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    VALERIEMAHA   55,170
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Friends and Dos Picos County Park #6 2014 Trip

Sunday, June 15, 2014

I traveled on the famous Route 66 to my old Hawaii-now-Arizona friend Sam's, in Topock, AZ, arriving a week ago.

Scenery along the way

I shot this quickie as we got his rebuilt Mitsubishi Montero (Sam's a master mechanic) to go to the Topock Marsh to watch the sunset.

The white van in the background is the long bed cargo van I traded him in 2009 for my camper! He was living in Roundup, Montana then, a hour from Billings. I drove my van there, which I had bought new in 2001 and used for the sweater project that I ran out of Ecuador. It had over 100,000 miles. The camper, a 1984, had 50,000 miles when we made the trade. I've put about 20,000 miles more onn it.

After arriving Sam got the A/C fixed in the cab (the camper area A/C works fine) and helped with other assorted glitches. Thanks Sam!

The Topock Marsh is one of the larger birding sites in the Lower Colorado River Valley, found from south of Hoover Dam to the Colorado River Delta.

Another (blurry) shot of Sam

Needles was named after "The Needles", a group of pointed rocks on the Arizona side of the river. The large Mohave Native American community shares the nearby Fort Mojave Indian Reservation and the town. Needles is a gateway to the Mojave National Preserve.

Here we are having lunch at a hole-in-the-wall spot in Needles, California (basically just across the Colorado from Topock, Arizona), where the chile relleno was absolutely delicious!

Here is a sunrise shot from the front of Sam's place.

Sam's 90-in-July year-old mom, Mama J as I call her, lives with him. She is amazing -- sharp as a tack, walks with an erect spine and spoils her little chihuahua, Piggy, rotten. Sam lovingly assists her as needed and they have an incredible relationship. Actually, you could clearly say that they take care of each other!

The front of their place looks out onto expanses of protected Mojave Desert land, which will never be built on.

I don't think I could ever get used to the climate in this desert. It got up to 116 and doesn't cool down at night like it does in the high desert. I absolutely melted when I went outdoors between about 1:00pm and gotta' get outdoor stuff done early or late.

A rather poor shot of the Colorado River at a marina yesterday morning, Saturday, as I got back on the road from Sam's, crossing into my native state of California.

Scenery on the road to Ramona, where I'm writing this from. Ramona is in San Diego County in southern California. Crossing the mountains, the elevation reached about 4500' and the climate changed -- ahhhhh.

Today is Father's Day...yesterday I was looking for a place to camp...without ANY success. I was getting worried. A few locals said to try Dos Picos (Two Peaks) County Park, so I drove the few miles out of the way to check availability.

My heart fell, though, when I saw the "FULL" sign as I entered the ranger's park station. I decided to give it my best shot. First I showed the young ranger at the desk my vintage camper, which he definitely appreciated. Then I "talked him up," mentioning that this intrepid 72-year old (aka me!) is making a solo cross-country road trip and that I'm getting anxious, out on the road alone with "no room at the inns." And for effect, I did a fake "WAAAH! -- don't you hate to hear a grown woman cry!"

He paused with a smile, then said to hold on while he radioed his supervisor. The head ranger appeared a few minutes later and said he would give special dispensation for me to camp in the unmarked space #45 (nine is my favorite number!), normally reserved for fire-fighting vehicles. The park has 75 spaces and every one of them is full. I was chanting all the way up the road, and sure enough the Mother heard me! It's glorious here -- lower elevation (about 1,500') but still chilly at night and lovely in the daytime. It's 8:00am now...I've been up since 5:00am and I watched the the sunrise, after watching the moonrise last night. Here are a few shots of Los Picos, an NOW I must get out on my bicycle and do more exploring!

Camp Site #45!

And I even had hook-ups (electricity and water)!

Used my hotplate on the picnic table to fix dinner last night

Here I've added some leftover brown rice and the Trader Joe's Soyaki Sauce which friend Connie gifted me, kicking the taste up a notch

Accompanied it with a yummy salad -- romaine, feta, kalamata olives, and sliced organic California strawberries, with a drizzle of my balsamic vinaigrette.

How's this for a theme song:

ANNIE OAKLEY aka me (lol)

Got no GPS, got no iPhone,
Still I think I'm a lucky girl.
I've got the sun in the morning
And the moon at night.

