Safari

Of all things, we are currently at a Safari International rally. We are just north of Quartzite and there are many many OTHER rallies going on around us.  I guess it is just an easy place for people to meet up….. and spend time.

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This is basically what the land around Quartzite looks like for miles and miles in every direction.  All of these large swaths of basic parking lots are divided by “washes”, where the rivers flow when there is water.  So essentially this month every area within miles and miles of Quartzite fills up with rigs like this.  (At least the swaths of land that rigs can get to, the picture above, we had to walk through a large wash to get to)    I have read that as many as a million people are here visiting at any time in January.

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Our motorhome is a 1995 Safari. Safari used to be a big name in motorhomes, but  then got bought out by someone else, and then someone else.  There is an online group that Ken has been on for a few years now where he gets all the details on how to fix our RV, and this site has been our lifeline for keeping this rig running. (I guess you could call it our 911, But we call it the old farts forum)   So we thought we would attend the rally since we are in the vicinity anyways.  This is the first time we have ever attended anything like this, but it is going well … so far so good. (Of course I have not brought up politics though  🙂  )

Oddly enough, no one else here has even heard much about the rock show, they really just come for the rally.

Tucker has made a few friends.

The thing about Safari’s that makes them unique is the painting on the back of them, they are all African animals. Everyone unique.

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So I went around all the rigs this morning to get pictures (of the pictures). I learned something along the way, and that is that each picture has hidden figures with in it. This one has a mouse, the rocks in front are actually fish.

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not quite sure how this one fits………

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The older ones are more simplistic.

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This one just pulled in, seems like a much newer rig.  Odd looking panther….

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AND THEN there is ours. (our rig is the second oldest one of those that are here now)IMG_2777

 

We woke to the sound of generators this morning. Loud and clear. GROAN.

We were moving our solar panels around this morning to get the batteries charged and one lady said, “I just don’t understand why you do not just use your generator” 🙂

Everyone seems very nice, and many of them seem to know each other already.  But we joined the big circle last night and good old Tucker won everyone over, he makes making friends easy.  Ken is having fun seeing what all other people have done in the way of renovations.

We will be here a few days to learn as much as we can from other RVers experiences.. then back to quiet mornings.

So now you will know, when you see painting on the back of the motorhome, that it is a Safari.

I have to edit this, Tonite I found out from one of the people here that every painting on every Safari is different.  The guy actually painted on each of them to make each one unique..  There IS a signature on each of them. So there I learned a lot doing this blog.

Much Love to all

Janet

Biking and Brenda

We are having a total blast with these bikes.

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We have been experimenting with Tucker, as I realized that it is likely the heat that wears him out. It is not THAT hot here, but there is no real shade. So while we are out on the bikes, he finds whatever places he can for shade. We stop every 1 mile to give him a break, and water, and he seems to be doing better. Yesterday I tried a makeshift “cooling collar”, soaking wet facecloth, but he got it off, today we will try a wet scarf.

Scotch Creek (where we live) is a LOT hotter than this in the summer, but the trails we hike usually have lots of shake trees.

Also sticking to the “roads” which are basically very very rough 4×4 roads, he is not getting any cactus spines in his feet.

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AND ME…. I am becoming a real mountain biker. Ken is amazed of the terrain I just weave my way through. BRAVE BRAVE Janet…..  These fat tires just ride over everything, and I am now actually trying to steer around big rocks.  Usually I see something scary and for some reason just steer straight towards it.  I have not crashed in 3 whole days, amazing. The gravel is often quite thick, and with the pedal assist function, (and the fat tires) you just keep going through the gravel….. and yes fishtailing.   Ken has this BIG smile on his face.

So each day we are heading out on the bikes, going anywhere from 2-3 miles out and stopping frequently to look for rocks, scenery etc… Having picnics….. getting back to the MH at about 3 in the afternoon.  Then we clean all of our rocks, and try to keep only the best.

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Which brings me to the part about rock graveyards.

Whenever we find more rocks, we have to go through what we already have and throw some out. So each place we camp, usually has a pile of “what we thought were treasures, but do not think are treasures anymore”.  Often what you find today, makes yesterdays finds look like JUST ROCKS.

We CAN tell others do this too, in that often we find other rockhounds rock graveyards. Sometimes we pick through them for special rocks we do not have samples of, but usually end up throwing them away at the next stop.  I am sure this entity will be very confusing to geologists in the future.

