3 things I bet you did not know about Slocan…

#I bet you did not know Slocan has an extremely cool camp ground on the edge of a beautiful creek.

Slocan is a very small town at the south end of Slocan Lake, in South eastern British Columbia. We drove here today from Nakusp, BC. We quite accidentally found it, just picked a campground in Slocan and I guess got lucky. There are trails heading off in every direction from the campground to various other places, including a waterfall. Of course we hiked for an hour to find the waterfall only to find it was 50 feet from our camp spot.

With a foot bridge….how cool is that? No Mushrooms though. Oh and the campground is called Springer Creek RV park and campground. (I guess I should have known there would be a creek🤔🤔)

More about the town of Slocan from the Slocan News

“The name “Slocan” is an Indian name that the white man tried put to use. It means to strike or pierce on the head, and this was derived from the Indian practice of harpooning salmon. At one time, this area had an abundance of salmon. It is also said to be derived from Indian Pidgin English, Slo-can-go, owing to the difficult terrain.

The town site was staked at the lower end of the Slocan Lake in 1892 following massive silver strikes nearby; the site was conveniently close to three principal ore-producing areas. By the 1900, there were 12 hotels in Slocan; by 1920 there were only 3 hotels left. Slocan became a city in June 1901 and incorporated as a Village in 1958.

It is said that the first white man to arrive in Slocan were Billy Clements and his partner Tom Mulvey, who came up the river in a boat in the summer of 1892. Nels Nelson came next, prospecting up and down the Valley and visiting often at the camp of Clements and Mulvey. In 1893, Neil Gething and G. Henderson visited this camp on their way to New Denver, there to build a hotel. It was during this year that Springer Creek was named. Billy Springer found and staked the Dayton claim; the first of its kind up this creek, and since it lacked a name, he gave it his in order to give his claim a definite location.”

So Slocan was involved in mining back in the 1800s. ……

#The Second thing I bet you do not know about Slocan is that Ken, (My Ken)…. worked in the Slocan sawmill the year he graduated from Highschool in 1972. This picture shows about what it looked like in 1964, 8 years before Ken was there. It is kind of sad that the saw mill seems to have been built on a lovely beach.

THIS picture was taken today from where those wharfs were at the top of the picture. It seems that it has all been turned into a park.

First time back in 50 years

So we went down behind where the saw mill was and walked to the beach….

I dug down and it was at least a foot deep in sawdust. I could not help but think how great this would all be on someones garden… not enough room for us to take home. Just been sitting here composting for 30 years. At least a few acres of it.😀

#OK the third thing I bet you did not know about Slocan. David Suzuki (who is a very famous Canadian academic, science broadcaster and environmental activist.)was interned in Slocan City, in a Japanese internment camp when he was a child. From the town information post:

Not everyone is aware that in WW2, people of Japanese descent were rounded up and put in internment camps. Japanese people arrived in BC as early as 1877, and they were treated poorly, but when Pearl Harbour was bombed things got a lot worse. Fears of a Japanese invasion were sparked. Flames were fanned by a sensationalist press. Distrust of Japanese Canadians spread along the Pacific Coast. The RCMP moved quickly to arrest suspected Japanese operatives. The Royal Canadian Navy impounded 1,200 Japanese-owned fishing boats. On the recommendation of the RCMP, Japanese newspapers and schools were voluntarily shut down to avoid racist backlash.

1200 Japanese Canadian fishing boats being rounded up in Steveston BC 1941. Three days after the bombing of Pearl harbour.

“On 16 March, the first Japanese Canadians were taken from areas 160 km inland from the Pacific coast — deemed a “protected area” — and brought to Hastings Park BC. More than 8,000 detainees were processed through Hastings Park. Women and children were housed in the Livestock Building. All property that could not be carried was taken into government custody.”

Trains then carried the Japanese detainees to Slocan, New Denver, Kaslo Greenwood, and Sandon — ghost towns in the Kootenays. I am thinking that these places were chosen because most of them had been booming towns in the mining boom, and so had empty hotels and “accommodations” albeit, quite outdated and dilapidated.

(Ken grew up in the Kootenays, originally Cristina Lake, and never really knew why there were so many Japanese people living there, it just seemed normal. He later found out that there had been an Internment camp in Fife, east and on the hillside above Christina Lake.)

“Though the camps were not surrounded with barbed wire fences, as they were in the United States, conditions were overcrowded and poor. There was no electricity or running water. Those who resisted their internment were sent to prisoner of war camps in Petawawa, Ontario; or to Camp 101 on the northern shore of Lake Superior.”