Got no mansion, but I've got some wheels,
And I'm happy with what I got.
I've got the sun in the morning
And the moon at night.

Sunshine gives me a lovely day,
Moonlight gives me the Milky Way.

Got no checkbooks, got no banks,
Still, I'd like to express my thanks.
I've got the sun in the morning
And the moon at night.

And with the sun in the morning
And the moon in the evening
I'm alright.

Got no butler, got no maid.
Still I think I've been overpaid,
I've got the sun in the morning
And the moon at night.

Got no silver, got no gold,
What you've got can't be bought or sold.
I've got the sun in the morning
And the moon at night.

Sunshine gives me a lovely day,
Moonlight gives me the Milky Way.

Got no heirlooms for my kin,
Made no will but when I cash in
I'll leave the sun in the morning
And the moon at night.

And with the sun in the morning
And the moon in the evening
I'm alright.

Member Comments About This Blog Post:
MTRACHEL 6/24/2014 11:26PM

    loving your journey, sun in the morning, sometimes moon in the morning. PS I live north of Roundup, MT and work there once a week!

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    Ha Ha , loving your journey!

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MISS_VIV 6/21/2014 5:08PM

    Loving your narratives on the wonderful places you are camping. Your poetry and songs are soooooooooo sweet.

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SUSANNAH31 6/20/2014 2:20PM

    It looks like you are having a wonderful time.
The scenery is outstanding!
And now you can enjoy California - your old home.

Hugs to you...

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BILLYCRASH 6/19/2014 1:36PM

  Hey Val, In case you don't recognize the "billycrash" it's Bill from the Library, that's an old railroad nick-name from long ago...any how, happy to be on your BLOG...and read of your adventures. You take care of yourself and have a good time!!!

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    Great pics! I was at my dads probably only 40 minutes from Ramona! And we would've put you up just fine… Glad you made it to California. Looking forward to seeing you soon.

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DAISY443 6/18/2014 2:58PM

    Wonderful in so many ways!

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KALIGIRL 6/17/2014 8:28AM

    Thank goodness for your special dispensation!
Wonderful trip...

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HIPPICHICK1 6/17/2014 8:05AM

    It's amazing what a few prayers will do!
Love the pics, love the song and love you!

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SNOWYOGA 6/16/2014 11:32PM

    Thank you so much! This was really good and love the pictures and emoticon

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JUST_BREATHE08 6/15/2014 11:19PM

    Loved the pictures, the poem and Sam looks pretty good, too! emoticon emoticon for sharing! emoticon

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GOANNA2 6/15/2014 11:11PM

    What a beautiful poem Maha. YEs the Universe
heard you and you got the lovely spot to stay at.
You are reminding us that we don't need much
to appreciate life and living. Thanks for sharing
your journey and beautiful photos. Happy trails!

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DDOORN 6/15/2014 8:50PM

    Whew! How glorious is THAT?!? :-)

Time to drag myself outta the dumps & put myself back out into the world!

Thx Maha' for the reminder of what I'm missing out there, wheels or no-wheels, the whole world awaits...


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CONNIECHANTS 6/15/2014 1:18PM

    AWESOME!!! So glad you found such a lovely spot to camp last night! You go girl! Love the pics & travel log - nice to see what I've been hearing about! And connect a face to 'Sam'! Your song/poem is Wonderful! Love & miss you!
Have a great time with Diana & Dawn - please give them each a hug from me.
Wishing you a wonderful journey along the coast! Just thinking of that wonderful ocean air makes me nostalgic!! Hugs & Much Love, Connie emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 6/15/2014 1:20:18 PM

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SUBMOM2 6/15/2014 12:52PM

    I love your theme song, and I am so happy that you are able to treasure the true riches in life. Thanks for the wonderful photos. It's been great sharing this journey with you!


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PEACEFULONE 6/15/2014 12:37PM

    Happy trails dear Maha!
Thanks for the update. I really enjoy traveling vicariously with you.
emoticon emoticon
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HEALTHY4ME 6/15/2014 12:12PM

    Awesome and love the pictures, so cool that Mama J walks so erect something I am trying hard to rectify. and love the poem. Hubby still wants to RV full time and you make me think about it, but still need a home base for me...
Have a great trip you are so awesome!

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ELRIDDICK 6/15/2014 11:17AM

  Thanks for sharing

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