Well yesterday was laundry day…… and I was wondering what this guy had on his right hip….? Not seen one of those before, likely something to keep his quarters in 🙂

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So once a week we go back into town (quartzite ) do the sani dump thing…. fill up with fresh water, drop off our small bags of garbage at the dump and do laundry.  That took 2 hours and so we spent the afternoon looking at the thousands of rocks at the gem show which is on now in quartzite.

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These are mexican fire agates, we are just learning about how to work with fire agates…. how to bring out the fire, which would be the dark spots on these.  I fear my pictures never do the rocks justice.

and a lovely sink we bought for 150.00….  made of limestone from Morocco.   We also looked at plates.IMG_2632

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and some incredible tigers eye from Australia. Tigers eye  is a chatoyant gemstone that the way the minerals align within the rock it gives a wavy type of appearance.  Again I wish my pictures did the rocks justice.

The show that is on now is pretty large, and is called the Desert Gardens Gem and mineral show, and it goes the whole month and then from the 17th to the 21st is the HUGE QIA POWWOW which is all the same sellers that are here now, plus many many more.  Many specialized rock people JUST come to the pow wow.  At least that is how I understand it.

We have met sellers from India, Morocco, South Africa, Argentina,  and TEXAS so far. It truly is fun just looking at all the rocks. We have lots of books for identifying the rocks we find, but just like I cannot do the rocks justice with pictures, it seems that neither can anyone else. Much better to see them LIVE.  AND all the sellers are more than happy to tell you ALL about the rocks. Great place to learn.

Well back to sorting rocks.

Much love to everyone

Janet

Quartzsite

Quartzsite is our short term destination. It is in Arizona, just a few miles from the California border. It is at the crossroads of highway 10 and  HWY 95. The population is 3600 people and it is often the hottest place in the USA in the summer time.

The winter is when all the action takes place there though. The population at any one time in the winter is 250,000 and they get 1.5 million visitors a year.

The weather is one attraction, but there is no way a town that small can host that many people. The key is that there are hundreds of miles of flat BLM land surrounding Quartzite and the “boondocking” or dry camping capital of the US. As one guy at a solar place told us last year “the only place where someone spends 300,000 on a motor home to go camping for free in the desert.”  We have been boon docking for 6 weeks now and are not sure we want to camp alongside that many people, after all part of the reason we do this is for the wide open spaces we get.

Back to the OTHER reason we are attracted to QuartzSite….ROCKS.

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Now is not the greatest time to be in Quartzite, so we just spent part of a day there and then left, there are a few rock shops open now, but the shows begin in January. THIS IS VARIETIES of quartz… I think.  HUGE.

During January, there are 3 major shows, that draw in sellers and buyers from all over the world.  Rocks and things made with rocks … jewellery and apparently many very unusual things. We have not been in Quartzite in January, so  will likely have much more to tell after we have been.  That and likely LOTS of pictures. What we hope to do is to learn more about the rocks we find, how to recognize them and how to work with them. We have some lapidary equipment at home, and each rock is dealt with a little differently.

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OH and I put this one in here for Tucker…. his goals are very different from ours. Imagine if HE was writing this blog. 🙂

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So for now, we left Quartzite and found some great places to camp 30 miles north east, with the plans to rent a car for a month, and camp out of town and travel in with the car.

We are thinking seriously about getting a tow vehicle, but it will be much more complicated and expensive getting one here, so we thought we would just get the rental for this year and decide when we get home, what to do.

I thought I would include a cute little story about our christmas day dinner.  Years ago when we first moved to Bandon Oregon, we had some friends over for supper and made something sort of fancy with Scallops.  The recipe was from a cooking light magazine and it was delicious.  I loved cooking light recipes and so over the years I collected the magazines and then the annual books.  I had them all. Finally they became an online entity, and eventually I was just looking up my recipes online so gave away all the books.

Well it turns out that you can no longer GET recipes from 1997 online. So Ken and I set out to try to remember all that was in that recipe. It is always funny how things come to you in the middle of the night. One night after letting Tucker out during the night he came back and said “Asparagus”…… and then ” I think there was asparagus in that recipe”. So we gradually pieced together that there was also lemon rind… and juice…..etc.

So we made the dinner for boxing day, and took all the pictures like they do on recipe blogs. So here it is.

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First you roll the scallops in corn starch,  then heat  up olive oil in pan,  fry them for about 3 minutes on each side, then remove from pan.

