Nancy, Marie & Tom enjoy the sunset at Roadrunner's
Floating Bar in Parker, AZ.   
     We have been really busy and having tons of fun.  Our 1st stop after departing from Tucson was Quartzsite, Arizona.  In January the town hosts the "Big Tent" event and Quartzsite's population expands from 3,700 to over 100,000 of our closest RV friends.  Normally Quartzsite looks like a dusty desert town in the midst of a perpetual yard sale.  However, when the "Big Tent" hits the town, it brings in thousands of vendors related to the RV industry, mineral and gem vendors, and heaps upon heaps of junk peddlers.  Then the town become a huge traffic jam and its yard sale persona explodes. The "Big Tent" (and it is huge) holds hundreds of vendors trying to push their offerings onto the masses.  Frankly, the tent reminded me of a giant TV Infomercial which would put the QVC Channel to shame.  I think I even saw one vendor trying to throw in a set of "Ginsu Knives."
Every evening in Quartzsite featured incredible sunsets.
     The best thing about Quartzsite was getting reacquainted with the friends we met at the Balloon Fiesta as well as Dick & Gaila, who still rank among our "oldest (as opposed to ancient) friends." (So, Gaila are you OK with this?)  We spent most of the time in Quartzsite catching up with friends, hiking & biking in the desert, playing golf (yes Jonny M, you read that right) and avoiding the "zoo" in "downtown."  Dave an Kathy served as trip leaders and kept us occupied while we combined with Dick & Gaila to host the party each evening.  Below shows interesting discoveries from our desert hikes in Quartzsite.
Kathy called this The Desert Bathtub, but I understand that
it is called The Ye Ole Swimming Hole.  It is a concrete structure
probably related to gold mining in the area.
An old stone structure we discovered on the desert.
Kathy & Dave are poking their heads out of the window.
Dick & Gaila stand at the entrance.
A desert grave under a saguaro.
An active desert gold mine.
          Another of our favorite hikes was to Palm Canyon in Kofa National Wildlife Refuge were a small group of ancient desert palm trees still exist tucked high up a steep canyon.

The hike up Palm Canyon.
The ancient desert palm tree growth.
     While we did several things in Quartszite, our most memorable was playing "desert golf."  The golf course was 18 holes on the desert sand, rocks and cacti.  To play you are allowed only 1 club, but are allowed to tee-up every shot.  Our 10-some managed to get in three holes.  Kathy actually kept score and the results were predictably awful with Tony Sparks taking the championship!
Our 10-some prepares for a round of desert golf.
Ginny and Dave stand in the foreground.
Gaila prepares to take a whack on the 1st tee while Dick
provides instructions.
The "green" on the 2nd hole.
Notice the circle dug into the sand and rocks around the pin to create the "green."
    After over 2 weeks of boondocking on the desert it was back to Tucson with a short interlude at Painted Rocks Petroglyph Site in Arizona.  This tiny park had a mound of large rocks piled 50' high and spread over a 300' area.  It seemed as if every rock was chock full of petroglyphs creating an amazing display of fantastic ancient artwork.