“In a further betrayal, an order-in-council signed 19 January 1943 liquidated all Japanese property that had been under the government’s “protective custody.” Homes, farms, businesses and personal property were sold. The proceeds were used to pay the costs of detaining Japanese Canadians.”

I have obtained this information from https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/japanese-internment-banished-and-beyond-tears-feature#

I guess I am quite taken that someone who has done so much to try to save our planet started off with the world treating him so badly as a child. ..David Suzuki

Well there you go 3 things about Slocan that I bet you did not know.

Thank you for reading this blog, much love from Janet, Ken and Tucker the waterfall dog…

The Summer that was….

Is it already time for Chrysanthemums to bloom? Never ceases to amaze me when I see them blooming, in fact once even wrote a song about it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYGZjzJB4m8 . Where DID the time go?

Well it was a very hot summer, Ken built a shop, did I mention that it was a very hot summer? He has always wanted one and with help from a few friends, he has built the whole shop almost himself. Totally amazing. It is 20×30 feet.

So Ken prepared the pad for the concrete and a company came in to pour and set the concrete,

Isn’t this straight?
Ken helped the guy do the concrete

and this is how he put the walls in, he built them on the ground and then with the help of the tractor, lifted them up. Sort of like this….

OR maybe a bit more like THIS….

So then we had 2 walls up and then we had a terrible storm..

Thankfully the walls stood, made it through the storm. SO then we called for some help to get the other two walls up ASAP…. 😀

Just kidding….. 😀Actually we had help from Pete, Al and Dylan with the next stages.

I hope all these pictures are not boring, but I have just so impressed with this shop that Ken has built. Trusses…

Roofing material…

Then the metal roofing

…all done just in time to fill it up with all of my Beans that need drying now that the rains have come.Poor Ken, rapidly seeing his lovely shop filled up with vegetation….. etc.

Oh….. and on top of that Ken also put together a greenhouse that was one of those kits.

So while he did all of this, I …..took pictures 😀😀😀

WELL… I went back to work for a week in July…. then I harvested garlic.

Grew tomatoes

Grew beans, which I WILL spend the fall shelling…..😅

OH and I have started filling in the holes in the living room floor with our rocks. first picture before grout..

After grout.

Now it is time to can tomatoes, dry tomatoes, make sauce with tomatoes, make salsa with tomatoes etc etc etc. Oh and I have friends and relatives who like tomatoes too.

….and the Tromboncino Squash has sort of taken over the place, so zucchini bread, zucchini cake, zucchini noodles etc etc etc.

It has been a busy summer, I guess it takes awhile with a new house to get all the OTHER stuff done, but Ken is pretty excited to finally have a shop and I am pretty excited to have a greenhouse again.

Next spring I plan to start growing tomato plants to sell, perhaps at farmers market, like we did in the past. Maybe try to do some real farming… or at least a bit.

We are not very good at relaxing at home, we need to learn to do this better. WE ARE better when we go away, so we have left and are doing a little trip around the Arrow lakes and the Kootenays before it gets too cold up here.So here we are back to mushroom picking, here is a lobster mushroom….

and a white chanterelle, this is the only place we have ever seen them white.

You can tell from Ken’s thumb that he has just built a new shop.

Bye for now, much love to all, from Janet, Ken and Tucker, our mushroom foraging dog that tends to step on them.

🎼a new direction in life…music 🎼🎼

Ken and my lives are nothing if not changing all the time. Back in March of this year we got a request to perform at an event in Grand Forks BC (the town that Ken grew up in). The town is home to a large group of Doukhobors who immigrated to Canada in the late 1800s. Very interesting story, best read in detail here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doukhobors#Migration_to_Canada. Or do a search. The take home point for us is that they are pacifists, vegetarians and left Russia for a life where they could determine their own destiny. It was an event that is held annually, and has been for 75 years to celebrate “75 Years of Coming Together in Peace, Brotherhood and Song”

So we dusted off our guitars, and practiced for a month, got new calluses on our fingers and then headed off to Grand forks. Well we first stopped in Kelowna to practice with friends there, who were going to accompany us. AND we just fit into their driveway…. an inch to spare.

Then we had a great time practicing the songs ……. THIS one is FOR WHOM. a song based on the concept that our children do not inherit the earth from us, we BORROW IT from them.

Irene and Paul also come from Grand Forks, and Irene was the one who “promoted” 😃 us for this event.

We spent Friday night at Lizzies place (Irene’s sister) and one of “the grasshoppers” a band of girls, sisters and cousins who have been playing together for ??? 50 years. Oh and look at Tucker the photo bomber.

