Tuesday, January 20, 2015

First Post of the New Year!

As I travel, I’m always keeping an eye out for a good place to camp.  This particular day I was traveling from Kingman to somewhere near Prescott.  The route I chose ended up being a dirt road, but that was okay.  I even stopped for an hour to ride a bicycle at one point.  The weather was great, the road was decent and the the traffic was very light.  
But pretty soon I realized there wasn’t enough daylight to get to my destination and I should stop.  A good looking spot appeared and I pulled in.  Done.  Camp set up, sit and watch the sunset.  Then I noticed weather off to the north.  Rain?  Maybe.  Not a big problem.  

Sometime during the night, the rain began, then shifted to snow.  Then it stuck around.  By morning, there was about 4 inches on top of everything.  It was going to be one of those days, when you can barely force  yourself out of bed.  Nothing to do but get up and make some coffee.  

early morning view out of the tent.
Snow coffee.

As the day brightened, I realized I might be stuck.  Well, stuck if I tried to move.  You’re not stuck if you’re not trying to move, right?  The radio said the interstate (where my dirt road led) was closed.  There was no chance of a plow coming down the dirt road I was parked on.  Not trying to move seemed like the most prudent thing.

I spent the day sitting in the cab of the van, running the engine every two hours or so to keep a little heat present.  I watched a movie.  Read some books.  Crossword puzzles got slightly more filled in.  

Second day.

That night, the snow disappeared.  Don’t ask me how this works, maybe the desert absorbs the frozen moisture.  Whatever, the sun was out and the road looked good enough to drive a van on, so I was off.  

First thing I encounter, not half a mile from camp, is a van, stuck in the road.  And not just a little stuck.  Tracks in the sand suggested something had tried to pull it out and had ripped the bodywork off the front of the car.  The driver had spun the tire so fast and so long that the tire was destroyed.  (Hint: that doesn’t work.)  A note, written with a finger in the dust on the window indicated the sheriff had been there and the people were fine.  Nice of them to add that.
I couldn't figure out why it was on the wrong side of the road.

Bodywork forcibly removed from the car just visible.
I took in the scene for quite a while, trying to decide what to do.  I did not want to get stuck next to them.  I did not want to turn around and go back, either.  Eventually, I chose to make a pass.  The ruts in the road next to the stuck van were sandy, but dry.  I aimed my van for them, applying just a little throttle as I felt the front tires hit the soft stuff.  And 7000 lbs of American made German van motored right on through.

If you are stuck, spinning the tire faster will not help.  That fact doesn't stop people from trying it.

Rear tire sits high and dry.  Really not sure how they managed to get stuck in the first place.

I found my way south, seeking warmer weather.  Eventually, I found warm enough weather.  Took a nice bicycle ride to see the border fence, rode the motorcycle a bit.  On another bicycle ride I found a road made of red and green rocks.  Generally, I enjoyed myself.  There have  been a half dozen nights in the tent in the low 20 degree-temps, but I get through them.  Warmer weather right around the corner, I'm sure.

Snow in Tucson.  

A fence, somewhere just north of Mexico.

Actual colors of the rocks.

Add your own caption.

One highlight was seeing an old friend, Sally, and meeting her husband Scott.  I knew her in high school but hadn’t seen her in over 30 years.  We had a nice visit, got caught up on the highlights, and had a great meal together.  Good times.