     In Tucson we were treated to a visit by Marie & Tom who flew in from Boston.  Tucson was hosting the worlds largest "Gem and Mineral" show and Nancy and Marie were in their glory.  The Tucson Gem and Mineral show is a must for those people with rocks in their heads and Nancy and Marie fit the bill.  The gem show was massive.  It seemed as if every vacant space in Tucson was filled with thousands of vendors all selling rocks or stuff related to rocks.  The show areas filled convention centers, hotel conference centers, and huge tents.  Nancy and Marie spent 3 days at various locations while Tom and I were dis-invited after our 1st day of shuffling around and whining.
     To escape the rocky event, Tom and I visited the Pima Air and Space Museum.  This museum was filled with hundreds of military aircraft.  The best part was that Tom knew a lot about the jets and was able to describe some of their radar systems, including some he helped design.  We also toured the adjacent military base to see the "Boneyard;" the world largest collection of mothballed aircraft. The base was full of thousands of aircraft sitting on the desert waiting to be used for spare parts.
A line-up of jets at the museum.
A few of the planes mothballed in the "Boneyard."
     While in Tucson, all 4 of us travelled to Green Valley, AZ to visit the last remaining Titan Missile Base.  The Titan Missile was a nuclear missile designed to strike our enemies anywhere in the world. Since our enemies knew the location of the Titan Missile bases, after launch the launch crew knew that there was nothing left to do but sit and wait a few minutes for the enemy in-coming nuclear missile to detonate above their heads.
The underground control center.
A Titan Missile in the silo.
     Marie and Tom stayed with us as we ventured to Why and Ajo, Arizona.  You might ask Why Ajo?  First, we went to the "Old Time Fiddlers Contest" in Ajo.  The contest was a rather eclectic collection of talent featuring "Henry the Fiddler" as well as little girl playing a fiddle tune while spinning a hula-hoop around her waist.  We stayed for 1 1/2 hours and quietly ducked out at the intermission.
     Second, just south of Why is Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.  This is another Sonoran Desert park on the Mexican border featuring; can you guess--Organ Pipe Cactus.  This park was beautiful with pretty drives and excellent hiking trails.
A hillside full of saguaro cacti and organ pipe cacti.
Nancy & Marie in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.
An organ pipe cactus.
     Then it was on to Lake Havasu City, AZ for "Winterblast," the world's largest pyrotechnic show. Apparently, Lake Havasu City hosts an annual convention of everybody who is anybody in the pyrotechnic industry as well as potential buyers of large fireworks displays.  For 4 nights the vendors put on a pyrotechnic show to display new products an new pyrotechnic displays. Unfortunately, Marie and Tom were only there for Thursday's show which was a disappointment.  However, we went again for Saturday's big fireworks display and it was truly fantastic.  The shows created by various vendors featured ground fireworks along with massive air bursts.  All shows had a theme and were choreographed to music.  I've seen a lot of fireworks shows and this was far and away the most unique with over the top explosions filling the entire night sky. Needless to say, we were impressed.

     So did anybody notice that the London Bridge had gone missing?  Well we found it on the Arizona desert and, no, it did not fall down.  Lake Havasu City actually has the original London Bridge which existed in London on the Thames river from 1831-1967.  In 1968 Robert P. McCulloch (the founder of Lake Havasu City) purchased the bridge, dissembled the bridge, numbered every bridge component, shipped the bridge components through the Panama Canal to Long Beach, California were it was trucked to Lake Havasu City, and reconstructed on dry land in Lake Havasu City. After the bridge was completed, Mr. McCullock dredged a channel to redirect some of the water from the Colorado River to flow under the bridge.  This amazing accomplishment also ranks as the worlds largest antique purchase of all time.  Strange, but true!
The London Bridge in Lake Havasu City, AZ.
    After Marie and Tom left we hooked up with Karen and Ted, more friends from the Ballon Fiesta, for 3 nights of boondocking on the desert.  From our new campsite we were able to witness the higher fireworks bursts while enjoying the company of a small group of other boondockers.  Of course, whenever our group gets together we continue our quest to seek out the most unusual bars and we sure did find one--The Desert Bar.  The bar is 5 miles down a rough and rocky dirt road which almost required a 4-wheel drive vehicle to access.  It was well worth the trip.  The bar was located on the site of a former copper mine and was originally developed by an entrepreneur who wanted to supply the desert All-Terain-Vehicle enthusiasts with water and beer.  Over the years the bar expanded onto the contours of the mining camp with beer and food sold on multiple levels of the facility while a country-rock band blasted tunes over the desert.  The Desert Bar draws hundreds if not thousands of patrons each day and is only open from noon-6:00 on Saturdays and Sundays during the winter. This was a blast and ranked amongst the coolest, most unique bars/restaurants we ever patronized.
The Desert Bar in Parker, AZ.
The Desert Bar.
Nancy, Karen, Jerry, Ted, & Maddie.
Karen & Ted are our friends from the ABQ Balloon Fiesta and Jerry
& Maddie we just met through Karen & Ted.
     California here we come!
Proof that beer is only borrowed.
This is the keg refilling center in Roadrunner's
Floating Bar in Parker, AZ.
'nuff said!
Found in Quartzsite, AZ.


  1. Interesting post. Been to many of those places, but Organ Pipe is still on our to do list.


Post a Comment