AND then the main event. A Doukhobor mens choir involving many generations.

We were dead last on the agenda….. which is always hard, because you spend the whole time getting more nervous. IT HAD been over 3 years. AND I WAS nervous, it DOES take a few verses to get the air moving properly through the vocal chords 🥺🥺 AND there was someone in audience to capture our performance and so here it is. Women in Black after all these years.

I must say that the event was life changing for me. We got such a great response, it just felt so great. Since we moved back to Canada we just have not received so much interest as we did in the US, the politics seemed of less interest in Canada. I guess my fragile musical ego, sort of crumbled after a few events in our area….. and so I guess I put the music away on a shelf somewhere, TOOK on different things.

But to play at an event that was held by a large group of Pacifists, it inspired me. The real message of the event was Peace, and peace comes with pacifism, and not choosing sides.

At the same time, we are now BOTH retired and free to travel, so I am thinking that as we travel this fall that we will try to find events with political motivations that we can perform at. It will make for a very different winter journey… ROCKS and music.

NOW HIS GUY is a real boon to our music…… when we think he is ready for a nap, we just pull out our guitars and he just snuggles into a chair and goes to sleep. Not quite sure what that means, but he just seems mesmerized when we play. ….

Plant Identification.

Oh and I should tell you all about our latest bread ingredient. We have TONS of morel mushrooms, and so I have dried them and put them through the food processor to make them into powder and then just add that with the flour while making bread and presto…. mushroom bread. Incredibly moist, dark and Talon seems to love it.

I guess I am feeling like we are getting our Mojo back…..

Much love from Janet, Ken and Tucker the photobomber hound.

Mushroom …….. are you?

Our wonderful grandson Talon, has been mushroom hunting with us, and although we are trying to get him to say more complete sentences… it is just SO DARNED CUTE when he misses the word, where. Sadly we have not found any morels on the days we have taken him hunting, but we have found LOTS on the days we have not taken him😀

I guess we have been hunting morels for the past 3 weeks and have been having SO MUCH FUN.

Although most of the hunting going on around us has been in sites of fires from last summer, we have stuck to our tried and true spots from previous years. I am on a BC morel mushroom site on Facebook and people are posting pictures with buckets of mushrooms. WHAT FUN.

Some talk about this as being their first year hunting morels, and what excitement to find their FIRST morel, I responded that it makes no difference first or thousandth. The joy does not wear off. It is still such a thrill to find each and every one.

We have been enjoying them many different ways.

Several days of morel and pesto pizza….. I have researched the nutritional benefits of morels, and the most appealing benefit is iron. We (for the most part) eat a plant based diet (formerly known as Vegan) and for other reasons as well I tend to run low in the iron department, and hate taking iron pills because they make your stomach feel so queasy ……. so I have been drying LOTS of morels with the hopes of combining them with the dried garlic scapes, and creating a powder to sprinkle on everything.

My niece recently converted a van into an RV, and said that getting onto the toilet was a good yoga exercise, and I must say that bushwhacking must be as well, because I feel MUCH more flexible after climbing over and under branches of trees, and stepping down steep cliffs and climbing up them. We wish we had trained Tucker how to sniff out morels because he IS a hound dog, but likely too old now to learn a new trick

We have had a few days that we have been totally skunked. Nary even a tiny mushroom, but we had great fun with a Weiner roast. VEGGIE wieners of course. They are making them MUST better than they did 30 years ago when we tried to convert our kids.

More mushrooms emerge under several optimal conditions, several optimal conditions. One of them is elevation. We tend to search at the lowest of our sites starting usually in early April, but this year they were very late, showing up closer to early May. They have a specific date and only last so long, and then we go higher up.

We made an amazing discovery this year. ……. As I wrote about last summer, we started getting deliveries of wood chips whenever the tree trimmers were in our area. We likely got about 40 loads last summer and we used the tractor to cover our entire garden (about an acre) with wood chips. This is to provide both a way to soak up excess water……. and a way to deal with lack of rain. The wood chips absorb the moisture. Last summer was so hot and dry, I figured that this would reduce the need for watering, keep the surface of the ground protected, and nourished.

Well the wonderful “unintended consequence” is that I have discovered morel mushrooms all over my yard, anywhere we put wood chips last summer. So in a way, I have my own morel garden. 🍄 (although THIS emoji is an Amanita the poison type…)

Another interesting thing about morel mushrooms is that there are many different types of morels and so in any given area, you will likely only find one type. The cool thing about my garden is that I have many different types, which essentially means that there are likely many different sources. Each year when we gather mushrooms, I always put a cloth under where I am cutting them and then shake the cloth out in the garden with the hopes that the spores will find a comfy spot to rest and then grow, so it could be that many of the mushrooms actually came from spores from previous years pickings.