Add 3/4 cup of white wine, then the lemon juice, rind, CHILI PUREE (we used 1/4 cup of our homemade tomato sauce)   and asparagus. x about 5 minutes, then add the scallops to the dish. Heat x 1 minute or so.

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then serve over rice.

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my lousy selfie…… I still feel that there might have been something else in the dish, but it was still great. Now if only I could find a 1997 cooking light magazine.

 

Much love and Happy New YEAR

janet

 

 

Still enjoying garden, 5 weeks out….

Five weeks on the road, and we are still eating food from our garden. In the fall we harvested, canned, dried and froze a lot of food to take along on this trip.  We had over a hundred heirloom tomato plants so after the farmers market ended, we started drying and canning the tomatoes.

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We made roasted heirloom tomato sauce which we have brought about 30 pints.

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Also apple, green tomato chutney x 12 jars (great on rice, easy dinner).  We dried tomatoes as well and put them in oil in a jar for putting on pizzas and stir fries.

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We put the dried tomatoes into olive oil to reconstitute them and keep them in the fridge then.

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We also brought several winter squash, spaghetti and delicata.

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Ken was adamant this year that we were not going to waste any fruit, so took on the huge task of peeling, coring and slicing (we have a gadget that does this), and drying all of the apples, pears, peaches and we even dried raspberries.(and some grapes)

We also have dried beans that we have grown called calypso beans.

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I also made 2 types of pesto and froze it, Basil, parsley (italian and curly)

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I did a lot of research last year about crossing borders and food and found that essentially preserved food is allowed. (not meat). Of course there are always border crossing workers who opt to write their own laws, as many of the Canadian citizens  with coloured skin were not allowed into the US with the recent border changes.

But last year we brought canned tomatoes etc   and were searched (as we often are being a motorhome) and all he was looking for was sheep or goat meat.

Why do this?  Well one this is cost, organic food is expensive especially produce, and having all of it at home for free. At home we also work hard at achieving the 100 mile diet. Eating foods that were grown within 100 miles is an environment choice. They say that the food in the grocery store has travelled further than the average person travels on vacation.  We also do this for political reasons, why buy food that is from half way around the world, when you can support local growers?

We also buy our own locally grown grains, such as rye and fife, and  grind them with a stone grinder.  Have ground a few large bins of flour for the trip, for the pizzas and breads along the way.

Then for fresh produce we have a map of all of the trader joe stores along the way and stop there once a week.

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We have a great system for composting, an IKEA rack attached to the wall, and we fill up biodegradable bags with compost and then bury them out in the desert. I am sure that some poor tomato plants will start growing in spring only to look around and say, WHAT AM I DOING HERE?… and then quickly die in the heat.

OH and we are growing mung beans to have for dinner once a week.

We are pretty conservative with our water, so head to a sani dump every 5 days to fill up and dump the tank, but usually we have 3/4 of a tank of water left, so we could likely last for a few weeks without more water etc..  The solar panels in the day are enough to run the LED lights and the furnace and other devices for the evening.

So we are pretty self sufficient.

And while we are traipsing around the desert we have our 3600 garlic planted and protected (back home) , hopefully our biggest garlic ever. (perhaps enough to fund next years trip)

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and DID I mention we are finding rocks, perhaps I need to write a blog one of these days to show all the rocks we have found once I figure out for sure what they all are.

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And them great sunsets just keep coming

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Much love to all and merry christmas.

 

Drive through red……

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It never ceases to amaze me the clever beer labels.  I always choose the beer with the funkiest labels.  🙂  Quite appropriate today, as I drove  through some teddybear cholla cacti and my poor tire suffered “the attack of the teddybear cholla”.  I hardly knew I had a flat tire until Ken HAD TO take the thorn out… and then the tire went down quickly. I also fell again damaging a few things on the bike so now it is in “KENS SHOP”, getting fixed…..

Lets see, we have spent a few days  at Burro creek area hiking 900 feet down a very steep bank that apparently cows manage to make it up, to search for some wonderful pink chalcedony that we remembered seeing last year.IMG_2398

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Fortunately there was water at the bottom, which is the first water we have seen on any of our hikes.

It was also the day of the election in Alabama, and I thought that perhaps this might have been what Alabama had to say to Trump.

