction to create this temporary "community" in the desert. Also imagine nothing there at the end of April.
This RVers Woodstock happens each year in January to coincide with an RV show in the big tent. Once parked many of those RVers head to town to start shopping at the many RV stores and open air markets selling "everything" including rocks, clothes, campground memberships, food items and much more. After I tour some of the area, I realize that I "need" none of it -- let alone "want" any of it. The sale of rocks is one of the more fascinating aspects; the purchasers of rock certainly aren't full time RVers where additional weight is a negative.
This year has been my third visit to Quartzsite. One of the prime reasons to attend is to meet up with other road acquaintances that I have met in the past. The windy and sandy desert, the shopping and the crowds are certainly not the reason to visit.
Hiking Yuma... Yuma is where Goldsboro's bakery in located. With a great cinnamon roll, it is a must stop. So that was the first stop when I headed into town from Pilot Knob (in California) where I was parked. The cinnamon rolls are as good as I remember them. Before leaving town in a couple of weeks, I will drop in now and then for a few more "taste tests."
So after a cinnamon roll, the best thing to do is get a little exercise. Hiking to the top of (very steep) Telegraph Hill with Tom Phipps was a good way to get in shape rather quickly -- and lose some of those calories I acquired in that cinnamon roll. Now it is time to do the same hike a few more times. Perhaps a run up that grade. Well... Maybe not. I will leave that form of personal punishment to many of the Marines who are stationed here in Yuma.
This past week, Tom Phipps and I hiked off to locate a couple of geocaches that are in the desert area east of the Foothills section of Yuma. It is an excuse to go hiking and get some exercise.
If you have not heard of Geocaching and "high tech treasure hunting", go to Geocaching.Com. Search the data base for geocaches in your area to find an excuse for a walk or hike.
Bomber crash Site...From the Foothills in Yuma it is just a short drive to the trailhead. Tom Phipps and I were ready for a workout. This was it. This trail... It starts out as a trail but turns into a climb up the canyon covered with boulders and rocks. After boulder hopping and rock scrambling we arrived at some of the wreckage (the photo) of the World War II B-17 bomber crash. Since I didn't have a cinnamon roll to maintain the required energy, I stopped at that point. Tom continued hiking up the canyon to more of the wreckage and the actual plaque that commemorates the fliers that lost their lives in the crash.
Some vanity plates...
DOZEYES -- Don't know. Couldn't see 'em.
CRUMMYS -- A person with a nickname of Crummy owns the car?
HEY JOOD -- The Beatles tune? Perhaps "JUDE" was already taken.
TWINS2X -- Noted on a mini-van.
OURHOG -- on a black pickup with Harley-Davidson decal in the window. No doubt at home there are two Harleys with plates HISHOG and HERHOG.
Cinnamon Roll Search...
The cinnamon roll from Goldsboro's Bakery in Yuma, AZ. It is about three inches square making for a perfect size snack. The picture doesn't do anything for the taste. However, since this one is in my top three, it was time to include a picture.
The Sex Lives of Cannibals... by J. Maarten Troost. If you had ever dreamed of living on an idyllic Pacific Island just beneath the equator, this book should shatter those dreams. This book is a most enjoyable and very humorous look of life on twelve square miles of a Pacific atoll. The author describes the days-weeks-months of living without choices and the almost daily menu of fish and rice. Of course there is endless surfing. However, just as the author is considering "going native", the two years are up and soon he is back in Washington DC in a very different world.
The author has some thoughts upon returning to the US:
"... To leave the islands was to set forth for the unknown. We would be set adrift in the continental world.
"Of course that world had air-conditioning and restaurants and bookstores. There were doctors. There was ample electricity. Lots of water, too. And toilets. And there were family and friends. No one had come to visit us in Kiribati. Those who had the time lacked the money. And those who had the money lacked the time. There's the conundrum of American life in a nutshell...."
Kite Runner... by Khaled Hosseini. With some parts of the novel set in Afghanistan, the author weaves a great story of the complexities of the frabric of friendships and family. Disappointing at times, one would hope for different results in this story, but it is told as it were real life.
I believe that I read someplace that the book has been optioned for movie rights. It seems hard to believe that this novel could be turned into a movie and yet maintain the essence of the interactions of these complex characters. It certainly isn't an action flick with lots of special effects.
Bad Dirt... by Annie Proulx. These stories are set in the unforgiving landscape of Wyoming and the characters that inhabit the wide open spaces of a "wonderful Wyoming".
With wild imagination and a flare for the unusual, Proulx tells stories that seem like they may have actually happened. Maybe they did.
Mornings on Horseback... by David McCullough. I've read several biographies of Theodore Roosevelt. In most of those his early life is treated in a couple of paragraphs and quickly proceeds to his political career.
This biography is more about family and that time before exposure to a wider world -- before his 30th birthday. This well told and researched biography of the young Theodore Roosevelt covers his years before his introduction to a political life at the US national level. As an asthmatic with a life of wealth, social privilege, close family ties, family heroes and personal tragedies all merge to form the -- often enigmatic -- adult Roosevelt.
This is an easy read of life and times of the wealthy of late 19th century New York City with focus on one individual who rises to national prominence.
Native State... by Tony Cohan. This book is a life examined. As the author attends his father's imminent death over several months, he relives his own life. From his Hollywood connected father in the 40s and 50s he heads on his own journey. He "tells all" as a talented jazz drummer and wanderings in that pursuit while experiencing life through the counterculture of the 60s with the immortality of youth. As he grows and ages, he becomes the writer that has become his vocation -- his true love. As he examined that life in retrospect, he accepts what life he has including the self and family from which he came.
Lost in the Arctic... by Lawrence Millman. With the subtitle of "Explorations on the Edge", this is a collection of travel stories where the author travels and explores where few others have gone. Most of the stories are in the cold north in the area of the Arctic Circle. He relates the historical experiences for these cold treks and the result of those historical experiences. For contrast, the author retraces a single explorer to an island near Borneo. However, since it is too hot there, the next trek is back in the frigid and white north.
A great read if you are sitting some place warm.
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