We are forever trying to think like a mushroom,……… MUSHROOM…. ARE YOU? Some are sneaky.

On a totally different topic ( and I MEAN TOTALLY DIFFERENT). While I have been writing this blog, I have been sitting at the Kamloops Breast clinic, getting an odd breast thing checked out. I have learned something new here today and want to share it with all the women out there who might be in a similar situation.

In recent years it has been shown that women with dense breasts not only have a higher risk of breast cancer, but mammograms do not show cancers up as well. So in BC there is now a clinic that offers annual screening ultrasounds for women with breast density C or D. The breast density is reported on all mammograms since 2018, and you are given a score of A, (mostly fatty), B (less fatty) C (dense) D (very dense) The document below gives better details

The good news is that BC is now offering annual breast ultrasound screening for people who fit into C or D density. The bad news is that it is only available in Vancouver. You do need a referral for these annual screening tests. I will update this as I find out more information about the clinic.

So we are hoping to have another fine week hunting mushrooms, but on Friday we are going to Grand Forks to perform on Saturday at the Doukabour Peace festival. This will be the first time we have performed since before covid….. and we are quite excited. Stay tuned for details, and hopefully a video.

Much love to all Janet, Ken and Tucker the (non mushroom hunting hound dog)

Travels with Joshua…

There are many reasons to camp out in the desert, but one is that you get sun rises and sun sets, equal. We have had a wonderful week over in New Mexico, finding some amazing rocks, enjoying the solitude of being alone in the desert.  We are an odd couple, apparently our “signs” Leo and scorpio do not match, we approach everything from a totally different angle.  When we arrange to meet anywhere… something always goes wrong and we interpret differently. Despite all of this, politically when something comes up, we are both totally in sync.  We are both very well read, and have been for a very long time, and I love that.  WE CAN learn from history, if only we remembered the details. 🤔 And then there is Josh whom we always have a good chin wag with as well.

Phoenix airport has an area called the call phone call area where you wait for someone to land, and we could actually watch the planes come in from that spot, so we knew exactly when he landed

Josh is flying down today  to spend a week+ with us. He has expressed an interest in seeing the desert.  I had to help him find out where to get his covid test … and arrange it, yet he already knows that there are 11 IN-n- Out burger joints in Phoenix.  And before heading off into the desert with 2 vegetarians, he is going to In-N-Out……So I guess that will be the first thing we do. 

Fairly brief ….. and TO the point menu…..

OK moving on, 5 days…. Been to the In-N-out and ??? Not sure any of us saw the attraction.   The menu was pretty darned basic, however Josh claims that there is a “secret” menu?? 🤔. He ordered animal fries which were not on the menu and pretty gross…. HE did not even eat them

It is quite different traveling with Josh, I sit back at the table and it is more like being on a train.LOVE IT.

We went back to Alamo Lake and did some heavy duty 4x4ing, trying to find a way to the other side of the lake, we did eventually get to the other side of Bill Williams River, which flows out of the lake, and is quite small right now. Things got much too difficult to get further.

dust a foot thick……. hard on the sinuses….
not quite sure what happened to this bus, ….. or even how it got here in the first place 🤔. We struggled to get there in our jeep.

We were out the other day gathering agates, large and rough, commenting that in another 10,000 years these rocks would likely be the pretty small agates on a beach in Oregon.  (Much like the ones we have found there that likely took 10,000 years to get there).  THAT being said…. The place we were in New Mexico was just over the continental divide, so perhaps THOSE agates might flow to another sea.   Apparently every continent has a continental divide, which divides which body of water the creeks, rivers flow towards. It DOES change from time to time, which is a problem for a store that claims to sit on the continental divide.

Turns out there is a continental divide trail coalition, and you can hike the continental divide. https://continentaldividetrail.org/cdnst-interactive-map/Our travels with Joshua, our son, started by picking him up at Phoenix airport and we are making our way to Las Vegas Airport to drop him off at on the weekend.