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Then we went to Prescott, where we stayed in a campground to get all our laundry done and I managed to leave Kens clothes in the dryer…….  Then we went from Prescott to Jerome. I have seen the drive described on a motorcycle blog as “127 curves in 12 miles”. Now I can see that as being exhilarating on a Harley Davidson, but in a 35 foot motorhome… Well lets just say we are not going back for Kens Laundry.

Now Jerome is considered to be a vertical town (imagine the Popeye movie with no ocean). NOT a place for a motorhome. The town was a copper mining town and at one time, the 4th largest city in the Arizona territory. The town had its hayday in the 1920s, decline in the depression of the 1930s, and then a reincarnation in the WW2 times, then decline. The past 30 years have given the town a whole new direction with the tourist industry. My theory is that a town that is on a vertical cliff facing the grand Canyon (or at least that is what I think it is) is what truly attracts people. Of course none of my pictures will do it justice, …..

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In my defence, we WERE a little shaken by the trip there, but we both feel we would LOVE to go back to Jerome sometime and stay at a bed and breakfast, I am sure it would be impossible NOT to have the incredible view of the lovely canyon  from every window in Jerome.  (which MIGHT …..be the Grand Canyon).    There was apparently shopping there was well. They have a parking lot from the old mine, that they have a shuttle going back and forth to the town area, which on some level might seem ridiculous, but if you really see how steep this town is, makes sense.

We had planned to drive up a 9.7 mile road from Jerome to go searching for the “most beautiful agates in central Arizona”, but realized that our motorhome was not up to the journey and 9.7 x 2 was possibly too much for Tucker, … so we moved on.

So we are now in Carefree Arizona. We are having stir fry tonite from sprouts I have been growing in the motorhome, gardening on the road.

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First 3 days…

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6 days…. yum.

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Must love to all

Janet

 

 

Our first day back in Nevada desert…

We have spent our first night out in the desert. What a great day. We are just south of Fernley NV, and our rockhounding book suggested one area, which we did not immediately find, but still found lots of cool rocks, then we resorted to our gps and found more. My theory is that the guy that writes the book has a 4×4 and drives to all the spots, so that those of us who wander further find all the stuff no one else finds 🙂

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There is a joke in Canada that from the prairies you can watch your dog run away for days, well we can keep an eye on our motorhome for MILES.

It was down to -3 Celsius (26 Fahrenheit ) last night, and we were warm as toast. (it was 15 celsius  (59 Fahrenheit) in the day).  This was an issue last year, as we were afraid we would freeze up overnight without electricity. This year we have our solar panels charging up our (house) batteries during the day, so at night the batteries  run the furnace fan and the LED lights.(propane runs the furnace). So as long as we are conservative with our water, we can be pretty self sufficient for several days.

We are parked about half a mile off the highway, on BLM land.  We have a lovely view in every direction, sunrise , sunset and everything in between.

 

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We are also taking advantage of the sun during the day and charging all of our chargers.  We need to keep all our devices charged, IPAD for gps, maps and weather. Computer to write this…… etc.

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We are currently watching the weather it is supposed to drop down to -6 in 2 days and we are not wanting to try camping that low. SOOOO we must either go south or to a lower elevation then.

So we really are alone out here…. well except for the wild horses, which seem to be plentiful here…. there is horsepoop EVERYwhere.  A gardeners dream. I am sure if it ever rained here it would be a great place to grow things.

So we are warm and dry and have I mentioned that I LOVE THE NEW STOVE.IMG_2189

Hard to believe that it is almost 2 weeks since we left home. We had a brake problem that presented itself  at 4 pm on the day before thanksgiving. We found out black friday that there was nothing going to be open until Monday, and then Monday, no one had an appointment free. So we left Eugene Wednesday and now it is Friday. We have thus far had a pipe burst at the beginning, then a leak from the new roof, which Ken has fixed and then the brakes. So we figure things go in threes so we should be good for here on..

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Oh and there was this guy on a motorized glider who kept going by….

Much Love

Janet

 

Through the desert in a house with no name

We have definitely stayed at some extremely cool spots thus far. I have been trying to take pictures of each of the places.

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This was actually in a park, but no services, Valley of fire state park. wonderful red rock formations. Indian writing on wall. Just outside of Vegas.img_1779

This was next to where we had camped. WAY up a road in Nevada where a blue quartz mine was. We walked all the way up to the mine and looked all over to find that we really did not LIKE blue quartz. Funny how that works, but the view was worth the climb.

