I’ve made it to Quartzsite, Arizona in time for autumn equinox. My first night, I watch a pulsing, full moon brighten the night sky, throbbing with the heat waves emanating from the torrid desert floor.
My home for a while is the Arizona Sun RV Park. The RV site I move onto has a palo verde tree (Spanish for “green wood”) skirted by two barrel cacti. It’s a little courtyard setting; all mine for the next six months complete with a spiked, wrought iron fence which harbors me from the vagaries of desert life along a sparsely traveled road.
Early morning brings a covey of Gambel’s quail darting across my courtyard. They spar over the yellow red blossoms falling from a nearby desert shrub. The winner holds a blossom aloft in its beak and parades tauntingly in front of the other quail before gobbling it down.
I learn to rise before first light, 5:30 at the latest, to do outdoor chores while the desert air is still cool. I make my breakfast, work at small tasks, get my park job done; all before the heat of the day sets in around 9:30.
One of the first to arrive at this snow bird haven, second home to retirees from all over the country, I do cleaning chores in exchange for my site rent and utilities. It’s a fair deal; leaving me ample time to seek outside work if I choose.
In the 2008/2009 winter season, I stayed here while waitressing at a restaurant in the town. I am as impressed now with this Sonoran desert environment as I was then. Initially it’s the stark, flat land and craggy, rocked, naked mountains, jutting prominently against the horizon; so different from the verdant green mountains and valleys back home.
Today I am at the library by 8:30. My card is still good from my first visit to Quartzsite. Billie, the librarian is in her usual place at the front desk along with two small turtles in a terrarium laid out with desert sand and rocks for the turtles to clamber onto and take shelter under.
I check out books and a video on the Sonoran Desert along with an Arizona hiking guide. My daughter has convinced me to find a hiking club to share the excitement of the desert with; look out snakes, the hordes will be descending.
Afterward, it’s on to Blythe, California, a mere twenty miles on Interstate 10 to pick up some groceries. Crossing into the state I have to stop for inspection but get nodded through by a young male officer. As soon as I park my car at Albertson’s grocery store I realize my wallet is in my computer bag back home in Arizona.
So back down the road I go. What can I do but laugh! This time wallet in hand, I drive back into California, stop at border patrol, get waved through again and thank my lucky stars they don’t think I’m a drug runner. Just a daydreaming, still 50 something cruising on down the road.
(aka Tin Can Traveler)