Today we made it to the Turtle mountains, we tried to go in there ??5 years ago with the old motorhome before we were towing the jeep, ….. Got stuck and in the “getout” part… destroyed the muffler. Today it was nice to just park the Motorhome by the road and just take the jeep in.

all and all having a great time. We have had a great “cultural exchange” with Josh. The night he arrived we were camping at a casino, so we took him in for a bourbon in the casino…. he had never been. Then the next day on the way out of phoenix Josh said we MUST stop at a dispensary….. So I googled dispensary … cannabis. We ended up out on the very edge of the city and the area was extremely fun down, we turned off on a road that we took to the end…. I was beginning to wonder what we had gotten ourselves in to. Tons of cars pulling in and out of this house in the middle of nowhere. But I was pleasantly surprised. First off was evidence of the covid restrictions, and the 6 foot signs were formally painted onto the sidewalk, I was impressed. The first room (check in room), was a bit sleazy looking, but once we got past the “green door”, it was strictly business. Josh helped me through my purchase…. CBD oil for sleep.

My OH my…. nice sleep on half suggested dose.

Interesting ad…..

Bye for now, much love Janet, Ken, Tucker AND JOSHUA

Rabbits, Tucker and warning, I might mention the war.

When it comes to rabbits, Tucker is relying too heavily on his sense of smell .  I have witnessed several instances where he was sniffing around the front door of the rabbit house and the rabbit exited the back door and Tucker was none the wiser.  These rabbits are fast, which is why I have no photos of them and have no concern that Tucker will ever catch one of them.  We leave all our composting out in the desert, so that the rabbits will get a smorgasbord. So I feel that in a small way, we are paying them back for tolerating Tucker.

He also seems to have decided to take it upon himself to provide for proper burials for all the dead critters he finds. He will come up to us with a bone ….looking quite sheepish… and then comes back a few minutes later with a very brown nose. …..and no bone…   Or perhaps he is planning for future visits, like a GPS marking.🤔

Alamo Lake…

We are currently in New Mexico, splurging at a campground. The first time we have paid to camp in over a month.  Our solar/battery system is working pretty well, but still not quite enough to completely relax about it. Ken has a CPAP which runs all night and often the furnace is needed at night, and although we have managed thus far, it is always a bit of a concern, so Ken is constantly reading up on how we could eke out a few more amps of sunlight/electricity per day.  Perhaps we need another panel to fully charge the batteries.  So tonite it is a luxury ……. Not having to worry if the phones are charged before the sun goes down.

Out in the boonies at Round Mountain.

We have been “boon docking” (dry camping) in some rather remote places, and sometimes my imagination gets away with me and I worry, but then I tell myself….. WE LIVE in a rather remote place where there is no one around, so that makes me feel better.  HOME SWEET HOME.  It IS more fun when you are camping with friends.

Of course we ARE out rockhounding every day, and finding lots of rocks, and learning more about rocks all the time.

Unusual nodules we found at Round Mountain.
What they look like open…..
Great rocks…
I sure wish my pictures turned out as dramatic as what I can see.
An awesome bit of graffiti has appeared just off city road by @mydogsighs CARDIFF

And then there is the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.  A week of negations with NATO (the US), very slim details by western media. Putin (apparently) feels that if the Ukraine is allowed to join Nato, that that WILL be a threat to Russian security. I guess US could move the nuclear weapons even closer to Russia….than Turkey? Hard to say, but the US clearly said NO to any  limits to the expansion of NATO. It seems given the stakes they could have tried a little harder , knowing that Russia would invade Ukraine if they did not agree to limit expansion of NATO, which is exactly what happened.  I wonder if Russia had said we WILL bomb NY city if you do not limit NATO expansion…..whether the US (nato) would have done anything differently….perhaps tried a wee bit harder to “negotiate”. It just seems that Nato has thrown Ukraine under the bus…..the Russian Bus.

We feel for the Ukrainians, Ken’s mothers family escaped from the Ukraine. So Ken is a first generation Canadian, his mother was born in Ukraine. But we also feel for Iraqis, and Palestinians and Yemeni.

I try hard to think of all people the same, and equal. Russians, Ukrainians, Americans, Canadians, Palestinians. AND judge their actions equally. The western media does not. I watched as hundreds of Americans protesting the Iraq war (in DC)were arrested. The media did NOT “cover the war”. AND when Chelsea Manning shared photos of what was going on in the prisons of Iraq to journalist Jullian Assange, they both went to jail (in the long run). They were just Iraqis fighting for their country. The world did NOT cut of the USA’s finances, perhaps if they had, the war in Afghanistan and Iraq might not have lasted as long. The rest of the world did not impose sanctions on the US for the illegal war in Iraq. The same is true for the illegal actions of Israel with regards to Gaza. My own prime minister, Trudeau, said that Canadians supported the rights of Israel to “defend itself” while they bombed the shit out of Gaza last year. US weapons, US funding. HOW ironic. Now they are talking war crimes and the international crimes court, but the US, and Israel do not recognize this court.