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This was on the ROUTE 66, a very old little shop called Cold springs. We camped further out in the desert the night before, but the lady who ran the shop told us to stay there the next night, as the guy who usually did security was gone.  Really a cool little museum. Here is link for more info http://azrt66.com/cool-springs/

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To get any further on this road to Oatman was too risky for a long vehicle, so we stayed at cool springs.

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We have to date managed 5 days  in a row with no services, and have found that if you google RV dumps, you can find places where you just pay a fee of 10-20 bucks to sani dump and add fresh water.

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Not all days have been totally perfect. Days like yesterday, the rockhounding book said that the “area” was 10.3 miles down a dirt road, and that all vehicles could make it. Said that there were soft areas, but that you should just keep moving. Well we have some to learn that “all vehicles” does not necessarily mean a 35 foot Motorhome.  There are a few questions that go through our minds as we move one down these roads. One is….. I wonder if there will be a place to turn this rig around?  Another is “I wonder if the AAA has limits to where they will go to haul out a motorhome?    yet another question we wondered a few days ago was…. ” I wonder if Chains would work as well in sand as they do in snow”

WE are not at all sure if we are being as kind to our motorhome as it has been to us . After the bind we got into yesterday, we have vowed that we WILL Look closer on Google earth.dsc_0737

This was just outside Parker Arizona, … actually closer to Earp California.  Not the greatest picture, but definitely a spot we will go back to.  6 miles from town and sitting above looking out a mountains all around.

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also one of the most dramatic sunsets I believe I have ever seen. Oh and sunrise as well.

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We are now on the California side of Lake Havasu.  Total wilderness, looking across the lake at a large city.  After my last blog several people encouraged us NOT to head home too soon, as it is much colder.  We WILL however slowly wind our way north now, and hope for better weather for those north of us.

BLM camping in Arizona, and cool rocks.

I have to say we are having the time of our lives down here. I had always questioned the whole snowbird thing, go south, somewhere hot, play golf and hang around a swimming pool. Besides, I really hate the heat anyways. This year to avoid the dreadful storms along the Oregon coast that we experienced last year, we decided to go inland a bit, then a bit more and suddenly found ourselves down in Arizona.  Last year we stuck to the coast to avoid the freezing temps, our RV is older and not set up for really cold temps. This year the weather was good in early November, so we cautiously went down through Nevada, closely watching temperatures and elevations.  We took 95, which  runs down a long valley with mountains on both sides. Essentially high desert. We did not spend as much time as we would have liked to, as we were trying to stay ahead of a storm that was bringing colder weather. (Perhaps next year we will hit this area earlier).  Arizona is lower in elevation, and further south, and so warmer.  Even where we are (near Quartzite) it gets down close to freezing at night.

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We have also been staying out in the desert on BLM land. It is free and the views cannot be beat. Most of Nevada and Arizona are public land, and we have an APP, that shows is where BLM land is. Also signage usually indicates where private land is.  We are self sustained, with 3 solar panels and an inverter to convert the power to ac power. SO if our water tank is full, we can actually spend several days out in the desert quite comfortably.

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I had never really understood the beauty of the desert, but I realize it is more than something a picture can take. I am not even sure I can describe it in words. I guess it is one of those “you had to be there” things.  I would have to say “solitude” would enter into the descriptive terms.

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What has led us out here, has been the search of rocks, but we still love the days even when we find nothing.  We have “THE BOOKS”, rockhounding in _______.  You can get one for each state (and province by the way).  They give descriptions of places to find certain “gems”.  Then they describe how to get there. Usually they are at best vague, and at worst misleading. HOWEVER that just adds to the fun. I am up every morning studying the books, and have 3 different map types on my iPad. Oddly enough, often the RV camping app has the best maps.  Oh and google earth as well.

So I start with a place that is interesting, then I have to figure out if we can get there. Our RV is not a 4 wheel drive, although we do get as far away from the main roads as we can. THEN WE WALK, or cycle to get to the designated places that most people take ATVs or 4 wheel drives. WE GET MORE EXERCISE, and find more rocks on the way  TO the designated places.

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We likely also see more of the wild burros when walking. They were apparently let loose by  prospectors who had run into bad times or other issues….and they have multiplied out in the desert over the many years. I wish I could get a better picture of them.

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There is so much about all of this type of travel that I have found hard to find the info I wanted, so thought I would write a bit about it.

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The sun has just come over the nearest hill, so I had better get to the books and plan today out.