It is possible to grieve for the people of Ukraine, but also wonder if Nato did not exist, if any of this would happen. Grieve for the daily killing of innocents in Gaza, Yemen as well.

So now I shall get off my soap box and wish everyone adieu. We are in New Mexico, Demming now. We watched a ?herd of Antelopes wander by last night, brought to our attention by Tucker, who was fortunately indoors.

Much love, Janet, Ken and Tucker the lousy Rabbit hunter.

Just HOW dry is the desert?

‘How Bad Is the Western Drought? Worst in 12 Centuries, Study Finds.”

Fueled by climate change, the drought that started in 2000 is now the driest two decades since 800 A.D. The megadrought in the American Southwest has become so severe that it’s now the driest two decades in the region in at least 1,200 years, scientists said Monday, and climate change is largely responsible.The drought, which began in 2000 and has reduced water supplies, devastated farmers and ranchers and helped fuel wildfires across the region, had previously been considered the worst in 500 years, according to the researchers.’ NYtimes Feb14/22

It is quite an understatement that the desert is dry, but this study shows that it is dryer than it has been in a VERY long time.  We have noticed evidence of dead cacti everywhere out here.

We have spent 4 days at Alamo lake, which has become a “do not miss” for our future trips. It is an ATV Mecca, as well as bass fishing. (well… and lesser known rock hounding🙄) 

 The lake is actually a reservoir formed from a dam blocking the Bill Williams river.  You would never know a drought was going on as the ATVs, after zooming around the dusty desert all day feel the need to wash off their vehicles before heading back  into the dusty desert the next day.  Although I guess we are biased…. We never wash our vehicles.

We have sat each of the past evenings and watched the moon just pop up on the horizon… as if the curtain was opening for a show.  I only wish I knew how to get  a good picture of the moon that looked vaguely like it looked to me.

We have been on an 4 day search for the elusive petrified palm root, which is known to be scattered over the hilltops overlooking the Santa Maria valley.  To begin with it took awhile to figure out which one was the Santa Maria valley, vs the date creek valley and the Bill Williams valley.

The first 2 trips out we followed the map which was quite confusing as the “roads” are just ATV roads and all it takes is about 10 atvs going over a new path to make it look like a road.  On the third day I discovered that THIS book included a GPS coordinate.  It was easy to get to the GPS coordinate, but we found no petrified palm room and we were miles from where the map had “led” us.

On the fourth day we decided to take the difference between the GPS and the map and bingo we found lots off what we THINK might be palm root petrified. Then again we are going by sketchy pictures we have found online

sketchy online picture

Oh and we are back in Burro country. From where we are camping we can watch a large herd of burros wander down to the lake.

The Alamo lake campground is filling up today as we are leaving. We had not noticed that it was Presidents day weekend, but good timing. Apparently this is the weekend that all those who live in the area come to dirt bike and ATV. The way it was explained was that instead of all the grey wave touring the area in side by sides, this will be the younger crowd and moving MUCH MUCH faster. So good time to leave.  We never know when you reach a peak where you cannot see the ground on the other side….. 🤔🤔How DO you know that someone is not coming up the other side?

a side by side parked next to us…. WOW named after our grandson 😀🤔

When we were in Quartzsite, some friends took us on an adventure to see a watering system out in the desert for the wild animals. Large panels of corrugated metal with some sort of drainage system and a huge tank, and then a watering trough.

I think this means…. don’t shoot the animals who have come down for a drink.

Sadly the trough was dry when we were there. dry dry dry.

Another stop we made was to see “bowls” in the rock, likely the indigenous way of grinding grains and corn.

We are having a great winter down here.

Thanks for reading… Janet Ken and tucker….who are somewhere between Phoenix and Tucson in a wind storm right now

Castles in the sky…and on wheels

When “white” Americans first reached the Castle Dome mountains in the early 1860s there were already signs of previous mining activity.  It is felt that Native Americans had mined in the area and backpacked the ore to a processing site ono the Gila River. Remnants of adobe furnaces can be found there.

Mineral deposits discovered on the Colorado river in the early 1860s led prospectors to discover silver in the Castle Dome mountains.  I am thinking it is  like finding a little bit in the river…… then more in a certain area and essentially following the money.  I am sure it is WAY more complicated.

So Castle Dome Landing was developed on the banks of the Colorado river as a shipping point for the ore getting to California for smelting. 

Castle Dome (the DOME) is maybe 40 miles from the Colorado river, so a town developed closer to the mine, and was originally named Pitoti (which was the name of a weed in the area) The name was eventually changed to Castle Dome City.

not hard to see how the town/mine and landing got their names

We went to the museum a few days ago, which was about an hours drive from Quartzsite. Although much that is IN the town has been brought from elsewhere, it IS an interesting site. There were 300 mines in the Castle dome mining area and the area is the longest worked mining area in the state. The artifacts found in the buildings in the town were found when the mines were explored back in the 90s. The mines closed in 79. The buildings there were brought together from an area of about 300 acres around. There were 5 pubs….OUR KIND OF TOWN!!

This was an interesting spot with all the purple glass. Apparently the natural colour of glass is green, but since people wanted it clear, in 1918 they started adding magnesium to glass to make it clear. BUT in time glass made with magnesium would turn purple. They later on used Selenium, to turn the green glass purple, but in time THIS glass would turn yellow.

a couple of pale ale please….
who would have thought there would be so many vintages of barbed wire

The townsite was quite scenic and it is said that a few more noteworthy gun fights and this town would be up there with Tombstone in “sights to see in Arizona”

As always we are on the look out for ideas for decorating our house.

One of the very cool things about this “museum town” is that we got to take tucker with us, one of the LESS cool things is that OTHER people got to bring their dogs as well, ….and well Tucker never does well greeting other dogs at the end of a leash. But he did not have to sit in the car. It DOES say on several tourist info sites that dogs are not allowed, BUT that was not accurate, because he was welcomed in to museum.

The lady at the welcome desk was extremely nice and her daughter was learning finances and took our funds. The lady is with her husband and 3 kids whom they are home schooling, and living in RV year round. They are in this area doing this job until April. She said that her husband’s work, was taking him away from home and he was putting in long hours and not seeing his kids. So they just packed it in and because full time RVers. When you look at the situation that way, it seems like a great alternative.

There are a LOT of people we come across each day here who have done sometime similar and are living in their RV. One guy said that after living in an apartment for 15 years the owners had sold suddenly and he could not find anything he could afford. Many different stories, much like the stories in the movie “Nomadland”. Many people here are “full timers” and spend the winters here in Quartzsite and then in April or so when it is too hot here, they move out to other areas of the country for work or just for better climate. Earlier in January the big RV show, which is a huge tent filled with hundreds of booths selling anything an RVer might be interested in……..flagpoles, batteries, solar, and a multitude of gadgets. Anyways…. there were booths there to recruit these full timers to other places and jobs… such as Amazon, or other states parks dept.

It costs 180 dollars to camp here for entire winter. For that you get to camp anywhere in the massive area designated. OR 40 bucks for 2 weeks. For that you can use the Sani dump and water fill station and bins for garbage. I took this video on our way to the Sani this morning, just to give an idea of what the long term visitors area looks like. It stretches out for miles in each direction. I would guess that each camper gets a half acre to full acre of space. There are plates from every state…. VERY few Canadian plates, which apparently is quite different.

And this is where we are.

home sweet home

Notice anything new????? new booties

So that’s us for now…. thanks for reading, much love from Janet, Ken and Tucker in (these boots are made for walkin)

WARNING: some discussion of Canadian truckers…

We have been down in Quartzsite for almost 2 weeks now. I gather that Arizona never had a mask mandate, because almost no one wears them here. Ken and I have had so many holidays ruined by illness, I feel fortunate that is at least “acceptable” to wear a mask.

From Kofa mountains

Years ago~1999, I trained for months to run the Maui Marathon and picked up a gastro bug on the plane and was unable to run the race….. 7 years ago Ken and I went on a bike barge trip in France, where you sleep on the barge, and cycle between spots during the day. It was a small barge, and someone boarded with the flu. Gradually each day someone else succumbed to the illness. Ken and I finished the trip free of the flu, but with in 24 hours we were both very sick. It was a real drag to be in France, sick. We went to Spain 5 years ago to hike the Camino trail, and one night after a particular long day, we slept in the common sleeping area (Alburge) and someone clearly was coughing…… a day later I had to quit the Camino 70 KM short of our destination because I was coughing and very wheezy. (the next day I fell and broke my shoulder). I also know of people who have come home early from european trips because of sickness. It is just NOT FUN to be sick and any time, but worse when you are somewhere away from home.

Kofa mountains

It seems that they are lifting mandates all over the place, but in crowded indoor places I am going to continue to wear mine (for now) …. I never wore it because it was a mandate in the beginning … I wore it because I was trying to prevent illness. And at the beginning, there were no masks… I had leftovers from the fires/smoke in BC. I felt extremely lucky to have an N95 mask back then.

Look up from my boot…. HUGE grasshopper..

We are having a great time down here wandering the desert looking for rocks, rarely a soul in sight for miles. We really are set up such that we do not need to go into crowded indoor places very often. Sadly the pub here that has the most selection on tap, is very crowded, and no masks. It has been awhile since we found a good brew pub. I would suggest for this area… to BYOB..😊

Ken and Tucker…..Kofa mountains in background

It is also getting quite depressing that a trucker/car/RV “convoy” of vastly smaller numbers than are reported in some news outlets, are occupying Ottawa, to “protest vaccine mandates” Ken and I have been to our share of protests, mostly protests against war…..(protests against needless killing of innocent vulnerable individuals). THESE protests in Ottawa and other large cities and border crossings are essentially in favour of needless killing of innocent vulnerable individuals.

Lost near Wileys well in California

The protests we have attended over the years have not been funded by wealthy individuals, but somehow they have managed to provide toilets, food, and emergency facilities. There is a million nurse march in Washington DC in May, which I am sure will be vastly better organized. These Trucker “protesters” have been defacataing in peoples yards…… then again, when you gotta go you gotta go…..disgusting.

not sure I have said how much I LOVE the Kofa mountains…

Another main difference with the protests we have attended, is that people actually get arrested if the stop the flow of traffic. It seems that THIS protests GOAL is to stop the flow of traffic. Why does one law apply for anti war movements and another for truckers who are afraid of needles. Right now they are actually blocking the border crossings basically stopping their “fellow truckers” from doing their job. Most truckers in Canada are vaccinated. Why should truckers be exempt from the same rules that the rest of us have to comply with, in returning to Canada from the US. The actual point is to stop the spread of disease….🤔🤔. Its not like Biden and Trudeau stopped truckers from crossing the border unvaccinated….just to mess with their “freedom”. If it had to do with freedom, you would think they would have protested when they had to have a passport??

OH AND BTW, there IS a big possibility of a war right now, that would involve Canada and these stupid truckers are taking the limelight of the news when journalists SHOULD be doing a better job of explaining what exactly is going on in Russia/Ukraine rather than skimming the top.

I must say I was disappointed that Trudeau would not meet with the protesters “because he disagreed with them” I gather that he would also not meet with a group of anti war protesters, since he is so het up sending troops to Ukraine.

Sorry to have ranted here.

I did want to close with a video of Tucker trying to wear booties in the desert to keep from getting cactus thorns in his paws.

Much love to all from Ken, Janet and Tucker the dog with booties

Please wear a mask if you do not like being sick.

Afton canyon, the Mojave (grand) canyon.

Ken and I are finally in our element. We have been camping(boon docking) at Peggie Sues diner just east of Barstow, California.. And we are going hiking in the mountains just west of Mojave desert, the Afton Canyon each day. Afton Canyon is actually a few canyons opening into the Mojave river. The Mojave river is interesting in that it flows underground for the most part and this is one of the few areas it flows above ground.

Satellite view

Afton Canyon is ALSO interesting in that it(they) were formed when Manix lake drained 25000-13800 years ago.

“The lake formed about 500,000 years before present, when the Mojave River left the Victorville area and started to drain into Manix and Lake Harper. The lake did not immediately include the Afton basin; its integration occurred only about 190,000 years ago, most likely due to a catastrophic flood. Lake Manix lasted until 25,000–13,800 years ago, when Afton Canyon formed, either through slow downcutting or a large outburst flood.”

So the Afton Canyon is known as the Mojave…..grand canyon. We have not seen the Grand Canyon, but find this canyon so impressive. I only hope our pictures do it justice.

The lake was about 91 square miles and…” Yermo, together with Dunn and Newberry springs, are present-day towns whose locations would have been close to the shore of, or submerged beneath, Lake Manix.”

at bottom of canyon
at top….

We went back hiking in this canyon for 3 days, took picnic and wandered all day up there.

avocado and home made hummus on homemade bread.

Tucker just does not like these areas where there is no shade. The rocks are not hot, but his feet get sore on the rocks and he has very short hair, and gets hot easily… so we brought an umbrella for him. The temps were around 18 C….. not too hot.

I guess this is where I will just let a picture say a thousand words and just leave it at that.

Beautiful place, we always seem to find amazing spots where there are no other people… while we are looking for rocks. We did find rocks, but nothing like the views.

I am being a slow writer and we are now in Quartzsite, so more on that later

Much love

bye for now much love from Janet, Ken and Tucker the HOTDOG…..